You are on page 1of 31

Sec.

16 (1)
Avelino v. Cuenco, 83 Phil. 17
83 Phil. 17 Political Law The Legislative Department Election of
Members/Quorum/Adjournment/Minutes
On February 18, 1949, Senator Lorenzo Taada invoked his right to speak on the
senate floor to formulate charges against the then Senate President Jose Avelino. He
requested to do so on the next session (Feb. 21, 1949). On the next session day
however, Avelino delayed the opening of the session for about two hours. Upon
insistent demand by Taada, Mariano Cuenco, Prospero Sanidad and other Senators,
Avelino was forced to open session. He however, together with his allies initiated all
dilatory and delaying tactics to forestall Taada from delivering his piece. Motions
being raised by Taada et al were being blocked by Avelino and his allies and they
even ruled Taada and Sanidad, among others, as being out of order. Avelinos camp
then moved to adjourn the session due to the disorder. Sanidad however countered and
they requested the said adjournment to be placed in voting. Avelino just banged his
gavel and he hurriedly left his chair and he was immediately followed by his
followers. Senator Tomas Cabili then stood up, and asked that it be made of record
it was so made that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the Avelino, made
it incumbent upon Senate President Pro-tempore Melencio Arranz and the remaining
members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to paralyze the functions of
the Senate. Taada was subsequently recognized to deliver his speech. Later, Arranz
yielded to Sanidads Resolution (No. 68) that Cuenco be elected as the Senate
President. This was unanimously approved and was even recognized by the President
of the Philippines the following day. Cuenco took his oath of office thereafter.
Avelino then filed a quo warranto proceeding before the SC to declare him as the
rightful Senate President.
ISSUE: Whether or not the SC can take cognizance of the case.
HELD: No. By a vote of 6 to 4, the SC held that they cannot take cognizance of the
case. This is in view of the separation of powers, the political nature of the
controversy and the constitutional grant to the Senate of the power to elect its own
president, which power should not be interfered with, nor taken over, by the judiciary.
The SC should abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding officer
affects only the Senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their
officers, change or reinstate them. Anyway, if, as the petition must imply to be
acceptable, the majority of the Senators want petitioner to preside, his remedy lies in
the Senate Session Hall not in the Supreme Court.
Supposed the SC can take cognizance of the case, what will be the resolution?
There is unanimity in the view that the session under Senator Arranz was a
continuation of the morning session and that a minority of ten senators (Avelino et al)
may not, by leaving the Hall, prevent the other (Cuenco et al) twelve senators from

passing a resolution that met with their unanimous endorsement. The answer might be
different had the resolution been approved only by ten or less.
**Two senators were not present that time. Sen. Soto was in a hospital while Sen.
Confesor was in the USA.
Is the rump session (presided by Cuenco) a continuation of the morning session
(presided by Avelino)? Are there two sessions in one day? Was there a quorum
constituting such session?
The second session is a continuation of the morning session as evidenced by the
minutes entered into the journal. There were 23 senators considered to be in session
that time (including Soto, excluding Confesor). Hence, twelve senators constitute a
majority of the Senate of twenty three senators. When the Constitution declares that a
majority of each House shall constitute a quorum, the House does not mean all
the members. Even a majority of all the members constitute the House. There is a
difference between a majority of all the members of the House and a majority of
the House, the latter requiring less number than the first. Therefore an absolute
majority (12) of all the members of the Senate less one (23), constitutes constitutional
majority of the Senate for the purpose of a quorum. Furthermore, even if the twelve
did not constitute a quorum, they could have ordered the arrest of one, at least, of the
absent members; if one had been so arrested, there would be no doubt Quorum then,
and Senator Cuenco would have been elected just the same inasmuch as there would
be eleven for Cuenco, one against and one abstained.
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (filed by Avelino on March 14, 1949)
Avelino and his group (11 senators in all) insist that the SC take cognizance of the
case and that they are willing to bind themselves to the decision of the SC whether it
be right or wrong. Avelino contends that there is no constitutional quorum when
Cuenco was elected president. There are 24 senators in all. Two are absentee senators;
one being confined and the other abroad but this does not change the number of
senators nor does it change the majority which if mathematically construed is + 1;
in this case 12 (half of 24) plus 1 or 13 NOT 12. There being only 12 senators when
Cuenco was elected unanimously there was no quorum.
The Supreme Court, by a vote of seven resolved to assume jurisdiction over the case
in the light of subsequent events which justify its intervention. The Chief Justice
agrees with the result of the majoritys pronouncement on the quorum upon the
ground that, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, the constitutional
requirement in that regard has become a mere formalism, it appearing from the
evidence that any new session with a quorum would result in Cuencos election as
Senate President, and that the Cuenco group, taking cue from the dissenting opinions,
has been trying to satisfy such formalism by issuing compulsory processes against
senators of the Avelino group, but to no avail, because of the Avelinos persistent

efforts to block all avenues to constitutional processes. For this reason, the SC
believes that the Cuenco group has done enough to satisfy the requirements of the
Constitution and that the majoritys ruling is in conformity with substantial justice and
with the requirements of public interest. Therefore Cuenco has been legally elected as
Senate President and the petition is dismissed.
Justice Feria: (Concurring)
Art. 3 (4) Title VI of the Constitution of 1935 provided that the majority of all the
members of the National Assembly constitute a quorum to do business and the fact
that said provision was amended in the Constitution of 1939, so as to read a majority
of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, shows the intention of the
framers of the Constitution to base the majority, not on the number fixed or
provided for in the Constitution, but on actual members or incumbents, and this
must be limited to actual members who are not incapacitated to discharge their
duties by reason of death, incapacity, or absence from the jurisdiction of the
house or for other causes which make attendance of the member concerned
impossible, even through coercive process which each house is empowered to
issue to compel its members to attend the session in order to constitute a
quorum. That the amendment was intentional or made for some purpose, and not a
mere oversight, or for considering the use of the words of all the members as
unnecessary, is evidenced by the fact that Sec. 5 (5) Title VI of the original
Constitution which required concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the
National Assembly to expel a member was amended by Sec. 10 (3) Article VI of the
present Constitution, so as to require the concurrence of two-thirds of all the
members of each House. Therefore, as Senator Confesor was in the United States
and absent from the jurisdiction of the Senate, the actual members of the Senate at its
session of February 21, 1949, were twenty-three (23) and therefore 12 constituted a
majority.
FACTS: The petitioners, Senator Jose Avelino, in a quo warranto proceeding, asked
the court to declare him the rightful Senate President and oust the respondent,
Mariano Cuenco. In a session of the Senate, Tanadas request to deliver a speech in
order to formulate charges against then Senate President Avelino was approved. With
the leadership of the Senate President followed by his supporters, they deliberately
tried to delay and prevent Tanada from delivering his speech. The SP with his
supporters employed delaying tactics, the tried to adjourn the session then walked out.
Only 12 Senators were left in the hall. The members of the senate left continued the
session and Senator Cuenco was appointed as the Acting President of the Senate and
was recognized the next day by the President of the Philippines.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the court has jurisdiction of the case.
2. Whether or not Resolutions 67 & 68 was validly approved.

HELD:
1. The Court has no jurisdiction of the case because the subject matter is political in
nature and in doing so, the court will be against the doctrine of separation of powers.
To the first question, the answer is in the negative, in view of the separation of
powers, the political nature of the controversy (Alejandrino vs. Quezon, 46 Phil. 83;
Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil. 192; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1) and the
constitutional grant to the Senate of the power to elect its own president, which power
should not be interfered with, nor taken over, by the judiciary. We refused to take
cognizance of the Vera case even if the rights of the electors of the suspended senators
were alleged affected without any immediate remedy. A fortiori we should abstain in
this case because the selection of the presiding officer affect only the Senators
themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their officers, change or reinstate
them. Anyway, if, as the petition must imply to be acceptable, the majority of the
Senators want petitioner to preside, his remedy lies in the Senate Session Hall not
in the Supreme Court.
2. It was held that there is a quorum that 12 being the majority of 23. In fine, all the
four justice agree that the Court being confronted with the practical situation that of
the twenty three senators who may participate in the Senate deliberations in the days
immediately after this decision, twelve senators will support Senator Cuenco and, at
most, eleven will side with Senator Avelino, it would be most injudicious to declare
the latter as the rightful President of the Senate, that office being essentially one that
depends exclusively upon the will of the majority of the senators, the rule of the
Senate about tenure of the President of that body being amenable at any time by that
majority. And at any session hereafter held with thirteen or more senators, in order to
avoid all controversy arising from the divergence of opinion here about quorum and
for the benefit of all concerned,the said twelve senators who approved the resolutions
herein involved could ratify all their acts and thereby place them beyond the shadow
of a doubt.

