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Roe v Wade

Facts
Roe (P), a pregnant single woman, brought a class action suit challenging the
constitutionality of the Texas abortion laws. These laws made it a crime to obtain or
attempt an abortion except on medical advice to save the life of the mother.
Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit included Hallford, a doctor who faced criminal
prosecution for violating the state abortion laws; and the Does, a married couple with
no children, who sought an injunction against enforcement of the laws on the grounds
that they were unconstitutional. The defendant was county District Attorney Wade
(D).
A three-judge District Court panel tried the cases together and held that Roe and
Hallford had standing to sue and presented justiciable controversies, and that
declaratory relief was warranted. The court also ruled however that injunctive relief
was not warranted and that the Does complaint was not justiciable.
Roe and Hallford won their lawsuits at trial. The district court held that the Texas
abortion statutes were void as vague and for overbroadly infringing the Ninth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs. The Does lost, however, because the
district court ruled that injunctive relief against enforcement of the laws was not
warranted.
The Does appealed directly to the Supreme Court of the United States and Wade
cross-appealed the district courts judgment in favor of Roe and Hallford.
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Issues
Do abortion laws that criminalize all abortions, except those required on medical
advice to save the life of the mother, violate the Constitution of the United States?
Does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution protect the right to privacy, including the right to obtain an abortion?
Are there any circumstances where a state may enact laws prohibiting abortion?
Did the fact that Roes pregnancy had already terminated naturally before this case
was decided by the Supreme Court render her lawsuit moot?
Was the district court correct in denying injunctive relief?
Holding and Rule (Blackmun)
Yes. State criminal abortion laws that except from criminality only life-saving
procedures on the mothers behalf, and that do not take into consideration the stage of
pregnancy and other interests, are unconstitutional for violating the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Yes. The Due Process Clause protects the right to privacy, including a womans right
to terminate her pregnancy, against state action.
Yes. Though a state cannot completely deny a woman the right to terminate her
pregnancy, it has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant womans health
and the potentiality of human life at various stages of pregnancy.
No. The natural termination of Roes pregnancy did not render her suit moot.
Yes. The district court was correct in denying injunctive relief.
The Court held that, in regard to abortions during the first trimester, the decision must
be left to the judgment of the pregnant womans doctor. In regard to second trimester
pregnancies, states may promote their interests in the mothers health by regulating
abortion procedures related to the health of the mother. Regarding third trimester
pregnancies, states may promote their interests in the potentiality of human life by
regulating or even prohibiting abortion, except when necessary to preserve the life or

health of the mother.


The Supreme Court held that litigation involving pregnancy, which is capable of
repetition, yet evading review, is an exception to the general rule that an actual
controversy must exist at each stage of judicial review, and not merely when the
action is initiated.
The Court held that while 28 U.S.C. 1253 does not authorize a party seeking only
declaratory relief to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, review is not foreclosed
when the case is brought on appeal from specific denial of injunctive relief and the
arguments on the issues of both injunctive and declaratory relief are necessarily
identical.
The Does complaint seeking injunctive relief was based on contingencies which
might or might not occur and was therefore too speculative to present an actual case
or controversy. It was unnecessary for the Court to decide Hallfords case for
injunctive relief because once the Court found the laws unconstitutional, the Texas
authorities were prohibited from enforcing them.
Disposition
Roe wins the district court judgment is affirmed.
Hallford loses the district court judgment is reversed.
The Does lose the district court judgment is affirmed.
Stonehill v Diokno
Facts: Respondents issued, on different dates, 42 search warrants against petitioners
personally, and/or corporations for which they are officers directing peace officers to
search the persons of petitioners and premises of their offices, warehouses and/or
residences to search for personal properties books of accounts, financial records,
vouchers, correspondence, receipts, ledgers, journals, portfolios, credit journals,
typewriters, and other documents showing all business transactions including
disbursement receipts, balance sheets and profit and loss statements and
Bobbins(cigarettes) as the subject of the offense for violations of Central Bank Act,
Tariff and Customs Laws, Internal Revenue Code, and Revised Penal Code.
Upon effecting the search in the offices of the aforementioned corporations and on the
respective residences of the petitioners, there seized documents, papers, money and
other records. Petitioners then were subjected to deportation proceedings and were
constrained to question the legality of the searches and seizures as well as the
admissibility of those seized as evidence against them.
On March 20, 1962, the SC issued a writ of preliminary injunction and partially lifted
the same on June 29, 1962 with respect to some documents and papers.
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Held:
Search warrants issued were violative of the Constitution and the Rules, thus, illegal
or being general warrants. There is no probable cause and warrant did not particularly
specify the things to be seized. The purpose of the requirement is to avoid placing the
sanctity of the domicile and the privacy of communication and correspondence at the
mercy of the whims, caprice or passion of peace officers.
Document seized from an illegal search warrant is not admissible in court as a fruit of
a poisonous tee. However, they could not be returned, except if warranted by the
circumstances.
Petitioners were not the proper party to question the validity and return of those taken

