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141.

Ang Bagong Bayani OFW labor party v


COMELEC
142. Banat v comelec
143. Atong Paglaum v COMELEC
144. Abayon v HRET
145.Jimenez v cabangbang
146. Osmena jr. V Pendatum
147. Alejandro v Quezon
148. People v Jalosjos
149. Trillanes IV v Pimentel
150. Zandueta v Dela Costa
151. Flores v Drilon
152. liban v Gordon
153. Puyat v De guzman
154. Avelino V cuenco
155. Osmena v Pendutan
156. Abbas v Senate Electoral Tribunal
157. Lazatin v HRET
158. Robles v HRET
159.Bondoc v Pineda
160. Chavez v COMELEC
161. Aquino v COMELEC
162. Sampayan v Daza

141. Ang Bagong Bayani OFW labor party v COMELEC


EN BANC
[G.R. No. 147589. June 26, 2001.]
ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY (under the acronym
OFW),
represented
herein
by
its
secretary-general,
MOHAMMAD OMAR FAJARDO,petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS; CITIZENS DRUG WATCH; MAMAMAYAN AYAW SA
DROGA; GO! GO! PHILIPPINES; THE TRUE MARCOS LOYALIST
ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES; PHILIPPINE LOCAL
AUTONOMY; CITIZENS MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE, ECONOMY,
ENVIRONMENT AND PEACE; CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE
BUILDERS ASSOCIATION; SPORTS & HEALTH ADVANCEMENT
FOUNDATION, INC.; ANG LAKAS NG OVERSEAS CONTRACT
WORKERS (OCW); BAGONG BAYANI ORGANIZATION and others
under "Organizations/Coalitions" of Omnibus Resolution No.
3785; PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO; LAKAS NUCD-UMDP;
NATIONALIST
PEOPLE'S
COALITION;
LABAN
NG
DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO; AKSYON DEMOKRATIKO; PDPLABAN; LIBERAL PARTY; NACIONALISTA PARTY; ANG BUHAY
HAYAANG YUMABONG; and others under "Political Parties" of
Omnibus Resolution No. 3785, respondents.
[G.R. No. 147613. June 26, 2001.]
BAYAN MUNA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS;
NATIONALIST PEOPLE'S COALITION (NPC); LABAN NG
DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO (LDP); PARTIDO NG MASANG
PILIPINO
(PMP);
LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP;
LIBERAL
PARTY;
MAMAMAYANG
AYAW
SA
DROGA;
CREBA;
NATIONAL
FEDERATION OF SUGARCANE PLANTERS; JEEP; and BAGONG
BAYANI ORGANIZATION, respondents.
Neri Javier Colmenares for Bayan Muna.
Chan Robles & Associates for Citizens Drug Watch Foundation, Inc.

Cruz Cruz & Navarro for Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga.


Brillantes Navarro Jumamil Arcilla Escolin & Martinez Law Offices for The True
Marcos Loyalist Association of the Philippines.
Francis A. Ver for Phil. Local Autonomy Movement.
Yap Crisanto Salvador & Calderon and Fonacier & Fonacier Law Office for Chamber
of Real Estate Builders Asso.
Mcaskell Equila & Associates for Ang Lakas ng Overseas Contract Workers (OCW).
Juan Carlos T. Cuna for Partido ng Masang Pilipino.
Buag Kapunan Migallos & Perez for Aksyon Democratiko.
Tonisito M.C. Umali for Liberal Party.
Antonio Dollete & Associates for Partido ng Masang Pilipino.
Yulo and Bello Law Offices for LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP.
Ceferino Padua Law Office, Gerardo A. Del Mundo Law Office and Antonio R.
Bautista & Partners for Bagong Bayani Org.
The Solicitor General for Commission on Elections.
SYNOPSIS
Petitioners Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party and Bayan Muna filed the present
petitions under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, challenging Omnibus Resolution No.
37851 issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on March 26, 2001. This
Resolution approved the participation of 154 organizations and parties, including
those herein impleaded, in the 2001 party-list elections. Petitioners seek the
disqualification of private respondents, arguing mainly that the party-list system
was intended to benefit the marginalized and underrepresented; not the
mainstream political parties, the non-marginalized or overrepresented.
The Supreme Court found the petition partly meritorious. The Court remanded the
case to the Comelec and directed the Commission to conduct summary
evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the party-list participants. The Court
rejected the submissions of the Comelec and the other respondents that the
party-list system is, without any qualification, open to all. According to the Court,
such position does not only weaken the electoral chances of the marginalized and
underrepresented; it also prejudices them. It would gut the substance of the
party-list system. Instead of generating hope, it would create a mirage. Instead of

enabling the marginalized, it would further weaken them and aggravate their
marginalization. The Court stressed that the very reason for the establishment of
the party-list system is the fundamental social justice principle that those who
have less in life should have more in law. It was for them that the party-list system
was enacted to give them not only genuine hope, but genuine power; to give
them the opportunity to be elected and to represent the specific concerns of their
constituencies; and simply to give them a direct voice in Congress and in the
larger affairs of the State. The State cannot now disappoint and frustrate them by
disabling and desecrating this social justice vehicle. The Court also laid down
some guidelines to assist the Comelec in its work of conducting summary
evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the party-list participants.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; VALIDITY OF COMELEC
OMNIBUS RESOLUTION 3785 IN CASE AT BAR MAY BE BROUGHT BEFORE THIS
COURT IN A VERIFIED PETITION THEREFOR UNDER RULE 65 OF RULES OF COURT.
Petitioners attack the validity of Comelec Omnibus Resolution 3785 for having
been issued with grave abuse of discretion, insofar as it allowed respondents to
participate in the party-list elections of 2001. Indeed, under both the Constitution
and the Rules of Court, such challenge may be brought before this Court in a
verified petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; WHEN AVAILABLE. These cases present an exception to the rule
that certiorari shall lie only in the absence of any other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy. It has been held that certiorari is available, notwithstanding the
presence of other remedies, "where the issue raised is one purely of law, where
public interest is involved, and in case of urgency." Indeed, the instant case is
indubitably imbued with public interest and with extreme urgency, for it
potentially involves the composition of 20 percent of the House of
Representatives.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; WHEN PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS MAY BE GLOSSED OVER TO
PREVENT A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE. Procedural requirements "may be
glossed over to prevent a miscarriage of justice, when the issue involves the
principle of social justice . . . when the decision sought to be set aside is a nullity,
or when the need for relief is extremely urgent and certiorari is the only adequate
and speedy remedy available."

4. POLITICAL LAW; ELECTION LAWS; COMELEC RULES OF PROCEDURE; MOTION


FOR RECONSIDERATION PROHIBITED UNDER SECTION 1(D), RULE 13 THEREOF.
The assailed Omnibus Resolution was promulgated by Respondent Commission en
banc; hence, no motion for reconsideration was possible, it being a prohibited
pleading under Section 1 (d), Rule 13 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure.
5. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SUPREME COURT; DUTY; TO FORMULATE GUIDING AND
CONTROLLING CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES, PRECEPTS, DOCTRINES OR RULES.
These cases raise transcendental constitutional issues on the party-list system,
which this Court must urgently resolve, consistent with its duty to "formulate
guiding and controlling constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or
rules." acCTIS
6. ID.; PARTY-LIST SYSTEM; POLITICAL PARTIES; MAY PARTICIPATE IN PARTY-LIST
ELECTIONS AND MAY BE REGISTERED UNDER PARTY-LIST SYSTEM. Under
theConstitution and RA 7941, private respondents cannot be disqualified from the
party-list elections, merely on the ground that they are political parties. Section 5,
Article VI of the Constitution, provides that members of the House of
Representatives
may
"be
elected
through
a
party-list
system
of
registered national, regional, and sectoralparties or organizations." Furthermore,
under Sections 7 and 8, Article IX (C) of the Constitution, political parties may be
registered under the party-list system. Furthermore, Section 11 of RA 7941 leaves
no doubt as to the participation of political parties in the party-list system. We
quote the pertinent provision below: . . . Indubitably, therefore, political parties
even the major ones may participate in the party-list elections.
7. ID.; ID.; PURPOSE. Commissioner Monsod stated that the purpose of the
party-list provision was to open up the system, in order to give a chance to parties
that consistently place third or fourth in congressional district elections to win a
seat in Congress. He explained: "The purpose of this is to open the system. In the
past elections, we found out that there were certain groups or parties that, if we
count their votes nationwide, have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they
were always third or fourth place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in
the Assembly. But this way, they would have five or six representatives in the
Assembly even if they would not win individually in legislative districts. So, that is
essentially the mechanics, the purpose and objectives of the party-list system."
8. ID.; ID.; POLITICAL PARTY; DEFINED. For its part, Section 2 of RA 7941 also
provides for "a party-list system of registered national, regional and
sectoral partiesor organizations or coalitions thereof, . . . ." Section 3 expressly
states that a "party" is "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of

parties." More to the point, the law defines "political party" as "an organized group
of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the
general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of
securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders
and members as candidates for public office."
9. ID.; ID.; RA 7941; PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION, CONSTRUED.
"Proportional representation" in Sec. 2 of RA 7941 does not refer to the number of
people in a particular district, because the party-list election is national in scope.
Neither does it allude to numerical strength in a distressed or oppressed group.
Rather, it refers to the representation of the "marginalized and underrepresented"
as exemplified by the enumeration in Section 5 of RA 7941; namely, "labor,
peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly,
handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals."
10. ID.; ID.; ID.; LACK OF WELL-DEFINED CONSTITUENCY, EXPLAINED. "Lack of
well-defined constituenc[y]" refers to the absence of a traditionally identifiable
electoral group, like voters of a congressional district or territorial unit of
government. Rather, it points again to those with disparate interests identified
with the "marginalized or underrepresented."

11. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES; WHERE


LANGUAGE OF LAW IS CLEAR, IT MUST BE APPLIED ACCORDING TO ITS EXPRESS
TERMS. The intent of the Constitution is clear: to give genuine power to the
people, not only by giving more law to those who have less in life, but more so by
enabling them to become veritable lawmakers themselves. Consistent with this
intent, the policy of the implementing law, we repeat, is likewise clear: "to enable
Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties, . . ., to become members of the House of
Representatives." Where the language of the law is clear, it must be applied
according to its express terms.
12. ID.; ID.; MEANING OF A TERM IN A STATUTE MAY BE LIMITED, QUALIFIED OR
SPECIALIZED BY THOSE IN IMMEDIATE ASSOCIATION. While the enumeration of
marginalized and underrepresented sectors is not exclusive, it demonstrates the
clear intent of the law that not all sectors can be represented under the party-list
system. It is a fundamental principle of statutory construction that words
employed in a statute are interpreted in connection with, and their meaning is
ascertained by reference to, the words and the phrases with which they are

associated or related. Thus, the meaning of a term in a statute may be limited,


qualified or specialized by those in immediate association.
13. ID.; CONSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION; PRIMARY SOURCE FROM WHICH TO
ASCERTAIN CONSTITUTIONAL INTENT OR PURPOSE IS LANGUAGE OF PROVISION
ITSELF. The fundamental principle in constitutional construction, however, is
that the primary source from which to ascertain constitutional intent or purpose is
the language of the provision itself. The presumption is that the words in which
the constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be
attained. In other words, verba legis still prevails. Only when the meaning of the
words used is unclear and equivocal should resort be made to extraneous aids of
construction and interpretation, such as the proceedings of the Constitutional
Commission or Convention, in order to shed light on and ascertain the true intent
or purpose of the provision being construed.
14. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION; WHEN A LOWER COURT OR A QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCY VIOLATES OR
IGNORES THE CONSTITUTION OR THE LAW, ITS ACTION CAN BE STRUCK DOWN BY
THIS COURT ON THE GROUND THEREOF. When a lower court, or a quasi-judicial
agency like the Commission on Elections, violates or ignores the Constitution or
the law, its action can be struck down by this Court on the ground of grave abuse
of discretion. Indeed, the function of all judicial and quasi-judicial instrumentalities
is to apply the law as they find it, not to reinvent or second-guess it.
15. ID.; SUPREME COURT; JURISDICTION; SUPREME COURT NOT A TRIER OF FACTS.
Bayan Muna also urges us to immediately rule out Respondent Mamamayan
Ayaw sa Droga (MAD), because "it is a government entity using government
resources and privileges." This Court, however, is not a trier of facts. It is not
equipped to receive evidence and determine the truth of such factual allegations.
16. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; PARTY-LIST SYSTEM ACT (RA 7941); POLITICAL PARTY,
SECTOR, ORGANIZATION OR COALITION MUST REPRESENT MARGINALIZED AND
UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS IDENTIFIED IN SECTION 5 THEREOF. First, the
political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized
and underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In other words, it
must show through its constitution,articles of incorporation, bylaws, history,
platform of government and track record that it represents and seeks to uplift
marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its membership
should belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. And it must
demonstrate that in a conflict of interests, it has chosen or is likely to choose the
interest of such sectors.

17. ID.; ID.; ID.; MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES MUST SHOW THAT THEY REPRESENT
INTERESTS OF THE MARGINALIZED AND UNDERREPRESENTED. Second, while
even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the
Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they must comply with the
declared statutory policy of enabling "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized
and underrepresented sectors . . . to be elected to the House of Representatives."
In other words, while they are not disqualified merely on the ground that they are
political parties, they must show, however, that they represent the interests of the
marginalized and underrepresented. DAHaTc
18. ID.; ID.; ID.; RELIGIOUS SECTOR MAY NOT BE REPRESENTED IN PARTY-LIST
SYSTEM. In view of the objections directed against the registration of Ang
Buhay Hayaang Yumabong, which is allegedly a religious group, the Court notes
the express constitutional provision that the religious sector may not be
represented in the party-list system.
19. ID.; COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS AND SECTS
SHALL NOT BE REGISTERED AS POLITICAL PARTIES. Furthermore, the
Constitutionprovides that "religious denominations and sects shall not be
registered." The prohibition was explained by a member of the Constitutional
Commission in this wise: "[T]he prohibition is on any religious organization
registering as a political party. I do not see any prohibition here against a priest
running as a candidate. That is not prohibited here; it is the registration of a
religious sect as a political party."
20. ID.; PARTY-LIST SYSTEM ACT (RA 7941); A PARTY OR ORGANIZATION MUST NOT
BE DISQUALIFIED UNDER SECTION 6 THEREOF. Fourth, a party or an
organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which
enumerates the grounds for disqualification as follows: "(1) It is a religious sect or
denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes; (2) It
advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal; (3) It is a foreign party or
organization; (4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign
political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its
officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election
purposes; (5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating
to elections; (6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition; (7) It has ceased
to exist for at least one (1) year; or (8) It fails to participate in the last two (2)
preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes
cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the
constituency in which it has registered."

21. ID.; ID.; ID.; PARTY OR ORGANIZATION MUST NOT BE AN ADJUNCT OF, OR A
PROJECT ORGANIZED OR AN ENTITY FUNDED OR ASSISTED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized
or an entity funded or assisted by the government. By the very nature of the
party-list system, the party or organization must be a group of citizens, organized
by citizens and operated by citizens. It must be independent of the government.
The participation of the government or its officials in the affairs of a party-list
candidate is not only illegal and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to the
objective of the law: to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of
Representatives.
22. ID.;
ID.;
ID.;
NOMINEES
MUST
REPRESENT
MARGINALIZED
AND
UNDERREPRESENTED SECTORS. Not only the candidate party or organization
must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its
nominees. To repeat, under Section 2 of RA 7941, the nominees must be Filipino
citizens "who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations
and parties." Surely, the interests of the youth cannot be fully represented by a
retiree; neither can those of the urban poor or the working class, by an
industrialist. To allow otherwise is to betray the State policy to give genuine
representation to the marginalized and underrepresented.
23. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOMINEE MUST BE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE TO FORMULATION AND
ENACTMENT OF APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION THAT WILL BENEFIT THE NATION AS A
WHOLE. As previously discussed, while lacking a well-defined political
constituency, the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation
and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole.
Senator Jose Lina explained during the bicameral committee proceedings that
"the nominee of a party, national or regional, is not going to represent a particular
district . . . ."

DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J p:
The party-list system is a social justice tool designed not only to give more law to
the great masses of our people who have less in life, but also to enable them to
become veritable lawmakers themselves, empowered to participate directly in the
enactment of laws designed to benefit them. It intends to make the marginalized

and the underrepresented not merely passive recipients of the State's


benevolence, but active participants in the mainstream of representative
democracy. Thus, allowing all individuals and groups, including those which now
dominate district elections, to have the same opportunity to participate in partylist elections would desecrate this lofty objective and mongrelize the social justice
mechanism into an atrocious veneer for traditional politics.
The Case
Before us are two Petitions under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, challenging
Omnibus Resolution No. 3785 1 issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
on March 26, 2001. This Resolution approved the participation of 154
organizations and parties, including those herein impleaded, in the 2001 party-list
elections. Petitioners seek the disqualification of private respondents, arguing
mainly that the party-list system was intended to benefit the marginalized and
underrepresented; not the mainstream political parties, the non-marginalized or
overrepresented.
The Factual Antecedents
With the onset of the 2001 elections, the Comelec received several Petitions for
registration filed by sectoral parties, organizations and political parties. According
to the Comelec, "[v]erifications were made as to the status and capacity of these
parties and organizations and hearings were scheduled day and night until the
last party w[as] heard. With the number of these petitions and the observance of
the legal and procedural requirements, review of these petitions as well as
deliberations takes a longer process in order to arrive at a decision and as a result
the two (2) divisions promulgated a separate Omnibus Resolution and individual
resolution on political parties. These numerous petitions and processes observed
in the disposition of these petition[s] hinder the early release of the Omnibus
Resolutions of the Divisions which were promulgated only on 10 February 2001." 2
Thereafter, before the February 12, 2001 deadline prescribed under Comelec
Resolution No. 3426 dated December 22, 2000, the registered parties and
organizations filed their respective Manifestations, stating their intention to
participate in the party-list elections. Other sectoral and political parties and
organizations whose registrations were denied also filed Motions for
Reconsideration, together with Manifestations of their intent to participate in the
party-list elections. Still other registered parties filed their Manifestations beyond
the deadline.

The Comelec gave due course or approved the Manifestations (or accreditations)
of 154 parties and organizations, but denied those of several others in its assailed
March 26, 2001 Omnibus Resolution No. 3785, which we quote:
"We carefully deliberated the foregoing matters, having in mind that
this system of proportional representation scheme will encourage
multi-partisan [sic] and enhance the inability of small, new or sectoral
parties or organization to directly participate in this electoral window.
"It will be noted that as defined, the 'party-list system' is a
'mechanism of proportional representation' in the election of
representatives to the House of Representatives from national,
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof
registered with the Commission on Elections.
"However, in the course of our review of the matters at bar, we must
recognize the fact that there is a need to keep the number of sectoral
parties, organizations and coalitions, down to a manageable level,
keeping only those who substantially comply with the rules and
regulations and more importantly the sufficiency of the
Manifestations or evidence on the Motions for Reconsiderations or
Oppositions." 3
On April 10, 2001, Akbayan Citizens Action Party filed before the Comelec a
Petition praying that "the names of [some of herein respondents] be deleted from
the 'Certified List of Political Parties/Sectoral Parties/Organizations/Coalitions
Participating in the Party List System for the May 14, 2001 Elections' and that said
certified list be accordingly amended." It also asked, as an alternative, that the
votes cast for the said respondents not be counted or canvassed, and that the
latter's nominees not be proclaimed. 4 On April 11, 2001, Bayan Muna and Bayan
Muna-Youth also filed a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and Nomination
against some of herein respondents. 5
On April 18, 2001, the Comelec required the respondents in the two
disqualification cases to file Comments within three days from notice. It also set
the date for hearing on April 26, 2001, 6 but subsequently reset it to May 3,
2001. 7 During the hearing, however, Commissioner Ralph C. Lantion merely
directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda. 8
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the pace of the Comelec, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW
Labor Party filed a Petition 9 before this Court on April 16, 2001. This Petition,
docketed as G.R. No. 147589, assailed Comelec Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In

its Resolution dated April 17, 2001, 10 the Court directed respondents to
comment on the Petition within a non-extendible period of five days from
notice. 11
On April 17, 2001, Petitioner Bayan Muna also filed before this Court a
Petition, 12 docketed as G.R. No. 147613, also challenging Comelec Omnibus
Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution dated May 9, 2001, 13 the Court ordered
the consolidation of the two Petitions before it; directed respondents named in the
second Petition to file their respective Comments on or before noon of May 15,
2001; and called the parties to an Oral Argument on May 17, 2001. It added that
the Comelec may proceed with the counting and canvassing of votes cast for the
party-list elections, but barred the proclamation of any winner therein, until
further orders of the Court.
Thereafter, Comments 14 on the second Petition were received by the Court and,
on May 17, 2001, the Oral Argument was conducted as scheduled. In an Order
given in open court, the parties were directed to submit their respective
Memoranda simultaneously within a non-extendible period of five days. 15
Issues:
During the hearing on May 17, 2001, the Court directed the parties to address the
following issues:
"1. Whether or not recourse under Rule 65 is proper under the
premises. More specifically, is there no other plain, speedy or
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law?
"2. Whether or not political parties may participate in the party-list
elections.
"3. Whether or not the party-list system is exclusive to 'marginalized
and underrepresented' sectors and organizations.
"4. Whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion
in promulgating Omnibus Resolution No. 3785." 16
The Court's Ruling
The Petitions are partly meritorious. These cases should be remanded to the
Comelec which will determine, after summary evidentiary hearings, whether the
154 parties and organizations enumerated in the assailed Omnibus Resolution
satisfy the requirements of the Constitution and RA 7941, as specified in this
Decision. ASCTac
First Issue:

Recourse Under Rule 65


Respondents contend that the recourse of both petitioners under Rule 65 is
improper because there are other plain, speedy and adequate remedies in the
ordinary course of law. 17 The Office of the Solicitor General argues that
petitioners should have filed before the Comelec a petition either for
disqualification or for cancellation of registration, pursuant to Sections 19, 20, 21
and 22 of Comelec Resolution No. 3307-A 18 dated November 9, 2000. 19
We disagree. At bottom, petitioners attack the validity of Comelec Omnibus
Resolution 3785 for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion, insofar as
it allowed respondents to participate in the party-list elections of 2001. Indeed,
under both the Constitution 20 and the Rules of Court, such challenge may be
brought before this Court in a verified petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
Moreover, the assailed Omnibus Resolution was promulgated by Respondent
Commission en banc; hence, no motion for reconsideration was possible, it being
a prohibited pleading under Section 1 (d), Rule 13 of the Comelec Rules of
Procedure. 21
The Court also notes that Petitioner Bayan Muna had filed before the Comelec a
Petition for Cancellation of Registration and Nomination against some of herein
respondents. 22 The Comelec, however, did not act on that Petition. In view of the
pendency of the elections, Petitioner Bayan Muna sought succor from this Court,
for there was no other adequate recourse at the time. Subsequent events have
proven the urgency of petitioner's action; to this date, the Comelec has not yet
formally resolved the Petition before it. But a resolution may just be a formality
because the Comelec, through the Office of the Solicitor General, has made its
position on the matter quite clear.
In any event, thesse cases present an exception to the rule that certiorari shall lie
only in the absence of any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy. 23 It has
been held that certiorari is available, notwithstanding the presence of other
remedies, "where the issue raised is one purely of law, where public interest is
involved, and in case of urgency." 24 Indeed, the instant case is indubitably
imbued with public interest and with extreme urgency, for it potentially involves
the composition of 20 percent of the House of Representatives.
Moreover, this case raises transcendental constitutional issues on the party-list
system, which this Court must urgently resolve, consistent with its duty to
"formulate guiding and controlling constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or
rules." 25

