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AteneoStudentJudicialCourt

AteneodeManilaUniversityLoyolaSchools
BarangayLoyolaHeights,QuezonCity

CaseNo.142,

CHIEF MAGISTRATE LORENZ


PEPITO, MAGISTRATES
DANIELLE JOANNA GAITE,
MAGDALENA MARIE PINEDA,
ALDWINSEGISMUNDO
CRISTINE MARIE VILLARUEL,
PAOLOJAMESSTA.ISABEL

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MOTIONFORRECONSIDERATION

FACTUALANTECEDENTS

The general elections conducted last February 1219, 2014 resulted in 28 vacant seats
out of the Top 44 Sanggunian officers, including the President, VicePresident, Finance Officer,
SecretaryGeneral and three Chairpersons. On June 29, 2014 the Chair of the John Gokongwei
School of Management, Maria Alexandra D. Tanjangco, filed a petition for declaratory relief
requesting the Student Judicial Court (SJC) to clarify Article XV, Section 4 of the 2005
Undergraduate Constitution of the Loyola Schools. The petitioner outlined three possible
interpretations of the provision involving the presidential and chairperson vacancies in the
Sanggunian. On July 6, the Court filed a declaratory relief, which allows the election of the
president and chairpersons ahead of the general elections , subject to the discretion of the
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CommissiononElections(COMELEC).
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DeclaratoryRelief07062014

DISCUSSION

ProprietyofDeclaratoryRelief

First, the petitioners wish to submit that the petition for a declaratory relief by Ms.
Tanjangco on the constitutionality of a special presidential and chairpersons elections was an
improper recourse in law. No less than the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines
definesandexplainsthefunctionofadeclaratoryreliefinVelardev.SocialJusticeSociety:
Based on the foregoing, an action for declaratory relief should be filed by a person
interested under a deed, a will, a contract or other written instrument, and whose rights are affected
by a statute, an executive order, a regulation or an ordinance. The purpose of the remedy is to
interpret or to determine the validity of the written instrument and to seek a judicial declaration of the
parties rights or duties thereunder. The essential requisites of the action are as follows: (1) there is
a justiciable controversy (2) the controversy is between persons whose interests are adverse (3)
the party seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy and (4) the issue is ripe for
judicialdetermination.

The petitioner for a declaratory relief failed to declare that any of her legal rights were affected or
violated by any party and failed to specify the action or actions in breach of her rights. Ms.
Tanjangco sought a judicial interpretation of the Constitution, which is vastly different from her
seeking a judicial judgment on her rights or duties. Moreover, Ms. Tanjangco failed to note the
existence of any controversy or dispute involving her. Petitioning for the court to revisit the
constitution provisions regarding the special elections and appealing to the court to review
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TanjangcoPetitionforDeclaratoryRelief
these interpretations and choose the one that will be most beneficial for the LS community
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does not invoke any issue of conflict of rights or interests involving her, the LS community, or a
third party. The Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines defines a justiciable
controversy as an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for judicial
determination, not one that is conjectural or merely anticipatory . Hence, the petition for a
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declaratory relief fails to meet the first three essential requisites no justiciable controversy
existed between persons whose interests are adverse, nor did Ms. Tanjangco specify her legal
interestinthecontroversy.

The Supreme Court rules in Velarde v. Social Justice Society that a decision that does
not conform to the form and substance required by the Constitution and the law is void and
deemed legally inexistent. To be valid, decisions should comply with the form, the procedure and
the substantive requirements laid out in the Constitution, the Rules of Court and relevant
circulars/orders of the Supreme Court. Ms. Tanjangcos petition fails to conform to the form
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and substance required by the law through failing to meet the abovementioned essential
requisites toward the filing of a declaratory relief, namely: (1) there is a justiciable controversy
(2) the controversy is between persons whose interests are adverse (3) the party seeking the
relief has a legal interest in the controversy. Ms. Tanjangco, given the facts declared in her
petition, clearly utilized an improper legal remedy to the judicial interpretation she was seeking.
Therefore, the declaratory judgment passed by the SJC in response to Ms. Tanjangcos petition
mustbedisregarded.

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TanjangcoPetitionforDeclaratoryRelief
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BoardofOptemetryv.Colet,supra.
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Velardev.SocialJusticeSociety
ConstitutionalInterpretation

Second, the petitioners wish to submit that Article XV, Section 4, subparagraph (a) of the
Constitution can not be subject to judicial interpretation. In Bolos v. Bolos, the Supreme Court
shedlightontheplainmeaningrule:
A cardinal rule in statutory construction is that when the law is clear and free from any
doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or interpretation. There is only room for
application. As the statute is clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal
meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. This is what is known as the plainmeaning
rule or verba legis. It is expressed in the maxim, index animi sermo, or "speech is the index of
intention." Furthermore, there is the maxim verba legis non est recedendum, or "from the words of a
statutethereshouldbenodeparture.