from the corporations for which they acted as officers as they are treated as
personality different from that of the corporation.
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Brief Fact Summary. A slave sought his freedom under the Missouri Compromise.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Slaves are not citizens under the United States
Constitution.
Facts. Dred Scott (Plaintiff) was a slave living in the slave state of Missouri. His
owner took him to Illinois and then to Minnesota, which were both free states under
the Missouri Compromise. Plaintiff and his owner returned to Missouri, and Plaintiff
was sold to Sanford (Defendant). Plaintiff sued Defendant for his freedom, claiming
to be a citizen of Missouri, based on having obtained freedom by domicile for a long
period in a free state.
Issue. Can a slave be considered a citizen and as such become entitled to all the
rights, privileges and immunities granted to citizens under the United States
Constitution?
Held. No.
Slaves were not intended to be included under the word citizens in the Constitution.
At the time the Constitution was written, slaves were considered an inferior and
subordinate class. No state can introduce a new member into the political community
created by the Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence clearly never intended to include slaves.
The Constitution never intended to confer on slaves or their posterity the blessings of
liberty, or any of the personal rights so carefully provided for the citizen. Plaintiff is
clearly not a citizen and not entitled to sue.
An act of Congress, which deprives a citizen of his property merely because he
brought his property into a particular part of the United States does not comport with
due process of law. The right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly
affirmed in the Constitution. An act of Congress, which prohibits a citizen from
owning slaves in any territory in the United States is void. So, Plaintiff did not
become free by going into a state, which prohibited slavery.
Discussion. This case is remembered for the decision that blacks were not citizens,
but merely property. It is also remembered for voiding the Missouri Compromise.
LEGASPI V. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
Case number:
G.R. No. 72119
Country:
Philippines
Date of decision:
29 May 1987
Court / Arbiter:
Supreme Court ( Supreme )

Relevant law :
Constitution ( Constitution )
Decision:
The Constitution requires government agencies to to provide information upon
request; if they do not want to disclose information, they carry the burden of proving
that the information is not of public concern or, if it is of public concern, that the
information has been specifically exempted by law. Moreover, a citizen does not need
to show any legal or special interest in order to establish his or her right to
information.
Keywords:
Burden of proof (including requests for additional evidence)
Constitution
Freedom of expression (including RTI as element of or integral to)
Public interest (including public interest override, information of public interest)
Status of requester (including interest in information, citizenship, legal person,
standing)
Case details:
Facts
Citizen Valentin Legaspi requested from the Civil Service Commission information
on the civil service eligibilities of sanitarian employees in the Health Department of
Cebu City. The Commission rejected the request, asserting that Legaspi was not
entitled to the information. Legaspi instituted an action for mandamus from the Court
to require that the information be provided (pg. 1).
Decision
The Court began by noting that both the 1973 (Art. IV, Sec. 6) and 1987 (Art. III, Sec.
7) constitutions recognize the right of the people to information on matters of public
concern. Further, they specify that information shall be provided, subject only to
limitations provided by law (pg. 1). While the Solicitor General interposed a
procedural objection challenging the requesters standing in this petition for
mandamus, the Court ruled that, in this case, the people are regarded as the real party
in interest and the requester, as a citizen interested in the execution of the laws, did
not need to show any legal or special interest in the result (pg. 2). Further, government
agencies have no discretion to refuse disclosure of, or access to, information of public
concern because the Constitution guarantees access to information of public concern,
a recognition of the essentiality of the free flow of ideas and information in a
democracy (pg. 3-4). That is, the government agency denying information access has
the burden to show that the information is not of public concern, or, if it is of public
concern, that the information has been exempted by law from the operation of the
guarantee (pg. 5).
Here, the information was of a public concern because it is the legitimate concern of
citizens to ensure that government positions requiring civil service eligibility are
occupied only by eligible persons, and the Civil Service Commission failed to cite any
law limiting the requesters right to know (pg. 5). Thus, the Court ordered the Civil
Service Commission to provide the information (pg. 6).