Finally, procedural requirements "may be glossed over to prevent a miscarriage of


justice, when the issue involves the principle of social justice . . . when the
decision sought to be set aside is a nullity, or when the need for relief is extremely
urgent and certiorari is the only adequate and speedy remedy available." 26
Second Issue:
Participation of Political Parties
In its Petition, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party contends that "the inclusion of
political parties in the party-list system is the most objectionable portion of the
questioned Resolution." 27 For its part, Petitioner Bayan Muna objects to the
participation of "major political parties." 28 On the other hand, the Office of the
Solicitor General, like the impleaded political parties, submits that the Constitution
and RA No. 7941 allow political parties to participate in the party-list elections. It
argues that the party-list system is, in fact, open to all "registered national,
regional and sectoral parties or organizations." 29
We now rule on this issue. Under the Constitution and RA 7941, private
respondents cannot be disqualified from the party-list elections, merely on the
ground that they are political parties. Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution provides that members of the House of Representatives may "be
elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and
sectoral parties or organizations."
Furthermore, under Sections 7 and 8, Article IX (C) of the Constitution, political
parties may be registered under the party-list system.
"Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or
coalition shall be valid, except for those registered under the partylist system as provided in thisConstitution.
"Sec. 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered
under the party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters'
registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of
canvassers, or other similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to
appoint poll watchers in accordance with law." 30
During the deliberations in the Constitutional Commission, Comm. Christian S.
Monsod pointed out that the participants in the party-list system may "be a
regional party, a sectoral party, a national party, UNIDO, 31 Magsasaka, or a

regional party in Mindanao." 32 This was also clear from the following exchange
between Comms. Jaime Tadeo and Blas Ople: 33
"MR. TADEO.
Naniniwala ba kayo na ang party list ay pwedeng paghati-hatian ng
UNIDO, PDP-Laban, PNP, Liberal at Nacionalista?
MR. OPLE.
Maaari yan sapagkat bukas ang party list system sa lahat ng mga
partido."
Indeed, Commissioner Monsod stated that the purpose of the party-list provision
was to open up the system, in order to give a chance to parties that consistently
place third or fourth in congressional district elections to win a seat in
Congress. 34 He explained: "The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past
elections, we found out that there were certain groups or parties that, if we count
their votes nationwide, have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were
always third or fourth place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in the
Assembly. But this way, they would have five or six representatives in the
Assembly even if they would not win individually in legislative districts. So, that is
essentially the mechanics, the purpose and objectives of the party-list system."
For its part, Section 2 of RA 7941 also provides for "a party-list system of
registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions
thereof, . . . ."Section 3 expressly states that a "party" is "either a political party or
a sectoral party or a coalition of parties." More to the point, the law defines
"political party" as "an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or
platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government and
which, as the most immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly
nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for
public office."
Furthermore, Section 11 of RA 7941 leaves no doubt as to the participation of
political parties in the party-list system. We quote the pertinent provision below:
"xxx xxx xxx
"For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major
political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of
Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines
shall not be entitled to participate in the party-list system.
"xxx xxx xxx"

Indubitably, therefore, political parties even the major ones may participate
in the party-list elections.
Third Issue:
Marginalized and Underrepresented
That political parties may participate in the party-list elections does not mean,
however, that any political party or any organization or group for that matter
may do so. The requisite character of these parties or organizations must be
consistent with the purpose of the party-list system, as laid down in
the Constitution and RA 7941. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, provides as
follows:
"(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more
than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law,
who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the
provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with
the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by
law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered
national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum
of the total number of representatives including those under the party
list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of
this Constitution,one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or
election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be
provided by law, except the religious sector." (Italics supplied.)
Notwithstanding the sparse language of the provision, a distinguished member of
the Constitutional Commission declared that the purpose of the party-list
provision was to give "genuine power to our people" in Congress. Hence, when
the provision was discussed, he exultantly announced: "On this first day of August
1986, we shall, hopefully, usher in a new chapter to our national history, by giving
genuine power to our people in the legislature." 35
The foregoing provision on the party-list system is not self-executory. It is, in fact,
interspersed with phrases like "in accordance with law" or "as may be provided by
law"; it was thus up to Congress to sculpt in granite the lofty objective of the

Constitution. Hence, RA 7941 was enacted. It laid out the statutory policy in this
wise:
"SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. The State shall promote proportional
representation in the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of registered national,
regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof,
which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack
well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the
formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit
the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of
Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and
guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the
broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests
in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to
compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the
simplest scheme possible."
The Marginalized and Underrepresented
to Become Lawmakers Themselves
The foregoing provision mandates a state policy of promoting proportional
representation by means of the Filipino-style party-list system, which will "enable"
the election to the House of Representatives of Filipino citizens,
1. who belong to marginalized and
organizations and parties; and

underrepresented

sectors,

2. who lack well-defined constituencies; but


3. who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of
appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole.
The key words in this policy are "proportional representation," "marginalized and
underrepresented," and "lack [of] well-defined constituencies."
"Proportional representation" here does not refer to the number of people in a
particular district, because the party-list election is national in scope. Neither does
it allude to numerical strength in a distressed or oppressed group. Rather, it refers
to the representation of the "marginalized and underrepresented" as exemplified
by the enumeration in Section 5 of the law; namely, "labor, peasant, fisherfolk,
urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women,
youth,veterans, overseas workers, and professionals."

However, it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation of the


marginalized and underrepresented, because representation is easy to claim and
to feign. The party-list organization or party must factually and truly represent the
marginalized and underrepresented constituencies mentioned in Section
5. 36 Concurrently, the persons nominated by the party-list candidateorganization must be "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties."
Finally, "lack of well-defined constituenc[y]" refers to the absence of a traditionally
identifiable electoral group, like voters of a congressional district or territorial unit
of government. Rather, it points again to those with disparate interests identified
with the "marginalized or underrepresented."

In the end, the role of the Comelec is to see to it that only those Filipinos who are
"marginalized and underrepresented" become members of Congress under the
party-list system, Filipino-style.
The intent of the Constitution is clear: to give genuine power to the people, not
only by giving more law to those who have less in life, but more so by enabling
them to become veritable lawmakers themselves. Consistent with this intent, the
policy of the implementing law, we repeat, is likewise clear: "to enable Filipino
citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations
and parties, . . . , to become members of the House of Representatives." Where
the language of the law is clear, it must be applied according to its express
terms. 37
The marginalized and underrepresented sectors to be represented under the
party-list system are enumerated in Section 5 of RA 7941, which states:
"SEC. 5. Registration. Any organized group of persons may register
as a party, organization or coalition for purposes of the party-list
system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days
before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary
stating its desire to participate in the party-list system as a national,
regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such parties
or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution,by-laws, platform
or program of government, list of officers, coalition agreement and
other
relevant
information
as
the
COMELEC
may
require: Provided, that the sector shall include labor, peasant,
fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly,

handicapped, women,
professionals."

youth, veterans, overseas

workers,

and

While the enumeration of marginalized and underrepresented sectors is not


exclusive, it demonstrates the clear intent of the law that not all sectors can be
represented under the party-list system. It is a fundamental principle of statutory
construction that words employed in a statute are interpreted in connection with,
and their meaning is ascertained by reference to, the words and the phrases with
which they are associated or related. Thus, the meaning of a term in a statute
may be limited, qualified or specialized by those in immediate association. 38
The Party-List System Desecrated
by the OSG Contentions
Notwithstanding the unmistakable statutory policy, the Office of the Solicitor
General submits that RA No. 7941 "does not limit the participation in the party-list
system to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society." 39 In fact, it
contends that any party or group that is not disqualified under Section 6 40 of RA
7941 may participate in the elections. Hence, it admitted during the Oral
Argument that even an organization representing the super rich of Forbes Park or
Dasmarias Village could participate in the party-list elections. 41
The declared policy of RA 7941 contravenes the position of the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG). We stress that the party-list system seeks to enable
certain Filipino citizens specifically those belonging to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties to be elected to the House
of Representatives. The assertion of the OSG that the party-list system is not
exclusive to the marginalized and underrepresented disregards the clear statutory
policy. Its claim that even the super-rich and overrepresented can participate
desecrates the spirit of the party-list system.
Indeed, the law crafted to address the peculiar disadvantages of Payatas hovel
dwellers cannot be appropriated by the mansion owners of Forbes Park. The
interests of these two sectors are manifestly disparate; hence, the OSG's position
to treat them similarly defies reason and common sense. In contrast, and with
admirable candor, Atty. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan 42 admitted during the Oral
Argument that a group of bankers, industrialists and sugar planters could not join
the party-list system as representatives of their respective sectors. 43
While the business moguls and the mega-rich are, numerically speaking, a tiny
minority, they are neither marginalized nor underrepresented, for the stark reality
is that their economic clout engenders political power more awesome than their

numerical limitation. Traditionally, political power does not necessarily emanate


from the size of one's constituency; indeed, it is likely to arise more directly from
the number and amount of one's bank accounts.
It is ironic, therefore, that the marginalized and underrepresented in our midst are
the majority who wallow in poverty, destitution and infirmity. It was for them that
the party-list system was enacted to give them not only genuine hope, but
genuine power; to give them the opportunity to be elected and to represent the
specific concerns of their constituencies; and simply to give them a direct voice in
Congress and in the larger affairs of the State. In its noblest sense, the party-list
system truly empowers the masses and ushers a new hope for genuine change.
Verily, it invites those marginalized and underrepresented in the past the farm
hands, the fisher folk, the urban poor, even those in the underground movement
to come out and participate, as indeed many of them came out and
participated during the last elections. The State cannot now disappoint and
frustrate them by disabling and desecrating this social justice vehicle.
Because the marginalized and underrepresented had not been able to win in the
congressional district elections normally dominated by traditional politicians and
vested groups, 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives were set
aside for the party-list system. In arguing that even those sectors who normally
controlled 80 percent of the seats in the House could participate in the party-list
elections for the remaining 20 percent, the OSG and the Comelec disregard the
fundamental difference between the congressional district elections and the
party-list elections.
As earlier noted, the purpose of the party-list provision was to open up the
system, 44 in order to enhance the chance of sectoral groups and organizations
to gain representation in the House of Representatives through the simplest
scheme possible. 45 Logic shows that the system has been opened to those who
have never gotten a foothold within it those who cannot otherwise win in
regular elections and who therefore need the "simplest scheme possible" to do so.
Conversely, it would be illogical to open the system to those who have long been
within it those privileged sectors that have long dominated the congressional
district elections.
The import of the open party-list system may be more vividly understood when
compared to a student dormitory "open house," which by its nature
allows outsiders to enter the facilities. Obviously, the "open house" is for the
benefit of outsiders only, not the dormers themselves who can enter the
dormitory even without such special privilege. In the same vein, the open party-

list system is only for the "outsiders" who cannot get elected through regular
elections otherwise; it is not for the non-marginalized or overrepresented who
already fill the ranks of Congress.
Verily, allowing the non-marginalized and overrepresented to vie for the remaining
seats under the party-list system would not only dilute, but also prejudice the
chance of the marginalized and underrepresented, contrary to the intention of the
law to enhance it. The party-list system is a tool for the benefit of the
underprivileged; the law could not have given the same tool to others, to the
prejudice of the intended beneficiaries. HDAaIc
This Court, therefore, cannot allow the party-list system to be sullied and
prostituted by those who are neither marginalized nor underrepresented. It cannot
let that flicker of hope be snuffed out. The clear state policy must permeate every
discussion of the qualification of political parties and other organizations under
the party-list system.
Refutation of the
Separate Opinions
The Separate Opinions of our distinguished colleagues, Justices Jose C. Vitug and
Vicente V. Mendoza, are anchored mainly on the supposed intent of the framers
of the Constitution as culled from their deliberations.
The fundamental principle in constitutional construction, however, is that the
primary source from which to ascertain constitutional intent or purpose is the
language of the provision itself. The presumption is that the words in which the
constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be
attained. 46 In other words,verba legis still prevails. Only when the meaning of
the words used is unclear and equivocal should resort be made to extraneous aids
of construction and interpretation, such as the proceedings of the Constitutional
Commission or Convention, in order to shed light on and ascertain the true intent
or purpose of the provision being construed. 47
Indeed, as cited in the Separate Opinion of Justice Mendoza, this Court stated
in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary 48 that "the debates and
proceedings of the constitutional convention [may be consulted] in order to arrive
at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution . . . only when other
guides fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the
Constitution when the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention
'are of value as showing the views of the individual members, and as indicating
the reason for their votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large

majority who did not talk, much less of the mass or our fellow citizens whose
votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental law. We think it
safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face.' The proper
interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people
adopting it than in the framers' understanding thereof."

Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, relative to the party-list system, is


couched in clear terms: the mechanics of the system shall be provided by law.
Pursuant thereto, Congress enacted RA 7941. In understanding and implementing
party-list representation, we should therefore look at the law first. Only when we
find its provisions ambiguous should the use of extraneous aids of construction be
resorted to.
But, as discussed earlier, the intent of the law is obvious and clear from its plain
words. Section 2 thereof unequivocally states that the party-list system of electing
congressional representatives was designed to "enable underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but
who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation
that will benefit the nation as a whole . . ." The criteria for participation is well
defined. Thus, there is no need for recourse to constitutional deliberations, not
even to the proceedings of Congress. In any event, the framers' deliberations
merely express their individual opinions and are, at best, only persuasive in
construing the meaning and purpose of the constitution or statute.
Be it remembered that the constitutionality or validity of Sections 2 and 5 of RA
7941 is not an issue here. Hence, they remain parts of the law, which must be
applied plainly and simply.
Fourth Issue:
Grave Abuse of Discretion
From its assailed Omnibus Resolution, it is manifest that the Comelec failed to
appreciate fully the clear policy of the law and the Constitution. On the contrary, it
seems to have ignored the facet of the party-list system discussed above. The
OSG as its counsel admitted before the Court that any group, even the nonmarginalized and overrepresented, could field candidates in the party-list
elections.
When a lower court, or a quasi-judicial agency like the Commission on Elections,
violates or ignores the Constitution or the law, its action can be struck down by
this Court on the ground of grave abuse of discretion. 49 Indeed, the function of

all judicial and quasi-judicial instrumentalities is to apply the law as they find it,
not to reinvent or second-guess it. 50
In its Memorandum, Petitioner Bayan Muna passionately pleads for the outright
disqualification of the major political parties Respondents Lakas-NUCD, LDP,
NPC, LP and PMP on the ground that under Comelec Resolution No. 4073, they
have been accredited as the five (six, including PDP-Laban) major political parties
in the May 14, 2001 elections. It argues that because of this, they have the
"advantage of getting official Comelec Election Returns, Certificates of Canvass,
preferred poll watchers . . . ." We note, however, that this accreditation does not
refer to the party-list election, but, inter alia, to the election of district
representatives for the purpose of determining which parties would be entitled to
watchers under Section 26 of Republic Act No. 7166.
What is needed under the present circumstances, however, is a factual
determination of whether respondents herein and, for that matter, all the 154
previously approved groups, have the necessary qualifications to participate in
the party-list elections, pursuant to the Constitution and the law.
Bayan Muna also urges us to immediately rule out Respondent Mamamayan Ayaw
sa Droga (MAD), because "it is a government entity using government resources
and privileges." This Court, however, is not a trier of facts. 51 It is not equipped to
receive evidence and determine the truth of such factual allegations.
Basic rudiments of due process require that respondents should first be given an
opportunity to show that they qualify under the guidelines promulgated in this
Decision, before they can be deprived of their right to participate in and be
elected under the party-list system.
Guidelines for Screening
Party-List Participants
The Court, therefore, deems it proper to remand the case to the Comelec for the
latter to determine, after summary evidentiary hearings, whether the 154 parties
and organizations allowed to participate in the party-list elections comply with the
requirements of the law. In this light, the Court finds it appropriate to lay down the
following guidelines, culled from the law and the Constitution, to assist the
Comelec in its work.
First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the
marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In
other words, it must show through its constitution,articles of incorporation, by
laws, history, platform of government and track record that it represents and

seeks to uplift marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its


membership should belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. And it
must demonstrate that in a conflict of interests, it has chosen or is likely to choose
the interest of such sectors.
Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA
7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they must
comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling "Filipino citizens belonging
to marginalized and underrepresented sectors . . . to be elected to the House of
Representatives." In other words, while they are not disqualified merely on the
ground that they are political parties, they must show, however, that they
represent the interests of the marginalized and underrepresented. The counsel of
Aksyon Demokratiko and other similarly situated political parties admitted as
much during the Oral Argument, as the following quote shows:
"JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
I am not disputing that in my question. All I am saying is, the political
party must claim to represent the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors?
ATTY. KAPUNAN:
Yes, Your Honor, the answer is yes." 52
Third, in view of the objections 53 directed against the registration of Ang Buhay
Hayaang Yumabong, which is allegedly a religious group, the Court notes the
express constitutional provision that the religious sector may not be represented
in the party-list system. The extent of the constitutional proscription is
demonstrated by the following discussion during the deliberations of the
Constitutional Commission:
"MR. OPLE. . . .
In the event that a certain religious sect with nationwide and even
international networks of members and supporters, in order to
circumvent this prohibition, decides to form its own political
party in emulation of those parties I had mentioned earlier as
deriving their inspiration and philosophies from well-established
religious faiths, will that also not fall within this prohibition?
MR. MONSOD.

If the evidence shows that the intention is to go around the


prohibition, then certainly the Comelec can pierce through the
legal fiction." 54
The following discussion is also pertinent:
"MR. VILLACORTA.
When the Commissioner proposed "EXCEPT RELIGIOUS GROUPS," he
is not, of course, prohibiting priests, imams or pastors who may
be elected by, say, the indigenous community sector to
represent their group.
REV. RIGOS.
Not at all, but I am objecting to anybody who represents the Iglesia
ni Kristo, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church et
cetera." 55
Furthermore, the Constitution provides that "religious denominations and sects
shall not be registered." 56 The prohibition was explained by a member 57 of the
Constitutional Commission in this wise: "[T]he prohibition is on any religious
organization registering as a political party. I do not see any prohibition here
against a priest running as a candidate. That is not prohibited here; it is the
registration of a religious sect as a political party." 58
Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA
7941, which enumerates the grounds for disqualification as follows:
"(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association
organized for religious purposes;
(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
(3) It is a foreign party or organization;
(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign
political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or
through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third
parties for partisan election purposes;
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating
to elections;
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or

(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails
to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under
the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the
constituency in which it has registered." 59
Note should be taken of paragraph 5, which disqualifies a party or group for
violation of or failure to comply with election laws and regulations. These laws
include Section 2 of RA 7941, which states that the party-list system seeks to
"enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizations and parties . . . to become members of the House of
Representatives." A party or an organization, therefore, that does not comply with
this policy must be disqualified.
Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized
or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. By the very nature of the
party-list system, the party or organization must be a group of citizens, organized
by citizens and operated by citizens. It must be independent of the government.
The participation of the government or its officials in the affairs of a party-list
candidate is not only illegal 60 and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to
the objective of the law: to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of
Representatives.

Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its
nominees must likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as follows:
SEC. 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be
nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the
Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately
preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a bona
fidemember of the party or organization which he seeks to represent
for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is
at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twentyfive (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the
election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of
thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until
the expiration of his term."

Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent


marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. To repeat,
under Section 2 of RA 7941, the nominees must be Filipino citizens "who belong to
marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties." Surely,
the interests of the youth cannot be fully represented by a retiree; neither can
those of the urban poor or the working class, by an industrialist. To allow
otherwise is to betray the State policy to give genuine representation to the
marginalized and underrepresented.
Eighth, as previously discussed, while lacking a well-defined political constituency,
the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and
enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole.
Senator Jose Lina explained during the bicameral committee proceedings that
"the nominee of a party, national or regional, is not going to represent a particular
district . . ." 61
Epilogue
The linchpin of this case is the clear and plain policy of the law: "to enable Filipino
citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations
and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could
contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will
benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of
Representatives."
Crucial to the resolution of this case is the fundamental social justice principle
that those who have less in life should have more in law. The party-list system is
one such tool intended to benefit those who have less in life. It gives the great
masses of our people genuine hope and genuine power. It is a message to the
destitute and the prejudiced, and even to those in the underground, that change
is possible. It is an invitation for them to come out of their limbo and seize the
opportunity.
Clearly, therefore, the Court cannot accept the submissions of the Comelec and
the other respondents that the party-list system is, without any qualification, open
to all. Such position does not only weaken the electoral chances of the
marginalized and underrepresented; it also prejudices them. It would gut the
substance of the party-list system. Instead of generating hope, it would create a
mirage. Instead of enabling the marginalized, it would further weaken them and
aggravate their marginalization.

In effect, the Comelec would have us believe that the party-list provisions of
the Constitution and RA 7941 are nothing more than a play on dubious words, a
mockery of noble intentions, and an empty offering on the altar of people
empowerment. Surely, this could not have been the intention of the framers of
the Constitution and the makers of RA 7941.
WHEREFORE, this case is REMANDED to the Comelec, which is hereby DIRECTED
to immediately conduct summary evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the
party-list participants in the light of the guidelines enunciated in this Decision.
Considering the extreme urgency of determining the winners in the last party-list
elections, the Comelec is directed to begin its hearings for the parties and
organizations that appear to have garnered such number of votes as to qualify for
seats in the House of Representatives. The Comelec is further DIRECTED to submit
to this Court its compliance report within 30 days from notice hereof.
The Resolution of this Court dated May 9, 2001, directing the Comelec "to refrain
from proclaiming any winner" during the last party-list election, shall remain in
force until after the Comelec itself will have complied and reported its compliance
with the foregoing disposition.
This Decision is immediately executory upon the Commission on Elections' receipt
thereof. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
||| (Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 147589,
147613, [June 26, 2001], 412 PHIL 308-374)

142. Banat v comelec


EN BANC
[G.R. No. 179271. April 21, 2009.]
BARANGAY ASSOCIATION FOR NATIONAL ADVANCEMENT AND
TRANSPARENCY
(BANAT), petitioner, vs.
COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS
(sitting
as
the
National
Board
of
Canvassers), respondent.
ARTS BUSINESS AND SCIENCE PROFESSIONALS, intervenor.
AANGAT TAYO, intervenor.
COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE
PHILIPPINES, INC. (SENIOR CITIZENS), intervenor.
[G.R. No. 179295. April 21, 2009.]

