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[1]Supremacy of the Constitution- THE JUDICIAL SUPREMACY

G.R. No. L-45081             July 15, 1936

JOSE A. ANGARA, petitioner, vs. THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PEDRO YNSUA, MIGUEL CASTILLO, and DIONISIO C. MAYOR, respondents.

LAUREL, J.:

This is an original action instituted in this court by the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, for the issuance of a writ of prohibition to restrain and prohibit the Electoral Commission, one
of the respondents, from taking further cognizance of the protest filed by Pedro Ynsua, another respondent, against the election of said petitioner as member of the National
Assembly for the first assembly district of the Province of Tayabas.

The facts of this case as they appear in the petition and as admitted by the respondents are as follows:

(1) That in the elections of September 17, 1935, the petitioner, Jose A. Angara, and the respondents, Pedro Ynsua, Miguel Castillo and Dionisio Mayor, were
candidates voted for the position of member of the National Assembly for the first district of the Province of Tayabas;

(2) That on October 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers, proclaimed the petitioner as member-elect of the National Assembly for the said district, for having
received the most number of votes;

(3) That on November 15, 1935, the petitioner took his oath of office;

(4) That on December 3, 1935, the National Assembly in session assembled, passed the following resolution:

[No. 8]

RESOLUCION CONFIRMANDO LAS ACTAS DE AQUELLOS DIPUTADOS CONTRA QUIENES NO SE HA PRESENTADO PROTESTA.

Se resuelve: Que las actas de eleccion de los Diputados contra quienes no se hubiere presentado debidamente una protesta antes de la adopcion de
la presente resolucion sean, como por la presente, son aprobadas y confirmadas.

Adoptada, 3 de diciembre, 1935.

(5) That on December 8, 1935, the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion of Protest" against the election of the herein
petitioner, Jose A. Angara, being the only protest filed after the passage of Resolutions No. 8 aforequoted, and praying, among other-things, that said respondent
be declared elected member of the National Assembly for the first district of Tayabas, or that the election of said position be nullified;

(6) That on December 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted a resolution, paragraph 6 of which provides:

6. La Comision no considerara ninguna protesta que no se haya presentado en o antes de este dia.

(7) That on December 20, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, one of the respondents in the aforesaid protest, filed before the Electoral Commission a
"Motion to Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8 of Dismiss the Protest", alleging (a) that Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly was adopted
in the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative to prescribe the period during which protests against the election of its members should be presented; ( b)
that the aforesaid resolution has for its object, and is the accepted formula for, the limitation of said period; and ( c) that the protest in question was filed out of the
prescribed period;

(8) That on December 27, 1935, the herein respondent, Pedro Ynsua, filed an "Answer to the Motion of Dismissal" alleging that there is no legal or constitutional
provision barring the presentation of a protest against the election of a member of the National Assembly after confirmation;

(9) That on December 31, 1935, the herein petitioner, Jose A. Angara, filed a "Reply" to the aforesaid "Answer to the Motion of Dismissal";

(10) That the case being submitted for decision, the Electoral Commission promulgated a resolution on January 23, 1936, denying herein petitioner's "Motion to
Dismiss the Protest."

The application of the petitioner sets forth the following grounds for the issuance of the writ prayed for:

(a) That the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction upon the electoral Commission solely as regards the merits of contested elections to the National Assembly;

(b) That the Constitution excludes from said jurisdiction the power to regulate the proceedings of said election contests, which power has been reserved to the
Legislative Department of the Government or the National Assembly;

(c) That like the Supreme Court and other courts created in pursuance of the Constitution, whose exclusive jurisdiction relates solely to deciding the merits of
controversies submitted to them for decision and to matters involving their internal organization, the Electoral Commission can regulate its proceedings only if the
National Assembly has not availed of its primary power to so regulate such proceedings;

(d) That Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly is, therefore, valid and should be respected and obeyed;

(e) That under paragraph 13 of section 1 of the ordinance appended to the Constitution and paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the
73rd Congress of the United States) as well as under section 1 and 3 (should be sections 1 and 2) of article VIII of the Constitution, this Supreme Court has
jurisdiction to pass upon the fundamental question herein raised because it involves an interpretation of the Constitution of the Philippines.

On February 25, 1936, the Solicitor-General appeared and filed an answer in behalf of the respondent Electoral Commission interposing the following special defenses:

(a) That the Electoral Commission has been created by the Constitution as an instrumentality of the Legislative Department invested with the jurisdiction to decide
"all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly"; that in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935,
fixing this date as the last day for the presentation of protests against the election of any member of the National Assembly, it acted within its jurisdiction and in the
legitimate exercise of the implied powers granted it by the Constitution to adopt the rules and regulations essential to carry out the power and functions conferred
upon the same by the fundamental law; that in adopting its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the petitioner to dismiss the election protest in
question, and declaring itself with jurisdiction to take cognizance of said protest, it acted in the legitimate exercise of its quasi-judicial functions a an instrumentality
of the Legislative Department of the Commonwealth Government, and hence said act is beyond the judicial cognizance or control of the Supreme Court;

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(b) That the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935, confirming the election of the members of the National Assembly against whom no protest
had thus far been filed, could not and did not deprive the electoral Commission of its jurisdiction to take cognizance of election protests filed within the time that
might be set by its own rules:

(c) That the Electoral Commission is a body invested with quasi-judicial functions, created by the Constitution as an instrumentality of the Legislative Department,
and is not an "inferior tribunal, or corporation, or board, or person" within the purview of section 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure, against which
prohibition would lie.

The respondent Pedro Ynsua, in his turn, appeared and filed an answer in his own behalf on March 2, 1936, setting forth the following as his special defense:

(a) That at the time of the approval of the rules of the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, there was no existing law fixing the period within which protests
against the election of members of the National Assembly should be filed; that in fixing December 9, 1935, as the last day for the filing of protests against the
election of members of the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission was exercising a power impliedly conferred upon it by the Constitution, by reason of its
quasi-judicial attributes;

(b) That said respondent presented his motion of protest before the Electoral Commission on December 9, 1935, the last day fixed by paragraph 6 of the rules of
the said Electoral Commission;

(c) That therefore the Electoral Commission acquired jurisdiction over the protest filed by said respondent and over the parties thereto, and the resolution of the
Electoral Commission of January 23, 1936, denying petitioner's motion to dismiss said protest was an act within the jurisdiction of the said commission, and is not
reviewable by means of a writ of prohibition;

(d) That neither the law nor the Constitution requires confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of its members, and that such confirmation does not
operate to limit the period within which protests should be filed as to deprive the Electoral Commission of jurisdiction over protest filed subsequent thereto;

(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent entity created by the Constitution, endowed with quasi-judicial functions, whose decision are final and
unappealable;

( f ) That the electoral Commission, as a constitutional creation, is not an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person, within the terms of sections 226 and 516 of
the Code of Civil Procedure; and that neither under the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of article II (should be article VIII) of the Constitution and paragraph 13 of
section 1 of the Ordinance appended thereto could it be subject in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions to a writ of prohibition from the Supreme Court;

(g) That paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (No. 127 of the 73rd Congress of the united States) has no application to the case at bar.

The case was argued before us on March 13, 1936. Before it was submitted for decision, the petitioner prayed for the issuance of a preliminary writ of injunction against the
respondent Electoral Commission which petition was denied "without passing upon the merits of the case" by resolution of this court of March 21, 1936.

There was no appearance for the other respondents.

The issues to be decided in the case at bar may be reduced to the following two principal propositions:

1. Has the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the controversy upon the foregoing related facts, and in the
affirmative,

2. Has the said Electoral Commission acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in assuming to the cognizance of the protest filed the election of the herein
petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation of such election by resolution of the National Assembly?

We could perhaps dispose of this case by passing directly upon the merits of the controversy. However, the question of jurisdiction having been presented, we do not feel
justified in evading the issue. Being a case primæ impressionis, it would hardly be consistent with our sense of duty to overlook the broader aspect of the question and leave it
undecided. Neither would we be doing justice to the industry and vehemence of counsel were we not to pass upon the question of jurisdiction squarely presented to our
consideration.

The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each
department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the
three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has
provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. For example, the Chief
Executive under our Constitution is so far made a check on the legislative power that this assent is required in the enactment of laws. This, however, is subject to the further
check that a bill may become a law notwithstanding the refusal of the President to approve it, by a vote of two-thirds or three-fourths, as the case may be, of the National
Assembly. The President has also the right to convene the Assembly in special session whenever he chooses. On the other hand, the National Assembly operates as a check
on the Executive in the sense that its consent through its Commission on Appointments is necessary in the appointments of certain officers; and the concurrence of a majority
of all its members is essential to the conclusion of treaties. Furthermore, in its power to determine what courts other than the Supreme Court shall be established, to define
their jurisdiction and to appropriate funds for their support, the National Assembly controls the judicial department to a certain extent. The Assembly also exercises the judicial
power of trying impeachments. And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to
determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution.

But in the main, the Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the
government. The overlapping and interlacing of functions and duties between the several departments, however, sometimes makes it hard to say just where the one leaves off
and the other begins. In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated.
In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several
departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.

As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power of our people, acting through their
delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however limited, has established a republican government intended to operate and
function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said instrument. The Constitution
sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are transcended it would be
inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the course of government along constitutional channels, for then the distribution of
powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the limitation and
restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they should be in any living constitution. In the United States where no express constitutional grant is found in their
constitution, the possession of this moderating power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has been set at rest by popular acquiescence
for a period of more than one and a half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article VIII of our
constitution.

The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for the
instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other
departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine
conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them.
This is in truth all that is involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial
review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised or
the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as
its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of

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constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of
actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of
the governments of the government.

But much as we might postulate on the internal checks of power provided in our Constitution, it ought not the less to be remembered that, in the language of James Madison,
the system itself is not "the chief palladium of constitutional liberty . . . the people who are authors of this blessing must also be its guardians . . . their eyes must be ever ready
to mark, their voice to pronounce . . . aggression on the authority of their constitution." In the Last and ultimate analysis, then, must the success of our government in the
unfolding years to come be tested in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts than in consultation rooms and court chambers.

In the case at bar, the national Assembly has by resolution (No. 8) of December 3, 1935, confirmed the election of the herein petitioner to the said body. On the other hand,
the Electoral Commission has by resolution adopted on December 9, 1935, fixed said date as the last day for the filing of protests against the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the National Assembly, notwithstanding the previous confirmation made by the National Assembly as aforesaid. If, as contended by the petitioner,
the resolution of the National Assembly has the effect of cutting off the power of the Electoral Commission to entertain protests against the election, returns and qualifications
of members of the National Assembly, submitted after December 3, 1935, then the resolution of the Electoral Commission of December 9, 1935, is mere surplusage and had
no effect. But, if, as contended by the respondents, the Electoral Commission has the sole power of regulating its proceedings to the exclusion of the National Assembly, then
the resolution of December 9, 1935, by which the Electoral Commission fixed said date as the last day for filing protests against the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, should be upheld.

Here is then presented an actual controversy involving as it does a conflict of a grave constitutional nature between the National Assembly on the one hand, and the Electoral
Commission on the other. From the very nature of the republican government established in our country in the light of American experience and of our own, upon the judicial
department is thrown the solemn and inescapable obligation of interpreting the Constitution and defining constitutional boundaries. The Electoral Commission, as we shall
have occasion to refer hereafter, is a constitutional organ, created for a specific purpose, namely to determine all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
the members of the National Assembly. Although the Electoral Commission may not be interfered with, when and while acting within the limits of its authority, it does not follow
that it is beyond the reach of the constitutional mechanism adopted by the people and that it is not subject to constitutional restrictions. The Electoral Commission is not a
separate department of the government, and even if it were, conflicting claims of authority under the fundamental law between department powers and agencies of the
government are necessarily determined by the judiciary in justifiable and appropriate cases. Discarding the English type and other European types of constitutional
government, the framers of our constitution adopted the American type where the written constitution is interpreted and given effect by the judicial department. In some
countries which have declined to follow the American example, provisions have been inserted in their constitutions prohibiting the courts from exercising the power to interpret
the fundamental law. This is taken as a recognition of what otherwise would be the rule that in the absence of direct prohibition courts are bound to assume what is logically
their function. For instance, the Constitution of Poland of 1921, expressly provides that courts shall have no power to examine the validity of statutes (art. 81, chap. IV). The
former Austrian Constitution contained a similar declaration. In countries whose constitutions are silent in this respect, courts have assumed this power. This is true in Norway,
Greece, Australia and South Africa. Whereas, in Czechoslovakia (arts. 2 and 3, Preliminary Law to constitutional Charter of the Czechoslovak Republic, February 29, 1920)
and Spain (arts. 121-123, Title IX, Constitutional of the Republic of 1931) especial constitutional courts are established to pass upon the validity of ordinary laws. In our case,
the nature of the present controversy shows the necessity of a final constitutional arbiter to determine the conflict of authority between two agencies created by the
Constitution. Were we to decline to take cognizance of the controversy, who will determine the conflict? And if the conflict were left undecided and undetermined, would not a
void be thus created in our constitutional system which may be in the long run prove destructive of the entire framework? To ask these questions is to answer them.  Natura
vacuum abhorret, so must we avoid exhaustion in our constitutional system. Upon principle, reason and authority, we are clearly of the opinion that upon the admitted facts of
the present case, this court has jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission and the subject mater of the present controversy for the purpose of determining the character,
scope and extent of the constitutional grant to the Electoral Commission as "the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of
the National Assembly."

Having disposed of the question of jurisdiction, we shall now proceed to pass upon the second proposition and determine whether the Electoral Commission has acted without
or in excess of its jurisdiction in adopting its resolution of December 9, 1935, and in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed against the election of the herein
petitioner notwithstanding the previous confirmation thereof by the National Assembly on December 3, 1935. As able counsel for the petitioner has pointed out, the issue
hinges on the interpretation of section 4 of Article VI of the Constitution which provides:

"SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justice of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and of six Members chosen by the
National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes, and three by the party having the second largest number of votes
therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its Chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly." It is imperative, therefore, that we delve into the origin and history of this constitutional provision and inquire into the
intention of its framers and the people who adopted it so that we may properly appreciate its full meaning, import and significance.

The original provision regarding this subject in the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902 (sec. 7, par. 5) laying down the rule that "the assembly shall be the judge of the elections,
returns, and qualifications of its members", was taken from clause 1 of section 5, Article I of the Constitution of the United States providing that "Each House shall be the
Judge of the Elections, Returns, and Qualifications of its own Members, . . . ." The Act of Congress of August 29, 1916 (sec. 18, par. 1) modified this provision by the insertion
of the word "sole" as follows: "That the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, shall be the sole judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective
members . . ." apparently in order to emphasize the exclusive the Legislative over the particular case s therein specified. This court has had occasion to characterize this grant
of power to the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, as "full, clear and complete" (Veloso  vs. Boards of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar [1919], 39
Phil., 886, 888.)

The first step towards the creation of an independent tribunal for the purpose of deciding contested elections to the legislature was taken by the sub-committee of five
appointed by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees of the Constitutional Convention, which sub-committee submitted a report on August 30, 1934, recommending the
creation of a Tribunal of Constitutional Security empowered to hear legislature but also against the election of executive officers for whose election the vote of the whole nation
is required, as well as to initiate impeachment proceedings against specified executive and judicial officer. For the purpose of hearing legislative protests, the tribunal was to
be composed of three justices designated by the Supreme Court and six members of the house of the legislature to which the contest corresponds, three members to be
designed by the majority party and three by the minority, to be presided over by the Senior Justice unless the Chief Justice is also a member in which case the latter shall
preside. The foregoing proposal was submitted by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees to the Convention on September 15, 1934, with slight modifications consisting
in the reduction of the legislative representation to four members, that is, two senators to be designated one each from the two major parties in the Senate and two
representatives to be designated one each from the two major parties in the House of Representatives, and in awarding representation to the executive department in the
persons of two representatives to be designated by the President.

Meanwhile, the Committee on Legislative Power was also preparing its report. As submitted to the Convention on September 24, 1934 subsection 5, section 5, of the
proposed Article on the Legislative Department, reads as follows:

The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of either house and all cases contesting the election of any of their members shall be judged by an
Electoral Commission, constituted, as to each House, by three members elected by the members of the party having the largest number of votes therein, three
elected by the members of the party having the second largest number of votes, and as to its Chairman, one Justice of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief
Justice.

The idea of creating a Tribunal of Constitutional Security with comprehensive jurisdiction as proposed by the Committee on Constitutional Guarantees which was probably
inspired by the Spanish plan (art. 121, Constitution of the Spanish Republic of 1931), was soon abandoned in favor of the proposition of the Committee on Legislative Power
to create a similar body with reduced powers and with specific and limited jurisdiction, to be designated as a Electoral Commission. The Sponsorship Committee modified the
proposal of the Committee on Legislative Power with respect to the composition of the Electoral Commission and made further changes in phraseology to suit the project of
adopting a unicameral instead of a bicameral legislature. The draft as finally submitted to the Convention on October 26, 1934, reads as follows:

(6) The elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the election of any of its Members shall be judged
by an Electoral Commission, composed of three members elected by the party having the largest number of votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the
members of the party having the second largest number of votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be
presided over by one of said justices.

During the discussion of the amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo, and others, proposing to strike out the whole subsection of the foregoing draft and
inserting in lieu thereof the following: "The National Assembly shall be the soled and exclusive judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of the Members", the following
illuminating remarks were made on the floor of the Convention in its session of December 4, 1934, as to the scope of the said draft:

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Mr. VENTURA. Mr. President, we have a doubt here as to the scope of the meaning of the first four lines, paragraph 6, page 11 of the draft, reading: "The
elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly and all cases contesting the election of any of its Members shall be judged by an
Electoral Commission, . . ." I should like to ask from the gentleman from Capiz whether the election and qualification of the member whose elections is not
contested shall also be judged by the Electoral Commission.

Mr. ROXAS. If there is no question about the election of the members, there is nothing to be judged; that is why the word "judge" is used to indicate a controversy.
If there is no question about the election of a member, there is nothing to be submitted to the Electoral Commission and there is nothing to be determined.

Mr. VENTURA. But does that carry the idea also that the Electoral Commission shall confirm also the election of those whose election is not contested?

Mr. ROXAS. There is no need of confirmation. As the gentleman knows, the action of the House of Representatives confirming the election of its members is just a
matter of the rules of the assembly. It is not constitutional. It is not necessary. After a man files his credentials that he has been elected, that is sufficient, unless his
election is contested.

Mr. VENTURA. But I do not believe that that is sufficient, as we have observed that for purposes of the auditor, in the matter of election of a member to a
legislative body, because he will not authorize his pay.

Mr. ROXAS. Well, what is the case with regards to the municipal president who is elected? What happens with regards to the councilors of a municipality? Does
anybody confirm their election? The municipal council does this: it makes a canvass and proclaims — in this case the municipal council proclaims who has been
elected, and it ends there, unless there is a contest. It is the same case; there is no need on the part of the Electoral Commission unless there is a contest. The
first clause refers to the case referred to by the gentleman from Cavite where one person tries to be elected in place of another who was declared elected. From
example, in a case when the residence of the man who has been elected is in question, or in case the citizenship of the man who has been elected is in question.

However, if the assembly desires to annul the power of the commission, it may do so by certain maneuvers upon its first meeting when the returns are submitted to
the assembly. The purpose is to give to the Electoral Commission all the powers exercised by the assembly referring to the elections, returns and qualifications of
the members. When there is no contest, there is nothing to be judged.

Mr. VENTURA. Then it should be eliminated.

Mr. ROXAS. But that is a different matter, I think Mr. Delegate.

Mr. CINCO. Mr. President, I have a similar question as that propounded by the gentleman from Ilocos Norte when I arose a while ago. However I want to ask more
questions from the delegate from Capiz. This paragraph 6 on page 11 of the draft cites cases contesting the election as separate from the first part of the sections
which refers to elections, returns and qualifications.

Mr. ROXAS. That is merely for the sake of clarity. In fact the cases of contested elections are already included in the phrase "the elections, returns and
qualifications." This phrase "and contested elections" was inserted merely for the sake of clarity.

Mr. CINCO. Under this paragraph, may not the Electoral Commission, at its own instance, refuse to confirm the elections of the members."

Mr. ROXAS. I do not think so, unless there is a protest.

Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. President, will the gentleman yield?

THE PRESIDENT. The gentleman may yield, if he so desires.

Mr. ROXAS. Willingly.

Mr. LABRADOR. Does not the gentleman from Capiz believe that unless this power is granted to the assembly, the assembly on its own motion does not have the
right to contest the election and qualification of its members?

Mr. ROXAS. I have no doubt but that the gentleman is right. If this draft is retained as it is, even if two-thirds of the assembly believe that a member has not the
qualifications provided by law, they cannot remove him for that reason.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that the right to remove shall only be retained by the Electoral Commission.

Mr. ROXAS. By the assembly for misconduct.

Mr. LABRADOR. I mean with respect to the qualifications of the members.

Mr. ROXAS. Yes, by the Electoral Commission.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that under this draft, no member of the assembly has the right to question the eligibility of its members?

Mr. ROXAS. Before a member can question the eligibility, he must go to the Electoral Commission and make the question before the Electoral Commission.

Mr. LABRADOR. So that the Electoral Commission shall decide whether the election is contested or not contested.

Mr. ROXAS. Yes, sir: that is the purpose.

Mr. PELAYO. Mr. President, I would like to be informed if the Electoral Commission has power and authority to pass upon the qualifications of the members of the
National Assembly even though that question has not been raised.

Mr. ROXAS. I have just said that they have no power, because they can only judge.

In the same session, the first clause of the aforesaid draft reading "The election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly and" was eliminated by
the Sponsorship Committee in response to an amendment introduced by Delegates Francisco, Ventura, Vinzons, Rafols, Lim, Mumar and others. In explaining the difference
between the original draft and the draft as amended, Delegate Roxas speaking for the Sponsorship Committee said:

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Sr. ROXAS. La diferencia, señor Presidente, consiste solamente en obviar la objecion apuntada por varios Delegados al efecto de que la primera clausula
del draft que dice: "The elections, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly" parece que da a la Comision Electoral la facultad de
determinar tambien la eleccion de los miembros que no ha sido protestados y para obviar esa dificultad, creemos que la enmienda tien razon en ese sentido, si
enmendamos el draft, de tal modo que se lea como sigue: "All cases contesting the election", de modo que los jueces de la Comision Electoral se limitaran
solamente a los casos en que haya habido protesta contra las actas." Before the amendment of Delegate Labrador was voted upon the following interpellation
also took place:

El Sr. CONEJERO. Antes de votarse la enmienda, quisiera

El Sr. PRESIDENTE. ¿Que dice el Comite?

El Sr. ROXAS. Con mucho gusto.

El Sr. CONEJERO. Tal como esta el draft, dando tres miembros a la mayoria, y otros tres a la minoria y tres a la Corte Suprema, ¿no cree Su Señoria que esto
equivale practicamente a dejar el asunto a los miembros del Tribunal Supremo?

El Sr. ROXAS. Si y no. Creemos que si el tribunal o la Commission esta constituido en esa forma, tanto los miembros de la mayoria como los de la minoria asi
como los miembros de la Corte Suprema consideraran la cuestion sobre la base de sus meritos, sabiendo que el partidismo no es suficiente para dar el triunfo.

El Sr. CONEJERO. ¿Cree Su Señoria que en un caso como ese, podriamos hacer que tanto los de la mayoria como los de la minoria prescindieran del
partidismo?

El Sr. ROXAS. Creo que si, porque el partidismo no les daria el triunfo.

xxx     xxx     xxx

The amendment introduced by Delegates Labrador, Abordo and others seeking to restore the power to decide contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly to the National Assembly itself, was defeated by a vote of ninety-eight (98) against fifty-six (56).

In the same session of December 4, 1934, Delegate Cruz (C.) sought to amend the draft by reducing the representation of the minority party and the Supreme Court in the
Electoral Commission to two members each, so as to accord more representation to the majority party. The Convention rejected this amendment by a vote of seventy-six (76)
against forty-six (46), thus maintaining the non-partisan character of the commission.

As approved on January 31, 1935, the draft was made to read as follows:

(6) All cases contesting the elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly shall be judged by an Electoral Commission, composed
of three members elected by the party having the largest number of votes in the National Assembly, three elected by the members of the party having the second
largest number of votes, and three justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, the Commission to be presided over by one of said justices.

The Style Committee to which the draft was submitted revised it as follows:

SEC. 4. There shall be an Electoral Commission composed of three Justices of the Supreme Court designated by the Chief Justice, and of six Members chosen by
the National Assembly, three of whom shall be nominated by the party having the largest number of votes, and three by the party having the second largest
number of votes therein. The senior Justice in the Commission shall be its chairman. The Electoral Commission shall be the sole judge of the election, returns, and
qualifications of the Members of the National Assembly.

When the foregoing draft was submitted for approval on February 8, 1935, the Style Committee, through President Recto, to effectuate the original intention of the Convention,
agreed to insert the phrase "All contests relating to" between the phrase "judge of" and the words "the elections", which was accordingly accepted by the Convention.

The transfer of the power of determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the legislature long lodged in the legislative body, to an independent,
impartial and non-partisan tribunal, is by no means a mere experiment in the science of government.

Cushing, in his Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (ninth edition, chapter VI, pages 57, 58), gives a vivid account of the "scandalously notorious" canvassing of votes
by political parties in the disposition of contests by the House of Commons in the following passages which are partly quoted by the petitioner in his printed memorandum of
March 14, 1936:

153. From the time when the commons established their right to be the exclusive judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their members, until the year
1770, two modes of proceeding prevailed, in the determination of controverted elections, and rights of membership. One of the standing committees appointed at
the commencement of each session, was denominated the committee of privileges and elections, whose functions was to hear and investigate all questions of this
description which might be referred to them, and to report their proceedings, with their opinion thereupon, to the house, from time to time. When an election
petition was referred to this committee they heard the parties and their witnesses and other evidence, and made a report of all the evidence, together with their
opinion thereupon, in the form of resolutions, which were considered and agreed or disagreed to by the house. The other mode of proceeding was by a hearing at
the bar of the house itself. When this court was adopted, the case was heard and decided by the house, in substantially the same manner as by a committee. The
committee of privileges and elections although a select committee. The committee of privileges and elections although a select committee was usually what is
called an open one; that is to say, in order to constitute the committee, a quorum of the members named was required to be present, but all the members of the
house were at liberty to attend the committee and vote if they pleased.

154. With the growth of political parties in parliament questions relating to the right of membership gradually assumed a political character; so that for many years
previous to the year 1770, controverted elections had been tried and determined by the house of commons, as mere party questions, upon which the strength of
contending factions might be tested. Thus, for Example, in 1741, Sir Robert Walpole, after repeated attacks upon his government, resigned his office in
consequence of an adverse vote upon the Chippenham election. Mr. Hatsell remarks, of the trial of election cases, as conducted under this system, that "Every
principle of decency and justice were notoriously and openly prostituted, from whence the younger part of the house were insensibly, but too successfully, induced
to adopt the same licentious conduct in more serious matters, and in questions of higher importance to the public welfare." Mr. George Grenville, a distinguished
member of the house of commons, undertook to propose a remedy for the evil, and, on the 7th of March, 1770, obtained the unanimous leave of the house to bring
in a bill, "to regulate the trial of controverted elections, or returns of members to serve in parliament." In his speech to explain his plan, on the motion for leave, Mr.
Grenville alluded to the existing practice in the following terms: "Instead of trusting to the merits of their respective causes, the principal dependence of both parties
is their private interest among us; and it is scandalously notorious that we are as earnestly canvassed to attend in favor of the opposite sides, as if we were wholly
self-elective, and not bound to act by the principles of justice, but by the discretionary impulse of our own inclinations; nay, it is well known, that in every contested
election, many members of this house, who are ultimately to judge in a kind of judicial capacity between the competitors, enlist themselves as parties in the
contention, and take upon themselves the partial management of the very business, upon which they should determine with the strictest impartiality."

155. It was to put an end to the practices thus described, that Mr. Grenville brought in a bill which met with the approbation of both houses, and received the royal
assent on the 12th of April, 1770. This was the celebrated law since known by the name of the Grenville Act; of which Mr. Hatsell declares, that it "was one of the
nobles works, for the honor of the house of commons, and the security of the constitution, that was ever devised by any minister or statesman." It is probable, that
the magnitude of the evil, or the apparent success of the remedy, may have led many of the contemporaries of the measure to the information of a judgement,
which was not acquiesced in by some of the leading statesmen of the day, and has not been entirely confirmed by subsequent experience. The bill was objected to
by Lord North, Mr. De Grey, afterwards chief justice of the common pleas, Mr. Ellis, Mr. Dyson, who had been clerk of the house, and Mr. Charles James Fox,
chiefly on the ground, that the introduction of the new system was an essential alteration of the constitution of parliament, and a total abrogation of one of the most
important rights and jurisdictions of the house of commons.

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As early as 1868, the House of Commons in England solved the problem of insuring the non-partisan settlement of the controverted elections of its members by abdicating its
prerogative to two judges of the King's Bench of the High Court of Justice selected from a rota in accordance with rules of court made for the purpose. Having proved
successful, the practice has become imbedded in English jurisprudence (Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868 [31 & 32 Vict. c. 125] as amended by Parliamentary Elections and
Corrupt Practices Act. 1879 [42 & 43 Vict. c. 75], s. 2; Corrupt and Illegal Practices Preventions Act, 1883 [46 & 47 Vict. c. 51;, s. 70; Expiring Laws Continuance Act, 1911 [1
& 2 Geo. 5, c. 22]; Laws of England, vol. XII, p. 408, vol. XXI, p. 787). In the Dominion of Canada, election contests which were originally heard by the Committee of the
House of Commons, are since 1922 tried in the courts. Likewise, in the Commonwealth of Australia, election contests which were originally determined by each house, are
since 1922 tried in the High Court. In Hungary, the organic law provides that all protests against the election of members of the Upper House of the Diet are to be resolved by
the Supreme Administrative Court (Law 22 of 1916, chap. 2, art. 37, par. 6). The Constitution of Poland of March 17, 1921 (art. 19) and the Constitution of the Free City of
Danzig of May 13, 1922 (art. 10) vest the authority to decide contested elections to the Diet or National Assembly in the Supreme Court. For the purpose of deciding legislative
contests, the Constitution of the German Reich of July 1, 1919 (art. 31), the Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic of February 29, 1920 (art. 19) and the Constitution of
the Grecian Republic of June 2, 1927 (art. 43), all provide for an Electoral Commission.

The creation of an Electoral Commission whose membership is recruited both from the legislature and the judiciary is by no means unknown in the United States. In the
presidential elections of 1876 there was a dispute as to the number of electoral votes received by each of the two opposing candidates. As the Constitution made no adequate
provision for such a contingency, Congress passed a law on January 29, 1877 (United States Statutes at Large, vol. 19, chap. 37, pp. 227-229), creating a special Electoral
Commission composed of five members elected by the Senate, five members elected by the House of Representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court, the fifth justice
to be selected by the four designated in the Act. The decision of the commission was to be binding unless rejected by the two houses voting separately. Although there is not
much of a moral lesson to be derived from the experience of America in this regard, judging from the observations of Justice Field, who was a member of that body on the part
of the Supreme Court (Countryman, the Supreme Court of the United States and its Appellate Power under the Constitution [Albany, 1913] — Relentless Partisanship of
Electoral Commission, p. 25 et seq.), the experiment has at least abiding historical interest.

The members of the Constitutional Convention who framed our fundamental law were in their majority men mature in years and experience. To be sure, many of them were
familiar with the history and political development of other countries of the world. When , therefore, they deemed it wise to create an Electoral Commission as a constitutional
organ and invested it with the exclusive function of passing upon and determining the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, they must
have done so not only in the light of their own experience but also having in view the experience of other enlightened peoples of the world. The creation of the Electoral
Commission was designed to remedy certain evils of which the framers of our Constitution were cognizant. Notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of some members of the
Convention to its creation, the plan, as hereinabove stated, was approved by that body by a vote of 98 against 58. All that can be said now is that, upon the approval of the
constitutional the creation of the Electoral Commission is the expression of the wisdom and "ultimate justice of the people". (Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March
4, 1861.)

From the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention it is evident that the purpose was to transfer in its totality all the powers previously exercised by the legislature in
matters pertaining to contested elections of its members, to an independent and impartial tribunal. It was not so much the knowledge and appreciation of contemporary
constitutional precedents, however, as the long-felt need of determining legislative contests devoid of partisan considerations which prompted the people, acting through their
delegates to the Convention, to provide for this body known as the Electoral Commission. With this end in view, a composite body in which both the majority and minority
parties are equally represented to off-set partisan influence in its deliberations was created, and further endowed with judicial temper by including in its membership three
justices of the Supreme Court.

The Electoral Commission is a constitutional creation, invested with the necessary authority in the performance and execution of the limited and specific function assigned to it
by the Constitution. Although it is not a power in our tripartite scheme of government, it is, to all intents and purposes, when acting within the limits of its authority, an
independent organ. It is, to be sure, closer to the legislative department than to any other. The location of the provision (section 4) creating the Electoral Commission under
Article VI entitled "Legislative Department" of our Constitution is very indicative. Its compositions is also significant in that it is constituted by a majority of members of the
legislature. But it is a body separate from and independent of the legislature.

The grant of power to the Electoral Commission to judge all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, is intended to be
as complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature. The express lodging of that power in the Electoral Commission is an implied denial of the
exercise of that power by the National Assembly. And this is as effective a restriction upon the legislative power as an express prohibition in the Constitution ( Ex parte Lewis,
45 Tex. Crim. Rep., 1; State vs. Whisman, 36 S.D., 260; L.R.A., 1917B, 1). If we concede the power claimed in behalf of the National Assembly that said body may regulate
the proceedings of the Electoral Commission and cut off the power of the commission to lay down the period within which protests should be filed, the grant of power to the
commission would be ineffective. The Electoral Commission in such case would be invested with the power to determine contested cases involving the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the National Assembly but subject at all times to the regulative power of the National Assembly. Not only would the purpose of the framers of
our Constitution of totally transferring this authority from the legislative body be frustrated, but a dual authority would be created with the resultant inevitable clash of powers
from time to time. A sad spectacle would then be presented of the Electoral Commission retaining the bare authority of taking cognizance of cases referred to, but in reality
without the necessary means to render that authority effective whenever and whenever the National Assembly has chosen to act, a situation worse than that intended to be
remedied by the framers of our Constitution. The power to regulate on the part of the National Assembly in procedural matters will inevitably lead to the ultimate control by the
Assembly of the entire proceedings of the Electoral Commission, and, by indirection, to the entire abrogation of the constitutional grant. It is obvious that this result should not
be permitted.

We are not insensible to the impassioned argument or the learned counsel for the petitioner regarding the importance and necessity of respecting the dignity and
independence of the national Assembly as a coordinate department of the government and of according validity to its acts, to avoid what he characterized would be practically
an unlimited power of the commission in the admission of protests against members of the National Assembly. But as we have pointed out hereinabove, the creation of the
Electoral Commission carried with it ex necesitate rei the power regulative in character to limit the time with which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed. It is a
settled rule of construction that where a general power is conferred or duty enjoined, every particular power necessary for the exercise of the one or the performance of the
other is also conferred (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, eight ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the absence of any further constitutional provision relating to the procedure to be
followed in filing protests before the Electoral Commission, therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to
judge all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary implication to have been lodged also
in the Electoral Commission.

It is, indeed, possible that, as suggested by counsel for the petitioner, the Electoral Commission may abuse its regulative authority by admitting protests beyond any
reasonable time, to the disturbance of the tranquillity and peace of mind of the members of the National Assembly. But the possibility of abuse is not argument against the
concession of the power as there is no power that is not susceptible of abuse. In the second place, if any mistake has been committed in the creation of an Electoral
Commission and in investing it with exclusive jurisdiction in all cases relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, the remedy is
political, not judicial, and must be sought through the ordinary processes of democracy. All the possible abuses of the government are not intended to be corrected by the
judiciary. We believe, however, that the people in creating the Electoral Commission reposed as much confidence in this body in the exclusive determination of the specified
cases assigned to it, as they have given to the Supreme Court in the proper cases entrusted to it for decision. All the agencies of the government were designed by the
Constitution to achieve specific purposes, and each constitutional organ working within its own particular sphere of discretionary action must be deemed to be animated with
the same zeal and honesty in accomplishing the great ends for which they were created by the sovereign will. That the actuations of these constitutional agencies might leave
much to be desired in given instances, is inherent in the perfection of human institutions. In the third place, from the fact that the Electoral Commission may not be interfered
with in the exercise of its legitimate power, it does not follow that its acts, however illegal or unconstitutional, may not be challenge in appropriate cases over which the courts
may exercise jurisdiction.

But independently of the legal and constitutional aspects of the present case, there are considerations of equitable character that should not be overlooked in the appreciation
of the intrinsic merits of the controversy. The Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on November 15, 1935, on which date the Constitution, except as to the provisions
mentioned in section 6 of Article XV thereof, went into effect. The new National Assembly convened on November 25th of that year, and the resolution confirming the election
of the petitioner, Jose A. Angara was approved by that body on December 3, 1935. The protest by the herein respondent Pedro Ynsua against the election of the petitioner
was filed on December 9 of the same year. The pleadings do not show when the Electoral Commission was formally organized but it does appear that on December 9, 1935,
the Electoral Commission met for the first time and approved a resolution fixing said date as the last day for the filing of election protest. When, therefore, the National
Assembly passed its resolution of December 3, 1935, confirming the election of the petitioner to the National Assembly, the Electoral Commission had not yet met; neither
does it appear that said body had actually been organized. As a mater of fact, according to certified copies of official records on file in the archives division of the National
Assembly attached to the record of this case upon the petition of the petitioner, the three justices of the Supreme Court the six members of the National Assembly constituting
the Electoral Commission were respectively designated only on December 4 and 6, 1935. If Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming non-protested elections of
members of the National Assembly had the effect of limiting or tolling the time for the presentation of protests, the result would be that the National Assembly — on the
hypothesis that it still retained the incidental power of regulation in such cases — had already barred the presentation of protests before the Electoral Commission had had
time to organize itself and deliberate on the mode and method to be followed in a matter entrusted to its exclusive jurisdiction by the Constitution. This result was not and
could not have been contemplated, and should be avoided.

From another angle, Resolution No. 8 of the National Assembly confirming the election of members against whom no protests had been filed at the time of its passage on
December 3, 1935, can not be construed as a limitation upon the time for the initiation of election contests. While there might have been good reason for the legislative

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practice of confirmation of the election of members of the legislature at the time when the power to decide election contests was still lodged in the legislature, confirmation
alone by the legislature cannot be construed as depriving the Electoral Commission of the authority incidental to its constitutional power to be "the sole judge of all contest
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly", to fix the time for the filing of said election protests. Confirmation by the National
Assembly of the returns of its members against whose election no protests have been filed is, to all legal purposes, unnecessary. As contended by the Electoral Commission
in its resolution of January 23, 1936, overruling the motion of the herein petitioner to dismiss the protest filed by the respondent Pedro Ynsua, confirmation of the election of
any member is not required by the Constitution before he can discharge his duties as such member. As a matter of fact, certification by the proper provincial board of
canvassers is sufficient to entitle a member-elect to a seat in the national Assembly and to render him eligible to any office in said body (No. 1, par. 1, Rules of the National
Assembly, adopted December 6, 1935).

Under the practice prevailing both in the English House of Commons and in the Congress of the United States, confirmation is neither necessary in order to entitle a member-
elect to take his seat. The return of the proper election officers is sufficient, and the member-elect presenting such return begins to enjoy the privileges of a member from the
time that he takes his oath of office (Laws of England, vol. 12, pp. 331. 332; vol. 21, pp. 694, 695; U. S. C. A., Title 2, secs. 21, 25, 26). Confirmation is in order only in cases
of contested elections where the decision is adverse to the claims of the protestant. In England, the judges' decision or report in controverted elections is certified to the
Speaker of the House of Commons, and the House, upon being informed of such certificate or report by the Speaker, is required to enter the same upon the Journals, and to
give such directions for confirming or altering the return, or for the issue of a writ for a new election, or for carrying into execution the determination as circumstances may
require (31 & 32 Vict., c. 125, sec. 13). In the United States, it is believed, the order or decision of the particular house itself is generally regarded as sufficient, without any
actual alternation or amendment of the return (Cushing, Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies, 9th ed., sec. 166).

Under the practice prevailing when the Jones Law was still in force, each house of the Philippine Legislature fixed the time when protests against the election of any of its
members should be filed. This was expressly authorized by section 18 of the Jones Law making each house the sole judge of the election, return and qualifications of its
members, as well as by a law (sec. 478, Act No. 3387) empowering each house to respectively prescribe by resolution the time and manner of filing contest in the election of
member of said bodies. As a matter of formality, after the time fixed by its rules for the filing of protests had already expired, each house passed a resolution confirming or
approving the returns of such members against whose election no protests had been filed within the prescribed time. This was interpreted as cutting off the filing of further
protests against the election of those members not theretofore contested (Amistad vs. Claravall [Isabela], Second Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, p. 89;
Urguello vs. Rama [Third District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature; Fetalvero vs. Festin [Romblon], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, pp. 637-640;
Kintanar vs. Aldanese [Fourth District, Cebu], Sixth Philippine Legislature, Record — First Period, pp. 1121, 1122; Aguilar  vs. Corpus [Masbate], Eighth Philippine Legislature,
Record — First Period, vol. III, No. 56, pp. 892, 893). The Constitution has repealed section 18 of the Jones Law. Act No. 3387, section 478, must be deemed to have been
impliedly abrogated also, for the reason that with the power to determine all contest relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, is
inseparably linked the authority to prescribe regulations for the exercise of that power. There was thus no law nor constitutional provisions which authorized the National
Assembly to fix, as it is alleged to have fixed on December 3, 1935, the time for the filing of contests against the election of its members. And what the National Assembly
could not do directly, it could not do by indirection through the medium of confirmation.

Summarizing, we conclude:

(a) That the government established by the Constitution follows fundamentally the theory of separation of power into the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

(b) That the system of checks and balances and the overlapping of functions and duties often makes difficult the delimitation of the powers granted.

(c) That in cases of conflict between the several departments and among the agencies thereof, the judiciary, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, is the only
constitutional mechanism devised finally to resolve the conflict and allocate constitutional boundaries.

(d) That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in actual and appropriate cases and controversies, and is the power and duty to see that no one
branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, which is the source of all authority.

(e) That the Electoral Commission is an independent constitutional creation with specific powers and functions to execute and perform, closer for purposes of
classification to the legislative than to any of the other two departments of the governments.

(f ) That the Electoral Commission is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly.

(g) That under the organic law prevailing before the present Constitution went into effect, each house of the legislature was respectively the sole judge of the
elections, returns, and qualifications of their elective members.

(h) That the present Constitution has transferred all the powers previously exercised by the legislature with respect to contests relating to the elections, returns and
qualifications of its members, to the Electoral Commission.

(i) That such transfer of power from the legislature to the Electoral Commission was full, clear and complete, and carried with it  ex necesitate rei the implied
power inter alia to prescribe the rules and regulations as to the time and manner of filing protests.

( j) That the avowed purpose in creating the Electoral Commission was to have an independent constitutional organ pass upon all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, devoid of partisan influence or consideration, which object would be frustrated if the National
Assembly were to retain the power to prescribe rules and regulations regarding the manner of conducting said contests.

(k) That section 4 of article VI of the Constitution repealed not only section 18 of the Jones Law making each house of the Philippine Legislature respectively the
sole judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its elective members, but also section 478 of Act No. 3387 empowering each house to prescribe by
resolution the time and manner of filing contests against the election of its members, the time and manner of notifying the adverse party, and bond or bonds, to be
required, if any, and to fix the costs and expenses of contest.

(l) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election is contested or not, is not essential before such member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy
the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.

(m) That confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any member against whom no protest had been filed prior to said confirmation, does not and
cannot deprive the Electoral Commission of its incidental power to prescribe the time within which protests against the election of any member of the National
Assembly should be filed.

We hold, therefore, that the Electoral Commission was acting within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional prerogative in assuming to take cognizance of the protest filed
by the respondent Pedro Ynsua against the election of the herein petitioner Jose A. Angara, and that the resolution of the National Assembly of December 3, 1935 can not in
any manner toll the time for filing protests against the elections, returns and qualifications of members of the National Assembly, nor prevent the filing of a protest within such
time as the rules of the Electoral Commission might prescribe.

In view of the conclusion reached by us relative to the character of the Electoral Commission as a constitutional creation and as to the scope and extent of its authority under
the facts of the present controversy, we deem it unnecessary to determine whether the Electoral Commission is an inferior tribunal, corporation, board or person within the
purview of sections 226 and 516 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The petition for a writ of prohibition against the Electoral Commission is hereby denied, with costs against the petitioner. So ordered.

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[2] G.R. No. 192935               December 7, 2010

LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO, Petitioner, vs. THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010, Respondent.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

When the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act
of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to
establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them.

--- Justice Jose P. Laurel1

The role of the Constitution cannot be overlooked. It is through the Constitution that the fundamental powers of government are established, limited and defined, and by which
these powers are distributed among the several departments. 2 The Constitution is the basic and paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to which all persons,
including the highest officials of the land, must defer. 3 Constitutional doctrines must remain steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time. It cannot be simply made to
sway and accommodate the call of situations and much more tailor itself to the whims and caprices of government and the people who run it. 4

For consideration before the Court are two consolidated cases 5 both of which essentially assail the validity and constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, dated July 30, 2010,
entitled "Creating the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010."

The first case is G.R. No. 192935, a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis Biraogo (Biraogo) in his capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails
Executive Order No. 1 for being violative of the legislative power of Congress under Section 1, Article VI of the Constitution 6 as it usurps the constitutional authority of the
legislature to create a public office and to appropriate funds therefor. 7

The second case, G.R. No. 193036, is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioners Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong,
and Orlando B. Fua, Sr. (petitioners-legislators) as incumbent members of the House of Representatives.

The genesis of the foregoing cases can be traced to the events prior to the historic May 2010 elections, when then Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III declared his staunch
condemnation of graft and corruption with his slogan, "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap." The Filipino people, convinced of his sincerity and of his ability to carry out this
noble objective, catapulted the good senator to the presidency.

To transform his campaign slogan into reality, President Aquino found a need for a special body to investigate reported cases of graft and corruption allegedly committed
during the previous administration.

Thus, at the dawn of his administration, the President on July 30, 2010, signed Executive Order No. 1 establishing the  Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth
Commission). Pertinent provisions of said executive order read:

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1

CREATING THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010

WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines solemnly enshrines the principle that a public office is a public trust and mandates that public
officers and employees, who are servants of the people, must at all times be accountable to the latter, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency,
act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives;

WHEREAS, corruption is among the most despicable acts of defiance of this principle and notorious violation of this mandate;

WHEREAS, corruption is an evil and scourge which seriously affects the political, economic, and social life of a nation; in a very special way it inflicts untold misfortune and
misery on the poor, the marginalized and underprivileged sector of society;

WHEREAS, corruption in the Philippines has reached very alarming levels, and undermined the people’s trust and confidence in the Government and its institutions;

WHEREAS, there is an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale graft and corruption in the government and to put a closure to them
by the filing of the appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from committing the evil, restore the people’s faith and confidence in the
Government and in their public servants;

WHEREAS, the President’s battlecry during his campaign for the Presidency in the last elections "kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap" expresses a solemn pledge that if
elected, he would end corruption and the evil it breeds;

WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the
previous administration, and which will recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;

WHEREAS, Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Revised Administrative Code of the Philippines, gives the President the
continuing authority to reorganize the Office of the President.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order:

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. – There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the "COMMISSION," which shall
primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical
sensibilities of the people, committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous
administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear or favor.

The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) members who will act as an independent collegial body.

SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. – The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative
Code of 1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public
officers and higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration and thereafter submit its finding and
recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman.

In particular, it shall:

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a) Identify and determine the reported cases of such graft and corruption which it will investigate;

b) Collect, receive, review and evaluate evidence related to or regarding the cases of large scale corruption which it has chosen to investigate, and to this end
require any agency, official or employee of the Executive Branch, including government-owned or controlled corporations, to produce documents, books, records
and other papers;

c) Upon proper request or representation, obtain information and documents from the Senate and the House of Representatives records of investigations
conducted by committees thereof relating to matters or subjects being investigated by the Commission;

d) Upon proper request and representation, obtain information from the courts, including the Sandiganbayan and the Office of the Court Administrator, information
or documents in respect to corruption cases filed with the Sandiganbayan or the regular courts, as the case may be;

e) Invite or subpoena witnesses and take their testimonies and for that purpose, administer oaths or affirmations as the case may be;

f) Recommend, in cases where there is a need to utilize any person as a state witness to ensure that the ends of justice be fully served, that such person who
qualifies as a state witness under the Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines be admitted for that purpose;

g) Turn over from time to time, for expeditious prosecution, to the appropriate prosecutorial authorities, by means of a special or  interim report and
recommendation, all evidence on corruption of public officers and employees and their private sector co-principals, accomplices or accessories, if any, when in the
course of its investigation the Commission finds that there is reasonable ground to believe that they are liable for graft and corruption under pertinent applicable
laws;

h) Call upon any government investigative or prosecutorial agency such as the Department of Justice or any of the agencies under it, and the Presidential Anti-
Graft Commission, for such assistance and cooperation as it may require in the discharge of its functions and duties;

i) Engage or contract the services of resource persons, professionals and other personnel determined by it as necessary to carry out its mandate;

j) Promulgate its rules and regulations or rules of procedure it deems necessary to effectively and efficiently carry out the objectives of this Executive Order and to
ensure the orderly conduct of its investigations, proceedings and hearings, including the presentation of evidence;

k) Exercise such other acts incident to or are appropriate and necessary in connection with the objectives and purposes of this Order.

SECTION 3. Staffing Requirements. – x x x.

SECTION 4. Detail of Employees. – x x x.

SECTION 5. Engagement of Experts. – x x x

SECTION 6. Conduct of Proceedings. – x x x.

SECTION 7. Right to Counsel of Witnesses/Resource Persons. – x x x.

SECTION 8. Protection of Witnesses/Resource Persons. – x x x.

SECTION 9. Refusal to Obey Subpoena, Take Oath or Give Testimony.  – Any government official or personnel who, without lawful excuse, fails to appear upon subpoena
issued by the Commission or who, appearing before the Commission refuses to take oath or affirmation, give testimony or produce documents for inspection, when required,
shall be subject to administrative disciplinary action. Any private person who does the same may be dealt with in accordance with law.

SECTION 10. Duty to Extend Assistance to the Commission. – x x x.

SECTION 11. Budget for the Commission. – The Office of the President shall provide the necessary funds for the Commission to ensure that it can exercise its powers,
execute its functions, and perform its duties and responsibilities as effectively, efficiently, and expeditiously as possible.

SECTION 12. Office. – x x x.

SECTION 13. Furniture/Equipment. – x x x.

SECTION 14. Term of the Commission. – The Commission shall accomplish its mission on or before December 31, 2012.

SECTION 15. Publication of Final Report. – x x x.

SECTION 16. Transfer of Records and Facilities of the Commission. – x x x.

SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is a need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in
Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly by
way of a supplemental Executive Order.

SECTION 18. Separability Clause. If any provision of this Order is declared unconstitutional, the same shall not affect the validity and effectivity of the other provisions
hereof.

SECTION 19. Effectivity. – This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

DONE in the City of Manila, Philippines, this 30th day of July 2010.

(SGD.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III


By the President:

(SGD.) PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.


Executive Secretary

Nature of the Truth Commission

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As can be gleaned from the above-quoted provisions, the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is a mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of the President with the primary
task to investigate reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories during the previous
administration, and thereafter to submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. Though it has been described as an "independent
collegial body," it is essentially an entity within the Office of the President Proper and subject to his control. Doubtless, it constitutes a public office, as an ad hoc body is one. 8

To accomplish its task, the PTC shall have all the powers of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987. It is not, however, a
quasi-judicial body as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render awards in disputes between contending parties. All it can do is gather, collect and assess
evidence of graft and corruption and make recommendations. It may have subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in contempt, much less order their arrest.
Although it is a fact-finding body, it cannot determine from such facts if probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an information in our courts of law. Needless to state, it
cannot impose criminal, civil or administrative penalties or sanctions.