Santiago v. Guingona, 298 SCRA 756


Facts: On July 31, 1998, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Francisco S.
Tatad instituted an original petition for quo warranto under Rule 66, Section 5,
Rules of Court, seeking the ouster of Senator Teofisto T. Guingona Jr. as minority
leader of the Senate and the declaration of Senator Tatad as the rightful minority
leader.
The following were likewise elected: Senator Ople as president pro tempore,
and Sen. Franklin M. Drilon as majority leader. He explained that those who had
voted for Senator Fernan comprised the "majority," while only those who had
voted for him, the losing nominee, belonged to the "minority."
During the discussion on who should constitute the Senate "minority," Sen.

Juan M. Flavier manifested that the senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP


Party numbering seven (7) and, thus, also a minority had chosen Senator
Guingona as the minority leader.
The following session day, the debate on the question continued, with Senators
Santiago and Tatad delivering privilege speeches. On the third session day, the
Senate met in caucus, but still failed to resolve the issue.
The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before this Court the
subject petition for quo warranto, alleging in the main that Senator Guingona had
been usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of Senate minority
leader, a position that, according to them, rightfully belonged to Senator Tatad.
Issue: From the parties' pleadings, the Court formulated the following issues for
resolution:
1. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the petition?
2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?
3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the
position of Senate minority leader?
4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in recognizing
Respondent Guingona as the minority leader?
Held: WHEREFORE, for the above reasons, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. SO
ORDERED.
Ratio: On grounds of respect for the basic concept of separation of powers,
courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of the legislature; it is not within
the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work.
Where no specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the
legislature must be given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and
promulgate as well as to implement them, before the courts may intervene. Being
merely matters of procedure, their observance are of no concern to the courts, for
said rules may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body at will, upon the
concurrence of a majority.
This Court has no authority to interfere and unilaterally intrude into that
exclusive realm, without running afoul of constitutional principles that it is bound
to protect and uphold the very duty that justifies the Court's being.
Constitutional respect and a becoming regard for the sovereign acts of a coequal
branch prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the Senate.
In view of the Courts jurisdiction
Petitioners principally invoke Avelino v. Cuenco in arguing that this Court has
jurisdiction to settle the issue of who is the lawful Senate minority leader. They
submit that the definitions of "majority" and "minority" involve an interpretation of
the Constitution.
Upon a motion for reconsideration, however, the Court ultimately assumed
jurisdiction (1) "in the light ofsubsequent events which justify its
intervention;" and (2) because the resolution of the issue hinged on the
interpretation of the constitutional provision on the presence of a quorum
to hold a session and therein elect a Senate President.
The Court rules that the validity of the selection of members of the Senate

Electoral Tribunal by the senators wasnot a political question. The choice of


these members did not depend on the Senate's "full discretionary authority," but
was subject to mandatory constitutional limitations. Thus, the Court held that not
only was it clearly within its jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the selection
proceedings, but it was also its duty to consider and determine the issue.
"Judicial power includes the duty of the court of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and
to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government." - 1987 Constitution
Well-settled is the doctrine, however, that jurisdiction over the subject matter
of a case is determined by the allegations of the complaint or
petition, regardless of whether the plaintiff or petitioner is entitled to the
reliefasserted. In light of the aforesaid allegations of petitioners, it is clear that
this Court has jurisdiction over the petition. It is well within the power and
jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether indeed the Senate or its officials
committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abuse their discretion in
exercise of their functions and prerogatives.

In view of constitutional violation


In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate
must be elected by a number constituting more than one half of all the members
thereof, it does not provide that the members who will not vote for him shall
ipso facto constitute the "minority", who could thereby elect the minority
leader. Verily, no law or regulation states that the defeated
candidate shall automatically become the minority leader.

Definition of minority and majority


Majority may also refer to "the group, party, or faction with the larger number
of votes," not necessarily more than one half. This is sometimes referred to as
plurality. In contrast, minority is "a group, party, or faction with a smaller number
of votes or adherents than the majority." Between two unequal parts or numbers
comprising a whole or totality, the greater number would obviously be the
majority, while the lesser would be the minority.

In a government with a multi-party system such as in the Philippines (as


pointed out by petitioners themselves), there could be several minority parties,
one of which has to be identified by the Comelec as the "dominant minority party"
for purposes of the general elections. In the prevailing composition of the present
Senate, members either belong to different political parties or are independent.
No constitutional or statutory provision prescribes which of the many minority
groups or the independents or a combination thereof has the right to select the
minority leader.

While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate


President and a House Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the manner of
selecting the other officers in both chambers of Congress. All that the
Charter says is that "each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem
necessary." In this regard, the Constitution vests in each house of Congress the
power "to determine the rules of its proceedings."

Pursuant thereto, the Senate formulated and adopted a set of rules to govern
its internal affairs. However, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the
positions of majority and minority leaders. Neither is there an open clause
providing specifically for such offices and prescribing the manner of creating them
or of choosing the holders thereof. At any rate, such offices, by tradition and long
practice, are actually extant.

In view of usurpation
Usurpation generally refers to unauthorized arbitrary assumption and
exercise of power by one without color of title or who is not entitled by
law thereto. A quo warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy to determine
the right or title to the contested public office and to oust the holder from its
enjoyment. The action may be brought by the solicitor general or a public
prosecutor or any person claiming to be entitled to the public office or position
usurped or unlawfully held or exercise by another.

In order for a quo warranto proceeding to be successful, the person suing must
show that he or she has a clearright to the contested office or to use or
exercise the functions of the office allegedly usurped or unlawfully held by the
respondent. In this case, petitioners present not sufficient proof of a
clear and indubitable franchise to the office of the Senate minority
leader. Furthermore, no grave abuse of discretion has been shown to
characterize any of his specific acts as minority leader.

In view of Fernans recognition of Guingona


"By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious or whimsical exercise of
judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to
perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where
the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion
and hostility."

By unanimous resolution of the members of this party that he be the minority


leader, he was recognized as such by the Senate President. Such formal
recognition by Respondent Fernan came only after at least two Senate sessions
and a caucus, wherein both sides were liberally allowed to articulate their

standpoints.

Under these circumstances, we believe that the Senate President cannot be


accused of "capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment" or of "an arbitrary and
despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility." Where no provision of the
Constitution, the laws or even the rules of the Senate has been clearly shown to
have been violated, disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot
be imputed to Senate officials for acts done within their competence and
authority.
FACTS:
During the first regular session of the eleventh Congress Sen. Marcelo B. Fernan
was declared the duly elected President of the Senate. The following were likewise
elected: Senator Ople as president pro tempore, and Sen. Franklin M. Drilon as
majority leader.
Senator Tatad thereafter manifested that, with the agreement of Senator
Santiago, allegedly the only other member of the minority, he was assuming the
position of minority leader. He explained that those who had voted for Senator
Fernan comprised the "majority," while only those who had voted for him, the
losing nominee, belonged to the "minority."

