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P.J.G.

INTRODUCTION TO CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 2

THE NATURE O F THE C ONSTITUTION AND ITS R ELATION WITH T HE COURTS

F RANCISCO V S . HOUSE O F REPRESENTATIVES

[415 SCRA 44; G.R. No. 160261; 10 Nov 2003]

Facts:

Impeachment proceedings were filed against Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide. The justiciable controversy poised in front of the Court was the constitutionality of the subsequent filing of a second complaint to controvert the rules of impeachment provided for by law.

Issue:

Whether or Not 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.

Held:

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 it s 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.

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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. 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." Both are integral components of the calibrated system of independence and interdependence that insures that no branch of governme nt act beyond the powers assigned to it by the Constitution.

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 inva lid, 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 lawf ully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of. In fine, when the proceeding involves the assertion of a public right, 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 inva lid or unconstitutional law. 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 que stioned statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to all members of the public.

At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained. 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.

As for a legislator , he is allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which he claims inf ringes his prerogatives as a legislator. 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

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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.

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."

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 init iated, another impeachment complaint may not be filed against the same official within a one year period.

The 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.

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 highprofile kind in the annals of jurisprudence. The Chief Justic e 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.

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Thus, 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 is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.

M ANILA P RINCE HOTEL V S . GSIS

[267 SCRA 408; G.R. No. 122156; 3 Feb 1997]

Facts:

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 Manila Hotel Corporation. 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.

Pending the declaration of Renong Berhad as the winning bidder/strategic partner and the execution of the necessary contracts, matched the bid price of P44.00 per share tendered by Renong Berhad.

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.

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 Filip inos 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 governmentowned and controlled corporation, the hotel business

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of respondent GSIS being a part of the tourism industry is unquestionably a part of the national economy.

Issue:

Whether or Not the sale of Manila Hotel to Renong Berhad is violative of the Constitutional provision of Filipino First policy and is therefore null and void.

Held:

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. The Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a significant role as an authentic repository of twentieth century Philippine history and culture. 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. It was thus ordered that GSIS accepts the mat ching 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.

PEOPLE V S . P OMAR

[46 Phil 126; G.R. No. L 22008; 3 Nov 1924]

Facts:

Macaria Fajardo was an employee of La Flor de la Isabela, a Tobacco factory. She was granted a vacation leave, by reason of her pregnancy, which commenced on the 16 th of July 1923. According to Fajardo, during that time, she was not given the salary due her in violation of the provisions of Act No. 3071. Fajardo filed a criminal complaint based on Section 13 and 15 of said Act against the manager of the tobacco Factory, Julio Pomar, herein defendant. Th e latter, on the other hand, claims that the facts in the complaint did not constitute an offense and further alleges that the aforementioned provisions of Act No. 3071 was unconstitutional. Section 13, Act No. 3071 provides that, “Every person, firm or corporation owning or managing a factory, shop or place of labo r of any description shall be obliged to grant to any woman employed by it as laborer who may be pregnant, thirty days vacation with pay before and another thirty days after

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confinement: Provided, That the employer shall not discharge such laborer without just cause, under the penalty of being required to pay to her wages equivalent to the total of two months counting from the day of her discharge.” Section 15 of the same Act provides for the penalty of any violation of section 13. The latter was enacted by the legislature in the exercise of its supposed Police Power with the purpose of safeguarding the health of pregnant women laborers in "factory, shop or place of labor of any description," and of insuring to them, to a certain extent, reasonable support for one month bef ore and one month after their delivery. The trial court rendered a decision in favor of plaintiff, sentencing the defendant to pay the fine of fifty pesos and in case of insolvency, to suffer subsidiary imprisonment. Hence, the case was raised to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the former decision.

Issue:

Whether or not Section 13 of Act No. 3071 is unconstitutional.

Whether or not the promulgation of the questioned provision was a valid exercise of Police Power.

Held:

The Supreme Court declared Section 13 of Act No. 3071 to be unconstitutional for being violative or restrictive of the right of the people to freely enter into contracts for their affairs. It has been decided several times, that the right to contract about one's affairs is a part of the liberty of the individual, protected by the "due process of law" clause of the constitution. The contracting parties may establish any agreements, terms, and conditions they may deem advisable, provided they are not contrary to law, morals or public policy

The police power of the state is a very broad and expanding power. The police power may encompass every law for the restraint and punishment of crimes, for the preservation of the public peace, health, and morals. But that power cannot grow faster than the fundamental law of the state, nor transcend or violate the express inhibition of the constitution. The Police Power is subject to and is controlled by the paramount authority of the constitution of the state, and will not be permitted to violate rights secured or guaranteed by the latter.