Resources:
Judgment of the Court.
Rodolfo Vasquez v Court of Appeals
The 1964 ruling in New York Times v. Sullivan handed down by the United States
Supreme Court has been the barometer used in defamation cases involving public
officials in both jurisdictions.
The Philippine case that comes comparably close in circumnstances with that of the
New York Times ruling is that of Rodolfo Vasquez versus Court of Appeals.
It is similar to the New York Times v. Sullivan ruling in the sense that the plaintiff is
also a public official (a barangay official).
When the barangay official sued for criminal libel (note: New York Times case was a
civil case), the Supreme Court ruled that it was incumbent upon the prosecution to
prove actual malice, and failing such, no liability attached against the accused.
In any event, the Supreme Court took ocassion to apply the New York Times Co. v.
Sullivan standard in this case.
Here is the digest of that case:
Rodolfo R. Vasquez v. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 118971
September 15, 1999
Facts:
Petitioner Rodolfo R. Vasquez is a resident of the Tondo Foreshore Area. Sometime in
April 1986, he and some 37 families from the area went to see then National Housing
Authority (NHA) General Manager Lito Atienza regarding their complaint against
their Barangay Chairman, Jaime Olmedo, a public official. After their meeting with
Atienza and other NHA officials, petitioner and his companions were met and
interviewed by newspaper reporters at the NHA compound concerning their
complaint. The next day, April 22, 1986, the following exerpts of the news article
appeared in the newspaper Ang Tinig ng Masa. In the article, pulished were supposed
allegations by Vasquez that (1) nakipagsabwatan umano si Chairman Jaime Olmedo
upang makamkam ang may 14 na lote ng lupa; (2) ang mga lupa ay ilegal na
patituluhan, nagawa ito ni Olmedo sa pakikipagsabwatan sa mga project manager at
legal officers ng NHA; (3) kasangkot din umano si Olmedo sa mga ilegal na
pasugalan sa naturang lugar at maging sa mga nakawan ng manok. x x x
Based on the newspaper article, Olmedo filed a complaint for libel against petitioner
alleging that the latters statements cast aspersions on him and damaged his
reputation.
On May 28, 1992, the trial court rendered judgment finding petitioner guilty of libel
and sentencing him to pay a fine of P1,000.00. On appeal, the Court of Appeals
affirmed in toto. Hence, this petition for review.
Issue:
Whether or not the atual malice standard in New York Times versus Sullivan is to be
applied in prosecutions for criminal libel.

Held:
The standard of actual malice in New York Times versus Sullivan is to be applied in
criminal prosecutions for libel.
For that matter, even if the defamatory statement is false, no liability can attach if it
relates to official conduct, unless the public official concerned proves that the
statement was made with actual malice that is, with knowledge that it was false or
with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
In this case, the prosecution failed to prove not only that the charges made by
petitioner were false but also that petitioner made them with knowledge of their
falsity or with reckless disregard of whether they were false or not.
A rule placing on the accused the burden of showing the truth of allegations of official
misconduct and/or good motives and justifiable ends for making such allegations
would not only be contrary to Art. 361 of the Revised Penal Code. It would, above all,
infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.
Libel was used as a form of harassment:
Instead of the claim that petitioner was politically motivated in making the charges
against complainant, it would appear that complainant filed this case to harass
petitioner.
It is curious that the ones most obviously responsible for the publication of the
allegedly offensive news report, namely, the editorial staff and the periodical itself,
were not at all impleaded. The charge was leveled against the petitioner and,
"curiouser" still, his clients who have nothing to do with the editorial policies of the
newspaper.