During the discussion on who should constitute the Senate "minority," Sen. Juan
M. Flavier manifested that the senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party
numbering seven (7) and, thus, also a minority had chosen Senator
Guingona as the minority leader. No consensus on the matter was arrived at. The
following session day, the debate on the question continued, with Senators
Santiago and Tatad delivering privilege speeches. On the third session day, the
Senate met in caucus, but still failed to resolve the issue.
On July 30, 1998, the majority leader informed the body chat he was in receipt of
a letter signed by the seven Lakas-NUCD-UMDP senators, stating that they had
elected Senator Guingona as the minority leader. By virtue thereof, the Senate
President formally recognized Senator Guingona as the minority leader of the
Senate.
The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before this Court the subject
petition for quo warranto, alleging in the main that Senator Guingona had been
usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of Senate minority leader,
a position that, according to them, rightfully belonged to Senator Tatad.
ISSUES:
1. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the petition?
2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?
3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding and
exercising the position of Senate minority leader
4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in
recognizing Respondent Guingona as the minority leader?
HELD:
FIRST ISSUE

The Court initially declined to resolve the question of who was the rightful Senate
President, since it was deemed a political controversy falling exclusively within the
domain of the Senate. Upon a motion for reconsideration, however, the Court
ultimately assumed jurisdiction (1) "in the light of subsequent events which justify
its intervention;" and (2) because the resolution of the issue hinged on the
interpretation of the constitutional provision on the presence of a quorum to hold
a session and therein elect a Senate President (read Avelino vs. Cuenco about the
scope of the Court's power of judicial review).
The Court ruled that the validity of the selection of members of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal by the senators was not a political question. The choice of these
members did not depend on the Senate's "full discretionary authority," but was
subject to mandatory constitutional limitations. Thus, the Court held that not only
was it clearly within its jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the selection
proceedings, but it was also its duty to consider and determine the issue.
SECOND ISSUE
There was no violation. The Court finds that the interpretation proposed by
petitioners finds no clear support from the Constitution, the laws, the Rules of the
Senate or even from practices of the Upper House. The Constitution mandates
that the President of the Senate must be elected by a number constituting more
than one half of all the members thereof, it however does not provide that the
members who will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the "minority," who
could thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, no law or regulation states that the
defeated candidate shall automatically become the minority leader. While the
Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate President and a House
Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers
in both chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that "[e]ach House shall
choose such other officers as it may deem necessary." The method of choosing
who will be such other officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the
prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision. Therefore, such
method must be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by this Court.
THIRD ISSUE

Usurpation generally refers to unauthorized arbitrary assumption and exercise of


power by one without color of title or who is not entitled by law thereto. A quo
warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy to determine the right or title to
the contested public office and to oust the holder from its enjoyment. The action
may be brought by the solicitor general or a public prosecutor or any person
claiming to be entitled to the public office or position usurped or unlawfully held
or exercise by another.
In order for a quo warranto proceeding to be successful, the person suing must
show that he or she has a clearright to the contested office or to use or exercise
the functions of the office allegedly usurped or unlawfully held by the respondent.
In this case, petitioners present not sufficient proof of a clear and indubitable

franchise to the office of the Senate minority leader. Furthermore, no grave abuse
of discretion has been shown to characterize any of his specific acts as minority
leader.
FOURTH ISSUE
Grave abuse of discretion - such capricious or whimsical exercise of
judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of
discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of
positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law,
or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is
exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion
and hostility.
By the above standard, we hold that Respondent Fernan did not gravely abuse his
discretion as Senate President in recognizing Respondent Guingona as the
minority leader. To recall, the latter belongs to one of the minority parties in the
Senate, the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the members of this
party that he be the minority leader, he was recognized as such by the Senate
President. Such formal recognition by Respondent Fernan came only after at least
two Senate sessions and a caucus, wherein both sides were liberally allowed to
articulate their standpoints.
Therefore, the Senate President cannot be accused of "capricious or whimsical
exercise of judgment" or of "an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of
passion or hostility." Where no provision of the Constitution, the laws or even the
rules of the Senate has been clearly shown to have been violated, disregarded or
overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials for
acts done within their competence and authority.

Sec. 16 (2)
People v. Jalosjos, 324 SCRA 689
FACTS:
Accused-appellant Romeo G. Jalosjos is a full-fledged member of Congress who is
now confined at the national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape
on 2 counts and acts of lasciviousness on 6 counts is pending appeal.
He filed a Motion asking that he be allowed to fully discharge the duties of
Congressman, including attendance at legislative sessions and committee
meetings despite his having been convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable
offense.
He argues that the sovereign electorate of the 1st District of Zamboanga del
Norte chose him as their representative in Congress.
Having been re-elected by his constituents, he has the duty to perform the
functions of a Congressman.
ISSUE:
Does re-election to a public office gives priority to any other right or interest,
including the police power of the State.
HELD:
The privileges and rights arising from having been elected may be enlarged or
restricted by law.
True, election is the expression of the sovereign power of the people. In the
exercise of suffrage, a free people expects to achieve the continuity of
government and the perpetuation of its benefits. However, inspite of its

importance, the privileges and rights arising from having been elected may be
enlarged or restricted by law. Our first task is to ascertain the applicable law.
We start with the incontestable proposition that all top officials of Government
executive, legislative, and judicial are subject to the majesty of law. There is an
unfortunate misimpression in the public mind that election or appointment to high
government office, by itself, frees the official from the common restrains of
general law. Privilege has to be granted by law, not inferred from the duties of a
position. In fact, the higher the rank, the greater is the requirement of obedience
rather than exemption.
The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and members of the House of
Representatives, the later customarily addressed as Congressmen, arises from a
provision of the Constitution. The history of the provision shows that the privilege
has always been granted in a restrictive sense. The provision granting an
exemption as a special privilege cannot be extended beyond the ordinary
meaning of its terms. It may not be extended by intendment, implication or
equitable considerations.
A Congressman like the accused-appellant, convicted under Title Eleven of the
Revised Penal Code could not claim parliamentary immunity form arrest. He was
subject to the same general laws governing all persons still to be tried or whose
convictions were pending appeal. x x x For offenses punishable by more than six
years imprisonment, there was no immunity from arrest.
The accused-appellant argues that a member of Congress function to attend
sessions is underscored by Section 16 (2) , Article VI of the Constitution. However,
the accused-appellant has not given any reason why he should be exempted from
the operation of Section 11, Article VI of the Constitution. The members of
Congress cannot compel absent members to attend sessions if the reason for the
absence is a legitimate one. The confinement of a Congressman charged with a
crime punishable by imprisonment of more than six years is not merely authorized
by law, it has constitutional foundations.

Facts: The accused-appellant, Romeo Jalosjos, is a full-fledged member of Congress


who is confined at the national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape and
acts of lasciviousness is pending appeal. The accused-appellant filed a motion asking
that he be allowed to fully discharge the duties of a Congressman, including
attendance at legislative sessions and committee meetings despite his having been
convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable offense on the basis of popular
sovereignty and the need for his constituents to be represented
Issue: Whether or not accused-appellant should be allowed to discharge mandate as
member of House of Representatives
Held: Election is the expression of the sovereign power of the people. However,
inspite of its importance, the privileges and rights arising from having been elected
may be enlarged or restricted by law.
The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and members of the House of
Representatives arises from a provision of the Constitution. The privilege has always
been granted in a restrictive sense. The provision granting an exemption as a special
privilege cannot be extended beyond the ordinary meaning of its terms. It may not be
extended by intendment, implication or equitable considerations.

The accused-appellant has not given any reason why he should be exempted from the
operation of Sec. 11, Art. VI of the Constitution. The members of Congress cannot
compel absent members to attend sessions if the reason for the absence is a legitimate
one. The confinement of a Congressman charged with a crime punishable by
imprisonment of more than six years is not merely authorized by law, it has
constitutional foundations. To allow accused-appellant to attend congressional
sessions and committee meetings for 5 days or more in a week will virtually make
him a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to his position. Such an aberrant
situation not only elevates accused-appellants status to that of a special class, it also
would be a mockery of the purposes of the correction system.
Facts:
The victim of rape in this case was a minor below twelve (12) years of age,
who herself narrated the shameful details of the dastardly act against her virtue.
The victim was peddled for commercial sex by her own guardian whom she
treated as a foster father. Because the complainantwas a willing victim, the acts
of rape were preceded by several acts of lasciviousness on distinctlyseparate
occasions..The accused was then CongressmanRomeo Jalosjoswho, inspite of his
having been charged and convicted by the trial court for statutory rape, was
stillre-elected to his congressional office. On December 16, 1996, two (2)
informations for the crime ofstatutory rape and twelve (12) for acts of
lasciviousness, were filed against accused-appellant
The victim, Maria Rosilyn, grew up in a two-storey apartment in Pasay City
under the care of SimplicioDelantar, whom she treated as her own father.
Simplicio was a fifty-six year old homosexual whose ostensible source of income
was selling longganiza and tocino and accepting boarders at his house.He,
however, was also engaged in the skin trade as a pimp.
Rosilyn ran away from home with the help of one of their boarders. They
went tothe Pasay City Police where she executed a sworn statement against
SimplicioDelantar. Rosilynwas thereafter taken to the custody of the Department
of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).The National Bureau of Investigation
(NBI) conducted an investigation, which eventually led to thefiling of criminal
charges against accused-appellant He was also convicted on six (6) counts of acts
of lasciviousness.
Issue/s
1.

WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE


ACCUSED-APPELLANT BASED ON TESTIMONY OF THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT,
CONSIDERING THE ATTENDANT INDICIA OF INCONSISTENCIES AND UNTRUTHS.

2.

WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN DISREGARDING


THE SIGNIFICANCE
OF THE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS GIVEN BY THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT.

3.

WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN DISREGARDING


THE SIGNIFICANCEOF PRIVATE COMPLAINANT'S FAILURE TO IDENTIFY THE
ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

4.

WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT THE
PRIVATECOMPLAINANT WAS A MINOR LESS THAN TWELVE YEARS OF AGE WHEN
THECLAIMED INCIDENTS ALLEGEDLY TOOK PLACE.

5.

WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT


RAPE WASCOMMITTED AGAINST THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT.
Ruling
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the RTC Makati with
modification of penalty.

1.

TESTIMONY OF VICTIM; DOCTRINE OFFALSUS IN UNO FALSUS IN OMNIBUS;


APPLICATION THEREOF NOT AN ABSOLUTERULE OF LAW; CASE AT BAR. The
contention is without merit. Falsus in unofalsus inomnibus is not an absolute rule
of law and is in fact rarely applied in modernjurisprudence.Trier of facts are
notbound to believe all that any witness has said; they may accept some portions
of his testimony and reject other portions, according to what seems to them, upon
other facts and circumstances to be thetruth . . . Even when witnesses are found
to have deliberately falsified in some material particulars,the jury are not required
to reject the whole of their uncorroborated testimony, but may credit suchportions
as they deem worthy of belief.

2.

CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES; NOT AFFECTED BY SOMEAMBIGUOUS ANSWERS ON


WITNESS STAND, WHICH REFERS TO MINOR ANDPERIPHERAL DETAILS; CASE AT
BARA reading of the pertinent transcript ofstenographic notes reveals that Rosilyn
was in fact firm and consistent on the fact of rape andlascivious conduct
committed on her by accused-appellant. She answered in clear, simple andnatural
words customary of children of her age.

3.

IDENTIFICATION OF THE ACCUSED; DEFECT IN OUT-OF-COURT


IDENTIFICATION

OF

THE

ACCUSED

CAN

BE

CURED

BY

AN

IDENTIFICATIONSUBSEQUENTLY MADE IN COURT; APPLICATION IN CASE AT

BAR.Contrary to thecontentions of accused-appellant, the records reveal


that Rosilyn positively and unhesitatingly identified accused-appellant at
the courtroom. Such identification during the trial cannot be
diminished by the fact that in her sworn statement, Rosilyn referred to
accused-appellant as her abuser based on the name she heard from the
person to whom she was introduced and on the name she saw and read in
accused-appellant's office.

4.

AGE OF THE VICTIM IN RAPE CASES MAY BE ESTABLISHED BY


DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE OTHER THAN THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE; PRESENT INCASE
AT BAR. It is settled that in cases of statutory rape, the age of the victim may
be provedby the presentation of her birth certificate. In the case at bar, accusedappellant contends that the birth certificate of Rosilyn should not have been
considered by the trial court because said birthcertificate has already been
ordered cancelled and expunged from the records by the Regional TrialCourt of
Manila, Branch 38, in Special Proceedings No. 97-81893, dated April 11, 1997.
Even assuming the absence of a valid birth certificate, there is sufficient and
ample proof of the complainant's age in the records. Rosilyn's Baptismal
Certificate can likewise serve as proofof her age. In People v. Liban, we ruled that
the birth certificate, or in lieu thereof.

5.

WHEN CONSUMMATED; SUFFICIENTLYESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. True, in


People v. Campuhan, we explained that thephrase, "the mere touching of the
external genitalia by the penis capable of consummating thesexual act is
sufficient to constitute carnal knowledge.Theinevitable contact between accusedappellant's penis, and at the very least, the labia of the pudendum of Rosilyn, was
confirmed when she felt pain inside her vagina when the "idiniin" part ofaccusedappellant's sex ritual was performed.

6.

STATUTORY RAPE; ELEMENTS; ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. At the time of


commission of the crimes complained of herein in 1996, statutory rape was
penalizedunder Section 11 of R.A. 7659, which amended Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code, to wit:When and how rape is committed. Rape is
committed by having carnal knowledge of a womanunder any of the following
circumstances: 1. By using force or intimidation; 2. When the woman isdeprived of
reason or otherwise unconscious; and 3. When the woman is under twelve years
of age or is demented

Sec. 16 (3)
Arroyo v. De Venecia, 277 CSRA 268
Facts: Petitioners are members of the House of Representatives. They brought
this suit against respondents charging violation of the rules of the House which
petitioners claim are "constitutionally mandated" so that their violation is
tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.
In the course of his interpellation, Rep. Arroyo announced that he was going to
raise a question on the quorum, although until the end of his interpellation he
never did.
On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified by the respective
secretaries of both Houses of Congress as having been finally passed by the
House of Representatives and by the Senate on November 21, 1996. The enrolled
bill was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on November 22, 1996.
Issue: Whether R.A. No. 8240 is null and void because it was passed in violation
of the rules of the House;
Whether the certification of Speaker De Venecia that the law was properly passed
is false and spurious;
Whether the Chair, in the process of submitting and certifying the law violated
House Rules; and
Whether a certiorari/prohibition will be granted.
Held: After considering the arguments of the parties, the Court finds no ground
for holding that Congress committed a grave abuse of discretion in enacting R.A.
No. 8240. This case is therefore dismissed.
Ratio: To disregard the "enrolled bill" rule in such cases would be to disregard the
respect due the other two departments of our government. It would be an
unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for this Court
either to set aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks the House
has disregarded its own rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the
political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial forum when petitioners can find
their remedy in that department itself. The Court has not been invested with a
roving commission to inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of legislative
skullduggery. It would be acting in excess of its power and would itself be guilty of
grave abuse of its discretion were it to do so. The suggestion made in a case may
instead appropriately be made here: petitioners can seek the enactment of a new
law or the repeal or amendment of R.A. No. 8240. In the absence of anything to
the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any House thereof acted in
the good faith belief that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and deference
rather than disrespect is due the judgment of that body.
In view of what is essential
Merely internal rules of procedure of the House rather than constitutional
requirements for the enactment of a law, i.e., Art. VI, 26-27 are VIOLATED.
First, in Osmea v. Pendatun, it was held: "At any rate, courts have declared that
'the rules adopted by deliberative bodies are subject to revocation, modification
or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them.' And it has been said that
'Parliamentary rules are merely procedural, and with their observance, the courts
have no concern. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative
body.' Consequently, 'mere failure to conform to parliamentary usage will not

invalidate the action (taken by a deliberative body) when the requisite number of
members have agreed to a particular measure.'"
Rules are hardly permanent in character. The prevailing view is that they are
subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting
them as they are primarily procedural. Courts ordinarily have no concern with
their observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body.
Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not have the effect of
nullifying the act taken if the requisite number of members have agreed
to a particular measure.
In view of the Courts jurisdiction
This Court's function is merely to check whether or not the governmental branch
or agency has gone beyond the constitutional limits of its jurisdiction, not that it
erred or has a different view. In the absence of a showing . . . of grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court to
exercise its corrective power. . . . It has no power to look into what it thinks is
apparent error. If, then, the established rule is that courts cannot declare an act of
the legislature void on account merely of noncompliance with rules of
procedure made by itself, it follows that such a case does not present a
situation in which a branch of the government has "gone beyond the
constitutional limits of its jurisdiction".
In view of House Rules
No rule of the House of Representatives has been cited which specifically requires
that in cases such as this involving approval of a conference committee report,
the Chair must restate the motion and conduct a viva voce or nominal voting.
Mr. TOLENTINO. The fact that nobody objects means a unanimous action of the
House. Insofar as the matter of procedure is concerned, this has been a precedent
since I came here seven years ago, and it has been the procedure in this House
that if somebody objects, then a debate follows and after the debate, then the
voting comes in.
Nor does the Constitution require that the yeas and the nays of the Members be
taken every time a House has to vote, except only in the following instances: upon
the last and third readings of a bill, at the request of one-fifth of the
Members present, and in repassing a bill over the veto of the President.
In view of grave abuse
Indeed, the phrase "grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction" has a settled meaning in the jurisprudence of procedure. It means
such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment by a tribunal exercising
judicial or quasi judicial power as to amount to lack of power.
In view of the enrolled bill doctrine
Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of H. No. 7198 by the Speaker of the
House and the President of the Senate and the certification by the secretaries of
both Houses of Congress that it was passed on November 21, 1996 are conclusive
of its due enactment.
This Court quoted from Wigmore on Evidence the following excerpt which
embodies good, if old-fashioned democratic theory: Instead of trusting a faithful
Judiciary to check an inefficient Legislature, they should turn to improve the
Legislature. The sensible solution is not to patch and mend casual errors by asking

