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DEFINITION OF CONSTITUTION

People vs Perfecto G.R. No. L-18463


FACTS: In the case of People vs. Perfecto ([1922], 43 Phil., 887) the accused was
charged with having published an article reflecting on the Philippine Senate and its
members in violation of Article 256 of the Penal Code. In this Court, Mr. Perfecto
was acquitted by unanimous vote, with three members of the court holding that
Article 256 was abrogated completely by the change from Spanish to American
sovereignty over the Philippines and with six members holding that the Libel Law
had the effect of repealing so much of Article 256 as relates to written defamation,
abuse, or insult, and that under the information and the facts, the defendant was
neither guilty of a violation of Article 256 of the Penal Code nor of the Libel Law.
In the course of the main opinion in the Perfecto case is found this significant
sentence: Act No. 292 of the Philippine Commission, the Treason and Sedition
Law, may also have affected Article 256, but as to this point, it is not necessary to
make a pronouncement.
ISSUES: Whether or not Mr. Perfecto violated Article 256 of the Penal Code. On
the subject of whether or not Article 256 of the Penal Code, under which the
information was presented, is in force.
HELD: The view of the Chief Justice is that the accused should be acquitted for the
reason that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute a violation of article
256 of the Penal Code. Three members of the court believe that article 256 was
abrogated completely by the change from Spanish to American sovereignty over the
Philippines and is inconsistent with democratic principles of government.
Treason = the crime of betraying ones country, especially by attempting to kill or
overthrow the sovereign or government.
Sedition = conduct or speech inciting rebellion against the authority of a state or
monarch
Violation of Art 256 Penal Code Libel Law
Violation of Act No. 292 Treason and Sedition Law
Defendant Gregorio Perfecto was found guilty in the municipal court and again in
the Court of First Instance of Manila.
During the course of the trial in the Court of First Instance, after the prosecution had
rested, the defense moved for the dismissal of the case. On the subject of whether or
not article 256 of the Penal Code, under which the information was presented, is in
force, the trial judge, the Honorable George R. Harvey, said:
In view of the foregoing considerations, the court finds the defendant guilty
as charged in the information and under article 256 of their Penal Code sentences

him to suffer two months and one day of arresto mayor and the accessory penalties
prescribed by law, and to pay the costs of both instances
) that article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code is no longer in force.
. A majority of the court are of the opinion that the Philippine Libel Law, Act No.
277, has had the effect of repealing so much of article 256 of the Penal Code as
relates to written defamation, abuse, or insult, and that under the information and
the facts, the defendant is neither guilty of a violation of article 256 of the Penal
Code, nor of the Libel Law
The view of the Chief Justice is that the accused should be acquitted for the reason
that the facts alleged in the information do not constitute a violation of article 256 of
the Penal Code. Three members of the court believe that article 256 was abrogated
completely by the change from Spanish to American sovereignty over the
Philippines and is inconsistent with democratic principles of government.
. Section 1 defines libel as a "malicious defamation, expressed either in
writing, printing, or by signs or pictures, or the like, or public theatrical
exhibitions, tending to blacken the memory of one who is dead or to
impeach the honesty, virtue, or reputation, or publish the alleged or natural
deffects of one who is alive, and thereby expose him to public hatred,
contempt or ridicule." Section 13 provides that "All laws and parts of laws
now in force, so far as the same may be in conflict herewith, are hereby
repealed. . . ."
The facts here are that the editor of a newspaper published an article,
naturally in writing, which may have had the tendency to impeach the honesty,
virtue, or reputation of members of the Philippine Senate, thereby possibly exposing
them to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule, which is exactly libel
, comes article 256, now being weighed in the balance. It reads as follows: "Any
person who, by word, deed, or writing, shall defame, abuse, or insult any Minister
of the Crown or other person in authority, while engaged in the performance of
official duties, or by reason of such performance, provided that the offensive
minister or person, or the offensive writing be not addressed to him, shall suffer the
penalty of arresto mayor," that is, the defamation, abuse, or insult of
any Minister of the Crown of the Monarchy of Spain (for there could not be a
Minister of the Crown in the United States of America), or other person in
authority in the Monarchy of Spain.
According to our view, article 256 of the Spanish Penal Code was enacted by
the Government of Spain to protect Spanish officials who were the representatives
of the King. With the change of sovereignty, a new government, and a new theory of
government, as set up in the Philippines

MACARIOLA VS. ASUNCION 114 SCRA 77


FACTS: 1. Judge Elias Asuncion was the presiding Judge
in Civil Case No. 3010 for partition.
2. Among the parties thereto was Bernardita R.
Macariola.
3. On June 8, 1863 respondent Judge rendered a
decision, which became final for lack of an appeal.
4. On October 16, 1963 a project of partition was
submitted to Judge Asuncion which he approved in an
Order dated October 23, 1963, later amended on
November 11, 1963.
5. On March 6, 1965, a portion of lot 1184-E, one of the
properties subject to partition under Civil Case No.
3010, was acquired by purchase by respondent
Macariola and his wife, who were major stockholders of
Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries Inc.,
6. Bernardita Macariola thus charged Judge Asuncion of
the CFI of Leyte, now Associate Justice of the Court of
Appeals with acts unbecoming of a judge.
7. Macariola alleged that Asuncion violated , among
others, Art. 1491, par. 5 of the New Civil Code and
Article 14 of the Code of Commerce.
ISSUE: Is the actuation of Judge Asuncion in acquiring
by purchase a portion of property in a Civil Case
previously handled by him an act unbecoming of a
Judge?
HELD: Article 1491 , par. 5 of the New Civil Code
applies only to the sale or assignment of the property
which is the subject of litigation to the persons
disqualified therein. The Supreme Court held that for
the prohibition to operate, the sale or assignment must
take place during the pendency of the litigation
involving the property.
In the case at bar, when respondent Judge purchased