LAMBINO V S . COMELEC

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[G.R. No. 174153; 25 Oct 2006]

Facts:

Petitioners (Lambino group) commenced gathering signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987 constitution, they filed a petition with the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite that will ratify their initiative petition under RA 6735. Lambino group alleged that the petition had the support of 6M individuals f ulfilling what was provided by art 17 of the constitution. Their petition changes the 1987 constitution by modifying sections 1 7 of Art 6 and sections 14 of Art 7 and by adding Art 18. the proposed changes will shift the present bicameral presidential form of government to unicamera lparliamentary. COMELEC denied the petition due to lack of enabling law governing initiative petitions and invoked the Santiago Vs. Comelec ruling that RA 6735 is inadequate to implement the initiative petitions.

Issue:

Whether or Not 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.

Whether or Not 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.

Whether or Not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in de nying due course to the Lambino Group’s petition.

Held:

According to the SC the Lambino group failed to comply with the basic requirements for conducting a people’s initiative. The Court held that the COMELEC did not grave abuse of discretion on dismissing the Lambino petition.

1. The Init iative Petition Does Not Comply with Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on Direct Proposal by the People The petitioners failed to show the court that the initiative signer must be informed at the time of the signing of the nature and effect, failure to do so is “deceptive and misleading ” which renders the initiative void.

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2. The Initiative Violates Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution Disallowing Revision through Initiatives The framers of the constitution intended a clear distinction between “amendment” and “revision, it is intended that the third mode of stated in sec 2 art 17 of the constitution may propose only amendments to the constitution. Merging of the legislative and the executive is a radical change, therefore a constitutes a revision.

3. A Revisit of Santiago v. COMELEC is Not Necessary Even assuming that RA 6735 is valid, it will not change the result because the present petition violated Sec 2 Art 17 to be a valid initiative, must first comply with the constitution before complying with RA 6735

Petition is dismissed.

SANTIAGO V S . COMELEC [270 SCRA 106; G.R. No.127325; 19 Mar 1997]

Facts:

Private respondent Atty. Jesus Delfin, president of People’s Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and Action (PIRMA), filed with COMELEC a petition to amend the constitution to lift the term limits of elective officials, through People’s Initiative. He based this petition on Article XVII, Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides for the right of the people to exercise the power to directly propose amendments to the Constitution. Subsequently the COMELEC issued an order directing the publication of the petition and of the notice of hearing and thereafter set the case for hearing. At the hearing, Senator Roco, the IBP, Demokrasya Ipagtanggol ang Konstitusyon, Public Interest Law Center, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino appeared as intervenorsoppositors. Senator Roco filed a motion to dismiss the Delfin petition on the ground that one which is cognizable by the COMELEC. The petitioners herein Senator Santiago, Alexander Padilla, and Isabel Ongpin filed this civil action for prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court against COMELEC and the Delfin petition rising the several arguments, such as the following: (1) The constitutional provision on people’s initiative to amend the constitution can only be implemented by law to be pass ed by Congress. No such law has been passed; (2) The people’s initiative is limited to amendments to the Constitution, not to revision thereof. Lifting of the term limits constitutes a revision,

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therefore it is outside the power of people’s initiative. The Supreme Court granted the Motions for Intervention.

Issue:

Whether or not Sec. 2, Art. XVII of the 1987 Constitution is a self executing provision.

Whether or not COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 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.

Whether the lifting of term limits of elective officials would constitute a revision or an amendment of the Constitution.

Held:

Sec. 2, Art XVII of the Constitution is not self executory, thus, without im plementing legislation the same cannot operate. Although the Constitution has recognized or granted the right, the people cannot exercise it if Congress does not provide for its implementation.

The portion of COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 which prescribes rules and regulations on the conduct of initiative on amendments to the Constitution, is vo id. It has been an established rule that what has been delegated, cannot be delegated (potestas delegata non delegari potest). The delegation of the power to the COMELEC being invalid, the latter cannot validly promulgate rules and regulations to implement the exercise of the right to people’s initiative.