the Judiciary to violate legal principle and to do impossibilities with the


Constitution; but to represent ourselves with competent, careful, and honest
legislators, the work of whose hands on the statute-roll may come to reflect credit
upon the name of popular government.
(In view of justiciability according to PUNO, J.)
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the petitioner
are non-justiciable. Nor do I agree that we will trivialize the principle of
separation of power if we assume jurisdiction over the case at bar. Even in the
United States, the principle of separation of power is no longer an impregnable
impediment against the interposition of judicial power on cases involving breach
of rules of procedure by legislators.

The Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It


may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights,
and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode or method of
proceedings established by the rule and the result which is sought to be attained.
But within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination
of the House, and it is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other way
would be better, more accurate, or even more just.

Facts: RA 8240 which amends certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue
Code by imposing so-called sin taxes on the manufacture and sale of beer and
cigarettes were challenged by Representative Joker Arroyo. The bicameral committee
after submitting its report to the House, the chairman of the committee proceeded to
deliver his sponsorship speech and was interpellated. Arroyo also interrupted to move
to adjourn for lack of quorum. His motion was defeated and put to a vote. The
interpellation of the sponsor proceeded and the bill was approved on its third reading.
Issue: Whether or not Arroyo should have been heard for his call to adjourn for lack
of quorum?
Decision: Petition dismissed. It is unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a
coequal department of the Court either to set aside a legislative action as void because
the Court thinks the House has disregarded its own rules of procedure or to allow
those defeated in the political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial forum when the
petitioners can find their remedy in their own department.
Facts: A petition was filed challenging the validity of RA 8240, which amends
certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code. Petitioners, who are
members of the House of Representatives, charged that there is violation of the
rules of the House which petitioners claim are constitutionally-mandated so that
their violation is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.
The law originated in the House of Representatives. The Senate approved it with
certain amendments. A bicameral conference committee was formed to reconcile
the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate versions of the bill. The

bicameral committee submitted its report to the House. During the interpellations,
Rep. Arroyo made an interruption and moved to adjourn for lack of quorum. But
after a roll call, the Chair declared the presence of a quorum. The interpellation
then proceeded. After Rep. Arroyos interpellation of the sponsor of the committee
report, Majority Leader Albano moved for the approval and ratification of the
conference committee report. The Chair called out for objections to the motion.
Then the Chairdeclared: There being none, approved. At the same time the
Chair was saying this, Rep. Arroyo was asking, What is thatMr. Speaker? The
Chairand Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously. Thus, although Rep. Arroyo
subsequently objected to the Majority Leaders motion, the approval of the
conference committee report had by then already been declared by the Chair.
On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified by the respective
secretaries of both Houses of Congress. The enrolled bill was signed into law by
President Ramos.
Issue: Whether or not RA 8240 is null and void because it was passed in violation
of the rules of the House
Held:
Rules of each House of Congress are hardly permanent in character. They are
subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting
them as they are primarily procedural. Courts ordinarily have no concern with
their observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body.
Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not have the effect of
nullifying the act taken if the requisite number of members has agreed to a
particular measure. But this is subject to qualification. Where the construction to
be given to a rule affects person other than members of the legislative body, the
question presented isnecessarily judicial in character. Even its validity is open to
question in a case where private rights are involved.
In the case, no rights of private individuals are involved but only those of a
member who, instead of seeking redress in the House, chose to transfer the
dispute to the Court.
The matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure of the House
with which the Court should not be concerned. The claim is not that there was no
quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the
presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyos earlier motion to adjourn for lack of quorum
had already been defeated, as the roll call established the existence of a quorum.
The question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly especially when the quorum
is obviously present for the purpose of delaying the business of the House.
FACTS:
Petitioners are members of the House of Representatives. They brought this suit against
respondents Jose de Venecia, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Raul Daza,
Majority Leader Rodolfo Albano, the Executive Secretary, the Secretary of Finance, and the
Commissioner of Internal Revenue, charging violation of the rules of the House which petitioners
claim are constitutionally mandated so that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the
Constitution.
The law originated in the House of Representatives as H. No. 7198. This bill was approved on
third reading on September 12, 1996 and transmitted on September 16, 1996 to the Senate which
approved it with certain amendments on third reading on November 17, 1996. A bicameral
conference committee was formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate
versions of the bill.

The bicameral conference committee submitted its report to the House at 8 a.m. on November 21,
1996. At 11:48 a.m., after a recess, Rep. Exequiel Javier, chairman of the Committee on Ways and
Means, proceeded to deliver his sponsorship speech, after which he was interpellated.
Rep. Rogelio Sarmiento was first to interpellate. He was interrupted when Rep. Arroyo moved to
adjourn for lack of quorum.
Rep. Antonio Cuenco objected to the motion and asked for a head count. After a roll call, the
Chair (Deputy Speaker Raul Daza) declared the presence of aquorum. Rep. Arroyo appealed the
ruling of the Chair, but his motion was defeated when put to a vote. The interpellation of the
sponsor thereafter proceeded.
Petitioner Rep. Joker Arroyo registered to interpellate. He was fourth in the order. In the course of
his interpellation, Rep. Arroyo announced that he was going to raise a question on the quorum,
although until the end of his interpellation he never did.
ISSUE: Whether or not the signing of H. No. 7189 by the Speaker of the House, President of the
Senate and the certification by the secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it was passed on
November 21, 1996 are conclusive of its due enactment.
RULING:
This Court will respect the certification of the presiding officers of both Houses that a bill
has been duly passed. Under this rule, this Court has refused to determine claims that the threefourths vote needed to pass a proposed amendment to the Constitution had not been obtained,
because a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports absolute verity and is binding on the
courts. This Court quoted from Wigmore on Evidence the following excerpt which embodies
good, if old-fashioned, democratic theory:

The truth is that many have been carried away with the righteous desire to check at any cost
the misdoings of Legislatures. They have set such store by the Judiciary for this purpose that
they have almost made them a second and higher Legislature. But they aim in the wrong
direction. Instead of trusting a faithful Judiciary to check an inefficient Legislature, they
should turn to improve the Legislature. The sensible solution is not to patch and mend casual
errors by asking the Judiciary to violate legal principle and to do impossibilities with the
Constitution; but to represent ourselves with competent, careful, and honest legislators, the
work of whose hands on the statute-roll may come to reflect credit upon the name of popular
government.

The enrolled bill doctrine, as a rule of evidence, is well established.


As the President has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in
the custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of the United
States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and executive departments of
the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of enacting and executing the laws, that it
was passed by Congress. The respect due to coequal and independent departments requires the
judicial department to act upon that assurance, and to accept, as having passed Congress, all
bills authenticated in the manner stated; leaving the court to determine, when the question
properly arises, whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the Constitution.