BAYAN MUNA, ADVOCACY FOR TEACHER EMPOWERMENT


THROUGH ACTION, COOPERATION AND HARMONY TOWARDS
EDUCATIONAL
REFORMS,
INC.,
and
ABONO, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO, J p:
The Case
Petitioner in G.R. No. 179271 Barangay Association for National Advancement
and Transparency (BANAT) in a petition for certiorari and mandamus, 1 assails
the Resolution 2 promulgated on 3 August 2007 by the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) in NBC No. 07-041 (PL). The COMELEC's resolution in NBC No. 07-041
(PL) approved the recommendation of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head of the
National Board of Canvassers (NBC) Legal Group, to deny the petition of BANAT for
being moot. BANAT filed before the COMELEC En Banc, acting as NBC, a Petition
to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the
Constitution.
The following are intervenors in G.R. No. 179271: Arts Business and Science
Professionals (ABS), Aangat Tayo (AT), and Coalition of Associations of Senior
Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. (Senior Citizens).
Petitioners in G.R. No. 179295 Bayan Muna, Abono, and Advocacy for Teacher
Empowerment Through Action, Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational
Reforms (A Teacher) in a petition for certiorari with mandamus and
prohibition, 3 assails NBC Resolution No. 07-60 4 promulgated on 9 July 2007.
NBC No. 07-60 made a partial proclamation of parties, organizations and
coalitions that obtained at least two percent of the total votes cast under the
Party-List System. The COMELEC announced that, upon completion of the canvass
of the party-list results, it would determine the total number of seats of each
winning party, organization, or coalition in accordance with Veterans Federation
Party v. COMELEC 5 (Veterans).
Estrella DL Santos, in her capacity as President and First Nominee of
the Veterans Freedom Party, filed a motion to intervene in both G.R.
Nos. 179271 and 179295.

The Facts
The 14 May 2007 elections included the elections for the party-list
representatives. The COMELEC counted 15,950,900 votes cast for 93 parties
under the Party-List System. 6
On 27 June 2002, BANAT filed a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List
Representatives Provided by the Constitution, docketed as NBC No. 07-041 (PL)
before the NBC. BANAT filed its petition because "[t]he Chairman and the
Members of the [COMELEC] have recently been quoted in the national papers that
the [COMELEC] is duty bound to and shall implement the Veterans ruling, that is,
would apply the Panganiban formula in allocating party-list seats". 7 There were
no intervenors in BANAT's petition before the NBC. BANAT filed a memorandum on
19 July 2007. aTEACS
On 9 July 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No.
07-60. NBC Resolution No. 07-60 proclaimed thirteen (13) parties as winners in
the party-list elections, namely: Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (BUHAY), Bayan Muna,
Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), Gabriela's Women Party (Gabriela),
Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC), A Teacher, Akbayan!
Citizen's Action Party (AKBAYAN), Alagad, Luzon Farmers Party (BUTIL),
Cooperative-Natco Network Party (COOP-NATCCO), Anak Pawis, Alliance of Rural
Concerns (ARC), and Abono. We quote NBC Resolution No. 07-60 in its entirety
below:
WHEREAS, the Commission on Elections sitting en banc as National
Board of Canvassers, thru its Sub-Committee for Party-List, as of 03
July 2007, had officially canvassed, in open and public proceedings, a
total of fifteen million two hundred eighty three thousand six
hundred fifty-nine (15,283,659) votes under the Party-List System
of Representation, in connection with the National and Local Elections
conducted last 14 May 2007;
WHEREAS, the study conducted by the Legal and Tabulation Groups of
the
National
Board
of
Canvassers
reveals
that
the
projected/maximum total party-list votes cannot go any higher
than sixteen million seven hundred twenty three thousand
one hundred twenty-one (16,723,121) votes given the following
statistical
data:
Projected/Maximum Party-List Votes for May 2007 Elections

i.

Total party-list votes already canvassed/


tabulated

ii.

Total party-list votes remaining


uncanvassed/
untabulated (i.e. canvass deferred)

iii.

Maximum party-list votes (based on 100%


outcome) from areas not yet submitted for
canvass (Bogo, Cebu; Bais City; Pantar,
Lanao del Norte; and Pagalungan,
Maguindanao)
Maximum Total Party-List Votes

15,283,659

1,337,032

102,430

16,723,121

WHEREAS, Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7941 (Party-List System


Act) provides in part:
The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two
percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system
shall be entitled to one seat each: provided, that those
garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be
entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of
votes: provided, finally, that each party, organization, or
coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.
WHEREAS, for the 2007 Elections, based on the above projected total
of party-list votes, the presumptive two percent (2%) threshold can
be pegged at three hundred thirty four thousand four hundred
sixty-two (334,462) votes;
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court, in Citizen's Battle Against Corruption
(CIBAC) versus COMELEC, reiterated its ruling in Veterans Federation
Party versus COMELECadopting a formula for the additional seats of
each party, organization or coalition receiving more than the required
two percent (2%) votes, stating that the same shall be determined
only after all party-list ballots have been completely canvassed;

WHEREAS, the parties, organizations, and coalitions that have thus


far garnered at least three hundred thirty four thousand four
hundred sixty-two (334,462) votes are as follows:

RANK

PARTY/ORGANIZATION/
COALITION

VOTES
RECEIVED

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

BUHAY
BAYAN MUNA
CIBAC
GABRIELA
APEC
A TEACHER
AKBAYAN
ALAGAD
BUTIL
COOP-NATCO
BATAS
ANAK PAWIS
ARC
ABONO

1,163,218
972,730
760,260
610,451
538,971
476,036
470,872
423,076
405,052
390,029
386,361
376,036
338,194
337,046

WHEREAS, except for Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng


Adhikaing Sambayanan (BATAS), against which an URGENT PETITION
FOR
CANCELLATION/REMOVAL
OF
REGISTRATION
AND
DISQUALIFICATION OF PARTY-LIST NOMINEE (With Prayer for the
Issuance of Restraining Order) has been filed before the Commission,
docketed as SPC No. 07-250, all the parties, organizations and
coalitions included in the aforementioned list are therefore entitled to
at least one seat under the party-list system of representation in the
meantime. SATDHE

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the


Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, Executive Order No. 144,
Republic Act Nos. 6646, 7166, 7941, and other election laws, the

Commission on Elections, sitting en banc as the National Board of


Canvassers, hereby RESOLVES to PARTIALLY PROCLAIM, subject to
certain conditions set forth below, the following parties, organizations
and coalitions participating under the Party-List System:

1
2
3
4
5
6

7
8
9
10
11
12
13

Buhay Hayaan Yumabong


Bayan Muna
Citizens Battle Against Corruption
Gabriela Women's Party
Association of Philippine Electric
Cooperatives
Advocacy for Teacher
Empowerment Through
Action, Cooperation and
Harmony Towards
Educational Reforms, Inc.
Akbayan! Citizen's Action Party
Alagad
Luzon Farmers Party
Cooperative-Natco Network Party
Anak Pawis
Alliance of Rural Concerns
Abono

BUHAY
BAYAN MUNA
CIBAC
GABRIELA
APEC
A TEACHER

AKBAYAN
ALAGAD
BUTIL
COOP-NATCCO
ANAKPAWIS
ARC
ABONO

This is without prejudice to the proclamation of other parties,


organizations, or coalitions which may later on be established to have
obtained at least two percent (2%) of the total actual votes cast
under the Party-List System.

The total number of seats of each winning party, organization or


coalition shall be determined pursuant to Veterans Federation Party
versus COMELEC formula upon completion of the canvass of the
party-list results.
The proclamation of Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing
Sambayanan (BATAS) is hereby deferred until final resolution of SPC

No. 07-250, in order not to render the proceedings therein moot and
academic.
Finally, all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties,
organizations and coalitions with pending disputes shall likewise be
held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective cases.
Let the Clerk of the Commission implement this Resolution, furnishing
a copy thereof to the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the
Philippines.
SO ORDERED. 8 (Emphasis in the original)
Pursuant to NBC Resolution No. 07-60, the COMELEC, acting as NBC, promulgated
NBC Resolution No. 07-72, which declared the additional seats allocated to the
appropriate parties. We quote from the COMELEC's interpretation of
the Veterans formula as found in NBC Resolution No. 07-72:
WHEREAS, on July 9, 2007, the Commission on Elections sitting en
banc as the National Board of Canvassers proclaimed thirteen (13)
qualified parties, organization[s] and coalitions based on the
presumptive two percent (2%) threshold of 334,462 votes from the
projected maximum total number of party-list votes of 16,723,121,
and were thus given one (1) guaranteed party-list seat each;
WHEREAS, per Report of the Tabulation Group and Supervisory
Committee of the National Board of Canvassers, the projected
maximum total party-list votes, as of July 11, 2007, based on the
votes actually canvassed, votes canvassed but not included in Report
No. 29, votes received but uncanvassed, and maximum votes
expected for Pantar, Lanao del Norte, is 16,261,369; and that the
projected maximum total votes for the thirteen (13) qualified parties,
organizations and coalition[s] are as follows:

1
2
3
4
5
6

Party-List

Projected total number of votes

BUHAY
BAYAN MUNA
CIBAC
GABRIELA
APEC
A TEACHER

1,178,747
977,476
755,964
621,718
622,489
492,369

7
8
9
10
11
12
13

AKBAYAN
ALAGAD
BUTIL
COOP-NATCO
ANAKPAWIS
ARC
ABONO

462,674
423,190
409,298
412,920
370,165
375,846
340,151

WHEREAS,
based
on
the
above
Report, Buhay
Hayaan
Yumabong (Buhay) obtained the highest number of votes among the
thirteen (13) qualified parties, organizations and coalitions, making it
the "first party" in accordance with Veterans Federation Party versus
COMELEC, reiterated in Citizen's Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC)
versus COMELEC; acITSD

WHEREAS, qualified parties, organizations and coalitions participating


under the party-list system of representation that have obtained one
guaranteed (1) seat may be entitled to an additional seat or seats
based on the formula prescribed by the Supreme Court in Veterans;
WHEREAS, in determining the additional seats for the "first party", the
correct formula as expressed in Veterans, is:

Number of votes of first party

Total votes for party-list system

Proportion of votes of first


party relative to total votes
for
party-list system

wherein the proportion of votes received by the first party (without


rounding off) shall entitle it to additional seats:

Proportion of votes received

Additional seats

by the first party


Equal to or at least 6%
Equal to or greater than 4% but lessthan 6%
Less than 4%

Two (2) additional seats


One (1) additional seat
No additional seat

WHEREAS, applying the above formula, Buhay obtained the following


percentage:

1,178,747

16,261,369

0.07248 or 7.2%

which entitles it to two (2) additional seats.

WHEREAS, in determining the additional seats for the other qualified


parties, organizations and coalitions, the correct formula as expressed
in Veterans and reiterated in CIBAC is, as follows:

Additional seats for


a concerned party

No. of votes of
concerned party

No. of votes of
first party

No. of additional
seats allocated to
first party

WHEREAS, applying the above formula, the results are as follows:

Party List

Percentage

Additional Seat

BAYAN MUNA
CIBAC
GABRIELA
APEC
A TEACHER
AKBAYAN
ALAGAD
BUTIL
COOP-NATCO
ANAKPAWIS
ARC
ABONO

1.65
1.28
1.05
1.05
0.83
0.78
0.71
0.69
0.69
0.62
0.63
0.57

1
1
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

NOW THEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the


Constitution, Omnibus Election Code, Executive Order No. 144,
Republic Act Nos. 6646, 7166, 7941 and other elections laws, the
Commission on Elections en banc sitting as the National Board of
Canvassers, hereby RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to proclaim
the following parties, organizations or coalitions as entitled to
additional seats, to wit:

Party List

Additional Seats

BUHAY
BAYAN MUNA
CIBAC
GABRIELA
APEC

2
1
1
1
1

This is without prejudice to the proclamation of other parties,


organizations or coalitions which may later on be established to have
obtained at least two per cent (2%) of the total votes cast under the

party-list system to entitle them to one (1) guaranteed seat, or to the


appropriate percentage of votes to entitle them to one (1) additional
seat.

Finally, all proclamation of the nominees of concerned parties,


organizations and coalitions with pending disputes shall likewise be
held in abeyance until final resolution of their respective cases.
Let the National Board of Canvassers Secretariat implement this
Resolution, furnishing a copy hereof to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives of the Philippines.
SO ORDERED. 9
Acting on BANAT's petition, the NBC promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-88 on 3
August 2007, which reads as follows:
This pertains to the Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List
Representatives Provided by the Constitution filed by the Barangay
Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT).
Acting on the foregoing Petition of the Barangay Association for
National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) party-list, Atty.
Alioden D. Dalaig, Head, National Board of Canvassers Legal Group
submitted his comments/observations and recommendation thereon
[NBC 07-041 (PL)], which reads:
COMMENTS/OBSERVATIONS:
Petitioner Barangay Association for National Advancement and
Transparency (BANAT), in its Petition to Proclaim the Full Number
of
Party-List
Representatives
Provided
by the
Constitution prayed for the following reliefs, to wit:
1.That the full number twenty percent (20%) of Party-List
representatives as mandated by Section 5, Article VI of the
Constitution shall be proclaimed. CaDEAT
2.Paragraph (b), Section 11 of RA 7941 which prescribes the 2%
threshold votes, should be harmonized with Section 5, Article VI
of the Constitution and with Section 12 of the same RA 7941 in
that it should be applicable only to the first party-list

representative seats to be allotted on the basis of their


initial/first ranking.
3.The 3-seat limit prescribed by RA 7941 shall be applied; and
4.Initially, all party-list groups shall be given the number of
seats corresponding to every 2% of the votes they received and
the additional seats shall be allocated in accordance with
Section 12 of RA 7941, that is, in proportion to the percentage
of votes obtained by each party-list group in relation to the total
nationwide votes cast in the party-list election, after deducting
the corresponding votes of those which were allotted seats
under the 2% threshold rule. In fine, the formula/procedure
prescribed in the "ALLOCATION OF PARTY-LIST SEATS, ANNEX "A"
of COMELEC RESOLUTION 2847 dated 25 June 1996, shall be
used for [the] purpose of determining how many seats shall be
proclaimed,
which
party-list
groups
are
entitled
to
representative seats and how many of their nominees shall
seat [sic].
5.In the alternative, to declare as unconstitutional Section 11
of Republic Act No. 7941 and that the procedure in allocating
seats for party-list representative prescribed by Section 12 of RA
7941 shall be followed.
RECOMMENDATION:
The petition of BANAT is now moot and academic.
The Commission En Banc in NBC Resolution No. 07-60
promulgated July 9, 2007 re "In the Matter of the Canvass of
Votes and Partial Proclamation of the Parties, Organizations and
Coalitions Participating Under the Party-List System During the
May 14, 2007 National and Local Elections" resolved among
others that the total number of seats of each winning party,
organization or coalition shall be determined pursuant to
the Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC formula upon
completion of the canvass of the party-list results".
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the National Board of Canvassers
RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to approve and adopt the
recommendation of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head, NBC Legal Group, to
DENY the herein petition of BANAT for being moot and academic.

Let the Supervisory Committee implement this resolution.


SO ORDERED. 10
BANAT filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus assailing the ruling in NBC
Resolution No. 07-88. BANAT did not file a motion for reconsideration of NBC
Resolution No. 07-88.
On 9 July 2007, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher asked the COMELEC, acting as
NBC, to reconsider its decision to use the Veterans formula as stated in its NBC
Resolution No. 07-60 because the Veterans formula is violative of the Constitution
and of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941). On the same day, the COMELEC
denied reconsideration during the proceedings of the NBC. 11
Aside from the thirteen party-list organizations proclaimed on 9 July 2007, the
COMELEC proclaimed three other party-list organizations as qualified parties
entitled to one guaranteed seat under the Party-List System: Agricultural Sector
Alliance of the Philippines, Inc. (AGAP), 12 Anak Mindanao (AMIN), 13 and An
Waray. 14 Per the certification 15 by COMELEC, the following party-list
organizations have been proclaimed as of 19 May 2008:

1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6
1.7
1.8
1.9
1.10
1.11
1.12
1.13
1.14
1.15

Party-List

No. of Seat(s)

Buhay
Bayan Muna
CIBAC
Gabriela
APEC
A Teacher
Akbayan
Alagad
Butil
Coop-Natco [sic]
Anak Pawis
ARC
Abono
AGAP
AMIN

3
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

The proclamation of Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing


Sambayanan (BATAS), against which an Urgent Petition for
Cancellation/Removal of Registration and Disqualification of Party-list Nominee
(with Prayer for the Issuance of Restraining Order) has been filed before the
COMELEC, was deferred pending final resolution of SPC No. 07-250. SaHIEA

Issues
BANAT brought the following issues before this Court:
1.Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives
provided
in
Section
5(2),
Article
VI
of the
Constitution mandatory or is it merely a ceiling?
2.Is

the three-seat limit


7941 constitutional?

provided

in

Section

11(b)

of RA

3.Is the two percent threshold and "qualifier" votes prescribed by the
same Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
4.How shall the party-list representatives be allocated? 16
Bayan Muna, A Teacher, and Abono, on the other hand, raised the following issues
in their petition:
I.Respondent Commission on Elections, acting as National Board of
Canvassers, committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction when it promulgated NBC
Resolution No. 07-60 to implement the First-Party Rule in the
allocation of seats to qualified party-list organizations as said
rule:
A.Violates
the
constitutional
representation.

principle

of

proportional

B.Violates the provisions of RA 7941 particularly:


1.The 2-4-6 Formula used by the First Party Rule in
allocating additional seats for the "First Party"
violates the principle of proportional representation
under RA 7941.
2.The use of two formulas in the allocation of additional
seats, one for the "First Party" and another for the
qualifying parties, violates Section 11(b) of RA 7941.

3.The proportional relationships under the First Party Rule


are different from those required under RA 7941;

C.Violates the "Four Inviolable Parameters" of the Philippine


party-list system as provided for under the same case
of Veterans Federation Party, et al. v. COMELEC.
II.Presuming that the Commission on Elections did not commit grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
when it implemented the First-Party Rule in the allocation of
seats to qualified party-list organizations, the same being
merely in consonance with the ruling in Veterans Federations
Party, et al. v. COMELEC, the instant Petition is a justiciable case
as the issues involved herein are constitutional in nature,
involving the correct interpretation and implementation of RA
7941, and are of transcendental importance to our nation. 17
Considering the allegations in the petitions and the comments of the parties in
these cases, we defined the following issues in our advisory for the oral
arguments set on 22 April 2008:
1.Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives in
Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution mandatory or merely
a ceiling?
2.Is the three-seat limit in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
3.Is the two percent threshold prescribed in Section 11(b) of RA
7941 to qualify for one seat constitutional?
4.How shall the party-list representative seats be allocated?
5.Does the Constitution prohibit the major political parties from
participating in the party-list elections? If not, can the major
political parties be barred from participating in the party-list
elections? 18
The Ruling of the Court
The petitions have partial merit. We maintain that a Philippine-style party-list
election has at least four inviolable parameters as clearly stated in Veterans. For
easy reference, these are:

First, the twenty percent allocation the combined number


of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the
total membership of the House of Representatives, including those
elected under the party list;
Second, the two percent threshold only those parties garnering a
minimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list
system are "qualified" to have a seat in the House of Representatives;
Third, the three-seat limit each qualified party, regardless of the
number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of
three seats; that is, one "qualifying" and two additional seats;
Fourth, proportional representation the additional seats which a
qualified party is entitled to shall be computed "in proportion to their
total number of votes". 19 ITSacC
However, because the formula in Veterans has flaws in its mathematical
interpretation of the term "proportional representation", this Court is compelled
to revisit the formula for the allocation of additional seats to party-list
organizations.
Number of Party-List Representatives:
The Formula Mandated by the Constitution
Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution provides:
Section 5.(1)The House of Representatives shall be composed of not
more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by
law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among
the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance
with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law,
shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national,
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
(2)The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of
the total number of representatives including those under the partylist. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of
this Constitution,one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or
election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be
provided by law, except the religious sector.

The first paragraph of Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 reads:


Section 11.Number of Party-List Representatives. The party-list
representatives shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of the total
number of the members of the House of Representatives including
those under the party-list.
xxx xxx xxx
Section 5 (1), Article VI of the Constitution states that the "House of
Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law". The House of Representatives shall be
composed of district representatives and party-list representatives. The
Constitution allows the legislature to modify the number of the members of the
House of Representatives.
Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution, on the other hand, states the ratio of
party-list representatives to the total number of representatives. We compute the
number of seats available to party-list representatives from the number of
legislative districts. On this point, we do not deviate from the first formula
in Veterans, thus:

Number of seats available to


legislative districts

.80

x .20

Number of seats available


to
party-list representatives

This formula allows for the corresponding increase in the number of seats
available for party-list representatives whenever a legislative district is created
by law. Since the 14th Congress of the Philippines has 220 district
representatives, there are 55 seats available to party-list representatives.

220

.80

x .20

55

After prescribing the ratio of the number of party-list representatives to the total
number of representatives, the Constitution left the manner of allocating
the seats available to party-list representatives to the wisdom of the
legislature.