on March 6, 1965 a portion of lot 1184-E, the decision


in Civil Case No. 3010 which he rendered on June 8,
1963 was already final because none of the parties filed
an appeal within the reglementary period hence, the lot
in question was no longer subject of litigation. Moreover
at the time of the sale on March 6, 1965, respondents
order date October 23, 1963 and the amended order
dated November 11, 1963 approving the October 16,
1963 project of partition made pursuant to the June 8,
1963 decision, had long been final for there was no
appeal from said orders.
Furthermore, respondent Judge did not buy the lot in
question on March 6, 1965 directly from the plaintiffs in
Civil Case No. 3010 but from Dr. Arcadio Galapon who
earlier purchased on July 31, 1964 Lot 1184-E from
three of the plaintiffs after the finality of the decision in
Civil Case No. 3010.
Consequently, the sale of a portion of Lot 1184-E to
respondent Judge having taken place over one year
after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010
as well as the two orders approving the project of
partition, and not during the pendency of the litigation,
there was no violation of paragraph 5, Article 1491 of
the New Civil Code.
Upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the
United States and later on from the United States to the
Republic of the Philippines, Art. 14 of the Code of
Commerce must be deemed to have been abrogated
because where there is a change of sovereignty , the
political laws of the former sovereign , whether
compatible or not with those of the new sovereign, are
automatically abrogated, unless they are expressly reenacted by affirmative act of the new sovereign.

RATIFICATION POLITICAL VS JUSTICIABLE QUESTION


JAVELLANA VS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY 50 SCRA 30 (1973)

FACTS On January 20, 1973, petitioner, Josue Javellana filed a case


from implementing any of the provisions of the proposed
Constitution not found in the present Constitution, the 1935
Constitution. The petitioner alleged for the following;
1. The president had announced the immediate
implementation of the new Constitution thru his
Cabinet, including the respondents
2. The respondents are acting without, or in excess of
jurisdiction in implementing the said proposed
Constitution
3. The president as a Commander-in-Chief of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, is without authority
to create the citizens assemblies
4. That the respondents are without power to approve
the proposed Constitution
5. That the president is without power to proclaim the
ratification of the Filipino people of the proposed
constitution
6. The election held to ratify the proposed Constitution
was not a free election, hence, null and void.
ISSUES: Whether or not;

1. The issue of the validity of Proclamation No. 1102 a justiciable, or


political and therefore non-justiciable, question?
2. The Constitution proposed by the 1971 Constitutional Convention
been ratified validly (with substantial, if not strict, compliance)
conformably to the applicable constitutional and statutory provisions?
3. The aforementioned proposed Constitution acquiesced in (with or
without valid ratification) by the people?
4. Petitioners entitled to relief?
5. The aforementioned proposed Constitution in force?
HELD
1. The issue of the validity of Proclamation No. 1102
presents a justiciable and non-political question.
One of the principal bases of the non-justiciability of
so-called political questions is the principle of
separation of powers characteristic of the
Presidential system of government the functions of
which are classified or divided, by reason of their
nature, into three (3) categories, namely: 1) those
involving the making of laws, which are allocated to
the legislative department; 2) those concerned
mainly with the enforcement of such laws and of
judicial decisions applying and/or interpreting the
same, which belong to the executive department;
and 3) those dealing with the settlement of
disputes, controversies or conflicts involving rights,
duties or prerogatives that are legally demandable
and enforceable, which are apportioned to courts of
justice. Within its own sphere but only within such
sphere each department is supreme and
independent of the others, and each is devoid of
authority, not only to encroach upon the powers or
field of action assigned to any of the other
departments, but, also, to inquire into or pass upon

2.

3.

4.

5.

the advisability or wisdom of the acts performed,


measures taken or decisions made by the other
departments provided that such acts, measures or
decisions are within the area allocated thereto by
the Constitution.
The constitution proposed by the 1971
Constitutional Convention was not validly ratified in
accordance with Article XV, Section of the 1935
Constitution. However, in its political aspect, the
people may have cast their favourable votes in the
belief that in doing so they did the part required of
them by Article XV, which is what counts most.
There was no majority vote reached by the court.
Three (3) judges expressed their lack of knowledge
or competence to rule on the question, in their
statement that under the regime of martial law, free
expressions of opinions through the usual media are
restricted and they have no means of knowing to
the point of judicial certainty, whether the people
have accepted the Constitution.
The court has voted to dismiss the petitions. The
effectivity of the Constitution, in the final analysis,
is the basic and ultimate question posed by the
cases to resolve which considerations other than
judicial, and therefore, beyond the competence of
the court, is relevant and unavoidable. The 1935
Constitution has pro tanto passed into history and
has been legitimately supplanted by the
Constitution in force by virtue of Proclamation 1102.
The proposed Constitution is in force by the virtue
of the peoples acceptance.