Estrada v. Escritor
A.M.No. P-02-1651, August 4, 2003
Puno, J.:
Facts:
1. Respondent is the Court interpreter of RTC Branch 253 in Las Pinas City. The
complainant Estrada requested for an investigation of respondent for living with a
man not her husband while she was still legally married and having borne a child
within this live-in arrangement. Estrada believed that Escritor is committing a grossly
immoral act which tarnishes the image of the judiciary, thus she should not be allowed
to remain employed therein as it might appear that the court condones her act.
2. Respondent admitted she started living with Luciano Quilapio, Jr. more than 20
years ago when her husband was still alive but living with another woman. She
likewise admitted having a son with Quilapio but denies any liability for alleged
grossly immoral conduct because, 1) She is a member of the Jehovahs Witnesses and
the Watch Tower Society, 2) That the conjugal arrangement was in conformity with
their religious beliefs, and 3) That the conjugal arrangement with Quilapio has the
approval of her congregation.
3. Escritor likewise claimed that she had executed a Declaration of Pledging
Faithfulness' in accordance with her religion which allows members of the Jehovahs
witnesses who have been abandoned by their spouses to enter into marital relations.
The Declaration thus makes the resulting union moral and binding within the

congregation all over the world except in countries where divorce is allowed.
Held:
Escritor was therefore held not administratively liable for grossly immoral
conduct. Escritors conjugal arrangement cannot be penalized as she has made out a
case for exemption from the law based on her fundamental right to religion. The
Court recognizes that state interests must be upheld in order that freedomsincluding
religious freedommay be enjoyed.
In the area of religious exercise as preferred freedom, however, man stands
accountable to an authority higher than the state, and so the state interest sought to be
upheld must be so compelling that its violation will erode the very fabric of the state
that will also protect the freedom. In the absence of a showing that the state interest
exists, man must be allowed to subscribe to the Infinite
Ebralinag vs. Division Superintendent of School of Cebu
GR 95770, 29 December 1995; En Banc Resolution, Kapunan [J]
FACTS:
Two special civil actions for certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition were filed and
consolidated raising the same issue whether school children who are members or a
religious sect known as Jehovahs Witnesses may be expelled from school (both
public and private), for refusing, on account of their religious beliefs, to take part in
the flag ceremony which includes playing (by a band) or singing the Philippine
national anthem, saluting the Philippine flag and reciting the patriotic pledge.
All of the petitioners in both (consolidated) cases were expelled from their classes by
the public school authorities in Cebu for refusing to salute the flag, sing the national
anthem and recite the patriotic pledge as required by Republic Act No. 1265 (An Act
making flagceremony compulsory in all educational institutions) of July 11, 1955 ,
and by Department Order No. 8 (Rules and Regulations for Conducting the Flag
Ceremony in All Educational Institutions)dated July 21, 1955 of the Department of
Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) making the flag ceremony compulsory in all
educational institutions.
Petitioners are Jehovahs Witnesses believing that by doing these is religious
worship/devotion akin to idolatry against their teachings. They contend that to compel
transcends constitutional limits and invades protection against official control and
religious freedom. The respondents relied on the precedence of Gerona et al v.
Secretary of Education where the Court upheld the explulsions. Gerona doctrine
provides that we are a system of separation of the church and state and the flag is
devoid of religious significance and it doesnt involve any religious ceremony. The
children of Jehovahs Witnesses cannot be exempted from participation in the flag
ceremony. They have no valid right to such exemption. Moreover, exemption to the
requirement will disrupt school discipline and demoralize the rest of the school
population which by far constitutes the great majority. The freedom of religious belief
guaranteed by the Constitution does not and cannot mean exemption from or noncompliance with reasonable and non-discriminatory laws, rules and regulations
promulgated by competent authority.
ISSUE: Whether or not the expulsion of petitioners violated their freedom of
religion?

HELD:
YES. The Court held that the expulsion of the petitioners from the school was not
justified.
Religious freedom is a fundamental right of highest priority and the amplest
protection among human rights, for it involves the relationship of man to his
Creator. The right to religious profession and worship has a two-fold aspect, vis.,
freedom to believe and freedom to act on ones belief. The first is absolute as long
as the belief is confined within the realm of thought. The second is subject to
regulation where the belief is translated into external acts that affect the public
welfare. The only limitation to religious freedom is the existence of grave and
present danger to public safety, morals, health and interests where State has
right to prevent.
Petitioners stress that while they do not take part in the compulsory flag ceremony,
they do not engage in external acts or behavior that would offend their countrymen
who believe in expressing their love of country through the observance of the flag
ceremony. They quietly stand at attention during the flag ceremony to show their
respect for the right of those who choose to participate in the solemn proceedings.
Since they do not engage in disruptive behavior, there is no warrant for their
expulsion.
Francisco vs. House of Representeatives G.R. No. 160261
FACTS: Within a period of 1 year, 2 impeachment proceedings were filed against
Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide. The justiciable controversy in this case
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 is constitutional, and
whether the resolution thereof is a political question h; as resulted in a political
crisis.
HELD: Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment
Proceedings which were approved by the House of Representativesare
unconstitutional. Consequently, the second impeachment complaint against Chief
Justice Hilario G. Davide, is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the
Constitution.
REASONING: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 coequality. 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
government act beyond the powers assigned to it bythe Constitution.
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.
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.
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 turnjusticiable 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.
G.R. No. 179271 BARANGAY ASSOCIATION FOR NATIONAL
ADVANCEMENT AND TRANSPARENCY (BANAT) v. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS
G.R. No. 179295 BAYAN MUNA, A TEACHER, and ABONO v.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
Promulgated:

April 21, 2009


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CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION
PUNO, C.J.:

History has borne witness to the struggle of the faceless masses to find their
voice, even as they are relegated to the sidelines as genuine functional representation
systemically evades them. It is by reason of this underlying premise that the party-list
system was espoused and embedded in the Constitution, and it is within this context
that I register my dissent to the entry of major political parties to the party-list system.
The Court today effectively reversed the ruling in Ang Bagong Bayani v.
Comelec with regard to the computation of seat allotments and the participation of
major political parties in the party-list system. I vote for the formula propounded by
the majority as it benefits the party-list system but I regret that my interpretation of
Article VI, Section 5 of the Constitution with respect to the participation of the major
political parties in the election of party-list representatives is not in direct congruence
with theirs, hence this dissent.
To revisit the crux of the controversy, the pertinent portion of Article VI,
Section 5 of the Constitution reads:
Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more
than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by
law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned
among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in
accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and
on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as
provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of
registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the
total number of representatives including those under the party
list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this
Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or
election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be
provided by law, except the religious sector.

It will be remembered that the petitioners in Ang Bagong Bayani sought the
disqualification of the major political parties on the ground that the party-list system
was intended to benefit the marginalized and underrepresented, and not the
mainstream political parties, the non-marginalized or overrepresented. Rising to the
occasion, the Court ruled through then Associate, later Chief Justice Panganiban, that
while any duly registered political party, organization or group may participate, the
role of the Comelec is to ensure that only those who are marginalized and
underrepresented become members of Congress through the Filipino-style party-list
elections. Characterizing the party-list system as a social justice vehicle, the Court

batted for the empowerment of the masses, thus


It is ironic, therefore, that the marginalized and underrepresented in our
midst are the majority who wallow in poverty, destitution and
infirmity. It was for them that the party-list system was enacted
to give them not only genuine hope, but genuine power; to
give them the opportunity to be elected and to represent the
specific concerns of their constituencies; and simply to give them
a direct voice in Congress and in the larger affairs of the State. In
its noblest sense, the party-list system truly empowers the masses
and ushers a new hope for genuine change. Verily, it invites those
marginalized and underrepresented in the past the farm hands,
the fisher folk, the urban poor, even those in the underground
movement to come out and participate, as indeed many of
them came out and participated during the last elections. The
State cannot now disappoint and frustrate them by disabling and
desecrating this social justice vehicle.

Today, less than a decade after, there is an attempt to undo the democratic
victory achieved by the marginalized in the political arena in Ang Bagong Bayani.
In permitting the major political parties to participate in the party-list system, Mr.
Justice Carpio relies on the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.
Allegedly, the said deliberations indicate that the party-list system is open to all
political parties, as long as they field candidates who come from the different
marginalized sectors. Buttressing his view, Mr. Justice Carpio notes that the major
political parties also fall within the term political parties in the Definition of Terms
in Republic Act 7941, otherwise known as the Party-List System Act. Likewise, he
holds that the qualifications of a party-list nominee as prescribed in Section 9 of the
said law do not specify any financial status or educational requirement, hence, it is not
necessary for the party-list nominee to wallow in poverty, destitution and
infirmity.It is then concluded that major political parties may now participate in the
party-list system.
With all due respect, I cannot join this submission. We stand on solid grounds
when we interpret the Constitution to give utmost deference to the democratic
sympathies, ideals and aspirations of the people. More than the deliberations in the
Constitutional Commission, these are expressed in the text of the Constitution which
the people ratified. Indeed, it is the intent of the sovereign people that matters in
interpreting the Constitution. In Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, we
held:
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 reason 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 or 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.