Allocation of Seats for Party-List Representatives:


The Statutory Limits Presented by the Two Percent Threshold
and the Three-Seat Cap
All parties agree on the formula to determine the maximum number of seats
reserved under the Party-List System, as well as on the formula to determine the
guaranteed seats to party-list candidates garnering at least two-percent of the
total party-list votes. However, there are numerous interpretations of the
provisions ofR.A. No. 7941 on the allocation of "additional seats" under the
Party-List System. Veterans produced the First Party Rule, 20 and Justice Vicente
V. Mendoza's dissent inVeterans presented Germany's Niemeyer formula 21 as an
alternative.
The Constitution left to Congress the determination of the manner of allocating
the seats for party-list representatives. Congress enacted R.A. No. 7941,
paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 11 and Section 12 of which provide:
Section 11.Number of Party-List Representatives. . . .
In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, 22 the
following procedure shall be observed:
(a)The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the
highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered
during the elections.
(b)The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two
percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be
entitled to one seat each:Provided, That those garnering more
than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to
additional seats in proportion to their total number of
votes:Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or coalition
shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.
Section
12.Procedure
in
Allocating
Seats
for
Party-List
Representatives. The COMELEC shall tally all the votes for the

parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide basis, rank them


according to the number of votes received and allocate party-list
representatives proportionately according to the percentage of votes
obtained by each party, organization, or coalition as against the total
nationwide votes cast for the party-list system. (Emphasis supplied)
In G.R. No. 179271, BANAT presents two interpretations through three formulas to
allocate party-list representative seats.
The first interpretation allegedly harmonizes the provisions of Section 11 (b) on
the 2% requirement with Section 12 of R.A. No. 7941. BANAT described this
procedure as follows: ASEIDH
(a)The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty percent
(20%) of the total Members of the House of Representatives including
those from the party-list groups as prescribed by Section 5, Article VI
of the Constitution, Section 11 (1st par.) of RA 7941 and Comelec
Resolution No. 2847 dated 25 June 1996. Since there are 220 District
Representatives in the 14th Congress, there shall be 55 Party-List
Representatives. All seats shall have to be proclaimed.
(b)All party-list groups shall initially be allotted one (1) seat for every
two per centum (2%) of the total party-list votes they obtained;
provided, that no party-list groups shall have more than three (3)
seats (Section 11, RA 7941).
(c)The remaining seats shall, after deducting the seats obtained by
the party-list groups under the immediately preceding paragraph and
after deducting from their total the votes corresponding to those
seats, the remaining seats shall be allotted proportionately to all the
party-list groups which have not secured the maximum three (3)
seats under the 2% threshold rule, in accordance with Section 12
of RA 7941. 23
Forty-four (44) party-list seats will be awarded under BANAT's first
interpretation.
The second interpretation presented by BANAT assumes that the 2% vote
requirement is declared unconstitutional, and apportions the seats for party-list
representatives by following Section 12 of R.A. No. 7941. BANAT states that the
COMELEC:
(a)shall tally all the votes for the parties, organizations, or coalitions
on a nationwide basis;

(b)rank them according to the number of votes received; and,


(c)allocate party-list representatives proportionately according to the
percentage of votes obtained by each party, organization or
coalition as against the total nationwide votes cast for the partylist system. 24

BANAT used two formulas to obtain the same results: one is based on the
proportional percentage of the votes received by each party as against the
total nationwide party-list votes, and the other is "by making the votes of a
party-list with a median percentage of votes as the divisor in computing the
allocation of seats".25 Thirty-four (34) party-list seats will be awarded under
BANAT's second interpretation.
In G.R. No. 179295, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher criticize both the
COMELEC's original 2-4-6 formula and the Veterans formula for systematically
preventing all the party-list seats from being filled up. They claim that both
formulas do not factor in the total number of seats allotted for the entire Party-List
System. Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher reject the three-seat cap, but accept
the 2% threshold. After determining the qualified parties, a second percentage is
generated by dividing the votes of a qualified party by the total votes of all
qualified parties only. The number of seats allocated to a qualified party is
computed by multiplying the total party-list seats available with the second
percentage. There will be a first round of seat allocation, limited to using the
whole integers as the equivalent of the number of seats allocated to the
concerned party-list. After all the qualified parties are given their seats, a second
round of seat allocation is conducted. The fractions, or remainders, from the
whole integers are ranked from highest to lowest and the remaining seats on the
basis of this ranking are allocated until all the seats are filled up. 26
We examine what R.A. No. 7941 prescribes to allocate seats for party-list
representatives.
Section 11 (a) of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the ranking of the participating parties
from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during
the elections.
Table 1. Ranking of the participating parties from the highest to the
lowest based on the number of votes garnered during the
elections. 27

Rank

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36

Party

Votes
Garnered

BUHAY
BAYAN MUNA
CIBAC
GABRIELA
APEC
A TEACHER
AKBAYAN
ALAGAD
COOP-NATCCO
BUTIL
BATAS
ARC
ANAKPAWIS
ABONO
AMIN
AGAP
AN WARAY
YACAP
FPJPM
UNI-MAD
ABS
KAKUSA
KABATAAN
ABA-AKO
ALIF
SENIOR CITIZENS
AT
VFP
ANAD
BANAT
ANG KASANGGA
BANTAY
ABAKADA
1-UTAK
TUCP
COCOFED

1,169,234
979,039
755,686
621,171
619,657
490,379
466,112
423,149
409,883
409,160
385,810
374,288
370,261
339,990
338,185
328,724
321,503
310,889
300,923
245,382
235,086
228,999
228,637
218,818
217,822
213,058
197,872
196,266
188,521
177,028
170,531
169,801
166,747
164,980
162,647
155,920

37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75

AGHAM
ANAK
ABANSE! PINAY
PM
AVE
SUARA
ASSALAM
DIWA
ANC
SANLAKAS
ABC
KALAHI
APOI
BP
AHONBAYAN
BIGKIS
PMAP
AKAPIN
PBA
GRECON
BTM
A SMILE
NELFFI
AKSA
BAGO
BANDILA
AHON
ASAHAN MO
AGBIAG!
SPI
BAHANDI
ADD
AMANG SCIAaT
ABAY PARAK
BABAE KA
SB
ASAP
PEP
ABA ILONGGO

146,032
141,817
130,356
119,054
110,769
110,732
110,440
107,021
99,636
97,375
90,058
88,868
79,386
78,541
78,424
77,327
75,200
74,686
71,544
62,220
60,993
58,717
57,872
57,012
55,846
54,751
54,522
51,722
50,837
50,478
46,612
45,624
43,062
42,282
36,512
34,835
34,098
33,938
33,903

76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93

VENDORS
ADD-TRIBAL
ALMANA
AANGAT KA PILIPINO
AAPS
HAPI
AAWAS
SM
AG
AGING PINOY
APO
BIYAYANG BUKID
ATS
UMDJ
BUKLOD FILIPINA
LYPAD
AA-KASOSYO
KASAPI
TOTAL

33,691
32,896
32,255
29,130
26,271
25,781
22,946
20,744
16,916
16,729
16,421
16,241
14,161
9,445
8,915
8,471
8,406
6,221

15,950,900
=========

The first clause of Section 11 (b) of R.A. No. 7941 states that "parties,
organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes
cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each". This clause
guarantees a seat to the two-percenters. In Table 2 below, we use the first 20
party-list candidates for illustration purposes. The percentage of votes garnered
by each party is arrived at by dividing the number of votes garnered by each
party by 15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for all party-list candidates.

Table 2.The first 20 party-list candidates and their respective


percentage of votes garnered over the total votes for the partylist. 28

Rank

Party

Votes

Votes

Guarantee

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

BUHAY
BAYAN MUNA
CIBAC
GABRIELA
APEC
A TEACHER
AKBAYAN
ALAGAD
COOP-NATCCO
BUTIL
BATAS 29
ARC
ANAKPAWIS
ABONO
AMIN
AGAP IDTHcA
AN WARAY

Garnered

Garnered over
Total Votes
for Party-List,
in %

Seat

1,169,234
979,039
755,686
621,171
619,657
490,379
466,112
423,149
409,883
409,160
385,810
374,288
370,261
339,990
338,185
328,724
321,503

7.33%
6.14%
4.74%
3.89%
3.88%
3.07%
2.92%
2.65%
2.57%
2.57%
2.42%
2.35%
2.32%
2.13%
2.12%
2.06%
2.02%

310,889
300,923
245,382

1.95%
1.89%
1.54%

1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

17
===
0
0
0

Total
18
19
20

YACAP
FPJPM
UNI-MAD

From Table 2 above, we see that only 17 party-list candidates received at least 2%
from the total number of votes cast for party-list candidates. The 17 qualified
party-list candidates, or the two-percenters, are the party-list candidates that are
"entitled to one seat each", or the guaranteed seat. In this first round of seat
allocation, we distributed 17 guaranteed seats.

The second clause of Section 11 (b) of R.A. No. 7941 provides that "those
garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional
seats in proportion to their total number of votes". This is where petitioners'
and intervenors' problem with the formula in Veterans lies. Veterans interprets the
clause "in proportion to their total number of votes" to be in proportion to the
votes of the first party. This interpretation is contrary to the express language
of R.A. No. 7941.IATHaS
We rule that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued
operation of the two percent threshold for the distribution of the additional seats
as found in the second clause of Section 11 (b) of R.A. No.
7941 is unconstitutional. This Court finds that the two percent threshold makes
it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of available party
list seats when the number of available party list seats exceeds 50. The continued
operation of the two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats
frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of
the House of Representatives shall consist of party-list representatives.
To illustrate: There are 55 available party-list seats. Suppose there are 50 million
votes cast for the 100 participants in the party list elections. A party that has two
percent of the votes cast, or one million votes, gets a guaranteed seat. Let us
further assume that the first 50 parties all get one million votes. Only 50 parties
get a seat despite the availability of 55 seats. Because of the operation of the two
percent threshold, this situation will repeat itself even if we increase the available
party-list seats to 60 seats and even if we increase the votes cast to 100 million.
Thus, even if the maximum number of parties get two percent of the votes for
every party, it is always impossible for the number of occupied party-list seats to
exceed 50 seats as long as the two percent threshold is present.
We therefore strike down the two percent threshold only in relation to the
distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Section 11 (b)
of R.A. No. 7941. The two percent threshold presents an unwarranted obstacle to
the full implementation of Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution and prevents
the attainment of "the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives". 30
In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives under Section
11 of R.A. No. 7941, the following procedure shall be observed:
1.The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the
highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they
garnered during the elections.

2.The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two


percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system
shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each.
3.Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the
ranking in paragraph 1, shall be entitled to additional seats in
proportion to their total number of votes until all the additional
seats are allocated.
4.Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more
than three (3) seats.
In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be
included because they have already been allocated, at one seat each, to every
two-percenter. Thus, the remaining available seats for allocation as "additional
seats" are the maximum seats reserved under the Party List System less the
guaranteed seats. Fractional seats are disregarded in the absence of a provision
in R.A. No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats.
In declaring the two percent threshold unconstitutional, we do not limit our
allocation of additional seats in Table 3 below to the two-percenters. The
percentage of votes garnered by each party-list candidate is arrived at by dividing
the number of votes garnered by each party by 15,950,900, the total number of
votes cast for party-list candidates. There are two steps in the second round of
seat allocation. First, the percentage is multiplied by the remaining available
seats, 38, which is the difference between the 55 maximum seats reserved under
the Party-List System and the 17 guaranteed seats of the two-percenters. The
whole integer of the product of the percentage and of the remaining available
seats corresponds to a party's share in the remaining available seats. Second, we
assign one party-list seat to each of the parties next in rank until all available
seats are completely distributed. We distributed all of the remaining 38 seats in
the second round of seat allocation. Finally, we apply the three-seat cap to
determine the number of seats each qualified party-list candidate is entitled.
Thus:

Table 3.Distribution of Available Party-List Seats

Votes
Garnered

Votes
Garnered
over

Guaranteed
Seat

Additional
Seats

(B) plu
(C), in
whole

Total
Votes for
Party List,
in %

Y
MUNA

ELA

her
AN
AD
NATCCO

PAWIS
O

ARAY

AD

SA
AAN
KO

R CITIZENS

T
ASANGGA
AY

1,169,234
979,039
755,686
621,171
619,657
490,379
466,112
423,149
409,883
409,160
385,810
374,288
370,261
339,990
338,185
328,724
321,503
310,889
300,923
245,382
235,086
228,999
228,637
218,818
217,822
213,058
197,872
196,266
188,521
177,028
170,531
169,801

(A)
7.33%
6.14%
4.74%
3.89%
3.88%
3.07%
2.92%
2.65%
2.57%
2.57%
2.42%
2.35%
2.32%
2.13%
2.12%
2.06%
2.02%
1.95%
1.89%
1.54%
1.47%
1.44%
1.43%
1.37%
1.37%
1.34%
1.24%
1.23%
1.18%
1.11%
1.07%
1.06%

integer

(First
Round)
(B)
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

(Second
Round)
(C)
2.79
2.33
1.80
1.48
1.48
1.17
1.11
1.01
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

(D)
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

ADA
K

FED

166,747
164,980
162,647
155,920

1.05%
1.03%
1.02%
0.98%

0
0
0
0

17
====

1
1
1
1

1
1
1
1

55
====

Applying the procedure of seat allocation as illustrated in Table 3 above, there are
55 party-list representatives from the 36 winning party-list organizations. All 55
available party-list seats are filled. The additional seats allocated to the parties
with sufficient number of votes for one whole seat, in no case to exceed a total of
three seats for each party, are shown in column (D). IcADSE

Participation of Major Political Parties in Party-List Elections


The Constitutional Commission adopted a multi-party system that allowed all
political parties to participate in the party-list elections. The deliberations
of the Constitutional Commission clearly bear this out, thus:
MR. MONSOD.
Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed
the party list system because we wanted to open up the political
system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty
system. . . . We are for opening up the system, and we
would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is
why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the
number of representatives from any single party that
can sit within the 50 allocated under the party list
system. . . . .
xxx xxx xxx
MR. MONSOD.
Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to
political parties. My question is this: Are we going to classify for
example Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as political

parties? Can they run under the party list concept or must they
be under the district legislation side of it only?
MR. VILLACORTA.
In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner
mentioned can field candidates for the Senate as well as for the
House of Representatives. Likewise, they can also field
sectoral candidates for the 20 percent or 30 percent,
whichever is adopted, of the seats that we are allocating
under the party list system.
MR. MONSOD.
In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district candidates
and can also participate in the party list system?
MR. VILLACORTA.
Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will
be fielding only sectoral candidates.
MR. MONSOD.
May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the party list
system?
MR. VILLACORTA.
Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come
from the different marginalized sectors that we shall
designate in this Constitution.
MR. MONSOD.
Suppose Senator Taada wants to run under BAYAN group and says
that he represents the farmers, would he qualify?
MR. VILLACORTA.
No, Senator Taada would not qualify.
MR. MONSOD.
But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say
Juan dela Cruz is a farmer. Who would pass on whether he is a
farmer or not?
MR. TADEO.

Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political


parties, particularly minority political parties, are not
prohibited to participate in the party list election if they
can prove that they are also organized along sectoral
lines.
MR. MONSOD.
What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties can
participate because it is precisely the contention of political
parties that they represent the broad base of citizens and that
all sectors are represented in them. Would the Commissioner
agree?
MR. TADEO.
Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang
political party, it will dominate the party list at mawawalang
saysay din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties
ang party list system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin ang
"reserve". Hindi ito reserve seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung
titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa political
parties.
MR. MONSOD. DAETHc
Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my question
to Commissioner Villacorta and probably also to Commissioner
Tadeo is that under this system, would UNIDO be banned from
running under the party list system?
MR. VILLACORTA.
No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that
condition alone, UNIDO may be allowed to register for
the party list system.
MR. MONSOD.
May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that answer?
MR. TADEO.
The same.
MR. VILLACORTA.

Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines.


xxx xxx xxx
MR. OPLE.
. . . In my opinion, this will also create the stimulus for political parties
and mass organizations to seek common ground. For example,
we have the PDP-Laban and the UNIDO. I see no reason why
they should not be able to make common goals with mass
organizations so that the very leadership of these parties can be
transformed through the participation of mass organizations.
And if this is true of the administration parties, this will be true
of others like the Partido ng Bayan which is now being formed.
There is no question that they will be attractive to many mass
organizations. In the opposition parties to which we belong,
there will be a stimulus for us to contact mass organizations so
that with their participation, the policies of such parties can be
radically transformed because this amendment will create
conditions that will challenge both the mass organizations and
the political parties to come together. And the party list system
is certainly available, although it is open to all the parties. It is
understood that the parties will enter in the roll of the COMELEC
the names of representatives of mass organizations affiliated
with them. So that we may, in time, develop this excellent
system that they have in Europe where labor organizations and
cooperatives, for example, distribute themselves either in the
Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Party in
Germany, and their very presence there has a transforming
effect upon the philosophies and the leadership of those parties.
It is also a fact well known to all that in the United States, the AFL-CIO
always vote with the Democratic Party. But the businessmen,
most of them, always vote with the Republican Party, meaning
that there is no reason at all why political parties and mass
organizations should not combine, reenforce, influence and
interact with each other so that the very objectives that we set
in this Constitution for sectoral representation are achieved in a
wider, more lasting, and more institutionalized way. Therefore, I
support this [Monsod-Villacorta] amendment. It installs sectoral
representation as a constitutional gift, but at the same time, it

challenges the sector to rise to the majesty of being elected


representatives later on through a party list system; and even
beyond that, to become actual political parties capable of
contesting political power in the wider constitutional arena for
major political parties.
xxx xxx xxx 32 (Emphasis supplied)
R.A. No. 7941 provided the details for the concepts put forward by the
Constitutional Commission. Section 3 of R.A. No. 7941 reads:
Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a mechanism of
proportional representation in the election of representatives to the
House of Representatives from national, regional and sectoral parties
or organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission
on Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or organizations of a
coalition may participate independently provided the coalition of
which they form part does not participate in the party-list system.
(b)A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a
coalition of parties.
(c)A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating
an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general
conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of
securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of
its leaders and members as candidates for public office.
It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the
geographical territory of at least a majority of the regions. It is a
regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical
territory of at least a majority of the cities and provinces comprising
the region. cDaEAS
(d)A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging
to any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal
advocacy pertains to the special interests and concerns of their
sector,

(e)A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of


groups of citizens who share similar physical attributes or
characteristics, employment, interests or concerns.

(f)A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national,


regional, sectoral parties or organizations for political and/or election
purposes.
Congress, in enacting R.A. No. 7941, put the three-seat cap to prevent any
party from dominating the party-list elections.
Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 prohibits major political parties from
participating in the party-list system. On the contrary, the framers of the
Constitutionclearly intended the major political parties to participate in party-list
elections through their sectoral wings. In fact, the members of the Constitutional
Commission voted down, 19-22, any permanent sectoral seats, and in the
alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups. 33 In
defining a "party" that participates in party-list elections as either "a political
party or a sectoral party", R.A. No. 7941 also clearly intended that major political
parties will participate in the party-list elections. Excluding the major political
parties in party-list elections is manifestly against the Constitution, the intent of
the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot engage in
socio-political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political
parties from the party-list elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the
law.
Read together, R.A. No. 7941 and the deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission state that major political parties are allowed to establish, or form
coalitions with, sectoral organizations for electoral or political purposes. There
should not be a problem if, for example, the Liberal Party participates in the partylist election through the Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas (KALIPI), its sectoral youth
wing. The other major political parties can thus organize, or affiliate with, their
chosen sector or sectors. To further illustrate, the Nacionalista Party can establish
a fisherfolk wing to participate in the party-list election, and this fisherfolk wing
can field its fisherfolk nominees. Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) can do
the same for the urban poor.
The qualifications of party-list nominees are prescribed in Section 9 of R.A. No.
7941:
Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be
nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural born
citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the
Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately
preceding the day of the elections, able to read and write, bona
fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent

for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is
at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twentyfive (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the
election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of
thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue until the
expiration of his term.
Under Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941, it is not necessary that the party-list
organization's nominee "wallow in poverty, destitution and infirmity" 34 as
there is no financial status required in the law. It is enough that the nominee of
the sectoral party/organization/coalition belongs to the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors, 35that is, if the nominee represents the fisherfolk,
he or she must be a fisherfolk, or if the nominee represents the senior citizens,
he or she must be a senior citizen.
Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 mandates the filling-up of the entire
20% allocation of party-list representatives found in the Constitution. The
Constitution, in paragraph 1, Section 5 of Article VI, left the determination of the
number of the members of the House of Representatives to Congress: "The House
of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members, unless otherwise fixed by law, . . . ." The 20% allocation of party-list
representatives is merely a ceiling; party-list representatives cannot be more than
20% of the members of the House of Representatives. However, we cannot allow
the continued existence of a provision in the law which will systematically prevent
the constitutionally allocated 20% party-list representatives from being filled. The
three-seat cap, as a limitation to the number of seats that a qualified party-list
organization may occupy, remains a valid statutory device that prevents any
party from dominating the party-list elections. Seats for party-list representatives
shall thus be allocated in accordance with the procedure used in Table 3 above.
However, by a vote of 8-7, the Court decided to continue the ruling
in Veterans disallowing major political parties from participating in the party-list
elections, directly or indirectly. Those who voted to continue disallowing major
political parties from the party-list elections joined Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno in
his separate opinion. On the formula to allocate party-list seats, the Court is
unanimous in concurring with this ponencia.
WHEREFORE, we PARTIALLY GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the Resolution of
the COMELEC dated 3 August 2007 in NBC No. 07-041 (PL) as well as the
Resolution dated 9 July 2007 in NBC No. 07-60. We declare unconstitutional the

two percent threshold in the distribution of additional party-list seats. The


allocation of additional seats under the Party-List System shall be in accordance
with the procedure used in Table 3 of this Decision. Major political parties are
disallowed from participating in party-list elections. This Decision is immediately
executory. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. ECISAD
Carpio Morales, Tinga, Nachura, Brion, Peralta and Bersamin, JJ., concur.
Puno, C.J., see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Quisumbing, J., certify that J. Quisumbing joined the Chief Justice's Opinion.-RSP
Ynares-Santiago,
Austria-Martinez,
Corona,
Chico-Nazario,
Velasco,
Jr. and Leonardo-de Castro, JJ., join the Chief Justice in his concurring and
dissenting opinion.
||| (Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) v.
Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 179271, 179295, [April 21, 2009], 604 PHIL
131-184)

143.Atong Paglaum Inc v COMELEC


EN BANC
[G.R. No. 203766. April 2, 2013.]
ATONG PAGLAUM, INC., represented by its President, Mr. Alan
Igot, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. Nos. 203818-19. April 2, 2013.]
AKO BICOL POLITICAL PARTY (AKB), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 203922. April 2, 2013.]
ASSOCIATION OF PHILIPPINE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES (APEC),
represented by its President Congressman Ponciano D.
Payuyo, petitioner, vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 203936. April 2, 2013.]
AKSYON MAGSASAKA-PARTIDO TINIG NG MASA, represented
by its President Michael Abas Kida, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 203958. April 2, 2013.]

KAPATIRAN NG MGA NAKULONG NA WALANG SALA, INC.


(KAKUSA), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 203960. April 2, 2013.]
1ST CONSUMERS ALLIANCE FOR RURAL ENERGY, INC. (1CARE), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS
EN
BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 203976. April 2, 2013.]
ALLIANCE FOR RURAL AND AGRARIAN RECONSTRUCTION, INC.
(ARARO), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 203981. April 2, 2013.]
ASSOCIATION
FOR
RIGHTEOUSNESS
ADVOCACY
ON
LEADERSHIP (ARAL) PARTY-LIST, represented herein by Ms.
Lourdes
L.
Agustin,
the
party's
Secretary
General, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204002. April 2, 2013.]
ALLIANCE FOR RURAL CONCERNS, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204094. April 2, 2013.]
ALLIANCE
FOR
NATIONALISM
AND
DEMOCRACY
(ANAD), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204100. April 2, 2013.]

1-BRO PHILIPPINE GUARDIANS BROTHERHOOD, INC., (1BROPGBI)


formerly
PGBI, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS EN BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204122. April 2, 2013.]
1
GUARDIANS
NATIONALIST
PHILIPPINES,
INC.,
(1GANAP/GUARDIANS), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS EN BANC composed of SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR.,
Chairman, RENE V. SARMIENTO, Commissioner, LUCENITO N.
TAGLE, Commissioner, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, Commissioner,
ELIAS R. YUSOPH, Commissioner, and CHRISTIAN ROBERT S.
LIM, Commissioner, respondents.
[G.R. No. 204125. April 2, 2013.]
AGAPAY NG INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ALLIANCE, INC. (AIPRA), represented by its Secretary General, Ronald D.
Macaraig, petitioner, vs.COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS
EN
BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204126. April 2, 2013.]
KAAGAPAY
NG
NAGKAKAISANG
AGILANG
PILIPINONG
MAGSASAKA (KAP), formerly known as AKO AGILA NG
NAGKAKAISANG MAGSASAKA (AKO AGILA), represented by its
Secretary
General,
Leo
R.
San
Buenaventura, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204139. April 2, 2013.]
ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM), represented by Atty.
Berteni Catalua Causing, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204141. April 2, 2013.]

BANTAY PARTY LIST, represented by Maria Evangelina F.