The PTC is different from the truth commissions in other countries which have been created as official, transitory and non-judicial fact-finding bodies "to establish the facts and
context of serious violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law in a country’s past." 9 They are usually established by states emerging from periods of internal
unrest, civil strife or authoritarianism to serve as mechanisms for transitional justice.

Truth commissions have been described as bodies that share the following characteristics: (1) they examine only past events; (2) they investigate patterns of abuse committed
over a period of time, as opposed to a particular event; (3) they are temporary bodies that finish their work with the submission of a report containing conclusions and
recommendations; and (4) they are officially sanctioned, authorized or empowered by the State. 10 "Commission’s members are usually empowered to conduct research,
support victims, and propose policy recommendations to prevent recurrence of crimes. Through their investigations, the commissions may aim to discover and learn more
about past abuses, or formally acknowledge them. They may aim to prepare the way for prosecutions and recommend institutional reforms." 11

Thus, their main goals range from retribution to reconciliation. The Nuremburg and Tokyo war crime tribunals are examples of a retributory or vindicatory body set up to try
and punish those responsible for crimes against humanity. A form of a reconciliatory tribunal is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, the principal function
of which was to heal the wounds of past violence and to prevent future conflict by providing a cathartic experience for victims.

The PTC is a far cry from South Africa’s model. The latter placed more emphasis on reconciliation than on judicial retribution, while the marching order of the PTC is the
identification and punishment of perpetrators. As one writer 12 puts it:

The order ruled out reconciliation. It translated the Draconian code spelled out by Aquino in his inaugural speech: "To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that
they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: There can be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow
crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again."

The Thrusts of the Petitions

Barely a month after the issuance of Executive Order No. 1, the petitioners asked the Court to declare it unconstitutional and to enjoin the PTC from performing its functions. A
perusal of the arguments of the petitioners in both cases shows that they are essentially the same. The petitioners-legislators summarized them in the following manner:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates the separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to create a public office and appropriate funds for its operation.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 cannot legitimize E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the
President to structurally reorganize the Office of the President to achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not include the power to create an entirely new
public office which was hitherto inexistent like the "Truth Commission."

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and pertinent statutes when it vested the "Truth Commission" with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not
superseding, those of the Office of the Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution and the Department of Justice created under the Administrative Code of
1987.

(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration as
if corruption is their peculiar species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and present, who may be indictable.

(e) The creation of the "Philippine Truth Commission of 2010" violates the consistent and general international practice of four decades wherein States constitute
truth commissions to exclusively investigate human rights violations, which customary practice forms part of the generally accepted principles of international law
which the Philippines is mandated to adhere to pursuant to the Declaration of Principles enshrined in the Constitution.

(f) The creation of the "Truth Commission" is an exercise in futility, an adventure in partisan hostility, a launching pad for trial/conviction by publicity and a mere
populist propaganda to mistakenly impress the people that widespread poverty will altogether vanish if corruption is eliminated without even addressing the other
major causes of poverty.

(g) The mere fact that previous commissions were not constitutionally challenged is of no moment because neither laches nor estoppel can bar an eventual
question on the constitutionality and validity of an executive issuance or even a statute." 13

In their Consolidated Comment, 14 the respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), essentially questioned the legal standing of petitioners and defended the
assailed executive order with the following arguments:

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress to create a public office because the President’s executive power and power of control necessarily include
the inherent power to conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the Constitution, Revised Administrative Code of
1987 (E.O. No. 292), 15 Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 141616 (as amended by P.D. No. 1772), R.A. No. 9970, 17 and settled jurisprudence that authorize the
President to create or form such bodies.

2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by
Congress.

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and the Department of Justice (DOJ),
because it is a fact-finding body and not a quasi-judicial body and its functions do not duplicate, supplant or erode the latter’s jurisdiction.

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly created for laudable purposes.

The OSG then points to the continued existence and validity of other executive orders and presidential issuances creating similar bodies to justify the creation of the PTC such
as Presidential Complaint and Action Commission (PCAC) by President Ramon B. Magsaysay, Presidential Committee on Administrative Performance Efficiency (PCAPE) by
President Carlos P. Garcia and Presidential Agency on Reform and Government Operations (PARGO) by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.18

From the petitions, pleadings, transcripts, and memoranda, the following are the principal issues to be resolved:

1. Whether or not the petitioners have the legal standing to file their respective petitions and question Executive Order No. 1;

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2. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by usurping the powers of Congress to create and to appropriate funds for
public offices, agencies and commissions;

3. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;

4. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the equal protection clause; and

5. Whether or not petitioners are entitled to injunctive relief.

Essential requisites for judicial review

Before proceeding to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, the Court needs to ascertain whether the requisites for a valid exercise of its power of
judicial review are present.

Like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, the power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the
exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a
personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be
raised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.19

Among all these limitations, only the legal standing of the petitioners has been put at issue.

Legal Standing of the Petitioners

The OSG attacks the legal personality of the petitioners-legislators to file their petition for failure to demonstrate their personal stake in the outcome of the case. It argues that
the petitioners have not shown that they have sustained or are in danger of sustaining any personal injury attributable to the creation of the PTC. Not claiming to be the subject
of the commission’s investigations, petitioners will not sustain injury in its creation or as a result of its proceedings. 20

The Court disagrees with the OSG in questioning the legal standing of the petitioners-legislators to assail Executive Order No. 1. Evidently, their petition primarily invokes
usurpation of the power of the Congress as a body to which they belong as members. This certainly justifies their resolve to take the cudgels for Congress as an institution
and present the complaints on the usurpation of their power and rights as members of the legislature before the Court. As held in Philippine Constitution Association v.
Enriquez,21

To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each member thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that
institution.

An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless substantial injury, which can be questioned by a member of Congress. In
such a case, any member of Congress can have a resort to the courts.

Indeed, legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in their office remain inviolate. Thus, they are
allowed to question the validity of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives as legislators. 22

With regard to Biraogo, the OSG argues that, as a taxpayer, he has no standing to question the creation of the PTC and the budget for its operations. 23 It emphasizes that the
funds to be used for the creation and operation of the commission are to be taken from those funds already appropriated by Congress. Thus, the allocation and disbursement
of funds for the commission will not entail congressional action but will simply be an exercise of the President’s power over contingent funds.

As correctly pointed out by the OSG, Biraogo has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of sustaining, any personal and direct injury attributable to the implementation of
Executive Order No. 1. Nowhere in his petition is an assertion of a clear right that may justify his clamor for the Court to exercise judicial power and to wield the axe over
presidential issuances in defense of the Constitution. The case of David v. Arroyo 24 explained the deep-seated rules on locus standi. Thus:

Locus standi is defined as "a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question." In private suits, standing is governed by the "real-parties-in interest" rule as
contained in Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. It provides that "every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real
party in interest." Accordingly, the "real-party-in interest" is "the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the avails of the
suit." Succinctly put, the plaintiff’s standing is based on his own right to the relief sought.

The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a "public right" in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a
representative of the general public. He may be a person who is affected no differently from any other person. He could be suing as a "stranger," or in the category of a
"citizen," or ‘taxpayer." In either case, he has to adequately show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. In other words, he has to make out a sufficient interest in the
vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a "citizen" or "taxpayer.

Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both "citizen" and "taxpayer" standing in public actions. The distinction was first laid down in  Beauchamp v. Silk, where it was held
that the plaintiff in a taxpayer’s suit is in a different category from the plaintiff in a citizen’s suit. In the former, the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in
the latter, he is but the mere instrument of the public concern. As held by the New York Supreme Court in  People ex rel Case v. Collins: "In matter of mere public right,
however…the people are the real parties…It is at least the right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly pursued and punished,
and that a public grievance be remedied." With respect to taxpayer’s suits,  Terr v. Jordan held that "the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to
restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury cannot be denied."

However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial interference in any official policy or act with which he disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of
governmental agencies engaged in public service, the United State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent "direct injury" test in Ex Parte Levitt, later reaffirmed
in Tileston v. Ullman. The same Court ruled that for a private individual to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity of an executive or legislative action,  he must
show that he has sustained a direct injury as a result of that action, and it is not sufficient that he has a general interest common to all members of the public.

This Court adopted the "direct injury" test in our jurisdiction. In People v. Vera, it held that the person who impugns the validity of a statute must have "a personal and
substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result ." The Vera doctrine was upheld in a litany of cases, such
as, Custodio v. President of the Senate, Manila Race Horse Trainers’ Association v. De la Fuente, Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works and Anti-Chinese League of the
Philippines v. Felix. [Emphases included. Citations omitted]

Notwithstanding, the Court leans on the doctrine that "the rule on standing is a matter of procedure, hence, can be relaxed for nontraditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens,
taxpayers, and legislators when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter is of transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of
paramount public interest." 25

Thus, in Coconut Oil Refiners Association, Inc. v. Torres, 26 the Court held that in cases of paramount importance where serious constitutional questions are involved, the
standing requirements may be relaxed and a suit may be allowed to prosper even where there is no direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review. In the first
Emergency Powers Cases,27 ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders although they had only an indirect and
general interest shared in common with the public.

The OSG claims that the determinants of transcendental importance 28 laid down in CREBA v. ERC and Meralco 29 are non-existent in this case. The Court, however, finds
reason in Biraogo’s assertion that the petition covers matters of transcendental importance to justify the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in

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the petition which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Where the issues are of transcendental and paramount
importance not only to the public but also to the Bench and the Bar, they should be resolved for the guidance of all. 30 Undoubtedly, the Filipino people are more than interested
to know the status of the President’s first effort to bring about a promised change to the country. The Court takes cognizance of the petition not due to overwhelming political
undertones that clothe the issue in the eyes of the public, but because the Court stands firm in its oath to perform its constitutional duty to settle legal controversies with
overreaching significance to society.

Power of the President to Create the Truth Commission

In his memorandum in G.R. No. 192935, Biraogo asserts that the Truth Commission is a public office and not merely an adjunct body of the Office of the President. 31 Thus, in
order that the President may create a public office he must be empowered by the Constitution, a statute or an authorization vested in him by law. According to petitioner, such
power cannot be presumed32 since there is no provision in the Constitution or any specific law that authorizes the President to create a truth commission. 33 He adds that
Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987, granting the President the continuing authority to reorganize his office, cannot serve as basis for the creation of a truth
commission considering the aforesaid provision merely uses verbs such as "reorganize," "transfer," "consolidate," "merge," and "abolish." 34 Insofar as it vests in the President
the plenary power to reorganize the Office of the President to the extent of creating a public office, Section 31 is inconsistent with the principle of separation of powers
enshrined in the Constitution and must be deemed repealed upon the effectivity thereof. 35

Similarly, in G.R. No. 193036, petitioners-legislators argue that the creation of a public office lies within the province of Congress and not with the executive branch of
government. They maintain that the delegated authority of the President to reorganize under Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code: 1) does not permit the President
to create a public office, much less a truth commission; 2) is limited to the reorganization of the administrative structure of the Office of the President; 3) is limited to the
restructuring of the internal organs of the Office of the President Proper, transfer of functions and transfer of agencies; and 4) only to achieve simplicity, economy and
efficiency.36 Such continuing authority of the President to reorganize his office is limited, and by issuing Executive Order No. 1, the President overstepped the limits of this
delegated authority.

The OSG counters that there is nothing exclusively legislative about the creation by the President of a fact-finding body such as a truth commission. Pointing to numerous
offices created by past presidents, it argues that the authority of the President to create public offices within the Office of the President Proper has long been
recognized.37 According to the OSG, the Executive, just like the other two branches of government, possesses the inherent authority to create fact-finding committees to assist
it in the performance of its constitutionally mandated functions and in the exercise of its administrative functions. 38 This power, as the OSG explains it, is but an adjunct of the
plenary powers wielded by the President under Section 1 and his power of control under Section 17, both of Article VII of the Constitution. 39

It contends that the President is necessarily vested with the power to conduct fact-finding investigations, pursuant to his duty to ensure that all laws are enforced by public
officials and employees of his department and in the exercise of his authority to assume directly the functions of the executive department, bureau and office, or interfere with
the discretion of his officials. 40 The power of the President to investigate is not limited to the exercise of his power of control over his subordinates in the executive branch, but
extends further in the exercise of his other powers, such as his power to discipline subordinates, 41 his power for rule making, adjudication and licensing purposes 42 and in
order to be informed on matters which he is entitled to know. 43

The OSG also cites the recent case of Banda v. Ermita, 44 where it was held that the President has the power to reorganize the offices and agencies in the executive
department in line with his constitutionally granted power of control and by virtue of a valid delegation of the legislative power to reorganize executive offices under existing
statutes.

Thus, the OSG concludes that the power of control necessarily includes the power to create offices. For the OSG, the President may create the PTC in order to, among
others, put a closure to the reported large scale graft and corruption in the government. 45

The question, therefore, before the Court is this: Does the creation of the PTC fall within the ambit of the power to reorganize as expressed in Section 31 of the Revised
Administrative Code? Section 31 contemplates "reorganization" as limited by the following functional and structural lines: (1) restructuring the internal organization of the
Office of the President Proper by abolishing, consolidating or merging units thereof or transferring functions from one unit to another; (2) transferring any function under the
Office of the President to any other Department/Agency or vice versa; or (3) transferring any agency under the Office of the President to any other Department/Agency or vice
versa. Clearly, the provision refers to reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. These point to
situations where a body or an office is already existent but a modification or alteration thereof has to be effected. The creation of an office is nowhere mentioned, much less
envisioned in said provision. Accordingly, the answer to the question is in the negative.

To say that the PTC is borne out of a restructuring of the Office of the President under Section 31 is a misplaced supposition, even in the plainest meaning attributable to the
term "restructure"– an "alteration of an existing structure." Evidently, the PTC was not part of the structure of the Office of the President prior to the enactment of Executive
Order No. 1. As held in Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Hon. Executive Secretary, 46

But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any department or agency in the executive branch does not have to end here. We must not lose
sight of the very source of the power – that which constitutes an express grant of power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the
Administrative Code of 1987), "the President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have the continuing
authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President." For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or Agencies to the
Office of the President. In Canonizado v. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312 (2000)], we ruled that reorganization "involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or
abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions." It takes place when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein,
including the lines of control, authority and responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance. It falls under the Office of the President.
Hence, it is subject to the President’s continuing authority to reorganize. [Emphasis Supplied]

In the same vein, the creation of the PTC is not justified by the President’s power of control. Control is essentially the power to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a
subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former with that of the latter. 47 Clearly, the power of control is entirely
different from the power to create public offices. The former is inherent in the Executive, while the latter finds basis from either a valid delegation from Congress, or his
inherent duty to faithfully execute the laws.

The question is this, is there a valid delegation of power from Congress, empowering the President to create a public office?

According to the OSG, the power to create a truth commission pursuant to the above provision finds statutory basis under P.D. 1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772. 48 The
said law granted the President the continuing authority to reorganize the national government, including the power to group, consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish
offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services and activities, transfer appropriations, and to standardize salaries and materials. This decree, in relation
to Section 20, Title I, Book III of E.O. 292 has been invoked in several cases such as Larin v. Executive Secretary. 49

The Court, however, declines to recognize P.D. No. 1416 as a justification for the President to create a public office. Said decree is already stale, anachronistic and
inoperable. P.D. No. 1416 was a delegation to then President Marcos of the authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the national government including the power
to create offices and transfer appropriations pursuant to one of the purposes of the decree, embodied in its last "Whereas" clause:

WHEREAS, the transition towards the parliamentary form of government will necessitate flexibility in the organization of the national government.

Clearly, as it was only for the purpose of providing manageability and resiliency during the interim, P.D. No. 1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772, became functus oficio upon
the convening of the First Congress, as expressly provided in Section 6, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution. In fact, even the Solicitor General agrees with this view. Thus:

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: Because P.D. 1416 was enacted was the last whereas clause of P.D. 1416 says "it was enacted to prepare the transition from presidential to
parliamentary. Now, in a parliamentary form of government, the legislative and executive powers are fused, correct?

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.

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ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: That is why, that P.D. 1416 was issued. Now would you agree with me that P.D. 1416 should not be considered effective anymore upon the
promulgation, adoption, ratification of the 1987 Constitution.

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Not the whole of P.D. [No.] 1416, Your Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: The power of the President to reorganize the entire National Government is deemed repealed, at least, upon the adoption of the 1987
Constitution, correct.

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.50

While the power to create a truth commission cannot pass muster on the basis of P.D. No. 1416 as amended by P.D. No. 1772, the creation of the PTC finds justification
under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution, imposing upon the President the duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. Section 17 reads:

Section 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. (Emphasis supplied).

As correctly pointed out by the respondents, the allocation of power in the three principal branches of government is a grant of all powers inherent in them. The President’s
power to conduct investigations to aid him in ensuring the faithful execution of laws – in this case, fundamental laws on public accountability and transparency – is inherent in
the President’s powers as the Chief Executive. That the authority of the President to conduct investigations and to create bodies to execute this power is not explicitly
mentioned in the Constitution or in statutes does not mean that he is bereft of such authority. 51 As explained in the landmark case of Marcos v. Manglapus:52

x x x. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and restored the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their
actual distribution among three distinct branches of government with provision for checks and balances.

It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the President is head of state as well as head of government and
whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the
laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law,  e.g., his power over the
country's foreign relations.

On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise of  specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is
traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated
in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated.

It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial has to be executive. x x x.

Indeed, the Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. As stated above, the powers of the President are not limited to those specific
powers under the Constitution. 53 One of the recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to create ad hoc
committees. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts and determine if laws have been faithfully executed. Thus, in  Department of Health v. Camposano,54 the
authority of the President to issue Administrative Order No. 298, creating an investigative committee to look into the administrative charges filed against the employees of the
Department of Health for the anomalous purchase of medicines was upheld. In said case, it was ruled:

The Chief Executive’s power to create the Ad hoc Investigating Committee cannot be doubted . Having been constitutionally granted full control of the Executive
Department, to which respondents belong, the President has the obligation to ensure that all executive officials and employees faithfully comply with the law. With AO 298 as
mandate, the legality of the investigation is sustained. Such validity is not affected by the fact that the investigating team and the PCAGC had the same composition, or that
the former used the offices and facilities of the latter in conducting the inquiry. [Emphasis supplied]

It should be stressed that the purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry into matters which the President is entitled to know so that he can
be properly advised and guided in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land. And if history is to be revisited, this was also
the objective of the investigative bodies created in the past like the PCAC, PCAPE, PARGO, the Feliciano Commission, the Melo Commission and the Zenarosa Commission.
There being no changes in the government structure, the Court is not inclined to declare such executive power as non-existent just because the direction of the political winds
have changed.

On the charge that Executive Order No. 1 transgresses the power of Congress to appropriate funds for the operation of a public office, suffice it to say that there will be no
appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already appropriated. Accordingly, there is no usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of
Congress to appropriate funds. Further, there is no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of the commission because, in the words of the Solicitor
General, "whatever funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will be the very source of the funds for the commission." 55 Moreover, since the amount that
would be allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules and regulations, there is no impropriety in the funding.

Power of the Truth Commission to Investigate

The President’s power to conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed is well recognized. It flows from the faithful-execution clause of the Constitution
under Article VII, Section 17 thereof. 56 As the Chief Executive, the president represents the government as a whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and
employees of his department. He has the authority to directly assume the functions of the executive department. 57

Invoking this authority, the President constituted the PTC to primarily investigate reports of graft and corruption and to recommend the appropriate action. As previously
stated, no quasi-judicial powers have been vested in the said body as it cannot adjudicate rights of persons who come before it. It has been said that "Quasi-judicial powers
involve the power to hear and determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the standards laid down by law itself in
enforcing and administering the same law." 58 In simpler terms, judicial discretion is involved in the exercise of these quasi-judicial power, such that it is exclusively vested in
the judiciary and must be clearly authorized by the legislature in the case of administrative agencies.

The distinction between the power to investigate and the power to adjudicate was delineated by the Court in Cariño v. Commission on Human Rights. 59 Thus:

"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into, research on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or
study closely: inquire into systematically: "to search or inquire into: x x to subject to an official probe x x: to conduct an official inquiry." The purpose of investigation, of course,
is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired
into by application of the law to the facts established by the inquiry.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and
inquire into with care and accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation"
being in turn described as "(a)n administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; x x an inquiry, judicial or
otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter or matters."

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide, determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle
finally (the rights and duties of the parties to a court case) on the merits of issues raised: x x to pass judgment on: settle judicially: x x act as judge." And "adjudge" means "to
decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: x x to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy x x."

In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge"
means: "To pass on judicially, to decide, settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. x x. Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment." [Italics
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Fact-finding is not adjudication and it cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or office. The function of receiving evidence
and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function. To be considered as such, the act of receiving evidence and arriving at factual conclusions in a
controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to the factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or resolved authoritatively,
finally and definitively, subject to appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. 60 Even respondents themselves admit that the commission is bereft of any quasi-
judicial power.61

Contrary to petitioners’ apprehension, the PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. If at all, the investigative function of the
commission will complement those of the two offices. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the recommendation to prosecute is but a consequence of the overall task of the
commission to conduct a fact-finding investigation." 62 The actual prosecution of suspected offenders, much less adjudication on the merits of the charges against them, 63 is
certainly not a function given to the commission. The phrase, "when in the course of its investigation," under Section 2(g), highlights this fact and gives credence to a contrary
interpretation from that of the petitioners. The function of determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to be with the DOJ
and the Ombudsman.64

At any rate, the Ombudsman’s power to investigate under R.A. No. 6770 is not exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized government agencies. Thus, in the case
of Ombudsman v. Galicia,65 it was written:

This power of investigation granted to the Ombudsman by the 1987 Constitution and The Ombudsman Act is not exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized
government agencies such as the PCGG and judges of municipal trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts. The power to conduct preliminary investigation on charges
against public employees and officials is likewise concurrently shared with the Department of Justice. Despite the passage of the Local Government Code in 1991, the
Ombudsman retains concurrent jurisdiction with the Office of the President and the local Sanggunians to investigate complaints against local elective officials. [Emphasis
supplied].

Also, Executive Order No. 1 cannot contravene the power of the Ombudsman to investigate criminal cases under Section 15 (1) of R.A. No. 6770, which states:

(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission
appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of its primary jurisdiction, it
may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of government, the investigation of such cases. [Emphases supplied]

The act of investigation by the Ombudsman as enunciated above contemplates the conduct of a preliminary investigation or the determination of the existence of probable
cause. This is categorically out of the PTC’s sphere of functions. Its power to investigate is limited to obtaining facts so that it can advise and guide the President in the
performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land. In this regard, the PTC commits no act of usurpation of the Ombudsman’s
primordial duties.

The same holds true with respect to the DOJ. Its authority under Section 3 (2), Chapter 1, Title III, Book IV in the Revised Administrative Code is by no means exclusive and,
thus, can be shared with a body likewise tasked to investigate the commission of crimes.

Finally, nowhere in Executive Order No. 1 can it be inferred that the findings of the PTC are to be accorded conclusiveness. Much like its predecessors, the Davide
Commission, the Feliciano Commission and the Zenarosa Commission, its findings would, at best, be recommendatory in nature. And being so, the Ombudsman and the DOJ
have a wider degree of latitude to decide whether or not to reject the recommendation. These offices, therefore, are not deprived of their mandated duties but will instead be
aided by the reports of the PTC for possible indictments for violations of graft laws.

Violation of the Equal Protection Clause

Although the purpose of the Truth Commission falls within the investigative power of the President, the Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive
Order No. 1 in view of its apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution. Section 1 reads:

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

The petitioners assail Executive Order No. 1 because it is violative of this constitutional safeguard. They contend that it does not apply equally to all members of the same
class such that the intent of singling out the "previous administration" as its sole object makes the PTC an "adventure in partisan hostility." 66 Thus, in order to be accorded with
validity, the commission must also cover reports of graft and corruption in virtually all administrations previous to that of former President Arroyo. 67

The petitioners argue that the search for truth behind the reported cases of graft and corruption must encompass acts committed not only during the administration of former
President Arroyo but also during prior administrations where the "same magnitude of controversies and anomalies" 68 were reported to have been committed against the
Filipino people. They assail the classification formulated by the respondents as it does not fall under the recognized exceptions because first, "there is no substantial
distinction between the group of officials targeted for investigation by Executive Order No. 1 and other groups or persons who abused their public office for personal gain; and
second, the selective classification is not germane to the purpose of Executive Order No. 1 to end corruption." 69 In order to attain constitutional permission, the petitioners
advocate that the commission should deal with "graft and grafters prior and subsequent to the Arroyo administration with the strong arm of the law with equal force." 70

Position of respondents

According to respondents, while Executive Order No. 1 identifies the "previous administration" as the initial subject of the investigation, following Section 17 thereof, the PTC
will not confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption solely during the said administration. 71 Assuming arguendo that the commission would confine its proceedings
to officials of the previous administration, the petitioners argue that no offense is committed against the equal protection clause for "the segregation of the transactions of
public officers during the previous administration as possible subjects of investigation is a valid classification based on substantial distinctions and is germane to the evils
which the Executive Order seeks to correct." 72 To distinguish the Arroyo administration from past administrations, it recited the following:

First. E.O. No. 1 was issued in view of widespread reports of large scale graft and corruption in the previous administration which have eroded public confidence in public
institutions. There is, therefore, an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale graft and corruption in the government and to put a
closure to them by the filing of the appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from committing the evil, restore the people’s faith and
confidence in the Government and in their public servants.

Second. The segregation of the preceding administration as the object of fact-finding is warranted by the reality that unlike with administrations long gone, the current
administration will most likely bear the immediate consequence of the policies of the previous administration.

Third. The classification of the previous administration as a separate class for investigation lies in the reality that the  evidence of possible criminal activity, the evidence that
could lead to recovery of public monies illegally dissipated, the policy lessons to be learned to ensure that anti-corruption laws are faithfully executed, are  more easily
established in the regime that immediately precede the current administration.

Fourth. Many administrations subject the transactions of their predecessors to investigations to provide closure to issues that are pivotal to national life or even as a routine
measure of due diligence and good housekeeping by a nascent administration like the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), created by the late President
Corazon C. Aquino under Executive Order No. 1 to pursue the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of her predecessor former President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, and the
Saguisag Commission created by former President Joseph Estrada under Administrative Order No, 53, to form an ad-hoc and independent citizens’ committee to investigate
all the facts and circumstances surrounding "Philippine Centennial projects" of his predecessor, former President Fidel V. Ramos. 73 [Emphases supplied]

Concept of the Equal Protection Clause

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One of the basic principles on which this government was founded is that of the equality of right which is embodied in Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The equal
protection of the laws is embraced in the concept of due process, as every unfair discrimination offends the requirements of justice and fair play. It has been embodied in a
separate clause, however, to provide for a more specific guaranty against any form of undue favoritism or hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in general may be
challenged on the basis of the due process clause. But if the particular act assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the sharper weapon to cut it down is the
equal protection clause.74

"According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and
responsibilities imposed."75 It "requires public bodies and institutions to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner." 76 "The purpose of the equal protection clause is
to secure every person within a state’s jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper
execution through the state’s duly constituted authorities." 77 "In other words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the state to govern impartially, and it may not
draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective." 78

The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just those of the legislature. 79 Its inhibitions cover all the departments of the government including the
political and executive departments, and extend to all actions of a state denying equal protection of the laws, through whatever agency or whatever guise is taken.  80

It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction. What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined
according to a valid classification. Indeed, the equal protection clause permits classification. Such classification, however, to be valid must pass the test
of reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions; (2) It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to
existing conditions only; and

(4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.81 "Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification." 82

For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all persons who naturally belong to the class. 83 "The classification will be regarded
as invalid if all the members of the class are not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed. It is not necessary that the classification be made with
absolute symmetry, in the sense that the members of the class should possess the same characteristics in equal degree. Substantial similarity will suffice; and as long as this
is achieved, all those covered by the classification are to be treated equally. The mere fact that an individual belonging to a class differs from the other members, as long as
that class is substantially distinguishable from all others, does not justify the non-application of the law to him." 84

The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude addition to the number included in the class. It must be of such a nature
as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in similar circumstances and conditions. It must not leave out or "underinclude" those that should otherwise fall into a certain
classification. As elucidated in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union 85 and reiterated in a long line of cases,86

The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order
to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean
indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The
Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination
as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of
things in speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is
that of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is required of a valid
classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must be germane
to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the
standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. [Citations omitted]

Applying these precepts to this case, Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection clause. The clear mandate of the envisioned truth
commission is to investigate and find out the truth "concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration" 87 only. The intent to single out the
previous administration is plain, patent and manifest. Mention of it has been made in at least three portions of the questioned executive order. Specifically, these are:

WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the
previous administration, and which will recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. – There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the "COMMISSION," which shall
primarily seek and find the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical
sensibilities of the people, committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous
administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear or favor.

SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. – The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative
Code of 1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public
officers and higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration and thereafter submit its finding and
recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. [Emphases supplied]

In this regard, it must be borne in mind that the Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class, that is, a class of past administrations. It is not a class of its own. Not to
include past administrations similarly situated constitutes arbitrariness which the equal protection clause cannot sanction. Such discriminating differentiation clearly
reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for vindictiveness and selective retribution.

Though the OSG enumerates several differences between the Arroyo administration and other past administrations, these distinctions are not substantial enough to merit the
restriction of the investigation to the "previous administration" only. The reports of widespread corruption in the Arroyo administration cannot be taken as basis for
distinguishing said administration from earlier administrations which were also blemished by similar widespread reports of impropriety. They are not inherent in, and do not
inure solely to, the Arroyo administration. As Justice Isagani Cruz put it, "Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification." 88

The public needs to be enlightened why Executive Order No. 1 chooses to limit the scope of the intended investigation to the previous administration only. The OSG ventures
to opine that "to include other past administrations, at this point, may unnecessarily overburden the commission and lead it to lose its effectiveness." 89 The reason given is
specious. It is without doubt irrelevant to the legitimate and noble objective of the PTC to stamp out or "end corruption and the evil it breeds." 90

The probability that there would be difficulty in unearthing evidence or that the earlier reports involving the earlier administrations were already inquired into is beside the point.
Obviously, deceased presidents and cases which have already prescribed can no longer be the subjects of inquiry by the PTC. Neither is the PTC expected to conduct
simultaneous investigations of previous administrations, given the body’s limited time and resources. "The law does not require the impossible"  (Lex non cogit ad
impossibilia).91

Given the foregoing physical and legal impossibility, the Court logically recognizes the unfeasibility of investigating almost a century’s worth of graft cases. However, the fact
remains that Executive Order No. 1 suffers from arbitrary classification. The PTC, to be true to its mandate of searching for the truth, must not exclude the other past
administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the authority to investigate all past administrations. While  reasonable prioritization is permitted, it should not be arbitrary lest it
be struck down for being unconstitutional. In the often quoted language of Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 92

Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if applied and administered by public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically
to make unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the
constitution. [Emphasis supplied]

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It could be argued that considering that the PTC is an ad hoc body, its scope is limited. The Court, however, is of the considered view that although its focus is restricted, the
constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the laws should not in any way be circumvented. The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to
which all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights determined and all public authority administered. 93 Laws that do not conform to the
Constitution should be stricken down for being unconstitutional. 94 While the thrust of the PTC is specific, that is, for investigation of acts of graft and corruption, Executive
Order No. 1, to survive, must be read together with the provisions of the Constitution. To exclude the earlier administrations in the guise of "substantial distinctions" would only
confirm the petitioners’ lament that the subject executive order is only an "adventure in partisan hostility." In the case of  US v. Cyprian,95 it was written: "A rather limited
number of such classifications have routinely been held or assumed to be arbitrary; those include: race, national origin, gender,  political activity or membership in a political
party, union activity or membership in a labor union, or more generally the exercise of first amendment rights."

To reiterate, in order for a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all persons who naturally belong to the class. 96 "Such a
classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude additions to the number included within a class, but must be of such a nature
as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in similar circumstances and conditions. Furthermore, all who are in situations and circumstances which are relative to the
discriminatory legislation and which are indistinguishable from those of the members of the class must be brought under the influence of the law and treated by it in the same
way as are the members of the class."97

The Court is not unaware that "mere underinclusiveness is not fatal to the validity of a law under the equal protection clause." 98 "Legislation is not unconstitutional merely
because it is not all-embracing and does not include all the evils within its reach." 99 It has been written that a regulation challenged under the equal protection clause is not
devoid of a rational predicate simply because it happens to be incomplete. 100 In several instances, the underinclusiveness was not considered a valid reason to strike down a
law or regulation where the purpose can be attained in future legislations or regulations. These cases refer to the "step by step" process. 101 "With regard to equal protection
claims, a legislature does not run the risk of losing the entire remedial scheme simply because it fails, through inadvertence or otherwise, to cover every evil that might
conceivably have been attacked."102

In Executive Order No. 1, however, there is no inadvertence. That the previous administration was picked out was deliberate and intentional as can be gleaned from the fact
that it was underscored at least three times in the assailed executive order. It must be noted that Executive Order No. 1 does not even mention any particular act, event or
report to be focused on unlike the investigative commissions created in the past. "The equal protection clause is violated by purposeful and intentional discrimination." 103

To disprove petitioners’ contention that there is deliberate discrimination, the OSG clarifies that the commission does not only confine itself to cases of large scale graft and
corruption committed during the previous administration. 104 The OSG points to Section 17 of Executive Order No. 1, which provides:

SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is a need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in
Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly by
way of a supplemental Executive Order.

The Court is not convinced. Although Section 17 allows the President the discretion to expand the scope of investigations of the PTC so as to include the acts of graft and
corruption committed in other past administrations, it does not guarantee that they would be covered in the future. Such expanded mandate of the commission will still depend
on the whim and caprice of the President. If he would decide not to include them, the section would then be meaningless. This will only fortify the fears of the petitioners that
the Executive Order No. 1 was "crafted to tailor-fit the prosecution of officials and personalities of the Arroyo administration." 105

The Court tried to seek guidance from the pronouncement in the case of Virata v. Sandiganbayan,106 that the "PCGG Charter (composed of Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2 and
14) does not violate the equal protection clause." The decision, however, was devoid of any discussion on how such conclusory statement was arrived at, the principal issue in
said case being only the sufficiency of a cause of action.

A final word

The issue that seems to take center stage at present is - whether or not the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its constitutionally mandated power of Judicial Review with
respect to recent initiatives of the legislature and the executive department, is exercising undue interference. Is the Highest Tribunal, which is expected to be the protector of
the Constitution, itself guilty of violating fundamental tenets like the doctrine of separation of powers? Time and again, this issue has been addressed by the Court, but it
seems that the present political situation calls for it to once again explain the legal basis of its action lest it continually be accused of being a hindrance to the nation’s thrust to
progress.

The Philippine Supreme Court, according to Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, is vested with Judicial Power that "includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave of abuse of discretion amounting
to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government."

Furthermore, in Section 4(2) thereof, it is vested with the power of judicial review which is the power to declare a treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential
decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation unconstitutional. This power also includes the duty to rule on the constitutionality of the application, or
operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations. These provisions, however, have been fertile grounds of conflict
between the Supreme Court, on one hand, and the two co-equal bodies of government, on the other. Many times the Court has been accused of asserting superiority over the
other departments.

To answer this accusation, the words of Justice Laurel would be a good source of enlightenment, to wit: "And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional
boundaries, it does not assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only asserts the solemn and
sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy
the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them." 107

Thus, the Court, in exercising its power of judicial review, is not imposing its own will upon a co-equal body but rather simply making sure that any act of government is done in
consonance with the authorities and rights allocated to it by the Constitution. And, if after said review, the Court finds no constitutional violations of any sort, then, it has no
more authority of proscribing the actions under review. Otherwise, the Court will not be deterred to pronounce said act as void and unconstitutional.

It cannot be denied that most government actions are inspired with noble intentions, all geared towards the betterment of the nation and its people. But then again, it is
important to remember this ethical principle: "The end does not justify the means." No matter how noble and worthy of admiration the purpose of an act, but if the means to be
employed in accomplishing it is simply irreconcilable with constitutional parameters, then it cannot still be allowed. 108 The Court cannot just turn a blind eye and simply let it
pass. It will continue to uphold the Constitution and its enshrined principles.

"The Constitution must ever remain supreme. All must bow to the mandate of this law. Expediency must not be allowed to sap its strength nor greed for power debase its
rectitude."109

Lest it be misunderstood, this is not the death knell for a truth commission as nobly envisioned by the present administration. Perhaps a revision of the executive issuance so
as to include the earlier past administrations would allow it to pass the test of reasonableness and not be an affront to the Constitution. Of all the branches of the government,
it is the judiciary which is the most interested in knowing the truth and so it will not allow itself to be a hindrance or obstacle to its attainment. It must, however, be emphasized
that the search for the truth must be within constitutional bounds for "ours is still a government of laws and not of men." 110

WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it is violative of the equal protection clause of the
Constitution.

As also prayed for, the respondents are hereby ordered to cease and desist from carrying out the provisions of Executive Order No. 1.

SO ORDERED.

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[3] Constitution as a social Contract

G.R. No. 88211 September 15, 1989

FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR., IRENE M. ARANETA, IMEE MANOTOC, TOMAS MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA,
PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR YÑIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), represented by its President, CONRADO F.
ESTRELLA, petitioners,
vs. HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOÑEZ, MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS, RENATO DE VILLA, in their
capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner, Secretary of National Defense and Chief of Staff,
respectively, respondents.

CORTES, J.:

Before the Court is a contreversy of grave national importance. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in this case would undeniably have a
profound effect on the political, economic and other aspects of national life.

We recall that in February 1986, Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent "people power" revolution and forced into exile. In his stead,
Corazon C. Aquino was declared President of the Republic under a revolutionary government. Her ascension to and consilidation of power have not been unchallenged. The
failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by political leaders of Mr. Marcos, the takeover of television station Channel 7 by rebel troops led by Col. Canlas with the support of
"Marcos loyalists" and the unseccessful plot of the Marcos spouses to surreptitiously return from Hawii with mercenaries aboard an aircraft chartered by a Lebanese arms
dealer [Manila Bulletin, January 30, 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of the Marcoses to stir trouble even from afar and to the fanaticism and blind loyalty of their
followers in the country. The ratification of the 1987 Constitution enshrined the victory of "people power" and also clearly reinforced the constitutional moorings of Mrs.
Aquino's presidency. This did not, however, stop bloody challenges to the government. On August 28, 1987, Col. Gregorio Honasan, one of the major players in the February
Revolution, led a failed coup that left scores of people, both combatants and civilians, dead. There were several other armed sorties of lesser significance, but the message
they conveyed was the same — a split in the ranks of the military establishment that thraetened civilian supremacy over military and brought to the fore the realization that
civilian government could be at the mercy of a fractious military.

But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in misguided elements and among rabid followers of Mr. Marcos. There are also the communist insurgency and
the seccessionist movement in Mindanao which gained ground during the rule of Mr. Marcos, to the extent that the communists have set up a parallel government of their own
on the areas they effectively control while the separatist are virtually free to move about in armed bands. There has been no let up on this groups' determination to wrest
power from the govermnent. Not only through resort to arms but also to through the use of propaganda have they been successful in dreating chaos and destabilizing the
country.

Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. The accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of the nation attributed to Mr. Marcos and his cronies left the economy
devastated. The efforts at economic recovery, three years after Mrs. Aquino assumed office, have yet to show concrete results in alleviating the poverty of the masses, while
the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses has remained elusive.

Now, Mr. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to the Philipppines to die. But Mrs. Aquino, considering the dire consequences to the nation of his return at a
time when the stability of government is threatened from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood firmly on the decision to bar
the return of Mr. Marcos and his family.

The Petition

This case is unique. It should not create a precedent, for the case of a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social
havoc in the country and who within the short space of three years seeks to return, is in a class by itself.

This petition for mandamus and prohibition asks the Courts to order the respondents to issue travel documents to Mr. Marcos and the immediate members of his family and to
enjoin the implementation of the President's decision to bar their return to the Philippines.

The Issue

Th issue is basically one of power: whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the Constitution, the President may prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the
Philippines.

According to the petitioners, the resolution of the case would depend on the resolution of the following issues:

1. Does the President have the power to bar the return of former President Marcos and family to the Philippines?

a. Is this a political question?

2. Assuming that the President has the power to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the Philippines, in the interest of "national security, public
safety or public health

a. Has the President made a finding that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear and present danger to national security, public
safety or public health?

b. Assuming that she has made that finding

(1) Have the requirements of due process been complied with in making such finding?

(2) Has there been prior notice to petitioners?

(3) Has there been a hearing?

(4) Assuming that notice and hearing may be dispensed with, has the President's decision, including the grounds upon which it was based, been made
known to petitioners so that they may controvert the same?

c. Is the President's determination that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear and present danger to national security, public
safety, or public health a political question?

d. Assuming that the Court may inquire as to whether the return of former President Marcos and his family is a clear and present danger to national security, public
safety, or public health, have respondents established such fact?

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3. Have the respondents, therefore, in implementing the President's decision to bar the return of former President Marcos and his family, acted and would be acting
without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, in performing any act which would effectively bar the return of former President Marcos
and his family to the Philippines? [Memorandum for Petitioners, pp. 5-7; Rollo, pp. 234-236.1

The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of the Marcoses to return to the Philippines is guaranteed under the following provisions of the Bill of Rights,
to wit:

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the
right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

The petitioners contend that the President is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses because only a court may do so "within the limits prescribed by law."
Nor may the President impair their right to travel because no law has authorized her to do so. They advance the view that before the right to travel may be impaired by any
authority or agency of the government, there must be legislation to that effect.

The petitioners further assert that under international law, the right of Mr. Marcos and his family to return to the Philippines is guaranteed.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides:

Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Likewise, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which had been ratified by the Philippines, provides:

Article 12

1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order
(order public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

On the other hand, the respondents' principal argument is that the issue in this case involves a political question which is non-justiciable. According to the Solicitor General:

As petitioners couch it, the question involved is simply whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family have the right to travel and liberty of abode.
Petitioners invoke these constitutional rights in vacuo without reference to attendant circumstances.

Respondents submit that in its proper formulation, the issue is whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and
reside here at this time in the face of the determination by the President that such return and residence will endanger national security and public safety.

It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners, the question is not a political question as it involves merely a determination of what the law provides on the matter
and application thereof to petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family. But when the question is whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and
family impinge on or collide with the more primordial and transcendental right of the State to security and safety of its nationals, the question becomes political and this
Honorable Court can not consider it.

There are thus gradations to the question, to wit:

Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence here? This is clearly a justiciable question which
this Honorable Court can decide.

Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have their right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence here even if their return and residence here will
endanger national security and public safety? this is still a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide.

Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family shall return to the Philippines and establish their residence here? This
is now a political question which this Honorable Court can not decide for it falls within the exclusive authority and competence of the President of the Philippines.
[Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 297-299.]

Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over individual rights. In support thereof, they cite Article II of the Constitution, to wit:

Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment
thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military, or civil service.

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by
all the people of the blessings of democracy.

Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and family from returning to the Philippines for reasons of national security and public safety has international
precedents. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Anastacio Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua, Jorge Ubico of Guatemala, Fulgencio batista of Cuba, King Farouk of Egypt,
Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among the deposed dictators whose return to their homelands was prevented
by their governments. [See Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul S. Manglapus, quoted in Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 26-32; Rollo, pp. 314-319.]

The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the scope of presidential power and its limits. We, however, view this issue in a different light. Although we
give due weight to the parties' formulation of the issues, we are not bound by its narrow confines in arriving at a solution to the controversy.

At the outset, we must state that it would not do to view the case within the confines of the right to travel and the import of the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the
leading cases of Kent v. Dulles [357 U.S. 116, 78 SCt 1113, 2 L Ed. 2d 1204] and Haig v. Agee [453 U.S. 280, 101 SCt 2766, 69 L Ed. 2d 640) which affirmed the right to
travel and recognized exceptions to the exercise thereof, respectively.

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It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the Philippines to other countries or within the Philippines. These are what the right to
travel would normally connote. Essentially, the right involved is the right to return to one's country, a totally distinct right under international law, independent from although
related to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of
movement and abode within the territory of a state, the right to leave a country, and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. The Declaration speaks of
the "right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" [Art. 13(l)] separately from the "right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to
his country." [Art. 13(2).] On the other hand, the Covenant guarantees the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence" [Art. 12(l)] and the right to "be
free to leave any country, including his own." [Art. 12(2)] which rights may be restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect national security, public order, public health
or morals or enter qqqs own country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily deprived." [Art. 12(4).] It would therefore be inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to
return to one's country in the same context as those pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to travel.

The right to return to one's country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which treats only of the liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is
our well-considered view that the right to return may be considered, as a generally accepted principle of international law and, under our Constitution, is part of the law of the
land [Art. II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution.] However, it is distinct and separate from the right to travel and enjoys a different protection under the International Covenant of Civil
and Political Rights, i.e., against being "arbitrarily deprived" thereof [Art. 12 (4).]

Thus, the rulings in the cases Kent and Haig which refer to the issuance of passports for the purpose of effectively exercising the right to travel are not determinative of this
case and are only tangentially material insofar as they relate to a conflict between executive action and the exercise of a protected right. The issue before the Court is novel
and without precedent in Philippine, and even in American jurisprudence.

Consequently, resolution by the Court of the well-debated issue of whether or not there can be limitations on the right to travel in the absence of legislation to that effect is
rendered unnecessary. An appropriate case for its resolution will have to be awaited.

Having clarified the substance of the legal issue, we find now a need to explain the methodology for its resolution. Our resolution of the issue will involve a two-tiered
approach. We shall first resolve whether or not the President has the power under the Constitution, to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. Then, we shall
determine, pursuant to the express power of the Court under the Constitution in Article VIII, Section 1, whether or not the President acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she determined that the return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a serious threat to national interest and
welfare and decided to bar their return.

Executive Power

The 1987 Constitution has fully restored the separation of powers of the three great branches of government. To recall the words of Justice Laurel in  Angara v. Electoral
Commission [63 Phil. 139 (1936)], "the Constitution has blocked but with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial
departments of the government." [At 157.1 Thus, the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[the legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines" Art VI,
Sec. 11, "[t]he executive power shall bevested in the President of the Philippines" [Art. VII, Sec. 11, and "[te judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such
lower courts as may be established by law" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1.] These provisions not only establish a separation of powers by actual division [Angara v. Electoral
Commission, supra] but also confer plenary legislative, executive and judicial powers subject only to limitations provided in the Constitution. For as the Supreme Court
in Ocampo v. Cabangis [15 Phil. 626 (1910)] pointed out "a grant of the legislative power means a grant of all legislative power; and a grant of the judicial power means a
grant of all the judicial power which may be exercised under the government." [At 631-632.1 If this can be said of the legislative power which is exercised by two chambers
with a combined membership of more than two hundred members and of the judicial power which is vested in a hierarchy of courts, it can equally be said of the executive
power which is vested in one official the President.

As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines." [Art. VII, Sec. 1]. However, it does not define what is
meant by executive power" although in the same article it touches on the exercise of certain powers by the President,  i.e., the power of control over all executive departments,
bureaus and offices, the power to execute the laws, the appointing power, the powers under the commander-in-chief clause, the power to grant reprieves, commutations and
pardons, the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the power to enter into treaties or international
agreements, the power to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to address Congress [Art. VII, Sec. 14-23].

The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers of the Constitution intend that the President shall exercise those specific
powers and no other? Are these se enumerated powers the breadth and scope of "executive power"? Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers are limited to
those specifically enumerated in the 1987 Constitution. Thus, they assert: "The President has enumerated powers, and what is not enumerated is impliedly denied to
her. Inclusion unius est exclusio alterius[Memorandum for Petitioners, p. 4- Rollo p. 233.1 This argument brings to mind the institution of the U.S. Presidency after which ours
is legally patterned.**

Corwin, in his monumental volume on the President of the United States grappled with the same problem. He said:

Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. To those who think that a constitution ought to settle everything beforehand it should be a nightmare; by
the same token, to those who think that constitution makers ought to leave considerable leeway for the future play of political forces, it should be a vision realized.

We encounter this characteristic of Article 11 in its opening words: "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." . . .. [ The
President: Office and Powers, 17871957, pp. 3-4.]

Reviewing how the powers of the U.S. President were exercised by the different persons who held the office from Washington to the early 1900's, and the swing from the
presidency by commission to Lincoln's dictatorship, he concluded that "what the presidency is at any particular moment depends in important measure on who is President."
[At 30.]

This view is shared by Schlesinger who wrote in The Imperial Presidency:

For the American Presidency was a peculiarly personal institution. it remained of course, an agency of government subject to unvarying demands and duties no
remained, of cas President. But, more than most agencies of government, it changed shape, intensity and ethos according to the man in charge. Each President's
distinctive temperament and character, his values, standards, style, his habits, expectations, Idiosyncrasies, compulsions, phobias recast the WhiteHouse and pervaded
the entire government. The executive branch, said Clark Clifford, was a chameleon, taking its color from the character and personality of the President. The thrust of the
office, its impact on the constitutional order, therefore altered from President to President. Above all, the way each President understood it as his personal obligation to
inform and involve the Congress, to earn and hold the confidence of the electorate and to render an accounting to the nation and posterity determined whether he
strengthened or weakened the constitutional order. [At 212- 213.]

We do not say that the presidency is what Mrs. Aquino says it is or what she does but, rather, that the consideration of tradition and the development of presidential power
under the different constitutions are essential for a complete understanding of the extent of and limitations to the President's powers under the 1987 Constitution. The 1935
Constitution created a strong President with explicitly broader powers than the U.S. President. The 1973 Constitution attempted to modify the system of government into the
parliamentary type, with the President as a mere figurehead, but through numerous amendments, the President became even more powerful, to the point that he was also the
de facto Legislature. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and restored the separation of legislative, executive and judicial
powers by their actual distribution among three distinct branches of government with provision for checks and balances.

It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the President is head of state as well as head of government and
whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the
laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law,  e.g., his power over the
country's foreign relations.

On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise of  specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is
traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated
in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated,

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It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial has to be executive. Thus, in the landmark decision of  Springer v.
Government of the Philippine Islands, 277 U.S. 189 (1928), on the issue of who between the Governor-General of the Philippines and the Legislature may vote the shares of
stock held by the Government to elect directors in the National Coal Company and the Philippine National Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the power of the
Governor-General to do so, said:

...Here the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of the "board" and "committee" respectively, are not charged with the performance of any legislative
functions or with the doing of anything which is in aid of performance of any such functions by the legislature. Putting aside for the moment the question whether the
duties devolved upon these members are vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-General, it is clear that they are not legislative in character, and still more clear that
they are not judicial. The fact that they do not fall within the authority of either of these two constitutes logical ground for concluding that they do fall within that of the
remaining one among which the powers of government are divided ....[At 202-203; Emphasis supplied.]

We are not unmindful of Justice Holmes' strong dissent. But in his enduring words of dissent we find reinforcement for the view that it would indeed be a folly to construe the
powers of a branch of government to embrace only what are specifically mentioned in the Constitution:

The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the more specific of them are found to terminate in a penumbra
shading gradually from one extreme to the other. ....

It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot carry out the distinction between legislative and
executive action with mathematical precision and divide the branches into watertight compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I am far from believing that
it is, or that the Constitution requires. [At 210- 211.]

The Power Involved

The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he prime duty of theGovernment is to serve and protect the people" and that "[t]he maintenance of peace and
order,the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy." [Art.
II, Secs. 4 and 5.]

Admittedly, service and protection of the people, the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are
essentially ideals to guide governmental action. But such does not mean that they are empty words. Thus, in the exercise of presidential functions, in drawing a plan of
government, and in directing implementing action for these plans, or from another point of view, in making any decision as President of the Republic, the President has to
consider these principles, among other things, and adhere to them.

Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow the Marcoses to return to the Philippines, the President is, under the Constitution, constrained to consider
these basic principles in arriving at a decision. More than that, having sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution, the President has the obligation  under the Constitution to
protect the people, promote their welfare and advance the national interest. It must be borne in mind that the Constitution, aside from being an allocation of power is also a
social contract whereby the people have surrendered their sovereign powers to the State for the common good. Hence, lest the officers of the Government exercising the
powers delegated by the people forget and the servants of the people become rulers, the Constitution reminds everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the people and all
government authority emanates from them." [Art. II, Sec. 1.]

The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons who seek to return to the country are the deposed dictator and his family at whose door the travails of the
country are laid and from whom billions of dollars believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought to be recovered. The constitutional guarantees they invoke are neither absolute
nor inflexible. For the exercise of even the preferred freedoms of speech and ofexpression, although couched in absolute terms, admits of limits and must be adjusted to the
requirements of equally important public interests [Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, October 7, 1981.]