The lifting of the term limits was held to be that of a revision, as it would affect other provisions of the Constitution such as the synchronization of elections, the constitutional guarantee of equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibiting political dynasties. A revision cannot be done by initiative. However, considering the Court’s decision in the above Issue, the issue of whether or not the petition is a revision or amendment has become academic.

GONZALES VS . COMELEC [21 SCRA 774; G.R. No. L 28196; 9 Nov 1967]

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Facts:

The case is an original action for prohibition, with preliminary injunction.

The main facts are not disputed. On March 16, 1967, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the following resolutions:

1. R. B. H. (Resolution of Both Houses) No. 1, proposing that Section 5, Article VI, of the

Constitution of the Philippines, be amended so as to increase the membership of the House of Representatives from a maximum of 120, as provided in the present Constitution, to a maximum of 180, to be apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be according to the number of their respective inhabitants, although each province shall have, at least, one (1) member;

2. R. B. H. No. 2, calling a convention to propose amendments to said Constitution, the

convention to be composed of two (2) elective delegates from each representative district, to be "elected in the general elections to be held on the second Tuesday of

November, 1971;" and

3. R. B. H. No. 3, proposing that Section 16, Article VI, of the same Constitution, be

amended so as to authorize Senators and members of the House of Representatives to become delegates to the aforementioned constitutional convention, without forfeiting

their respective seats in Congress.

Subsequently, Congress passed a bill, which, upon approval by the President, on June 17, 1967, became Republic Act No. 4913, providing that the amendments to the Constitution proposed in the aforementioned Resolutions No. 1 and 3 be submitted, for approval by the people, at the general elections which shall be held on November 14,

1967.

Issue:

Whether or Not a Resolution of Congress, acting as a constituent assembly, violates the Constitution.

Held:

Inasmuch as there are less than eight (8) votes in favor of declaring Republic Act 4913 and R. B. H. Nos. 1 and 3 un constitutional and invalid, the petitions in these two (2)

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cases must be, as they are hereby, dismiss and the writs therein prayed for denied, without special pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.

As a consequence, the title of a de facto officer cannot be assailed collaterally. It may not be contested except directly, by quo warranto proceedings. Neither may the validity of his acts be questioned upon the ground that he is merely a de facto officer. And the reasons are obvious: (1) it would be an indirect inquiry into the title to the office; and (2) the acts of a de facto officer, if within the competence of his office, are valid, insofar as the public is concer ned.

"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."

Article XV of the Constitution provides:

The Co ngress in joint session assembled, by a vote of threefourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately, may propose amendments to this Constitution or call a contention for that purpose. Such amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification.

From our viewpoint, the provisions of Article XV of the Constitution are satisfied so long as the electorate knows that R. B. H. No. 3 permits Congressmen to retain their seats as legislators, even if they should run for and assume the functions of delegates to the Convention.

SANIDAD V S . COMELEC [78 SCRA 333; G.R. No. 90878; 29 Jan 1990]

Facts:

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This is a petition for certiorari assailing the constitutionality of Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 on the ground that it violates the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the press. On October 23, 1989, Republic Act No. 6766, entitled "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR AN ORGANIC ACT FOR THE CORDILLERA AUTONOMOUS REGION" was enacted into law. Pursuant to said law, the City of Baguio and the Cordilleras which consist of the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Abra and Kalinga Apayao, all comprising the Cordillera Autonomous Region, shall take part in a plebiscite for the ratification of said Organic Act originally sche duled last December 27, 1989 which was, however, reset to January 30, 1990 by virtue of Comelec Resolution No. 2226 dated December 27, 1989. The Commission on Elections, by virtue of the power vested by the 1987 Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code (BP 881), said R.A. 6766 and other pert inent election laws, promulgated Resolution No. 2167, to govern the conduct of the plebiscite on the said Organic Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region. In a petition dated November 20, 1989, herein petitioner Pablito V. Sanidad, who claims to be a newspaper columnist of the "OVERVIEW" for the BAGUIO MIDLA ND COURIER, a weekly newspaper circulated in the City of Baguio and the Cordilleras, assailed the constitutionality of Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167, which provides:

Section 19. Prohibition on columnists, commentators or announcers. — During the plebiscite campaign period, on the day before and on the plebiscite day, no mass media columnist, commentator, announcer or personality shall use his column or radio or television time to campaign for or against the plebiscite Issue.