Palparan,
President, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204153. April 2, 2013.]
PASANG MASDA NATIONWIDE PARTY represented by its
President
Roberto
"Ka
Obet"
Martin, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS,respondent.
[G.R. No. 204158. April 2, 2013.]
ABROAD
PARTY
LIST, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS,
CHAIRMAN
SIXTO
S.
BRILLANTES,
JR.,
COMMISSIONERS RENE V. SARMIENTO, ARMANDO C. VELASCO,
ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, MARIA GRACIA
CIELO M. PADACA, LUCENITO TAGLE, AND ALL OTHER
PERSONS ACTING ON THEIR BEHALF, respondents.
[G.R. No. 204174. April 2, 2013.]
AANGAT TAYO PARTY LIST-PARTY, represented by its President
Simeon T. Silva, Jr., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
EN BANC,respondent.
[G.R. No. 204216. April 2, 2013.]
COCOFED-PHILIPPINE COCONUT PRODUCERS FEDERATION,
INC., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204220. April 2, 2013.]
ABANG LINGKOD PARTY-LIST, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS EN BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204236. April 2, 2013.]

FIRM 24-K ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON


ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204238. April 2, 2013.]
ALLIANCE
OF
BICOLNON
PARTY
(ABP), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS
EN
BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204239. April 2, 2013.]
GREEN FORCE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT SONS AND DAUGHTERS
OF MOTHER EARTH (GREENFORCE), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON ELECTIONS,respondent.
[G.R. No. 204240. April 2, 2013.]
AGRI-AGRA NA REPORMA PARA SA MAGSASAKA NG PILIPINAS
MOVEMENT (AGRI), represented by its Secretary General,
Michael Ryan A. Enriquez,petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS EN BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204263. April 2, 2013.]
A BLESSED PARTY LIST A.K.A. BLESSED FEDERATION OF
FARMERS
AND
FISHERMEN
INTERNATIONAL,
INC., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204318. April 2, 2013.]
UNITED MOVEMENT AGAINST DRUGS FOUNDATION (UNIMAD)
PARTY-LIST, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204321. April 2, 2013.]

ANG AGRIKULTURA NATIN ISULONG (AANI), represented by its


Secretary
General
Jose
C.
Policarpio,
Jr., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204323. April 2, 2013.]
BAYANI PARTYLIST as represented by Homer Bueno, Fitrylin
Dalhani, Israel de Castro, Dante Navarro and Guiling
Mamondiong, petitioner, vs.COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS,
CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., COMMISSIONERS RENE
V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO,
ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MARIA
GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA, respondents.
[G.R. No. 204341. April 2, 2013.]
ACTION LEAGUE OF INDIGENOUS MASSES (ALIM) PARTY-LIST,
represented herein by its President Fatani S. Abdul
Malik, petitioner, vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204356. April 2, 2013.]
BUTIL
FARMERS
PARTY, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ELECTIONS, respondent.

ON

[G.R. No. 204358. April 2, 2013.]


ALLIANCE OF ADVOCATES IN MINING ADVANCEMENT FOR
NATIONAL PROGRESS (AAMA), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS EN BANC,respondent.
[G.R. No. 204359. April 2, 2013.]
SOCIAL MOVEMENT FOR ACTIVE REFORM AND TRANSPARENCY
(SMART),
represented
by
its
Chairman,
Carlito
B.
Cubelo, petitioner, vs.COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS
EN
BANC, respondent.

[G.R. No. 204364. April 2, 2013.]


ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG ORDINARYONG-TAO, PARA SA LUPA,
PABAHAY,
HANAPBUHAY
AT
KAUNLARAN
(AKO
BUHAY), petitioner, vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC,
SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., RENE V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N.
TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN
ROBERT S. LIM, and MA. GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA, in their
capacities as Commissioners thereof, respondents.
[G.R. No. 204367. April 2, 2013.]
AKBAY
KALUSUGAN
INCORPORATION
(AKIN), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204370. April 2, 2013.]
AKO AN BISAYA (AAB), represented by its Secretary General,
Rodolfo
T.
Tuazon, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204374. April 2, 2013.]
BINHI-PARTIDO NG MGA MAGSASAKA PARA SA MGA
MAGSASAKA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN
BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204379. April 2, 2013.]
ALAGAD NG SINING (ASIN) represented by its President, Faye
Maybelle
Lorenz, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204394. April 2, 2013.]
ASSOCIATION OF GUARD UTILITY HELPER, AIDER, RIDER,
DRIVER/DOMESTIC HELPER, JANITOR, AGENT AND NANNY OF

THE
PHILIPPINES,
(GUARDJAN), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ELECTIONS, respondent.

INC.
ON

[G.R. No. 204402. April 2, 2013.]


KALIKASAN PARTY-LIST, represented by its President,
Clemente G. Bautista, Jr., and Secretary General, Frances Q.
Quimpo, petitioner, vs.COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS
EN
BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204408. April 2, 2013.]
PILIPINO ASSOCIATION FOR COUNTRY-URBAN POOR YOUTH
ADVANCEMENT
AND
WELFARE
(PACYAW), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS,respondent.
[G.R. No. 204410. April 2, 2013.]
1-UNITED
TRANSPORT
KOALISYON
(1UTAK), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204421. April 2, 2013.]
COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE
PHILIPPINES, INC. SENIOR CITIZEN PARTY-LIST, represented
herein by its 1st nominee and Chairman, Francisco G. Datol,
Jr., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204425. April 2, 2013.]
COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE
PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
and ANY OF ITS OFFICERS AND AGENTS, ACTING FOR AND IN
ITS BEHALF, INCLUDING THE CHAIR AND MEMBERS OF THE
COMMISSION, respondents.

[G.R. No. 204426. April 2, 2013.]


ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL ATHLETICS ENTREPRENEURS AND
HOBBYISTS, INC. (ALA-EH), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS EN BANC, SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., RENE V.
SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO,
ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MA. GRACIA
CIELO M. PADACA, in their respective capacities as COMELEC
Chairperson and Commissioners, respondents.
[G.R. No. 204428. April 2, 2013.]
ANG GALING PINOY (AG), represented by its Secretary
General, Bernardo R. Corella, Jr., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204435. April 2, 2013.]
1
ALLIANCE
ADVOCATING
(1AAAP), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
BANC, respondent.

AUTONOMY
PARTY
ON
ELECTIONS
EN

[G.R. No. 204436. April 2, 2013.]


ABYAN ILONGGO PARTY (AI), represented by its Party
President, Rolex T. Suplico, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON
ELECTIONS EN BANC,respondent.
[G.R. No. 204455. April 2, 2013.]
MANILA TEACHER SAVINGS
INC., petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
BANC, respondent.

AND LOAN ASSOCIATION,


ON
ELECTIONS
EN

[G.R. No. 204484. April 2, 2013.]

PARTIDO NG BAYAN ANG BIDA (PBB), represented by its


Secretary
General,
Roger
M.
Federazo, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS,respondent.
[G.R. No. 204485. April 2, 2013.]
ALLIANCE
OF
ORGANIZATIONS,
NETWORKS
AND
ASSOCIATIONS
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES,
INC.
(ALONA), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS
EN
BANC, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204486. April 2, 2013.]
1ST KABALIKAT NG BAYAN GINHAWANG SANGKATAUHAN (1ST
KABAGIS), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON
ELECTIONS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 204490. April 2, 2013.]
PILIPINAS PARA SA PINOY (PPP), petitioner, vs. COMMISSION
ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO, J p:
The Cases
These cases constitute 54 Petitions for Certiorari and Petitions for Certiorari and
Prohibition 1 filed by 52 party-list groups and organizations assailing the
Resolutions issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) disqualifying them
from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their
petitions for registration under the party-list system, or cancellation of their
registration and accreditation as party-list organizations.

This Court resolved to consolidate the 54 petitions in the Resolutions dated 13


November 2012, 2 20 November 2012, 3 27 November 2012, 4 4 December
2012, 5 11 December 2012, 6 and 19 February 2013. 7
The Facts
Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941) and COMELEC
Resolution Nos. 9366 and 9531, approximately 280 groups and organizations
registered and manifested their desire to participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list
elections.
G.R.
SPP
Group
Grounds for Denial
No.
No.
A.Via the COMELEC En Banc's automatic review of the COMELEC
Division's resolutions approving registration of
groups/organizations
Resolution dated 23 November
2012 8
The "artists" sector is not
1
204379 12-099 Alagad ng
considered
marginalized and
(PLM) Sining (ASIN)
underrepresented;
Failure to prove track record;
and
Failure of the nominees to
qualify
under RA 7941 and Ang
Bagong
Bayani.
Resolution dated 27 November
2012 9
2

204455 12-041 Manila Teachers Savings and


(PLM)
Loan
Association, Inc.
(Manila
Teachers)

A non-stock savings and loan


association cannot be
considered
marginalized and
underrepresented;
and

The first and second nominees


are

204426 12-011 Association of


(PLM)

Local Athletics

not teachers by profession.


Failure to show that its
members
belong to the marginalized;
and

Entrepreneurs
and Hobbyists, -

Failure of the nominees to


qualify.

Inc. (ALA-EH)
Resolution dated 27 November
2012 10
4

204435 12-057 1 Alliance


(PLM)

Advocating
Autonomy Party
(1AAAP)

Failure of the nominees to


qualify:
although registering as a
regional
political party, two of the
nominees
are not residents of the region;
and
four of the five nominees do
not
belong to the marginalized and
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 27 November


2012 11
5

204367 12-104 Akbay


(PL)

Kalusugan

(AKIN), Inc.
Resolution dated 29 November
2012 12
6

204370 12-011 Ako An Bisaya


(PP)

(AAB)

Failure of the group to show


that its
nominees belong to the urban
poor
sector.

Failure to represent a
marginalized
sector of society, despite the
formation of a sectoral wing for
the

benefit of farmers of Region 8;


Constituency has district
representatives;
Lack of track record in
representing
peasants and farmers; and
Nominees are neither farmers
nor
peasants.

Resolution dated 4 December


2012 13
7

204436 12-009 Abyan Ilonggo


(PP),
Party (AI)

12-165
(PLM)
-

Failure to show that the party


represents a marginalized and
underrepresented sector, as
the
Province of Iloilo has district
representatives;
Untruthful statements in the
memorandum; and
Withdrawal of three of its five
nominees.

Resolution dated 4 December


2012 14
8

204485 12-175 Alliance of


(PL)

Organizations,
Associations of
the Philippines, Inc. (ALONA)

Failure to establish that the


group can
represent 14 Networks and
sectors;
The sectors of homeowners'
associations, entrepreneurs
and
cooperatives are not
marginalized
and underrepresented; and
The nominees do not belong to
the
marginalized and

underrepresented.
B.Via the COMELEC En Banc's review on motion for reconsideration
of the COMELEC Division's resolutions denying registration of
groups and organizations
Resolution dated 7 November
2012 15
9

204139 12-127 Alab ng


(PL)

Mamamahayag
(ALAM)
-

Failure to prove track record as


an
organization;
Failure to show that the group
actually represents the
marginalized
and underrepresented; and
Failure to establish that the
group
can represent all sectors it
seeks to
represent.

Resolution dated 7 November


2012 16
10

204402 12-061 Kalikasan Party- (PP)

List
(KALIKASAN)

The group reflects an advocacy


for
the environment, and is not
representative of the
marginalized
and underrepresented;
There is no proof that majority
of
its members belong to the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
The group represents sectors
with
conflicting interests; and
The nominees do not belong to
the

sector which the group claims


to
represent.
Resolution dated 14 November
2012 17
11

204394 12-145 Association of


(PL)

Guard, Utility
Helper, Aider,
Rider, Driver/

Domestic
Helper,
Janitor, Agent

and Nanny of
the
Philippines, Inc.
(GUARDJAN)
Resolution dated 5 December
2012 18
12

204490 12-073 Pilipinas Para sa (PLM) Pinoy (PPP)

Failure to prove membership


base
and track record;
Failure to present activities
that
sufficiently benefited its
intended
constituency; and
The nominees do not belong to
any
of the sectors which the group
seeks
to represent.

Failure to show that the group


represents a marginalized and
underrepresented sector, as
Region
12 has district representatives;
and
Failure to show a track record
of
undertaking programs for the
welfare
of the sector the group seeks
to
represent.
In a Resolution dated 5 December 2012, 19 the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the
COMELEC Second Division's resolution to grant Partido ng Bayan ng Bida's (PBB)

registration and accreditation as a political party in the National Capital Region.


However, PBB was denied participation in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections
because PBB does not represent any "marginalized and underrepresented" sector;
PBB failed to apply for registration as a party-list group; and PBB failed to
establish its track record as an organization that seeks to uplift the lives of the
"marginalized and underrepresented." 20 SDHCac
These 13 petitioners (ASIN, Manila Teachers, ALA-EH, 1AAAP, AKIN, AAB, AI,
ALONA, ALAM, KALIKASAN, GUARDJAN, PPP, and PBB) were not able to secure a
mandatory injunction from this Court. The COMELEC, on 7 January 2013 issued
Resolution No. 9604, 21 and excluded the names of these 13 petitioners in the
printing of the official ballot for the 13 May 2013 party-list elections.
Pursuant to paragraph 2 22 of Resolution No. 9513, the COMELEC En
Banc scheduled summary evidentiary hearings to determine whether the groups
and organizations that filed manifestations of intent to participate in the 13 May
2013 party-list elections have continually complied with the requirements of R.A.
No. 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. COMELEC 23 (Ang Bagong
Bayani). The COMELEC disqualified the following groups and organizations from
participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections:
G.R.
SPP
Group
No.
No.
Resolution dated 10 October
2012 24

Grounds for Denial

1203818-12-154 AKO Bicol


19(PLM)

Political Party

12-177 (AKB)
(PLM)
-

Retained registration and


accreditation
as a political party, but denied
participation in the May 2013
party-list
elections
Failure to represent any
marginalized
and underrepresented sector;
The Bicol region already has
representatives in Congress;
and
The nominees are not
marginalized

and underrepresented.
Resolution dated 11 October
2012 25
2 20376612-161 Atong Paglaum,
(PLM) Inc. (Atong
Paglaum)

3 20398112-187 Association for


(PLM)

Righteousness

Advocacy on
Leadership
(ARAL)

4 20400212-188 Alliance for


(PLM) Rural Concerns
(ARC)

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
The nominees do not belong to
the
sectors which the party
represents;
and
The party failed to file its
Statement
of Contributions and
Expenditures
for the 2010 Elections.
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
Failure to comply, and for
violation
of election laws;
The nominees do not represent
the
sectors which the party
represents;
and
There is doubt that the party is
organized for religious
purposes.
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
Failure of the nominees to
qualify;
and
Failure of the party to prove
that
majority of its members belong
to

5 20431812-220 United
(PLM) Movement
Against Drugs
Foundation
(UNIMAD)
-

the sectors it seeks to


represent.
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
The sectors of drug counsellors
and
lecturers, veterans and the
youth,
are not marginalized and
underrepresented;
Failure to establish track
record; and
Failure of the nominees to
qualify
as representatives of the youth
and
young urban professionals.

Resolution dated 16 October


2012 26
6 20410012-196 1-Bro Philippine
(PLM)

Guardians

Brotherhood,
Inc. (1 BROPGBI)

7 20412212-223 1 Guardians
(PLM)

Nationalist

Cancelled registration
Failure to define the sector it
seeks to
represent; and
The nominees do not belong to
a
marginalized and
underrepresented
sector.
Cancelled registration
The party is a military
fraternity;

Philippines, Inc.
(1GANAP/
GUARDIANS)

The sector of community


volunteer
workers is too broad to allow
for
meaningful representation;

and
The nominees do not appear to
belong to the sector of
community
volunteer workers.

8 20426312-257 Blessed
(PLM)

Federation of

Farmers and
Fishermen
International,
Inc. (A
BLESSED

Party-List)

Cancelled registration
Three of the seven and
nominees do
not belong to the sector of
farmers
and fishermen, the sector
sought
to be represented; and
None of the nominees are
registered
voters of Region XI, the region
sought to be represented.

Resolution dated 16 October


2012 27
9 20396012-260 1st Consumers
(PLM)

Alliance for

Rural Energy,
Inc. (1-CARE)
-

Resolution dated 16 October


2012 28

Cancelled registration
The sector of rural energy
consumers
is not marginalized and
underrepresented;
The party's track record is
related
to electric cooperatives and
not rural
energy consumers; and
The nominees do not belong to
the
sector of rural energy
consumers.

10 20392212-201 Association of
(PLM) Philippine
Electric

Cooperatives

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Failure to represent a
marginalized
and underrepresented sector;
and

(APEC)
-

The nominees do not belong to


the
sector that the party claims to
represent.

Resolution dated 23 October


2012 29
11 20417412-232 Aangat Tayo
(PLM) Party-List Party
(AT)

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
The incumbent representative
in
Congress failed to author or
sponsor bills that are beneficial
to
the sectors that the party
represents
(women, elderly, youth, urban
poor);
and
The nominees do not belong to
the
marginalized sectors that the
party
seeks to represent.

Resolution dated 23 October


2012 30
12 20397612-288 Alliance for
(PLM) Rural and
Agrarian
Reconstruction,

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
The interests of the peasant
and
urban poor sectors that the

Inc. (ARARO)
-

party
represents differ;
The nominees do not belong to
the
sectors that the party seeks to
represent;
Failure to show that three of
the
nominees are bona fide party
members; and
Lack of a Board resolution to
participate in the party-list
elections.

Resolution dated 24 October


2012 31
13 20424012-279 Agri-Agra na
Reporma Para
(PLM)
sa

Magsasaka ng
Pilipinas
Movement
(AGRI)

14 20393612-248 Aksyon
(PLM)

MagsasakaPartido Tinig ng
Masa (AKMA-

Cancelled registration
The party ceased to exist for
more
than a year immediately after
the
May 2010 elections;
The nominees do not belong to
the
sector of peasants and farmers
that
the party seeks to represent;
Only four nominees were
submitted
to the COMELEC; and
Failure to show meaningful
activities
for its constituency.
Cancelled registration
Failure to show that majority of
its
members are marginalized and
underrepresented;

PTM)
-

15 20412612-263 Kaagapay ng
(PLM) Nagkakaisang

Agilang
Pilipinong
Magsasaka
(KAP)
-

16 20436412-180 Adhikain at
(PLM) Kilusan ng
Ordinaryong
Tao Para sa
Lupa, Pabahay,
Hanapbuhay at
Kaunlaran
(AKO-BAHAY)

Failure to prove that four of its


nine
nominees actually belong to
the
farmers sector; and
Failure to show that five of its
nine
nominees work on uplifting the
lives
of the members of the sector.
Cancelled registration
The Manifestation of Intent and
Certificate of Nomination were
not
signed by an appropriate
officer of
the party;
Failure to show track record for
the
farmers and peasants sector;
and
Failure to show that nominees
actually belong to the sector,
or
that they have undertaken
meaningful
activities for the sector.
Cancelled registration
Failure to show that nominees
actually belong to the sector,
or
that they have undertaken
meaningful
activities for the sector.

17 20414112-229 The True


(PLM)

Marcos Loyalist (for God,


Country and
People)
Association of

the Philippines,
Inc. (BANTAY)
18 20440812-217 Pilipino
(PLM)

Association for Country


Urban
Poor Youth
Advancement
and Welfare
(PACYAW)

19 20415312-277 Pasang Masda


(PLM)

Nationwide

Party (PASANG
MASDA)
20 20395812-015 Kapatiran ng

Cancelled registration
Failure to show that majority
of
its members are marginalized
and underrepresented; and
Failure to prove that two of its
nominees actually belong to
the
marginalized and
underrepresented.
Cancelled registration
Change of sector (from urban
poor
youth to urban poor)
necessitates
a new application;
Failure to show track record for
the marginalized and
underrepresented;
Failure to prove that majority
of its
members and officers are from
the
urban poor sector; and
The nominees are not
members of the
urban poor sector.
Cancelled registration
The party represents drivers
and
operators, who may have
conflicting
interests; and
Nominees are either operators
or
former operators.
Cancelled registration

(PLM)

mga Nakulong

na Walang Sala,
Inc. (KAKUSA)
-

Failure to prove that majority


of
its officers and members
belong to the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
The incumbent representative
in
Congress failed to author or
sponsor
bills that are beneficial to the
sector
that the party represents
(persons
imprisoned without proof of
guilt
beyond reasonable doubt);
Failure to show track record for
the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
and
The nominees did not appear
to be
marginalized and
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 30 October


2012 32
21 20442812-256 Ang Galing
(PLM) Pinoy (AG)
-

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Failure to attend the summary
hearing;
Failure to show track record for
the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
and
The nominees did not appear

to be
marginalized and
underrepresented.
Resolution dated 7 November
2012 33
22 20409412-185 Alliance for
(PLM) Nationalism and
Democracy

(ANAD)

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Failure to represent an
identifiable
marginalized and
underrepresented
sector;
Only three nominees were
submitted
to the COMELEC;
The nominees do not belong to
the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
and
Failure to submit its Statement
of
Contribution and Expenditures
for
the 2007 Elections.

Resolution dated 7 November 2012 34


23 20423912-060 Green Force for
(PLM) the Environment
Sons and

Daughters of
Mother Earth
(GREENFORCE)
-

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
The party is an advocacy group
and
does not represent the
marginalized
and underrepresented;
Failure to comply with the
track
record requirement; and

24 20423612-254 Firm 24-K


(PLM) Association, Inc.
(FIRM 24-K)

25 20434112-269 Action League


(PLM) of Indigenous
Masses (ALIM)

The nominees are not


marginalized
citizens.
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
The nominees do not belong to
the
sector that the party seeks to
represent (urban poor and
peasants
of the National Capital Region);
Only two of its nominees reside
in
the National Capital Region;
and
Failure to comply with the
track
record requirement.
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
Failure to establish that its
nominees
are members of the indigenous
people
in the Mindanao and
Cordilleras
sector that the party seeks to
represent;
Only two of the party's
nominees
reside in the Mindanao and
Cordilleras; and
Three of the nominees do not
appear
to belong to the marginalized.

Resolution dated 7 November


2012 35
26 20435812-204 Alliance of

Cancelled registration

(PLM)

Advocates in

Mining
Advancement
for National

The sector it represents is a


specifically defined group
which
may not be allowed
registration
under the party-list system;
and

Progress
(AAMA)

Failure to establish that the


nominees
actually belong to the sector.

Resolution dated 7 November


2012 36
27 20435912-272 Social
(PLM)

Movement for

Active Reform
and
Transparency
(SMART)

Cancelled registration
The nominees are disqualified
from
representing the sectors that
the party represents;

Failure to comply with the


track
record requirement; and
There is doubt as to whether
majority
of its members are
marginalized and
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 7 November


2012 37
28 20423812-173 Alliance of
(PLM) Bicolnon Party
(ABP)

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Defective registration and
accreditation dating back to
2010;
Failure to represent any sector;
and

Failure to establish that the


nominees
are employed in the
construction
industry, the sector it claims to
represent.

Resolution dated 7 November


2012 38
29 20432312-210 Bayani Party
(PLM) List (BAYANI)
-

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Failure to prove a track record
of
trying to uplift the
marginalized and
underrepresented sector of
professionals; and
One nominee was declared
unqualified to represent the
sector
of professionals.