To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against the exercise of rights of certain individuals. The power involved is the
President's residual power to protect the general welfare of the people. It is founded on the duty of the President, as steward of the people. To paraphrase Theodore
Roosevelt, it is not only the power of the President but also his duty to do anything not forbidden by the Constitution or the laws that the needs of the nation demand [See
Corwin, supra, at 153]. It is a power borne by the President's duty to preserve and defend the Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the President's duty to
take care that the laws are faithfully executed [see Hyman, The American President, where the author advances the view that an allowance of discretionary power is
unavoidable in any government and is best lodged in the President].

More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President's powers as protector of the peace. Rossiter  The American Presidency].The power of the President to keep
the peace is not limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in times of emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to its existence.
The President is not only clothed with extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked with attending to the day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and
order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of law, in fulfilling presidential duties in times
of peace is not in any way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in the commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President commander-in-chief the
enumeration of powers that follow cannot be said to exclude the President's exercising as Commander-in- Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security.

That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the Marcose's from returning has been recognized by memembers of the Legislature, and is manifested by the
Resolution proposed in the House of Representatives and signed by 103 of its members urging the President to allow Mr. Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a genuine
unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation and as irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to uncompromising respect for human rights under the Constitution and
our laws." [House Resolution No. 1342, Rollo, p. 321.1 The Resolution does not question the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines, rather, it
appeals to the President's sense of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his country.

What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the Philippines cannot be considered in the light solely of the
constitutional provisions guaranteeing liberty of abode and the right to travel, subject to certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated situations even
remotely similar to the present one. It must be treated as a matter that is appropriately addressed to those residual unstated powers of the President which are implicit in and
correlative to the paramount duty residing in that office to safeguard and protect general welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit to the exercise of a
broader discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied.

The Extent of Review

Under the Constitution, judicial power includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." [Art. VIII, Sec. 1] Given this wording, we cannot agree with the Solicitor General that the issue constitutes a
political question which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Court to decide.

The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry into areas which the Court, under previous constitutions,
would have normally left to the political departments to decide. But nonetheless there remain issues beyond the Court's jurisdiction the determination of which is exclusively
for the President, for Congress or for the people themselves through a plebiscite or referendum. We cannot, for example, question the President's recognition of a foreign
government, no matter how premature or improvident such action may appear. We cannot set aside a presidential pardon though it may appear to us that the beneficiary is
totally undeserving of the grant. Nor can we amend the Constitution under the guise of resolving a dispute brought before us because the power is reserved to the people.

There is nothing in the case before us that precludes our determination thereof on the political question doctrine. The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission cited by
petitioners show that the framers intended to widen the scope of judicial review but they did not intend courts of justice to settle all actual controversies before them. When
political questions are involved, the Constitution limits the determination to whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is being questioned. If grave abuse is not established, the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the official
concerned and decide a matter which by its nature or by law is for the latter alone to decide. In this light, it would appear clear that the second paragraph of Article VIII,
Section 1 of the Constitution, defining "judicial power," which specifically empowers the courts to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the government, incorporates in the fundamental law the ruling in  Lansang v. Garcia [G.R. No. L-33964, December 11, 1971, 42 SCRA
4481 that:]

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Article VII of the [1935] Constitution vests in the Executive the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under specified conditions. Pursuant to the
principle of separation of powers underlying our system of government, the Executive is supreme within his own sphere. However, the separation of powers, under the
Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes hand in hand with the system of checks and balances, under which the Executive is supreme, as regards the
suspension of the privilege, but only if and when he acts within the sphere alloted to him by the Basic Law, and the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted
is vested in the Judicial Department, which, in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally supreme. In the exercise of such authority, the function of the Court is merely to
check — not to supplant the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he has gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in
him or to determine the wisdom of his act [At 479-480.]

Accordingly, the question for the Court to determine is whether or not there exist factual bases for the President to conclude that it was in the national interest to bar the return
of the Marcoses to the Philippines. If such postulates do exist, it cannot be said that she has acted, or acts, arbitrarily or that she has gravely abused her discretion in deciding
to bar their return.

We find that from the pleadings filed by the parties, from their oral arguments, and the facts revealed during the briefing in chambers by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines and the National Security Adviser, wherein petitioners and respondents were represented, there exist factual bases for the President's decision..

The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that the country is not besieged from within by a well-organized communist insurgency, a separatist movement
in Mindanao, rightist conspiracies to grab power, urban terrorism, the murder with impunity of military men, police officers and civilian officials, to mention only a few. The
documented history of the efforts of the Marcose's and their followers to destabilize the country, as earlier narrated in this  ponencia bolsters the conclusion that the return of
the Marcoses at this time would only exacerbate and intensify the violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos.

As divergent and discordant forces, the enemies of the State may be contained. The military establishment has given assurances that it could handle the threats posed by
particular groups. But it is the catalytic effect of the return of the Marcoses that may prove to be the proverbial final straw that would break the camel's back. With these before
her, the President cannot be said to have acted arbitrarily and capriciously and whimsically in determining that the return of the Marcoses poses a serious threat to the
national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return.

It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines will cause the escalation of violence against the State, that would be the time for the President to step
in and exercise the commander-in-chief powers granted her by the Constitution to suppress or stamp out such violence. The State, acting through the Government, is not
precluded from taking pre- emptive action against threats to its existence if, though still nascent they are perceived as apt to become serious and direct. Protection of the
people is the essence of the duty of government. The preservation of the State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation in the highest order. The President,
sworn to preserve and defend the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the laws, cannot shirk from that responsibility.

We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the hardships brought about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the
Marcoses and their close associates and relatives, many of whom are still here in the Philippines in a position to destabilize the country, while the Government has barely
scratched the surface, so to speak, in its efforts to recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in foreign jurisdictions. Then, We cannot ignore the continually
increasing burden imposed on the economy by the excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root
causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting precarious state of our economy is of common knowledge and is easily within the ambit of judicial notice.

The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the gains achieved during the past few years and lead to total
economic collapse. Given what is within our individual and common knowledge of the state of the economy, we cannot argue with that determination.

WHEREFORE, and it being our well-considered opinion that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in determining that the return of former
President Marcos and his family at the present time and under present circumstances poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to
the Philippines, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

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[4] Two test to determine whether it is Amendment or Revision

G.R. No. 174153             October 25, 2006

RAUL L. LAMBINO and ERICO B. AUMENTADO, TOGETHER WITH 6,327,952 REGISTERED VOTERS,  Petitioners, vs. THE COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, Respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

These are consolidated petitions on the Resolution dated 31 August 2006 of the Commission on Elections ("COMELEC") denying due course to an initiative petition to amend
the 1987 Constitution.

Antecedent Facts

On 15 February 2006, petitioners in G.R. No. 174153, namely Raul L. Lambino and Erico B. Aumentado ("Lambino Group"), with other groups 1 and individuals, commenced
gathering signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987 Constitution. On 25 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed a petition with the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite
that will ratify their initiative petition under Section 5(b) and (c) 2 and Section 73 of Republic Act No. 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act ("RA 6735").

The Lambino Group alleged that their petition had the support of 6,327,952 individuals constituting at least twelve  per centum (12%) of all registered voters, with each
legislative district represented by at least three per centum (3%) of its registered voters. The Lambino Group also claimed that COMELEC election registrars had verified the
signatures of the 6.3 million individuals.

The Lambino Group's initiative petition changes the 1987 Constitution by modifying Sections 1-7 of Article VI (Legislative Department) 4 and Sections 1-4 of Article VII
(Executive Department) 5 and by adding Article XVIII entitled "Transitory Provisions." 6 These proposed changes will shift the present Bicameral-Presidential system to a
Unicameral-Parliamentary form of government. The Lambino Group prayed that after due publication of their petition, the COMELEC should submit the following proposition in
a plebiscite for the voters' ratification:

DO YOU APPROVE THE AMENDMENT OF ARTICLES VI AND VII OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION, CHANGING THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT FROM THE
PRESENT BICAMERAL-PRESIDENTIAL TO A UNICAMERAL-PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM, AND PROVIDING ARTICLE XVIII AS TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
FOR THE ORDERLY SHIFT FROM ONE SYSTEM TO THE OTHER?

On 30 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed an Amended Petition with the COMELEC indicating modifications in the proposed Article XVIII (Transitory Provisions) of their
initiative.7

The Ruling of the COMELEC

On 31 August 2006, the COMELEC issued its Resolution denying due course to the Lambino Group's petition for lack of an enabling law governing initiative petitions to
amend the Constitution. The COMELEC invoked this Court's ruling in Santiago v. Commission on Elections8 declaring RA 6735 inadequate to implement the initiative clause
on proposals to amend the Constitution.9

In G.R. No. 174153, the Lambino Group prays for the issuance of the writs of certiorari and mandamus to set aside the COMELEC Resolution of 31 August 2006 and to
compel the COMELEC to give due course to their initiative petition. The Lambino Group contends that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in denying due
course to their petition since Santiago is not a binding precedent. Alternatively, the Lambino Group claims that Santiago binds only the parties to that case, and their petition
deserves cognizance as an expression of the "will of the sovereign people."

In G.R. No. 174299, petitioners ("Binay Group") pray that the Court require respondent COMELEC Commissioners to show cause why they should not be cited in contempt for
the COMELEC's verification of signatures and for "entertaining" the Lambino Group's petition despite the permanent injunction in  Santiago. The Court treated the Binay
Group's petition as an opposition-in-intervention.

In his Comment to the Lambino Group's petition, the Solicitor General joined causes with the petitioners, urging the Court to grant the petition despite the  Santiago ruling. The
Solicitor General proposed that the Court treat RA 6735 and its implementing rules "as temporary devises to implement the system of initiative."

Various groups and individuals sought intervention, filing pleadings supporting or opposing the Lambino Group's petition. The supporting intervenors 10 uniformly hold the view
that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in relying on  Santiago. On the other hand, the opposing intervenors 11 hold the contrary view and maintain
that Santiago is a binding precedent. The opposing intervenors also challenged (1) the Lambino Group's standing to file the petition; (2) the validity of the signature gathering
and verification process; (3) the Lambino Group's compliance with the minimum requirement for the percentage of voters supporting an initiative petition under Section 2,
Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution; 12 (4) the nature of the proposed changes as revisions and not mere amendments as provided under Section 2, Article XVII of the 1987
Constitution; and (5) the Lambino Group's compliance with the requirement in Section 10(a) of RA 6735 limiting initiative petitions to only one subject.

The Court heard the parties and intervenors in oral arguments on 26 September 2006. After receiving the parties' memoranda, the Court considered the case submitted for
resolution.

The Issues

The petitions raise the following issues:

1. Whether the Lambino Group's initiative petition complies with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on amendments to the Constitution through a people's initiative;

2. Whether this Court should revisit its ruling in Santiago declaring RA 6735 "incomplete, inadequate or wanting in essential terms and conditions" to implement the initiative
clause on proposals to amend the Constitution; and

3. Whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in denying due course to the Lambino Group's petition.

The Ruling of the Court

There is no merit to the petition.

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The Lambino Group miserably failed to comply with the basic requirements of the Constitution for conducting a people's initiative. Thus, there is even no need to
revisit Santiago, as the present petition warrants dismissal based alone on the Lambino Group's glaring failure to comply with the basic requirements of the Constitution. For
following the Court's ruling in Santiago, no grave abuse of discretion is attributable to the Commision on Elections.

1. The Initiative Petition Does Not Comply with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on Direct Proposal by the People

Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution is the governing constitutional provision that allows a people's initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution. This section
states:

Sec. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of
the total number of registered voters of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein. x x x x

The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission vividly explain the meaning of an amendment "directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition,"
thus:

MR. RODRIGO: Let us look at the mechanics. Let us say some voters want to propose a constitutional amendment.  Is the draft of the proposed constitutional
amendment ready to be shown to the people when they are asked to sign?

MR. SUAREZ: That can be reasonably assumed, Madam President.

MR. RODRIGO: What does the sponsor mean? The draft is ready and shown to them before they sign. Now, who prepares the draft?

MR. SUAREZ: The people themselves, Madam President.

MR. RODRIGO: No, because before they sign there is already a draft shown to them  and they are asked whether or not they want to propose this
constitutional amendment.

MR. SUAREZ: As it is envisioned, any Filipino can prepare that proposal and pass it around for signature.13 (Emphasis supplied)

Clearly, the framers of the Constitution intended that the "draft of the proposed constitutional amendment" should be "ready and shown" to the people "before" they sign
such proposal. The framers plainly stated that "before they sign there is already a draft shown to them." The framers also "envisioned" that the people should sign on the
proposal itself because the proponents must "prepare that proposal and pass it around for signature."

The essence of amendments "directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition" is that the entire proposal on its face is a petition by the people.
This means two essential elements must be present. First, the people must author and thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or representative can sign on their behalf.
Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the proposal must be embodied in a petition.

These essential elements are present only if the full text of the proposed amendments is  first shown to the people who express their assent by signing such complete
proposal in a petition. Thus, an amendment is "directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition" only if the people sign on a petition that contains
the full text of the proposed amendments.

The full text of the proposed amendments may be either written on the face of the petition, or attached to it. If so attached, the petition must state the fact of such attachment.
This is an assurance that every one of the several millions of signatories to the petition had seen the full text of the proposed amendments before signing. Otherwise, it is
physically impossible, given the time constraint, to prove that every one of the millions of signatories had seen the full text of the proposed amendments before signing.

The framers of the Constitution directly borrowed 14 the concept of people's initiative from the United States where various State constitutions incorporate an initiative clause. In
almost all States15 which allow initiative petitions, the unbending requirement is that the people must first see the full text of the proposed amendments before they
sign to signify their assent, and that the people must sign on an initiative petition that contains the full text of the proposed amendments.16

The rationale for this requirement has been repeatedly explained in several decisions of various courts. Thus, in  Capezzuto v. State Ballot Commission, the Supreme
Court of Massachusetts, affirmed by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, declared:

[A] signature requirement would be meaningless if the person supplying the signature  has not first seen what it is that he or she is signing. Further, and
more importantly, loose interpretation of the subscription requirement can pose a significant potential for fraud. A person permitted to describe orally the contents
of an initiative petition to a potential signer, without the signer having actually examined the petition, could easily mislead the signer by, for example, omitting,
downplaying, or even flatly misrepresenting, portions of the petition that might not be to the signer's liking.  This danger seems particularly acute when, in this
case, the person giving the description is the drafter of the petition, who obviously has a vested interest in seeing that it gets the requisite signatures
to qualify for the ballot.17 (Boldfacing and underscoring supplied)

Likewise, in Kerr v. Bradbury,18 the Court of Appeals of Oregon explained:

The purposes of "full text" provisions that apply to amendments by initiative commonly are described in similar terms. x x x ( The purpose of the full text
requirement is to provide sufficient information so that registered voters can intelligently evaluate whether to sign the initiative petition. "); x x x
(publication of full text of amended constitutional provision required because it is "essential for the elector to have x x x the section which is proposed to be added
to or subtracted from. If he is to vote intelligently, he must have this knowledge. Otherwise in many instances he would be required to vote in the dark.")

Moreover, "an initiative signer must be informed at the time of signing of the  nature and effect of that which is proposed" and failure to do so is " deceptive and misleading"
which renders the initiative void.19

Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution does not expressly state that the petition must set forth the full text of the proposed amendments. However, the deliberations of the
framers of our Constitution clearly show that the framers intended to adopt the relevant American jurisprudence on people's initiative. In particular, the deliberations of the
Constitutional Commission explicitly reveal that the framers intended that the people must first see the full text of the proposed amendments before they sign, and
that the people must sign on a petition containing such full text. Indeed, Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 6735, the Initiative and Referendum Act that the Lambino Group
invokes as valid, requires that the people must sign the "petition x x x as signatories."

The proponents of the initiative secure the signatures from the people. The proponents secure the signatures in their private capacity and not as public officials. The
proponents are not disinterested parties who can impartially explain the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed amendments to the people. The proponents present
favorably their proposal to the people and do not present the arguments against their proposal. The proponents, or their supporters, often pay those who gather the
signatures.

Thus, there is no presumption that the proponents observed the constitutional requirements in gathering the signatures. The proponents bear the burden of proving that they
complied with the constitutional requirements in gathering the signatures - that the petition contained, or incorporated by attachment, the full text of the proposed
amendments.

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The Lambino Group did not attach to their present petition with this Court a copy of the paper that the people signed as their initiative petition. The Lambino Group submitted
to this Court a copy of a signature sheet20 after the oral arguments of 26 September 2006 when they filed their Memorandum on 11 October 2006. The signature sheet with
this Court during the oral arguments was the signature sheet attached 21 to the opposition in intervention filed on 7 September 2006 by intervenor Atty. Pete Quirino-Quadra.

The signature sheet attached to Atty. Quadra's opposition and the signature sheet attached to the Lambino Group's Memorandum are the  same. We reproduce below the
signature sheet in full:

Province: City/Municipality: No. of  


Legislative District: Barangay:  
Verified

Signatures:

PROPOSITION: "DO YOU APPROVE OF THE AMENDMENT OF ARTICLES VI AND VII OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION, CHANGING THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT
FROM THE PRESENT BICAMERAL-PRESIDENTIAL TO A UNICAMERAL-PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE GREATER
EFFICIENCY, SIMPLICITY AND ECONOMY IN GOVERNMENT; AND PROVIDING AN ARTICLE XVIII AS TRANSITORY PROVISIONS FOR THE ORDERLY SHIFT FROM
ONE SYSTEM TO ANOTHER?"

I hereby APPROVE the proposed amendment to the 1987 Constitution. My signature herein which shall form part of the petition for initiative to amend the Constitution
signifies my support for the filing thereof.

Precinct Number Name Address Birthdate Signature Verification

Last Name, First Name, M.I. MM/DD/YY


1            
2            
3            
4            
5            
6            
7            
8            
9            
10            

_________________ _________________ __________________


Barangay Official Witness Witness
(Print Name and Sign) (Print Name and Sign) (Print Name and Sign)

There is not a single word, phrase, or sentence of text of the Lambino Group's proposed changes in the signature sheet. Neither does the signature sheet state
that the text of the proposed changes is attached to it. Petitioner Atty. Raul Lambino admitted this during the oral arguments before this Court on 26 September 2006.

The signature sheet merely asks a question whether the people approve a shift from the Bicameral-Presidential to the Unicameral-Parliamentary system of government.  The
signature sheet does not show to the people the draft of the proposed changes before they are asked to sign the signature sheet. Clearly, the signature sheet is not
the "petition" that the framers of the Constitution envisioned when they formulated the initiative clause in Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution.

Petitioner Atty. Lambino, however, explained that during the signature-gathering from February to August 2006, the Lambino Group circulated, together with the signature
sheets, printed copies of the Lambino Group's draft petition which they later filed on 25 August 2006 with the COMELEC. When asked if his group also circulated the draft of
their amended petition filed on 30 August 2006 with the COMELEC, Atty. Lambino initially replied that they circulated both. However, Atty. Lambino changed his answer and
stated that what his group circulated was the draft of the 30 August 2006 amended petition, not the draft of the 25 August 2006 petition.

The Lambino Group would have this Court believe that they prepared the draft of the 30 August 2006 amended petition  almost seven months earlier in February
2006 when they started gathering signatures. Petitioner Erico B. Aumentado's "Verification/Certification" of the 25 August 2006 petition, as well as of the 30 August 2006
amended petition, filed with the COMELEC, states as follows:

I have caused the preparation of the foregoing [Amended] Petition in my personal capacity as a registered voter,  for and on behalf of the Union of Local
Authorities of the Philippines, as shown by ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 hereto attached , and as representative of the mass of signatories hereto.
(Emphasis supplied)

The Lambino Group failed to attach a copy of ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 to the present petition. However, the "Official Website of the Union of Local Authorities of the
Philippines"22 has posted the full text of Resolution No. 2006-02, which provides:

RESOLUTION NO. 2006-02

RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE PROPOSALS OF THE PEOPLE'S CONSULTATIVE COMMISSION ON CHARTER CHANGE THROUGH PEOPLE'S
INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM AS A MODE OF AMENDING THE 1987 CONSTITUTION

WHEREAS, there is a need for the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) to adopt a common stand on the approach to support the proposals of the
People's Consultative Commission on Charter Change;

WHEREAS, ULAP maintains its unqualified support to the agenda of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for constitutional reforms as embodied in
the ULAP Joint Declaration for Constitutional Reforms signed by the members of the ULAP and the majority coalition of the House of Representatives in Manila
Hotel sometime in October 2005;

WHEREAS, the People's Consultative Commission on Charter Change created by Her Excellency to recommend amendments to the 1987 Constitution has
submitted its final report sometime in December 2005;

WHEREAS, the ULAP is mindful of the current political developments in Congress which militates against the use of the expeditious form of amending the 1987
Constitution;

WHEREAS, subject to the ratification of its institutional members and the failure of Congress to amend the Constitution as a constituent assembly, ULAP has
unanimously agreed to pursue the constitutional reform agenda through People's Initiative and Referendum without prejudice to other pragmatic means to pursue
the same;

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WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, THAT ALL THE MEMBER-LEAGUES OF THE UNION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF THE
PHILIPPINES (ULAP) SUPPORT THE PORPOSALS (SIC) OF THE PEOPLE'S CONSULATATIVE (SIC) COMMISSION ON CHARTER CHANGE THROUGH
PEOPLE'S INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM AS A MODE OF AMENDING THE 1987 CONSTITUTION;

DONE, during the ULAP National Executive Board special meeting held on 14 January 2006 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila. 23 (Underscoring supplied)

ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 does not authorize petitioner Aumentado to prepare the 25 August 2006 petition, or the 30 August 2006 amended petition, filed with the
COMELEC. ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 "support(s) the porposals (sic) of the Consulatative (sic) Commission on Charter Change through people's initiative and
referendum as a mode of amending the 1987 Constitution." The proposals of the Consultative Commission 24 are vastly different from the proposed changes of the Lambino
Group in the 25 August 2006 petition or 30 August 2006 amended petition filed with the COMELEC.

For example, the proposed revisions of the Consultative Commission affect all provisions of the existing Constitution, from the Preamble to the Transitory Provisions. The
proposed revisions have profound impact on the Judiciary and the National Patrimony provisions of the existing Constitution, provisions that the Lambino Group's proposed
changes do not touch. The Lambino Group's proposed changes purport to affect only Articles VI and VII of the existing Constitution, including the introduction of new
Transitory Provisions.

The ULAP adopted Resolution No. 2006-02 on 14 January 2006 or more than six months before the filing of the 25 August 2006 petition or the 30 August 2006 amended
petition with the COMELEC. However, ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 does not establish that ULAP or the Lambino Group caused the circulation of the draft petition, together
with the signature sheets, six months before the filing with the COMELEC. On the contrary, ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 casts grave doubt on the Lambino Group's
claim that they circulated the draft petition together with the signature sheets. ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 does not refer at all to the draft petition or to the
Lambino Group's proposed changes.

In their Manifestation explaining their amended petition before the COMELEC, the Lambino Group declared:

After the Petition was filed, Petitioners belatedly realized that the proposed amendments alleged in the Petition, more specifically, paragraph 3 of Section 4 and
paragraph 2 of Section 5 of the Transitory Provisions were inaccurately stated and failed to correctly reflect their proposed amendments.

The Lambino Group did not allege that they were amending the petition because the amended petition was what they had shown to the people during the February to August
2006 signature-gathering. Instead, the Lambino Group alleged that the petition of 25 August 2006 "inaccurately stated and failed to correctly reflect their proposed
amendments."

The Lambino Group never alleged in the 25 August 2006 petition or the 30 August 2006 amended petition with the COMELEC that they circulated printed copies of the draft
petition together with the signature sheets. Likewise, the Lambino Group did not allege in their present petition before this Court that they circulated printed copies of the draft
petition together with the signature sheets. The signature sheets do not also contain any indication that the draft petition is attached to, or circulated with, the signature sheets.

It is only in their Consolidated Reply to the Opposition-in-Interventions that the Lambino Group first claimed that they circulated the "petition for initiative filed with the
COMELEC," thus:

[T]here is persuasive authority to the effect that "(w)here there is not (sic) fraud, a signer who did not read the measure attached to a referendum petition cannot
question his signature on the ground that he did not understand the nature of the act." [82 C.J.S. S128h. Mo. State v. Sullivan, 224, S.W. 327, 283 Mo. 546.]
Thus, the registered voters who signed the signature sheets circulated together with the petition for initiative filed with the COMELEC below , are presumed to
have understood the proposition contained in the petition.

The Lambino Group's statement that they circulated to the people "the petition for initiative filed with the COMELEC" appears an afterthought, made after the intervenors
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Cebu City Chapter and Cebu Province Chapters) and Atty. Quadra had pointed out that the signature sheets did not contain the text of the
proposed changes. In their Consolidated Reply, the Lambino Group alleged that they circulated "the petition for initiative" but failed to mention the amended petition. This
contradicts what Atty. Lambino finally stated during the oral arguments that what they circulated was the draft of the amended petition of 30 August 2006.

The Lambino Group cites as authority Corpus Juris Secundum, stating that "a signer who did not read the measure attached to a referendum petition cannot question his
signature on the ground that he did not understand the nature of the act." The Lambino Group quotes an authority that cites  a proposed change attached to the petition
signed by the people. Even the authority the Lambino Group quotes requires that the proposed change must be attached to the petition. The same authority the Lambino
Group quotes requires the people to sign on the petition itself.

Indeed, it is basic in American jurisprudence that the proposed amendment must be incorporated with, or attached to, the initiative petition signed by the people. In the present
initiative, the Lambino Group's proposed changes were not incorporated with, or attached to, the signature sheets. The Lambino Group's citation of  Corpus Juris
Secundum pulls the rug from under their feet.

It is extremely doubtful that the Lambino Group prepared, printed, circulated, from February to August 2006 during the signature-gathering period, the draft of the petition or
amended petition they filed later with the COMELEC. The Lambino Group are less than candid with this Court in their belated claim that they printed and circulated, together
with the signature sheets, the petition or amended petition. Nevertheless, even assuming the Lambino Group circulated the amended petition during the signature-
gathering period, the Lambino Group admitted circulating only very limited copies of the petition.

During the oral arguments, Atty. Lambino expressly admitted that they printed only 100,000 copies of the draft petition they filed more than six months later with the
COMELEC. Atty. Lambino added that he also asked other supporters to print additional copies of the draft petition but he could not state with certainty how many additional
copies the other supporters printed. Atty. Lambino could only assure this Court of the printing of 100,000 copies because he himself caused the printing of these
100,000 copies.

Likewise, in the Lambino Group's Memorandum filed on 11 October 2006,  the Lambino Group expressly admits that "petitioner Lambino initiated the printing and
reproduction of 100,000 copies of the petition for initiative x x x." 25 This admission binds the Lambino Group and establishes beyond any doubt that the Lambino
Group failed to show the full text of the proposed changes to the great majority of the people who signed the signature sheets .

Thus, of the 6.3 million signatories, only 100,000 signatories could have received with certainty one copy each of the petition, assuming a 100 percent distribution with no
wastage. If Atty. Lambino and company attached one copy of the petition to each signature sheet, only 100,000 signature sheets could have circulated with the petition. Each
signature sheet contains space for ten signatures. Assuming ten people signed each of these 100,000 signature sheets with the attached petition, the maximum number of
people who saw the petition before they signed the signature sheets would not exceed 1,000,000.

With only 100,000 printed copies of the petition, it would be physically impossible for all or a great majority of the 6.3 million signatories to have seen the petition before they
signed the signature sheets. The inescapable conclusion is that the Lambino Group failed to show to the 6.3 million signatories the full text of the proposed
changes. If ever, not more than one million signatories saw the petition before they signed the signature sheets.

In any event, the Lambino Group's signature sheets do not contain the full text of the proposed changes, either on the face of the signature sheets, or as attachment with an
indication in the signature sheet of such attachment.  Petitioner Atty. Lambino admitted this during the oral arguments, and this admission binds the Lambino Group.
This fact is also obvious from a mere reading of the signature sheet. This omission is fatal . The failure to so include the text of the proposed changes in the signature
sheets renders the initiative void for non-compliance with the constitutional requirement that the amendment must be " directly proposed by the people through initiative
upon a petition." The signature sheet is not the "petition" envisioned in the initiative clause of the Constitution.

For sure, the great majority of the 6.3 million people who signed the signature sheets did not see the full text of the proposed changes before signing. They could not have
known the nature and effect of the proposed changes, among which are:

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1. The term limits on members of the legislature will be lifted and thus members of Parliament can be re-elected indefinitely; 26

2. The interim Parliament can continue to function indefinitely until its members, who are almost all the present members of Congress, decide to call for new
parliamentary elections. Thus, the members of the interim Parliament will determine the expiration of their own term of office; 27

3. Within 45 days from the ratification of the proposed changes, the interim Parliament shall convene to propose further amendments or revisions to the
Constitution.28

These three specific amendments are not stated or even indicated in the Lambino Group's signature sheets. The people who signed the signature sheets had no idea that
they were proposing these amendments. These three proposed changes are highly controversial. The people could not have inferred or divined these proposed changes
merely from a reading or rereading of the contents of the signature sheets.

During the oral arguments, petitioner Atty. Lambino stated that he and his group  assured the people during the signature-gathering that the elections for the regular
Parliament would be held during the 2007 local elections if the proposed changes were ratified before the 2007 local elections. However, the text of the proposed
changes belies this.

The proposed Section 5(2), Article XVIII on Transitory Provisions, as found in the amended petition, states:

Section 5(2). The interim Parliament shall provide for the election of the members of Parliament,  which shall be synchronized and held simultaneously with
the election of all local government officials. x x x x (Emphasis supplied)

Section 5(2) does not state that the elections for the regular Parliament will be held simultaneously with the 2007 local elections. This section merely requires that the elections
for the regular Parliament shall be held simultaneously with the local elections without specifying the year.

Petitioner Atty. Lambino, who claims to be the principal drafter of the proposed changes, could have easily written the word "next" before the phrase "election of all local
government officials." This would have insured that the elections for the regular Parliament would be held in the next local elections following the ratification of the proposed
changes. However, the absence of the word "next" allows the interim Parliament to schedule the elections for the regular Parliament simultaneously with  any future local
elections.

Thus, the members of the interim Parliament will decide the expiration of their own term of office. This allows incumbent members of the House of Representatives to hold
office beyond their current three-year term of office, and possibly even beyond the five-year term of office of regular members of the Parliament.  Certainly, this is contrary to
the representations of Atty. Lambino and his group to the 6.3 million people who signed the signature sheets. Atty. Lambino and his group deceived the 6.3
million signatories, and even the entire nation.

This lucidly shows the absolute need for the people to sign an initiative petition that contains the full text of the proposed amendments to avoid fraud or misrepresentation. In
the present initiative, the 6.3 million signatories had to rely on the verbal representations of Atty. Lambino and his group because the signature sheets did not contain the full
text of the proposed changes. The result is a grand deception on the 6.3 million signatories who were led to believe that the proposed changes would require the holding in
2007 of elections for the regular Parliament simultaneously with the local elections.

The Lambino Group's initiative springs another surprise on the people who signed the signature sheets. The proposed changes mandate the interim Parliament to make
further amendments or revisions to the Constitution. The proposed Section 4(4), Article XVIII on Transitory Provisions, provides:

Section 4(4). Within forty-five days from ratification of these amendments, the interim Parliament  shall convene to propose amendments to, or revisions of,
this Constitution consistent with the principles of local autonomy, decentralization and a strong bureaucracy. (Emphasis supplied)

During the oral arguments, Atty. Lambino stated that this provision is a "surplusage" and the Court and the people should simply ignore it. Far from being a surplusage, this
provision invalidates the Lambino Group's initiative.

Section 4(4) is a subject matter totally unrelated to the shift from the Bicameral-Presidential to the Unicameral-Parliamentary system. American jurisprudence on initiatives
outlaws this as logrolling - when the initiative petition incorporates an unrelated subject matter in the same petition. This puts the people in a dilemma since they can answer
only either yes or no to the entire proposition, forcing them to sign a petition that effectively contains two propositions, one of which they may find unacceptable.

Under American jurisprudence, the effect of logrolling is to nullify the entire proposition and not only the unrelated subject matter. Thus, in Fine v. Firestone,29 the Supreme
Court of Florida declared:

Combining multiple propositions into one proposal constitutes "logrolling," which, if our judicial responsibility is to mean anything, we cannot permit .
The very broadness of the proposed amendment amounts to logrolling because the electorate cannot know what it is voting on - the amendment's proponents'
simplistic explanation reveals only the tip of the iceberg. x x x x The ballot must give the electorate fair notice of the proposed amendment being voted on. x x x x
The ballot language in the instant case fails to do that. The very broadness of the proposal makes it impossible to state what it will affect and effect and violates the
requirement that proposed amendments embrace only one subject. (Emphasis supplied)

Logrolling confuses and even deceives the people. In Yute Air Alaska v. McAlpine,30 the Supreme Court of Alaska warned against "inadvertence, stealth and fraud" in
logrolling:

Whenever a bill becomes law through the initiative process, all of the problems that the single-subject rule was enacted to prevent are exacerbated. There is a greater danger
of logrolling, or the deliberate intermingling of issues to increase the likelihood of an initiative's passage, and  there is a greater opportunity for "inadvertence, stealth and
fraud" in the enactment-by-initiative process. The drafters of an initiative operate independently of any structured or supervised process. They often emphasize particular
provisions of their proposition, while remaining silent on other (more complex or less appealing) provisions, when communicating to the public. x x x  Indeed, initiative
promoters typically use simplistic advertising to present their initiative to potential petition-signers and eventual voters. Many voters will never read the full text of
the initiative before the election. More importantly, there is no process for amending or splitting the several provisions in an initiative proposal. These difficulties clearly
distinguish the initiative from the legislative process. (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, the present initiative appears merely a preliminary step for further amendments or revisions to be undertaken by the interim Parliament as a constituent assembly. The
people who signed the signature sheets could not have known that their signatures would be used to propose an amendment  mandating the interim Parliament to
propose further amendments or revisions to the Constitution.

Apparently, the Lambino Group inserted the proposed Section 4(4) to compel the interim Parliament to amend or revise again the Constitution within 45 days from ratification
of the proposed changes, or before the May 2007 elections. In the absence of the proposed Section 4(4), the interim Parliament has the discretion whether to amend or
revise again the Constitution. With the proposed Section 4(4), the initiative proponents want the interim Parliament  mandated to immediately amend or revise again the
Constitution.

However, the signature sheets do not explain the reason for this rush in amending or revising again so soon the Constitution. The signature sheets do not also explain what
specific amendments or revisions the initiative proponents want the interim Parliament to make, and why there is a need for such further amendments or revisions.  The
people are again left in the dark to fathom the nature and effect of the proposed changes . Certainly, such an initiative is not "directly proposed by the people" because
the people do not even know the nature and effect of the proposed changes.

There is another intriguing provision inserted in the Lambino Group's amended petition of 30 August 2006. The proposed Section 4(3) of the Transitory Provisions states:

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Section 4(3). Senators whose term of office ends in 2010 shall be members of Parliament until noon of the thirtieth day of June 2010.

After 30 June 2010, not one of the present Senators will remain as member of Parliament if the interim Parliament does not schedule elections for the regular Parliament by 30
June 2010. However, there is no counterpart provision for the present members of the House of Representatives even if their term of office will all end on 30 June 2007, three
years earlier than that of half of the present Senators. Thus, all the present members of the House will remain members of the interim Parliament after 30 June 2010.

The term of the incumbent President ends on 30 June 2010. Thereafter, the Prime Minister exercises all the powers of the President. If the interim Parliament does not
schedule elections for the regular Parliament by 30 June 2010, the Prime Minister will come only from the present members of the House of Representatives to
the exclusion of the present Senators.

The signature sheets do not explain this discrimination against the Senators. The 6.3 million people who signed the signature sheets could not have known that their
signatures would be used to discriminate against the Senators. They could not have known that their signatures would be used to limit, after 30 June 2010, the
interim Parliament's choice of Prime Minister only to members of the existing House of Representatives.

An initiative that gathers signatures from the people without first showing to the people the full text of the proposed amendments is most likely a deception, and can operate
as a gigantic fraud on the people. That is why the Constitution requires that an initiative must be "directly proposed by the people x x x in a petition" - meaning that the
people must sign on a petition that contains the full text of the proposed amendments. On so vital an issue as amending the nation's fundamental law, the writing of the text of
the proposed amendments cannot be hidden from the people under a general or special power of attorney to unnamed, faceless, and unelected individuals.

The Constitution entrusts to the people the power to directly propose amendments to the Constitution. This Court trusts the wisdom of the people even if the members of this
Court do not personally know the people who sign the petition. However, this trust emanates from a fundamental assumption: the full text of the proposed amendment
is first shown to the people before they sign the petition, not after they have signed the petition.

In short, the Lambino Group's initiative is void and unconstitutional because it dismally fails to comply with the requirement of Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution that the
initiative must be "directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition."

2. The Initiative Violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution Disallowing Revision through Initiatives

A people's initiative to change the Constitution applies only to an amendment of the Constitution and not to its revision. In contrast, Congress or a constitutional convention
can propose both amendments and revisions to the Constitution. Article XVII of the Constitution provides:

ARTICLE XVII
AMENDMENTS OR REVISIONS

Sec. 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by:

(1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members, or

(2) A constitutional convention.

Sec. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

Article XVII of the Constitution speaks of three modes of amending the Constitution. The first mode is through Congress upon three-fourths vote of all its Members. The
second mode is through a constitutional convention. The third mode is through a people's initiative.

Section 1 of Article XVII, referring to the first and second modes, applies to "[A]ny amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution." In contrast, Section 2 of Article XVII,
referring to the third mode, applies only to "[A]mendments to this Constitution." This distinction was  intentional as shown by the following deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission:

MR. SUAREZ: Thank you, Madam President.

May we respectfully call the attention of the Members of the Commission that pursuant to the mandate given to us last night, we submitted this afternoon a
complete Committee Report No. 7 which embodies the proposed provision governing the matter of initiative. This is now covered by Section 2 of the complete
committee report. With the permission of the Members, may I quote Section 2:

The people may, after five years from the date of the last plebiscite held, directly propose amendments to this Constitution thru initiative upon petition of at least
ten percent of the registered voters.

This completes the blanks appearing in the original Committee Report No. 7. This proposal was suggested on the theory that this matter of initiative, which came
about because of the extraordinary developments this year, has to be separated from the traditional modes of amending the Constitution as embodied in Section
1. The committee members felt that this system of initiative should be limited to amendments to the Constitution and should not extend to the revision
of the entire Constitution, so we removed it from the operation of Section 1 of the proposed Article on Amendment or Revision. x x x x

MS. AQUINO: [I] am seriously bothered by providing this process of initiative as a separate section in the Article on Amendment. Would the sponsor be amenable
to accepting an amendment in terms of realigning Section 2 as another subparagraph (c) of Section 1, instead of setting it up as another separate section as if it
were a self-executing provision?

MR. SUAREZ: We would be amenable except that, as we clarified a while ago,  this process of initiative is limited to the matter of amendment and should
not expand into a revision which contemplates a total overhaul of the Constitution. That was the sense that was conveyed by the Committee.

MS. AQUINO: In other words, the Committee was attempting to distinguish the coverage of modes (a) and (b) in Section 1 to include the process of
revision; whereas, the process of initiation to amend, which is given to the public, would only apply to amendments?

MR. SUAREZ: That is right. Those were the terms envisioned in the Committee.

MS. AQUINO: I thank the sponsor; and thank you, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG: My first question: Commissioner Davide's proposed amendment on line 1 refers to "amendments." Does it not cover the word
"revision" as defined by Commissioner Padilla when he made the distinction between the words "amendments" and "revision"?

MR. DAVIDE: No, it does not, because "amendments" and "revision" should be covered by Section 1. So insofar as initiative is concerned, it can only
relate to "amendments" not "revision."

MR. MAAMBONG: Thank you.31 (Emphasis supplied)

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There can be no mistake about it. The framers of the Constitution intended, and wrote, a clear distinction between "amendment" and "revision" of the Constitution. The
framers intended, and wrote, that only Congress or a constitutional convention may propose revisions to the Constitution. The framers  intended, and wrote, that a people's
initiative may propose only amendments to the Constitution. Where the intent and language of the Constitution clearly withhold from the people the power to propose revisions
to the Constitution, the people cannot propose revisions even as they are empowered to propose amendments.

This has been the consistent ruling of state supreme courts in the United States. Thus, in McFadden v. Jordan,32 the Supreme Court of California ruled:

The initiative power reserved by the people by amendment to the Constitution x x x applies only to the proposing and the adopting or rejecting of 'laws
and amendments to the Constitution' and does not purport to extend to a constitutional revision . x x x x It is thus clear that a revision of the Constitution
may be accomplished only through ratification by the people of a revised constitution proposed by a convention called for that purpose as outlined hereinabove.
Consequently if the scope of the proposed initiative measure (hereinafter termed 'the measure') now before us is so broad that if such measure became law a
substantial revision of our present state Constitution would be effected, then the measure may not properly be submitted to the electorate until and unless it is first
agreed upon by a constitutional convention, and the writ sought by petitioner should issue. x x x x (Emphasis supplied)

Likewise, the Supreme Court of Oregon ruled in Holmes v. Appling:33

It is well established that when a constitution specifies the manner in which it may be amended or revised, it can be altered by those who favor amendments,
revision, or other change only through the use of one of the specified means. The constitution itself recognizes that there is a difference between an amendment
and a revision; and it is obvious from an examination of the measure here in question that it is not an amendment as that term is generally understood and as it is
used in Article IV, Section 1. The document appears to be based in large part on the revision of the constitution drafted by the 'Commission for Constitutional
Revision' authorized by the 1961 Legislative Assembly, x x x and submitted to the 1963 Legislative Assembly. It failed to receive in the Assembly the two-third's
majority vote of both houses required by Article XVII, Section 2, and hence failed of adoption, x x x.

While differing from that document in material respects, the measure sponsored by the plaintiffs is, nevertheless, a thorough overhauling of the present constitution

To call it an amendment is a misnomer.

Whether it be a revision or a new constitution, it is not such a measure as can be submitted to the people through the initiative. If a revision, it is subject to the
requirements of Article XVII, Section 2(1); if a new constitution, it can only be proposed at a convention called in the manner provided in Article XVII, Section 1. x x

Similarly, in this jurisdiction there can be no dispute that a people's initiative can only propose amendments to the Constitution since the Constitution itself limits initiatives to
amendments. There can be no deviation from the constitutionally prescribed modes of revising the Constitution. A popular clamor, even one backed by 6.3 million signatures,
cannot justify a deviation from the specific modes prescribed in the Constitution itself.

As the Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled in In re Initiative Petition No. 364:34

It is a fundamental principle that a constitution can only be revised or amended in the manner prescribed by the instrument itself, and that any attempt
to revise a constitution in a manner other than the one provided in the instrument is almost invariably treated as extra-constitutional and revolutionary .
x x x x "While it is universally conceded that the people are sovereign and that they have power to adopt a constitution and to change their own work at will, they
must, in doing so, act in an orderly manner and according to the settled principles of constitutional law. And where the people, in adopting a constitution, have
prescribed the method by which the people may alter or amend it, an attempt to change the fundamental law in violation of the self-imposed restrictions, is
unconstitutional." x x x x (Emphasis supplied)

This Court, whose members are sworn to defend and protect the Constitution, cannot shirk from its solemn oath and duty to insure compliance with the clear command of the
Constitution ― that a people's initiative may only amend, never revise, the Constitution.

The question is, does the Lambino Group's initiative constitute an amendment or revision of the Constitution? If the Lambino Group's initiative constitutes a revision, then the
present petition should be dismissed for being outside the scope of Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution.

Courts have long recognized the distinction between an amendment and a revision of a constitution. One of the earliest cases that recognized the distinction described the
fundamental difference in this manner:

[T]he very term "constitution" implies an instrument of a permanent and abiding nature, and the provisions contained therein for its revision indicate the will of
the people that the underlying principles upon which it rests, as well as the substantial entirety of the instrument , shall be of a like permanent and abiding
nature. On the other hand, the significance of the term "amendment" implies such an addition or change within the lines of the original instrument as will effect an
improvement, or better carry out the purpose for which it was framed. 35 (Emphasis supplied)

Revision broadly implies a change that alters a basic principle in the constitution, like altering the principle of separation of powers or the system of checks-and-balances.
There is also revision if the change alters the substantial entirety of the constitution, as when the change affects substantial provisions of the constitution . On the
other hand, amendment broadly refers to a change that adds, reduces, or deletes without altering the basic principle involved. Revision generally affects several
provisions of the constitution, while amendment generally affects only the specific provision being amended.

In California where the initiative clause allows amendments but not revisions to the constitution just like in our Constitution, courts have developed a  two-part test: the
quantitative test and the qualitative test. The quantitative test asks whether the proposed change is "so extensive in its provisions as to change directly the 'substantial entirety'
of the constitution by the deletion or alteration of numerous existing provisions." 36 The court examines only the number of provisions affected and does not consider the degree
of the change.

The qualitative test inquires into the qualitative effects of the proposed change in the constitution. The main inquiry is whether the change will "accomplish such far reaching
changes in the nature of our basic governmental plan as to amount to a revision." 37 Whether there is an alteration in the structure of government is a proper subject of inquiry.
Thus, "a change in the nature of [the] basic governmental plan" includes "change in its fundamental framework or the fundamental powers of its Branches." 38 A change in the
nature of the basic governmental plan also includes changes that "jeopardize the traditional form of government and the system of check and balances." 39

Under both the quantitative and qualitative tests, the Lambino Group's initiative is a revision and not merely an amendment. Quantitatively, the Lambino Group's proposed
changes overhaul two articles - Article VI on the Legislature and Article VII on the Executive - affecting a total of 105 provisions in the entire Constitution. 40 Qualitatively, the
proposed changes alter substantially the basic plan of government, from presidential to parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature.

A change in the structure of government is a revision of the Constitution, as when the three great co-equal branches of government in the present Constitution are reduced
into two. This alters the separation of powers in the Constitution. A shift from the present Bicameral-Presidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary system is a
revision of the Constitution. Merging the legislative and executive branches is a radical change in the structure of government.

The abolition alone of the Office of the President as the locus of Executive Power alters the separation of powers and thus constitutes a revision of the Constitution. Likewise,
the abolition alone of one chamber of Congress alters the system of checks-and-balances within the legislature and constitutes a revision of the Constitution.

By any legal test and under any jurisdiction, a shift from a Bicameral-Presidential to a Unicameral-Parliamentary system, involving the abolition of the Office of the
President and the abolition of one chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision, not a mere amendment. On the face alone of the Lambino Group's proposed changes, it
is readily apparent that the changes will radically alter the framework of government as set forth in the Constitution . Father Joaquin Bernas, S.J., a leading member of
the Constitutional Commission, writes:

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An amendment envisages an alteration of one or a few specific and separable provisions. The guiding original intention of an amendment is to improve specific parts or to add
new provisions deemed necessary to meet new conditions or to suppress specific portions that may have become obsolete or that are judged to be dangerous. In revision,
however, the guiding original intention and plan contemplates a re-examination of the entire document, or of provisions of the document which have over-all implications for
the entire document, to determine how and to what extent they should be altered. Thus, for instance a switch from the presidential system to a parliamentary system
would be a revision because of its over-all impact on the entire constitutional structure. So would a switch from a bicameral system to a unicameral system be
because of its effect on other important provisions of the Constitution.41 (Emphasis supplied)

In Adams v. Gunter,42 an initiative petition proposed the amendment of the Florida State constitution to shift from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature. The issue
turned on whether the initiative "was defective and unauthorized where [the] proposed amendment would x x x affect several other provisions of [the] Constitution." The
Supreme Court of Florida, striking down the initiative as outside the scope of the initiative clause, ruled as follows:

The proposal here to amend Section 1 of Article III of the 1968 Constitution to provide for a Unicameral Legislature  affects not only many other provisions of
the Constitution but provides for a change in the form of the legislative branch of government , which has been in existence in the United States Congress
and in all of the states of the nation, except one, since the earliest days.  It would be difficult to visualize a more revolutionary change . The concept of a House
and a Senate is basic in the American form of government. It would not only radically change the whole pattern of government in this state and tear apart
the whole fabric of the Constitution, but would even affect the physical facilities necessary to carry on government.

We conclude with the observation that if such proposed amendment were adopted by the people at the General Election and if the Legislature at its next session
should fail to submit further amendments to revise and clarify the numerous inconsistencies and conflicts which would result, or if after submission of appropriate
amendments the people should refuse to adopt them, simple chaos would prevail in the government of this State. The same result would obtain from an
amendment, for instance, of Section 1 of Article V, to provide for only a Supreme Court and Circuit Courts-and there could be other examples too numerous to
detail. These examples point unerringly to the answer.

The purpose of the long and arduous work of the hundreds of men and women and many sessions of the Legislature in bringing about the Constitution of 1968
was to eliminate inconsistencies and conflicts and to give the State a workable, accordant, homogenous and up-to-date document. All of this could disappear very
quickly if we were to hold that it could be amended in the manner proposed in the initiative petition here. 43 (Emphasis supplied)

The rationale of the Adams decision applies with greater force to the present petition. The Lambino Group's initiative not only seeks a shift from a bicameral to a unicameral
legislature, it also seeks to merge the executive and legislative departments. The initiative in Adams did not even touch the executive department.

In Adams, the Supreme Court of Florida enumerated 18 sections of the Florida Constitution that would be affected by the shift from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature. In
the Lambino Group's present initiative, no less than 105 provisions of the Constitution would be affected  based on the count of Associate Justice Romeo J. Callejo,
Sr.44 There is no doubt that the Lambino Group's present initiative seeks far more radical changes in the structure of government than the initiative in Adams.

The Lambino Group theorizes that the difference between "amendment" and "revision" is only one of procedure, not of substance. The Lambino Group posits that when a
deliberative body drafts and proposes changes to the Constitution, substantive changes are called "revisions" because members of the deliberative body work full-time on
the changes. However, the same substantive changes, when proposed through an initiative, are called "amendments"  because the changes are made by ordinary people
who do not make an "occupation, profession, or vocation" out of such endeavor.

Thus, the Lambino Group makes the following exposition of their theory in their Memorandum:

99. With this distinction in mind, we note that the constitutional provisions expressly provide for both "amendment" and "revision" when it speaks of legislators and
constitutional delegates, while the same provisions expressly provide only for "amendment" when it speaks of the people. It would seem that the apparent
distinction is based on the actual experience of the people, that on one hand the common people in general are  not expected to work full-time on the matter of
correcting the constitution because that is not their occupation, profession or vocation; while on the other hand, the legislators and constitutional convention
delegates are expected to work full-time on the same matter because that is their occupation, profession or vocation. Thus, the difference between the words
"revision" and "amendment" pertain only to the process or procedure of coming up with the corrections , for purposes of interpreting the constitutional
provisions.

100. Stated otherwise, the difference between "amendment" and "revision" cannot reasonably be in the substance or extent of the correction. x x x x

The Lambino Group in effect argues that if Congress or a constitutional convention had drafted the same proposed changes that the Lambino Group wrote in the present
initiative, the changes would constitute a revision of the Constitution. Thus, the Lambino Group concedes that the proposed changes in the present initiative constitute
a revision if Congress or a constitutional convention had drafted the changes. However, since the Lambino Group as private individuals drafted the proposed changes,
the changes are merely amendments to the Constitution. The Lambino Group trivializes the serious matter of changing the fundamental law of the land.

The express intent of the framers and the plain language of the Constitution  contradict the Lambino Group's theory. Where the intent of the framers and the language of
the Constitution are clear and plainly stated, courts do not deviate from such categorical intent and language. 45 Any theory espousing a construction contrary to such intent
and language deserves scant consideration. More so, if such theory wreaks havoc by creating inconsistencies in the form of government established in the Constitution. Such
a theory, devoid of any jurisprudential mooring and inviting inconsistencies in the Constitution, only exposes the flimsiness of the Lambino Group's position. Any theory
advocating that a proposed change involving a radical structural change in government does not constitute a revision justly deserves rejection.

The Lambino Group simply recycles a theory that initiative proponents in American jurisdictions have attempted to advance without any success. In  Lowe v. Keisling,46 the
Supreme Court of Oregon rejected this theory, thus:

Mabon argues that Article XVII, section 2, does not apply to changes to the constitution proposed by initiative.  His theory is that Article XVII, section 2 merely provides
a procedure by which the legislature can propose a revision of the constitution, but it does not affect proposed revisions initiated by the people .