The due enactment of the law in question is confirmed by the Journal of the House of November
21, 1996 which shows that the conference committee report on H. No. 7198, which became R.A.
No. 8240, was approved on that day. The keeping of the Journal is required by the Constitution.
Art. VI, 16(4). Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish
the same, excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, affect national security; and the yeas and
nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, be entered in the
Journal.
The Journal is regarded as conclusive with respect to matters that are required by the
Constitution to be recorded therein. With respect to other matters, in the absence of evidence to
the contrary, the Journals have also been accorded conclusive effect.
It would be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for this Court
either to set aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks the House has disregarded
its own rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the political arena to seek a rematch in the
judicial forum when petitioners can find their remedy in that department itself. The Court has not
been invested with a roving commission to inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of legislative
skullduggery. It would be acting in excess of its power and would itself be guilty of grave abuse of
its discretion were it to do so. The suggestion made in a case may instead appropriately be made
here: petitioners can seek the enactment of a new law or the repeal or amendment of R.A. No.
8240. In the absence of anything to the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any

House thereof acted in the good faith belief that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and
deference rather than disrespect is due the judgment of that body

Osmena v. Pendatun, 109 SCRA 863


FACTS: Congressman Osmena petitioned for declaratory relief, certiorari and
prohibition with preliminary injunction against Congressman Pendatun and 14 others
in their capacity as member of the Special Committee created by House Resolution #
59. Specifically, petitioner asked for the annulment of the resolution on the ground of
infringement of his parliamentary immunity; and asked the member of the Special
Committee be enjoined from proceeding, as provided by Resolution # 59, requiring
the petitioner to substantiate his charges against the President during his privilege
speech entitled A Message to Garcia wherein he spoke of derogatory remarks of the
Presidents administration selling pardons. For refusing to provide evidence as the
basis of his allegations, Osmena was suspended for 15 months for the serious
disorderly behavior.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not petitioner has complete parliamentary immunity as provided by the
Constitution.
2. Whether or not petitioners words constitute disorderly conduct.
3. Whether or not the taking up of other business matters bars the House from
investigating the speech and words of Osmena.
4. Whether or not the House has the power to suspend its members.
HELD:
1. Petitioner has immunity but it does not protect him from responsibility before the
legislative body itself as stated in the provision that xxx shall not be questioned in
any other place.
2. What constitutes disorderly conduct is within the interpretation of the legislative
body and not the judiciary, because it is a matter that depends mainly on the factual
circumstances of which the House knows best. Anything to the contrary will amount
to encroachment of power.
3. Resolution # 59 was unanimously approved by the House and such approval
amounted to the suspension of the House Rules, which according to the standard
parliamentary practice may be done by unanimous consent.
4. For unparliamentary conduct, members of the Congress have been, or could be
censured, committed to prison, even expelled by the votes of their colleagues.

Facts:
On July 14, 1960, Congressman Sergio Osmea, Jr., submitted to the Supreme
Court a verified petition for "declaratory relief, certiorari and prohibition with
preliminary injunction" against Congressman Salapida K. Pendatun and fourteen
other congressmen in their capacity as members of the Special
Committee created by House Resolution No. 59.
He asked for annulment of such Resolution on the ground of infringenment of his
parliamentary immunity; he also asked, principally, that said members of the
special committee be enjoined from proceeding in accordance with
it, particularly the portion authorizing them to require him to
substantiate his charges against the President with the admonition that
if he failed to do so, he must show cause why the House should not
punish him.
The petition attached a copy of House Resolution No. 59, where it was stated that
Sergio Osmea, Jr., made a privilege speech entitled a Message to Garcia. There,
he claimed to have been hearing of ugly reports that the government has been
selling free things at premium prices. He also claimed that even pardons are for
sale regardless of the gravity of the case.
The resolution stated that these charges, if made maliciously or recklessly and
without basis in truth, would constitute a serious assault upon the dignity of the
presidential office and would expose it to contempt and disrepute.
The resolution formed a special committee of fifteen Members to investigate the
truth of the charges against the President of the Philippines made by Osmea, Jr.
It was authorized to summon him to appear before it to substantiate his charges,
as well as to require the attendance of witnesses and/or the production of
pertinent papers before it, and if he fails to do so he would be required to show
cause why he should not be punished by the House. The special committee shall
submit to the House a report of its findings before the adjournment of the present
special session of the Congress of the Philippines.
In support of his request, Osmea alleged that the Resolution violated his
constitutional absolute parliamentary immunity for speeches delivered in the
House; second, his words constituted no actionable conduct; and third, after his
allegedly objectionable speech and words, the House took up other business,
and Rule XVII, sec. 7 of the Rules of House provides that if other business
has intervened after the member had uttered obnoxious words in
debate, he shall not be held to answer therefor nor be subject to
censure by the House.
The Supreme Court decided to hear the matter further, and required respondents
to answer, without issuing any preliminary injunction.
The special committee continued to perform its task, and after giving
Congressman Osmea a chance to defend himself, found him guilty of serious
disorderly behavior and acting on such report, the House approved on the same
day House Resolution No. 175, declaring him guilty as recommended, and
suspending him from office for fifteen months.
The respondents filed their answer where they challenged the jurisdiction of this
Court to entertain the petition, defended the power of Congress to discipline its

members with suspension and then invited attention to the fact that Congress
having ended its session, the Committee had thereby ceased to exist.
After the new resolution, Osmena added that the House has no power under the
Constitution, to suspend one of its members.
Issue:
Can Osmena be held liable for his speech?
Held: Yes. Petition dismissed.
Ratio:
Section 15, Article VI of our Constitution provides that "for any speech or debate"
in Congress, the Senators or Members of the House of Representative "shall not
be questioned in any other place." The provision has always been understood to
mean that although exempt from prosecution or civil actions for their
words uttered in Congress, the members of Congress may, nevertheless, be
questioned in Congress itself.
Furthermore, the Rules of the House which petitioner himself has invoked (Rule
XVII, sec. 7), recognize the House's power to hold a member responsible "for
words spoken in debate."
Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity whose purpose "is to enable
and encourage a representative of the public to discharge his public trust with
firmness and success" for "it is indispensably necessary that he should enjoy the
fullest liberty of speech, and that he should be protected from the resentment of
every one it may offend."
It guarantees the legislator complete freedom of expression without fear of being
made responsible in criminal or civilactions before the courts or any other forum
outside of the Congressional Hall. But it does not protect him from
responsibility before the legislative body itself whenever his words and
conduct are considered by the latter disorderly or unbecoming a
member.
For unparliamentary conduct, members of Parliament or of Congress have been
censured, committed to prison, and even expelled by the votes of their
colleagues. This was the traditional power of legislative assemblies to take
disciplinary action against its members, including imprisonment, suspension or
expulsion. For instance, the Philippine Senate, in April 1949, suspended a senator
for one year.
Needless to add, the Rules of Philippine House of Representatives provide that the
parliamentary practices of the Congress of the United States shall apply in a
supplementary manner to its proceedings.
This brings up the third point of petitioner: the House may no longer take
action against him, because after his speech it had taken up other business.
Respondents answer that Resolution No. 59 was unanimously approved by the
House, that such approval amounted to a suspension of the House Rules, which
according to standard parliamentary practice may done by unanimous consent.

Granted that the House may suspended the operation of its Rules, it may not,
however, affect past acts or renew its rights to take action which had already
lapsed.
The situation might thus be compared to laws extending the period of
limitation of actions and making them applicable to actions that had
lapsed. At any rate, courts are subject to revocation modification or
waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them. Mere failure
to conform to parliamentary usage will not invalidate the action taken by
a deliberative body when the required number of members have agreed
to a particular measure.
The following is quoted from a reported decision of the Supreme court of
Tennessee:
The rule here invoked is one of parliamentary procedure, and it is uniformly held
that it is within the power of all deliberative bodies to abolish, modify, or waive
their own rules of procedure, adopted for the orderly con duct of business, and as
security against hasty action. (Certain American cases)
In the case of Congressman Stanbery of Ohio, who insulted the Speaker, was
censured by the House, despite the argument that other business had intervened
after the objectionable remarks.
On the question whether delivery of speeches attacking the Chief Executive
constitutes disorderly conduct for which Osmea may be disciplined, the court
believed that the House is the judge of what constitutes disorderly behaviour, not
only because the Constitution has conferred jurisdiction upon it, but also
because the matter depends mainly on factual circumstances of which
the House knows best but which can not be depicted in black and white
for presentation to, and adjudication by the Courts. For one thing, if this
Court assumed the power to determine whether Osmea conduct constituted
disorderly behaviour, it would thereby have assumed appellate jurisdiction,
which
the
Constitution
never
intended
to
confer
upon
a
coordinate branch of the Government. This was due to the theory of
separation of powers fastidiously observed by this. Each department, it has been
said, had exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction and is supreme
within its own sphere. (Angara vs. Electoral Commission.)
The general rule has been applied in other cases to cause the courts to refuse to
intervene in what are exclusively legislative functions. Thus, where the stated
Senate is given the power to example a member, the court will not review its
action or revise even a most arbitrary or unfair decision.
Clifford vs. French- several senators who had been expelled by the State Senate of
California for having taken a bribe, filed mandamus proceeding to compel
reinstatement, alleging the Senate had given them no hearing, nor a chance to
make defense, besides falsity of the charges of bribery. The Supreme Court of
California declined to interfere:
Under our form of government, the judicial department has no power to revise
even the most arbitrary and unfair action of the legislative department, due to the
Constitution. Every legislative body in which is vested the general legislative
power of the state has the implied power to expel a member for any cause which
it may deem sufficient.