Resolution dated 7 November


2012 39
30 20432112-252 Ang Agrikultura
(PLM) Natin Isulong
(AANI)

Resolution dated 7 November

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Failure to establish a track
record
of enhancing the lives of the
marginalized and
underrepresented
farmers which it claims to
represent;
and
More than a majority of the
party's
nominees do not belong to the
farmers sector.

2012 40
31 20412512-292 Agapay ng
(PLM) Indigenous
Peoples Rights

Alliance, Inc.
(A-IPRA)
-

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Failure to prove that its five
nominees
are members of the indigenous
people sector;
Failure to prove that its five
nominees
actively participated in the
undertakings of the party; and
Failure to prove that its five
nominees
are bona fide members.

Resolution dated 7 November


2012 41
32 20421612-202 Philippine
(PLM) Coconut
Producers

Federation, Inc.
(COCOFED)
-

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
The party is affiliated with
private
and government agencies and
is
not marginalized;
The party is assisted by the
government in various
projects; and
The nominees are not
members of
the marginalized sector of
coconut
farmers and producers.

Resolution dated 7 November


2012 42
33 20422012-238 Abang Lingkod
(PLM)

Party-List

Cancelled registration
Failure to establish a track
record of

(ABANG
LINGKOD)
-

continuously representing the


peasant farmers sector;
Failure to show that its
members
actually belong to the peasant
farmers
sector; and
Failure to show that its
nominees are
marginalized and
underrepresented,
have actively participated in
programs
for the advancement of
farmers, and
adhere to its advocacies.

Resolution dated 14 November


2012 43
34 20415812-158 Action
(PLM) Brotherhood for
Active

Dreamers, Inc.
(ABROAD)
-

Resolution dated 28 November


2012 44

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Failure to show that the party
is
actually able to represent all
of
the sectors it claims to
represent;
Failure to show a complete
track
record of its activities since its
registration; and
The nominees are not part of
any of
the sectors which the party
seeks to
represent.

35 20437412-228 Binhi-Partido ng
(PLM) mga Magsasaka
Para sa mga

Magsasaka
(BINHI)
-

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
The party receives assistance
from
the government through the
Department of Agriculture; and
Failure to prove that the group
is
marginalized and
underrepresented.

Resolution dated 28 November


2012 45
36 20435612-136 Butil Farmers
(PLM) Party (BUTIL)
-

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Failure to establish that the
agriculture and cooperative
sectors
are marginalized and
underrepresented; and
The party's nominees neither
appear
to belong to the sectors they
seek to
represent, nor to have actively
participated in the
undertakings of
the party.

Resolution dated 3 December


2012 46
37 20448612-194 1st Kabalikat ng
(PLM) Bayan
Ginhawang

Cancelled registration and


accreditation
Declaration of untruthful
statements;

Sangkatauhan
(1st KABAGIS)

Failure to exist for at least one


year;
and

None of its nominees belong to


the
labor, fisherfolk, and urban
poor
indigenous cultural
communities
sectors which it seeks to
represent.

Resolution dated 4 December


2012 47
38 20441012-198 1-United
(PLM)

Transport

Koalisyon (1UTAK)
-

Cancelled accreditation
The party represents drivers
and
operators, who may have
conflicting
interests; and
The party's nominees do not
belong
to any marginalized and
underrepresented sector.

Resolution dated 4 December


2012 48
39204421,12-157 Coalition of
204425(PLM),

Senior Citizens -

12-191 in the
(PLM)

Cancelled registration
The party violated election
laws
because its nominees had a
termsharing agreement.

Philippines, Inc.
(SENIOR
CITIZENS)
These 39 petitioners (AKB, Atong Paglaum, ARAL, ARC, UNIMAD, 1BRO-PGBI,
1GANAP/GUARDIANS, A BLESSED Party-List, 1-CARE, APEC, AT, ARARO, AGRI,
AKMA-PTM, KAP, AKO-BAHAY, BANTAY, PACYAW, PASANG MASDA, KAKUSA, AG,
ANAD, GREENFORCE, FIRM 24-K, ALIM, AAMA, SMART, ABP, BAYANI, AANI, A-IPRA,
COCOFED, ABANG LINGKOD, ABROAD, BINHI, BUTIL, 1st KABAGIS, 1-UTAK, SENIOR
CITIZENS) were able to secure a mandatory injunction from this Court, directing

the COMELEC to include the names of these 39 petitioners in the printing of the
official ballot for the 13 May 2013 party-list elections. CSAaDE
Petitioners prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of
preliminary injunction. This Court issued Status Quo Ante Orders in all
petitions. This Decision governs only the 54 consolidated petitions that
were granted Status Quo Ante Orders, namely:
G.R. No.
SPP No.
Resolution dated 13
November 2012
203818-19
12-154 (PLM)
12-177 (PLM)
203981

12-187 (PLM)

204002

12-188 (PLM)

203922

12-201 (PLM)

203960

12-260 (PLM)

203936

12-248 (PLM)

203958

12-015 (PLM)

203976

12-288 (PLM)

Group

AKO Bicol Political Party (AKB)


Association for Righteousness
Advocacy
on Leadership (ARAL)
Alliance for Rural Concerns
(ARC)
Association of Philippine
Electric
Cooperatives (APEC)
1st Consumers Alliance for
Rural
Energy, Inc. (1-CARE)
Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido
Tinig ng
Masa (AKMA-PTM)
Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na
Walang
Sala, Inc. (KAKUSA)
Alliance for Rural and Agrarian
Reconstruction, Inc. (ARARO)

Resolution dated 20
November 2012
204094

12-185 (PLM)

204125

12-292 (PLM)

Alliance for Nationalism and


Democracy
(ANAD)
Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples
Rights
Alliance, Inc. (A-IPRA)

204100

12-196 (PLM)

1-Bro Philippine Guardians


Brotherhood,
Inc. (1BRO-PGBI)

Resolution dated 27
November 2012
204141

12-229 (PLM)

204240

12-279 (PLM)

204216

12-202 (PLM)

204158

12-158 (PLM)

The True Marcos Loyalist (for


God,
Country and People)
Association of the
Philippines, Inc. (BANTAY)
Agri-Agra na Reporma Para sa
Magsasaka
ng Pilipinas Movement (AGRI)
Philippine Coconut Producers
Federation,
Inc. (COCOFED)
Action Brotherhood for Active
Dreamer,
Inc. (ABROAD)

Resolutions dated 4 December


2012
204122

12-223 (PLM)

203766

12-161 (PLM)

204318

12-220 (PLM)

204263

12-257 (PLM)

204174

12-232 (PLM)

204126

12-263 (PLM)

204364

12-180 (PLM)

1 Guardians Nationalist
Philippines, Inc.
(1GANAP/GUARDIANS)
Atong Paglaum, Inc. (Atong
Paglaum)
United Movement Against
Drugs
Foundation (UNIMAD)
Blessed Federation of Farmers
and
Fishermen International, Inc.
(A BLESSED Party-List)
Aangat Tayo Party-List Party
(AT)
Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang
Agilang
Pilipinong Magsasaka (KAP)
Adhikain at Kilusan ng

204139

12-127 (PL)

204220

12-238 (PLM)

204236

12-254 (PLM)

204238

12-173 (PLM)

204239

12-060 (PLM)

204321

12-252 (PLM)

204323

12-210 (PLM)

204341

12-269 (PLM)

204358

12-204 (PLM)

204359

12-272 (PLM)

204356
12-136 (PLM)
Resolution dated 11 December
2012
204402

12-061 (PL)

204394

12-145 (PL)

Ordinaryong Tao
Para sa Lupa, Pabahay,
Hanapbuhay at
Kaunlaran (AKO-BAHAY)
Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM)
Abang Lingkod Party-List
(ABANG
LINGKOD)
Firm 24-K Association, Inc.
(FIRM 24-K)
Alliance of Bicolnon Party (ABP)
Green Force for the
Environment Sons
and Daughters of Mother Earth
(GREENFORCE)
Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong
(AANI)
Bayani Party List (BAYANI)
Action League of Indigenous
Masses
(ALIM)
Alliance of Advocates in Mining
Advancement for National
Progress
(AAMA)
Social Movement for Active
Reform
and Transparency (SMART)
Butil Farmers Party (BUTIL)

Kalikasan Party-List
(KALIKASAN)
Association of Guard, Utility
Helper,
Aider, Rider, Driver/Domestic
Helper,
Janitor, Agent and Nanny of the
Philippines, Inc. (GUARDJAN)

204408

12-217 (PLM)

204428
204490
204379
204367
204426

12-256
12-073
12-099
12-104
12-011

204455

12-041 (PLM)

204374

12-228 (PLM)

204370

12-011 (PP)

204435

12-057 (PLM)

204486

12-194 (PLM)

204410

12-198 (PLM)

204421,

12-157 (PLM)

204425

12-191 (PLM)

204436

12-009 (PP),
12-165 (PLM)

204485

12-175 (PL)

(PLM)
(PLM)
(PLM)
(PL)
(PLM)

Pilipino Association for Country

Urban Poor Youth Advancement


and Welfare (PACYAW)
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG)
Pilipinas Para sa Pinoy (PPP)
Alagad ng Sining (ASIN)
Akbay Kalusugan (AKIN)
Association of Local Athletics
Entrepreneurs and Hobbyists,
Inc.
(ALA-EH)
Manila Teachers Savings and
Loan
Association, Inc. (Manila
Teachers)
Binhi-Partido ng mga
Magsasaka Para
sa mga Magsasaka (BINHI)
Ako An Bisaya (AAB)
1 Alliance Advocating
Autonomy
Party (1AAAP)
1st Kabalikat ng Bayan
Ginhawang
Sangkatauhan (1st KABAGIS)
1-United Transport Koalisyon
(1-UTAK)
Coalition of Senior Citizens in
the
Philippines, Inc. (SENIOR
CITIZENS)
Abyan Ilonggo Party (AI)
Alliance of Organizations,
Networks
and Associations of the
Philippines, Inc.
(ALONA)

204484
11-002
Partido ng Bayan ng Bida (PBB)
Resolution dated 11 December
2012
Pasang Masda Nationwide
204153
12-277 (PLM)
Party
(PASANG MASDA)
The Issues
We rule upon two issues: first, whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in disqualifying petitioners
from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their
new petitions for registration under the party-list system, or by cancellation of
their existing registration and accreditation as party-list organizations;
and second, whether the criteria for participating in the party-list system laid
down in Ang Bagong Bayani andBarangay Association for National Advancement
and Transparency v. Commission on Elections 49 (BANAT) should be applied by
the COMELEC in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections.
The Court's Ruling
We hold that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in following
prevailing decisions of this Court in disqualifying petitioners from participating in
the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. However, since the Court adopts in
this Decision new parameters in the qualification of national, regional, and
sectoral parties under the party-list system, thereby abandoning the rulings in the
decisions applied by the COMELEC in disqualifying petitioners, we remand to the
COMELEC all the present petitions for the COMELEC to determine who are
qualified to register under the party-list system, and to participate in the coming
13 May 2013 party-list elections, under the new parameters prescribed in this
Decision.
The Party-List System
The 1987 Constitution provides the basis for the party-list system of
representation. Simply put, the party-list system is intended to democratize
political power by giving political parties that cannot win in legislative district
elections a chance to win seats in the House of Representatives. 50 The voter
elects two representatives in the House of Representatives: one for his or her
legislative district, and another for his or her party-list group or organization of
choice. The 1987 Constitution provides: cCTESa
Section 5, Article VI

(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than


two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who
shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the
provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with
the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law,
shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national,
regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum
of the total number of representatives including those under the party
list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this
Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or
election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be
provided by law, except the religious sector.
Sections 7 and 8, Article IX-C
Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or
coalition shall be valid, except for those registered under the partylist system as provided in this Constitution.
Sec. 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under
the party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters'
registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of
canvassers, or other similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to
appoint poll watchers in accordance with law.
Commissioner Christian S. Monsod, the main sponsor of the party-list system,
stressed that "the party-list system is not synonymous with that of the
sectoral representation." 51 The constitutional provisions on the party-list
system should be read in light of the following discussion among its
framers: SEDaAH
MR. MONSOD:
....
I would like to make a distinction from the beginning that the
proposal for the party list system is not synonymous
with that of the sectoral representation. Precisely, the
party list system seeks to avoid the dilemma of choice of

sectors and who constitute the members of the sectors. In


making the proposal on the party list system, we were made
aware of the problems precisely cited by Commissioner Bacani
of which sectors will have reserved seats. In effect, a sectoral
representation in the Assembly would mean that certain sectors
would have reserved seats; that they will choose among
themselves who would sit in those reserved seats. And then, we
have the problem of which sector because as we will notice in
Proclamation No. 9, the sectors cited were the farmers,
fishermen, workers, students, professionals, business, military,
academic, ethnic and other similar groups. So these are the nine
sectors that were identified here as "sectoral representatives" to
be represented in this Commission. The problem we had in
trying to approach sectoral representation in the Assembly was
whether to stop at these nine sectors or include other sectors.
And we went through the exercise in a caucus of which sector
should be included which went up to 14 sectors. And as we all
know, the longer we make our enumeration, the more limiting
the law become because when we make an enumeration we
exclude those who are not in the enumeration. Second, we had
the problem of who comprise the farmers. Let us just say the
farmers and the laborers. These days, there are many citizens
who are called "hyphenated citizens." A doctor may be a farmer;
a lawyer may also be a farmer. And so, it is up to the discretion
of the person to say "I am a farmer" so he would be included in
that sector.
The third problem is that when we go into a reserved seat system of
sectoral representation in the Assembly, we are, in effect, giving
some people two votes and other people one vote. We sought to
avoid these problems by presenting a party list system. Under
the party list system, there are no reserved seats for sectors.
Let us say, laborers and farmers can form a sectoral party or a
sectoral organization that will then register and present
candidates of their party. How do the mechanics go? Essentially,
under the party list system, every voter has two votes, so there
is no discrimination. First, he will vote for the representative of
his legislative district. That is one vote. In that same ballot, he
will be asked: What party or organization or coalition do you

wish to be represented in the Assembly? And here will be


attached a list of the parties, organizations or coalitions that
have been registered with the COMELEC and are entitled to be
put in that list. This can be a regional party, a sectoral party, a
national party, UNIDO, Magsasaka or a regional party in
Mindanao. One need not be a farmer to say that he wants the
farmers' party to be represented in the Assembly. Any citizen
can vote for any party. At the end of the day, the COMELEC will
then tabulate the votes that had been garnered by each party
or each organization one does not have to be a political party
and register in order to participate as a party and count the
votes and from there derive the percentage of the votes that
had been cast in favor of a party, organization or
coalition. ScCIaA
When such parties register with the COMELEC, we are assuming that
50 of the 250 seats will be for the party list system. So, we have
a limit of 30 percent of 50. That means that the maximum that
any party can get out of these 50 seats is 15. When the parties
register they then submit a list of 15 names. They have to
submit these names because these nominees have to meet the
minimum qualifications of a Member of the National Assembly.
At the end of the day, when the votes are tabulated, one gets
the percentages. Let us say, UNIDO gets 10 percent or 15
percent of the votes; KMU gets 5 percent; a women's party gets
2 1/2 percent and anybody who has at least 2 1/2 percent of the
vote qualifies and the 50 seats are apportioned among all of
these parties who get at least 2 1/2 percent of the vote.
What does that mean? It means that any group or party who has a
constituency of, say, 500,000 nationwide gets a seat in the
National Assembly. What is the justification for that? When we
allocate legislative districts, we are saying that any district that
has 200,000 votes gets a seat. There is no reason why a group
that has a national constituency, even if it is a sectoral or
special interest group, should not have a voice in the National
Assembly. It also means that, let us say, there are three or four
labor groups, they all register as a party or as a group. If each of
them gets only one percent or five of them get one percent,
they are not entitled to any representative. So, they will begin to

think that if they really have a common interest, they should


band together, form a coalition and get five percent of the vote
and, therefore, have two seats in the Assembly. Those are the
dynamics of a party list system.
We feel that this approach gets around the mechanics of sectoral
representation while at the same time making sure that those
who really have a national constituency or sectoral constituency
will get a chance to have a seat in the National Assembly. These
sectors or these groups may not have the constituency to win a
seat on a legislative district basis. They may not be able to win
a seat on a district basis but surely, they will have votes on a
nationwide basis.
The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we
found out that there were certain groups or parties that, if we
count their votes nationwide; have about 1,000,000 or
1,500,000 votes. But they were always third place or fourth
place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in the
Assembly. But this way, they would have five or six
representatives in the Assembly even if they would not win
individually in legislative districts. So, that is essentially the
mechanics, the purpose and objectives of the party list
system. EcHaAC
BISHOP BACANI:
Madam President, am I right in interpreting that when we speak now
of party list system though we refer to sectors, we would be
referring to sectoral party list rather than sectors and party list?
MR. MONSOD:
As a matter of fact, if this body accepts the party list system, we do
not even have to mention sectors because the sectors would be
included in the party list system.They can be sectoral parties
within the party list system.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. MONSOD.
Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed
the party list system because we wanted to open up the political

system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty


system. . . . We are for opening up the system, and we
would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is
why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the
number of representatives from any single party that
can sit within the 50 allocated under the party list
system. . . . . CcAHEI
xxx xxx xxx
MR. MONSOD.
Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not
limited to political parties. My question is this: Are we
going to classify for example Christian Democrats and
Social Democrats as political parties? Can they run under
the party list concept or must they be under the district
legislation side of it only?
MR. VILLACORTA.
In reply to that query, I think these parties that the
Commissioner mentioned can field candidates for the
Senate as well as for the House of Representatives.
Likewise, they can also field sectoral candidates for the
20 percent or 30 percent, whichever is adopted, of the
seats that we are allocating under the party list system.
MR. MONSOD.
In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district
candidates and can also participate in the party list
system?
MR. VILLACORTA.
Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will
be fielding only sectoral candidates.
MR. MONSOD.
May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the party
list system?
MR. VILLACORTA.

Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come
from the different marginalized sectors that we shall
designate in this Constitution.
MR. MONSOD.
Suppose Senator Taada wants to run under BAYAN group and says
that he represents the farmers, would he qualify? EaSCAH
MR. VILLACORTA.
No, Senator Taada would not qualify.
MR. MONSOD.
But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say
Juan dela Cruz is a farmer. Who would pass on whether he is a
farmer or not?
MR. TADEO.
Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political
parties, particularly minority political parties, are not
prohibited to participate in the party list election if they
can prove that they are also organized along sectoral
lines.
MR. MONSOD.
What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties can
participate because it is precisely the contention of political
parties that they represent the broad base of citizens and that
all sectors are represented in them. Would the Commissioner
agree?
MR. TADEO.
Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang
political party, it will dominate the party list at mawawalang
saysay din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties
ang party list system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin ang
"reserve." Hindi ito reserve seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung
titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa political
parties.
MR. MONSOD.

Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my question
to Commissioner Villacorta and probably also to Commissioner
Tadeo is that under this system, would UNIDO be banned from
running under the party list system? CDHaET
MR. VILLACORTA.
No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that
condition alone, UNIDO may be allowed to register for
the party list system.
MR. MONSOD.
May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that
answer?
MR. TADEO.
The same.
MR. VILLACORTA.
Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines. IcESaA
MR. MONSOD:
Sino po ang magsasabi kung iyong kandidato ng UNIDO ay hindi
talagang labor leader or isang laborer? Halimbawa, abogado ito.
MR. TADEO:
Iyong mechanics.
MR. MONSOD:
Hindi po mechanics iyon because we are trying to solve an inherent
problem of sectoral representation. My question is: Suppose
UNIDO fields a labor leader, would he qualify?
MR. TADEO:
The COMELEC may look into the truth of whether or not a
political party is really organized along a specific
sectoral line. If such is verified or confirmed, the political
party may submit a list of individuals who are actually
members of such sectors. The lists are to be published to
give individuals or organizations belonging to such
sector the chance to present evidence contradicting
claims of membership in the said sector or to question

the claims of the existence of such sectoral


organizations or parties. This proceeding shall be
conducted by the COMELEC and shall be summary in
character. In other words, COMELEC decisions on this
matter are final and unappealable. 52 (Emphasis supplied)
Indisputably, the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended the party-list system
to include not only sectoral parties but also non-sectoral parties. The framers
intended the sectoral parties to constitute a part, but not the entirety, of the
party-list system. As explained by Commissioner Wilfredo Villacorta,
political parties can participate in the party-list system "[F]or as long as
they field candidates who come from the different marginalized sectors
that we shall designate in this Constitution." 53 DTAaCE
In fact, the framers voted down, 19-22, a proposal to reserve permanent seats to
sectoral parties in the House of Representatives, or alternatively, to reserve the
party-list system exclusively to sectoral parties. As clearly explained by Justice
Jose C. Vitug in his Dissenting Opinion in Ang Bagong Bayani:
The draft provisions on what was to become Article VI, Section 5,
subsection (2), of the 1987 Constitution took off from two staunch
positions the first headed by Commissioner Villacorta, advocating
that of the 20 per centum of the total seats in Congress to be
allocated to party-list representatives half were to be reserved to
appointees from the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. The
proposal was opposed by some Commissioners. Mr. Monsod
expressed the difficulty in delimiting the sectors that needed
representation. He was of the view that reserving seats for the
marginalized and underrepresented sectors would stunt their
development into full-pledged parties equipped with electoral
machinery potent enough to further the sectoral interests to be
represented. The Villacorta group, on the other hand, was
apprehensive that pitting the unorganized and less-moneyed sectoral
groups in an electoral contest would be like placing babes in the lion's
den, so to speak, with the bigger and more established political
parties ultimately gobbling them up. R.A. 7941 recognized this
concern when it banned the first five major political parties on the
basis of party representation in the House of Representatives from
participating in the party-list system for the first party-list elections
held in 1998 (and to be automatically lifted starting with the 2001

elections). The advocates for permanent seats for sectoral


representatives made an effort towards a compromise that the
party-list system be open only to underrepresented and marginalized
sectors. This proposal was further whittled down by allocating only
half of the seats under the party-list system to candidates from the
sectors which would garner the required number of votes. The
majority was unyielding. Voting 19-22, the proposal for
permanent seats, and in the alternative the reservation of the
party-list system to the sectoral groups, was voted down. The
only concession the Villacorta group was able to muster was an
assurance of reserved seats for selected sectors for three consecutive
terms after the enactment of the 1987 Constitution, by which time
they would be expected to gather and solidify their electoral base and
brace themselves in the multi-party electoral contest with the more
veteran political groups.54 (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, in the end, the proposal to give permanent reserved seats to certain sectors
was outvoted. Instead, the reservation of seats to sectoral representatives was
only allowed for the first three consecutive terms. 55 There can be no doubt
whatsoever that the framers of the 1987 Constitution expressly rejected the
proposal to make the party-list system exclusively for sectoral parties only, and
that they clearly intended the party-list system to include both sectoral and nonsectoral parties.
The common denominator between sectoral and non-sectoral parties is that they
cannot expect to win in legislative district elections but they can garner, in
nationwide elections, at least the same number of votes that winning candidates
can garner in legislative district elections. The party-list system will be the entry
point to membership in the House of Representatives for both these nontraditional parties that could not compete in legislative district elections. TaDSHC
The indisputable intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution to include in the
party-list system both sectoral and non-sectoral parties is clearly written in
Section 5 (1), Article VI of the Constitution, which states:
Section 5.(1) The House of Representative shall be composed of not
more that two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by
law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among
the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance
with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a
uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law,

shall be elected through a party-list system of registered


national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.
(Emphasis supplied)
Section 5 (1), Article VI of the Constitution is crystal-clear that there shall be "a
party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
organizations." The commas after the words "national[,]" and "regional[,]"
separate national and regional parties from sectoral parties. Had the framers of
the 1987 Constitution intended national and regional parties to be at the same
time sectoral, they would have stated "national and regional sectoral parties."
They did not, precisely because it was never their intention to make the party-list
system exclusively sectoral.
What the framers intended, and what they expressly wrote in Section 5 (1), could
not be any clearer: the party-list system is composed of three different groups,
and the sectoral parties belong to only one of the three groups. The text of
Section 5 (1) leaves no room for any doubt that national and regional
parties are separate from sectoral parties.
Thus, the party-list system is composed of three different groups: (1) national
parties or organizations; (2) regional parties or organizations; and (3) sectoral
parties or organizations. National and regional parties or organizations
are different from sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties
or organizations need not be organized along sectoral lines and need not
represent any particular sector.
Moreover, Section 5 (2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution mandates that, during
the first three consecutive terms of Congress after the ratification of the 1987
Constitution, "one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be
filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban
poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as
may be provided by law, except the religious sector." This provision clearly shows
again that the party-list system is not exclusively for sectoral parties for two
obvious reasons. ASETHC
First, the other one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives would
naturally be open to non-sectoral party-list representatives, clearly negating the
idea that the party-list system is exclusively for sectoral parties representing the
"marginalized and underrepresented." Second, the reservation of one-half of the
party-list seats to sectoral parties applies only for the first "three consecutive
terms after the ratification of this Constitution," clearly making the party-list
system fully open after the end of the first three congressional terms. This means

that, after this period, there will be no seats reserved for any class or type of party
that qualifies under the three groups constituting the party-list system.
Hence, the clear intent, express wording, and party-list structure
ordained in Section 5 (1) and (2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
cannot be disputed: the party-list system is not for sectoral parties only,
but also for non-sectoral parties.
Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, which is the law that
implements the party-list system prescribed in the Constitution, provides:
Section 3. Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a
mechanism of proportional representation in the election of
representatives to the House of Representatives from national,
regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof
registered with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Component
parties or organizations of a coalition may participate independently
provided the coalition of which they form part does not participate in
the party-list system.
(b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or
a coalition of parties.
(c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens
advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for
the general conduct of government and which, as the most
immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly
nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members
as candidates for public office.
It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the
geographical territory of at least a majority of the regions. It is a
regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical
territory of at least a majority of the cities and provinces comprising
the region.
(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens
belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5
hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special
interest and concerns of their sector.
(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition
of groups of citizens who share similar physical attributes or
characteristics, employment, interests or concerns. DCIEac