Plaintiffs argue that the proposed ballot measure constitutes a wholesale change to the constitution that cannot be enacted through the initiative process. They assert that
the distinction between amendment and revision is determined by reviewing the scope and subject matter of the proposed enactment, and that revisions are not limited to
"a formal overhauling of the constitution." They argue that this ballot measure proposes far reaching changes outside the lines of the original instrument, including profound
impacts on existing fundamental rights and radical restructuring of the government's relationship with a defined group of citizens. Plaintiffs assert that, because the
proposed ballot measure "will refashion the most basic principles of Oregon constitutional law," the trial court correctly held that it violated Article XVII, section 2, and
cannot appear on the ballot without the prior approval of the legislature.

We first address Mabon's argument that Article XVII, section 2(1), does not prohibit revisions instituted by initiative. In  Holmes v. Appling, x x x, the Supreme Court
concluded that a revision of the constitution may not be accomplished by initiative, because of the provisions of Article XVII, section 2. After reviewing Article XVII, section1,
relating to proposed amendments, the court said:

"From the foregoing it appears that Article IV, Section 1, authorizes the use of the initiative as a means of amending the Oregon Constitution, but it contains no similar
sanction for its use as a means of revising the constitution." x x x x

It then reviewed Article XVII, section 2, relating to revisions, and said: "It is the only section of the constitution which provides the means for constitutional revision and it
excludes the idea that an individual, through the initiative, may place such a measure before the electorate." x x x x

Accordingly, we reject Mabon's argument that Article XVII, section 2, does not apply to constitutional revisions proposed by initiative . (Emphasis supplied)

Similarly, this Court must reject the Lambino Group's theory which negates the express intent of the framers and the plain language of the Constitution.

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We can visualize amendments and revisions as a spectrum, at one end green for amendments and at the other end red for revisions. Towards the middle of the spectrum,
colors fuse and difficulties arise in determining whether there is an amendment or revision. The present initiative is indisputably located at the far end of the red spectrum
where revision begins. The present initiative seeks a radical overhaul of the existing separation of powers among the three co-equal departments of government, requiring far-
reaching amendments in several sections and articles of the Constitution.

Where the proposed change applies only to a specific provision of the Constitution without affecting any other section or article, the change may generally be considered an
amendment and not a revision. For example, a change reducing the voting age from 18 years to 15 years 47 is an amendment and not a revision. Similarly, a change reducing
Filipino ownership of mass media companies from 100 percent to 60 percent is an amendment and not a revision. 48 Also, a change requiring a college degree as an additional
qualification for election to the Presidency is an amendment and not a revision. 49

The changes in these examples do not entail any modification of sections or articles of the Constitution other than the specific provision being amended. These changes do
not also affect the structure of government or the system of checks-and-balances among or within the three branches. These three examples are located at the far green end
of the spectrum, opposite the far red end where the revision sought by the present petition is located.

However, there can be no fixed rule on whether a change is an amendment or a revision. A change in a single word of one sentence of the Constitution may be a revision and
not an amendment. For example, the substitution of the word "republican" with "monarchic" or "theocratic" in Section 1, Article II 50 of the Constitution radically overhauls the
entire structure of government and the fundamental ideological basis of the Constitution. Thus, each specific change will have to be examined case-by-case, depending on
how it affects other provisions, as well as how it affects the structure of government, the carefully crafted system of checks-and-balances, and the underlying ideological basis
of the existing Constitution.

Since a revision of a constitution affects basic principles, or several provisions of a constitution, a deliberative body with recorded proceedings is best suited to undertake a
revision. A revision requires harmonizing not only several provisions, but also the altered principles with those that remain unaltered. Thus, constitutions normally authorize
deliberative bodies like constituent assemblies or constitutional conventions to undertake revisions. On the other hand, constitutions allow people's initiatives, which do not
have fixed and identifiable deliberative bodies or recorded proceedings, to undertake only amendments and not revisions.

In the present initiative, the Lambino Group's proposed Section 2 of the Transitory Provisions states:

Section 2. Upon the expiration of the term of the incumbent President and Vice President, with the exception of Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Article VI of the
1987 Constitution which shall hereby be amended and Sections 18 and 24 which shall be deleted, all other Sections of Article VI are hereby retained and
renumbered sequentially as Section 2, ad seriatim up to 26, unless they are inconsistent with the Parliamentary system of government, in which case, they
shall be amended to conform with a unicameral parliamentary form of government; x x x x (Emphasis supplied)

The basic rule in statutory construction is that if a later law is irreconcilably inconsistent with a prior law, the later law prevails. This rule also applies to construction of
constitutions. However, the Lambino Group's draft of Section 2 of the Transitory Provisions turns on its head this rule of construction by stating that in case of such
irreconcilable inconsistency, the earlier provision "shall be amended to conform with a unicameral parliamentary form of government." The effect is to freeze the two
irreconcilable provisions until the earlier one "shall be amended," which requires a future separate constitutional amendment.

Realizing the absurdity of the need for such an amendment, petitioner Atty. Lambino readily conceded during the oral arguments that the requirement of a future amendment
is a "surplusage." In short, Atty. Lambino wants to reinstate the rule of statutory construction so that the later provision automatically prevails in case of irreconcilable
inconsistency. However, it is not as simple as that.

The irreconcilable inconsistency envisioned in the proposed Section 2 of the Transitory Provisions is not between a provision in Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and a
provision in the proposed changes. The inconsistency is between a provision in Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the " Parliamentary system of government," and the
inconsistency shall be resolved in favor of a "unicameral parliamentary form of government."

Now, what "unicameral parliamentary form of government" do the Lambino Group's proposed changes refer to ― the Bangladeshi, Singaporean, Israeli, or New Zealand
models, which are among the few countries with unicameral parliaments? The proposed changes could not possibly refer to the traditional and well-known parliamentary
forms of government ― the British, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Canadian, Australian, or Malaysian models, which have all  bicameral parliaments. Did the people who
signed the signature sheets realize that they were adopting the Bangladeshi, Singaporean, Israeli, or New Zealand parliamentary form of government?

This drives home the point that the people's initiative is not meant for revisions of the Constitution but only for amendments. A shift from the present Bicameral-Presidential to
a Unicameral-Parliamentary system requires harmonizing several provisions in many articles of the Constitution. Revision of the Constitution through a people's initiative will
only result in gross absurdities in the Constitution.

In sum, there is no doubt whatsoever that the Lambino Group's initiative is a revision and not an amendment. Thus, the present initiative is void and unconstitutional because
it violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution limiting the scope of a people's initiative to "[A]mendments to this Constitution."

3. A Revisit of Santiago v. COMELEC is Not Necessary

The present petition warrants dismissal for failure to comply with the basic requirements of Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on the conduct and scope of a people's
initiative to amend the Constitution. There is no need to revisit this Court's ruling in Santiago declaring RA 6735 "incomplete, inadequate or wanting in essential terms and
conditions" to cover the system of initiative to amend the Constitution. An affirmation or reversal of  Santiago will not change the outcome of the present petition. Thus, this
Court must decline to revisit Santiago which effectively ruled that RA 6735 does not comply with the requirements of the Constitution to implement the initiative clause on
amendments to the Constitution.

This Court must avoid revisiting a ruling involving the constitutionality of a statute if the case before the Court can be resolved on some other grounds. Such avoidance is a
logical consequence of the well-settled doctrine that courts will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute if the case can be resolved on some other grounds. 51

Nevertheless, even assuming that RA 6735 is valid to implement the constitutional provision on initiatives to amend the Constitution, this will not change the result here
because the present petition violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution. To be a valid initiative, the present initiative must  first comply with Section 2, Article XVII of
the Constitution even before complying with RA 6735.

Even then, the present initiative violates Section 5(b) of RA 6735 which requires that the "petition for an initiative on the 1987 Constitution must have at least twelve  per
centum (12%) of the total number of registered voters as signatories." Section 5(b) of RA 6735 requires that the people must sign the "petition x x x as signatories."

The 6.3 million signatories did not sign the petition of 25 August 2006 or the amended petition of 30 August 2006 filed with the COMELEC. Only Atty. Lambino, Atty.
Demosthenes B. Donato, and Atty. Alberto C. Agra signed the petition and amended petition as counsels for "Raul L. Lambino and Erico B. Aumentado,
Petitioners." In the COMELEC, the Lambino Group, claiming to act "together with" the 6.3 million signatories, merely attached the signature sheets to the petition and
amended petition. Thus, the petition and amended petition filed with the COMELEC did not even comply with the basic requirement of RA 6735 that the Lambino Group claims
as valid.

The Lambino Group's logrolling initiative also violates Section 10(a) of RA 6735 stating, " No petition embracing more than one (1) subject shall be submitted to the
electorate; x x x." The proposed Section 4(4) of the Transitory Provisions, mandating the interim Parliament to propose further amendments or revisions to the Constitution, is
a subject matter totally unrelated to the shift in the form of government. Since the present initiative embraces more than one subject matter, RA 6735 prohibits submission of
the initiative petition to the electorate. Thus, even if RA 6735 is valid, the Lambino Group's initiative will still fail.

4. The COMELEC Did Not Commit Grave Abuse of Discretion in Dismissing the Lambino Group's Initiative

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In dismissing the Lambino Group's initiative petition, the COMELEC en banc merely followed this Court's ruling in  Santiago and People's Initiative for Reform,
Modernization and Action (PIRMA) v. COMELEC.52 For following this Court's ruling, no grave abuse of discretion is attributable to the COMELEC. On this ground alone, the
present petition warrants outright dismissal. Thus, this Court should reiterate its unanimous ruling in PIRMA:

The Court ruled, first, by a unanimous vote, that no grave abuse of discretion could be attributed to the public respondent COMELEC in dismissing the petition filed
by PIRMA therein, it appearing that it only complied with the dispositions in the Decisions of this Court in G.R. No. 127325, promulgated on March 19, 1997, and
its Resolution of June 10, 1997.

5. Conclusion

The Constitution, as the fundamental law of the land, deserves the utmost respect and obedience of all the citizens of this nation. No one can trivialize the Constitution by
cavalierly amending or revising it in blatant violation of the clearly specified modes of amendment and revision laid down in the Constitution itself.

To allow such change in the fundamental law is to set adrift the Constitution in unchartered waters, to be tossed and turned by every dominant political group of the day. If this
Court allows today a cavalier change in the Constitution outside the constitutionally prescribed modes, tomorrow the new dominant political group that comes will demand its
own set of changes in the same cavalier and unconstitutional fashion. A revolving-door constitution does not augur well for the rule of law in this country.

An overwhelming majority − 16,622,111 voters comprising 76.3 percent of the total votes cast 53 − approved our Constitution in a national plebiscite held on 11 February
1987. That approval is the unmistakable voice of the people, the full expression of the people's sovereign will. That approval included the prescribed modes for
amending or revising the Constitution.

No amount of signatures, not even the 6,327,952 million signatures gathered by the Lambino Group, can change our Constitution contrary to the specific modes that the
people, in their sovereign capacity, prescribed when they ratified the Constitution. The alternative is an extra-constitutional change, which means  subverting the people's
sovereign will and discarding the Constitution. This is one act the Court cannot and should never do. As the ultimate guardian of the Constitution, this Court is sworn to
perform its solemn duty to defend and protect the Constitution, which embodies the real sovereign will of the people.

Incantations of "people's voice," "people's sovereign will," or "let the people decide" cannot override the specific modes of changing the Constitution as prescribed in the
Constitution itself. Otherwise, the Constitution ― the people's fundamental covenant that provides enduring stability to our society ― becomes easily susceptible to
manipulative changes by political groups gathering signatures through false promises. Then, the Constitution ceases to be the bedrock of the nation's stability.

The Lambino Group claims that their initiative is the "people's voice." However, the Lambino Group unabashedly states in ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02, in the verification of
their petition with the COMELEC, that "ULAP maintains its unqualified support to the agenda of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for constitutional
reforms." The Lambino Group thus admits that their "people's" initiative is an "unqualified support to the agenda" of the incumbent President to change the Constitution. This
forewarns the Court to be wary of incantations of "people's voice" or "sovereign will" in the present initiative.

This Court cannot betray its primordial duty to defend and protect the Constitution. The Constitution, which embodies the people's sovereign will, is the bible of this Court.  This
Court exists to defend and protect the Constitution. To allow this constitutionally infirm initiative, propelled by deceptively gathered signatures, to alter basic principles in
the Constitution is to allow a desecration of the Constitution. To allow such alteration and desecration is to lose this Court's raison d'etre.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition in G.R. No. 174153.

SO ORDERED.

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[5] R.A 6735 as an implementing law of Sec.2 Art. XVII

[7] Constitutional provisions shall be treated as non-self-executing if such is clearly intended.

G.R. No. 127325 March 19, 1997

MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ALEXANDER PADILLA, and MARIA ISABEL ONGPIN, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, JESUS DELFIN, ALBERTO
PEDROSA & CARMEN PEDROSA, in their capacities as founding members of the People's Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and Action (PIRMA), respondents.

SENATOR RAUL S. ROCO, DEMOKRASYA-IPAGTANGGOL ANG KONSTITUSYON (DIK), MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD INTEGRITY AND
NATIONALISM, INC. (MABINI), INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), and LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO (LABAN), petitioners-intervenors.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:

The heart of this controversy brought to us by way of a petition for prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is the right of the people to directly propose amendments to
the Constitution through the system of initiative under Section 2 of Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution. Undoubtedly, this demands special attention, as this system of
initiative was unknown to the people of this country, except perhaps to a few scholars, before the drafting of the 1987 Constitution. The 1986 Constitutional Commission itself,
through the original proponent 1 and the main sponsor2 of the proposed Article on Amendments or Revision of the Constitution, characterized this system as
"innovative".3 Indeed it is, for both under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, only two methods of proposing amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution were
recognized, viz., (1) by Congress upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members and (2) by a constitutional convention. 4 For this and the other reasons hereafter discussed,
we resolved to give due course to this petition.

On 6 December 1996, private respondent Atty. Jesus S. Delfin filed with public respondent Commission on Elections (hereafter, COMELEC) a "Petition to Amend the
Constitution, to Lift Term Limits of Elective Officials, by People's Initiative" (hereafter, Delfin Petition) 5 wherein Delfin asked the COMELEC for an order

1. Fixing the time and dates for signature gathering all over the country;

2. Causing the necessary publications of said Order and the attached "Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution, in newspapers of general and local circulation;

3. Instructing Municipal Election Registrars in all Regions of the Philippines, to assist Petitioners and volunteers, in establishing signing stations at the time and on the
dates designated for the purpose.

Delfin alleged in his petition that he is a founding member of the Movement for People's Initiative, 6 a group of citizens desirous to avail of the system intended to institutionalize
people power; that he and the members of the Movement and other volunteers intend to exercise the power to directly propose amendments to the Constitution granted under
Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution; that the exercise of that power shall be conducted in proceedings under the control and supervision of the COMELEC; that, as
required in COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, signature stations shall be established all over the country, with the assistance of municipal election registrars, who shall verify
the signatures affixed by individual signatories; that before the Movement and other volunteers can gather signatures, it is necessary that the time and dates to be designated
for the purpose be first fixed in an order to be issued by the COMELEC; and that to adequately inform the people of the electoral process involved, it is likewise necessary that
the said order, as well as the Petition on which the signatures shall be affixed, be published in newspapers of general and local circulation, under the control and supervision
of the COMELEC.

The Delfin Petition further alleged that the provisions sought to be amended are Sections 4 and 7 of Article VI, 7 Section 4 of Article VII,8 and Section 8 of Article X9 of the
Constitution. Attached to the petition is a copy of a "Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution"  10 embodying the proposed amendments which consist in the deletion from
the aforecited sections of the provisions concerning term limits, and with the following proposition:

DO YOU APPROVE OF LIFTING THE TERM LIMITS OF ALL ELECTIVE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTIONS 4 AND 7 OF
ARTICLE VI, SECTION 4 OF ARTICLE VII, AND SECTION 8 OF ARTICLE X OF THE 1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?

According to Delfin, the said Petition for Initiative will first be submitted to the people, and after it is signed by at least twelve per cent of the total number of registered voters in
the country it will be formally filed with the COMELEC.

Upon the filing of the Delfin Petition, which was forthwith given the number UND 96-037 (INITIATIVE), the COMELEC, through its Chairman, issued an Order 11 (a) directing
Delfin "to cause the publication of the petition, together with the attached Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution (including the proposal, proposed constitutional
amendment, and the signature form), and the notice of hearing in three (3) daily newspapers of general circulation at his own expense" not later than 9 December 1996; and
(b) setting the case for hearing on 12 December 1996 at 10:00 a.m.

At the hearing of the Delfin Petition on 12 December 1996, the following appeared: Delfin and Atty. Pete Q. Quadra; representatives of the People's Initiative for Reforms,
Modernization and Action (PIRMA); intervenor-oppositor Senator Raul S. Roco, together with his two other lawyers, and representatives of, or counsel for, the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines (IBP), Demokrasya-Ipagtanggol ang Konstitusyon (DIK), Public Interest Law Center, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LABAN).  12 Senator Roco, on
that same day, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Delfin Petition on the ground that it is not the initiatory petition properly cognizable by the COMELEC.

After hearing their arguments, the COMELEC directed Delfin and the oppositors to file their "memoranda and/or oppositions/memoranda" within five days.  13

On 18 December 1996, the petitioners herein — Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Alexander Padilla, and Maria Isabel Ongpin — filed this special civil action for prohibition
raising the following arguments:

(1) The constitutional provision on people's initiative to amend the Constitution can only be implemented by law to be passed by Congress. No such law has been
passed; in fact, Senate Bill No. 1290 entitled An Act Prescribing and Regulating Constitution Amendments by People's Initiative, which petitioner Senator Santiago filed
on 24 November 1995, is still pending before the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments.

(2) It is true that R.A. No. 6735 provides for three systems of initiative, namely, initiative on the Constitution, on statutes, and on local legislation. However, it failed to
provide any subtitle on initiative on the Constitution, unlike in the other modes of initiative, which are specifically provided for in Subtitle II and Subtitle III. This deliberate
omission indicates that the matter of people's initiative to amend the Constitution was left to some future law. Former Senator Arturo Tolentino stressed this deficiency in
the law in his privilege speech delivered before the Senate in 1994: "There is not a single word in that law which can be considered as implementing [the provision on
constitutional initiative]. Such implementing provisions have been obviously left to a separate law.

(3) Republic Act No. 6735 provides for the effectivity of the law after publication in print media. This indicates that the Act covers only laws and not constitutional
amendments because the latter take effect only upon ratification and not after publication.

(4) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, adopted on 16 January 1991 to govern "the conduct of initiative on the Constitution and initiative and referendum on national and
local laws, is ultra vires insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned, since the COMELEC has no power to provide rules and regulations for the
exercise of the right of initiative to amend the Constitution. Only Congress is authorized by the Constitution to pass the implementing law.

(5) The people's initiative is limited to amendments to the Constitution, not to revision thereof. Extending or lifting of term limits constitutes a revision and is, therefore,
outside the power of the people's initiative.

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(6) Finally, Congress has not yet appropriated funds for people's initiative; neither the COMELEC nor any other government department, agency, or office has realigned
funds for the purpose.

To justify their recourse to us via the special civil action for prohibition, the petitioners allege that in the event the COMELEC grants the Delfin Petition, the people's initiative
spearheaded by PIRMA would entail expenses to the national treasury for general re-registration of voters amounting to at least P180 million, not to mention the millions of
additional pesos in expenses which would be incurred in the conduct of the initiative itself. Hence, the transcendental importance to the public and the nation of the issues
raised demands that this petition for prohibition be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside technicalities of procedure and calling for the admission of a taxpayer's and
legislator's suit. 14 Besides, there is no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

On 19 December 1996, this Court (a) required the respondents to comment on the petition within a non-extendible period of ten days from notice; and (b) issued a temporary
restraining order, effective immediately and continuing until further orders, enjoining public respondent COMELEC from proceeding with the Delfin Petition, and private
respondents Alberto and Carmen Pedrosa from conducting a signature drive for people's initiative to amend the Constitution.

On 2 January 1997, private respondents, through Atty Quadra, filed their Comment 15 on the petition. They argue therein that:

1. IT IS NOT TRUE THAT "IT WOULD ENTAIL EXPENSES TO THE NATIONAL TREASURY FOR GENERAL REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AMOUNTING TO AT LEAST
PESOS: ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY MILLION (P180,000,000.00)" IF THE "COMELEC GRANTS THE PETITION FILED BY RESPONDENT DELFIN BEFORE THE
COMELEC.

2. NOT A SINGLE CENTAVO WOULD BE SPENT BY THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT IF THE COMELEC GRANTS THE PETITION OF RESPONDENT DELFIN. ALL
EXPENSES IN THE SIGNATURE GATHERING ARE ALL FOR THE ACCOUNT OF RESPONDENT DELFIN AND HIS VOLUNTEERS PER THEIR PROGRAM OF
ACTIVITIES AND EXPENDITURES SUBMITTED TO THE COMELEC. THE ESTIMATED COST OF THE DAILY PER DIEM OF THE SUPERVISING SCHOOL
TEACHERS IN THE SIGNATURE GATHERING TO BE DEPOSITED and TO BE PAID BY DELFIN AND HIS VOLUNTEERS IS P2,571,200.00;

3. THE PENDING PETITION BEFORE THE COMELEC IS ONLY ON THE SIGNATURE GATHERING WHICH BY LAW COMELEC IS DUTY BOUND "TO SUPERVISE
CLOSELY" PURSUANT TO ITS "INITIATORY JURISDICTION" UPHELD BY THE HONORABLE COURT IN ITS RECENT SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 DECISION IN THE
CASE OF SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY VS. COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. NO. 125416;

4. REP. ACT NO. 6735 APPROVED ON AUGUST 4, 1989 IS THE ENABLING LAW IMPLEMENTING THE POWER OF PEOPLE INITIATIVE TO PROPOSE
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION. SENATOR DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO'S SENATE BILL NO. 1290 IS A DUPLICATION OF WHAT ARE ALREADY PROVIDED
FOR IN REP. ACT NO. 6735;

5. COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 2300 PROMULGATED ON JANUARY 16, 1991 PURSUANT TO REP. ACT 6735 WAS UPHELD BY THE HONORABLE COURT IN THE
RECENT SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 DECISION IN THE CASE OF SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY VS. COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. NO. 125416 WHERE THE
HONORABLE COURT SAID: "THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS CAN DO NO LESS BY SEASONABLY AND JUDICIOUSLY PROMULGATING GUIDELINES AND
RULES FOR BOTH NATIONAL AND LOCAL USE, IN IMPLEMENTING OF THESE LAWS."

6. EVEN SENATOR DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO'S SENATE BILL NO. 1290 CONTAINS A PROVISION DELEGATING TO THE COMELEC THE POWER TO
"PROMULGATE SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT." (SEC. 12, S.B. NO. 1290,
ENCLOSED AS ANNEX E, PETITION);

7. THE LIFTING OF THE LIMITATION ON THE TERM OF OFFICE OF ELECTIVE OFFICIALS PROVIDED UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION IS NOT A "REVISION"
OF THE CONSTITUTION. IT IS ONLY AN AMENDMENT. "AMENDMENT ENVISAGES AN ALTERATION OF ONE OR A FEW SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THE
CONSTITUTION. REVISION CONTEMPLATES A RE-EXAMINATION OF THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT TO DETERMINE HOW AND TO WHAT EXTENT IT SHOULD BE
ALTERED." (PP. 412-413, 2ND. ED. 1992, 1097 PHIL. CONSTITUTION, BY JOAQUIN G. BERNAS, S.J.).

Also on 2 January 1997, private respondent Delfin filed in his own behalf a Comment  16 which starts off with an assertion that the instant petition is a "knee-jerk reaction to a
draft 'Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution'. . . which is not formally filed yet." What he filed on 6 December 1996 was an "Initiatory Pleading" or "Initiatory Petition,"
which was legally necessary to start the signature campaign to amend the Constitution or to put the movement to gather signatures under COMELEC power and function. On
the substantive allegations of the petitioners, Delfin maintains as follows:

(1) Contrary to the claim of the petitioners, there is a law, R.A. No. 6735, which governs the conduct of  initiative to amend the Constitution. The absence therein of a subtitle
for such initiative is not fatal, since subtitles are not requirements for the validity or sufficiency of laws.

(2) Section 9(b) of R.A. No. 6735 specifically provides that the proposition in an  initiative to amend the Constitution approved by the majority of the votes cast in the
plebiscite shall become effective as of the day of the plebiscite.

(3) The claim that COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is ultra vires is contradicted by (a) Section 2, Article IX-C of the Constitution, which grants the COMELEC the power to
enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall; and (b) Section 20 of R.A. 6735, which
empowers the COMELEC to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the Act.

(4) The proposed initiative does not involve a revision of, but mere amendment to, the Constitution because it seeks to alter only a few specific provisions of the
Constitution, or more specifically, only those which lay term limits. It does not seek to reexamine or overhaul the entire document.

As to the public expenditures for registration of voters, Delfin considers petitioners' estimate of P180 million as unreliable, for only the COMELEC can give the exact figure.
Besides, if there will be a plebiscite it will be simultaneous with the 1997 Barangay Elections. In any event, fund requirements for  initiative will be a priority government
expense because it will be for the exercise of the sovereign power of the people.

In the Comment 17 for the public respondent COMELEC, filed also on 2 January 1997, the Office of the Solicitor General contends that:

(1) R.A. No. 6735 deals with, inter alia, people's initiative to amend the Constitution. Its Section 2 on Statement of Policy explicitly affirms, recognizes, and guarantees that
power; and its Section 3, which enumerates the three systems of initiative, includes initiative on the Constitution and defines the same as the power to propose
amendments to the Constitution. Likewise, its Section 5 repeatedly mentions initiative on the Constitution.

(2) A separate subtitle on initiative on the Constitution is not necessary in R.A. No. 6735 because, being national in scope, that system of  initiative is deemed included in
the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum; and Senator Tolentino simply overlooked pertinent provisions of the law when he claimed that nothing therein was
provided for initiative on the Constitution.

(3) Senate Bill No. 1290 is neither a competent nor a material proof that R.A. No. 6735 does not deal with initiative on the Constitution.

(4) Extension of term limits of elected officials constitutes a mere amendment to the Constitution, not a revision thereof.

(5) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 was validly issued under Section 20 of R.A. No. 6735 and under the Omnibus Election Code. The rule-making power of the COMELEC
to implement the provisions of R.A. No. 6735 was in fact upheld by this Court in Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority vs. COMELEC.

On 14 January 1997, this Court (a) confirmed nunc pro tunc the temporary restraining order; (b) noted the aforementioned Comments and the Motion to Lift Temporary
Restraining Order filed by private respondents through Atty. Quadra, as well as the latter's Manifestation stating that he is the counsel for private respondents Alberto and

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Carmen Pedrosa only and the Comment he filed was for the Pedrosas; and (c) granted the Motion for Intervention filed on 6 January 1997 by Senator Raul Roco and allowed
him to file his Petition in Intervention not later than 20 January 1997; and (d) set the case for hearing on 23 January 1997 at 9:30 a.m.

On 17 January 1997, the Demokrasya-Ipagtanggol ang Konstitusyon (DIK) and the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood Integrity and Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI), filed a
Motion for Intervention. Attached to the motion was their Petition in Intervention, which was later replaced by an Amended Petition in Intervention wherein they contend that:

(1) The Delfin proposal does not involve a mere amendment to, but a revision of, the Constitution because, in the words of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., 18 it would involve a
change from a political philosophy that rejects unlimited tenure to one that accepts unlimited tenure; and although the change might appear to be an isolated one, it can
affect other provisions, such as, on synchronization of elections and on the State policy of guaranteeing equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibiting
political dynasties. 19 A revision cannot be done by initiative which, by express provision of Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution, is limited to amendments.

(2) The prohibition against reelection of the President and the limits provided for all other national and local elective officials are based on the philosophy of governance,
"to open up the political arena to as many as there are Filipinos qualified to handle the demands of leadership, to break the concentration of political and economic
powers in the hands of a few, and to promote effective proper empowerment for participation in policy and decision-making for the common good"; hence, to remove the
term limits is to negate and nullify the noble vision of the 1987 Constitution.

(3) The Delfin proposal runs counter to the purpose of initiative, particularly in a conflict-of-interest situation.  Initiative is intended as a fallback position that may be
availed of by the people only if they are dissatisfied with the performance of their elective officials, but not as a premium for good performance.  20

(4) R.A. No. 6735 is deficient and inadequate in itself to be called the enabling law that implements the people's  initiative on amendments to the Constitution. It fails to
state (a) the proper parties who may file the petition, (b) the appropriate agency before whom the petition is to be filed, (c) the contents of the petition, (d) the publication
of the same, (e) the ways and means of gathering the signatures of the voters nationwide and 3% per legislative district, (f) the proper parties who may oppose or
question the veracity of the signatures, (g) the role of the COMELEC in the verification of the signatures and the sufficiency of the petition, (h) the appeal from any
decision of the COMELEC, (I) the holding of a plebiscite, and (g) the appropriation of funds for such people's initiative. Accordingly, there being no enabling law, the
COMELEC has no jurisdiction to hear Delfin's petition.

(5) The deficiency of R.A. No. 6735 cannot be rectified or remedied by COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, since the COMELEC is without authority to legislate the
procedure for a people's initiative under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution. That function exclusively pertains to Congress. Section 20 of R.A. No. 6735 does
not constitute a legal basis for the Resolution, as the former does not set a sufficient standard for a valid delegation of power.

On 20 January 1997, Senator Raul Roco filed his Petition in Intervention. 21 He avers that R.A. No. 6735 is the enabling law that implements the people's right to initiate
constitutional amendments. This law is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill No. 21505; he co-authored the House Bill and even delivered a sponsorship
speech thereon. He likewise submits that the COMELEC was empowered under Section 20 of that law to promulgate COMELEC Resolution No. 2300. Nevertheless, he
contends that the respondent Commission is without jurisdiction to take cognizance of the Delfin Petition and to order its publication because the said petition is not the
initiatory pleading contemplated under the Constitution, Republic Act No. 6735, and COMELEC Resolution No. 2300. What vests jurisdiction upon the COMELEC in an
initiative on the Constitution is the filing of a petition for initiative which is signed by the required number of registered voters. He also submits that the proponents of a
constitutional amendment cannot avail of the authority and resources of the COMELEC to assist them is securing the required number of signatures, as the COMELEC's role
in an initiative on the Constitution is limited to the determination of the sufficiency of the initiative petition and the call and supervision of a plebiscite, if warranted.

On 20 January 1997, LABAN filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene.

The following day, the IBP filed a Motion for Intervention to which it attached a Petition in Intervention raising the following arguments:

(1) Congress has failed to enact an enabling law mandated under Section 2, Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution.

(2) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 cannot substitute for the required implementing law on the initiative to amend the Constitution.

(3) The Petition for Initiative suffers from a fatal defect in that it does not have the required number of signatures.

(4) The petition seeks, in effect a revision of the Constitution, which can be proposed only by Congress or a constitutional convention. 22

On 21 January 1997, we promulgated a Resolution (a) granting the Motions for Intervention filed by the DIK and MABINI and by the IBP, as well as the Motion for Leave to
Intervene filed by LABAN; (b) admitting the Amended Petition in Intervention of DIK and MABINI, and the Petitions in Intervention of Senator Roco and of the IBP; (c) requiring
the respondents to file within a nonextendible period of five days their Consolidated Comments on the aforesaid Petitions in Intervention; and (d) requiring LABAN to file its
Petition in Intervention within a nonextendible period of three days from notice, and the respondents to comment thereon within a nonextendible period of five days from
receipt of the said Petition in Intervention.

At the hearing of the case on 23 January 1997, the parties argued on the following pivotal issues, which the Court formulated in light of the allegations and arguments raised in
the pleadings so far filed:

1. Whether R.A. No. 6735, entitled An Act Providing for a System of Initiative and Referendum and Appropriating Funds Therefor, was intended to include or
cover initiative on amendments to the Constitution; and if so, whether the Act, as worded, adequately covers such initiative.

2. Whether that portion of COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 (In re: Rules and Regulations Governing the Conduct of Initiative on the Constitution, and Initiative and
Referendum on National and Local Laws) regarding the conduct of initiative on amendments to the Constitution is  valid, considering the absence in the law of specific
provisions on the conduct of such initiative.

3. Whether the lifting of term limits of elective national and local officials, as proposed in the draft "Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution," would constitute a revision
of, or an amendment to, the Constitution.

4. Whether the COMELEC can take cognizance of, or has jurisdiction over, a petition solely intended to obtain an order (a) fixing the time and dates for signature gathering;
(b) instructing municipal election officers to assist Delfin's movement and volunteers in establishing signature stations; and (c) directing or causing the publication of,  inter
alia, the unsigned proposed Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution.

5. Whether it is proper for the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the petition when there is a pending case before the COMELEC.

After hearing them on the issues, we required the parties to submit simultaneously their respective memoranda within twenty days and requested intervenor Senator Roco to
submit copies of the deliberations on House Bill No. 21505.

On 27 January 1997, LABAN filed its Petition in Intervention wherein it adopts the allegations and arguments in the main Petition. It further submits that the COMELEC should
have dismissed the Delfin Petition for failure to state a sufficient cause of action and that the Commission's failure or refusal to do so constituted grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

On 28 January 1997, Senator Roco submitted copies of portions of both the Journal and the Record of the House of Representatives relating to the deliberations of House Bill
No. 21505, as well as the transcripts of stenographic notes on the proceedings of the Bicameral Conference Committee, Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, of 6
June 1989 on House Bill No. 21505 and Senate Bill No. 17.

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Private respondents Alberto and Carmen Pedrosa filed their Consolidated Comments on the Petitions in Intervention of Senator Roco, DIK and MABINI, and IBP.  23 The
parties thereafter filed, in due time, their separate memoranda. 24

As we stated in the beginning, we resolved to give due course to this special civil action.

For a more logical discussion of the formulated issues, we shall first take up the fifth issue which appears to pose a prejudicial procedural question.

I. THE INSTANT PETITION IS VIABLE DESPITE THE PENDENCY IN THE COMELEC OF THE DELFIN PETITION.

Except for the petitioners and intervenor Roco, the parties paid no serious attention to the fifth issue, i.e., whether it is proper for this Court to take cognizance of this special
civil action when there is a pending case before the COMELEC. The petitioners provide an affirmative answer. Thus:

28. The Comelec has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the petition filed by private respondent Delfin. This being so, it becomes imperative to stop the Comelec from
proceeding any further, and under the Rules of Court, Rule 65, Section 2, a petition for prohibition is the proper remedy.

29. The writ of prohibition is an extraordinary judicial writ issuing out of a court of superior jurisdiction and directed to an inferior court, for the purpose of preventing the
inferior tribunal from usurping a jurisdiction with which it is not legally vested. (People v. Vera,  supra., p. 84). In this case the writ is an urgent necessity, in view of the highly
divisive and adverse environmental consequences on the body politic of the questioned Comelec order. The consequent climate of legal confusion and political instability
begs for judicial statesmanship.

30. In the final analysis, when the system of constitutional law is threatened by the political ambitions of man, only the Supreme Court
can save a nation in peril and uphold the paramount majesty of the Constitution. 25

It must be recalled that intervenor Roco filed with the COMELEC a motion to dismiss the Delfin Petition on the ground that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction or authority to
entertain the petition. 26 The COMELEC made no ruling thereon evidently because after having heard the arguments of Delfin and the oppositors at the hearing on 12
December 1996, it required them to submit within five days their memoranda or oppositions/memoranda.  27 Earlier, or specifically on 6 December 1996, it practically gave due
course to the Delfin Petition by ordering Delfin to cause the publication of the petition, together with the attached Petition for Initiative, the signature form, and the notice of
hearing; and by setting the case for hearing. The COMELEC's failure to act on Roco's motion to dismiss and its insistence to hold on to the petition rendered ripe and viable
the instant petition under Section 2 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which provides:

Sec. 2. Petition for prohibition. — Where the proceedings of any tribunal, corporation, board, or person, whether exercising functions judicial or ministerial, are without or in
excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, and there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a
person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant
to desist from further proceedings in the action or matter specified therein.

It must also be noted that intervenor Roco claims that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction over the Delfin Petition because the said petition is not supported by the required
minimum number of signatures of registered voters. LABAN also asserts that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in refusing to dismiss the Delfin Petition, which does
not contain the required number of signatures. In light of these claims, the instant case may likewise be treated as a special civil action for  certiorari under Section I of Rule 65
of the Rules of Court.

In any event, as correctly pointed out by intervenor Roco in his Memorandum, this Court may brush aside technicalities of procedure in
cases of transcendental importance. As we stated in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, Jr. 28

A party's standing before this Court is a procedural technicality which it may, in the exercise of its discretion, set aside in view of the importance of issues
raised. In the landmark Emergency Powers Cases, this Court brushed aside this technicality because the transcendental importance to the public of these
cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure.

II. R.A. NO. 6735 INTENDED TO INCLUDE THE SYSTEM OF INITIATIVE ON AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION, BUT IS, UNFORTUNATELY,
INADEQUATE TO COVER THAT SYSTEM.

Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution provides:

Sec. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve  per
centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered
voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once
every five years thereafter.

The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.

This provision is not self-executory. In his book, 29 Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, stated:

Without implementing legislation Section 2 cannot operate. Thus, although this mode of amending the Constitution is a mode of amendment which
bypasses congressional action, in the last analysis it still is dependent on congressional action.

Bluntly stated, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative would remain entombed in the cold niche
of the Constitution until Congress provides for its implementation. Stated otherwise, while the Constitution has recognized or granted that right, the people cannot
exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason, does not provide for its implementation.

This system of initiative was originally included in Section 1 of the draft Article on Amendment or Revision proposed by the Committee on Amendments and Transitory
Provisions of the 1986 Constitutional Commission in its Committee Report No. 7 (Proposed Resolution No. 332). 30 That section reads as follows:

Sec. 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed:

(a) by the National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members; or

(b) by a constitutional convention; or

(c) directly by the people themselves thru initiative as provided for in Article___ Section ___of the Constitution. 31

After several interpellations, but before the period of amendments, the Committee submitted a new formulation of the concept of initiative which it denominated as
Section 2; thus:

MR. SUAREZ. Thank you, Madam President. May we respectfully call attention of the Members of the Commission that
pursuant to the mandate given to us last night, we submitted this afternoon a complete Committee Report No. 7 which

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embodies the proposed provision governing the matter of initiative. This is now covered by Section 2 of the complete committee
report. With the permission of the Members, may I quote Section 2:

The people may, after five years from the date of the last plebiscite held, directly propose amendments to this Constitution thru initiative upon petition of
at least ten percent of the registered voters.

This completes the blanks appearing in the original Committee Report No. 7. 32

The interpellations on Section 2 showed that the details for carrying out Section 2 are left to the legislature. Thus:

FR. BERNAS. Madam President, just two simple, clarificatory questions.

First, on Section 1 on the matter of initiative upon petition of at least 10 percent,  there are no details in the provision on how to carry this out. Do we understand,
therefore, that we are leaving this matter to the legislature?

MR. SUAREZ. That is right, Madam President.

FR. BERNAS. And do we also understand, therefore, that for as long as the legislature does not pass the necessary implementing law on this, this will not operate?

MR. SUAREZ. That matter was also taken up during the committee hearing, especially with respect to the budget appropriations which would have to be legislated so
that the plebiscite could be called. We deemed it best that this matter be left to the legislature. The Gentleman is right. In any event, as envisioned, no amendment
through the power of initiative can be called until after five years from the date of the ratification of this Constitution. Therefore, the first amendment that could be
proposed through the exercise of this initiative power would be after five years. It is reasonably expected that within that five-year period,  the National Assembly can
come up with the appropriate rules governing the exercise of this power.

FR. BERNAS. Since the matter is left to the legislature — the details on how this is to be carried out  — is it possible that, in effect, what will be presented to the people
for ratification is the work of the legislature rather than of the people? Does this provision exclude that possibility?

MR. SUAREZ. No, it does not exclude that possibility because even the legislature itself as a body could propose that amendment, maybe individually or collectively, if it
fails to muster the three-fourths vote in order to constitute itself as a constituent assembly and submit that proposal to the people for ratification through the process of
an initiative.

MS. AQUINO. Do I understand from the sponsor that the intention in the proposal is to vest constituent power in the people to amend the Constitution?

MR. SUAREZ. That is absolutely correct, Madam President.

MS. AQUINO. I fully concur with the underlying precept of the proposal in terms of institutionalizing popular participation in the drafting of the Constitution or in the
amendment thereof, but I would have a lot of difficulties in terms of accepting the draft of Section 2, as written. Would the sponsor agree with me that in the hierarchy of
legal mandate, constituent power has primacy over all other legal mandates?

MR. SUAREZ. The Commissioner is right, Madam President.

MS. AQUINO. And would the sponsor agree with me that in the hierarchy of legal values, the Constitution is source of all legal mandates and that therefore we require a
great deal of circumspection in the drafting and in the amendments of the Constitution?

MR. SUAREZ. That proposition is nondebatable.

MS. AQUINO. Such that in order to underscore the primacy of constituent power we have a separate article in the constitution that would specifically cover the process
and the modes of amending the Constitution?

MR. SUAREZ. That is right, Madam President.

MS. AQUINO. Therefore, is the sponsor inclined, as the provisions are drafted now, to again concede to the legislature the process or the requirement of determining
the mechanics of amending the Constitution by people's initiative?

MR. SUAREZ. The matter of implementing this could very well be placed in the hands of the National Assembly , not unless we can incorporate into this provision the
mechanics that would adequately cover all the conceivable situations. 33

It was made clear during the interpellations that the aforementioned Section 2 is limited to proposals to AMEND — not to REVISE — the Constitution; thus:

MR. SUAREZ. . . . This proposal was suggested on the theory that this matter of initiative, which came about because of the extraordinary developments this year, has
to be separated from the traditional modes of amending the Constitution as embodied in Section 1. The committee members felt that  this system of initiative should not
extend to the revision of the entire Constitution, so we removed it from the operation of Section 1 of the proposed Article on Amendment or Revision. 34

MS. AQUINO. In which case, I am seriously bothered by providing this process of initiative as a separate section in the Article on Amendment. Would the sponsor be
amenable to accepting an amendment in terms of realigning Section 2 as another subparagraph (c) of Section 1, instead of setting it up as another separate section as if
it were a self-executing provision?

MR. SUAREZ. We would be amenable except that, as we clarified a while ago, this process of initiative is limited to the matter of amendment and should not expand into
a revision which contemplates a total overhaul of the Constitution. That was the sense that was conveyed by the Committee.

MS. AQUINO. In other words, the Committee was attempting to distinguish the coverage of modes (a) and (b) in Section 1 to include the process of revision; whereas
the process of initiation to amend, which is given to the public, would only apply to amendments?

MR. SUAREZ. That is right. Those were the terms envisioned in the Committee. 35

Amendments to the proposed Section 2 were thereafter introduced by then Commissioner Hilario G. Davide, Jr., which the Committee accepted. Thus:

MR. DAVIDE. Thank you Madam President. I propose to substitute the entire Section 2 with the following:

MR. DAVIDE. Madam President, I have modified the proposed amendment after taking into account the modifications submitted by the sponsor himself and the
honorable Commissioners Guingona, Monsod, Rama, Ople, de los Reyes and Romulo. The modified amendment in substitution of the proposed Section 2 will now read

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as follows: "SECTION 2. — AMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSTITUTION MAY LIKEWISE BE DIRECTLY PROPOSED BY THE PEOPLE THROUGH INITIATIVE UPON
A PETITION OF AT LEAST TWELVE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL NUMBER Of REGISTERED VOTERS, OF WHICH EVERY LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MUST BE
REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST THREE PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS THEREOF. NO AMENDMENT UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE
AUTHORIZED WITHIN FIVE YEARS FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONSTITUTION NOR OFTENER THAN ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS
THEREAFTER.

THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHALL BY LAW PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXERCISE OF THIS RIGHT.

MR. SUAREZ. Madam President, considering that the proposed amendment is reflective of the sense contained in Section 2 of our completed Committee Report No. 7,
we accept the proposed amendment. 36

The interpellations which ensued on the proposed modified amendment to Section 2 clearly showed that it was a legislative act which must implement the exercise of the right.
Thus:

MR. ROMULO. Under Commissioner Davide's amendment, is it possible for the legislature to set forth certain procedures to carry out the initiative. . .?

MR. DAVIDE. It can.

MR. ROMULO. But the Commissioner's amendment does not prevent the legislature from asking another body to set the proposition in proper form.

MR. DAVIDE. The Commissioner is correct. In other words, the implementation of this particular right would be subject to legislation, provided the legislature cannot
determine anymore the percentage of the requirement.

MR. ROMULO. But the procedures, including the determination of the proper form for submission to the people, may be subject to legislation.

MR. DAVIDE. As long as it will not destroy the substantive right to initiate. In other words, none of the procedures to be proposed by the legislative body must diminish or
impair the right conceded here.

MR. ROMULO. In that provision of the Constitution can the procedures which I have discussed be legislated?

MR. DAVIDE. Yes. 37

Commissioner Davide also reaffirmed that his modified amendment strictly confines initiative to AMENDMENTS to — NOT REVISION of — the Constitution. Thus:

MR. DAVIDE. With pleasure, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. My first question: Commissioner Davide's proposed amendment on line 1 refers to "amendment." Does it not cover the word "revision" as defined by
Commissioner Padilla when he made the distinction between the words "amendments" and "revision"?

MR. DAVIDE. No, it does not, because "amendments" and "revision" should be covered by Section 1. So insofar as initiative is concerned, it can only relate to
"amendments" not "revision." 38

Commissioner Davide further emphasized that the process of proposing amendments through  initiative must be more rigorous and difficult than the initiative on legislation.
Thus:

MR. DAVIDE. A distinction has to be made that under this proposal, what is involved is an amendment to the Constitution. To amend a Constitution would ordinarily
require a proposal by the National Assembly by a vote of three-fourths; and to call a constitutional convention would require a higher number. Moreover, just to submit
the issue of calling a constitutional convention, a majority of the National Assembly is required, the import being that the process of amendment must be made more
rigorous and difficult than probably initiating an ordinary legislation or putting an end to a law proposed by the National Assembly by way of a referendum. I cannot agree
to reducing the requirement approved by the Committee on the Legislative because it would require another voting by the Committee, and the voting as precisely based
on a requirement of 10 percent. Perhaps, I might present such a proposal, by way of an amendment, when the Commission shall take up the Article on the Legislative or
on the National Assembly on plenary sessions. 39

The Davide modified amendments to Section 2 were subjected to amendments, and the final version, which the Commission approved by a vote of 31 in favor and 3 against,
reads as follows:

MR. DAVIDE. Thank you Madam President. Section 2, as amended, reads as follows: "AMENDMENT TO THIS CONSTITUTION MAY LIKEWISE BE DIRECTLY
PROPOSED BY THE PEOPLE THROUGH INITIATIVE UPON A PETITION OF AT LEAST TWELVE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED
VOTERS, OF WHICH EVERY LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MUST BE REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST THREE PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS THEREOF.
NO AMENDMENT UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE AUTHORIZED WITHIN FIVE YEARS FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONSTITUTION NOR
OFTENER THAN ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS THEREAFTER.

THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHALL BY LAW PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXERCISE OF THIS RIGHT. 40

The entire proposed Article on Amendments or Revisions was approved on second reading on 9 July 1986.  41 Thereafter, upon his motion for reconsideration,
Commissioner Gascon was allowed to introduce an amendment to Section 2 which, nevertheless, was withdrawn. In view thereof, the Article was again approved
on Second and Third Readings on 1 August 1986. 42

However, the Committee on Style recommended that the approved Section 2 be amended by changing "percent" to  "per centum" and "thereof" to "therein" and deleting the
phrase "by law" in the second paragraph so that said paragraph reads: The Congress 43 shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. 44 This amendment
was approved and is the text of the present second paragraph of Section 2.

The conclusion then is inevitable that, indeed, the system of initiative on the Constitution under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution is not self-executory.

Has Congress "provided" for the implementation of the exercise of this right? Those who answer the question in the affirmative, like the private respondents and intervenor
Senator Roco, point to us R.A. No. 6735.

There is, of course, no other better way for Congress to implement the exercise of the right than through the passage of a statute or legislative act. This is the essence or
rationale of the last minute amendment by the Constitutional Commission to substitute the last paragraph of Section 2 of Article XVII then reading:

The Congress 45 shall by law provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. With The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the
exercise of this right.

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This substitute amendment was an investiture on Congress of a power to provide for the rules implementing the exercise of the right. The "rules" means "the
details on how [the right] is to be carried out." 46

We agree that R.A. No. 6735 was, as its history reveals, intended to cover  initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution. The Act is a consolidation of House Bill No.
21505 and Senate Bill No. 17. The former was prepared by the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms of the House of Representatives on the basis of two House Bills
referred to it, viz., (a) House Bill No. 497, 47 which dealt with the initiative and referendum mentioned in Sections 1 and 32 of Article VI of the Constitution; and (b) House Bill
No. 988, 48 which dealt with the subject matter of House Bill No. 497, as well as with initiative and referendum under Section 3 of Article X (Local Government) and initiative
provided for in Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution. Senate Bill No. 17 49 solely dealt with initiative and referendum concerning ordinances or resolutions of local
government units. The Bicameral Conference Committee consolidated Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill No. 21505 into a draft bill, which was subsequently approved on 8
June 1989 by the Senate 50 and by the House of Representatives. 51 This approved bill is now R.A. No. 6735.

But is R.A. No. 6735 a full compliance with the power and duty of Congress to "provide for the implementation of the exercise of the right?"

A careful scrutiny of the Act yields a negative answer.

First. Contrary to the assertion of public respondent COMELEC, Section 2 of the Act does not suggest an initiative on amendments to the Constitution. The said section reads:

Sec. 2. Statement and Policy. — The power of the people under a system of initiative and referendum to directly propose, enact, approve or reject, in
whole or in part, the Constitution, laws, ordinances, or resolutions passed by any legislative body upon compliance with the requirements of this Act is
hereby affirmed, recognized and guaranteed. (Emphasis supplied).

The inclusion of the word "Constitution" therein was a delayed afterthought. That word is neither germane nor relevant to said section, which exclusively relates to
initiative and referendum on national laws and local laws, ordinances, and resolutions. That section is silent as to  amendments on the Constitution. As pointed out
earlier, initiative on the Constitution is confined only to proposals to AMEND. The people are not accorded the power to "d irectly propose, enact, approve, or reject,
in whole or in part, the Constitution" through the system of initiative. They can only do so with respect to "laws, ordinances, or resolutions."

The foregoing conclusion is further buttressed by the fact that this section was lifted from Section 1 of Senate Bill No. 17, which solely referred to a statement of policy on local
initiative and referendum and appropriately used the phrases "propose and enact," "approve or reject" and "in whole or in part."  52

Second. It is true that Section 3 (Definition of Terms) of the Act defines initiative on amendments to the Constitution and mentions it as one of the three systems of initiative,
and that Section 5 (Requirements) restates the constitutional requirements as to the percentage of the registered voters who must submit the proposal. But unlike in the case
of the other systems of initiative, the Act does not provide for the contents of a petition for  initiative on the Constitution. Section 5, paragraph (c) requires, among other things,
statement of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may be . It does not include, as among the contents of the
petition, the provisions of the Constitution sought to be amended, in the case of initiative on the Constitution. Said paragraph (c) reads in full as follows:

(c) The petition shall state the following:

c.1 contents or text of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed, as the case may be;

c.2 the proposition;

c.3 the reason or reasons therefor;

c.4 that it is not one of the exceptions provided therein;

c.5 signatures of the petitioners or registered voters; and

c.6 an abstract or summary proposition is not more than one hundred (100) words which shall be legibly written or printed at the top of every page of
the petition. (Emphasis supplied).

The use of the clause "proposed laws sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed" only strengthens the conclusion that Section 2, quoted
earlier, excludes initiative on amendments to the Constitution.

Third. While the Act provides subtitles for National Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle II) and for Local Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle III), no subtitle is provided
for initiative on the Constitution. This conspicuous silence as to the latter simply means that the main thrust of the Act is initiative and referendum on national and local laws. If
Congress intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully provide for the implementation of the  initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle therefor,
considering that in the order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution is far more
important than the initiative on national and local laws.