In Hiss. vs. Barlett, it was said that this power is inherent in every legislative
body; that it is necessary to the to enable the body 'to perform its high functions,
and is necessary to the safety of the state; That it is a power of self-protection,
and that the legislative body must necessarily be the sole judge of the exigency
which may justify and require its exercise. Given the exercise of the power
committed to it, the senate is supreme. An attempt by this court to direct or
control the legislature, or either house, in the exercise of the power, would be an
attempt to exercise legislative functions, which it is expressly forbidden to do.
The Court merely refuses to disregard the allocation of constitutional functions
which it is our special duty to maintain. Indeed, in the interest of comity, we found
the House of Representatives of the United States taking the position upon at
least two occasions.
Petitioner's principal argument against the House's power to suspend is the
Alejandrino precedent. In 1924, Senator Alejandrino was, by resolution of Senate,
suspended from office for 12 months because he had assaulted another member
of that Body. The Senator challenged the validity of the resolution. Although this
Court held that in view of the separation of powers, it had no jurisdiction to
compel the Senate to reinstate petitioner, it nevertheless went on to say the
Senate had no power to adopt the resolution because suspension for 12 months
amounted to removal, and the Jones Law gave the Senate no power to
remove an appointive member, like Senator Alejandrino. The Jones Law
specifically provided that "each house may punish its members for disorderly
behaviour,
and,
with
the
concurrence
of
two-thirds
votes,
expel
anelective member. The Jones Law empowered the Governor General
to appoint Senators. Alejandrino was one.
The opinion in that case stated that "suspension deprives the electoral district of
representation without that district being afforded any means by which to fill that
vacancy." But that remark should be understood to refer particularly to the
appointive senator who was then the affected party.
Now the Congress has the full legislative powers and prerogatives of a sovereign
nation, except as restricted by the Constitution. In the Alejandrino case, the Court
reached the conclusion that the Jones Law did not give the Senate the power it
then exercisedthe power of suspension for one year. Now. the Congress has the
inherent legislative prerogative of suspension which the Constitution did not
impair.
The Legislative power of the Philippine Congress is plenary, limited by the
Republic's Constitution. So that any power deemed to be legislative by usage or
tradition, is necessarily possessed by the Philippine Congress, unless the
Constitution provides otherwise.
In any event, petitioner's argument as to the deprivation of the district's
representation can not be weighty, becuase deliberative bodies have the power in
proper cases, to commit one of their members to jail.
Now come questions of procedure and jurisdiction. The petition intended to
prevent the Special Committee from acting tin pursuance of House Resolution No.
59. Because no preliminary injunction had been issued, the Committee performed
its task, reported to the House, and the latter approved the suspension order. The
House had closed it session, and the Committee has ceased to exist as such. It

would seem, therefore, the case should be dismissed for having become moot or
academic.
Of course, there is nothing to prevent petitioner from filing new pleadings. But the
most probable outcome of such reformed suit, however, will be a pronouncement
of lack of jurisdiction.

109 Phil. 863 Political Law The Legislative Department Parliamentary


Immunity
In June 1960, Congressman Sergio Osmea, Jr. delivered a speech entitled A
Message to Garcia. In the said speech, he disparaged then President Carlos Garcia
and his administration. Subsequently, House Resolution No. 59 was passed by the
lower house in order to investigate the charges made by Osmea during his speech
and that if his allegations were found to be baseless and malicious, he may be
subjected to disciplinary actions by the lower house.
Osmea then questioned the validity of the said resolution before the Supreme Court.
Osmea avers that the resolution violates his parliamentary immunity for speeches
delivered in Congress. Congressman Salipada Pendatun filed an answer where he
averred that the Supreme Court has not jurisdiction over the matter and Congress has
the power to discipline its members.
ISSUE: Whether or not Osmeas immunity has been violated?
HELD: No. Section 15, Article VI of the 1935 Constitution enshrines parliamentary
immunity upon members of the legislature which is a fundamental privilege cherished
in every parliament in a democratic world. It guarantees the legislator complete
freedom of expression without fear of being made responsible in criminal or civil
actions before the courts or any other forum outside the Hall of Congress. However, it
does not protect him from responsibility before the legislative body whenever his
words and conduct are considered disorderly or unbecoming of a member therein.
Therefore, Osmeas petition is dismissed.

Santiago v. Sandiganbayan, 356 SCRA 636


356 SCRA 636 Political Law The Legislative Department Suspension of a
Member of Congress Violations of RA 3019
In October 1988, Miriam Defensor Santiago, who was the then Commissioner of the
Commission of Immigration and Deportation (CID), approved the application for
legalization of the stay of about 32 aliens. Her act was said to be illegal and was
tainted with bad faith and it ran counter against Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act). The legalization of such is also a violation of Executive
Order No. 324 which prohibits the legalization of disqualified aliens. The aliens
legalized by Santiago were allegedly known by her to be disqualified. Two other
criminal cases were filed against Santiago. Pursuant to this information, Francis

Garchitorena, a presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan, issued a warrant of arrest


against Santiago. Santiago petitioned for provisional liberty since she was just
recovering from a car accident which was approved. In 1995, a motion was filed with
the Sandiganbayan for the suspension of Santiago, who was already a senator by then.
The Sandiganbayan ordered the Senate President (Maceda) to suspend Santiago from
office for 90 days.
ISSUE: Whether or not Sandiganbayan can order suspension of a member of the
Senate without violating the Constitution.
HELD: Yes. it is true that the Constitution provides that each house may
determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior,
and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a
Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days.
But on the other hand, Section 13 of RA 3019 provides:
Suspension and loss of benefits. any incumbent public officer against
whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this
Act or under Title 7, Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any
offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property
whether as a simple or as a complex offense and in whatever stage of
execution and mode of participation, is pending in court, shall be
suspended from office. Should he be convicted by final judgment, he
shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law, but if he is
acquitted, he shall be entitled to reinstatement and to the salaries and
benefits which he failed to receive during suspension, unless in the
meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him.
In here, the order of suspension prescribed by RA. 3019 is distinct from the power of
Congress to discipline its own ranks under the Constitution. The suspension
contemplated in the above constitutional provision is a punitive measure that is
imposed upon determination by the Senate or the Lower House, as the case may be,
upon an erring member. This is quite distinct from the suspension spoken of in
Section 13 of RA 3019, which is not a penalty but a preliminary, preventive measure,
prescinding from the fact that the latter is not being imposed on petitioner for
misbehavior as a Member of the Senate.
Republic Act No. 3019 does not exclude from its coverage the members of Congress
and that, therefore, the Sandiganbayan did not err in thus decreeing the assailed
preventive suspension order.
But Santiago committed the said act when she was still the CID commissioner, can
she still be suspended as a senator?
Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019 does not state that the public officer concerned
must be suspended only in the office where he is alleged to have committed the acts