It is alleged by petitioner that said provision is void and unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the press enshrined in the Constitution. Unlike a regular news reporter or news correspondent who merely reports the news, petitioner maintains that as a columnist, his column obviously and necessarily contains and reflects his opinions, views and beliefs on any issue or subject about which he writes. Petitioner likewise maintains that if media practitioners were to express their views, beliefs and opinions on the issue submitted to a plebiscite, it would in fact help in the government drive and desire to disseminate information, and hear, as well as ventilate, all sides of the issue.

Issue:

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Whether or not Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 is unconstitutional.

Held:

The Supreme Court ruled that Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 is unconstitutional. It is clear from Art. IX C of the 1987 Constitution that what was granted to the Comelec was the power to supervise and regulate the use and enjoyment of franchises, permits or other grants issued for the operation of transportation or other public utilities, media of communication or information to the end that equal opportunity, time and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information campaigns and forums among candidat es are ensured. The evil sought to be prevented by this provision is the possibility that a franchise holder may favor or give any undue advantage to a candidate in terms of advertising space or radio or television time. This is also the reason why a "columnist, commentator, announcer or personality, who is a candidate for any elective office is required to take a leave of absence from his work during the campaign period (2nd par. Section 11(b) R.A. 6646). It cannot be gainsaid that a columnist or commentator who is also a candidate would be more exposed to the voters to the prejudice of other candidates unless required to take a leave of absence.

However, neither Article IXC of the Constitution nor Section 11 (b), 2nd par. of R.A. 6646 can be construed to mean that the Comelec has also been granted the right to supervise and regulate the exercise by media practitioners themselves of their right to expression during plebiscite periods. Media practitioners exercising their freedom of expression during plebiscite periods are neither the franchise holders nor the candidates. In fact, there are no candidates involved in a plebiscite. Therefore, Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 has no statuto ry basis.

Plebiscite Issue are matters of public concern and importance. The people's right to be informed and to be able to freely and intelligently make a decision would be better served by access to an unabridged discussion of the Issue, including the forum. The people affected by the Issue presented in a plebiscite should not be unduly burdened by restrictions on the forum where the right to expression may be exercised. Comelec spaces and Comelec radio time may provide a forum for expression but they do not guarantee full dissemination of information to the public concerned because they are lim ited to either specific portions in newspapers or to specific radio or television times.

The instant petition is GRANTED. Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 is declared null and void and unconstitutional.

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B ONDOC VS . P INEDA

[201 SCRA 792; G.R. No. 97710; 26 Sep 1991]

Facts:

In the elections held on May 11, 1987, Marciano Pineda of the LDP and Emigdio Bondoc of the NP were candidates for the position of Representative for the Fourth District of Pampanga. Pineda was proclaimed winner. Bondoc filed a protest in th e House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), which is composed of 9 members, 3 of whom are Justices of the SC and the remaining 6 are members of the House of Representatives (5 members belong to the LDP and 1 member is from the NP). Thereafter, a decision had been reached in which B ondoc won over Pineda. Congressman Camasura of the LDP voted with the SC Justices and Congressman Cerilles of the NP to proclaim Bondoc the winner of the contest.

On the eve of the promulgation of the Bondoc decision, Congressman Camasura received a letter informing him that he was already expelled from the LDP for allegedly helping to organize the Partido Pilipino of Eduardo Cojuangco and for allegedly inviting LDP members in Davao Del Sur to join said political party. On the day of the promulgation of the decision, the Chairman of HRET received a letter informing the Tribuna l that on the basis of the letter from the LDP, the House of Representatives decided to withdraw the nomination and rescind the election of Congressman Camasura to the HRET.

Issue:

Whether or not the House of Representatives, at the request of the dominant political party therein, may change that party’s representation in the HRET to thwart the promulgation of a decision freely reached by the tribunal in an election contest pending therein

Held:

The purpose of the constitutional convention creating the Electoral Commission was to provide an independent and impartial tribunal for the determination of contests to legislative office, devoid of partisan consideration.