The petitioners submit that the constitutional provision on holding special elections for vacancies
with the exception of the positions of the Sanggunian President and School Board
Chairpersons is likewise held subject to the plainmeaning rule. The exception stated in the
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provision represents that the positions of president and chairpersons must be exempt from any
elections beyond the general election a clear exception to the rule of how the electoral body
responds to vacancies in the Sanggunian. This explicit exemption in the Constitution shall hold
regardless of time, date, or circumstance of the special elections. Therefore, the provision, free
from any doubt or ambiguity, must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted
interpretation.
According to the decision of the SJC regarding the petition for declaratory relief, Art. XV,
Sec. 4(a) of the Constitution does indeed mean that the positions of president and chairperson
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ArticleXV,Section4,subparagraph(a)ofthe2005UndergraduateConstitutionoftheLoyolaSchools
cannot really be elected during a special election simultaneous with the freshman elections. In
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addition, the Court argues that for the third interpretation, the Court partially agrees with the
petitioner that the president and chairperson, although prohibited from being elected during a
special election simultaneous with the freshman elections, may be elected at another election
set at a different date. The Court further declares that the Constitution does not explicitly
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institutespecialelectionsasalwayssimultaneouswithfreshmanelections.
The interpretation provided by this Court fails beyond any reasonable logic by arguing on
the absence of an explicit, total ban of special elections for presidents and chairpersons in the
event of a failure of the general election. Even assuming the absence of an explicit, total ban,
theCourtfailstoprovethelegalityofandrationalebehinditsdeclaratoryjudgment.
Arguing on the basis of time and date is far from applicable in permitting the holding of a
special elections for the president and chairpersons before the freshman elections. The Court
provides no reasonable argumentation in defense of the logic that a special elections for those
positions may not be held on the same day as the freshman elections, but can somehow occur
on another day. The Constitution clearly does not stipulate any issue of timing in its provisions on
vacancies.

Furthermore, the petitioners cite an annotated version of the Constitution by the SJC to
highlight that the provisions interpretation as provided by the plainmeaning rule would be its
most reasonable and logical interpretation. The following annotation provides justification toward
the validity and sufficiency of the existing constitutional provision on vacancies that exempts
specialelectionsforthepresidentandchairpersons:
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DeclaratoryRelief07062014
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DeclaratoryRelief07062014
Given the difficulty and impractically of holding special elections after the freshman
elections,theCommissionhasdeemedthevacancyprovisionsabovetobemorepragmatic.
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An additional annotation further clarifies that the Constitution, indeed, leaves open the possibility
oftheSanggunianwithoutapresident:
Though there is a real, albeit remote, chance that the Sanggunian might be left with no one
to succeed the presidency, the risk would not be as great given the short Sanggunian term (less
thanayear,ascomparedtothePhilippinePresidentstermof6years)
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Lastly, the petitioners wish to point out a contradiction in the Courts rejection of Ms.
Tanjangcos second interpretation but partial agreement with her third. In rejecting her second
interpretation (that the positions of president and chairperson are not really required to but can be
elected in a special election simultaneous with the freshman elections) for lack of merit, the
Court sees no reason why said positions will not be required to be part of a special election
simultaneous with the freshman elections if said positions were left vacant after an immediately
prior general election. Yet, for the third interpretation, the Court partially agrees with the
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petitioner that the president and chairperson, although prohibited from being elected during a
special election simultaneous with the freshman elections, may be elected at another election
set at a different date. The petitioners wish to submit that holding another election set at a
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different date, subject to the Commission on Elections discretionary powers, would in effect be
an optional, nonrequired election. The Courts rationale for rejecting the second interpretation
mustalsoholdapplicabletothisinstance.
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SJCAnnotatedSanggunianConstitution2005
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SJCAnnotatedSanggunianConstitution2005
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DeclaratoryRelief07062014
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DeclaratoryRelief07062014

RELIEF
WHEREFORE, with the above submissions, petitioners herein respectfully request the
Court to reconsider its Declaratory Judgment. Petitioners further pray for such other relief as
maybejustandequitableunderthepremises.

QuezonCity,08July2014

Respectfullysubmittedby:

(sgd)
AbelardoG.Hernandez
Premier,ChristianUnionforSocialistandDemocraticAdvancement(CRUSADA)

(sgd)
AndreMikoB.Alazas
SolicitorGeneral,ChristianUnionforSocialistandDemocraticAdvancement(CRUSADA)
LeadCounselforPetitioner