with which he has been charged. Thus, it has been held that the use of the word
office would indicate that it applies to any office which the officer charged may be
holding, and not only the particular office under which he stands accused.
Santiago has not yet been convicted of the alleged crime, can she still be suspended?
The law does not require that the guilt of the accused must be established in a presuspension proceeding before trial on the merits proceeds. Neither does it
contemplate a proceeding to determine (1) the strength of the evidence of culpability
against him, (2) the gravity of the offense charged, or (3) whether or not his
continuance in office could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and
integrity of the records another evidence before the court could have a valid basis in
decreeing preventive suspension pending the trial of the case. All it secures to the
accused is adequate opportunity to challenge the validity or regularity of the
proceedings against him, such as, that he has not been afforded the right to due
preliminary investigation, that the acts imputed to him do not constitute a specific
crime warranting his mandatory suspension from office under Section 13 of Republic
Act No. 3019, or that the information is subject to quashal on any of the grounds set
out in Section 3, Rule 117, of the Revised Rules on Criminal procedure.
Facts: "That on or about October 17, 1988, or sometime prior or subsequent thereto,
in Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused
MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO, a public officer, being then the Commissioner of
the Commission on Immigration and Deportation, with evident bad faith and
manifest partiality in the exercise of her official functions, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and criminally approve the application for legalization for
the stay of the aliens in violation of Executive Order No. 324 dated April 13, 1988
which prohibits the legalization of said disqualified aliens knowing fully well that
said aliens are disqualified thereby giving unwarranted benefits to said aliens whose
stay in the Philippines was unlawfully legalized by said accused."
Two other criminal cases, one for violation of the provisions of Presidential Decree
No. 46 and the other for libel, were filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
docketed, respectively, No. 91-94555 and No. 91-94897.
Petitioner, then filed with the Sandiganbayan a Motion to "Redetermine Probable
Cause" and to dismiss or quash said information. Pending the resolution of this
incident, the prosecution filed on 31 July 1995 with the Sandiganbayan a motion to
issue an order suspending petitioner.
On 22 August 1995, petitioner filed her opposition to the motion of the prosecution to
suspend her.

The petition assails the authority of the Sandiganbayan to decree a ninety-day


preventive suspension of Mme. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a Senator of the Republic
of the Philippines, from any government position, and furnishing a copy thereof to the
Senate of the Philippines for the implementation of the suspension order.

Issue: Whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction issuing suspension to petitioner.

Held: WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. No costs.

Ratio: The authority of the Sandiganbayan to order the preventive suspension of an


incumbent public official charged with violation of the provisions of Republic Act
No. 3019 has both legal and jurisprudential support. Section 13 of the statute
provides:
"SECTION 13. Suspension and loss of benefits. Any incumbent public officer
against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act or
under Title 7, Book II of the Revised Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud
upon government or public funds or property whether as a simple or as a
complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation, is
pending in court, shall be suspended from office.

In view of suspension NOT as a penalty


It would appear, indeed, to be a ministerial duty of the court to issue an order of
suspension upon determination of the validity of the information filed before it. Once
the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, the court is bound to
issue an order of suspension as a matter of course, and there seems to be "no ifs and
buts about it."
Thus, it has been held that the use of the word "office" would indicate that it
applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding, and not only the
particular office under which he stands accused.
The law does not require that the guilt of the accused must be established in a
pre-suspension proceeding before trial on the merits proceeds. Neither does it
contemplate a proceeding to determine (1) the strength of the evidence of culpability
against him, (2) the gravity of the offense charged, or (3) whether or not his
continuance in office could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and

integrity of the records and other evidence before the court could have a valid basis in
decreeing preventive suspension pending the trial of the case. All it secures to the
accused is adequate opportunity to challenge the validity or regularity of the
proceedings against him, such as, that he has not been afforded the right to due
preliminary investigation, that the acts imputed to him do not constitute a specific
crime warranting his mandatory suspension from office under Section 13 of Republic
Act No. 3019, or that the information is subject to quashal on any of the grounds set
out in Section 3, Rule 117, of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.

In view of multiple petitions


"Petitioner next claims that the Amended information did not charge any offense
punishable under Section 3 (e) of RA. No. 3019 because the official acts complained
therein were authorized under Executive Order No. 324 and that the Board of
Commissioners of the Bureau of Investigation adopted the policy of approving
applications for legalization of spouses and unmarried, minor children of "qualified
aliens" even though they had arrived in the Philippines after December 31, 1983. She
concludes that the Sandiganbayan erred in not granting her motion to quash the
information (Rollo, pp. 25-31).

"In a motion to quash, the accused the accused admits hypothetically the
allegations of fact in the information(People vs. Supnad, 7 SCRA 603 [1963]).
Therefore, petitioner admitted hypothetically in her motion that:
(1)
She was a public officer,
(2)
She approved the application for legalization of the stay of aliens, who arrived
in the Philippines after January 1, 1984;
(3)
Those aliens were disqualified;
(4)
She was cognizant of such fact; and
(5)
She acted in 'evident bad faith and manifest partiality in the execution of her
official functions.'

In view of RA 3019 and Sec 16, Art VI of the Constitution


The order of suspension prescribed by Republic Act No. 3019 is distinct from the
power of Congress to discipline its own ranks.

Section 16, Article VI of the Constitution which deals with the power of each
House of Congress inter alia to'punish its Members for disorderly behavior,' and

'suspend or expel a Member' by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members subject to


the qualification that the penalty of suspension, when imposed, should not exceed
sixty days is unavailing, as it appears to be quite distinct from the suspension
spoken of in Section 13 of RA 3019, which is not a penalty but a preliminary,
preventive measure, prescinding from the fact that the latter is not being imposed on
petitioner for misbehavior as a Member of the House of Representatives."

In view of the power of the Court


Republic Act No. 3019 does not exclude from its coverage the members of Congress
and that, therefore, the Sandiganbayan did not err in thus decreeing the assailed
preventive suspension order.

Attention might be called to the fact that Criminal Case No. 16698 has been decided
by the First Division of the Sandiganbayan on 06 December 1999, acquitting herein
petitioner. The Court, nevertheless, deems it appropriate to render this decision for
future guidance on the significant issue raised by petitioner.
o

Power of Sandiganbayan to suspend members of Congress vis-a-vis Congress'


prerogative to discipline its own members: the former is not punitive, the latter is
FACTS:
A group of employees of the Commission of Immigration and Deportation (CID)
filed a complaint for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against then
CID Commissioner Miriam Defensor-Santiago. It was alleged that petitioner, with
evident bad faith and manifest partiality in the exercise of her official functions,
approved the application for legalization of the stay of several disqualified aliens.
The Sandiganbayan then issued an order for her suspension effective for 90 days.
ISSUE:

Whether or not the Sandiganbayan has authority to decree a 90-day


preventive suspension against a Senator of the Republic of the
Philippines

RULING:
The authority of the Sandiganbayan to order the preventive suspension of an
incumbent public official charged with violation of the provisions of Republic Act
No. 3019 has both legal and jurisprudential support. xxx
It would appear, indeed, to be a ministerial duty of the court to issue an order of

suspension upon determination of the validity of the information filed before it.
Once the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, the court is
bound to issue an order of suspension as a matter of course, and there seems to
be no ifs and buts about it. Explaining the nature of the preventive suspension,
the Court in the case of Bayot vs. Sandiganbayan observed:
x x x It is not a penalty because it is not imposed as a result of judicial
proceedings. In fact, if acquitted, the official concerned shall be entitled to
reinstatement and to the salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during
suspension.
In issuing the preventive suspension of petitioner, the Sandiganbayan merely
adhered to the clear an unequivocal mandate of the law, as well as the
jurisprudence in which the Court has, more than once, upheld Sandiganbayans
authority to decree the suspension of public officials and employees indicted
before it.
Power of Sandiganbayan to Decree Preventive Suspension vis--vis Congress
Prerogative to Discipline its Members
The pronouncement, upholding the validity of the information filed against
petitioner, behooved Sandiganbayan to discharge its mandated duty to forthwith
issue the order of preventive suspension.
The order of suspension prescribed by Republic Act No. 3019 is distinct from the
power of Congress to discipline its own ranks under the Constitution which
provides that eachx x x house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for
disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members,
suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not
exceed sixty days.
The suspension contemplated in the above constitutional provision is a punitive
measure that is imposed upon determination by the Senate or the house of
Representatives, as the case may be, upon an erring member.
xxx
Republic Act No. 3019 does not exclude from its coverage the members of
Congress and that, therefore, the Sandiganbayan did not err in thus decreeing the
assailed preventive suspension order.