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As judges, the members of the tribunal must be non partisan. They must discharge their functions with complete detachment, impartiality and independence even independence from the political party to which they belong. Hence, disloyalty to party and breach of party discipline are not valid grounds for the expulsion of a member of the tribunal. In expelling Congressman Camasura from the HRET for having cast a “conscience vote” in favor of Bondoc, based strictly on the result of the examination and appreciation of the ballots and the recount of the votes by the tribunal, the House of Representatives committed a grave abuse of discretion, an injustice and a violation of the Constitution. Its resolution of expulsion against Congressman Camasura is, therefore, null and void.

Another reason for the nullity of the expulsion resolution of the House of Representatives is that it violates Congressman Camasura’s right to security of tenure. Members of the HR ET, as sole judge of congressional election contests, are entitled to security of tenure just as members of the Judiciary enjoy security of tenure under the Constitution. Therefore, membership in the HRET may not be terminated except for a just cause, such as, the expiration of the member’s congressional term of office, his death, permanent disability, resignation from the political party he represents in the tribunal, formal affiliation with another political party or removal for other valid cause. A member may not be expelled by the House of Representatives for party disloyalty, short of proof that he has formally affiliated with another

MIRASOL V S CA

[351 SCRA 44; G.R. No. 128448; 1 Feb 2001]

Facts:

The Mirasols are sugarland owners and planters. Philippine National Bank (PNB) financed the Mirasols' sugar production venture FROM 19731975 under a crop loan financing scheme. The Mirasols signed Credit Agreements, a Chattel Mortgage on Standing Crops, and a Real Estate Mortgage in favor of PNB. The Chattel Mortgage empowered PNB to negotiate and sell the latter's sugar and to apply the proceeds to the payment of their obligations to it.

President Marcos issued PD 579 in November, 1974 authorizing Philippine Exchange Co., Inc. (PHILEX) to purchase sugar allocated for export and authorized PNB to finance

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PHILEX's purchases. The decree directed that whatever profit PHILEX might realize was to be remitted to the government. Believing that the proceeds were more than enough to pay their obligations, petitioners asked PNB for an accounting of the proceeds which it ignored. Petitioners continued to avail of other loans from PNB and to make unfunde d withdrawals from their accounts with said bank. PNB asked petitioners to settle their due and demandable accounts. As a result, petitioners, conveyed to PNB real properties by way of dacion en pago still leaving an unpaid amount. PNB proceeded to extrajudicially foreclose the mortgaged properties. PNB still had a deficiency claim.

Petit ioners continued to ask PNB to account for the proceeds, insisting that said proceeds, if properly liquidated, could offset their outstanding obligations. PNB remained adamant in its stance that under P.D. No. 579, there was nothing to account since under said law, all earnings from the export sales of sugar pertaine d to the National Government.

On August 9, 1979, the Mirasols filed a suit for accounting, specific performance, and damages against PNB.

Issue:

Whether or not the Trial Court has jurisdiction to declare a statute unconstitutional without notice to the Solicitor General where the parties have agreed to submit such issue for the resolution of the Trial Court.

Whether PD 579 and subsequent issuances thereof are unconstitutional.

Whether or not said PD is subject to judicial review. Held:

It is settled that Regional Trial Courts have the authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute, presidential decree, or executive order. The Constitution vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare a law, treaty, international or executive agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this Court, but in all Regional Trial Courts.

The purpose of the mandatory notice in Rule 64, Section 3 is to enable the Solicitor General to decide whether or not his intervention in the action assailing the validity of a law or treaty is necessary. To deny the Solicitor General such notice would be tantamount to depriving him of his day in court. We must stress that, contrary to

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petitioners' stand, the mandatory notice requirement is not limited to actions involving declaratory relief and similar remedies. The rule itself provides that such notice is required in "any action" and not just actions involving declaratory relief. Where there is no ambiguity in the words used in the rule, there is no roo m for construction. 15 In all actions assailing the validity of a statute, treaty, presidential decree, order, or proclamation, notice to the Solicitor General is mandatory.

Petitioners contend that P.D. No. 579 and its implementing issuances are void for violating the due process clause and the prohibition against the taking of private pro perty without just compensation. Petitioners now ask this Court to exercise its power of judicial review.

Jurisprudence has laid down the following requisites for the exercise of this power: First, there must be before the Court an actual case calling for the exercise of judicial review. Second, the question befo re the Court must be ripe for adjudication. Third, the person challenging the validity of the act must have standing to challenge. Fourth, the question of constitutionality must have been raised at the earliest opportunity, and lastly, the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.

DUMLAO V S . COMELEC

[95