(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national,


regional, sectoral parties or organizations for political and/or election
purposes. (Emphasis supplied)
Section 3 (a) of R.A. No. 7941 defines a "party" as "either a political party or a
sectoral party or a coalition of parties." Clearly, a political party is different from
a sectoral party. Section 3 (c) of R.A. No. 7941 further provides that a "political
party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or
platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government."
On the other hand, Section 3 (d) of R.A. No. 7941 provides that a " sectoral
party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors
enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the
special interest and concerns of their sector." R.A. No. 7941 provides
different definitions for a political and a sectoral party. Obviously, they are
separate and distinct from each other.
R.A. No. 7941 does not require national and regional parties or
organizations to represent the "marginalized and underrepresented"
sectors. To require all national and regional parties under the party-list system to
represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" is to deprive and exclude, by
judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented parties from the party-list system.
How will these ideology-based and cause-oriented parties, who cannot win in
legislative district elections, participate in the electoral process if they are
excluded from the party-list system? To exclude them from the party-list system is
to prevent them from joining the parliamentary struggle, leaving as their only
option the armed struggle. To exclude them from the party-list system is, apart
from being obviously senseless, patently contrary to the clear intent and express
wording of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941. aHcACT
Under the party-list system, an ideology-based or cause-oriented political party is
clearly different from a sectoral party. A political party need not be organized as a
sectoral party and need not represent any particular sector. There is no
requirement in R.A. No. 7941 that a national or regional political party must
represent a "marginalized and underrepresented" sector. It is sufficient that the
political party consists of citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform, or
the same governance principles and policies, regardless of their economic
status as citizens.
Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941 states that "the sectors shall include labor, peasant,
fisherfolk,
urban
poor,
indigenous
cultural
communities, elderly,
handicapped, women,youth,
veterans,
overseas
workers,

and professionals." 56 The sectors mentioned in Section 5 are not all


necessarily "marginalized and underrepresented." For sure, "professionals" are not
by definition "marginalized and underrepresented," not even the elderly, women,
and the youth. However, professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth may
"lack well-defined political constituencies," and can thus organize themselves into
sectoral parties in advocacy of the special interests and concerns of their
respective sectors.
Section 6 of R.A. No. 7941 provides another compelling reason for holding that the
law does not require national or regional parties, as well as certain sectoral parties
in Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941, to represent the "marginalized and
underrepresented." Section 6 provides the grounds for the COMELEC to refuse or
cancel the registration of parties or organizations after due notice and hearing.
Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. The
COMELEC may, motu proprio or upon verified complaint of any
interested party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the
registration of any national, regional or sectoral party, organization or
coalition on any of the following grounds:
(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association
organized for religious purposes;
(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
(3) It is a foreign party or organization;
(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign
political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through
any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for
partisan election purposes;
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating
to elections;
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails
to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the
party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the
constituency in which it has registered. TcEaAS

None of the 8 grounds to refuse or cancel registration refers to nonrepresentation of the "marginalized and underrepresented."
The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" appears only once in R.A.
No. 7941, in Section 2 on Declaration of Policy. 57 Section 2 seeks "to promote
proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through the party-list system," which will enable Filipinos
belonging
to
the
"marginalized
and
underrepresented
sectors,
organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political
constituencies," to become members of the House of Representatives. While the
policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 broadly refers to "marginalized
and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties," the specific
implementing provisions of R.A. No. 7941 do not define or require that the sectors,
organizations or parties must be "marginalized and underrepresented." On the
contrary, to even interpret that all the sectors mentioned in Section 5 are
"marginalized and underrepresented" would lead to absurdities.
How then should we harmonize the broad policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A.
No. 7941 with its specific implementing provisions, bearing in mind the applicable
provisions of the 1987 Constitution on the matter?
The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" should refer only to the
sectors in Section 5 that are, by their nature, economically "marginalized
and underrepresented." These sectors are: labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban
poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers,
and other similar sectors. For these sectors, a majority of the members of
the
sectoral
party
must
belong
to
the
"marginalized
and
underrepresented." The nominees of the sectoral party either must
belong to the sector, or must have a track record of advocacy for the
sector represented. Belonging to the "marginalized and underrepresented"
sector does not mean one must "wallow in poverty, destitution or infirmity." It is
sufficient that one, or his or her sector, is below the middle class. More
specifically, the economically "marginalized and underrepresented" are those who
fall in the low income group as classified by the National Statistical Coordination
Board. 58 TAaCED
The recognition that national and regional parties, as well as sectoral parties of
professionals, the elderly, women and the youth, need not be "marginalized and
underrepresented" will allow small ideology-based and cause-oriented parties who
lack "well-defined political constituencies" a chance to win seats in the House of
Representatives. On the other hand, limiting to the "marginalized and

underrepresented" the sectoral parties for labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor,
indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and
other sectors that by their nature are economically at the margins of society, will
give the "marginalized and underrepresented" an opportunity to likewise win
seats in the House of Representatives.
This interpretation will harmonize the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 and will
give rise to a multi-party system where those "marginalized and
underrepresented,"both in economic and ideological status, will have the
opportunity to send their own members to the House of Representatives. This
interpretation will also make the party-list system honest and transparent,
eliminating the need for relatively well-off party-list representatives to
masquerade as "wallowing in poverty, destitution and infirmity," even as they
attend sessions in Congress riding in SUVs.
The major political parties are those that field candidates in the legislative district
elections. Major political parties cannot participate in the party-list elections since
they neither lack "well-defined political constituencies" nor represent
"marginalized and underrepresented" sectors. Thus, the national or regional
parties under the party-list system are necessarily those that do not
belong to major political parties. This automatically reserves the national and
regional parties under the party-list system to those who "lack well-defined
political constituencies," giving them the opportunity to have members in the
House of Representatives.
To recall, Ang Bagong Bayani expressly declared, in its second guideline for the
accreditation of parties under the party-list system, that "while even major
political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to
participate in the party-list system, they must comply with the declared statutory
policy of enabling 'Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and
underrepresented sectors . . . to be elected to the House of Representatives.'"
However, the requirement in Ang Bagong Bayani, in its second guideline, that "the
political party . . . must represent the marginalized and underrepresented,"
automatically disqualified major political parties from participating in the party-list
system. This inherent
inconsistency in Ang Bagong Bayani has been
compounded by the COMELEC's refusal to register sectoral wings officially
organized by major political parties. BANAT merely formalized the prevailing
practice when it expressly prohibited major political parties from participating
in the party-list system, even through their sectoral wings. STECDc

Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 expressly prohibited the "first five (5) major
political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of
Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress" from participating in the May
1988 party-list elections. 59 Thus, major political parties can participate
in subsequent party-list elections since the prohibition is expressly
limited only to the 1988 party-list elections. However, major political parties
should participate in party-list elections only through their sectoral wings. The
participation of major political parties through their sectoral wings, a majority of
whose members are "marginalized and underrepresented" or lacking in "welldefined political constituencies," will facilitate the entry of the "marginalized and
underrepresented" and those who "lack well-defined political constituencies" as
members of the House of Representatives.
The 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 allow major political parties to
participate in party-list elections so as to encourage them to work assiduously in
extending their constituencies to the "marginalized and underrepresented" and to
those who "lack well-defined political constituencies." The participation of major
political parties in party-list elections must be geared towards the entry, as
members of the House of Representatives, of the "marginalized and
underrepresented" and those who "lack well-defined political constituencies,"
giving them a voice in law-making. Thus, to participate in party-list elections, a
major political party that fields candidates in the legislative district elections must
organize a sectoral wing, like a labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, professional,
women or youth wing, that can register under the party-list system.
Such sectoral wing of a major political party must have its own constitution, bylaws, platform or program of government, officers and members, a majority of
whom must belong to the sector represented. The sectoral wing is in itself an
independent sectoral party, and is linked to a major political party through a
coalition. This linkage is allowed by Section 3 of R.A. No. 7941, which provides
that "component parties or organizations of a coalition may participate
independently (in party-list elections) provided the coalition of which they form
part does not participate in the party-list system."
Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the qualifications of party-list nominees. This
provision prescribes a special qualification only for the nominee from the youth
sector.
Section 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be
nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born
citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the

Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately
preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a bona
fidemember of the party or organization which he seeks to represent
for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is
at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the
election. aSTAcH
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twentyfive (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the
election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of
thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until
the expiration of his term.
A party-list nominee must be a bona fide member of the party or organization
which he or she seeks to represent. In the case of sectoral parties, to be
a bona fide party-list nominee one must either belong to the sector
represented, or have a track record of advocacy for such sector.
In disqualifying petitioners, the COMELEC used the criteria prescribed in Ang
Bagong Bayani and BANAT. Ang Bagong Bayani laid down the guidelines for
qualifying those who desire to participate in the party-list system:
First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must
represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups
identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. . . .
Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA
7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they
must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling "Filipino
citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors . . .
to be elected to the House of Representatives." . . . .
xxx xxx xxx
Third, . . . the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list
system. . . . . cSCADE
xxx xxx xxx
Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under
Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the grounds for
disqualification as follows:
"(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or
association, organized for religious purposes;

(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its


goal;
(3) It is a foreign party or organization;
(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government,
foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether
directly or through any of its officers or members or
indirectly through third parties for partisan election
purposes;
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or
regulations relating to elections;
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding
elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%)
of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two
(2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it
has registered."
Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project
organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. . . . .
xxx xxx xxx
Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the
law; its nominees must likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as
follows: TCcIaA
"SEC. 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No
person shall be nominated as party-list representative
unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a
registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period
of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the
day of the election, able to read and write, a bona
fide member of the party or organization which he seeks
to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the
day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years
of age on the day of the election.

In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be


twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on
the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who
attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to
continue in office until the expiration of his term."
Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must
represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so
also must its nominees. . . . .
Eighth, . . . the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the
formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit
the nation as a whole. (Emphasis supplied)
In 2009, by a vote of 8-7 in BANAT, this Court stretched the Ang Bagong
Bayani ruling further. In BANAT, the majority officially excluded major political
parties from participating in party-list elections, 60 abandoning even the lipservice that Ang Bagong Bayani accorded to the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No.
7941 that major political parties can participate in party-list elections. TEacSA
The minority in BANAT, however, believed that major political parties can
participate in the party-list system through their sectoral wings. The minority
expressed that "[e]xcluding the major political parties in party-list elections is
manifestly against the Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission,
and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot engage in socio-political engineering and
judicially legislate the exclusion of major political parties from the party-list
elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the law." 61 The
experimentations in socio-political engineering have only resulted in confusion
and absurdity in the party-list system. Such experimentations, in clear
contravention of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941, must now come to an
end.
We cannot, however, fault the COMELEC for following prevailing jurisprudence in
disqualifying petitioners. In following prevailing jurisprudence, the COMELEC could
not have committed grave abuse of discretion. However, for the coming 13 May
2013 party-list elections, we must now impose and mandate the party-list
system actually envisioned and authorized under the 1987 Constitution and
R.A. No. 7941. In BANAT, this Court devised a new formula in the allocation of
party-list seats, reversing the COMELEC's allocation which followed the then
prevailing formula in Ang Bagong Bayani. In BANAT, however, the Court did not
declare that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion. Similarly, even as
we acknowledge here that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of

discretion, we declare that it would not be in accord with the 1987 Constitution
and R.A. No. 7941 to apply the criteria in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT in
determining who are qualified to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 partylist elections. For this purpose, we suspend our rule 62 that a party may appeal
to this Court from decisions or orders of the COMELEC only if the COMELEC
committed grave abuse of discretion.
Thus, we remand all the present petitions to the COMELEC. In determining who
may participate in the coming 13 May 2013 and subsequent party-list elections,
the COMELEC shall adhere to the following parameters:
1. Three different groups may participate in the party-list system: (1)
national parties or organizations, (2) regional parties or
organizations, and (3) sectoral parties or organizations.
2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or
organizations do not need to organize along sectoral lines and
do
not
need
to
represent
any
"marginalized
and
underrepresented" sector.
3. Political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they
register under the party-list system and do not field candidates
in legislative district elections. A political party, whether major
or not, that fields candidates in legislative district elections can
participate in party-list elections only through its sectoral wing
that can separately register under the party-list system. The
sectoral wing is by itself an independent sectoral party, and is
linked to a political party through a coalition. cdtai
4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be "marginalized and
underrepresented" or lacking in "well-defined political
constituencies." It is enough that their principal advocacy
pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector. The
sectors that are "marginalized and underrepresented" include
labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, handicapped, veterans, and overseas workers.
The sectors that lack "well-defined political constituencies"
include professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth.
5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that
represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" must belong
to the "marginalized and underrepresented" sector they

represent. Similarly, a majority of the members of sectoral


parties or organizations that lack "well-defined political
constituencies" must belong to the sector they represent. The
nominees of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the
"marginalized and underrepresented," or that represent those
who lack "well-defined political constituencies," either must
belong to their respective sectors, or must have a track record
of advocacy for their respective sectors. The nominees of
national and regional parties or organizations must bebonafide members of such parties or organizations.
6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be
disqualified if some of their nominees are disqualified, provided
that they have at least one nominee who remains
qualified. THESAD
The COMELEC excluded from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections
those that did not satisfy these two criteria: (1) all national, regional, and sectoral
groups or organizations must represent the "marginalized and underrepresented"
sectors, and (2) all nominees must belong to the "marginalized and
underrepresented" sector they represent. Petitioners may have been disqualified
by the COMELEC because as political or regional parties they are not organized
along sectoral lines and do not represent the "marginalized and
underrepresented." Also, petitioners' nominees who do not belong to the sectors
they represent may have been disqualified, although they may have a track
record of advocacy for their sectors. Likewise, nominees of non-sectoral parties
may have been disqualified because they do not belong to any sector. Moreover, a
party may have been disqualified because one or more of its nominees failed to
qualify, even if the party has at least one remaining qualified nominee. As
discussed above, the disqualification of petitioners, and their nominees, under
such circumstances is contrary to the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.
This Court is sworn to uphold the 1987 Constitution, apply its provisions faithfully,
and desist from engaging in socio-economic or political experimentations contrary
to what the Constitution has ordained. Judicial power does not include the power
to re-write the Constitution. Thus, the present petitions should be remanded to
the COMELEC not because the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in
disqualifying petitioners, but because petitioners may now possibly qualify to
participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the new
parameters prescribed by this Court.

WHEREFORE, all the present 54 petitions are GRANTED. The 13 petitions, which
have been granted Status Quo Ante Orders but without mandatory injunction to
include the names of petitioners in the printing of ballots, are remanded to the
Commission on Elections only for determination whether petitioners are qualified
to register under the party-list system under the parameters prescribed in this
Decision but they shall not participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections. The
41 petitions, which have been granted mandatory injunctions to include the
names of petitioners in the printing of ballots, are remanded to the Commission
on Elections for determination whether petitioners are qualified to register under
the party-list system and to participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections
under the parameters prescribed in this Decision. The Commission on Elections
may conduct summary evidentiary hearings for this purpose. This Decision is
immediately executory.
SO ORDERED.
Bersamin, Del Castillo, Villarama, Jr. and Perez, JJ., concur.
Sereno, C.J., I dissent; Ang Bagong Bayani should be upheld, not reversed. See
concurring and dissenting opinion.
Velasco, Jr., J., took no part due to relative's participation in party list election.
Leonardo-de Castro, J., I concur and also with the additional grounds cited in
Justice Brion's concurring opinion for revisiting the Ang Bagong Bayani ruling and
his erudite analysis of the aim of the party-list system under the Constitution and
law and its implications on political parties, party-list registrants and nominees.
Brion, J., see: separate opinion.
Peralta, J., I join separate opinion of J. Brion.
Abad, J., I join J. A.D. Brion in his separate opinion.
Mendoza, J., I concur to remand but these was a grave abuse of discretion but
only with respect to the disqualification of nominees separate from the party
organization.
Reyes, J., with separate concurring and dissenting opinion.
Perlas-Bernabe, J., is on leave.
Leonen, J., see separate concurring and dissenting opinion.

144. Abayon v HRET


EN BANC
[G.R. No. 189466. February 11, 2010.]
DARYL GRACE J. ABAYON, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE
HOUSE
OF
REPRESENTATIVES
ELECTORAL
TRIBUNAL,
PERFECTO C. LUCABAN, JR., RONYL S. DELA CRUZ and
AGUSTIN C. DOROGA, respondents.
[G.R. No. 189506. February 11, 2010.]
CONGRESSMAN JOVITO S. PALPARAN, JR., petitioner, vs. HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL (HRET), DR.
REYNALDO LESACA, JR., CRISTINA PALABAY, RENATO M.

REYES, JR., ERLINDA CADAPAN,


JOSELITO USTAREZ, respondents.

ANTONIO

FLORES

and

DECISION

ABAD, J p:
These two cases are about the authority of the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal (HRET) to pass upon the eligibilities of the nominees of the party-list
groups that won seats in the lower house of Congress.
The Facts and the Case
In G.R. 189466, petitioner Daryl Grace J. Abayon is the first nominee of
the Aangat Tayo party-list organization that won a seat in the House of
Representatives during the 2007 elections.
Respondents Perfecto C. Lucaban, Jr., Ronyl S. Dela Cruz, and Agustin C. Doroga,
all registered voters, filed a petition for quo warranto with respondent HRET
againstAangat Tayo and its nominee, petitioner Abayon, in HRET Case 07-041.
They claimed that Aangat Tayo was not eligible for a party-list seat in the House of
Representatives, since it did not represent the marginalized and underrepresented
sectors.
Respondent Lucaban and the others with him further pointed out that petitioner
Abayon herself was not qualified to sit in the House as a party-list nominee since
she did not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, she being
the wife of an incumbent congressional district representative. She moreover lost
her bid as party-list representative of the party-list organization called An
Waray in the immediately preceding elections of May 10, 2004.
Petitioner Abayon countered that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) had
already confirmed the status of Aangat Tayo as a national multi-sectoral party-list
organization representing the workers, women, youth, urban poor, and elderly and
that she belonged to the women sector. Abayon also claimed that although she
was the second nominee of An Waray party-list organization during the 2004
elections, she could not be regarded as having lost a bid for an elective
office. cIaCTS
Finally, petitioner Abayon pointed out that respondent HRET had no jurisdiction
over the petition for quo warranto since respondent Lucaban and the others with

him collaterally attacked the registration of Aangat Tayo as a party-list


organization, a matter that fell within the jurisdiction of the COMELEC. It
was Aangat Tayo that was taking a seat in the House of Representatives, and not
Abayon who was just its nominee. All questions involving her eligibility as first
nominee, said Abayon, were internal concerns of Aangat Tayo.
On July 16, 2009 respondent HRET issued an order, dismissing the petition as
against Aangat Tayo but upholding its jurisdiction over the qualifications of
petitioner Abayon. footx 1 The latter moved for reconsideration but the HRET
denied the same on September 17, 2009, footx 2 prompting Abayon to file the
present petition for special civil action of certiorari.
In G.R. 189506, petitioner Jovito S. Palparan, Jr. is the first nominee of
the Bantay party-list group that won a seat in the 2007 elections for the members
of the House of Representatives. Respondents Reynaldo Lesaca, Jr., Cristina
Palabay, Renato M. Reyes, Jr., Erlinda Cadapan, Antonio Flores, and Joselito
Ustarez are members of some other party-list groups.
Shortly after the elections, respondent Lesaca and the others with him filed with
respondent HRET a petition for quo warranto against Bantay and its nominee,
petitioner Palparan, in HRET Case 07-040. Lesaca and the others alleged that
Palparan was ineligible to sit in the House of Representatives as party-list nominee
because he did not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors
that Bantay represented, namely, the victims of communist rebels, Civilian Armed
Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs), former rebels, and security guards. Lesaca
and the others said that Palparan committed gross human rights violations
against marginalized and underrepresented sectors and organizations.
Petitioner Palparan countered that the HRET had no jurisdiction over his person
since it was actually the party-list Bantay, not he, that was elected to and
assumed membership in the House of Representatives. Palparan claimed that he
was just Bantay's nominee. Consequently, any question involving his eligibility as
first nominee was an internal concern of Bantay. Such question must be brought,
he said, before that party-list group, not before the HRET.
On July 23, 2009 respondent HRET issued an order dismissing the petition
against Bantay for the reason that the issue of the ineligibility or qualification of
the party-list group fell within the jurisdiction of the COMELEC pursuant to
the Party-List System Act. HRET, however, defended its jurisdiction over the
question of petitioner Palparan's qualifications. footx 3 Palparan moved for
reconsideration but the HRET denied it by a resolution dated September 10, 2009,