We cannot accept the argument that the initiative on amendments to the Constitution is subsumed under the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum because it is
national in scope. Our reading of Subtitle II (National Initiative and Referendum) and Subtitle III (Local Initiative and Referendum) leaves no room for doubt that the
classification is not based on the scope of the initiative involved, but on its nature and character. It is "national initiative," if what is proposed to be adopted or enacted is
a national law, or a law which only Congress can pass. It is "local initiative" if what is proposed to be adopted or enacted is a  law, ordinance, or resolution which only the
legislative bodies of the governments of the autonomous regions, provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays can pass. This classification of initiative
into national and local is actually based on Section 3 of the Act, which we quote for emphasis and clearer understanding:

Sec. 3. Definition of terms —

There are three (3) systems of initiative, namely:

a.1 Initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the Constitution;

a.2 Initiative on Statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national legislation; and

a.3 Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or
ordinance. (Emphasis supplied).

Hence, to complete the classification under subtitles there should have been a subtitle on initiative on amendments to the Constitution.  53

A further examination of the Act even reveals that the subtitling is not accurate. Provisions not germane to the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum are placed
therein, like (1) paragraphs (b) and (c) of Section 9, which reads:

(b) The proposition in an initiative on the Constitution approved by the majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite shall become effective as to the day of
the plebiscite.

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(c) A national or local initiative proposition approved by majority of the votes cast in an election called for the purpose shall become effective fifteen (15)
days after certification and proclamation of the Commission. (Emphasis supplied).

(2) that portion of Section 11 (Indirect Initiative) referring to indirect initiative with the legislative bodies of local governments; thus:

Sec. 11. Indirect Initiative. — Any duly accredited people's organization, as defined by law, may file a petition for indirect initiative with the House of
Representatives, and other legislative bodies. . . .

and (3) Section 12 on Appeal, since it applies to decisions of the COMELEC on the findings of sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition for initiative or referendum,
which could be petitions for both national and local initiative and referendum.

Upon the other hand, Section 18 on "Authority of Courts" under subtitle III on Local Initiative and Referendum is misplaced,  54 since the provision therein applies to both
national and local initiative and referendum. It reads:

Sec. 18. Authority of Courts. — Nothing in this Act shall prevent or preclude the proper courts from declaring null and void any proposition approved
pursuant to this Act for violation of the Constitution or want of capacity of the local legislative body to enact the said measure.

Curiously, too, while R.A. No. 6735 exerted utmost diligence and care in providing for the details in the implementation of initiative and referendum on national and local
legislation thereby giving them special attention, it failed, rather intentionally, to do so on the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution. Anent the initiative on
national legislation, the Act provides for the following:

(a) The required percentage of registered voters to sign the petition and the contents of the petition;

(b) The conduct and date of the initiative;

(c) The submission to the electorate of the proposition and the required number of votes for its approval;

(d) The certification by the COMELEC of the approval of the proposition;

(e) The publication of the approved proposition in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines; and

(f) The effects of the approval or rejection of the proposition. 55

As regards local initiative, the Act provides for the following:

(a) The preliminary requirement as to the number of signatures of registered voters for the petition;

(b) The submission of the petition to the local legislative body concerned;

(c) The effect of the legislative body's failure to favorably act thereon, and the invocation of the power of initiative as a consequence thereof;

(d) The formulation of the proposition;

(e) The period within which to gather the signatures;

(f) The persons before whom the petition shall be signed;

(g) The issuance of a certification by the COMELEC through its official in the local government unit concerned as to whether the required number of signatures have been
obtained;

(h) The setting of a date by the COMELEC for the submission of the proposition to the registered voters for their approval, which must be within the period specified therein;

(i) The issuance of a certification of the result;

(j) The date of effectivity of the approved proposition;

(k) The limitations on local initiative; and

(l) The limitations upon local legislative bodies. 56

Upon the other hand, as to initiative on amendments to the Constitution, R.A. No. 6735, in all of its twenty-three sections, merely (a) mentions, the word "Constitution" in
Section 2; (b) defines "initiative on the Constitution" and includes it in the enumeration of the three systems of initiative in Section 3; (c) speaks of "plebiscite" as the process
by which the proposition in an initiative on the Constitution may be approved or rejected by the people; (d) reiterates the constitutional requirements as to the number of voters
who should sign the petition; and (e) provides for the date of effectivity of the approved proposition.

There was, therefore, an obvious downgrading of the more important or the paramount system of initiative. RA. No. 6735 thus delivered a humiliating blow to the system of
initiative on amendments to the Constitution by merely paying it a reluctant lip service. 57

The foregoing brings us to the conclusion that R.A. No. 6735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the
Constitution is concerned. Its lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and cannot be cured by "empowering" the COMELEC "to promulgate such rules and regulations as
may be necessary to carry out the purposes of [the] Act. 58

The rule is that what has been delegated, cannot be delegated or as expressed in a Latin maxim:  potestas delegata non delegari potest. 59 The recognized exceptions to the
rule are as follows:

(1) Delegation of tariff powers to the President under Section 28(2) of Article VI of the Constitution;

(2) Delegation of emergency powers to the President under Section 23(2) of Article VI of the Constitution;

(3) Delegation to the people at large;

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(4) Delegation to local governments; and

(5) Delegation to administrative bodies. 60

Empowering the COMELEC, an administrative body exercising quasi-judicial functions, to promulgate rules and regulations is a form of delegation of legislative authority
under no. 5 above. However, in every case of permissible delegation, there must be a showing that the delegation itself is valid. It is valid only if the law (a) is complete in
itself, setting forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out, or implemented by the delegate; and (b) fixes a standard — the limits of which are sufficiently determinate and
determinable — to which the delegate must conform in the performance of his functions.  61 A sufficient standard is one which defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps
out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative command is to be effected.  62

Insofar as initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution is concerned, R.A. No. 6735 miserably failed to satisfy both requirements in subordinate legislation. The
delegation of the power to the COMELEC is then invalid.

III. COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 2300, INSOFAR AS IT PRESCRIBES RULES AND REGULATIONS ON THE CONDUCT OF INITIATIVE ON AMENDMENTS
TO THE CONSTITUTION, IS VOID.

It logically follows that the COMELEC cannot validly promulgate rules and regulations to implement the exercise of the right of the people to directly propose amendments to
the Constitution through the system of initiative. It does not have that power under R.A. No. 6735. Reliance on the COMELEC's power under Section 2(1) of Article IX-C of the
Constitution is misplaced, for the laws and regulations referred to therein are those promulgated by the COMELEC under (a) Section 3 of Article IX-C of the Constitution, or (b)
a law where subordinate legislation is authorized and which satisfies the "completeness" and the "sufficient standard" tests.

IV. COMELEC ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ENTERTAINING THE DELFIN PETITION.

Even if it be conceded ex gratia that R.A. No. 6735 is a full compliance with the power of Congress to implement the right to initiate constitutional amendments, or that it has
validly vested upon the COMELEC the power of subordinate legislation and that COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is valid, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or with
grave abuse of discretion in entertaining the Delfin Petition.

Under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution and Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 6735, a petition for initiative on the Constitution must be signed by at least 12% of the total
number of registered voters of which every legislative district is represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein. The Delfin Petition does not contain signatures of
the required number of voters. Delfin himself admits that he has not yet gathered signatures and that the purpose of his petition is primarily to obtain assistance in his drive to
gather signatures. Without the required signatures, the petition cannot be deemed validly initiated.

The COMELEC acquires jurisdiction over a petition for initiative only after its filing. The petition then is the  initiatory pleading. Nothing before its filing is cognizable by the
COMELEC, sitting en banc. The only participation of the COMELEC or its personnel before the filing of such petition are (1) to prescribe the form of the petition;  63 (2) to issue
through its Election Records and Statistics Office a certificate on the total number of registered voters in each legislative district;  64 (3) to assist, through its election registrars,
in the establishment of signature stations; 65 and (4) to verify, through its election registrars, the signatures on the basis of the registry list of voters, voters' affidavits, and
voters' identification cards used in the immediately preceding election. 66

Since the Delfin Petition is not the initiatory petition under R.A. No. 6735 and COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, it cannot be entertained or given cognizance of by the
COMELEC. The respondent Commission must have known that the petition does not fall under any of the actions or proceedings under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure or
under Resolution No. 2300, for which reason it did not assign to the petition a docket number. Hence, the said petition was merely entered as UND, meaning,  undocketed.
That petition was nothing more than a mere scrap of paper, which should not have been dignified by the Order of 6 December 1996, the hearing on 12 December 1996, and
the order directing Delfin and the oppositors to file their memoranda or oppositions. In so dignifying it, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion and merely wasted its time, energy, and resources.

The foregoing considered, further discussion on the issue of whether the proposal to lift the term limits of elective national and local officials is an  amendment to, and not
a revision of, the Constitution is rendered unnecessary, if not academic.

CONCLUSION

This petition must then be granted, and the COMELEC should be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments to
the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system.

We feel, however, that the system of initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution should no longer be kept in the cold; it should be given flesh and blood, energy and
strength. Congress should not tarry any longer in complying with the constitutional mandate to provide for the implementation of the right of the people under that system.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered

a) GRANTING the instant petition;

b) DECLARING R.A. No. 6735 inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution, and to have failed to provide sufficient standard for subordinate
legislation;

c) DECLARING void those parts of Resolution No. 2300 of the Commission on Elections prescribing rules and regulations on the conduct of initiative or amendments to the
Constitution; and

d) ORDERING the Commission on Elections to forthwith DISMISS the DELFIN petition (UND-96-037).

The Temporary Restraining Order issued on 18 December 1996 is made permanent as against the Commission on Elections, but is LIFTED as against private respondents.

Resolution on the matter of contempt is hereby reserved.

SO ORDERED.

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[6] Well-settled principles of constitutional construction

G.R. No. 160261             November 10, 2003

ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner, NAGMAMALASAKIT NA MGA MANANANGGOL NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO, INC., ITS OFFICERS AND
MEMBERS, petitioner-in-intervention, WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-intervention, vs. THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON,
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO C. TEODORO, JR. AND REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, respondents. JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-
Intervention, SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

There can be no constitutional crisis arising from a conflict, no matter how passionate and seemingly irreconcilable it may appear to be, over the determination by the
independent branches of government of the nature, scope and extent of their respective constitutional powers where the Constitution itself provides for the means and bases
for its resolution.

Our nation's history is replete with vivid illustrations of the often frictional, at times turbulent, dynamics of the relationship among these co-equal branches. This Court is
confronted with one such today involving the legislature and the judiciary which has drawn legal luminaries to chart antipodal courses and not a few of our countrymen to vent
cacophonous sentiments thereon.

There may indeed be some legitimacy to the characterization that the present controversy subject of the instant petitions – whether the filing of the second impeachment
complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives falls within the one year bar provided in the Constitution, and whether the resolution
thereof is a political question – has resulted in a political crisis. Perhaps even more truth to the view that it was brought upon by a political crisis of conscience.

In any event, it is with the absolute certainty that our Constitution is sufficient to address all the issues which this controversy spawns that this Court unequivocally
pronounces, at the first instance, that the feared resort to extra-constitutional methods of resolving it is neither necessary nor legally permissible. Both its resolution and
protection of the public interest lie in adherence to, not departure from, the Constitution.

In passing over the complex issues arising from the controversy, this Court is ever mindful of the essential truth that the inviolate doctrine of separation of powers among the
legislative, executive or judicial branches of government by no means prescribes for absolute autonomy in the discharge by each of that part of the governmental power
assigned to it by the sovereign people.

At the same time, the corollary doctrine of checks and balances which has been carefully calibrated by the Constitution to temper the official acts of each of these three
branches must be given effect without destroying their indispensable co-equality.

Taken together, these two fundamental doctrines of republican government, intended as they are to insure that governmental power is wielded only for the good of the people,
mandate a relationship of interdependence and coordination among these branches where the delicate functions of enacting, interpreting and enforcing laws are harmonized
to achieve a unity of governance, guided only by what is in the greater interest and well-being of the people. Verily, salus populi est suprema lex.

Article XI of our present 1987 Constitution provides:

ARTICLE XI

Accountability of Public Officers

SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility,
integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.

SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may
be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or
betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.

SECTION 3. (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.

(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any
Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days
thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from such referral,
together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the
Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.

(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles
of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.

(6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. When sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation.
When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not vote. No person shall be convicted without the
concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the
Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment according to law.

(8) The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section . (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Following the above-quoted Section 8 of Article XI of the Constitution, the 12th Congress of the House of Representatives adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in
Impeachment Proceedings (House Impeachment Rules) on November 28, 2001, superseding the previous House Impeachment Rules 1 approved by the 11th Congress.
The relevant distinctions between these two Congresses' House Impeachment Rules are shown in the following tabulation:

11TH CONGRESS RULES 12TH CONGRESS NEW RULES

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RULE II RULE V

INITIATING IMPEACHMENT BAR AGAINST INITIATION OF IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE SAME
OFFICIAL

Section 2. Mode of Initiating Impeachment. – Impeachment shall


be initiated only by a verified complaint for impeachment filed by Section 16. – Impeachment Proceedings Deemed Initiated. – In cases where a Member
any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen of the House files a verified complaint of impeachment or a citizen files a verified complaint
upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof or by a that is endorsed by a Member of the House through a resolution of endorsement against an
verified complaint or resolution of impeachment filed by at least impeachable officer, impeachment proceedings against such official are deemed initiated
one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the House. on the day the Committee on Justice finds that the verified complaint and/or resolution
against such official, as the case may be, is sufficient in substance, or on the date the
House votes to overturn or affirm the finding of the said Committee that the verified
complaint and/or resolution, as the case may be, is not sufficient in substance.

In cases where a verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment is filed or endorsed, as


the case may be, by at least one-third (1/3) of the Members of the House,  impeachment
proceedings are deemed initiated at the time of the filing of such verified complaint
or resolution of impeachment with the Secretary General.

RULE V Section 17. Bar Against Initiation Of Impeachment Proceedings. – Within a period of


one (1) year from the date impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated as provided in
Section 16 hereof, no impeachment proceedings, as such, can be initiated against the
BAR AGAINST IMPEACHMENT same official. (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Section 14. Scope of Bar. – No impeachment proceedings shall


be initiated against the same official more than once within the
period of one (1) year.

On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution, 2 sponsored by Representative Felix William D. Fuentebella, which directed the Committee on Justice
"to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development
Fund (JDF)."3

On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint 4 (first impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven
Associate Justices5 of this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes." 6 The complaint was endorsed by Representatives
Rolex T. Suplico, Ronaldo B. Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen, 7 and was referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003 8 in accordance with Section
3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution which reads:

Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of
endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three
session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from
such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt
thereof.

The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form," 9 but voted to dismiss the same on October 22, 2003
for being insufficient in substance. 10 To date, the Committee Report to this effect has not yet been sent to the House in plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of
Article XI of the Constitution.

Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on October 23, 2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it,
the second impeachment complaint11 was filed with the Secretary General of the House 12 by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. (First District, Tarlac) and Felix William
B. Fuentebella (Third District, Camarines Sur) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned
House Resolution. This second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the
Members of the House of Representatives. 13

Thus arose the instant petitions against the House of Representatives,  et. al., most of which petitions contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint is
unconstitutional as it violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more
than once within a period of one year."

In G.R. No. 160261, petitioner Atty. Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr., alleging that he has a duty as a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to use all available legal
remedies to stop an unconstitutional impeachment, that the issues raised in his petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus are of transcendental importance, and that he
"himself was a victim of the capricious and arbitrary changes in the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings introduced by the 12th Congress," 14 posits that his right
to bring an impeachment complaint against then Ombudsman Aniano Desierto had been violated due to the capricious and arbitrary changes in the House Impeachment
Rules adopted and approved on November 28, 2001 by the House of Representatives and prays that (1) Rule V, Sections 16 and 17 and Rule III, Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9
thereof be declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue a writ of mandamus directing respondents House of Representatives  et. al. to comply with Article IX, Section 3 (2), (3)
and (5) of the Constitution, to return the second impeachment complaint and/or strike it off the records of the House of Representatives, and to promulgate rules which are
consistent with the Constitution; and (3) this Court permanently enjoin respondent House of Representatives from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160262, petitioners Sedfrey M. Candelaria, et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, alleging that the issues of the case are of transcendental importance, pray, in their
petition for Certiorari/Prohibition, the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondent House of Representatives from filing any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief
Justice with the Senate; and for the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondents Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon from accepting any Articles of
Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in the event that the Senate has accepted the same, from proceeding with the impeachment trial.

In G.R. No. 160263, petitioners Arturo M. de Castro and Soledad Cagampang, as citizens, taxpayers, lawyers and members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging
that their petition for Prohibition involves public interest as it involves the use of public funds necessary to conduct the impeachment trial on the second impeachment
complaint, pray for the issuance of a writ of prohibition enjoining Congress from conducting further proceedings on said second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160277, petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, alleging that this Court has recognized that he has  locus standi to bring petitions of this nature in the cases of Chavez v.
PCGG15 and Chavez v. PEA-Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation,16 prays in his petition for Injunction that the second impeachment complaint be declared
unconstitutional.

In G.R. No. 160292, petitioners Atty. Harry L. Roque, et. al., as taxpayers and members of the legal profession, pray in their petition for Prohibition for an order prohibiting
respondent House of Representatives from drafting, adopting, approving and transmitting to the Senate the second impeachment complaint, and respondents De Venecia and
Nazareno from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.

In G.R. No. 160295, petitioners Representatives Salacnib F. Baterina and Deputy Speaker Raul M. Gonzalez, alleging that, as members of the House of Representatives,
they have a legal interest in ensuring that only constitutional impeachment proceedings are initiated, pray in their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that the second
impeachment complaint and any act proceeding therefrom be declared null and void.

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In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso et al., claiming that they have a right to be protected against all forms of senseless spending of taxpayers' money and that
they have an obligation to protect the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, and the integrity of the Judiciary, allege in their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that it is instituted
as "a class suit" and pray that (1) the House Resolution endorsing the second impeachment complaint as well as all issuances emanating therefrom be declared null and void;
and (2) this Court enjoin the Senate and the Senate President from taking cognizance of, hearing, trying and deciding the second impeachment complaint, and issue a writ of
prohibition commanding the Senate, its prosecutors and agents to desist from conducting any proceedings or to act on the impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160318, petitioner Public Interest Center, Inc., whose members are citizens and taxpayers, and its co-petitioner Crispin T. Reyes, a citizen, taxpayer and a
member of the Philippine Bar, both allege in their petition, which does not state what its nature is, that the filing of the second impeachment complaint involves paramount
public interest and pray that Sections 16 and 17 of the House Impeachment Rules and the second impeachment complaint/Articles of Impeachment be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160342, petitioner Atty. Fernando P. R. Perito, as a citizen and a member of the Philippine Bar Association and of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and
petitioner Engr. Maximo N. Menez, Jr., as a taxpayer, pray in their petition for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction to enjoin the House of
Representatives from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160343, petitioner Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that it is mandated by the Code of Professional Responsibility to uphold the Constitution, prays in its
petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Rule III of the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional and
that the House of Representatives be permanently enjoined from proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160360, petitioner-taxpayer Atty. Claro Flores prays in his petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional.

In G.R. No. 160365, petitioners U.P. Law Alumni Cebu Foundation Inc., et. al., in their petition for Prohibition and Injunction which they claim is a class suit filed in behalf of all
citizens, citing Oposa v. Factoran17 which was filed in behalf of succeeding generations of Filipinos, pray for the issuance of a writ prohibiting respondents House of
Representatives and the Senate from conducting further proceedings on the second impeachment complaint and that this Court declare as unconstitutional the second
impeachment complaint and the acts of respondent House of Representatives in interfering with the fiscal matters of the Judiciary.

In G.R. No. 160370, petitioner-taxpayer Father Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, alleging that the issues in his petition for Prohibition are of national and transcendental significance
and that as an official of the Philippine Judicial Academy, he has a direct and substantial interest in the unhampered operation of the Supreme Court and its officials in
discharging their duties in accordance with the Constitution, prays for the issuance of a writ prohibiting the House of Representatives from transmitting the Articles of
Impeachment to the Senate and the Senate from receiving the same or giving the impeachment complaint due course.

In G.R. No. 160376, petitioner Nilo A. Malanyaon, as a taxpayer, alleges in his petition for Prohibition that respondents Fuentebella and Teodoro at the time they filed the
second impeachment complaint, were "absolutely without any legal power to do so, as they acted without jurisdiction as far as the Articles of Impeachment assail the alleged
abuse of powers of the Chief Justice to disburse the (JDF)."

In G.R. No. 160392, petitioners Attorneys Venicio S. Flores and Hector L. Hofileña, alleging that as professors of law they have an abiding interest in the subject matter of
their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition as it pertains to a constitutional issue "which they are trying to inculcate in the minds of their students," pray that the House of
Representatives be enjoined from endorsing and the Senate from trying the Articles of Impeachment and that the second impeachment complaint be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160397, petitioner Atty. Dioscoro Vallejos, Jr., without alleging his locus standi, but alleging that the second impeachment complaint is founded on the issue of
whether or not the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) was spent in accordance with law and that the House of Representatives does not have exclusive jurisdiction in the
examination and audit thereof, prays in his petition "To Declare Complaint Null and Void for Lack of Cause of Action and Jurisdiction" that the second impeachment complaint
be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160403, petitioner Philippine Bar Association, alleging that the issues raised in the filing of the second impeachment complaint involve matters of transcendental
importance, prays in its petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment complaint and all proceedings arising therefrom be declared null and void; (2)
respondent House of Representatives be prohibited from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate; and (3) respondent Senate be prohibited from accepting the
Articles of Impeachment and from conducting any proceedings thereon.

In G.R. No. 160405, petitioners Democrit C. Barcenas et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, pray in their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment
complaint as well as the resolution of endorsement and impeachment by the respondent House of Representatives be declared null and void and (2) respondents Senate and
Senate President Franklin Drilon be prohibited from accepting any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in the event that they have accepted the same, that
they be prohibited from proceeding with the impeachment trial.

Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262 and 160263, the first three of the eighteen which were filed before this Court, 18 prayed for the issuance of a
Temporary Restraining Order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the House of Representatives from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment arising from the second
impeachment complaint to the Senate. Petition bearing docket number G.R. No. 160261 likewise prayed for the declaration of the November 28, 2001 House Impeachment
Rules as null and void for being unconstitutional.

Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160277, 160292 and 160295, which were filed on October 28, 2003, sought similar relief. In addition, petition bearing docket
number G.R. No. 160292 alleged that House Resolution No. 260 (calling for a legislative inquiry into the administration by the Chief Justice of the JDF) infringes on the
constitutional doctrine of separation of powers and is a direct violation of the constitutional principle of fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.

On October 28, 2003, during the plenary session of the House of Representatives, a motion was put forth that the second impeachment complaint be formally transmitted to
the Senate, but it was not carried because the House of Representatives adjourned for lack of quorum, 19 and as reflected above, to date, the Articles of Impeachment have yet
to be forwarded to the Senate.

Before acting on the petitions with prayers for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction which were filed on or before October 28, 2003, Justices Puno
and Vitug offered to recuse themselves, but the Court rejected their offer. Justice Panganiban inhibited himself, but the Court directed him to participate.

Without necessarily giving the petitions due course, this Court in its Resolution of October 28, 2003, resolved to (a) consolidate the petitions; (b) require respondent House of
Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Solicitor General, to comment on the petitions not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; (c) set the petitions for oral
arguments on November 5, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.; and (d) appointed distinguished legal experts as  amici curiae.20 In addition, this Court called on petitioners and respondents to
maintain the status quo, enjoining all the parties and others acting for and in their behalf to refrain from committing acts that would render the petitions moot.

Also on October 28, 2003, when respondent House of Representatives through Speaker Jose C. De Venecia, Jr. and/or its co-respondents, by way of special appearance,
submitted a Manifestation asserting that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear, much less prohibit or enjoin the House of Representatives, which is an independent and co-
equal branch of government under the Constitution, from the performance of its constitutionally mandated duty to initiate impeachment cases. On even date, Senator Aquilino
Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, filed a Motion to Intervene (Ex Abudante Cautela)21 and Comment, praying that "the consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction of the Court over the issues affecting the impeachment proceedings and that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate as the impeachment court to
try and decide impeachment cases, including the one where the Chief Justice is the respondent, be recognized and upheld pursuant to the provisions of Article XI of the
Constitution."22

Acting on the other petitions which were subsequently filed, this Court resolved to (a) consolidate them with the earlier consolidated petitions; (b) require respondents to file
their comment not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; and (c) include them for oral arguments on November 5, 2003.

On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the Philippines, through Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, filed a Manifestation stating that insofar as it is concerned, the petitions are
plainly premature and have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the time of the filing of the petitions, no justiciable issue was presented before it since (1) its
constitutional duty to constitute itself as an impeachment court commences only upon its receipt of the Articles of Impeachment, which it had not, and (2) the principal issues
raised by the petitions pertain exclusively to the proceedings in the House of Representatives.

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On October 30, 2003, Atty. Jaime Soriano filed a "Petition for Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, and 160295, questioning the  status
quo Resolution issued by this Court on October 28, 2003 on the ground that it would unnecessarily put Congress and this Court in a "constitutional deadlock" and praying for
the dismissal of all the petitions as the matter in question is not yet ripe for judicial determination.

On November 3, 2003, Attorneys Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra filed in G.R. No. 160262 a "Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and to Admit the Herein
Incorporated Petition in Intervention."

On November 4, 2003, Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc. filed a Motion for Intervention in G.R. No. 160261. On November 5, 2003,
World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. also filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277,
160292, 160295, and 160310.

The motions for intervention were granted and both Senator Pimentel's Comment and Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra's Petition in Intervention were admitted.

On November 5-6, 2003, this Court heard the views of the amici curiae and the arguments of petitioners, intervenors Senator Pimentel and Attorney Makalintal, and Solicitor
General Alfredo Benipayo on the principal issues outlined in an Advisory issued by this Court on November 3, 2003, to wit:

Whether the certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may be invoked; who can invoke it; on what issues and at what time; and whether it should be exercised
by this Court at this time.

In discussing these issues, the following may be taken up:

a) locus standi of petitioners;

b) ripeness(prematurity; mootness);

c) political question/justiciability;

d) House's "exclusive" power to initiate all cases of impeachment;

e) Senate's "sole" power to try and decide all cases of impeachment;

f) constitutionality of the House Rules on Impeachment vis-a-vis Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution; and

g) judicial restraint (Italics in the original)

In resolving the intricate conflux of preliminary and substantive issues arising from the instant petitions as well as the myriad arguments and opinions presented for and
against the grant of the reliefs prayed for, this Court has sifted and determined them to be as follows: (1) the threshold and novel issue of whether or not the power of judicial
review extends to those arising from impeachment proceedings; (2) whether or not the essential pre-requisites for the exercise of the power of judicial review have been
fulfilled; and (3) the substantive issues yet remaining. These matters shall now be discussed in seriatim.

Judicial Review

As reflected above, petitioners plead for this Court to exercise the power of judicial review to determine the validity of the second impeachment complaint.

This Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in Section 1, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution:

SECTION 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and  to
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the government. (Emphasis supplied)

Such power of judicial review was early on exhaustively expounded upon by Justice Jose P. Laurel in the definitive 1936 case of Angara v. Electoral Commission23 after the
effectivity of the 1935 Constitution whose provisions, unlike the present Constitution, did not contain the present provision in Article VIII, Section 1, par. 2 on what judicial
power includes. Thus, Justice Laurel discoursed:

x x x In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated . In
cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to  determine the proper allocation of powers
between the several departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.

As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power of our people, acting through
their delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty however limited, has established a republican government intended to
operate and function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and balances, and subject to specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said
instrument. The Constitution sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and limitations upon governmental powers and agencies. If these
restrictions and limitations are transcended it would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a mechanism by which to direct the
course of government along constitutional channels, for then the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights mere expressions of
sentiment, and the principles of good government mere political apothegms. Certainly, the limitations and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are real as they
should be in any living constitution. In the United States where no express constitutional grant is found in their constitution,  the possession of this moderating
power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a
half centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear implication from section 2 of article VIII of our Constitution.

The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government.  Who is to determine the nature, scope and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has
provided for the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And  when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not
assert any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but  only asserts the solemn and sacred
obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution  and to establish for the parties in an
actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is involved in  what is termed "judicial
supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial review under the Constitution . Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and
controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very  lis
mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as
its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the
presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary
in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the
executive and legislative departments of the government. 24 (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)

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As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of
government along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts 25 as a necessary consequence of the judicial power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable." 26

Thus, even in the United States where the power of judicial review is not explicitly conferred upon the courts by its Constitution, such power has "been set at rest by popular
acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half centuries." To be sure, it was in the 1803 leading case of  Marbury v. Madison27 that the power of judicial review was
first articulated by Chief Justice Marshall, to wit:

It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws
of the United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the constitution, have that rank.

Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written
constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument. 28 

In our own jurisdiction, as early as 1902, decades before its express grant in the 1935 Constitution, the power of judicial review was exercised by our courts to invalidate
constitutionally infirm acts.29 And as pointed out by noted political law professor and former Supreme Court Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, 30 the executive and legislative
branches of our government in fact effectively acknowledged this power of judicial review in Article 7 of the Civil Code, to wit:

Article 7. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-observance shall not be excused by disuse, or custom or practice to the contrary.

When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the Constitution, the former shall be void and the latter shall govern.

Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution.  

As indicated in Angara v. Electoral Commission,31 judicial review is indeed an integral component of the delicate system of checks and balances which, together with the
corollary principle of separation of powers, forms the bedrock of our republican form of government and insures that its vast powers are utilized only for the benefit of the
people for which it serves.

The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our
Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not
follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of
each other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various
departments of the government. x x x And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in
the exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution .32 

In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano, "x x x judicial review is essential for the maintenance and enforcement of the separation of
powers and the balancing of powers among the three great departments of government through the definition and maintenance of the boundaries of authority and control
between them."33 To him, "[j]udicial review is the chief, indeed the only, medium of participation – or instrument of intervention – of the judiciary in that balancing operation." 34

To ensure the potency of the power of judicial review to curb grave abuse of discretion by " any branch or instrumentalities of government," the afore-quoted Section 1,
Article VIII of the Constitution engraves, for the first time into its history, into block letter law the so-called "expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this Court, the nature of and
rationale for which are mirrored in the following excerpt from the sponsorship speech of its proponent, former Chief Justice Constitutional Commissioner Roberto Concepcion:

The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

I suppose nobody can question it.

The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.

Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable and to determine whether
or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part or instrumentality of the government.

Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the
role of the judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the circumstance that in a number of cases against the government, which then
had no legal defense at all, the solicitor general set up the defense of political questions and got away with it . As a consequence, certain principles concerning
particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is, the authority of courts to order the release of political detainees, and other matters related to the operation and effect of
martial law failed because the government set up the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is political, we have no authority to pass
upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a proper solution of the questions involved. It did not merely request an encroachment upon the
rights of the people, but it, in effect, encouraged further violations thereof during the martial law regime. x x x

Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the
judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of
jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction.  This is not only a judicial
power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.

This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that  the courts cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that
such matters constitute a political question.35 (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)

To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant petitions, this Court must necessarily turn to the Constitution itself which employs the well-settled principles of
constitutional construction.

First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible, the words used in the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. Thus,
in J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration,36 this Court, speaking through Chief Justice Enrique Fernando, declared:

We look to the language of the document itself in our search for its meaning. We do not of course stop there, but that is where we begin.  It is to be
assumed that the words in which constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be attained. They are to be given their  ordinary
meaning except where technical terms are employed in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails.  As the Constitution is not primarily a
lawyer's document, it being essential for the rule of law to obtain that it should ever be present in the people's consciousness,  its language as much as possible
should be understood in the sense they have in common use . What it says according to the text of the provision to be construed compels acceptance  and
negates the power of the courts to alter it, based on the postulate that the framers and the people mean what they say. Thus these are the cases where the need
for construction is reduced to a minimum. 37 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The words of the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the intent of its framers. And so did this Court
apply this principle in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary 38 in this wise:

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A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the intention underlying the provision under consideration. Thus, it has been held that the Court in construing
a Constitution should bear in mind the object sought to be accomplished by its adoption, and the evils, if any, sought to be prevented or remedied. A doubtful
provision will be examined in the light of the history of the times, and the condition and circumstances under which the Constitution was framed.  The object is to
ascertain the reason which induced the framers of the Constitution to enact the particular provision and the purpose sought to be accomplished
thereby, in order to construe the whole as to make the words consonant to that reason and calculated to effect that purpose. 39 

As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on Internal Revenue40 where, speaking through Madame Justice Amuerfina A. Melencio-Herrera, it declared:

x x x The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the
organic law and of the people adopting it should be given effect. The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the
realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution.  It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the
Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers.41 

Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. Thus, in Chiongbian v. De Leon,42 this Court, through Chief Justice Manuel Moran
declared:

x x x [T]he members of the Constitutional Convention could not have dedicated a provision of our Constitution merely for the benefit of one person
without considering that it could also affect others. When they adopted subsection 2, they permitted, if not willed, that said provision should function
to the full extent of its substance and its terms, not by itself alone, but in conjunction with all other provisions of that great document. 43 

Likewise, still in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary,44 this Court affirmed that:

It is a well-established rule in constitutional construction that no one provision of the Constitution is to be separated from all the others, to be
considered alone, but that all the provisions bearing upon a particular subject are to be brought into view and to be so interpreted as to effectuate the
great purposes of the instrument. Sections bearing on a particular subject should be considered and interpreted together as to effectuate the whole
purpose of the Constitution and one section is not to be allowed to defeat another, if by any reasonable construction, the two can be made to stand
together.

In other words, the court must harmonize them, if practicable, and must lean in favor of a construction which will render every word operative, rather than one
which may make the words idle and nugatory. 45 (Emphasis supplied)

If, however, the plain meaning of the word is not found to be clear, resort to other aids is available. In still the same case of  Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, this
Court expounded:

While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of
the resulting Constitution, resort thereto may be had only when other guides fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the
Constitution when the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention "are of value as showing the views of the individual members, and as
indicating the reasons for their votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk, much less of the mass of our fellow citizens
whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental law.  We think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its
face." The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers's understanding
thereof.46 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

It is in the context of the foregoing backdrop of constitutional refinement and jurisprudential application of the power of judicial review that respondents Speaker De
Venecia, et. al. and intervenor Senator Pimentel raise the novel argument that the Constitution has excluded impeachment proceedings from the coverage of judicial review.

Briefly stated, it is the position of respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. that impeachment is a political action which cannot assume a judicial character. Hence, any
question, issue or incident arising at any stage of the impeachment proceeding is beyond the reach of judicial review. 47

For his part, intervenor Senator Pimentel contends that the Senate's "sole power to try" impeachment cases48 (1) entirely excludes the application of judicial review over it; and
(2) necessarily includes the Senate's power to determine constitutional questions relative to impeachment proceedings. 49

In furthering their arguments on the proposition that impeachment proceedings are outside the scope of judicial review, respondents Speaker De Venecia,  et. al. and
intervenor Senator Pimentel rely heavily on American authorities, principally the majority opinion in the case of  Nixon v. United States.50 Thus, they contend that the exercise
of judicial review over impeachment proceedings is inappropriate since it runs counter to the framers' decision to allocate to different fora the powers to try impeachments and
to try crimes; it disturbs the system of checks and balances, under which impeachment is the only legislative check on the judiciary; and it would create a lack of finality and
difficulty in fashioning relief. 51 Respondents likewise point to deliberations on the US Constitution to show the intent to isolate judicial power of review in cases of
impeachment.

Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American jurisprudence, the American Constitution and American authorities  cannot be credited to support the proposition that
the Senate's "sole power to try and decide impeachment cases," as provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the Constitution, is a textually demonstrable constitutional
commitment of all issues pertaining to impeachment to the legislature, to the total exclusion of the power of judicial review to check and restrain any grave abuse of the
impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably support the interpretation that it necessarily confers upon the Senate the inherently judicial power to determine constitutional
questions incident to impeachment proceedings.

Said American jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious application for these are no longer controlling within our jurisdiction and
have only limited persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned. As held in the case of  Garcia vs. COMELEC,52 "[i]n resolving constitutional disputes,
[this Court] should not be beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable because they have been dictated by different constitutional settings and
needs."53 Indeed, although the Philippine Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United States, their paths of development have long since diverged. In the colorful
words of Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the umbilical cord."

The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine Supreme Court and that of the U.S. Supreme Court is that while the power of judicial review is
only impliedly granted to the U.S. Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the Philippine Supreme Court and lower courts,  as expressly provided for in
the Constitution, is not just a power but also a duty, and it was given an expanded definition to include the power to correct any grave abuse of discretion on the part of any
government branch or instrumentality.

There are also glaring distinctions between the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine Constitution with respect to the power of the House of Representatives over impeachment
proceedings. While the U.S. Constitution bestows sole power of impeachment to the House of Representatives without limitation, 54 our Constitution, though vesting in the
House of Representatives the exclusive power to initiate impeachment cases, 55 provides for several limitations to the exercise of such power as embodied in Section 3(2), (3),
(4) and (5), Article XI thereof. These limitations include the manner of filing, required vote to impeach, and the one year bar on the impeachment of one and the same official.

Respondents are also of the view that judicial review of impeachments undermines their finality and may also lead to conflicts between Congress and the judiciary. Thus, they
call upon this Court to exercise judicial statesmanship on the principle that "whenever possible, the Court should defer to the judgment of the people expressed legislatively,
recognizing full well the perils of judicial willfulness and pride." 56

But did not the people also express their will when they instituted the above-mentioned safeguards in the Constitution? This shows that the Constitution did not intend to leave
the matter of impeachment to the sole discretion of Congress. Instead, it provided for certain well-defined limits, or in the language of  Baker v. Carr,57 "judicially discoverable
standards" for determining the validity of the exercise of such discretion, through the power of judicial review.

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The cases of Romulo v. Yniguez58 and Alejandrino v. Quezon,59 cited by respondents in support of the argument that the impeachment power is beyond the scope of judicial
review, are not in point. These cases concern the denial of petitions for writs of mandamus to compel the legislature to perform non-ministerial acts, and do not concern the
exercise of the power of judicial review.

There is indeed a plethora of cases in which this Court exercised the power of judicial review over congressional action. Thus, in  Santiago v. Guingona, Jr.,60 this Court ruled
that it is well within the power and jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether the Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion in
the exercise of their functions and prerogatives. In Tanada v. Angara,61 in seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravened the Constitution, it
held that the petition raises a justiciable controversy and that when an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not
only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. In Bondoc v. Pineda,62 this Court declared null and void a resolution of the House of Representatives
withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding the election, of a congressman as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal for being violative of Section 17, Article VI of the
Constitution. In Coseteng v. Mitra,63 it held that the resolution of whether the House representation in the Commission on Appointments was based on proportional
representation of the political parties as provided in Section 18, Article VI of the Constitution is subject to judicial review. In  Daza v. Singson,64 it held that the act of the House
of Representatives in removing the petitioner from the Commission on Appointments is subject to judicial review. In  Tanada v. Cuenco,65 it held that although under the
Constitution, the legislative power is vested exclusively in Congress, this does not detract from the power of the courts to pass upon the constitutionality of acts of Congress.
In Angara v. Electoral Commission, 66 it ruled that confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any member, irrespective of whether his election is contested, is not
essential before such member-elect may discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.

Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for the contention that the exercise of judicial review over impeachment proceedings would upset the system of checks and
balances. Verily, the Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole and "one section is not to be allowed to defeat another." 67 Both are integral components of the calibrated
system of independence and interdependence that insures that no branch of government act beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution.

Essential Requisites for Judicial Review

As clearly stated in Angara v. Electoral Commission, the courts' power of judicial review, like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, is subject to several limitations,
namely: (1) an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a
personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be
raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.

x x x Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and
limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal
questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom,
justice or expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is
presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of
the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government. 68 (Italics in the original)

Standing

Locus standi or legal standing or has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of
the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to
assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. 69

Intervenor Soriano, in praying for the dismissal of the petitions, contends that petitioners do not have standing since only the Chief Justice has sustained and will sustain direct
personal injury. Amicus curiae former Justice Minister and Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza similarly contends.

Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General asserts that petitioners have standing since this Court had, in the past, accorded standing to taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens,
legislators in cases involving paramount public interest 70 and transcendental importance, 71 and that procedural matters are subordinate to the need to determine whether or
not the other branches of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the discretion given to
them.72 Amicus curiae Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law is of the same opinion, citing transcendental importance and the well-entrenched rule exception
that, when the real party in interest is unable to vindicate his rights by seeking the same remedies, as in the case of the Chief Justice who, for ethical reasons, cannot himself
invoke the jurisdiction of this Court, the courts will grant petitioners standing.

There is, however, a difference between the rule on real-party-in-interest and the rule on standing, for the former is a concept of civil procedure 73 while the latter has
constitutional underpinnings.74 In view of the arguments set forth regarding standing, it behooves the Court to reiterate the ruling in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato 75 to clarify what
is meant by locus standi and to distinguish it from real party-in-interest.

The difference between the rule on standing and real party in interest has been noted by authorities thus: "It is important to note . . . that standing because of its
constitutional and public policy underpinnings, is very different from questions relating to whether a particular plaintiff is the real party in interest or has capacity to
sue. Although all three requirements are directed towards ensuring that only certain parties can maintain an action, standing restrictions require a partial
consideration of the merits, as well as broader policy concerns relating to the proper role of the judiciary in certain areas.

Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because in some cases suits are brought not by parties who have been personally injured by the operation of a
law or by official action taken, but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public interest. Hence the question in standing is whether
such parties have "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of
issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions."

On the other hand, the question as to "real party in interest" is whether he is "the party who would be benefited or injured by the judgment, or the 'party entitled to
the avails of the suit.'" 76 (Citations omitted)

While rights personal to the Chief Justice may have been injured by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of Representatives, none of the petitioners before us
asserts a violation of the personal rights of the Chief Justice. On the contrary, they invariably invoke the vindication of their own rights – as taxpayers; members of Congress;
citizens, individually or in a class suit; and members of the bar and of the legal profession – which were supposedly violated by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the House
of Representatives.

In a long line of cases, however, concerned citizens, taxpayers and legislators when specific requirements have been met have been given standing by this Court.

When suing as a citizen, the interest of the petitioner assailing the constitutionality of a statute must be direct and personal. He must be able to show, not only that the law or
any government act is invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers
thereby in some indefinite way. It must appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is
about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of. 77 In fine, when the proceeding involves the assertion of a public right, 78 the
mere fact that he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of personal interest.

In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed, or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose,
or that there is a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. 79 Before he can invoke the power of judicial review, however, he must
specifically prove that he has sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he would sustain a direct injury as a result of the
enforcement of the questioned statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to all members of the public. 80

At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained. 81 This Court opts to grant standing to most of the petitioners, given
their allegation that any impending transmittal to the Senate of the Articles of Impeachment and the ensuing trial of the Chief Justice will necessarily involve the expenditure of
public funds.

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As for a legislator, he is allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which he claims infringes his prerogatives as a legislator. 82 Indeed, a member of the House
of Representatives has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in his office. 83

While an association has legal personality to represent its members, 84 especially when it is composed of substantial taxpayers and the outcome will affect their vital
interests,85 the mere invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any member of the legal profession of the duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more,
although undoubtedly true, does not suffice to clothe it with standing. Its interest is too general. It is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry. However, a reading of the
petitions shows that it has advanced constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. 86 It,
therefore, behooves this Court to relax the rules on standing and to resolve the issues presented by it.

In the same vein, when dealing with class suits filed in behalf of all citizens, persons intervening must be sufficiently numerous to fully protect the interests of all concerned 87 to
enable the court to deal properly with all interests involved in the suit, 88 for a judgment in a class suit, whether favorable or unfavorable to the class, is, under the  res
judicata principle, binding on all members of the class whether or not they were before the court. 89 Where it clearly appears that not all interests can be sufficiently represented
as shown by the divergent issues raised in the numerous petitions before this Court, G.R. No. 160365 as a class suit ought to fail. Since petitioners  additionally allege standing
as citizens and taxpayers, however, their petition will stand.

The Philippine Bar Association, in G.R. No. 160403, invokes the sole ground of transcendental importance, while Atty. Dioscoro U. Vallejos, in G.R. No. 160397, is mum on
his standing.

There being no doctrinal definition of transcendental importance, the following instructive determinants formulated by former Supreme Court Justice Florentino P. Feliciano are
instructive: (1) the character of the funds or other assets involved in the case; (2) the presence of a clear case of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the
public respondent agency or instrumentality of the government; and (3) the lack of any other party with a more direct and specific interest in raising the questions being
raised.90 Applying these determinants, this Court is satisfied that the issues raised herein are indeed of transcendental importance.

In not a few cases, this Court has in fact adopted a liberal attitude on the  locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental significance
to the people, as when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public. 91 Such liberality does not, however, mean that the requirement that a party should have an
interest in the matter is totally eliminated. A party must, at the very least, still plead the existence of such interest, it not being one of which courts can take judicial notice. In
petitioner Vallejos' case, he failed to allege any interest in the case. He does not thus have standing.

With respect to the motions for intervention, Rule 19, Section 2 of the Rules of Court requires an intervenor to possess a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the
success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the
court or of an officer thereof. While intervention is not a matter of right, it may be permitted by the courts when the applicant shows facts which satisfy the requirements of the
law authorizing intervention.92

In Intervenors Attorneys Romulo Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra's case, they seek to join petitioners Candelaria, et. al. in G.R. No. 160262. Since, save for one additional
issue, they raise the same issues and the same standing, and no objection on the part of petitioners Candelaria, et. al. has been interposed, this Court as earlier stated,
granted the Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and Petition-in-Intervention.

Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc.,  et. al. sought to join petitioner Francisco in G.R. No. 160261. Invoking their right as citizens to
intervene, alleging that "they will suffer if this insidious scheme of the minority members of the House of Representatives is successful," this Court found the requisites for
intervention had been complied with.

Alleging that the issues raised in the petitions in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and 160310 were of transcendental importance, World War II
Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to Intervene" to raise the additional issue of whether or not the second impeachment
complaint against the Chief Justice is valid and based on any of the grounds prescribed by the Constitution.

Finding that Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc.,  et al. and World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. possess a
legal interest in the matter in litigation the respective motions to intervene were hereby granted.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel, on the other hand, sought to intervene for the limited purpose of making of record and arguing a point of view that differs with Senate President
Drilon's. He alleges that submitting to this Court's jurisdiction as the Senate President does will undermine the independence of the Senate which will sit as an impeachment
court once the Articles of Impeachment are transmitted to it from the House of Representatives. Clearly, Senator Pimentel possesses a legal interest in the matter in litigation,
he being a member of Congress against which the herein petitions are directed. For this reason, and to fully ventilate all substantial issues relating to the matter at hand, his
Motion to Intervene was granted and he was, as earlier stated, allowed to argue.

Lastly, as to Jaime N. Soriano's motion to intervene, the same must be denied for, while he asserts an interest as a taxpayer, he failed to meet the standing requirement for
bringing taxpayer's suits as set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec,93 to wit:

x x x While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their Petition do said petitioners allege that their tax money
is "being extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional protection against abuses of legislative power," or that there is a misapplication of such funds by
respondent COMELEC, or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain respondent from wasting public
funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. 94 (Citations omitted)

In praying for the dismissal of the petitions, Soriano failed even to allege that the act of petitioners will result in illegal disbursement of public funds or in public money being
deflected to any improper purpose. Additionally, his mere interest as a member of the Bar does not suffice to clothe him with standing.

Ripeness and Prematurity

In Tan v. Macapagal,95 this Court, through Chief Justice Fernando, held that for a case to be considered ripe for adjudication, "it is a prerequisite that something had by then
been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture." 96 Only then may the courts pass on the validity of what was done, if and when the
latter is challenged in an appropriate legal proceeding.

The instant petitions raise in the main the issue of the validity of the filing of the second impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice in accordance with the House
Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress, the constitutionality of which is questioned. The questioned acts having been carried out, i.e., the second impeachment
complaint had been filed with the House of Representatives and the 2001 Rules have already been already promulgated and enforced, the prerequisite that the alleged
unconstitutional act should be accomplished and performed before suit, as Tan v. Macapagal holds, has been complied with.

Related to the issue of ripeness is the question of whether the instant petitions are premature.  Amicus curiae former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga opines that there
may be no urgent need for this Court to render a decision at this time, it being the final arbiter on questions of constitutionality anyway. He thus recommends that all remedies
in the House and Senate should first be exhausted.

Taking a similar stand is Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law who suggests to this Court to take judicial notice of on-going attempts to encourage signatories to
the second impeachment complaint to withdraw their signatures and opines that the House Impeachment Rules provide for an opportunity for members to raise constitutional
questions themselves when the Articles of Impeachment are presented on a motion to transmit to the same to the Senate. The dean maintains that even assuming that the
Articles are transmitted to the Senate, the Chief Justice can raise the issue of their constitutional infirmity by way of a motion to dismiss.

The dean's position does not persuade. First, the withdrawal by the Representatives of their signatures would not, by itself, cure the House Impeachment Rules of their
constitutional infirmity. Neither would such a withdrawal, by itself, obliterate the questioned second impeachment complaint since it would only place it under the ambit of
Sections 3(2) and (3) of Article XI of the Constitution 97 and, therefore, petitioners would continue to suffer their injuries.

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Second and most importantly, the futility of seeking remedies from either or both Houses of Congress before coming to this Court is shown by the fact that, as previously
discussed, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate is clothed with the power to rule with definitiveness on the issue of constitutionality, whether concerning
impeachment proceedings or otherwise, as said power is exclusively vested in the judiciary by the earlier quoted Section I, Article VIII of the Constitution. Remedy cannot be
sought from a body which is bereft of power to grant it.

Justiciability

In the leading case of Tanada v. Cuenco,98 Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion defined the term "political question," viz:

[T]he term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. In other words, in the language of
Corpus Juris Secundum, it refers to "those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to
which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the Legislature or executive branch of the Government." It is concerned with issues dependent upon
the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure. 99 (Italics in the original)

Prior to the 1973 Constitution, without consistency and seemingly without any rhyme or reason, this Court vacillated on its stance of taking cognizance of cases which involved
political questions. In some cases, this Court hid behind the cover of the political question doctrine and refused to exercise its power of judicial review. 100 In other cases,
however, despite the seeming political nature of the therein issues involved, this Court assumed jurisdiction whenever it found constitutionally imposed limits on powers or
functions conferred upon political bodies. 101 Even in the landmark 1988 case of Javellana v. Executive Secretary 102 which raised the issue of whether the 1973 Constitution
was ratified, hence, in force, this Court shunted the political question doctrine and took cognizance thereof. Ratification by the people of a Constitution is a political question, it
being a question decided by the people in their sovereign capacity.

The frequency with which this Court invoked the political question doctrine to refuse to take jurisdiction over certain cases during the Marcos regime motivated Chief Justice
Concepcion, when he became a Constitutional Commissioner, to clarify this Court's power of judicial review and its application on issues involving political questions, viz:

MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.

I will speak on the judiciary. Practically, everybody has made, I suppose, the usual comment that the judiciary is the weakest among the three major branches of the service.
Since the legislature holds the purse and the executive the sword, the judiciary has nothing with which to enforce its decisions or commands except the power of reason and
appeal to conscience which, after all, reflects the will of God, and is the most powerful of all other powers without exception. x x x And so, with the body's indulgence, I will
proceed to read the provisions drafted by the Committee on the Judiciary.

The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

I suppose nobody can question it.

The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.

Judicial power includes the duty of courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable and to determine whether
or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part or instrumentality of the government.

Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the  role of
the judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the circumstance that in a number of cases against the government, which then had no
legal defense at all, the solicitor general set up the defense of political questions and got away with it. As a consequence, certain principles concerning
particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is, the authority of courts to order the release of political detainees, and other matters related to the operation and
effect of martial law failed because the government set up the defense of political question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is political, we have no
authority to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a proper solution of the questions involved. It did not merely request an
encroachment upon the rights of the people, but it, in effect, encouraged further violations thereof during the martial law regime.  I am sure the members of the
Bar are familiar with this situation. But for the benefit of the Members of the Commission who are not lawyers, allow me to explain. I will start with a decision of the Supreme
Court in 1973 on the case of Javellana vs. the Secretary of Justice, if I am not mistaken. Martial law was announced on September 22, although the proclamation was
dated September 21. The obvious reason for the delay in its publication was that the administration had apprehended and detained prominent newsmen on September 21.
So that when martial law was announced on September 22, the media hardly published anything about it. In fact, the media could not publish any story not only because
our main writers were already incarcerated, but also because those who succeeded them in their jobs were under mortal threat of being the object of wrath of the ruling
party. The 1971 Constitutional Convention had begun on June 1, 1971 and by September 21 or 22 had not finished the Constitution; it had barely agreed in the
fundamentals of the Constitution. I forgot to say that upon the proclamation of martial law, some delegates to that 1971 Constitutional Convention, dozens of them, were
picked up. One of them was our very own colleague, Commissioner Calderon. So, the unfinished draft of the Constitution was taken over by representatives of
Malacañang. In 17 days, they finished what the delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention had been unable to accomplish for about 14 months. The draft of the 1973
Constitution was presented to the President around December 1, 1972, whereupon the President issued a decree calling a plebiscite which suspended the operation of
some provisions in the martial law decree which prohibited discussions, much less public discussions of certain matters of public concern. The purpose was presumably to
allow a free discussion on the draft of the Constitution on which a plebiscite was to be held sometime in January 1973. If I may use a word famous by our colleague,
Commissioner Ople, during the interregnum, however, the draft of the Constitution was analyzed and criticized with such a telling effect that Malacañang felt the danger of
its approval. So, the President suspended indefinitely the holding of the plebiscite and announced that he would consult the people in a referendum to be held from January
10 to January 15. But the questions to be submitted in the referendum were not announced until the eve of its scheduled beginning, under the supposed supervision not of
the Commission on Elections, but of what was then designated as "citizens assemblies or barangays." Thus the barangays came into existence. The questions to be
propounded were released with proposed answers thereto, suggesting that it was unnecessary to hold a plebiscite because the answers given in the referendum should be
regarded as the votes cast in the plebiscite. Thereupon, a motion was filed with the Supreme Court praying that the holding of the referendum be suspended. When the
motion was being heard before the Supreme Court, the Minister of Justice delivered to the Court a proclamation of the President declaring that the new Constitution was
already in force because the overwhelming majority of the votes cast in the referendum favored the Constitution. Immediately after the departure of the Minister of Justice, I
proceeded to the session room where the case was being heard. I then informed the Court and the parties the presidential proclamation declaring that the 1973
Constitution had been ratified by the people and is now in force.

A number of other cases were filed to declare the presidential proclamation null and void. The main defense put up by the government was that the issue was a political
question and that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the case.

The government said that in a referendum held from January 10 to January 15, the vast majority ratified the draft of the Constitution. Note that all members of the Supreme
Court were residents of Manila, but none of them had been notified of any referendum in their respective places of residence, much less did they participate in the alleged
referendum. None of them saw any referendum proceeding.

In the Philippines, even local gossips spread like wild fire. So, a majority of the members of the Court felt that there had been no referendum.

Second, a referendum cannot substitute for a plebiscite. There is a big difference between a referendum and a plebiscite. But another group of justices upheld the
defense that the issue was a political question. Whereupon, they dismissed the case. This is not the only major case in which the plea of "political question"
was set up. There have been a number of other cases in the past.

x x x The defense of the political question was rejected because the issue was clearly justiciable.

x x x When your Committee on the Judiciary began to perform its functions, it faced the following questions: What is judicial power? What is a political question?

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The Supreme Court, like all other courts, has one main function: to settle actual controversies involving conflicts of rights which are demandable and enforceable. There are
rights which are guaranteed by law but cannot be enforced by a judiciary party. In a decided case, a husband complained that his wife was unwilling to perform her duties
as a wife. The Court said: "We can tell your wife what her duties as such are and that she is bound to comply with them, but we cannot force her physically to discharge her
main marital duty to her husband. There are some rights guaranteed by law, but they are so personal that to enforce them by actual compulsion would be highly derogatory
to human dignity."

This is why the first part of the second paragraph of Section I provides that:

Judicial power includes the duty of courts to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable or enforceable . . .

The courts, therefore, cannot entertain, much less decide, hypothetical questions.  In a presidential system of government, the Supreme Court has, also another
important function. The powers of government are generally considered divided into three branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one
is supreme within its own sphere and independent of the others. Because of that supremacy power to determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in
courts of justice.

Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the
judiciary is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of
jurisdiction, or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial
power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature.

This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by
claiming that such matters constitute a political question.

I have made these extended remarks to the end that the Commissioners may have an initial food for thought on the subject of the judiciary.

During the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, Chief Justice Concepcion further clarified the concept of judicial power, thus:

MR. NOLLEDO. The Gentleman used the term "judicial power" but judicial power is not vested in the Supreme Court alone but also in other lower
courts as may be created by law.

MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.

MR. NOLLEDO. And so, is this only an example?

MR. CONCEPCION. No, I know this is not. The Gentleman seems to identify political questions with jurisdictional questions. But there is a difference.

MR. NOLLEDO. Because of the expression "judicial power"?

MR. CONCEPCION. No. Judicial power, as I said, refers to ordinary cases but where there is a question as to whether the government had authority or
had abused its authority to the extent of lacking jurisdiction or excess of jurisdiction, that is not a political question. Therefore, the court has the duty
to decide.

FR. BERNAS. Ultimately, therefore, it will always have to be decided by the Supreme Court according to the new numerical need for votes.

On another point, is it the intention of Section 1 to do away with the political question doctrine?

MR. CONCEPCION. No.

FR. BERNAS. It is not.

MR. CONCEPCION. No, because whenever there is an abuse of discretion, amounting to a lack of jurisdiction. . .

FR. BERNAS. So, I am satisfied with the answer that it is not intended to do away with the political question doctrine.

MR. CONCEPCION. No, certainly not.

When this provision was originally drafted, it sought to define what is judicial power. But the Gentleman will notice it says, "judicial power includes"
and the reason being that the definition that we might make may not cover all possible areas.

FR. BERNAS. So, this is not an attempt to solve the problems arising from the political question doctrine.

MR. CONCEPCION. It definitely does not eliminate the fact that truly political questions are beyond the pale of judicial power. 104 (Emphasis supplied)

From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is clear that judicial power is not only a power; it is also a duty, a  duty which cannot be
abdicated by the mere specter of this creature called the political question doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify, however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not
intended to do away with "truly political questions." From this clarification it is gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1) "truly political questions" and (2)
those which "are not truly political questions."

Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review, the reason for respect of the doctrine of separation of powers to be maintained. On the other hand, by virtue of
Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, courts can review questions which are not truly political in nature.

As pointed out by amicus curiae former dean Pacifico Agabin of the UP College of Law, this Court has in fact in a number of cases taken jurisdiction over questions which are
not truly political following the effectivity of the present Constitution.

In Marcos v. Manglapus,105 this Court, speaking through Madame Justice Irene Cortes, held:

The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry into areas which the Court, under previous
constitutions, would have normally left to the political departments to decide. 106 x x x

In Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, 107 through Justice Teodoro Padilla, this Court declared:

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The "allocation of constitutional boundaries" is a task that this Court must perform under the Constitution. Moreover, as held in a recent case,  "(t)he political
question doctrine neither interposes an obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The jurisdiction to  delimit constitutional boundaries has
been given to this Court. It cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by the 1987 Constitution, although said provision by no means does away with
the applicability of the principle in appropriate cases." 108 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

And in Daza v. Singson,109 speaking through Justice Isagani Cruz, this Court ruled:

In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue
presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from resolving it under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in
proper cases, even the political question.110 x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)

Section 1, Article VIII, of the Court does not define what are justiciable political questions and non-justiciable political questions, however. Identification of these two species of
political questions may be problematic. There has been no clear standard. The American case of Baker v. Carr111 attempts to provide some:

x x x Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found a  textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to
a coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; or the impossibility of deciding without an initial
policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion ; or the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the
respect due coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need for questioning adherence to a political decision already made ; or the potentiality of
embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question.112 (Underscoring supplied)

Of these standards, the more reliable have been the first three: (1) a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; (2) the
lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; and (3) the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-
judicial discretion. These standards are not separate and distinct concepts but are interrelated to each in that the presence of one strengthens the conclusion that the others
are also present.

The problem in applying the foregoing standards is that the American concept of judicial review is radically different from our current concept, for Section 1, Article VIII of the
Constitution provides our courts with far less discretion in determining whether they should pass upon a constitutional issue.

In our jurisdiction, the determination of a truly political question from a non-justiciable political question lies in the answer to the question of whether there are constitutionally
imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If there are, then our courts are duty-bound to examine whether the branch or instrumentality of the
government properly acted within such limits. This Court shall thus now apply this standard to the present controversy.

These petitions raise five substantial issues:

I. Whether the offenses alleged in the Second impeachment complaint constitute valid impeachable offenses under the Constitution.

II. Whether the second impeachment complaint was filed in accordance with Section 3(4), Article XI of the Constitution.

III. Whether the legislative inquiry by the House Committee on Justice into the Judicial Development Fund is an unconstitutional infringement of the constitutionally
mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.

IV. Whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the Rules on Impeachment adopted by the 12th Congress are unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section
3, Article XI of the Constitution.

V. Whether the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution.

The first issue goes into the merits of the second impeachment complaint over which this Court has no jurisdiction. More importantly, any discussion of this issue
would require this Court to make a determination of what constitutes an impeachable offense. Such a determination is a purely political question which the
Constitution has left to the sound discretion of the legislation. Such an intent is clear from the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission. 113

Although Section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution enumerates six grounds for impeachment, two of these, namely, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust, elude a
precise definition. In fact, an examination of the records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission shows that the framers could find no better way to approximate the boundaries
of betrayal of public trust and other high crimes than by alluding to both positive and negative examples of both, without arriving at their clear cut definition or even a standard
therefor.114 Clearly, the issue calls upon this court to decide a non-justiciable political question which is beyond the scope of its judicial power under Section 1, Article VIII.

Lis Mota

It is a well-settled maxim of adjudication that an issue assailing the constitutionality of a governmental act should be avoided whenever possible. Thus, in the case of  Sotto v.
Commission on Elections,115 this Court held:

x x x It is a well-established rule that a court should not pass upon a constitutional question and decide a law to be unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question
is raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if the record also presents some other ground upon which the court may rest its judgment, that course
will be adopted and the constitutional question will be left for consideration until a case arises in which a decision upon such question will be
unavoidable.116 

The same principle was applied in Luz Farms v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform,117 where this Court invalidated Sections 13 and 32 of Republic Act No. 6657 for being
confiscatory and violative of due process, to wit:

It has been established that this Court will assume jurisdiction over a constitutional question only if it is shown that the essential requisites of a judicial
inquiry into such a question are first satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial
determination, the constitutional question must have been opportunely raised by the proper party, and  the resolution of the question is unavoidably necessary
to the decision of the case itself.118 

Succinctly put, courts will not touch the issue of constitutionality unless it is truly unavoidable and is the very lis mota or crux of the controversy.

As noted earlier, the instant consolidated petitions, while all seeking the invalidity of the second impeachment complaint, collectively raise several constitutional issues upon
which the outcome of this controversy could possibly be made to rest. In determining whether one, some or all of the remaining substantial issues should be passed upon, this
Court is guided by the related cannon of adjudication that "the court should not form a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is
applied."119

In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso, et al. argue that, among other reasons, the second impeachment complaint is invalid since it directly resulted from a
Resolution120 calling for a legislative inquiry into the JDF, which Resolution and legislative inquiry petitioners claim to likewise be unconstitutional for being: (a) a violation of the
rules and jurisprudence on investigations in aid of legislation; (b) an open breach of the doctrine of separation of powers; (c) a violation of the constitutionally mandated fiscal
autonomy of the judiciary; and (d) an assault on the independence of the judiciary. 121

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Without going into the merits of petitioners Alfonso, et. al.'s claims, it is the studied opinion of this Court that the issue of the constitutionality of the said Resolution and
resulting legislative inquiry is too far removed from the issue of the validity of the second impeachment complaint. Moreover, the resolution of said issue would, in the Court's
opinion, require it to form a rule of constitutional law touching on the separate and distinct matter of legislative inquiries in general, which would thus be broader than is
required by the facts of these consolidated cases. This opinion is further strengthened by the fact that said petitioners have raised other grounds in support of their petition
which would not be adversely affected by the Court's ruling.

En passant, this Court notes that a standard for the conduct of legislative inquiries has already been enunciated by this Court in  Bengzon, Jr. v. Senate Blue Ribbon
Commttee,122 viz:

The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof
provides:

The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published
rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.

The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore absolute or unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-
quoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein, the investigation must be "in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of
procedure" and that "the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the right rights of persons under the Bill
of Rights must be respected, including the right to due process and the right not be compelled to testify against one's self. 123

In G.R. No. 160262, intervenors Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra, while joining the original petition of petitioners Candelaria,  et. al., introduce the new argument
that since the second impeachment complaint was verified and filed only by Representatives Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella, the same does not fall under
the provisions of Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution which reads:

Section 3(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the
Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.

They assert that while at least 81 members of the House of Representatives signed a Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment, the same did not satisfy the requisites for the
application of the afore-mentioned section in that the "verified complaint or resolution of impeachment" was not filed "by at least one-third of all the Members of the House."
With the exception of Representatives Teodoro and Fuentebella, the signatories to said Resolution are alleged to have verified the same merely as a "Resolution of
Endorsement." Intervenors point to the "Verification" of the Resolution of Endorsement which states that:

"We are the proponents/sponsors of the Resolution of Endorsement of the abovementioned Complaint of Representatives Gilberto Teodoro and Felix William B.
Fuentebella x x x"124

Intervenors Macalintal and Quadra further claim that what the Constitution requires in order for said second impeachment complaint to automatically become the Articles of
Impeachment and for trial in the Senate to begin "forthwith," is that the verified complaint be "filed," not merely endorsed, by at least one-third of the Members of the House of
Representatives. Not having complied with this requirement, they concede that the second impeachment complaint should have been calendared and referred to the House
Committee on Justice under Section 3(2), Article XI of the Constitution, viz:

Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of
endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three
session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from
such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt
thereof.

Intervenors' foregoing position is echoed by Justice Maambong who opined that for Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution to apply, there should be 76 or more
representatives who signed and verified the second impeachment complaint as complainants, signed and verified the signatories to a resolution of impeachment. Justice
Maambong likewise asserted that the Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment signed by at least one-third of the members of the House of Representatives
as endorsers is not the resolution of impeachment contemplated by the Constitution, such resolution of endorsement being necessary only from at least one Member
whenever a citizen files a verified impeachment complaint.

While the foregoing issue, as argued by intervenors Macalintal and Quadra, does indeed limit the scope of the constitutional issues to the provisions on impeachment, more
compelling considerations militate against its adoption as the lis mota or crux of the present controversy. Chief among this is the fact that only Attorneys Macalintal and
Quadra, intervenors in G.R. No. 160262, have raised this issue as a ground for invalidating the second impeachment complaint. Thus, to adopt this additional ground as the
basis for deciding the instant consolidated petitions would not only render for naught the efforts of the original petitioners in G.R. No. 160262, but the efforts presented by the
other petitioners as well.

Again, the decision to discard the resolution of this issue as unnecessary for the determination of the instant cases is made easier by the fact that said intervenors Macalintal
and Quadra have joined in the petition of Candelaria, et. al., adopting the latter's arguments and issues as their own. Consequently, they are not unduly prejudiced by this
Court's decision.

In sum, this Court holds that the two remaining issues, inextricably linked as they are, constitute the very lis mota of the instant controversy: (1) whether Sections 15 and 16 of
Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress are unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution; and (2)
whether, as a result thereof, the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution.

Judicial Restraint

Senator Pimentel urges this Court to exercise judicial restraint on the ground that the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, has the sole power to try and decide all cases
of impeachment. Again, this Court reiterates that the power of judicial review includes the power of review over justiciable issues in impeachment proceedings.

On the other hand, respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. argue that "[t]here is a moral compulsion for the Court to not assume jurisdiction over the impeachment because
all the Members thereof are subject to impeachment." 125 But this argument is very much like saying the Legislature has a moral compulsion not to pass laws with penalty
clauses because Members of the House of Representatives are subject to them.

The exercise of judicial restraint over justiciable issues is not an option before this Court. Adjudication may not be declined, because this Court is not legally disqualified. Nor
can jurisdiction be renounced as there is no other tribunal to which the controversy may be referred." 126 Otherwise, this Court would be shirking from its duty vested under Art.
VIII, Sec. 1(2) of the Constitution. More than being clothed with authority thus, this Court is duty-bound to take cognizance of the instant petitions. 127 In the august words
of amicus curiae Father Bernas, "jurisdiction is not just a power; it is a solemn duty which may not be renounced. To renounce it, even if it is vexatious, would be a dereliction
of duty."

Even in cases where it is an interested party, the Court under our system of government cannot inhibit itself and must rule upon the challenge because no other office has the
authority to do so.128 On the occasion that this Court had been an interested party to the controversy before it, it has acted upon the matter "not with officiousness but in the
discharge of an unavoidable duty and, as always, with detachment and fairness." 129 After all, "by [his] appointment to the office, the public has laid on [a member of the
judiciary] their confidence that [he] is mentally and morally fit to pass upon the merits of their varied contentions. For this reason, they expect [him] to be fearless in [his] pursuit
to render justice, to be unafraid to displease any person, interest or power and to be equipped with a moral fiber strong enough to resist the temptations lurking in [his]
office."130

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The duty to exercise the power of adjudication regardless of interest had already been settled in the case of  Abbas v. Senate Electoral Tribunal.131 In that case, the petitioners
filed with the respondent Senate Electoral Tribunal a Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition of the Senators-Members thereof from the hearing and resolution of SET Case
No. 002-87 on the ground that all of them were interested parties to said case as respondents therein. This would have reduced the Tribunal's membership to only its three
Justices-Members whose disqualification was not sought, leaving them to decide the matter. This Court held:

Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the substitution of any Senator sitting in the Tribunal by any of his other colleagues in the Senate without
inviting the same objections to the substitute's competence, the proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative
but to abandon a duty that no other court or body can perform, but which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire membership of
Senators.

To our mind, this is the overriding consideration — that the Tribunal be not prevented from discharging a duty which it alone has the power to perform, the
performance of which is in the highest public interest as evidenced by its being expressly imposed by no less than the fundamental law.

It is aptly noted in the first of the questioned Resolutions that the framers of the Constitution could not have been unaware of the possibility of an election contest
that would involve all Senators—elect, six of whom would inevitably have to sit in judgment thereon. Indeed, such possibility might surface again in the wake of the
1992 elections when once more, but for the last time, all 24 seats in the Senate will be at stake. Yet the Constitution provides no scheme or mode for settling such
unusual situations or for the substitution of Senators designated to the Tribunal whose disqualification may be sought. Litigants in such situations must simply
place their trust and hopes of vindication in the fairness and sense of justice of the Members of the Tribunal. Justices and Senators, singly and collectively.

Let us not be misunderstood as saying that no Senator-Member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or disqualify himself from sitting in judgment on any
case before said Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as his conscience dictates, refrain from participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely
feels that his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an objective and impartial judgment. What we are merely saying is that in the light of the
Constitution, the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot legally function as such, absent its entire membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can
confer on the three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a senatorial election contest.

More recently in the case of Estrada v. Desierto,132 it was held that:

Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, particularly a majority of them, is nothing short of  pro tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as
established by the fundamental law. Disqualification of a judge is a deprivation of his judicial power. And if that judge is the one designated by the Constitution to
exercise the jurisdiction of his court, as is the case with the Justices of this Court, the deprivation of his or their judicial power is equivalent to the deprivation of the
judicial power of the court itself. It affects the very heart of judicial independence. The proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave the
Court no alternative but to abandon a duty which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire membership of Justices. 133 

Besides, there are specific safeguards already laid down by the Court when it exercises its power of judicial review.

In Demetria v. Alba,134 this Court, through Justice Marcelo Fernan cited the "seven pillars" of limitations of the power of judicial review, enunciated by US Supreme Court
Justice Brandeis in Ashwander v. TVA135 as follows:

1. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a friendly, non-adversary proceeding, declining because to decide such questions 'is legitimate
only in the last resort, and as a necessity in the determination of real, earnest and vital controversy between individuals. It never was the thought that, by means of
a friendly suit, a party beaten in the legislature could transfer to the courts an inquiry as to the constitutionality of the legislative act.'

2. The Court will not 'anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it.' . . . 'It is not the habit of the Court to decide questions of
a constitutional nature unless absolutely necessary to a decision of the case.'

3. The Court will not 'formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied.'

4. The Court will not pass upon a constitutional question although properly presented by the record, if there is also present some other ground upon which the
case may be disposed of. This rule has found most varied application. Thus, if a case can be decided on either of two grounds, one involving a constitutional
question, the other a question of statutory construction or general law, the Court will decide only the latter. Appeals from the highest court of a state challenging its
decision of a question under the Federal Constitution are frequently dismissed because the judgment can be sustained on an independent state ground.

5. The Court will not pass upon the validity of a statute upon complaint of one who fails to show that he is injured by its operation. Among the many applications of
this rule, none is more striking than the denial of the right of challenge to one who lacks a personal or property right. Thus, the challenge by a public official
interested only in the performance of his official duty will not be entertained . . . In  Fairchild v. Hughes, the Court affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought by a
citizen who sought to have the Nineteenth Amendment declared unconstitutional. In  Massachusetts v. Mellon, the challenge of the federal Maternity Act was not
entertained although made by the Commonwealth on behalf of all its citizens.

6. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute at the instance of one who has availed himself of its benefits.

7. When the validity of an act of the Congress is drawn in question, and even if a serious doubt of constitutionality is raised, it is a cardinal principle that this Court
will first ascertain whether a construction of the statute is fairly possible by which the question may be avoided (citations omitted).

The foregoing "pillars" of limitation of judicial review, summarized in  Ashwander v. TVA from different decisions of the United States Supreme Court, can be encapsulated into
the following categories:

1. that there be absolute necessity of deciding a case

2. that rules of constitutional law shall be formulated only as required by the facts of the case

3. that judgment may not be sustained on some other ground

4. that there be actual injury sustained by the party by reason of the operation of the statute

5. that the parties are not in estoppel

6. that the Court upholds the presumption of constitutionality.

As stated previously, parallel guidelines have been adopted by this Court in the exercise of judicial review:

1. actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power

2. the person challenging the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or
will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement

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3. the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity

4. the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.136

Respondents Speaker de Venecia, et. al. raise another argument for judicial restraint the possibility that "judicial review of impeachments might also lead to embarrassing
conflicts between the Congress and the [J]udiciary." They stress the need to avoid the appearance of impropriety or conflicts of interest in judicial hearings, and the scenario
that it would be confusing and humiliating and risk serious political instability at home and abroad if the judiciary countermanded the vote of Congress to remove an
impeachable official.137 Intervenor Soriano echoes this argument by alleging that failure of this Court to enforce its Resolution against Congress would result in the diminution
of its judicial authority and erode public confidence and faith in the judiciary.

Such an argument, however, is specious, to say the least. As correctly stated by the Solicitor General, the possibility of the occurrence of a constitutional crisis is not a reason
for this Court to refrain from upholding the Constitution in all impeachment cases. Justices cannot abandon their constitutional duties just because their action may start, if not
precipitate, a crisis.

Justice Feliciano warned against the dangers when this Court refuses to act.

x x x Frequently, the fight over a controversial legislative or executive act is not regarded as settled until the Supreme Court has passed upon the constitutionality
of the act involved, the judgment has not only juridical effects but also political consequences. Those political consequences may follow even where the Court fails
to grant the petitioner's prayer to nullify an act for lack of the necessary number of votes. Frequently, failure to act explicitly, one way or the other, itself constitutes
a decision for the respondent and validation, or at least quasi-validation, follows." 138

Thus, in Javellana v. Executive Secretary 139 where this Court was split and "in the end there were not enough votes either to grant the petitions, or to sustain respondent's
claims,"140 the pre-existing constitutional order was disrupted which paved the way for the establishment of the martial law regime.

Such an argument by respondents and intervenor also presumes that the coordinate branches of the government would behave in a lawless manner and not do their duty
under the law to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Yet there is no reason to believe that any of the branches of government will behave in a precipitate
manner and risk social upheaval, violence, chaos and anarchy by encouraging disrespect for the fundamental law of the land.

Substituting the word public officers for judges, this Court is well guided by the doctrine in People v. Veneracion, to wit:141

Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If [public officers], under the guise of religious or political beliefs were allowed to roam
unrestricted beyond boundaries within which they are required by law to exercise the duties of their office, then law becomes meaningless. A government of laws,
not of men excludes the exercise of broad discretionary powers by those acting under its authority. Under this system, [public officers] are guided by the Rule of
Law, and ought "to protect and enforce it without fear or favor," resist encroachments by governments, political parties, or even the interference of their own
personal beliefs.142

Constitutionality of the Rules of Procedure for Impeachment Proceedings adopted by the 12th Congress

Respondent House of Representatives, through Speaker De Venecia, argues that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules do not violate Section 3 (5)
of Article XI of our present Constitution, contending that the term "initiate" does not mean "to file;" that Section 3 (1) is clear in that it is the House of Representatives, as a
collective body, which has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment; that initiate could not possibly mean "to file" because filing can, as Section 3 (2), Article XI
of the Constitution provides, only be accomplished in 3 ways, to wit: (1) by a verified complaint for impeachment by any member of the House of Representatives; or (2) by
any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any member; or (3) by at least 1/3 of all the members of the House. Respondent House of Representatives concludes that the
one year bar prohibiting the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same officials could not have been violated as the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice
Davide and seven Associate Justices had not been initiated as the House of Representatives, acting as the collective body, has yet to act on it.

The resolution of this issue thus hinges on the interpretation of the term "initiate." Resort to statutory construction is, therefore, in order.

That the sponsor of the provision of Section 3(5) of the Constitution, Commissioner Florenz Regalado, who eventually became an Associate Justice of this Court, agreed on
the meaning of "initiate" as "to file," as proffered and explained by Constitutional Commissioner Maambong during the Constitutional Commission proceedings, which he
(Commissioner Regalado) as amicus curiae affirmed during the oral arguments on the instant petitions held on November 5, 2003 at which he added that the act of "initiating"
included the act of taking initial action on the complaint, dissipates any doubt that indeed the word "initiate" as it twice appears in Article XI (3) and (5) of the Constitution
means to file the complaint and take initial action on it.

"Initiate" of course is understood by ordinary men to mean, as dictionaries do, to begin, to commence, or set going. As Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the
English Language concisely puts it, it means "to perform or facilitate the first action," which jibes with Justice Regalado's position, and that of Father Bernas, who elucidated
during the oral arguments of the instant petitions on November 5, 2003 in this wise:

Briefly then, an impeachment proceeding is not a single act. It is a comlexus of acts consisting of a beginning, a middle and an end. The end is the transmittal of
the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The middle consists of those deliberative moments leading to the formulation of the articles of impeachment. The
beginning or the initiation is the filing of the complaint and its referral to the Committee on Justice.

Finally, it should be noted that the House Rule relied upon by Representatives Cojuangco and Fuentebella says that impeachment is " deemed initiated" when the
Justice Committee votes in favor of impeachment or when the House reverses a contrary vote of the Committee. Note that the Rule does not say "impeachment
proceedings" are initiated but rather are "deemed initiated." The language is recognition that initiation happened earlier, but by legal fiction there is an attempt to
postpone it to a time after actual initiation. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

As stated earlier, one of the means of interpreting the Constitution is looking into the intent of the law. Fortunately, the intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution can be
pried from its records:

MR. MAAMBONG. With reference to Section 3, regarding the procedure and the substantive provisions on impeachment, I understand there have been many
proposals and, I think, these would need some time for Committee action.

However, I would just like to indicate that I submitted to the Committee a resolution on impeachment proceedings, copies of which have been furnished the
Members of this body. This is borne out of my experience as a member of the Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Good Government which took charge of
the last impeachment resolution filed before the First Batasang Pambansa. For the information of the Committee, the resolution covers several steps in the
impeachment proceedings starting with initiation, action of the Speaker committee action, calendaring of report, voting on the report, transmittal
referral to the Senate, trial and judgment by the Senate.

MR. MAAMBONG. Mr. Presiding Officer, I am not moving for a reconsideration of the approval of the amendment submitted by Commissioner Regalado, but I will
just make of record my thinking that we do not really initiate the filing of the Articles of Impeachment on the floor.  The procedure, as I have pointed out earlier,
was that the initiation starts with the filing of the complaint.  And what is actually done on the floor is that the committee resolution containing the
Articles of Impeachment is the one approved by the body.

As the phraseology now runs, which may be corrected by the Committee on Style, it appears that the initiation starts on the floor. If we only have time, I could cite
examples in the case of the impeachment proceedings of President Richard Nixon wherein the Committee on the Judiciary submitted the recommendation, the
resolution, and the Articles of Impeachment to the body, and it was the body who approved the resolution.  It is not the body which initiates it. It only approves
or disapproves the resolution. So, on that score, probably the Committee on Style could help in rearranging these words because we have to be very technical

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about this. I have been bringing with me The Rules of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress. The Senate Rules are with me. The proceedings on the
case of Richard Nixon are with me. I have submitted my proposal, but the Committee has already decided. Nevertheless, I just want to indicate this on record.

MR. MAAMBONG. I would just like to move for a reconsideration of the approval of Section 3 (3). My reconsideration will not at all affect the substance, but it is
only in keeping with the exact formulation of the Rules of the House of Representatives of the United States regarding impeachment.

I am proposing, Madam President, without doing damage to any of this provision, that on page 2, Section 3 (3), from lines 17 to 18,  we delete the words which
read: "to initiate impeachment proceedings" and the comma (,) and insert on line 19 after the word "resolution" the phrase WITH THE ARTICLES, and then
capitalize the letter "i" in "impeachment" and replace the word "by" with OF, so that the whole section will now read: "A vote of at least one-third of all the Members
of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a resolution WITH THE ARTICLES of Impeachment OF the Committee or to override its contrary resolution. The
vote of each Member shall be recorded."

I already mentioned earlier yesterday that the initiation, as far as the House of Representatives of the United States is concerned,  really starts from the filing
of the verified complaint and every resolution to impeach always carries with it the Articles of Impeachment. As a matter of fact, the words "Articles of
Impeachment" are mentioned on line 25 in the case of the direct filing of a verified compliant of one-third of all the Members of the House. I will mention again,
Madam President, that my amendment will not vary the substance in any way. It is only in keeping with the uniform procedure of the House of Representatives of
the United States Congress. Thank you, Madam President. 143 (Italics in the original; emphasis and udnerscoring supplied)

This amendment proposed by Commissioner Maambong was clarified and accepted by the Committee on the Accountability of Public Officers. 144

It is thus clear that the framers intended "initiation" to start with the filing of the complaint. In his  amicus curiae brief, Commissioner Maambong explained that "the obvious
reason in deleting the phrase "to initiate impeachment proceedings" as contained in the text of the provision of Section 3 (3) was  to settle and make it understood once
and for all that the initiation of impeachment proceedings starts with the filing of the complaint,  and the vote of one-third of the House in a resolution of
impeachment does not initiate the impeachment proceedings which was already initiated by the filing of a verified complaint under Section 3, paragraph (2), Article
XI of the Constitution."145

Amicus curiae Constitutional Commissioner Regalado is of the same view as is Father Bernas, who was also a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, that the word
"initiate" as used in Article XI, Section 3(5) means to file, both adding, however, that the filing must be accompanied by an action to set the complaint moving.

During the oral arguments before this Court, Father Bernas clarified that the word "initiate," appearing in the constitutional provision on impeachment,  viz:

Section 3 (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year,

refers to two objects, "impeachment case" and "impeachment proceeding."

Father Bernas explains that in these two provisions, the common verb is "to initiate." The object in the first sentence is "impeachment case." The object in the second
sentence is "impeachment proceeding." Following the principle of reddendo singuala sinuilis, the term "cases" must be distinguished from the term "proceedings." An
impeachment case is the legal controversy that must be decided by the Senate. Above-quoted first provision provides that the House, by a vote of one-third of all its members,
can bring a case to the Senate. It is in that sense that the House has "exclusive power" to initiate all cases of impeachment. No other body can do it. However, before a
decision is made to initiate a case in the Senate, a "proceeding" must be followed to arrive at a conclusion. A proceeding must be "initiated." To initiate, which comes from the
Latin word initium, means to begin. On the other hand, proceeding is a progressive noun. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It takes place not in the Senate but in the
House and consists of several steps: (1) there is the filing of a verified complaint either by a Member of the House of Representatives or by a private citizen endorsed by a
Member of the House of the Representatives; (2) there is the processing of this complaint by the proper Committee which may either reject the complaint or uphold it; (3)
whether the resolution of the Committee rejects or upholds the complaint, the resolution must be forwarded to the House for further processing; and (4) there is the processing
of the same complaint by the House of Representatives which either affirms a favorable resolution of the Committee or overrides a contrary resolution by a vote of one-third of
all the members. If at least one third of all the Members upholds the complaint, Articles of Impeachment are prepared and transmitted to the Senate. It is at this point that the
House "initiates an impeachment case." It is at this point that an impeachable public official is successfully impeached. That is, he or she is successfully charged with an
impeachment "case" before the Senate as impeachment court.

Father Bernas further explains: The "impeachment proceeding" is not initiated when the complaint is transmitted to the Senate for trial because that is the end of the House
proceeding and the beginning of another proceeding, namely the trial. Neither is the "impeachment proceeding" initiated when the House deliberates on the resolution passed
on to it by the Committee, because something prior to that has already been done. The action of the House is already a further step in the proceeding, not its initiation or
beginning. Rather, the proceeding is initiated or begins, when a verified complaint is filed and referred to the Committee on Justice for action . This is the initiating step which
triggers the series of steps that follow.

The framers of the Constitution also understood initiation in its ordinary meaning. Thus when a proposal reached the floor proposing that "A vote of at least one-third of all the
Members of the House shall be necessary… to initiate impeachment proceedings," this was met by a proposal to delete the line on the ground that the vote of the House does
not initiate impeachment proceeding but rather the filing of a complaint does. 146 Thus the line was deleted and is not found in the present Constitution.

Father Bernas concludes that when Section 3 (5) says, "No impeachment proceeding shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year," it
means that no second verified complaint may be accepted and referred to the Committee on Justice for action. By his explanation, this interpretation is founded on the
common understanding of the meaning of "to initiate" which means to begin. He reminds that the Constitution is ratified by the people, both ordinary and sophisticated, as they
understand it; and that ordinary people read ordinary meaning into ordinary words and not abstruse meaning, they ratify words as they understand it and not as sophisticated
lawyers confuse it.

To the argument that only the House of Representatives as a body can initiate impeachment proceedings because Section 3 (1) says "The House of Representatives shall
have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment," This is a misreading of said provision and is contrary to the principle of  reddendo singula singulis by equating
"impeachment cases" with "impeachment proceeding."

From the records of the Constitutional Commission, to the amicus curiae briefs of two former Constitutional Commissioners, it is without a doubt that the term "to initiate"
refers to the filing of the impeachment complaint coupled with Congress' taking initial action of said complaint.

Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing and referral or endorsement of the impeachment complaint to the House Committee on Justice or, by the
filing by at least one-third of the members of the House of Representatives with the Secretary General of the House, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear.
Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated, another impeachment complaint may not be filed against the same official within a one year period.

Under Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules, impeachment proceedings are  deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House Committee on
Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the
verified complaint and/or resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives of a verified
complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the members of the House. These rules clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI since the rules give the term
"initiate" a meaning different meaning from filing and referral.

In his amicus curiae brief, Justice Hugo Gutierrez posits that this Court could not use contemporaneous construction as an aid in the interpretation of Sec.3 (5) of Article XI,
citing Vera v. Avelino147 wherein this Court stated that "their personal opinions (referring to Justices who were delegates to the Constitution Convention) on the matter at issue
expressed during this Court's our deliberations stand on a different footing from the properly recorded utterances of debates and proceedings." Further citing said case, he
states that this Court likened the former members of the Constitutional Convention to actors who are so absorbed in their emotional roles that intelligent spectators may know
more about the real meaning because of the latter's balanced perspectives and disinterestedness. 148

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Justice Gutierrez's statements have no application in the present petitions. There are at present only two members of this Court who participated in the 1986 Constitutional
Commission – Chief Justice Davide and Justice Adolf Azcuna. Chief Justice Davide has not taken part in these proceedings for obvious reasons. Moreover, this Court has not
simply relied on the personal opinions now given by members of the Constitutional Commission, but has examined the records of the deliberations and proceedings thereof.

Respondent House of Representatives counters that under Section 3 (8) of Article XI, it is clear and unequivocal that it and only it has the power to  make and interpret its rules
governing impeachment. Its argument is premised on the assumption that Congress has absolute power to promulgate its rules. This assumption, however, is misplaced.

Section 3 (8) of Article XI provides that "The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section." Clearly, its power to
promulgate its rules on impeachment is limited by the phrase "to effectively carry out the purpose of this section." Hence, these rules cannot contravene the very purpose of
the Constitution which said rules were intended to effectively carry out. Moreover, Section 3 of Article XI clearly provides for other specific limitations on its power to make
rules, viz:

Section 3. (1) x x x

(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any
Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days
thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from such referral,
together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary to either affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the
Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.

(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles
of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.

It is basic that all rules must not contravene the Constitution which is the fundamental law. If as alleged Congress had  absolute rule making power, then it would by necessary
implication have the power to alter or amend the meaning of the Constitution without need of referendum.

In Osmeña v. Pendatun,149 this Court held that it is within the province of either House of Congress to interpret its rules and that it was the best judge of what constituted
"disorderly behavior" of its members. However, in Paceta v. Secretary of the Commission on Appointments,150 Justice (later Chief Justice) Enrique Fernando, speaking for this
Court and quoting Justice Brandeis in United States v. Smith,151 declared that where the construction to be given to a rule affects persons other than members of the
Legislature, the question becomes judicial in nature. In Arroyo v. De Venecia,152 quoting United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co., 153 Justice Vicente Mendoza, speaking for this
Court, held that while the Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings, it may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental
rights, and further that there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceeding established by the rule and the result which is sought to be attained .
It is only within these limitations that all matters of method are open to the determination of the Legislature. In the same case of  Arroyo v. De Venecia, Justice Reynato S.
Puno, in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion, was even more emphatic as he stressed that in the Philippine setting there is even more reason for courts to inquire into the
validity of the Rules of Congress, viz:

With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor do I agree that we will trivialize the principle of
separation of power if we assume jurisdiction over he case at bar. Even in the United States, the principle of separation of power is no longer an impregnable
impediment against the interposition of judicial power on cases involving breach of rules of procedure by legislators.

Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891 case of US v Ballin (144 US 1) as a window to view the issues before the Court. It is in Ballin where the US Supreme Court
first defined the boundaries of the power of the judiciary to review congressional rules. It held:

"The Constitution, in the same section, provides, that each house may determine the rules of its proceedings." It appears that in pursuance of this authority the
House had, prior to that day, passed this as one of its rules:

Rule XV

3. On the demand of any member, or at the suggestion of the Speaker, the names of members sufficient to make a quorum in the hall of the House who do not
vote shall be noted by the clerk and recorded in the journal, and reported to the Speaker with the names of the members voting, and be counted and announced in
determining the presence of a quorum to do business. (House Journal, 230, Feb. 14, 1890)

The action taken was in direct compliance with this rule. The question, therefore, is as to the validity of this rule, and not what methods the Speaker may of his
own motion resort to for determining the presence of a quorum, nor what matters the Speaker or clerk may of their own volition place upon the journal. Neither do
the advantages or disadvantages, the wisdom or folly, of such a rule present any matters for judicial consideration.  With the courts the question is only one of
power. The Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate
fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceedings established by the rule and the result
which is sought to be attained. But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the House, and it is no impeachment of the
rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is no objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed
and in force for a length of time. The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised
by the House, and within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body or tribunal."

Ballin, clearly confirmed the jurisdiction of courts to pass upon the validity of congressional rules, i.e, whether they are constitutional.  Rule XV was
examined by the Court and it was found to satisfy the test: (1) that it did not ignore any constitutional restraint; (2) it did not violate any fundamental right; and (3)
its method had a reasonable relationship with the result sought to be attained. By examining Rule XV, the Court did not allow its jurisdiction to be defeated by the
mere invocation of the principle of separation of powers. 154

In the Philippine setting, there is a more compelling reason for courts to categorically reject the political question defense when its interposition will
cover up abuse of power. For section 1, Article VIII of our Constitution was  intentionally cobbled to empower courts "x x x to determine whether or not
there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
government." This power is new and was not granted to our courts in the 1935 and 1972 Constitutions.  It was not also xeroxed from the US Constitution or
any foreign state constitution. The CONCOM granted this enormous power to our courts in view of our experience under martial law where abusive
exercises of state power were shielded from judicial scrutiny by the misuse of the political question doctrine.  Led by the eminent former Chief Justice
Roberto Concepcion, the CONCOM expanded and sharpened the checking powers of the judiciary vis-à-vis the Executive and the Legislative departments of
government.155

The Constitution cannot be any clearer. What it granted to this Court is not a mere power which it can decline to exercise. Precisely to deter this
disinclination, the Constitution imposed it as a duty of this Court to strike down any act of a branch or instrumentality of government or any of its
officials done with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Rightly or wrongly, the Constitution has elongated the checking
powers of this Court against the other branches of government despite their more democratic character, the President and the legislators being elected by the
people.156

The provision defining judicial power as including the 'duty of the courts of justice. . . to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government' constitutes the capstone of the efforts of the
Constitutional Commission to upgrade the powers of this court vis-à-vis the other branches of government. This provision was dictated by our experience under
martial law which taught us that a stronger and more independent judiciary is needed to abort abuses in government. x x x

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In sum, I submit that in imposing to this Court the duty to annul acts of government committed with grave abuse of discretion, the new Constitution transformed this
Court from passivity to activism. This transformation, dictated by our distinct experience as nation, is not merely evolutionary but revolutionary. Under the 1935
and the 1973 Constitutions, this Court approached constitutional violations by initially determining what it cannot do;  under the 1987 Constitution, there is a
shift in stress – this Court is mandated to approach constitutional violations not by finding out what it should not do but what it  must do. The Court
must discharge this solemn duty by not resuscitating a past that petrifies the present.

I urge my brethren in the Court to give due and serious consideration to this new constitutional provision as the case at bar once more calls us to define the
parameters of our power to review violations of the rules of the House. We will not be true to our trust as the last bulwark against government abuses if we
refuse to exercise this new power or if we wield it with timidity. To be sure, it is this exceeding timidity to unsheathe the judicial sword that has
increasingly emboldened other branches of government to denigrate, if not defy, orders of our courts.  In Tolentino, I endorsed the view of former Senator
Salonga that this novel provision stretching the latitude of judicial power is distinctly Filipino and its interpretation should not be depreciated by undue reliance on
inapplicable foreign jurisprudence. In resolving the case at bar, the lessons of our own history should provide us the light and not the experience of
foreigners.157 (Italics in the original emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Thus, the ruling in Osmena v. Pendatun is not applicable to the instant petitions. Here, the third parties alleging the violation of private rights and the Constitution are involved.

Neither may respondent House of Representatives' rely on Nixon v. US158 as basis for arguing that this Court may not decide on the constitutionality of Sections 16 and 17 of
the House Impeachment Rules. As already observed, the U.S. Federal Constitution simply provides that "the House of Representatives shall have the sole power of
impeachment." It adds nothing more. It gives no clue whatsoever as to how this "sole power" is to be exercised. No limitation whatsoever is given. Thus, the US Supreme
Court concluded that there was a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of a constitutional power to the House of Representatives. This reasoning does not hold
with regard to impeachment power of the Philippine House of Representatives since our Constitution, as earlier enumerated, furnishes several provisions articulating how that
"exclusive power" is to be exercised.

The provisions of Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules which state that impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by
the House Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House itself affirms or overturns the finding of the
Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the Secretary-General of the House
of Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the members of the House thus clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI as
they give the term "initiate" a meaning different from "filing."

Validity of the Second Impeachment Complaint

Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial action taken
thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing manner, another may not be filed
against the same official within a one year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution.

In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices
of this Court, on June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003, the second impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C.
Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation of impeachment
proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a one-year period.

Conclusion

If there is anything constant about this country, it is that there is always a phenomenon that takes the center stage of our individual and collective consciousness as a people
with our characteristic flair for human drama, conflict or tragedy. Of course this is not to demean the seriousness of the controversy over the Davide impeachment. For many
of us, the past two weeks have proven to be an exasperating, mentally and emotionally exhausting experience. Both sides have fought bitterly a dialectical struggle to
articulate what they respectively believe to be the correct position or view on the issues involved. Passions had ran high as demonstrators, whether for or against the
impeachment of the Chief Justice, took to the streets armed with their familiar slogans and chants to air their voice on the matter. Various sectors of society - from the
business, retired military, to the academe and denominations of faith – offered suggestions for a return to a state of normalcy in the official relations of the governmental
branches affected to obviate any perceived resulting instability upon areas of national life.

Through all these and as early as the time when the Articles of Impeachment had been constituted, this Court was specifically asked, told, urged and argued to take no action
of any kind and form with respect to the prosecution by the House of Representatives of the impeachment complaint against the subject respondent public official. When the
present petitions were knocking so to speak at the doorsteps of this Court, the same clamor for non-interference was made through what are now the arguments of "lack of
jurisdiction," "non-justiciability," and "judicial self-restraint" aimed at halting the Court from any move that may have a bearing on the impeachment proceedings.

This Court did not heed the call to adopt a hands-off stance as far as the question of the constitutionality of initiating the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide
is concerned. To reiterate what has been already explained, the Court found the existence in full of all the requisite conditions for its exercise of its constitutionally vested
power and duty of judicial review over an issue whose resolution precisely called for the construction or interpretation of a provision of the fundamental law of the land. What
lies in here is an issue of a genuine constitutional material which only this Court can properly and competently address and adjudicate in accordance with the clear-cut
allocation of powers under our system of government. Face-to-face thus with a matter or problem that squarely falls under the Court's jurisdiction, no other course of action
can be had but for it to pass upon that problem head on.

The claim, therefore, that this Court by judicially entangling itself with the process of impeachment has effectively set up a regime of judicial supremacy, is patently without
basis in fact and in law.

This Court in the present petitions subjected to judicial scrutiny and resolved on the merits only the main issue of whether the impeachment proceedings initiated against the
Chief Justice transgressed the constitutionally imposed one-year time bar rule. Beyond this, it did not go about assuming jurisdiction where it had none, nor indiscriminately
turn justiciable issues out of decidedly political questions. Because it is not at all the business of this Court to assert judicial dominance over the other two great branches of
the government. Rather, the raison d'etre of the judiciary is to complement the discharge by the executive and legislative of their own powers to bring about ultimately the
beneficent effects of having founded and ordered our society upon the rule of law.

It is suggested that by our taking cognizance of the issue of constitutionality of the impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice, the members of this Court have
actually closed ranks to protect a brethren. That the members' interests in ruling on said issue is as much at stake as is that of the Chief Justice. Nothing could be farther from
the truth.

The institution that is the Supreme Court together with all other courts has long held and been entrusted with the judicial power to resolve conflicting legal rights regardless of
the personalities involved in the suits or actions. This Court has dispensed justice over the course of time, unaffected by whomsoever stood to benefit or suffer therefrom,
unfraid by whatever imputations or speculations could be made to it, so long as it rendered judgment according to the law and the facts. Why can it not now be trusted to wield
judicial power in these petitions just because it is the highest ranking magistrate who is involved when it is an incontrovertible fact that the fundamental issue is not him but the
validity of a government branch's official act as tested by the limits set by the Constitution? Of course, there are rules on the inhibition of any member of the judiciary from
taking part in a case in specified instances. But to disqualify this entire institution now from the suit at bar is to regard the Supreme Court as likely incapable of impartiality
when one of its members is a party to a case, which is simply a non sequitur.

No one is above the law or the Constitution. This is a basic precept in any legal system which recognizes equality of all men before the law as essential to the law's moral
authority and that of its agents to secure respect for and obedience to its commands. Perhaps, there is no other government branch or instrumentality that is most zealous in
protecting that principle of legal equality other than the Supreme Court which has discerned its real meaning and ramifications through its application to numerous cases
especially of the high-profile kind in the annals of jurisprudence. The Chief Justice is not above the law and neither is any other member of this Court. But just because he is
the Chief Justice does not imply that he gets to have less in law than anybody else. The law is solicitous of every individual's rights irrespective of his station in life.

The Filipino nation and its democratic institutions have no doubt been put to test once again by this impeachment case against Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Accordingly, this
Court has resorted to no other than the Constitution in search for a solution to what many feared would ripen to a crisis in government. But though it is indeed immensely a

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blessing for this Court to have found answers in our bedrock of legal principles, it is equally important that it went through this crucible of a democratic process, if only to
discover that it can resolve differences without the use of force and aggression upon each other.

WHEREFORE, Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings which were approved by the House of Representatives on November
28, 2001 are unconstitutional. Consequently, the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. which was filed by Representatives Gilberto C.
Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B. Fuentebella with the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives on October 23, 2003 is barred under paragraph 5,
section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.

SO ORDERED.

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[7] Debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention

G.R. No. 141284               August 15, 2000

INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, GEN. PANFILO M. LACSON, GEN. EDGAR B. AGLIPAY, and GEN. ANGELO
REYES, respondents.

DECISION

KAPUNAN, J.:

At bar is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order seeking to nullify on constitutional grounds the order of
President Joseph Ejercito Estrada commanding the deployment of the Philippine Marines (the "Marines") to join the Philippine National Police (the "PNP") in visibility patrols
around the metropolis.

In view of the alarming increase in violent crimes in Metro Manila, like robberies, kidnappings and carnappings, the President, in a verbal directive, ordered the PNP and the
Marines to conduct joint visibility patrols for the purpose of crime prevention and suppression. The Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (the "AFP"), the Chief of the PNP and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government were tasked to execute and implement the said order. In compliance with
the presidential mandate, the PNP Chief, through Police Chief Superintendent Edgar B. Aglipay, formulated Letter of Instruction 02/2000 1 (the "LOI") which detailed the
manner by which the joint visibility patrols, called Task Force Tulungan, would be conducted.2 Task Force Tulungan was placed under the leadership of the Police Chief of
Metro Manila.

Subsequently, the President confirmed his previous directive on the deployment of the Marines in a Memorandum, dated 24 January 2000, addressed to the Chief of Staff of
the AFP and the PNP Chief. 3 In the Memorandum, the President expressed his desire to improve the peace and order situation in Metro Manila through a more effective crime
prevention program including increased police patrols. 4 The President further stated that to heighten police visibility in the metropolis, augmentation from the AFP is
necessary.5 Invoking his powers as Commander-in-Chief under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President directed the AFP Chief of Staff and PNP Chief to
coordinate with each other for the proper deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in preventing or suppressing criminal or lawless violence. 6 Finally, the
President declared that the services of the Marines in the anti-crime campaign are merely temporary in nature and for a reasonable period only, until such time when the
situation shall have improved.7

The LOI explains the concept of the PNP-Philippine Marines joint visibility patrols as follows:

2. PURPOSE:

The Joint Implementing Police Visibility Patrols between the PNP NCRPO and the Philippine Marines partnership in the conduct of visibility patrols in Metro Manila for the
suppression of crime prevention and other serious threats to national security.

3. SITUATION:

Criminal incidents in Metro Manila have been perpetrated not only by ordinary criminals but also by organized syndicates whose members include active and former
police/military personnel whose training, skill, discipline and firepower prove well-above the present capability of the local police alone to handle. The deployment of a joint
PNP NCRPO-Philippine Marines in the conduct of police visibility patrol in urban areas will reduce the incidence of crimes specially those perpetrated by active or former
police/military personnel.

4. MISSION:

The PNP NCRPO will organize a provisional Task Force to conduct joint NCRPO-PM visibility patrols to keep Metro Manila streets crime-free, through a sustained street
patrolling to minimize or eradicate all forms of high-profile crimes especially those perpetrated by organized crime syndicates whose members include those that are well-
trained, disciplined and well-armed active or former PNP/Military personnel.