Everybody agrees that the best way to interpret the Constitution is to harmonize the
whole instrument, its every section and clause. We should strive to make every word
of the fundamental law operative and avoid rendering some words idle and nugatory.
The harmonization of Article VI, Section 5 with related constitutional provisions will
better reveal the intent of the people as regards the party-list system. Thus, under
Section 7 of the Transitory Provisions, the President was permitted to fill by
appointment the seats reserved for sectoral representation under the party-list system
from a list of nominees submitted by the respective sectors. This was the result of
historical precedents that saw how the elected Members of the interim Batasang
Pambansa and the regular Batasang Pambansa tried to torpedo sectoral representation
and delay the seating of sectoral representatives on the ground that they could not rise
to the same levelled status of dignity as those elected by the people. To avoid this bias
against sectoral representatives, the President was given all the leeway to break new
ground and precisely plant the seeds for sectoral representation so that the sectoral
representatives will take roots and be part and parcel exactly of the process of drafting
the law which will stipulate and provide for the concept of sectoral representation.
Similarly, limiting the party-list system to the marginalized and excluding the major
political parties from participating in the election of their representatives is aligned
with the constitutional mandate to reduce social, economic, and political inequalities,
and remove cultural inequalities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for
the common good; the right of the people and their organizations to effective and
reasonable participation at all levels of social, political, and economic decisionmaking; the right of women to opportunities that will enhance their welfare and
enable them to realize their full potential in the service of the nation; the right of labor
to participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and
benefits in keeping with its role as a primary social economic force; the right of
teachers to professional advancement; the rights of indigenous cultural communities to
the consideration of their cultures, traditions and institutions in the formulation of
national plans and policies, and the indispensable role of the private sector in the
national economy.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the party-list parties are no match to our
traditional political parties in the political arena. This is borne out in the party-list
elections held in 2001 where major political parties were initially allowed to
campaign and be voted for. The results confirmed the fear expressed by some
commissioners in the Constitutional Commission that major political parties would
figure in the disproportionate distribution of votes: of the 162 parties which
participated, the seven major political parties made it to the top 50. These seven
parties garnered an accumulated 9.54% of the total number of votes counted, yielding
an average of 1.36% each, while the remaining 155 parties (including those whose
qualifications were contested) only obtained 90.45% or an average of 0.58% each. Of

these seven, three parties or 42.8% of the total number of the major parties garnered
more than 2% of the total number of votes each, a feat that would have entitled them
to seat their members as party-list representatives. In contrast, only about 4% of the
total number of the remaining parties, or only 8 out of the 155 parties garnered more
than 2%.
In sum, the evils that faced our marginalized and underrepresented people at the
time of the framing of the 1987 Constitution still haunt them today. It is through the
party-list system that the Constitution sought to address this systemic dilemma. In
ratifying the Constitution, our people recognized how the interests of our poor and
powerless sectoral groups can be frustrated by the traditional political parties who
have the machinery and chicanery to dominate our political institutions. If we allow
major political parties to participate in the party-list system electoral process, we will
surely suffocate the voice of the marginalized, frustrate their sovereignty and betray
the democratic spirit of the Constitution. That opinion will serve as the graveyard of
the party-list system.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, I dissent on the ruling allowing the entry of major
political parties into the party-list system.
Erap Estrada Disqualification
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) The Supreme Court en banc on Wednesday
junked petitions questioning the constitutional basis of Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap"
Estrada's candidacy in the 2013 local polls.
Voting 11-3, the high court dismissed the disqualification cases filed by lawyer AliciaRisos Vidal and former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, questioning the validity of
Estrada's political office.
The ruling, penned by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, upholds the
Commission on Elections decision to dismiss Vidal's case against Estrada.
The court also recognized that Estrada was pardoned by former President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo through an absolute clemency in 2007. The petitions argued that
Estrada should not have been allowed by the Commission on Elections to seek
another political seat after having been convicted for plunder.
Besides De Castro, magistrates Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta,
Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Mendoza, Jose Perez, Bienvenido Reyes
and Estela Perlas-Bernabe voted to dismiss Vidal's case.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, meanwhile, dissented from the majority's opinion.
Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te said in a televised briefing that petitioners
Vidal and Lim can still file a petition against the court's decision.
"The petitioner here, Attorney Vidal, and the intervenor, Attorney Lim, if they wish
they have recourse to motion for reconsideration," Te said.