5. CONCEPT IN JOINT VISIBILITY PATROL OPERATIONS:

a. The visibility patrols shall be conducted jointly by the NCRPO [National Capital Regional Police Office] and the Philippine Marines to curb criminality in Metro
Manila and to preserve the internal security of the state against insurgents and other serious threat to national security, although the primary responsibility over
Internal Security Operations still rests upon the AFP.

b. The principle of integration of efforts shall be applied to eradicate all forms of high-profile crimes perpetrated by organized crime syndicates operating in Metro
Manila. This concept requires the military and police to work cohesively and unify efforts to ensure a focused, effective and holistic approach in addressing crime
prevention. Along this line, the role of the military and police aside from neutralizing crime syndicates is to bring a wholesome atmosphere wherein delivery of
basic services to the people and development is achieved. Hand-in-hand with this joint NCRPO-Philippine Marines visibility patrols, local Police Units are
responsible for the maintenance of peace and order in their locality.

c. To ensure the effective implementation of this project, a provisional Task Force "TULUNGAN" shall be organized to provide the mechanism, structure, and
procedures for the integrated planning, coordinating, monitoring and assessing the security situation.

The selected areas of deployment under the LOI are: Monumento Circle, North Edsa (SM City), Araneta Shopping Center, Greenhills, SM Megamall, Makati Commercial
Center, LRT/MRT Stations and the NAIA and Domestic Airport. 9

On 17 January 2000, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (the "IBP") filed the instant petition to annul LOI 02/2000 and to declare the deployment of the Philippine Marines,
null and void and unconstitutional, arguing that:

I. THE DEPLOYMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE MARINES IN METRO MANILA IS VIOLATIVE OF THE CONSTITUTION, IN THAT:

A) NO EMERGENCY SITUATION OBTAINS IN METRO MANILA AS WOULD JUSTIFY, EVEN ONLY REMOTELY, THE DEPLOYMENT OF SOLDIERS FOR
LAW ENFORCEMENT WORK; HENCE, SAID DEPLOYMENT IS IN DEROGATION OF ARTICLE II, SECTION 3 OF THE CONSTITUTION;

B) SAID DEPLOYMENT CONSTITUTES AN INSIDIOUS INCURSION BY THE MILITARY IN A CIVILIAN FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT (LAW
ENFORCEMENT) IN DEROGATION OF ARTICLE XVI, SECTION 5 (4), OF THE CONSTITUTION;

C) SAID DEPLOYMENT CREATES A DANGEROUS TENDENCY TO RELY ON THE MILITARY TO PERFORM THE CIVILIAN FUNCTIONS OF THE
GOVERNMENT.

II. IN MILITARIZING LAW ENFORCEMENT IN METRO MANILA, THE ADMINISTRATION IS UNWITTINGLY MAKING THE MILITARY MORE POWERFUL THAN WHAT IT
SHOULD REALLY BE UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. 10
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Asserting itself as the official organization of Filipino lawyers tasked with the bounden duty to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution, the IBP questions the validity of the
deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in law enforcement.

Without granting due course to the petition, the Court in a Resolution, 11 dated 25 January 2000, required the Solicitor General to file his Comment on the petition. On 8
February 2000, the Solicitor General submitted his Comment.

The Solicitor General vigorously defends the constitutionality of the act of the President in deploying the Marines, contending, among others, that petitioner has no legal
standing; that the question of deployment of the Marines is not proper for judicial scrutiny since the same involves a political question; that the organization and conduct of
police visibility patrols, which feature the team-up of one police officer and one Philippine Marine soldier, does not violate the civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution.

The issues raised in the present petition are: (1) Whether or not petitioner has legal standing; (2) Whether or not the President’s factual determination of the necessity of
calling the armed forces is subject to judicial review; and, (3) Whether or not the calling of the armed forces to assist the PNP in joint visibility patrols violates the constitutional
provisions on civilian supremacy over the military and the civilian character of the PNP.

The petition has no merit.

First, petitioner failed to sufficiently show that it is in possession of the requisites of standing to raise the issues in the petition. Second, the President did not commit grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction nor did he commit a violation of the civilian supremacy clause of the Constitution.

The power of judicial review is set forth in Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, to wit:

Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether
or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

When questions of constitutional significance are raised, the Court can exercise its power of judicial review only if the following requisites are complied with, namely: (1) the
existence of an actual and appropriate case; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the party raising the constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded
at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the constitutional question is the lis mota of the case.12

The IBP has not sufficiently complied with the requisites of standing in this case.

"Legal standing" or locus standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of
the governmental act that is being challenged. 13 The term "interest" means a material interest, an interest in issue affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere interest
in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest. 14 The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges "such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy
as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." 15

In the case at bar, the IBP primarily anchors its standing on its alleged responsibility to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution. Apart from this declaration, however, the
IBP asserts no other basis in support of its locus standi. The mere invocation by the IBP of its duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, while undoubtedly true, is not
sufficient to clothe it with standing in this case. This is too general an interest which is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry. Based on the standards above-stated,
the IBP has failed to present a specific and substantial interest in the resolution of the case. Its fundamental purpose which, under Section 2, Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court,
is to elevate the standards of the law profession and to improve the administration of justice is alien to, and cannot be affected by the deployment of the Marines. It should also
be noted that the interest of the National President of the IBP who signed the petition, is his alone, absent a formal board resolution authorizing him to file the present action.
To be sure, members of the BAR, those in the judiciary included, have varying opinions on the issue. Moreover, the IBP, assuming that it has duly authorized the National
President to file the petition, has not shown any specific injury which it has suffered or may suffer by virtue of the questioned governmental act. Indeed, none of its members,
whom the IBP purportedly represents, has sustained any form of injury as a result of the operation of the joint visibility patrols. Neither is it alleged that any of its members has
been arrested or that their civil liberties have been violated by the deployment of the Marines. What the IBP projects as injurious is the supposed "militarization" of law
enforcement which might threaten Philippine democratic institutions and may cause more harm than good in the long run. Not only is the presumed "injury" not personal in
character, it is likewise too vague, highly speculative and uncertain to satisfy the requirement of standing. Since petitioner has not successfully established a direct and
personal injury as a consequence of the questioned act, it does not possess the personality to assail the validity of the deployment of the Marines. This Court, however, does
not categorically rule that the IBP has absolutely no standing to raise constitutional issues now or in the future. The IBP must, by way of allegations and proof, satisfy this
Court that it has sufficient stake to obtain judicial resolution of the controversy.

Having stated the foregoing, it must be emphasized that this Court has the discretion to take cognizance of a suit which does not satisfy the requirement of legal standing
when paramount interest is involved. 16 In not a few cases, the Court has adopted a liberal attitude on the  locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an
issue of transcendental significance to the people. 17 Thus, when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public, the Court may brush aside technicalities of
procedure.18 In this case, a reading of the petition shows that the IBP has advanced constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness,
novelty and weight as precedents. Moreover, because peace and order are under constant threat and lawless violence occurs in increasing tempo, undoubtedly aggravated
by the Mindanao insurgency problem, the legal controversy raised in the petition almost certainly will not go away. It will stare us in the face again. It, therefore, behooves the
Court to relax the rules on standing and to resolve the issue now, rather than later.

The President did not commit grave abuse of discretion in calling out the Marines.

In the case at bar, the bone of contention concerns the factual determination of the President of the necessity of calling the armed forces, particularly the Marines, to aid the
PNP in visibility patrols. In this regard, the IBP admits that the deployment of the military personnel falls under the Commander-in-Chief powers of the President as stated in
Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, specifically, the power to call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. What the IBP
questions, however, is the basis for the calling of the Marines under the aforestated provision. According to the IBP, no emergency exists that would justify the need for the
calling of the military to assist the police force. It contends that no lawless violence, invasion or rebellion exist to warrant the calling of the Marines. Thus, the IBP prays that
this Court "review the sufficiency of the factual basis for said troop [Marine] deployment." 19

The Solicitor General, on the other hand, contends that the issue pertaining to the necessity of calling the armed forces is not proper for judicial scrutiny since it involves a
political question and the resolution of factual issues which are beyond the review powers of this Court.

As framed by the parties, the underlying issues are the scope of presidential powers and limits, and the extent of judicial review. But, while this Court gives considerable
weight to the parties’ formulation of the issues, the resolution of the controversy may warrant a creative approach that goes beyond the narrow confines of the issues raised.
Thus, while the parties are in agreement that the power exercised by the President is the power to call out the armed forces, the Court is of the view that the power involved
may be no more than the maintenance of peace and order and promotion of the general welfare. 20 For one, the realities on the ground do not show that there exist a state of
warfare, widespread civil unrest or anarchy. Secondly, the full brunt of the military is not brought upon the citizenry, a point discussed in the latter part of this decision. In the
words of the late Justice Irene Cortes in Marcos v. Manglapus:

More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President’s powers as protector of the peace. [Rossiter,  The American Presidency]. The power of the President to keep
the peace is not limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in times of emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to its existence.
The President is not only clothed with extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked with attending to the day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and
order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of law, in fulfilling presidential duties in times
of peace is not in any way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in the commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President commander-in-chief the
enumeration of powers that follow cannot be said to exclude the President’s exercising as Commander-in-Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security.

Nonetheless, even if it is conceded that the power involved is the President’s power to call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion,
the resolution of the controversy will reach a similar result.

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We now address the Solicitor General’s argument that the issue involved is not susceptible to review by the judiciary because it involves a political question, and thus, not
justiciable.

As a general proposition, a controversy is justiciable if it refers to a matter which is appropriate for court review. 22 It pertains to issues which are inherently susceptible of being
decided on grounds recognized by law. Nevertheless, the Court does not automatically assume jurisdiction over actual constitutional cases brought before it even in instances
that are ripe for resolution. One class of cases wherein the Court hesitates to rule on are "political questions." The reason is that political questions are concerned with issues
dependent upon the wisdom, not the legality, of a particular act or measure being assailed. Moreover, the political question being a function of the separation of powers, the
courts will not normally interfere with the workings of another co-equal branch unless the case shows a clear need for the courts to step in to uphold the law and the
Constitution.

As Tañada v. Cuenco23 puts it, political questions refer "to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in
regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of government." Thus, if an issue is clearly identified by the text of the
Constitution as matters for discretionary action by a particular branch of government or to the people themselves then it is held to be a political question. In the classic
formulation of Justice Brennan in Baker v. Carr,24 "[p]rominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found a textually demonstrable constitutional
commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; or the impossibility of deciding
without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion; or the impossibility of a court’s undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of
the respect due coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or the potentiality of embarassment
from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on the one question."

The 1987 Constitution expands the concept of judicial review by providing that "(T)he Judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be
established by law. Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government." 25 Under this definition, the Court cannot agree with the Solicitor General that the issue involved is a political question beyond the jurisdiction of this Court to
review. When the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the issue of whether the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met or the
limitations respected, is justiciable - the problem being one of legality or validity, not its wisdom. 26 Moreover, the jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given
to this Court.27 When political questions are involved, the Constitution limits the determination as to whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is being questioned. 28

By grave abuse of discretion is meant simply capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment that is patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual
refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or
hostility.29 Under this definition, a court is without power to directly decide matters over which full discretionary authority has been delegated. But while this Court has no power
to substitute its judgment for that of Congress or of the President, it may look into the question of whether such exercise has been made in grave abuse of discretion. 30 A
showing that plenary power is granted either department of government, may not be an obstacle to judicial inquiry, for the improvident exercise or abuse thereof may give rise
to justiciable controversy.31

When the President calls the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, he necessarily exercises a discretionary power solely vested in his
wisdom. This is clear from the intent of the framers and from the text of the Constitution itself. The Court, thus, cannot be called upon to overrule the President’s wisdom or
substitute its own. However, this does not prevent an examination of whether such power was exercised within permissible constitutional limits or whether it was exercised in a
manner constituting grave abuse of discretion. In view of the constitutional intent to give the President full discretionary power to determine the necessity of calling out the
armed forces, it is incumbent upon the petitioner to show that the President’s decision is totally bereft of factual basis. The present petition fails to discharge such heavy
burden as there is no evidence to support the assertion that there exist no justification for calling out the armed forces. There is, likewise, no evidence to support the
proposition that grave abuse was committed because the power to call was exercised in such a manner as to violate the constitutional provision on civilian supremacy over the
military. In the performance of this Court’s duty of "purposeful hesitation" 32 before declaring an act of another branch as unconstitutional, only where such grave abuse of
discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the President’s judgment. To doubt is to sustain.

There is a clear textual commitment under the Constitution to bestow on the President full discretionary power to call out the armed forces and to determine the necessity for
the exercise of such power. Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, which embodies the powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief, provides in part:

The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or
suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.

The full discretionary power of the President to determine the factual basis for the exercise of the calling out power is also implied and further reinforced in the rest of Section
18, Article VII which reads, thus:

Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of  habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in
writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or
suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation
or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of
the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment
of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.

Under the foregoing provisions, Congress may revoke such proclamation or suspension and the Court may review the sufficiency of the factual basis thereof. However, there
is no such equivalent provision dealing with the revocation or review of the President’s action to call out the armed forces. The distinction places the calling out power in a
different category from the power to declare martial law and the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of  habeas corpus, otherwise, the framers of the Constitution would
have simply lumped together the three powers and provided for their revocation and review without any qualification.  Expressio unius est exclusio alterius. Where the terms
are expressly limited to certain matters, it may not, by interpretation or construction, be extended to other matters. 33 That the intent of the Constitution is exactly what its letter
says, i.e., that the power to call is fully discretionary to the President, is extant in the deliberation of the Constitutional Commission, to wit:

FR. BERNAS. It will not make any difference. I may add that there is a graduated power of the President as Commander-in-Chief. First, he can call out such Armed Forces as
may be necessary to suppress lawless violence; then he can suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, then he can impose martial law. This is a graduated
sequence.

When he judges that it is necessary to impose martial law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, his judgment is subject to review. We are making it subject to
review by the Supreme Court and subject to concurrence by the National Assembly. But when he exercises this lesser power of calling on the Armed Forces, when he says it
is necessary, it is my opinion that his judgment cannot be reviewed by anybody.

FR. BERNAS. Let me just add that when we only have imminent danger, the matter can be handled by the first sentence: "The President may call out such armed forces to
prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion." So we feel that that is sufficient for handling imminent danger.

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MR. DE LOS REYES. So actually, if a President feels that there is imminent danger, the matter can be handled by the First Sentence: "The President....may call out such
Armed Forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion." So we feel that that is sufficient for handling imminent danger, of invasion or rebellion, instead of
imposing martial law or suspending the writ of habeas corpus, he must necessarily have to call the Armed Forces of the Philippines as their Commander-in-Chief. Is that the
idea?

MR. REGALADO. That does not require any concurrence by the legislature nor is it subject to judicial review. 34

The reason for the difference in the treatment of the aforementioned powers highlights the intent to grant the President the widest leeway and broadest discretion in using the
power to call out because it is considered as the lesser and more benign power compared to the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of  habeas corpus and the power to
impose martial law, both of which involve the curtailment and suppression of certain basic civil rights and individual freedoms, and thus necessitating safeguards by Congress
and review by this Court.

Moreover, under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, in the exercise of the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of  habeas corpus or to impose martial law, two
conditions must concur: (1) there must be an actual invasion or rebellion and, (2) public safety must require it. These conditions are not required in the case of the power to
call out the armed forces. The only criterion is that "whenever it becomes necessary," the President may call the armed forces "to prevent or suppress lawless violence,
invasion or rebellion." The implication is that the President is given full discretion and wide latitude in the exercise of the power to call as compared to the two other powers.

If the petitioner fails, by way of proof, to support the assertion that the President acted without factual basis, then this Court cannot undertake an independent investigation
beyond the pleadings. The factual necessity of calling out the armed forces is not easily quantifiable and cannot be objectively established since matters considered for
satisfying the same is a combination of several factors which are not always accessible to the courts. Besides the absence of textual standards that the court may use to judge
necessity, information necessary to arrive at such judgment might also prove unmanageable for the courts. Certain pertinent information might be difficult to verify, or wholly
unavailable to the courts. In many instances, the evidence upon which the President might decide that there is a need to call out the armed forces may be of a nature not
constituting technical proof.

On the other hand, the President as Commander-in-Chief has a vast intelligence network to gather information, some of which may be classified as highly confidential or
affecting the security of the state. In the exercise of the power to call, on-the-spot decisions may be imperatively necessary in emergency situations to avert great loss of
human lives and mass destruction of property. Indeed, the decision to call out the military to prevent or suppress lawless violence must be done swiftly and decisively if it were
to have any effect at all. Such a scenario is not farfetched when we consider the present situation in Mindanao, where the insurgency problem could spill over the other parts
of the country. The determination of the necessity for the calling out power if subjected to unfettered judicial scrutiny could be a veritable prescription for disaster, as such
power may be unduly straitjacketed by an injunction or a temporary restraining order every time it is exercised.

Thus, it is the unclouded intent of the Constitution to vest upon the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, full discretion to call forth the military when in his
judgment it is necessary to do so in order to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. Unless the petitioner can show that the exercise of such discretion
was gravely abused, the President’s exercise of judgment deserves to be accorded respect from this Court.

The President has already determined the necessity and factual basis for calling the armed forces. In his Memorandum, he categorically asserted that, "[V]iolent crimes like
bank/store robberies, holdups, kidnappings and carnappings continue to occur in Metro Manila..." 35 We do not doubt the veracity of the President’s assessment of the situation,
especially in the light of present developments. The Court takes judicial notice of the recent bombings perpetrated by lawless elements in the shopping malls, public utilities,
and other public places. These are among the areas of deployment described in the LOI 2000. Considering all these facts, we hold that the President has sufficient factual
basis to call for military aid in law enforcement and in the exercise of this constitutional power.

The deployment of the Marines does not violate the civilian supremacy clause nor does it infringe the civilian character of the police force.

Prescinding from its argument that no emergency situation exists to justify the calling of the Marines, the IBP asserts that by the deployment of the Marines, the civilian task of
law enforcement is "militarized" in violation of Section 3, Article II 36 of the Constitution.

We disagree. The deployment of the Marines does not constitute a breach of the civilian supremacy clause. The calling of the Marines in this case constitutes permissible use
of military assets for civilian law enforcement. The participation of the Marines in the conduct of joint visibility patrols is appropriately circumscribed. The limited participation of
the Marines is evident in the provisions of the LOI itself, which sufficiently provides the metes and bounds of the Marines’ authority. It is noteworthy that the local police forces
are the ones in charge of the visibility patrols at all times, the real authority belonging to the PNP. In fact, the Metro Manila Police Chief is the overall leader of the PNP-
Philippine Marines joint visibility patrols. 37 Under the LOI, the police forces are tasked to brief or orient the soldiers on police patrol procedures. 38 It is their responsibility to
direct and manage the deployment of the Marines. 39 It is, likewise, their duty to provide the necessary equipment to the Marines and render logistical support to these
soldiers.40 In view of the foregoing, it cannot be properly argued that military authority is supreme over civilian authority. Moreover, the deployment of the Marines to assist the
PNP does not unmake the civilian character of the police force. Neither does it amount to an "insidious incursion" of the military in the task of law enforcement in violation of
Section 5(4), Article XVI of the Constitution. 41

In this regard, it is not correct to say that General Angelo Reyes, Chief of Staff of the AFP, by his alleged involvement in civilian law enforcement, has been virtually appointed
to a civilian post in derogation of the aforecited provision. The real authority in these operations, as stated in the LOI, is lodged with the head of a civilian institution, the PNP,
and not with the military. Such being the case, it does not matter whether the AFP Chief actually participates in the Task Force  Tulungan since he does not exercise any
authority or control over the same. Since none of the Marines was incorporated or enlisted as members of the PNP, there can be no appointment to civilian position to speak
of. Hence, the deployment of the Marines in the joint visibility patrols does not destroy the civilian character of the PNP.

Considering the above circumstances, the Marines render nothing more than assistance required in conducting the patrols. As such, there can be no "insidious incursion" of
the military in civilian affairs nor can there be a violation of the civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution.

It is worth mentioning that military assistance to civilian authorities in various forms persists in Philippine jurisdiction. The Philippine experience reveals that it is not averse to
requesting the assistance of the military in the implementation and execution of certain traditionally "civil" functions. As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, some of
the multifarious activities wherein military aid has been rendered, exemplifying the activities that bring both the civilian and the military together in a relationship of cooperation,
are:

1. Elections;42

2. Administration of the Philippine National Red Cross; 43

3. Relief and rescue operations during calamities and disasters; 44

4. Amateur sports promotion and development; 45

5. Development of the culture and the arts; 46

6. Conservation of natural resources;47

7. Implementation of the agrarian reform program; 48

8. Enforcement of customs laws;49

9. Composite civilian-military law enforcement activities;50

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10. Conduct of licensure examinations;51

11. Conduct of nationwide tests for elementary and high school students; 52

12. Anti-drug enforcement activities; 53

13. Sanitary inspections;54

14. Conduct of census work;55

15. Administration of the Civil Aeronautics Board;56

16. Assistance in installation of weather forecasting devices; 57

17. Peace and order policy formulation in local government units. 58

This unquestionably constitutes a gloss on executive power resulting from a systematic, unbroken, executive practice, long pursued to the knowledge of Congress and, yet,
never before questioned.59 What we have here is mutual support and cooperation between the military and civilian authorities, not derogation of civilian supremacy.

In the United States, where a long tradition of suspicion and hostility towards the use of military force for domestic purposes has persisted, 60 and whose Constitution, unlike
ours, does not expressly provide for the power to call, the use of military personnel by civilian law enforcement officers is allowed under circumstances similar to those
surrounding the present deployment of the Philippine Marines. Under the  Posse Comitatus Act61 of the US, the use of the military in civilian law enforcement is generally
prohibited, except in certain allowable circumstances. A provision of the Act states:

§ 1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus

Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as  posse
comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. 62

To determine whether there is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act in the use of military personnel, the US courts 63 apply the following standards, to wit:

Were Army or Air Force personnel used by the civilian law enforcement officers at Wounded Knee in such a manner that the military personnel subjected the citizens to the
exercise of military power which was regulatory, proscriptive, or compulsory 64 George Washington Law Review, pp. 404-433 (1986), which discusses the four divergent
standards for assessing acceptable involvement of military personnel in civil law enforcement.  See likewise HONORED IN THE BREECH: PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY TO
EXECUTE THE LAWS WITH MILITARY FORCE, 83 Yale Law Journal, pp. 130-152, 1973. 64 in nature, either presently or prospectively?

When this concept is transplanted into the present legal context, we take it to mean that  military involvement, even when not expressly authorized by the Constitution or a
statute, does not violate the Posse Comitatus Act unless it actually regulates, forbids or compels some conduct on the part of those claiming relief. 1âwphi1 A mere threat of
some future injury would be insufficient. 

Even if the Court were to apply the above rigid standards to the present case to determine whether there is permissible use of the military in civilian law enforcement, the
conclusion is inevitable that no violation of the civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution is committed. On this point, the Court agrees with the observation of the Solicitor
General:

3. The designation of tasks in Annex A65 does not constitute the exercise of regulatory, proscriptive, or compulsory military power. First, the soldiers do not control or direct the
operation. This is evident from Nos. 6, 66 8(k)67 and 9(a)68 of Annex A. These soldiers, second, also have no power to prohibit or condemn. In No. 9(d) 69 of Annex A, all arrested
persons are brought to the nearest police stations for proper disposition. And last, these soldiers apply no coercive force. The materials or equipment issued to them, as
shown in No. 8(c)70 of Annex A, are all low impact and defensive in character. The conclusion is that there being no exercise of regulatory, proscriptive or compulsory military
power, the deployment of a handful of Philippine Marines constitutes no impermissible use of military power for civilian law enforcement. 71

It appears that the present petition is anchored on fear that once the armed forces are deployed, the military will gain ascendancy, and thus place in peril our cherished
liberties. Such apprehensions, however, are unfounded. The power to call the armed forces is just that - calling out the armed forces. Unless, petitioner IBP can show, which it
has not, that in the deployment of the Marines, the President has violated the fundamental law, exceeded his authority or jeopardized the civil liberties of the people, this Court
is not inclined to overrule the President’s determination of the factual basis for the calling of the Marines to prevent or suppress lawless violence.

One last point. Since the institution of the joint visibility patrol in January, 2000, not a single citizen has complained that his political or civil rights have been violated as a result
of the deployment of the Marines. It was precisely to safeguard peace, tranquility and the civil liberties of the people that the joint visibility patrol was conceived. Freedom and
democracy will be in full bloom only when people feel secure in their homes and in the streets, not when the shadows of violence and anarchy constantly lurk in their midst.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

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[8] [10] G.R. No. 122156 February 3, 1997

MANILA PRINCE HOTEL petitioner, vs. GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA HOTEL CORPORATION, COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION and
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL, respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J.:

The FiIipino First Policy enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, i.e., in the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State
shall give preference to qualified Filipinos,1 is in oked by petitioner in its bid to acquire 51% of the shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation (MHC) which owns the historic
Manila Hotel. Opposing, respondents maintain that the provision is not self-executing but requires an implementing legislation for its enforcement. Corollarily, they ask whether
the 51% shares form part of the national economy and patrimony covered by the protective mantle of the Constitution.

The controversy arose when respondent Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), pursuant to the privatization program of the Philippine Government under
Proclamation No. 50 dated 8 December 1986, decided to sell through public bidding 30% to 51% of the issued and outstanding shares of respondent MHC. The winning
bidder, or the eventual "strategic partner," is to provide management expertise and/or an international marketing/reservation system, and financial support to strengthen the
profitability and performance of the Manila Hotel.2 In a close bidding held on 18 September 1995 only two (2) bidders participated: petitioner Manila Prince Hotel Corporation,
a Filipino corporation, which offered to buy 51% of the MHC or 15,300,000 shares at P41.58 per share, and Renong Berhad, a Malaysian firm, with ITT-Sheraton as its hotel
operator, which bid for the same number of shares at P44.00 per share, or P2.42 more than the bid of petitioner.

Pertinent provisions of the bidding rules prepared by respondent GSIS state —

I. EXECUTION OF THE NECESSARY CONTRACTS WITH GSIS/MHC —

1. The Highest Bidder must comply with the conditions set forth below by October 23, 1995 (reset to November 3, 1995) or the Highest Bidder will lose the right to
purchase the Block of Shares and GSIS will instead offer the Block of Shares to the other Qualified Bidders:

a. The Highest Bidder must negotiate and execute with the GSIS/MHC the Management Contract, International Marketing/Reservation System Contract or
other type of contract specified by the Highest Bidder in its strategic plan for the Manila Hotel. . . .

b. The Highest Bidder must execute the Stock Purchase and Sale Agreement with GSIS . . . .

K. DECLARATION OF THE WINNING BIDDER/STRATEGIC PARTNER —

The Highest Bidder will be declared the Winning Bidder/Strategic Partner after the following conditions are met:

a. Execution of the necessary contracts with GSIS/MHC not later than October 23, 1995 (reset to November 3, 1995); and

b. Requisite approvals from the GSIS/MHC and COP (Committee on Privatization)/OGCC (Office of the Government Corporate Counsel) are obtained. 3

Pending the declaration of Renong Berhad as the winning bidder/strategic partner and the execution of the necessary contracts, petitioner in a letter to respondent GSIS dated
28 September 1995 matched the bid price of P44.00 per share tendered by Renong Berhad. 4 In a subsequent letter dated 10 October 1995 petitioner sent a manager's check
issued by Philtrust Bank for Thirty-three Million Pesos (P33.000.000.00) as Bid Security to match the bid of the Malaysian Group, Messrs. Renong Berhad . . .5 which
respondent GSIS refused to accept.

On 17 October 1995, perhaps apprehensive that respondent GSIS has disregarded the tender of the matching bid and that the sale of 51% of the MHC may be hastened by
respondent GSIS and consummated with Renong Berhad, petitioner came to this Court on prohibition and  mandamus. On 18 October 1995 the Court issued a temporary
restraining order enjoining respondents from perfecting and consummating the sale to the Malaysian firm.

On 10 September 1996 the instant case was accepted by the Court  En Banc after it was referred to it by the First Division. The case was then set for oral arguments with
former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando and Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., as amici curiae.

In the main, petitioner invokes Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution and submits that the Manila Hotel  has been identified with the Filipino nation and has
practically become a historical monument which reflects the vibrancy of Philippine heritage and culture. It is a proud legacy of an earlier generation of Filipinos who believed in
the nobility and sacredness of independence and its power and capacity to release the full potential of the Filipino people . To all intents and purposes, it has become a part of
the national patrimony.6 Petitioner also argues that since 51% of the shares of the MHC carries with it the ownership of the business of the hotel which is owned by respondent
GSIS, a government-owned and controlled corporation, the hotel business of respondent GSIS being a part of the tourism industry is unquestionably a part of the national
economy. Thus, any transaction involving 51% of the shares of stock of the MHC is clearly covered by the term  national economy, to which Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII,
1987 Constitution, applies.7

It is also the thesis of petitioner that since Manila Hotel is part of the national patrimony and its business also unquestionably part of the national economy petitioner should be
preferred after it has matched the bid offer of the Malaysian firm. For the bidding rules mandate that  if for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of
Shares, GSIS may offer this to the other Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in terms of
price per share.8

Respondents except. They maintain that: First, Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution is merely a statement of principle and policy since it is not a self-
executing provision and requires implementing legislation(s) . . . Thus, for the said provision to Operate, there must be existing laws "to lay down conditions under which
business may be done."9

Second, granting that this provision is self-executing, Manila Hotel does not fall under the term national patrimony which only refers to lands of the public domain, waters,
minerals, coal, petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna and all marine wealth in its territorial sea,
and exclusive marine zone as cited in the first and second paragraphs of Sec. 2, Art. XII, 1987 Constitution. According to respondents, while petitioner speaks of the guests
who have slept in the hotel and the events that have transpired therein which make the hotel historic, these alone do not make the hotel fall under the  patrimony of the nation.
What is more, the mandate of the Constitution is addressed to the State, not to respondent GSIS which possesses a personality of its own separate and distinct from the
Philippines as a State.

Third, granting that the Manila Hotel forms part of the national patrimony, the constitutional provision invoked is still inapplicable since what is being sold is only 51% of the
outstanding shares of the corporation, not the hotel building nor the land upon which the building stands. Certainly, 51% of the equity of the MHC cannot be considered part of
the national patrimony. Moreover, if the disposition of the shares of the MHC is really contrary to the Constitution, petitioner should have questioned it right from the beginning
and not after it had lost in the bidding.

Fourth, the reliance by petitioner on par. V., subpar. J. 1., of the bidding rules which provides that  if for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of
Shares, GSIS may offer this to the other Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in terms of
price per share, is misplaced. Respondents postulate that the privilege of submitting a matching bid has not yet arisen since it only takes place  if for any reason, the Highest
Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares. Thus the submission by petitioner of a matching bid is premature since Renong Berhad could still very well be awarded the
block of shares and the condition giving rise to the exercise of the privilege to submit a matching bid had not yet taken place.

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Finally, the prayer for prohibition grounded on grave abuse of discretion should fail since respondent GSIS did not exercise its discretion in a capricious, whimsical manner,
and if ever it did abuse its discretion it was not so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law.
Similarly, the petition for mandamus should fail as petitioner has no clear legal right to what it demands and respondents do not have an imperative duty to perform the act
required of them by petitioner.

We now resolve. A constitution is a system of fundamental laws for the governance and administration of a nation. It is supreme, imperious, absolute and unalterable except
by the authority from which it emanates. It has been defined as the  fundamental and paramount law of the nation. 10 It prescribes the permanent framework of a system of
government, assigns to the different departments their respective powers and duties, and establishes certain fixed principles on which government is founded. The
fundamental conception in other words is that it is a supreme law to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights must be determined and
all public authority administered. 11 Under the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, if a law or contract violates any norm of the constitution that law or contract whether
promulgated by the legislative or by the executive branch or entered into by private persons for private purposes is null and void and without any force and effect. Thus,  since
the Constitution is the fundamental, paramount and supreme law of the nation, it is deemed written in every statute and contrac t.

Admittedly, some constitutions are merely declarations of policies and principles. Their provisions command the legislature to enact laws and carry out the purposes of the
framers who merely establish an outline of government providing for the different departments of the governmental machinery and securing certain fundamental and
inalienable rights of citizens. 12 A provision which lays down a general principle, such as those found in Art. II of the 1987 Constitution, is usually not self-executing. But a
provision which is complete in itself and becomes operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling legislation, or that which supplies sufficient rule by means of which
the right it grants may be enjoyed or protected, is self-executing. Thus a constitutional provision is self-executing if the nature and extent of the right conferred and the liability
imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can be determined by an examination and construction of its terms, and there is no language indicating that the subject
is referred to the legislature for action. 13

As against constitutions of the past, modern constitutions have been generally drafted upon a different principle and have often become in effect extensive codes of laws
intended to operate directly upon the people in a manner similar to that of statutory enactments, and the function of constitutional conventions has evolved into one more like
that of a legislative body. Hence, unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a constitutional mandate, the presumption now is that all
provisions of the constitution are self-executing If the constitutional provisions are treated as requiring legislation instead of self-executing, the legislature would have the
power to ignore and practically nullify the mandate of the fundamental law. 14 This can be cataclysmic. That is why the prevailing view is, as it has always been, that —

. . . in case of doubt, the Constitution should be considered self-executing rather than non-self-executing . . . . Unless the contrary is clearly intended, the provisions of the
Constitution should be considered self-executing, as a contrary rule would give the legislature discretion to determine when, or whether, they shall be effective. These
provisions would be subordinated to the will of the lawmaking body, which could make them entirely meaningless by simply refusing to pass the needed implementing
statute. 15

Respondents argue that Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution is clearly not self-executing, as they quote from discussions on the floor of the 1986
Constitutional Commission —

MR. RODRIGO. Madam President, I am asking this question as the Chairman of the Committee on Style. If the wording of "PREFERENCE" is given to QUALIFIED
FILIPINOS," can it be understood as a preference to qualified Filipinos vis-a-vis Filipinos who are not qualified. So, why do we not make it clear? To qualified Filipinos as
against aliens?

THE PRESIDENT. What is the question of Commissioner Rodrigo? Is it to remove the word "QUALIFIED?".

MR. RODRIGO. No, no, but say definitely "TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS" as against whom? As against aliens or over aliens?

MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President, I think that is understood. We use the word "QUALIFIED" because the  existing laws or prospective laws will always lay down
conditions under which business may be done. For example, qualifications on the setting up of other financial structures, et cetera (emphasis supplied by respondents)

MR. RODRIGO. It is just a matter of style.

MR. NOLLEDO Yes, 16

Quite apparently, Sec. 10, second par., of Art XII is couched in such a way as not to make it appear that it is non-self-executing but simply for purposes of style. But, certainly,
the legislature is not precluded from enacting other further laws to enforce the constitutional provision so long as the contemplated statute squares with the Constitution. Minor
details may be left to the legislature without impairing the self-executing nature of constitutional provisions.

In self-executing constitutional provisions, the legislature may still enact legislation to facilitate the exercise of powers directly granted by the constitution, further the operation
of such a provision, prescribe a practice to be used for its enforcement, provide a convenient remedy for the protection of the rights secured or the determination thereof, or
place reasonable safeguards around the exercise of the right. The mere fact that legislation may supplement and add to or prescribe a penalty for the violation of a self-
executing constitutional provision does not render such a provision ineffective in the absence of such legislation. The omission from a constitution of any express provision for
a remedy for enforcing a right or liability is not necessarily an indication that it was not intended to be self-executing. The rule is that a self-executing provision of the
constitution does not necessarily exhaust legislative power on the subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with the constitution, further the exercise of constitutional
right and make it more available. 17 Subsequent legislation however does not necessarily mean that the subject constitutional provision is not, by itself, fully enforceable.

Respondents also argue that the non-self-executing nature of Sec. 10, second par., of Art. XII is implied from the tenor of the first and third paragraphs of the same section
which undoubtedly are not self-executing. 18 The argument is flawed. If the first and third paragraphs are not self-executing because Congress is still to enact measures to
encourage the formation and operation of enterprises fully owned by Filipinos, as in the first paragraph, and the State still needs legislation to regulate and exercise authority
over foreign investments within its national jurisdiction, as in the third paragraph, then a  fortiori, by the same logic, the second paragraph can only be self-executing as it does
not by its language require any legislation in order to give preference to qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and
patrimony. A constitutional provision may be self-executing in one part and non-self-executing in another. 19

Even the cases cited by respondents holding that certain constitutional provisions are merely statements of principles and policies, which are basically not self-executing and
only placed in the Constitution as moral incentives to legislation, not as judicially enforceable rights — are simply not in point.  Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming
Corporation 20 speaks of constitutional provisions on personal dignity, 21 the sanctity of family life, 22 the vital role of the youth in nation-building 23 the promotion of social
justice, 24 and the values of education. 25 Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance  26 refers to the constitutional provisions on social justice and human rights 27 and on
education. 28 Lastly, Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato  29 cites provisions on the promotion of general welfare, 30 the sanctity of family life, 31 the vital role of the youth in nation-
building 32 and the promotion of total human liberation and development. 33 A reading of these provisions indeed clearly shows that they are not judicially enforceable
constitutional rights but merely guidelines for legislation. The very terms of the provisions manifest that they are only principles upon which the legislations must be
based. Res ipsa loquitur.

On the other hand, Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is complete in itself and which needs no further
guidelines or implementing laws or rules for its enforcement. From its very words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in operation. It is  per se judicially
enforceable When our Constitution mandates that [i]n the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering national economy and patrimony, the State shall give
preference to qualified Filipinos, it means just that — qualified Filipinos shall be preferred. And when our Constitution declares that a right exists in certain specified
circumstances an action may be maintained to enforce such right notwithstanding the absence of any legislation on the subject; consequently, if there is no statute especially
enacted to enforce such constitutional right, such right enforces itself by its own inherent potency and puissance, and from which all legislations must take their bearings.
Where there is a right there is a remedy. Ubi jus ibi remedium.

As regards our national patrimony, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission 34 explains —

The patrimony of the Nation that should be conserved and developed refers not only to out rich natural resources but also to the cultural heritage of out race. It also refers
to our intelligence in arts, sciences and letters. Therefore, we should develop not only our lands, forests, mines and other natural resources but also the mental ability or
faculty of our people.
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We agree. In its plain and ordinary meaning, the term patrimony pertains to heritage.  35 When the Constitution speaks of national patrimony, it refers not only to the natural
resources of the Philippines, as the Constitution could have very well used the term natural resources, but also to the cultural heritage of the Filipinos.

Manila Hotel has become a landmark — a living testimonial of Philippine heritage. While it was restrictively an American hotel when it first opened in 1912, it immediately
evolved to be truly Filipino, Formerly a concourse for the elite, it has since then become the venue of various significant events which have shaped Philippine history. It was
called the Cultural Center of the 1930's. It was the site of the festivities during the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth. Dubbed as the  Official Guest House of the
Philippine Government. it plays host to dignitaries and official visitors who are accorded the traditional Philippine hospitality. 36

The history of the hotel has been chronicled in the book  The Manila Hotel: The Heart and Memory of a City. 37 During World War II the hotel was converted by the Japanese
Military Administration into a military headquarters. When the American forces returned to recapture Manila the hotel was selected by the Japanese together with Intramuros
as the two (2) places fro their final stand. Thereafter, in the 1950's and 1960's, the hotel became the center of political activities, playing host to almost every political
convention. In 1970 the hotel reopened after a renovation and reaped numerous international recognitions, an acknowledgment of the Filipino talent and ingenuity. In 1986 the
hotel was the site of a failed coup d' etat where an aspirant for vice-president was "proclaimed" President of the Philippine Republic.

For more than eight (8) decades Manila Hotel has bore mute witness to the triumphs and failures, loves and frustrations of the Filipinos; its existence is impressed with public
interest; its own historicity associated with our struggle for sovereignty, independence and nationhood. Verily, Manila Hotel has become part of our national economy and
patrimony. For sure, 51% of the equity of the MHC comes within the purview of the constitutional shelter for it comprises the majority and controlling stock, so that anyone who
acquires or owns the 51% will have actual control and management of the hotel. In this instance, 51% of the MHC cannot be disassociated from the hotel and the land on
which the hotel edifice stands. Consequently, we cannot sustain respondents' claim that the  Filipino First Policy provision is not applicable since what is being sold is only
51% of the outstanding shares of the corporation, not the Hotel building nor the land upon which the building stands. 38

The argument is pure sophistry. The term qualified Filipinos as used in Our Constitution also includes corporations at least 60% of which is owned by Filipinos. This is very
clear from the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is recognized.

MR. DAVIDE. I would like to introduce an amendment to the Nolledo amendment. And the amendment would consist in substituting the words "QUALIFIED FILIPINOS"
with the following: "CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES OR CORPORATIONS OR ASSOCIATIONS WHOSE CAPITAL OR CONTROLLING STOCK IS WHOLLY OWNED
BY SUCH CITIZENS.

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, apparently the proponent is agreeable, but we have to raise a question. Suppose it is a corporation that is 80-percent Filipino, do we
not give it preference?

MR. DAVIDE. The Nolledo amendment would refer to an individual Filipino. What about a corporation wholly owned by Filipino citizens?

MR. MONSOD. At least 60 percent, Madam President.

MR. DAVIDE. Is that the intention?

MR. MONSOD. Yes, because, in fact, we would be limiting it if we say that the preference should only be 100-percent Filipino.

MR: DAVIDE. I want to get that meaning clear because "QUALIFIED FILIPINOS" may refer only to individuals and not to juridical personalities or entities.

MR. MONSOD. We agree, Madam President. 39

MR. RODRIGO. Before we vote, may I request that the amendment be read again.

MR. NOLLEDO. The amendment will read: "IN THE GRANT OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND CONCESSIONS COVERING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND
PATRIMONY, THE STATE SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS." And the word "Filipinos" here, as intended by the proponents, will include not only
individual Filipinos but also Filipino-controlled entities or entities fully-controlled by Filipinos. 40

The phrase preference to qualified Filipinos was explained thus —

MR. FOZ. Madam President, I would like to request Commissioner Nolledo to please restate his amendment so that I can ask a question.

MR. NOLLEDO. "IN THE GRANT OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND CONCESSIONS COVERING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY, THE STATE SHALL
GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS."

MR FOZ. In connection with that amendment, if a foreign enterprise is qualified and a Filipino enterprise is also qualified, will the Filipino enterprise still be given a
preference?

MR. NOLLEDO. Obviously.

MR. FOZ. If the foreigner is more qualified in some aspects than the Filipino enterprise, will the Filipino still be preferred?

MR. NOLLEDO. The answer is "yes."

MR. FOZ. Thank you, 41

Expounding further on the Filipino First Policy provision Commissioner Nolledo continues —

MR. NOLLEDO. Yes, Madam President. Instead of "MUST," it will be "SHALL — THE STATE SHALL GlVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS. This embodies the
so-called "Filipino First" policy. That means that Filipinos should be given preference in the grant of concessions, privileges and rights covering the national patrimony.  42

The exchange of views in the sessions of the Constitutional Commission regarding the subject provision was still further clarified by Commissioner Nolledo 43 —

Paragraph 2 of Section 10 explicitly mandates the "Pro-Filipino" bias in all economic concerns. It is better known as the FILIPINO FIRST Policy . . . This provision was
never found in previous Constitutions . . . .

The term "qualified Filipinos" simply means that preference shall be given to those citizens who can make a viable contribution to the common good, because of credible
competence and efficiency. It certainly does NOT mandate the pampering and preferential treatment to Filipino citizens or organizations that are incompetent or inefficient,
since such an indiscriminate preference would be counter productive and inimical to the common good.

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In the granting of economic rights, privileges, and concessions, when a choice has to be made between a "qualified foreigner" end a "qualified Filipino," the latter shall be
chosen over the former."

Lastly, the word qualified is also determinable. Petitioner was so considered by respondent GSIS and selected as one of the  qualified bidders. It was pre-qualified by
respondent GSIS in accordance with its own guidelines so that the sole inference here is that petitioner has been found to be possessed of proven management expertise in
the hotel industry, or it has significant equity ownership in another hotel company, or it has an overall management and marketing proficiency to successfully operate the
Manila Hotel. 44

The penchant to try to whittle away the mandate of the Constitution by arguing that the subject provision is not self-executory and requires implementing legislation is quite
disturbing. The attempt to violate a clear constitutional provision — by the government itself — is only too distressing. To adopt such a line of reasoning is to renounce the
duty to ensure faithfulness to the Constitution. For, even some of the provisions of the Constitution which evidently need implementing legislation have juridical life of their own
and can be the source of a judicial remedy. We cannot simply afford the government a defense that arises out of the failure to enact further enabling, implementing or guiding
legislation. In fine, the discourse of Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., on constitutional government is apt —

The executive department has a constitutional duty to implement laws, including the Constitution, even before Congress acts — provided that there are discoverable legal
standards for executive action. When the executive acts, it must be guided by its own understanding of the constitutional command and of applicable laws. The
responsibility for reading and understanding the Constitution and the laws is not the sole prerogative of Congress. If it were, the executive would have to ask Congress, or
perhaps the Court, for an interpretation every time the executive is confronted by a constitutional command. That is not how constitutional government operates.  45

Respondents further argue that the constitutional provision is addressed to the State, not to respondent GSIS which by itself possesses a separate and distinct personality.
This argument again is at best specious. It is undisputed that the sale of 51% of the MHC could only be carried out with the prior approval of the State acting through
respondent Committee on Privatization. As correctly pointed out by Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., this fact alone makes the sale of the assets of respondents GSIS and MHC a
"state action." In constitutional jurisprudence, the acts of persons distinct from the government are considered " state action" covered by the Constitution (1) when the activity it
engages in is a "public function;" (2) when the government is so significantly involved with the private actor as to make the government responsible for his action; and, (3)
when the government has approved or authorized the action. It is evident that the act of respondent GSIS in selling 51% of its share in respondent MHC comes under the
second and third categories of "state action." Without doubt therefore the transaction. although entered into by respondent GSIS, is in fact a transaction of the State and
therefore subject to the constitutional command. 46

When the Constitution addresses the State it refers not only to the people but also to the government as elements of the State. After all, government is composed of three (3)
divisions of power — legislative, executive and judicial. Accordingly, a constitutional mandate directed to the State is correspondingly directed to the three(3) branches of
government. It is undeniable that in this case the subject constitutional injunction is addressed among others to the Executive Department and respondent GSIS, a
government instrumentality deriving its authority from the State.

It should be stressed that while the Malaysian firm offered the higher bid it is not yet the winning bidder. The bidding rules expressly provide that the highest bidder shall only
be declared the winning bidder after it has negotiated and executed the necessary contracts, and secured the requisite approvals. Since the " Filipino First Policy provision of
the Constitution bestows preference on qualified Filipinos the mere tending of the highest bid is not an assurance that the highest bidder will be declared the winning bidder.
Resultantly, respondents are not bound to make the award yet, nor are they under obligation to enter into one with the highest bidder. For in choosing the awardee
respondents are mandated to abide by the dictates of the 1987 Constitution the provisions of which are presumed to be known to all the bidders and other interested parties.

Adhering to the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, the subject constitutional provision is, as it should be, impliedly written in the bidding rules issued by respondent GSIS,
lest the bidding rules be nullified for being violative of the Constitution. It is a basic principle in constitutional law that all laws and contracts must conform with the fundamental
law of the land. Those which violate the Constitution lose their reason for being.

Paragraph V. J. 1 of the bidding rules provides that [if] for any reason the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer this to other Qualified
Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in terms of price per
share. 47 Certainly, the constitutional mandate itself is reason enough not to award the block of shares immediately to the foreign bidder notwithstanding its submission of a
higher, or even the highest, bid. In fact, we cannot conceive of a stronger reason than the constitutional injunction itself.

In the instant case, where a foreign firm submits the highest bid in a public bidding concerning the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy
and patrimony, thereby exceeding the bid of a Filipino, there is no question that the Filipino will have to be allowed to match the bid of the foreign entity. And if the Filipino
matches the bid of a foreign firm the award should go to the Filipino. It must be so if we are to give life and meaning to the  Filipino First Policy provision of the 1987
Constitution. For, while this may neither be expressly stated nor contemplated in the bidding rules, the constitutional fiat is, omnipresent to be simply disregarded. To ignore it
would be to sanction a perilous skirting of the basic law.

This Court does not discount the apprehension that this policy may discourage foreign investors. But the Constitution and laws of the Philippines are understood to be always
open to public scrutiny. These are given factors which investors must consider when venturing into business in a foreign jurisdiction. Any person therefore desiring to do
business in the Philippines or with any of its agencies or instrumentalities is presumed to know his rights and obligations under the Constitution and the laws of the forum.

The argument of respondents that petitioner is now estopped from questioning the sale to Renong Berhad since petitioner was well aware from the beginning that a foreigner
could participate in the bidding is meritless. Undoubtedly, Filipinos and foreigners alike were invited to the bidding. But foreigners may be awarded the sale only if no Filipino
qualifies, or if the qualified Filipino fails to match the highest bid tendered by the foreign entity. In the case before us, while petitioner was already preferred at the inception of
the bidding because of the constitutional mandate, petitioner had not yet matched the bid offered by Renong Berhad. Thus it did not have the right or personality then to
compel respondent GSIS to accept its earlier bid. Rightly, only after it had matched the bid of the foreign firm and the apparent disregard by respondent GSIS of petitioner's
matching bid did the latter have a cause of action.

Besides, there is no time frame for invoking the constitutional safeguard unless perhaps the award has been finally made. To insist on selling the Manila Hotel to foreigners
when there is a Filipino group willing to match the bid of the foreign group is to insist that government be treated as any other ordinary market player, and bound by its
mistakes or gross errors of judgment, regardless of the consequences to the Filipino people. The miscomprehension of the Constitution is regrettable. Thus we would rather
remedy the indiscretion while there is still an opportunity to do so than let the government develop the habit of forgetting that the Constitution lays down the basic conditions
and parameters for its actions.

Since petitioner has already matched the bid price tendered by Renong Berhad pursuant to the bidding rules, respondent GSIS is left with no alternative but to award to
petitioner the block of shares of MHC and to execute the necessary agreements and documents to effect the sale in accordance not only with the bidding guidelines and
procedures but with the Constitution as well. The refusal of respondent GSIS to execute the corresponding documents with petitioner as provided in the bidding rules after the
latter has matched the bid of the Malaysian firm clearly constitutes grave abuse of discretion.

The Filipino First Policy is a product of Philippine nationalism. It is embodied in the 1987 Constitution not merely to be used as a guideline for future legislation but primarily to
be enforced; so must it be enforced. This Court as the ultimate guardian of the Constitution will never shun, under any reasonable circumstance, the duty of upholding the
majesty of the Constitution which it is tasked to defend. It is worth emphasizing that it is not the intention of this Court to impede and diminish, much less undermine, the influx
of foreign investments. Far from it, the Court encourages and welcomes more business opportunities but avowedly sanctions the preference for Filipinos whenever such
preference is ordained by the Constitution. The position of the Court on this matter could have not been more appropriately articulated by Chief Justice Narvasa —

As scrupulously as it has tried to observe that it is not its function to substitute its judgment for that of the legislature or the executive about the wisdom and feasibility of
legislation economic in nature, the Supreme Court has not been spared criticism for decisions perceived as obstacles to economic progress and development . . . in
connection with a temporary injunction issued by the Court's First Division against the sale of the Manila Hotel to a Malaysian Firm and its partner, certain statements were
published in a major daily to the effect that injunction "again demonstrates that the Philippine legal system can be a major obstacle to doing business here.

Let it be stated for the record once again that while it is no business of the Court to intervene in contracts of the kind referred to or set itself up as the judge of whether they
are viable or attainable, it is its bounden duty to make sure that they do not violate the Constitution or the laws, or are not adopted or implemented with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. It will never shirk that duty, no matter how buffeted by winds of unfair and ill-informed criticism.  48

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Privatization of a business asset for purposes of enhancing its business viability and preventing further losses, regardless of the character of the asset, should not take
precedence over non-material values. A commercial, nay even a budgetary, objective should not be pursued at the expense of national pride and dignity. For the Constitution
enshrines higher and nobler non-material values. Indeed, the Court will always defer to the Constitution in the proper governance of a free society; after all, there is nothing so
sacrosanct in any economic policy as to draw itself beyond judicial review when the Constitution is involved. 49

Nationalism is inherent, in the very concept of the Philippines being a democratic and republican state, with sovereignty residing in the Filipino people and from whom all
government authority emanates. In nationalism, the happiness and welfare of the people must be the goal. The nation-state can have no higher purpose. Any interpretation of
any constitutional provision must adhere to such basic concept. Protection of foreign investments, while laudible, is merely a policy. It cannot override the demands of
nationalism. 50

The Manila Hotel or, for that matter, 51% of the MHC, is not just any commodity to be sold to the highest bidder solely for the sake of privatization. We are not talking about an
ordinary piece of property in a commercial district. We are talking about a historic relic that has hosted many of the most important events in the short history of the Philippines
as a nation. We are talking about a hotel where heads of states would prefer to be housed as a strong manifestation of their desire to cloak the dignity of the highest state
function to their official visits to the Philippines. Thus the Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a significant role as an authentic repository of twentieth century
Philippine history and culture. In this sense, it has become truly a reflection of the Filipino soul — a place with a history of grandeur; a most historical setting that has played a
part in the shaping of a country. 51

This Court cannot extract rhyme nor reason from the determined efforts of respondents to sell the historical landmark — this  Grand Old Dame of hotels in Asia — to a total
stranger. For, indeed, the conveyance of this epic exponent of the Filipino psyche to alien hands cannot be less than mephistophelian for it is, in whatever manner viewed, a
veritable alienation of a nation's soul for some pieces of foreign silver. And so we ask: What advantage, which cannot be equally drawn from a qualified Filipino, can be gained
by the Filipinos Manila Hotel — and all that it stands for — is sold to a non-Filipino? How much of national pride will vanish if the nation's cultural heritage is entrusted to a
foreign entity? On the other hand, how much dignity will be preserved and realized if the national patrimony is safekept in the hands of a  qualified, zealous and well-meaning
Filipino? This is the plain and simple meaning of the Filipino First Policy provision of the Philippine Constitution. And this Court, heeding the clarion call of the Constitution and
accepting the duty of being the elderly watchman of the nation, will continue to respect and protect the sanctity of the Constitution.

WHEREFORE, respondents GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA HOTEL CORPORATION, COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION and OFFICE OF THE
GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL are directed to CEASE and DESIST from selling 51% of the shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation to RENONG BERHAD, and to
ACCEPT the matching bid of petitioner MANILA PRINCE HOTEL CORPORATION to purchase the subject 51% of the shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation at P44.00 per
share and thereafter to execute the necessary clearances and to do such other acts and deeds as may be necessary for purpose.

SO ORDERED.

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[9] G.R. No. 101083 July 30, 1993

JUAN ANTONIO, ANNA ROSARIO and JOSE ALFONSO, all surnamed OPOSA, minors, and represented by their parents ANTONIO and RIZALINA OPOSA,
ROBERTA NICOLE SADIUA, minor, represented by her parents CALVIN and ROBERTA SADIUA, CARLO, AMANDA SALUD and PATRISHA, all surnamed FLORES,
minors and represented by their parents ENRICO and NIDA FLORES, GIANINA DITA R. FORTUN, minor, represented by her parents SIGRID and DOLORES
FORTUN, GEORGE II and MA. CONCEPCION, all surnamed MISA, minors and represented by their parents GEORGE and MYRA MISA, BENJAMIN ALAN V.
PESIGAN, minor, represented by his parents ANTONIO and ALICE PESIGAN, JOVIE MARIE ALFARO, minor, represented by her parents JOSE and MARIA
VIOLETA ALFARO, MARIA CONCEPCION T. CASTRO, minor, represented by her parents FREDENIL and JANE CASTRO, JOHANNA DESAMPARADO, minor,
represented by her parents JOSE and ANGELA DESAMPRADO, CARLO JOAQUIN T. NARVASA, minor, represented by his parents GREGORIO II and CRISTINE
CHARITY NARVASA, MA. MARGARITA, JESUS IGNACIO, MA. ANGELA and MARIE GABRIELLE, all surnamed SAENZ, minors, represented by their parents
ROBERTO and AURORA SAENZ, KRISTINE, MARY ELLEN, MAY, GOLDA MARTHE and DAVID IAN, all surnamed KING, minors, represented by their parents
MARIO and HAYDEE KING, DAVID, FRANCISCO and THERESE VICTORIA, all surnamed ENDRIGA, minors, represented by their parents BALTAZAR and
TERESITA ENDRIGA, JOSE MA. and REGINA MA., all surnamed ABAYA, minors, represented by their parents ANTONIO and MARICA ABAYA, MARILIN, MARIO,
JR. and MARIETTE, all surnamed CARDAMA, minors, represented by their parents MARIO and LINA CARDAMA, CLARISSA, ANN MARIE, NAGEL, and IMEE LYN,
all surnamed OPOSA, minors and represented by their parents RICARDO and MARISSA OPOSA, PHILIP JOSEPH, STEPHEN JOHN and ISAIAH JAMES, all
surnamed QUIPIT, minors, represented by their parents JOSE MAX and VILMI QUIPIT, BUGHAW CIELO, CRISANTO, ANNA, DANIEL and FRANCISCO, all
surnamed BIBAL, minors, represented by their parents FRANCISCO, JR. and MILAGROS BIBAL, and THE PHILIPPINE ECOLOGICAL NETWORK, INC.,  petitioners,
vs. THE HONORABLE FULGENCIO S. FACTORAN, JR., in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and THE
HONORABLE ERIBERTO U. ROSARIO, Presiding Judge of the RTC, Makati, Branch 66, respondents.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:

In a broader sense, this petition bears upon the right of Filipinos to a balanced and healthful ecology which the petitioners dramatically associate with the twin concepts of
"inter-generational responsibility" and "inter-generational justice." Specifically, it touches on the issue of whether the said petitioners have a cause of action to "prevent the
misappropriation or impairment" of Philippine rainforests and "arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the country's vital life support systems and continued rape of Mother Earth."

The controversy has its genesis in Civil Case No. 90-77 which was filed before Branch 66 (Makati, Metro Manila) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial
Region. The principal plaintiffs therein, now the principal petitioners, are all minors duly represented and joined by their respective parents. Impleaded as an additional plaintiff
is the Philippine Ecological Network, Inc. (PENI), a domestic, non-stock and non-profit corporation organized for the purpose of,  inter alia, engaging in concerted action geared
for the protection of our environment and natural resources. The original defendant was the Honorable Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr., then Secretary of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). His substitution in this petition by the new Secretary, the Honorable Angel C. Alcala, was subsequently ordered upon proper
motion by the petitioners. 1 The complaint2 was instituted as a taxpayers' class suit 3 and alleges that the plaintiffs "are all citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers,
and entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the country's virgin tropical forests." The same was filed for themselves and others
who are equally concerned about the preservation of said resource but are "so numerous that it is impracticable to bring them all before the Court." The minors further
asseverate that they "represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn." 4 Consequently, it is prayed for that judgment be rendered:

. . . ordering defendant, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf to —

(1) Cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country;

(2) Cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements.

and granting the plaintiffs ". . . such other reliefs just and equitable under the premises." 5

The complaint starts off with the general averments that the Philippine archipelago of 7,100 islands has a land area of thirty million (30,000,000) hectares and is endowed with
rich, lush and verdant rainforests in which varied, rare and unique species of flora and fauna may be found; these rainforests contain a genetic, biological and chemical pool
which is irreplaceable; they are also the habitat of indigenous Philippine cultures which have existed, endured and flourished since time immemorial; scientific evidence
reveals that in order to maintain a balanced and healthful ecology, the country's land area should be utilized on the basis of a ratio of fifty-four per cent (54%) for forest cover
and forty-six per cent (46%) for agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and other uses; the distortion and disturbance of this balance as a consequence of deforestation
have resulted in a host of environmental tragedies, such as (a) water shortages resulting from drying up of the water table, otherwise known as the "aquifer," as well as of
rivers, brooks and streams, (b) salinization of the water table as a result of the intrusion therein of salt water, incontrovertible examples of which may be found in the island of
Cebu and the Municipality of Bacoor, Cavite, (c) massive erosion and the consequential loss of soil fertility and agricultural productivity, with the volume of soil eroded
estimated at one billion (1,000,000,000) cubic meters per annum — approximately the size of the entire island of Catanduanes, (d) the endangering and extinction of the
country's unique, rare and varied flora and fauna, (e) the disturbance and dislocation of cultural communities, including the disappearance of the Filipino's indigenous cultures,
(f) the siltation of rivers and seabeds and consequential destruction of corals and other aquatic life leading to a critical reduction in marine resource productivity, (g) recurrent
spells of drought as is presently experienced by the entire country, (h) increasing velocity of typhoon winds which result from the absence of windbreakers, (i) the floodings of
lowlands and agricultural plains arising from the absence of the absorbent mechanism of forests, (j) the siltation and shortening of the lifespan of multi-billion peso dams
constructed and operated for the purpose of supplying water for domestic uses, irrigation and the generation of electric power, and (k) the reduction of the earth's capacity to
process carbon dioxide gases which has led to perplexing and catastrophic climatic changes such as the phenomenon of global warming, otherwise known as the
"greenhouse effect."

Plaintiffs further assert that the adverse and detrimental consequences of continued and deforestation are so capable of unquestionable demonstration that the same may be
submitted as a matter of judicial notice. This notwithstanding, they expressed their intention to present expert witnesses as well as documentary, photographic and film
evidence in the course of the trial.

As their cause of action, they specifically allege that:

CAUSE OF ACTION

7. Plaintiffs replead by reference the foregoing allegations.

8. Twenty-five (25) years ago, the Philippines had some sixteen (16) million hectares of rainforests constituting roughly 53% of the country's land mass.

9. Satellite images taken in 1987 reveal that there remained no more than 1.2 million hectares of said rainforests or four per cent (4.0%) of the country's land area.

10. More recent surveys reveal that a mere 850,000 hectares of virgin old-growth rainforests are left, barely 2.8% of the entire land mass of the Philippine archipelago and
about 3.0 million hectares of immature and uneconomical secondary growth forests.

11. Public records reveal that the defendant's, predecessors have granted timber license agreements ('TLA's') to various corporations to cut the aggregate area of 3.89
million hectares for commercial logging purposes.

A copy of the TLA holders and the corresponding areas covered is hereto attached as Annex "A".

12. At the present rate of deforestation, i.e. about 200,000 hectares per annum or 25 hectares per hour — nighttime, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays included — the
Philippines will be bereft of forest resources after the end of this ensuing decade, if not earlier.

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13. The adverse effects, disastrous consequences, serious injury and irreparable damage of this continued trend of deforestation to the plaintiff minor's generation and to
generations yet unborn are evident and incontrovertible. As a matter of fact, the environmental damages enumerated in paragraph 6 hereof are already being felt,
experienced and suffered by the generation of plaintiff adults.

14. The continued allowance by defendant of TLA holders to cut and deforest the remaining forest stands will work great damage and irreparable injury to plaintiffs —
especially plaintiff minors and their successors — who may never see, use, benefit from and enjoy this rare and unique natural resource treasure.

This act of defendant constitutes a misappropriation and/or impairment of the natural resource property he holds in trust for the benefit of plaintiff minors and succeeding
generations.

15. Plaintiffs have a clear and constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology and are entitled to protection by the State in its capacity as the  parens patriae.

16. Plaintiff have exhausted all administrative remedies with the defendant's office. On March 2, 1990, plaintiffs served upon defendant a final demand to cancel all logging
permits in the country.

A copy of the plaintiffs' letter dated March 1, 1990 is hereto attached as Annex "B".

17. Defendant, however, fails and refuses to cancel the existing TLA's to the continuing serious damage and extreme prejudice of plaintiffs.

18. The continued failure and refusal by defendant to cancel the TLA's is an act violative of the rights of plaintiffs, especially plaintiff minors who may be left with a country
that is desertified (sic), bare, barren and devoid of the wonderful flora, fauna and indigenous cultures which the Philippines had been abundantly blessed with.

19. Defendant's refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is manifestly contrary to the public policy enunciated in the Philippine Environmental Policy which, in pertinent
part, states that it is the policy of the State —

(a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under which man and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each other;

(b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of Filipinos and;

(c) to ensure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conductive to a life of dignity and well-being. (P.D. 1151, 6 June 1977)

20. Furthermore, defendant's continued refusal to cancel the aforementioned TLA's is contradictory to the Constitutional policy of the State to —

a. effect "a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth" and "make full and efficient use of natural resources ( sic)." (Section 1, Article XII of the
Constitution);

b. "protect the nation's marine wealth." (Section 2, ibid);

c. "conserve and promote the nation's cultural heritage and resources (sic)" (Section 14, Article XIV, id.);

d. "protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature." (Section 16, Article II,  id.)

21. Finally, defendant's act is contrary to the highest law of humankind — the natural law — and violative of plaintiffs' right to self-preservation and perpetuation.

22. There is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in law other than the instant action to arrest the unabated hemorrhage of the country's vital life support systems
and continued rape of Mother Earth. 6

On 22 June 1990, the original defendant, Secretary Factoran, Jr., filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint based on two (2) grounds, namely: (1) the plaintiffs have no cause of
action against him and (2) the issue raised by the plaintiffs is a political question which properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of Government. In their 12
July 1990 Opposition to the Motion, the petitioners maintain that (1) the complaint shows a clear and unmistakable cause of action, (2) the motion is dilatory and (3) the action
presents a justiciable question as it involves the defendant's abuse of discretion.

On 18 July 1991, respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to dismiss. 7 In the said order, not only was the defendant's claim — that the
complaint states no cause of action against him and that it raises a political question — sustained, the respondent Judge further ruled that the granting of the relief prayed for
would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the fundamental law of the land.

Plaintiffs thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court and ask this Court to rescind and set aside the dismissal order on
the ground that the respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in dismissing the action. Again, the parents of the plaintiffs-minors not only represent their children, but
have also joined the latter in this case. 8

On 14 May 1992, We resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective Memoranda after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
filed a Comment in behalf of the respondents and the petitioners filed a reply thereto.

Petitioners contend that the complaint clearly and unmistakably states a cause of action as it contains sufficient allegations concerning their right to a sound environment
based on Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil Code (Human Relations), Section 4 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 192 creating the DENR, Section 3 of Presidential Decree (P.D.)
No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy), Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution recognizing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, the concept
of generational genocide in Criminal Law and the concept of man's inalienable right to self-preservation and self-perpetuation embodied in natural law. Petitioners likewise rely
on the respondent's correlative obligation per Section 4 of E.O. No. 192, to safeguard the people's right to a healthful environment.

It is further claimed that the issue of the respondent Secretary's alleged grave abuse of discretion in granting Timber License Agreements (TLAs) to cover more areas for
logging than what is available involves a judicial question.

Anent the invocation by the respondent Judge of the Constitution's non-impairment clause, petitioners maintain that the same does not apply in this case because TLAs are
not contracts. They likewise submit that even if TLAs may be considered protected by the said clause, it is well settled that they may still be revoked by the State when the
public interest so requires.

On the other hand, the respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their complaint a specific legal right violated by the respondent Secretary for which any relief is
provided by law. They see nothing in the complaint but vague and nebulous allegations concerning an "environmental right" which supposedly entitles the petitioners to the
"protection by the state in its capacity as parens patriae." Such allegations, according to them, do not reveal a valid cause of action. They then reiterate the theory that the
question of whether logging should be permitted in the country is a political question which should be properly addressed to the executive or legislative branches of
Government. They therefore assert that the petitioners' resources is not to file an action to court, but to lobby before Congress for the passage of a bill that would ban logging
totally.

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As to the matter of the cancellation of the TLAs, respondents submit that the same cannot be done by the State without due process of law. Once issued, a TLA remains
effective for a certain period of time — usually for twenty-five (25) years. During its effectivity, the same can neither be revised nor cancelled unless the holder has been found,
after due notice and hearing, to have violated the terms of the agreement or other forestry laws and regulations. Petitioners' proposition to have all the TLAs indiscriminately
cancelled without the requisite hearing would be violative of the requirements of due process.

Before going any further, We must first focus on some procedural matters. Petitioners instituted Civil Case No. 90-777 as a class suit. The original defendant and the present
respondents did not take issue with this matter. Nevertheless, We hereby rule that the said civil case is indeed a class suit. The subject matter of the complaint is of common
and general interest not just to several, but to all citizens of the Philippines. Consequently, since the parties are so numerous, it, becomes impracticable, if not totally
impossible, to bring all of them before the court. We likewise declare that the plaintiffs therein are numerous and representative enough to ensure the full protection of all
concerned interests. Hence, all the requisites for the filing of a valid class suit under Section 12, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court are present both in the said civil case
and in the instant petition, the latter being but an incident to the former.

This case, however, has a special and novel element. Petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. We find no difficulty in
ruling that they can, for themselves, for others of their generation and for the succeeding generations, file a class suit. Their personality to sue in behalf of the succeeding
generations can only be based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. Such a right, as
hereinafter expounded, considers
the "rhythm and harmony of nature." Nature means the created world in its entirety. 9 Such rhythm and harmony indispensably include, inter alia, the judicious disposition,
utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources to the end that
their exploration, development and utilization be equitably accessible to the present as well as future generations.  10 Needless to say, every generation has a responsibility to
the next to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. Put a little differently, the minors' assertion of their right to a sound
environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come.

The locus standi of the petitioners having thus been addressed, We shall now proceed to the merits of the petition.

After a careful perusal of the complaint in question and a meticulous consideration and evaluation of the issues raised and arguments adduced by the parties, We do not
hesitate to find for the petitioners and rule against the respondent Judge's challenged order for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction. The pertinent portions of the said order reads as follows:

After a careful and circumspect evaluation of the Complaint, the Court cannot help but agree with the defendant. For although we believe that plaintiffs have but the
noblest of all intentions, it (sic) fell short of alleging, with sufficient definiteness, a specific legal right they are seeking to enforce and protect, or a specific legal wrong
they are seeking to prevent and redress (Sec. 1, Rule 2, RRC). Furthermore, the Court notes that the Complaint is replete with vague assumptions and vague
conclusions based on unverified data. In fine, plaintiffs fail to state a cause of action in its Complaint against the herein defendant.

Furthermore, the Court firmly believes that the matter before it, being impressed with political color and involving a matter of public policy, may not be taken cognizance
of by this Court without doing violence to the sacred principle of "Separation of Powers" of the three (3) co-equal branches of the Government.

The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we stretch our jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs,  i.e., to cancel all existing
timber license agreements in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements. For to
do otherwise would amount to "impairment of contracts" abhored (sic) by the fundamental law. 11

We do not agree with the trial court's conclusions that the plaintiffs failed to allege with sufficient definiteness a specific legal right involved or a specific legal wrong committed,
and that the complaint is replete with vague assumptions and conclusions based on unverified data. A reading of the complaint itself belies these conclusions.

The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right — the right to a balanced and healthful ecology which, for the first time in our nation's constitutional history, is
solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law. Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides:

Sec. 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the preceding section of the same article:

Sec. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.

While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that
it is less important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less
than self-preservation and self-perpetuation — aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners — the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and
constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist from the inception of humankind. If they are now
explicitly mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because of the well-founded fear of its framers that unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health are
mandated as state policies by the Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance and imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and
protect and advance the second, the day would not be too far when all else would be lost not only for the present generation, but also for those to come — generations which
stand to inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life.

The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment. During the debates on this right in one of the plenary
sessions of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the following exchange transpired between Commissioner Wilfrido Villacorta and Commissioner Adolfo Azcuna who
sponsored the section in question:

MR. VILLACORTA: Does this section mandate the State to provide sanctions against all forms of pollution — air, water and noise pollution?

MR. AZCUNA: Yes, Madam President. The right to healthful ( sic) environment necessarily carries with it the correlative duty of not impairing the same and, therefore,
sanctions may be provided for impairment of environmental balance. 12

The said right implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation of the country's forests.

Without such forests, the ecological or environmental balance would be irreversiby disrupted.

Conformably with the enunciated right to a balanced and healthful ecology and the right to health, as well as the other related provisions of the Constitution concerning the
conservation, development and utilization of the country's natural resources, 13 then President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated on 10 June 1987 E.O. No. 192,  14 Section 4 of
which expressly mandates that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources "shall be the primary government agency responsible for the conservation,
management, development and proper use of the country's environment and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral, resources, including those in
reservation and watershed areas, and lands of the public domain, as well as the licensing and regulation of all natural resources as may be provided for by law in order to
ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos." Section 3 thereof makes the following statement
of policy:

Sec. 3. Declaration of Policy. — It is hereby declared the policy of the State to ensure the sustainable use, development, management, renewal, and conservation of the
country's forest, mineral, land, off-shore areas and other natural resources, including the protection and enhancement of the quality of the environment, and equitable
access of the different segments of the population to the development and the use of the country's natural resources, not only for the present generation but for future
generations as well. It is also the policy of the state to recognize and apply a true value system including social and environmental cost implications relative to their
utilization, development and conservation of our natural resources.

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This policy declaration is substantially re-stated it Title XIV, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, 15 specifically in Section 1 thereof which reads:

Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. — (1) The State shall ensure, for the benefit of the Filipino people, the full exploration and development as well as the judicious disposition,
utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources, consistent
with the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment and the objective of making the exploration,
development and utilization of such natural resources equitably accessible to the different segments of the present as well as future generations.

(2) The State shall likewise recognize and apply a true value system that takes into account social and environmental cost implications relative to the utilization,
development and conservation of our natural resources.

The above provision stresses "the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment." Section 2 of the same
Title, on the other hand, specifically speaks of the mandate of the DENR; however, it makes particular reference to the fact of the agency's being subject to law and higher
authority. Said section provides:

Sec. 2. Mandate. — (1) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall be primarily responsible for the implementation of the foregoing policy.

(2) It shall, subject to law and higher authority, be in charge of carrying out the State's constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development,
utilization, and conservation of the country's natural resources.

Both E.O. NO. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 have set the objectives which will serve as the bases for policy formulation, and have defined the powers and
functions of the DENR.

It may, however, be recalled that even before the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, specific statutes already paid special attention to the "environmental right" of the present
and future generations. On 6 June 1977, P.D. No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy) and P.D. No. 1152 (Philippine Environment Code) were issued. The former
"declared a continuing policy of the State (a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under which man and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony
with each other, (b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of Filipinos, and (c) to insure the attainment of an environmental
quality that is conducive to a life of dignity and well-being."  16 As its goal, it speaks of the "responsibilities of each generation as trustee and guardian of the environment for
succeeding generations." 17 The latter statute, on the other hand, gave flesh to the said policy.

Thus, the right of the petitioners (and all those they represent) to a balanced and healthful ecology is as clear as the DENR's duty — under its mandate and by virtue of its
powers and functions under E.O. No. 192 and the Administrative Code of 1987 — to protect and advance the said right.

A denial or violation of that right by the other who has the corelative duty or obligation to respect or protect the same gives rise to a cause of action. Petitioners maintain that
the granting of the TLAs, which they claim was done with grave abuse of discretion, violated their right to a balanced and healthful ecology; hence, the full protection thereof
requires that no further TLAs should be renewed or granted.

A cause of action is defined as:

. . . an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights of the other; and its essential elements are legal right of the plaintiff, correlative obligation of the
defendant, and act or omission of the defendant in violation of said legal right. 18

It is settled in this jurisdiction that in a motion to dismiss based on the ground that the complaint fails to state a cause of action, 19 the question submitted to the court for
resolution involves the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the complaint itself. No other matter should be considered; furthermore, the truth of falsity of the said allegations is
beside the point for the truth thereof is deemed hypothetically admitted. The only issue to be resolved in such a case is: admitting such alleged facts to be true, may the court
render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer in the complaint? 20 In Militante vs. Edrosolano, 21 this Court laid down the rule that the judiciary should "exercise the
utmost care and circumspection in passing upon a motion to dismiss on the ground of the absence thereof [cause of action] lest, by its failure to manifest a correct
appreciation of the facts alleged and deemed hypothetically admitted, what the law grants or recognizes is effectively nullified. If that happens, there is a blot on the legal
order. The law itself stands in disrepute."

After careful examination of the petitioners' complaint, We find the statements under the introductory affirmative allegations, as well as the specific averments under the sub-
heading CAUSE OF ACTION, to be adequate enough to show, prima facie, the claimed violation of their rights. On the basis thereof, they may thus be granted, wholly or
partly, the reliefs prayed for. It bears stressing, however, that insofar as the cancellation of the TLAs is concerned, there is the need to implead, as party defendants, the
grantees thereof for they are indispensable parties.

The foregoing considered, Civil Case No. 90-777 be said to raise a political question. Policy formulation or determination by the executive or legislative branches of
Government is not squarely put in issue. What is principally involved is the enforcement of a right  vis-a-vis policies already formulated and expressed in legislation. It must,
nonetheless, be emphasized that the political question doctrine is no longer, the insurmountable obstacle to the exercise of judicial power or the impenetrable shield that
protects executive and legislative actions from judicial inquiry or review. The second paragraph of section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states that:

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

Commenting on this provision in his book, Philippine Political Law, 22 Mr. Justice Isagani A. Cruz, a distinguished member of this Court, says:

The first part of the authority represents the traditional concept of judicial power, involving the settlement of conflicting rights as conferred as law. The second part of the
authority represents a broadening of judicial power to enable the courts of justice to review what was before forbidden territory, to wit, the discretion of the political
departments of the government.

As worded, the new provision vests in the judiciary, and particularly the Supreme Court, the power to rule upon even the wisdom of the decisions of the executive and
the legislature and to declare their acts invalid for lack or excess of jurisdiction because tainted with grave abuse of discretion. The catch, of course, is the meaning of
"grave abuse of discretion," which is a very elastic phrase that can expand or contract according to the disposition of the judiciary.

In Daza vs. Singson, 23 Mr. Justice Cruz, now speaking for this Court, noted:

In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue presented
before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from revolving it under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases,
even the political question. Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution clearly provides: . . .

The last ground invoked by the trial court in dismissing the complaint is the non-impairment of contracts clause found in the Constitution. The court  a quo declared that:

The Court is likewise of the impression that it cannot, no matter how we stretch our jurisdiction, grant the reliefs prayed for by the plaintiffs,  i.e., to cancel all existing
timber license agreements in the country and to cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements. For to
do otherwise would amount to "impairment of contracts" abhored (sic) by the fundamental law. 24

We are not persuaded at all; on the contrary, We are amazed, if not shocked, by such a sweeping pronouncement. In the first place, the respondent Secretary did not, for
obvious reasons, even invoke in his motion to dismiss the non-impairment clause. If he had done so, he would have acted with utmost infidelity to the Government by
providing undue and unwarranted benefits and advantages to the timber license holders because he would have forever bound the Government to strictly respect the said

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licenses according to their terms and conditions regardless of changes in policy and the demands of public interest and welfare. He was aware that as correctly pointed out by
the petitioners, into every timber license must be read Section 20 of the Forestry Reform Code (P.D. No. 705) which provides:

. . . Provided, That when the national interest so requires, the President may amend, modify, replace or rescind any contract, concession, permit, licenses or any other
form of privilege granted herein . . .

Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It is not a contract, property or a property right protested by the due process
clause of the Constitution. In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, 25 this Court held:

. . . A timber license is an instrument by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. A timber
license is not a contract within the purview of the due process clause; it is only a license or privilege, which can be validly withdrawn whenever dictated by public interest
or public welfare as in this case.

A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be unlawful, and is not a contract between the authority, federal, state, or municipal, granting it and
the person to whom it is granted; neither is it property or a property right, nor does it create a vested right; nor is it taxation (37 C.J. 168). Thus, this Court held that the
granting of license does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights

We reiterated this pronouncement in Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co., Inc. vs. Deputy Executive Secretary: 26

. . . Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal instruments by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the
end that public welfare is promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely evidence a privilege granted by the State to qualified entities, and do not vest in the
latter a permanent or irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest products therein. They may be validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded
by the Chief Executive when national interests so require. Thus, they are not deemed contracts within the purview of the due process of law clause [ See Sections 3(ee)
and 20 of Pres. Decree No. 705, as amended. Also, Tan v. Director of Forestry, G.R. No. L-24548, October 27, 1983, 125 SCRA 302].

Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads: Sec. 10. No law impairing, the obligation of contracts shall be passed. 27 cannot be invoked.

In the second place, even if it is to be assumed that the same are contracts, the instant case does not involve a law or even an executive issuance declaring the cancellation
or modification of existing timber licenses. Hence, the non-impairment clause cannot as yet be invoked. Nevertheless, granting further that a law has actually been passed
mandating cancellations or modifications, the same cannot still be stigmatized as a violation of the non-impairment clause. This is because by its very nature and purpose,
such as law could have only been passed in the exercise of the police power of the state for the purpose of advancing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful
ecology, promoting their health and enhancing the general welfare. In Abe vs. Foster Wheeler Corp. 28 this Court stated:

The freedom of contract, under our system of government, is not meant to be absolute. The same is understood to be subject to reasonable legislative regulation aimed at
the promotion of public health, moral, safety and welfare. In other words, the constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of contract is limited by the exercise of
the police power of the State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral and general welfare.

The reason for this is emphatically set forth in Nebia vs. New York, 29 quoted in Philippine American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor General,30 to wit:

Under our form of government the use of property and the making of contracts are normally matters of private and not of public concern. The general rule is that both shall
be free of governmental interference. But neither property rights nor contract rights are absolute; for government cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his property to the
detriment of his fellows, or exercise his freedom of contract to work them harm. Equally fundamental with the private right is that of the public to regulate it in the common
interest.

In short, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state. 31

Finally, it is difficult to imagine, as the trial court did, how the non-impairment clause could apply with respect to the prayer to enjoin the respondent Secretary from receiving,
accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber licenses for, save in cases of renewal, no contract would have as of yet existed in the other instances. Moreover,
with respect to renewal, the holder is not entitled to it as a matter of right.

WHEREFORE, being impressed with merit, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED, and the challenged Order of respondent Judge of 18 July 1991 dismissing Civil Case No.
90-777 is hereby set aside. The petitioners may therefore amend their complaint to implead as defendants the holders or grantees of the questioned timber license
agreements. No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

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[11] G.R. No. 118295 May 2, 1997

WIGBERTO E. TAÑADA and ANNA DOMINIQUE COSETENG, as members of the Philippine Senate and as taxpayers; GREGORIO ANDOLANA and JOKER
ARROYO as members of the House of Representatives and as taxpayers; NICANOR P. PERLAS and HORACIO R. MORALES, both as taxpayers; CIVIL LIBERTIES
UNION, NATIONAL ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM ASSOCIATION, CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES, LIKAS-KAYANG KAUNLARAN
FOUNDATION, INC., PHILIPPINE RURAL RECONSTRUCTION MOVEMENT, DEMOKRATIKONG KILUSAN NG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS, INC., and PHILIPPINE
PEASANT INSTITUTE, in representation of various taxpayers and as non-governmental organizations,  petitioners,
vs. EDGARDO ANGARA, ALBERTO ROMULO, LETICIA RAMOS-SHAHANI, HEHERSON ALVAREZ, AGAPITO AQUINO, RODOLFO BIAZON, NEPTALI GONZALES,
ERNESTO HERRERA, JOSE LINA, GLORIA. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, ORLANDO MERCADO, BLAS OPLE, JOHN OSMEÑA, SANTANINA RASUL, RAMON REVILLA,
RAUL ROCO, FRANCISCO TATAD and FREDDIE WEBB, in their respective capacities as members of the Philippine Senate who concurred in the ratification by
the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization; SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget and
Management; CARIDAD VALDEHUESA, in her capacity as National Treasurer; RIZALINO NAVARRO, in his capacity as Secretary of Trade and Industry; ROBERTO
SEBASTIAN, in his capacity as Secretary of Agriculture; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance; ROBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as
Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade Organization, abetted by the membership thereto of the vast majority of countries has revolutionized international
business and economic relations amongst states. It has irreversibly propelled the world towards trade liberalization and economic globalization. Liberalization, globalization,
deregulation and privatization, the third-millennium buzz words, are ushering in a new borderless world of business by sweeping away as mere historical relics the heretofore
traditional modes of promoting and protecting national economies like tariffs, export subsidies, import quotas, quantitative restrictions, tax exemptions and currency controls.
Finding market niches and becoming the best in specific industries in a market-driven and export-oriented global scenario are replacing age-old "beggar-thy-neighbor" policies
that unilaterally protect weak and inefficient domestic producers of goods and services. In the words of Peter Drucker, the well-known management guru, "Increased
participation in the world economy has become the key to domestic economic growth and prosperity."

Brief Historical Background

To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by the Second World War, plans for the establishment of three multilateral institutions — inspired by that grand
political body, the United Nations — were discussed at Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton Woods. The  first was the World Bank (WB) which was to address the rehabilitation and
reconstruction of war-ravaged and later developing countries; the second, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which was to deal with currency problems; and the third, the
International Trade Organization (ITO), which was to foster order and predictability in world trade and to minimize unilateral protectionist policies that invite challenge, even
retaliation, from other states. However, for a variety of reasons, including its non-ratification by the United States, the ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, never took off. What
remained was only GATT — the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was a collection of treaties governing access to the economies of treaty adherents with no
institutionalized body administering the agreements or dependable system of dispute settlement.

After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations, principally the Kennedy Round, the Tokyo Round and the Uruguay Round, the world finally gave birth to that
administering body — the World Trade Organization — with the signing of the "Final Act" in Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the WTO Agreement by its members. 1

Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined WTO as a founding member with the goal, as articulated by President Fidel V. Ramos in two letters to the Senate
(infra), of improving "Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major trading partners, through the reduction of tariffs on its exports, particularly agricultural and
industrial products." The President also saw in the WTO the opening of "new opportunities for the services sector . . . , (the reduction of) costs and uncertainty associated with
exporting . . . , and (the attraction of) more investments into the country." Although the Chief Executive did not expressly mention it in his letter, the Philippines — and this is of
special interest to the legal profession — will benefit from the WTO system of dispute settlement by judicial adjudication through the independent WTO settlement bodies
called (1) Dispute Settlement Panels and (2) Appellate Tribunal. Heretofore, trade disputes were settled mainly through negotiations where solutions were arrived at frequently
on the basis of relative bargaining strengths, and where naturally, weak and underdeveloped countries were at a disadvantage.

The Petition in Brief

Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines "to place nationals and products of member-countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products" and (2)
that the WTO "intrudes, limits and/or impairs" the constitutional powers of both Congress and the Supreme Court, the instant petition before this Court assails the WTO
Agreement for violating the mandate of the 1987 Constitution to "develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos . . . (to) give
preference to qualified Filipinos (and to) promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods."

Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine participation in worldwide trade liberalization and economic globalization? Does it proscribe Philippine
integration into a global economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized? These are the main questions raised in this petition for  certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court praying (1) for the nullification, on constitutional grounds, of the concurrence of the Philippine Senate in the ratification by
the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement, for brevity) and (2) for the prohibition of its implementation and
enforcement through the release and utilization of public funds, the assignment of public officials and employees, as well as the use of government properties and resources
by respondent-heads of various executive offices concerned therewith. This concurrence is embodied in Senate Resolution No. 97, dated December 14, 1994.

The Facts

On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary of The Department of Trade and Industry (Secretary Navarro, for brevity), representing the Government of
the Republic of the Philippines, signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations (Final Act, for brevity).

By signing the Final Act,2 Secretary Navarro on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, agreed:

(a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities, with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in
accordance with their procedures; and

(b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.

On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received a letter dated August 11, 1994 from the President of the Philippines, 3 stating among others that "the
Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution."

On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received another letter from the President of the Philippines 4 likewise dated August 11, 1994, which stated among
others that "the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding on
Commitments in Financial Services are hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution."

On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified the necessity of the immediate adoption of P.S. 1083, a resolution entitled "Concurring in the Ratification of the
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization." 5

On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution No. 97 which "Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that the Senate concur, as it hereby concurs, in the
ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization." 6 The text of the WTO Agreement is written on pages 137 et seq.
of Volume I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and includes various agreements and associated legal instruments (identified in the said
Agreement as Annexes 1, 2 and 3 thereto and collectively referred to as Multilateral Trade Agreements, for brevity) as follows:

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ANNEX 1

Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreement on Trade in Goods


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994
Agreement on Agriculture
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and
Phytosanitary Measures
Agreement on Textiles and Clothing
Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade
Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures
Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of he
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
1994
Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the
General on Tariffs and Trade 1994
Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection
Agreement on Rules of Origin
Agreement on Imports Licensing Procedures
Agreement on Subsidies and Coordinating
Measures
Agreement on Safeguards

Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in Services and Annexes

Annex 1C: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual


Property Rights

ANNEX 2: Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing


the Settlement of Disputes

ANNEX 3: Trade Policy Review Mechanism

On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines signed 7 the Instrument of Ratification, declaring:

NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, after having seen and considered the aforementioned Agreement
Establishing the World Trade Organization and the agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement
which are integral parts thereof, signed at Marrakesh, Morocco on 15 April 1994, do hereby ratify and confirm the same and every Article and Clause thereof.

To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of the Philippines is composed of the Agreement Proper and "the associated legal instruments included in
Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts thereof."

On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro embodies not only the WTO Agreement (and its integral annexes aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial
Declarations and Decisions and (2) the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13, 1996, 8 the Solicitor General describes these
two latter documents as follows:

The Ministerial Decisions and Declarations are twenty-five declarations and decisions on a wide range of matters, such as measures in favor of least developed
countries, notification procedures, relationship of WTO with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and agreements on technical barriers to trade and on dispute
settlement.

The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services dwell on, among other things, standstill or limitations and qualifications of commitments to existing non-
conforming measures, market access, national treatment, and definitions of non-resident supplier of financial services, commercial presence and new financial service.

On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After careful deliberation on respondents' comment and petitioners' reply thereto, the Court resolved on December 12,
1995, to give due course to the petition, and the parties thereafter filed their respective memoranda. The court also requested the Honorable Lilia R. Bautista, the Philippine
Ambassador to the United Nations stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, to submit a paper, hereafter referred to as "Bautista Paper," 9 for brevity, (1) providing a historical
background of and (2) summarizing the said agreements.

During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court directed:

(a) the petitioners to submit the (1) Senate Committee Report on the matter in controversy and (2) the transcript of proceedings/hearings in the Senate; and

(b) the Solicitor General, as counsel for respondents, to file (1) a list of Philippine treaties signed prior to the Philippine adherence to the WTO Agreement, which derogate
from Philippine sovereignty and (2) copies of the multi-volume WTO Agreement and other documents mentioned in the Final Act, as soon as possible.

After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would consider the case submitted for resolution. In a Compliance dated September 16, 1996, the Solicitor General
submitted a printed copy of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, and in another Compliance dated October 24, 1996, he listed the various
"bilateral or multilateral treaties or international instruments involving derogation of Philippine sovereignty." Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their Compliance dated
January 28, 1997, on January 30, 1997.

The Issues

In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners summarized the issues as follows:

A. Whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable.

B. Whether the petitioner members of the Senate who participated in the deliberations and voting leading to the concurrence are estopped from impugning the validity of
the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization or of the validity of the concurrence.

C. Whether the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization contravene the provisions of Sec. 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, all
of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

D. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization unduly limit, restrict and impair Philippine sovereignty specifically the legislative power
which, under Sec. 2, Article VI, 1987 Philippine Constitution is "vested in the Congress of the Philippines";

E. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization interfere with the exercise of judicial power.

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F. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when they voted for concurrence in the
ratification of the constitutionally-infirm Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization.

G. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when they concurred only in the
ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, and not with the Presidential submission which included the Final Act, Ministerial Declaration and
Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.

On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for respondents "synthesized the several issues raised by petitioners into the following": 10

1. Whether or not the provisions of the "Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the Agreements and Associated Legal Instruments included in Annexes
one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that agreement" cited by petitioners directly contravene or undermine the letter, spirit and intent of Section 19, Article II and Sections 10
and 12, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.

2. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement unduly limit, restrict or impair the exercise of legislative power by Congress.

3. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement impair the exercise of judicial power by this Honorable Court in promulgating the rules of evidence.

4. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate "in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization" implied
rejection of the treaty embodied in the Final Act.

By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven presented by petitioners, the Solicitor General has effectively ignored three, namely: (1) whether the petition
presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable; (2) whether petitioner-members of the Senate (Wigberto E. Tañada and Anna Dominique Coseteng) are estopped
from joining this suit; and (3) whether the respondent-members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the WTO
Agreement. The foregoing notwithstanding, this Court resolved to deal with these three issues thus:

(1) The "political question" issue — being very fundamental and vital, and being a matter that probes into the very jurisdiction of this Court to hear and decide this case — was
deliberated upon by the Court and will thus be ruled upon as the first issue;

(2) The matter of estoppel will not be taken up because this defense is waivable and the respondents have effectively waived it by not pursuing it in any of their pleadings; in
any event, this issue, even if ruled in respondents' favor, will not cause the petition's dismissal as there are petitioners other than the two senators, who are not vulnerable to
the defense of estoppel; and

(3) The issue of alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent senators will be taken up as an integral part of the disposition of the four issues raised by the
Solicitor General.

During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the respondents did not question the  locus standi of petitioners. Hence, they are also deemed to have waived the
benefit of such issue. They probably realized that grave constitutional issues, expenditures of public funds and serious international commitments of the nation are involved
here, and that transcendental public interest requires that the substantive issues be met head on and decided on the merits, rather than skirted or deflected by procedural
matters. 11

To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are:

(1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY? OTHERWISE STATED, DOES THE PETITION INVOLVE A POLITICAL QUESTION OVER
WHICH THIS COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION?

(2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS THREE ANNEXES CONTRAVENE SEC. 19, ARTICLE II, AND SECS. 10 AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF
THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?

(3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES LIMIT, RESTRICT, OR IMPAIR THE EXERCISE OF LEGISLATIVE POWER BY CONGRESS?

(4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR INTERFERE WITH THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL POWER BY THIS COURT IN PROMULGATING RULES ON
EVIDENCE?

(5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE IN THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES SUFFICIENT AND/OR VALID, CONSIDERING THAT IT DID NOT
INCLUDE THE FINAL ACT, MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND DECISIONS, AND THE UNDERSTANDING ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES?

The First Issue: Does the Court Have Jurisdiction Over the Controversy?

In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of
the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. "The question
thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld."  12 Once a "controversy as to the
application or interpretation of a constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional
mandate to decide." 13

The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters 14 raised in the petition is clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution, 15 as follows:

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.

The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial department's duty and power to strike down grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government
including Congress. It is an innovation in our political law. 16 As explained by former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, 17 "the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question of
whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion
amounting to excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature."

As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases, 18 it will not shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution in
matters that involve grave abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases, committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the government.

As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, we have no hesitation at all in
holding that this petition should be given due course and the vital questions raised therein ruled upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed,  certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we
have no equivocation.

We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this petition, this Court will not review the  wisdom of the decision of the President and the Senate in enlisting the
country into the WTO, or pass upon the merits of trade liberalization as a policy espoused by said international body. Neither will it rule on the propriety of the government's
economic policy of reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies, quantitative restrictions, and other import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only exercise its constitutional duty "to

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determine whether or not there had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in ratifying the WTO Agreement and
its three annexes.

Second Issue: The WTO Agreement and Economic Nationalism

This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition.

Petitioners vigorously argue that the "letter, spirit and intent" of the Constitution mandating "economic nationalism" are violated by the so-called "parity provisions" and
"national treatment" clauses scattered in various parts not only of the WTO Agreement and its annexes but also in the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations and in the
Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services.

Specifically, the "flagship" constitutional provisions referred to are Sec 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, of the Constitution, which are worded as follows:

Article II- DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES


AND STATE POLICIES

Sec. 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.

Article XII- NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY

Sec. 10. . . . The Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos.

In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos.

Sec. 12. The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt measures that help make them
competitive.

Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are desecrated by the following WTO provisions quoted in their memorandum:  19

a) In the area of investment measures related to trade in goods (TRIMS, for brevity):

Article 2 National Treatment and Quantitative Restrictions.

1. Without prejudice to other rights and obligations under GATT 1994, no Member shall apply any TRIM that is inconsistent with the provisions of Article II or Article XI
of GATT 1994.

2. An illustrative list of TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in paragraph I of Article XI of
GATT 1994 is contained in the Annex to this Agreement." (Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p. 22121,
emphasis supplied).

The Annex referred to reads as follows:

ANNEX: Illustrative List

1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation of national treatment provided for in paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or
enforceable under domestic law or under administrative rulings, or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which require:

(a) the purchase or use by an enterprise of products of domestic origin or from any domestic source, whether specified in terms of particular products, in terms of
volume or value of products, or in terms of proportion of volume or value of its local production; or

(b) that an enterprise's purchases or use of imported products be limited to an amount related to the volume or value of local products that it exports.

2. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in paragraph 1 of Article XI of GATT 1994 include those
which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic laws or under administrative rulings, or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which restrict:

(a) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to the local production that it exports;

(b) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to its local production by restricting its access to foreign exchange inflows attributable to the
enterprise; or

(c) the exportation or sale for export specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of a preparation of volume or
value of its local production

The paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 referred to is quoted as follows:

The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the territory of any other contracting party  shall be accorded treatment no less favorable than
that accorded to like products of national origin in respect of laws, regulations and requirements affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase,
transportation, distribution or use, the provisions of this paragraph shall not prevent the application of differential internal transportation charges which are based
exclusively on the economic operation of the means of transport and not on the nationality of the product." (Article III, GATT 1947, as amended by the Protocol
Modifying Part II, and Article XXVI of GATT, 14 September 1948, 62 UMTS 82-84 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
1994, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments p. 177, emphasis supplied).

(b) In the area of trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS, for brevity):

Each Member shall accord to the nationals of other Members treatment no less favourable than that it accords to its own nationals  with regard to the protection of
intellectual property. . . (par. 1 Article 3, Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property rights, Vol. 31, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p. 25432

(c) In the area of the General Agreement on Trade in Services:

National Treatment

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1. In the sectors inscribed in its schedule, and subject to any conditions and qualifications set out therein, each Member shall accord to services and service
suppliers of any other Member, in respect of all measures affecting the supply of services, treatment no less favourable than it accords to its own like services and
service suppliers.

2. A Member may meet the requirement of paragraph I by according to services and service suppliers of any other Member, either formally suppliers of any other
Member, either formally identical treatment or formally different treatment to that it accords to its own like services and service suppliers.

3. Formally identical or formally different treatment shall be considered to be less favourable if it modifies the conditions of completion in favour of services or
service suppliers of the Member compared to like services or service suppliers of any other Member. (Article XVII, General Agreement on Trade in Services, Vol.
28, Uruguay Round Legal Instruments, p. 22610 emphasis supplied).

It is petitioners' position that the foregoing "national treatment" and "parity provisions" of the WTO Agreement "place nationals and products of member countries on the same
footing as Filipinos and local products," in contravention of the "Filipino First" policy of the Constitution. They allegedly render meaningless the phrase "effectively controlled by
Filipinos." The constitutional conflict becomes more manifest when viewed in the context of the clear duty imposed on the Philippines as a WTO member to ensure the
conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed agreements.  20 Petitioners further argue that these provisions
contravene constitutional limitations on the role exports play in national development and negate the preferential treatment accorded to Filipino labor, domestic materials and
locally produced goods.

On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General counter (1) that such Charter provisions are not self-executing and merely set out general policies; (2) that these
nationalistic portions of the Constitution invoked by petitioners should not be read in isolation but should be related to other relevant provisions of Art. XII, particularly Secs. 1
and 13 thereof; (3) that read properly, the cited WTO clauses do not conflict with Constitution; and (4) that the WTO Agreement contains sufficient provisions to protect
developing countries like the Philippines from the harshness of sudden trade liberalization.

We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments.

Declaration of Principles Not Self-Executing

By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a "declaration of principles and state policies." The counterpart of this article in the 1935 Constitution  21 is called the "basic
political creed of the nation" by Dean Vicente Sinco. 22 These principles in Article II are not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement through the
courts. 23 They are used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of its power of judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. As held in the
leading case of Kilosbayan, Incorporated vs. Morato, 24 the principles and state policies enumerated in Article II and some sections of Article XII are not "self-executing
provisions, the disregard of which can give rise to a cause of action in the courts. They do not embody judicially enforceable constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation."

In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor 25 that broad constitutional principles need legislative enactments to implement the, thus:

On petitioners' allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 (Personal Dignity) 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II; Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII
and Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also that these are merely statements of principles and policies. As such, they
are basically not self-executing, meaning a law should be passed by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principles.

In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement through the courts. They were rather directives
addressed to the executive and to the legislature. If the executive and the legislature failed to heed the directives of the article, the available remedy was not judicial
but political. The electorate could express their displeasure with the failure of the executive and the legislature through the language of the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p.
2).

The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement of board constitutional principles are sourced from basic considerations of due process and the lack of
judicial authority to wade "into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy making." Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his concurring opinion in  Oposa vs. Factoran,
Jr., 26 explained these reasons as follows:

My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more specific legal right — a right cast in language of a significantly lower order of generality
than Article II (15) of the Constitution — that is or may be violated by the actions, or failures to act, imputed to the public respondent by petitioners so that the trial court
can validly render judgment grating all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind, the court should be understood as simply saying that such a more specific legal right
or rights may well exist in our corpus of law, considering the general policy principles found in the Constitution and the existence of the Philippine Environment Code,
and that the trial court should have given petitioners an effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the proceedings on a motion to dismiss.

It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential component of a cause of action be a specific, operable legal right, rather than a constitutional or
statutory policy, for at least two (2) reasons. One is that unless the legal right claimed to have been violated or disregarded is given specification in operational terms,
defendants may well be unable to defend themselves intelligently and effectively; in other words, there are due process dimensions to this matter.

The second is a broader-gauge consideration — where a specific violation of law or applicable regulation is not alleged or proved, petitioners can be expected to fall
back on the expanded conception of judicial power in the second paragraph of Section 1 of Article VIII of the Constitution which reads:

Sec. 1. . . .

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
(Emphasis supplied)

When substantive standards as general as "the right to a balanced and healthy ecology" and "the right to health" are combined with remedial standards as broad ranging
as "a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction," the result will be, it is respectfully submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of
social and economic policy making. At least in respect of the vast area of environmental protection and management, our courts have no claim to special technical
competence and experience and professional qualification. Where no specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the policy making departments —
the legislative and executive departments — must be given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to implement
them before the courts should intervene.

Economic Nationalism Should Be Read with Other Constitutional Mandates to Attain Balanced Development of Economy

On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from merely laying down general principles relating to the national economy and patrimony, should be read and
understood in relation to the other sections in said article, especially Secs. 1 and 13 thereof which read:

Sec. 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services
produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the underprivileged.

The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient
use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair
foreign competition and trade practices.

In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. . . .

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Sec. 13. The State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity.

As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down the basic goals of national economic development, as follows:

1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth;

2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services provided by the nation for the benefit of the people; and

3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the underprivileged.

With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the ideals of economic nationalism (1) by expressing preference in favor of qualified Filipinos "in the grant of rights,
privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony"  27 and in the use of "Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally-produced goods"; (2) by
mandating the State to "adopt measures that help make them competitive;  28 and (3) by requiring the State to "develop a self-reliant and independent national economy
effectively controlled by Filipinos." 29 In similar language, the Constitution takes into account the realities of the outside world as it requires the pursuit of "a trade policy that
serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality ad reciprocity";  30 and speaks of industries "which are competitive in
both domestic and foreign markets" as well as of the protection of "Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices."

It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service Insurance System, et al., 31 this Court held that "Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987
Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rule for its enforcement. From its very
words the provision does not require any legislation to put it in operation. It is per se judicially enforceable." However, as the constitutional provision itself states, it is
enforceable only in regard to "the grants of rights, privileges and concessions covering national economy and patrimony" and not to every aspect of trade and commerce. It
refers to exceptions rather than the rule. The issue here is not whether this paragraph of Sec. 10 of Art. XII is self-executing or not. Rather, the issue is whether, as a rule,
there are enough balancing provisions in the Constitution to allow the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the WTO Agreement. And we hold that there are.

All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of Filipino goods, services, labor and enterprises, at the same time, it recognizes the need for business
exchange with the rest of the world on the bases of equality and reciprocity and limits protection of Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition and trade practices that
are unfair. 32 In other words, the Constitution did not intend to pursue an isolationist policy. It did not shut out foreign investments, goods and services in the development of
the Philippine economy. While the Constitution does not encourage the unlimited entry of foreign goods, services and investments into the country, it does not prohibit them
either. In fact, it allows an exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity, frowning only on foreign competition that is unfair.

WTO Recognizes Need to Protect Weak Economies

Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself has some built-in advantages to protect weak and developing economies, which comprise the vast majority of
its members. Unlike in the UN where major states have permanent seats and veto powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made on the basis of sovereign
equality, with each member's vote equal in weight to t