footx 4 hence, the recourse to this Court through this petition for special civil
action of certiorari and prohibition.
Since the two cases raise a common issue, the Court has caused their
consolidation.
The Issue Presented
The common issue presented in these two cases is:
Whether or not respondent HRET has jurisdiction over the question of
qualifications of petitioners Abayon and Palparan as nominees of Aangat
Tayo and Bantay party-list organizations, respectively, who took the seats at the
House of Representatives that such organizations won in the 2007
elections. ATcEDS
The Court's Ruling
Petitioners Abayon and Palparan have a common theory: Republic Act (R.A.) 7941,
the Party-List System Act, vests in the COMELEC the authority to determine which
parties or organizations have the qualifications to seek party-list seats in the
House of Representatives during the elections. Indeed, the HRET dismissed the
petitions forquo warranto filed with it insofar as they sought the disqualifications
of Aangat Tayo and Bantay. Since petitioners Abayon and Palparan were not
elected into office but were chosen by their respective organizations under their
internal rules, the HRET has no jurisdiction to inquire into and adjudicate their
qualifications as nominees.
If at all, says petitioner Abayon, such authority belongs to the COMELEC which
already upheld her qualification as nominee of Aangat Tayo for the women sector.
For Palparan, Bantay's personality is so inseparable and intertwined with his own
person as its nominee so that the HRET cannot dismiss the quo warranto action
againstBantay without dismissing the action against him.
But, although it is the party-list organization that is voted for in the elections, it is
not the organization that sits as and becomes a member of the House of
Representatives. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, footx 5 identifies who
the "members" of that House are:
Sec. 5. (1).The House of Representatives shall be composed
of not more than two hundred and fifty members; unless
otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative
districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the
Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of

their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform


and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by
law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered
national,
regional,
and
sectoral
parties
or
organizations. (Underscoring supplied)
Clearly, the members of the House of Representatives are of two kinds: "members
. . . who shall be elected from legislative districts" and "those who . . . shall be
elected through party-list system of registered national, regional, and
sectoral parties or organizations." This means that, from the Constitution's
point of view, it is the party-list representatives who are "elected" into office, not
their parties or organizations. These representatives are elected, however,
through that peculiar party-list system that the Constitution authorized and that
Congress by law established where the voters cast their votes for the
organizations or parties to which such party-list representatives belong.
Once elected, both the district representatives and the party-list representatives
are treated in like manner. They have the same deliberative rights, salaries, and
emoluments. They can participate in the making of laws that will directly benefit
their legislative districts or sectors. They are also subject to the same term
limitation of three years for a maximum of three consecutive terms. TAIEcS
It may not be amiss to point out that the Party-List System Act itself recognizes
party-list nominees as "members of the House of Representatives," thus:
Sec. 2.Declaration of Policy. The State shall promote
proportional representation in the election of representatives
to the House of Representatives through a party-list system
of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or
organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino
citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented
sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined
political constituencies but who could contribute to the
formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will
benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the
House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall
develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in
order to attain the broadest possible representation of party,
sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives
by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in

the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme


possible. (Underscoring supplied)
As this Court also held in Bantay Republic Act or BA-RA 7941 v. Commission on
Elections, footx 6 a party-list representative is in every sense "an elected member
of the House of Representatives." Although the vote cast in a party-list election is
a vote for a party, such vote, in the end, would be a vote for its nominees, who, in
appropriate cases, would eventually sit in the House of Representatives.
Both the Constitution and the Party-List System Act set the qualifications and
grounds for disqualification of party-list nominees. Section 9 of R.A. 7941, echoing
the Constitution, states:
Sec. 9.Qualification of Party-List Nominees. No person shall
be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a
natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a
resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one
(1) year immediately preceding the day of the election, able
to read and write, bona fide member of the party or
organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety
(90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least
twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be
twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on
the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative
who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be
allowed to continue until the expiration of his term.
In the cases before the Court, those who challenged the qualifications of
petitioners Abayon and Palparan claim that the two do not belong to the
marginalized and underrepresented sectors that they ought to represent.
The Party-List System Act provides that a nominee must be a "bona fide member
of the party or organization which he seeks to represent." footx 7 acCETD
It is for the HRET to interpret the meaning of this particular qualification of a
nominee the need for him or her to be a bona fide member or a representative
of his party-list organization in the context of the facts that characterize
petitioners
Abayon
and
Palparan's
relation
to Aangat
Tayo and Bantay, respectively, and the marginalized and underrepresented
interests that they presumably embody.

Petitioners Abayon and Palparan of course point out that the authority to
determine the qualifications of a party-list nominee belongs to the party or
organization that nominated him. This is true, initially. The right to examine the
fitness of aspiring nominees and, eventually, to choose five from among them
after all belongs to the party or organization that nominates them. footx 8 But
where an allegation is made that the party or organization had chosen and
allowed a disqualified nominee to become its party-list representative in the lower
House and enjoy the secured tenure that goes with the position, the resolution of
the dispute is taken out of its hand.
Parenthetically, although the Party-List System Act does not so state, the
COMELEC seems to believe, when it resolved the challenge to petitioner Abayon,
that it has the power to do so as an incident of its authority to approve the
registration of party-list organizations. But the Court need not resolve this
question since it is not raised here and has not been argued by the parties.
What is inevitable is that Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution footx 9 provides
that the HRET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to, among other
things, the qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives. Since,
as pointed out above, party-list nominees are "elected members" of the House
of Representatives no less than the district representatives are, the HRET has
jurisdiction to hear and pass upon their qualifications. By analogy with the cases
of district representatives, once the party or organization of the party-list nominee
has been proclaimed and the nominee has taken his oath and assumed office as
member of the House of Representatives, the COMELEC's jurisdiction over election
contests relating to his qualifications ends and the HRET's own jurisdiction begins.
footx 10
The Court holds that respondent HRET did not gravely abuse its discretion when it
dismissed
the petitions
for quo
warranto against Aangat Tayo party-list
and Bantayparty-list but upheld its jurisdiction over the question of the
qualifications of petitioners Abayon and Palparan.
WHEREFORE,
the
Court DISMISSES the
consolidated
petitions
and AFFIRMS the Order dated July 16, 2009 and Resolution 09-183 dated
September 17, 2009 in HRET Case 07-041 of the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal as well as its Order dated July 23, 2009 and Resolution 09-178
dated September 10, 2009 in HRET Case 07-040.
SO ORDERED. CTHaSD

145.Jimenez v cabangbang
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-15905

August 3, 1966

NICANOR T. JIMENEZ, ET AL., plaintiffs and appellants,


vs.
BARTOLOME CABANGBANG, defendant and appellee.

Liwag and Vivo and S. Artiaga, Jr. for plaintiffs and appellants.
Jose S. Zafra and Associates and V. M. Fortich Zerda for defendant and appellee.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
This is an ordinary civil action, originally instituted in the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, for the recovery, by plaintiffs Nicanor T. Jimenez, Carlos J. Albert and Jose L.
Lukban, of several sums of money, by way of damages for the publication of an
allegedly libelous letter of defendant Bartolome Cabangbang. Upon being
summoned, the latter moved to dismiss the complaint upon the ground that the
letter in question is not libelous, and that, even if were, said letter is a privileged
communication. This motion having been granted by the lower court, plaintiffs
interposed the present appeal from the corresponding order of dismissal.
The issues before us are: (1) whether the publication in question is a privileged
communication; and, if not, (2) whether it is libelous or not.
The first issue stems from the fact that, at the time of said publication, defendant
was a member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of its Committee on
National Defense, and that pursuant to the Constitution:
The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all cases
except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest
during their attendance at the sessions of the Congress, and in going to and
returning from the same; and for any speech or debate therein, they shall
not be questioned in any other place. (Article VI, Section 15.)
The determination of the first issue depends on whether or not the
aforementioned publication falls within the purview of the phrase "speech or
debate therein" that is to say, in Congress used in this provision.
Said expression refers to utterances made by Congressmen in the performance of
their official functions, such as speeches delivered, statements made, or votes
cast in the halls of Congress, while the same is in session, as well as bills
introduced in Congress, whether the same is in session or not, and other acts
performed by Congressmen, either in Congress or outside the premises housing
its offices, in the official discharge of their duties as members of Congress and of
Congressional Committees duly authorized to perform its functions as such, at the
time of the performance of the acts in question. 1
The publication involved in this case does not belong to this category. According
to the complaint herein, it was an open letter to the President of the Philippines,
dated November 14, 1958, when Congress presumably was not in session, and

defendant caused said letter to be published in several newspapers of general


circulation in the Philippines, on or about said date. It is obvious that, in thus
causing the communication to be so published, he was not performing his official
duty, either as a member of Congress or as officer or any Committee thereof.
Hence, contrary to the finding made by His Honor, the trial Judge, said
communication is not absolutely privileged.
Was it libelous, insofar as the plaintiffs herein are concerned? Addressed to the
President, the communication began with the following paragraph:
In the light of the recent developments which however unfortunate had
nevertheless involved the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the unfair
attacks against the duly elected members of Congress of engaging in
intriguing and rumor-mongering, allow me, Your Excellency, to address this
open letter to focus public attention to certain vital information which, under
the present circumstances, I feel it my solemn duty to our people to
expose.1wph1.t
It has come to my attention that there have been allegedly three operational
plans under serious study by some ambitious AFP officers, with the aid of
some civilian political strategists.
Then, it describes the "allegedly three (3) operational plans" referred to in the
second paragraph. The first plan is said to be "an insidious plan or a massive
political build-up" of then Secretary of National Defense, Jesus Vargas, by
propagandizing and glamorizing him in such a way as to "be prepared to become
a candidate for President in 1961". To this end, the "planners" are said to "have
adopted the sales-talk that Secretary Vargas is 'Communists' Public Enemy No. 1
in the Philippines." Moreover, the P4,000,000.00 "intelligence and psychological
warfare funds" of the Department of National Defense, and the "Peace and
Amelioration Fund" the letter says are "available to adequately finance a
political campaign". It further adds:
It is reported that the "Planners" have under their control the following:
(1) Col. Nicanor Jimenez of NICA,(2) Lt. Col. Jose Lukban of NBI, (3) Capt.
Carlos Albert (PN) of G-2 AFP, (4) Col. Fidel Llamas of MIS (5) Lt. Col. Jose
Regala of the Psychological Warfare Office, DND, and (6) Major Jose Reyna of
the Public information Office, DND. To insure this control, the "Planners"
purportedly sent Lt. Col. Job Mayo, Chief of MIS to Europe to study and while
Mayo was in Europe, he was relieved by Col. Fidel Llamas. They also sent Lt.
Col. Deogracias Caballero, Chief of Psychological Warfare Office, DND, to
USA to study and while Caballero was in USA, he was relieved by Lt. Col. Jose

Regala. The "Planners" wanted to relieve Lt. Col. Ramon Galvezon, Chief of
CIS (PC) but failed. Hence, Galvezon is considered a missing link in the
intelligence network. It is, of course, possible that the offices mentioned
above are unwitting tools of the plan of which they may have absolutely no
knowledge. (Emphasis ours.)
Among the means said to be used to carry out the plan the letter lists, under the
heading "other operational technique the following:
(a) Continuous speaking engagements all over the Philippines for Secretary
Vargas to talk on "Communism" and Apologetics on civilian supremacy over
the military;
(b) Articles in magazines, news releases, and hundreds of letters "typed in
two (2) typewriters only" to Editors of magazines and newspapers,
extolling Secretary Vargas as the "hero of democracy in 1951, 1953, 1955
and 1957 elections";
(c) Radio announcements extolling Vargas and criticizing the administration;
(d) Virtual assumption by Vargas of the functions of the Chief of Staff and an
attempt to pack key positions in several branches of the Armed Forces with
men belonging to his clique;
(e) Insidious propaganda and rumors spread in such a way as to give the
impression that they reflect the feeling of the people or the opposition
parties, to undermine the administration.
Plan No. II is said to be a "coup d'etat", in connection with which the "planners"
had gone no further than the planning stage, although the plan "seems to be held
in abeyance and subject to future developments".
Plan No. III is characterized as a modification of Plan No. I, by trying to assuage
the President and the public with a loyalty parade, in connection with which Gen.
Arellano delivered a speech challenging the authority and integrity of Congress, in
an effort to rally the officers and men of the AFP behind him, and gain popular and
civilian support.
The letter in question recommended.: (1) that Secretary Vargas be asked to
resign; (2) that the Armed Forces be divorced absolutely from politics; (3) that the
Secretary of National Defense be a civilian, not a professional military man; (4)
that no Congressman be appointed to said office; (5) that Gen. Arellano be asked
to resign or retire; (6) that the present chiefs of the various intelligence agencies

in the Armed Forces including the chiefs of the NICA, NBI, and other intelligence
agencies mentioned elsewhere in the letter, be reassigned, considering that "they
were handpicked by Secretary Vargas and Gen. Arellano", and that, "most
probably, they belong to the Vargas-Arellano clique"; (7) that all military personnel
now serving civilian offices be returned to the AFP, except those holding positions
by provision of law; (8) that the Regular Division of the AFP stationed in Laur,
Nueva Ecija, be dispersed by batallion strength to the various stand-by or training
divisions throughout the country; and (9) that Vargas and Arellano should
disqualify themselves from holding or undertaking an investigation of the planned
coup d'etat".
We are satisfied that the letter in question is not sufficient to support plaintiffs'
action for damages. Although the letter says that plaintiffs are under the control
of the unnamed persons therein alluded to as "planners", and that, having been
handpicked by Secretary Vargas and Gen. Arellano, plaintiffs "probably belong to
the Vargas-Arellano clique", it should be noted that defendant, likewise, added
that "it is of course possible" that plaintiffs "are unwitting tools of the plan
of which they may have absolutely no knowledge". In other words, the very
document upon which plaintiffs' action is based explicitly indicates that they
might be absolutely unaware of the alleged operational plans, and that they may
be merely unwitting tools of the planners. We do not think that this statement is
derogatory to the plaintiffs, to the point of entitling them to recover damages,
considering that they are officers of our Armed Forces, that as such they are by
law, under the control of the Secretary of National Defense and the Chief of Staff,
and that the letter in question seems to suggest that the group therein described
as "planners" include these two (2) high ranking officers.
It is true that the complaint alleges that the open letter in question was written by
the defendant, knowing that it is false and with the intent to impeach plaintiffs'
reputation, to expose them to public hatred, contempt, dishonor and ridicule, and
to alienate them from their associates, but these allegations are mere conclusions
which are inconsistent with the contents of said letter and can not prevail over the
same, it being the very basis of the complaint. Then too, when plaintiffs allege in
their complaint that said communication is false, they could not have possibly
meant that they were aware of the alleged plan to stage a coup d'etat or that they
were knowingly tools of the "planners". Again, the aforementioned passage in the
defendant's letter clearly implies that plaintiffs were not among the "planners" of
said coup d'etat, for, otherwise, they could not be "tools", much less, unwittingly
on their part, of said "planners".
Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed. It is so ordered.

Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez
and Castro, JJ., concur.

146. Osmena jr. V Pendatum


FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-17144. October 28, 1960.]
SERGIO OSMEA, JR., petitioner, vs. SALIPADA K. PENDATUN,
LEON Z. GUINTO, JR., VICENTE L. PERALTA, FAUSTINO TOBIA,
LORENZO G. TEVES, JOSE J. ROY, FAUSTO DUGENIO, ANTONIO
Y. DE PIO, BENJAMIN T. LIGOT, PEDRO G. TRONO, FELIPE
ABRIGO, FELIPE S. ABELEDA, TECLA SAN ANDRES ZIGA, ANGEL
B. FERNANDEZ, and EUGENIO S. BALTAO, in their capacity as
members of the Special Committee created by House
Resolution No. 59, respondents.
A. Padilla, F. A. Rodrigo and T. T. Quiazon, Jr., for petitioner.

Antonio Y. de Pio in his own behalf.


F. S. Abeleda, A. B. Fernandez, E. S. Baltao and Tecla San Andres Ziga in
their own behalf.
C. T. Villareal and R. D. Bagatsing as amici curiae.
SYLLABUS
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; CONGRESS; PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY OF
MEMBERS, NOT ABSOLUTE. While parliamentary immunity 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 of the Congressional Hall, however, 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 thereof. For
unparliamentary conduct, members of Congress can be censured, committed
to prison, suspended, even expelled by the votes of their colleagues.
2. ID.; ID.; PARLIAMENTARY RULES; FAILURE TO CONFORM TO RULES,
EFFECT OF. 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 deliberate body when the
requisite number of members have agreed to a particular measure.
3. ID.; ID.; POWER OF CONGRESS TO DETERMINE DISORDERLY BEHAVIOR
OF MEMBERS; SEPARATION OF POWERS. The House of Representatives is the
judge of what constitutes disorderly behavior. The courts will not resume a
jurisdiction in any case which will amount to an interference by the judicial
department with the legislature.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; PERSONAL ATTACK UPON CHIEF EXECUTIVE CONSTITUTES
DISORDERLY BEHAVIOUR. The House of Representatives of the United States
has taken the position that personal attacks upon the Chief Executive
constitutes unparliamentary conduct or breach of order. And in several
instances, it took action against offenders, even after other business had been
considered.
5. ID.; ID.; POWER OF CONGRESS TO SUSPEND ITS MEMBERS. While
under the Jones Law, the Senate had no power to suspend appointive member
(Alejandrino vs. Quezon, 46 Phil., 83), at present Congress has the inherent
legislative prerogative of suspension which the Constitution did not impair.

DECISION

BENGZON, J p:
On July 14, 1960, Congressman Sergio Osmea, Jr., submitted to this
Court a verified petition for "declaratory relief, certiorari and prohibition with
preliminary injunction" against Congressman Salipada 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 infringement 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, the pertinent portions of
which read as follows:
"WHEREAS, on the 23rd day of June, 1960, the Honorable Sergio
Osmea, Jr., Member of the House of Representatives from the
Second District of the province of Cebu, took the floor of this
Chamber on the one hour privilege to deliver a speech, entitled 'A
Message to Garcia;'
WHEREAS, in the course of said speech, the Congressman from the
Second District of Cebu stated the following:
xxx xxx xxx
"The people, Mr. President, have been hearing of ugly reports that
under your unpopular administration the free things they used to get
from the government are now for sale at premium prices. They say
that even pardons are for sale, and that regardless of the gravity or
seriousness of a criminal case, the culprit can always be bailed out
forever from jail as long as he can come across with a handsome
dole. I am afraid, such an anomalous situation would reflect badly on
the kind of justice that your administration is dispensing. . . ."
WHEREAS, the charges of the gentleman from the Second District of
Cebu, if made maliciously or recklessly and without basic in truth and
in fact, would constitute a serious assault upon the dignity and

prestige of the Office of the President, which is the one visible symbol
of the sovereignty of the Filipino people, and would expose said office
to contempt and disrepute; . . .
Resolved by the House of Representatives, that a special committee
of fifteen Members to be appointed by the Speaker be, and the same
hereby is, created to investigate the truth of the charges against the
President of the Philippines made by Honorable Sergio Osmea, Jr., in
his privileges speech of June 23, 1960, and for such purpose it is
authorized to summon Honorable Sergio Osmea, Jr., to appear
before it to substantiate his charges, as well as to
issue subpoena and/or subpoena
duces
tecum to
require
the
attendance of witnesses and/or the production of pertinent papers
before it, and if Honorable Sergio Osmea, Jr., fails to do so to require
him 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
and recommendations before the adjournment of the present special
session of the Congress of the Philippines."
In support of his request, Congressman Osmea alleged: first, 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 the 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.
Although some members of the court expressed doubts of petitioner's cause of
action and the Court's jurisdiction, the majority decided to hear the matter
further, and required respondents to answer, without issuing any preliminary
injunction. Evidently aware of such circumstance with its implications, and
pressed for time in view of the imminent adjournment of the legislative session,
the special committee continued to perform its task, and after giving
Congressman Osmea a chance to defend himself, submitted its report on July 18,
1960, finding said congressman guilty of serious disorderly behavior; and acting
on such report, the House approved on the same day before closing its session
House Resolution No. 175, declaring him guilty as recommended, and
suspending him from office for fifteen months.

Thereafter, on July 19, 1960, the respondents (with the exception of Congressmen
De Pio, Abeleda, San Andres Ziga, Fernandez and Baltao) 1 filed their answer,
challenged the jurisdiction of this Court to entertain the petition, defended the
power of Congress to discipline its members with suspension, upheld House
Resolution No. 175 and then invited attention to the fact that Congress having
ended its session on July 18, 1960, the Committee whose members are the sole
respondents had thereby ceased to exist.
There is no question that Congressman Osmea, in a privilege speech delivered
before the House, made the serious imputations of bribery against the President
which are quoted in Resolution No. 59, and that he refused to produce before the
House Committee created for the purpose, evidence to substantiate such
imputations. There is also no question that for having made the imputations and
for failing to produce evidence in support thereof, he was, by resolution of the
House, suspended from office for a period of fifteen months, for serious disorderly
behaviour.
Resolution No. 175 states in part:
"WHEREAS, the Special Committee created under and by virtue of
Resolution No. 59, adopted on July 8, 1960, found Representative
Sergio Osmea, Jr., guilty of serious disorderly behaviour for making
without basis in truth and in fact, scurrilous, malicious, reckless and
irresponsible charges against the President of the Philippines in his
privilege speech of June 23, 1960; and
WHEREAS, the said charges are so vile in character that they
affronted and degraded the dignity of the House of Representatives:
Now, Therefore, be it.
RESOLVED by the House of Representatives, That Representative
Sergio Osmea, Jr., be, as he hereby is, declared guilty of serious
disorderly behaviour; and . . ."
As previously stated, Osmea contended in his petition that: (1) the Constitution
gave him complete parliamentary immunity, and so, for words spoken in the
House, he ought not to be questioned; (2) that his speech constituted no
disorderly behaviour for which he could be punished; and (3) supposing he could
be questioned and disciplined therefor, the House had lost the power to do so
because it had taken up other business before approving House Resolution No. 59.
Now, he takes the additional position (4) that the House has no power, under the
Constitution, to suspend one of its members.

Section 15, Article VI of our Constitution provides that "for any speech or debate"
in Congress, the Senators or Members of the House of Representatives "shall not
be questioned in any other place." This section was taken or is a copy of sec. 6,
clause 1 of Art. 1 of the Constitution of the United States. In that country, 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. Observe that "they
shall not be questioned in any other place" than Congress.

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 which is a fundamental
privilege cherished in every legislative assembly of the democratic world. As old
as the English Parliament, its 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,
however powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may occasion offense." 2
Such immunity has come to this country from the practices of Parliament as
construed and applied by the Congress of the United States. Its extent and
application remain no longer in doubt in so far as related to the question before
us. 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 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 thereof. In the
United States Congress, Congressman Fernando Wood of New York was censured
for using the following language on the floor of the House: "A monstrosity, a
measure the most infamous of the many infamous acts of the infamous
Congress." (Hinds' Precedents, Vol. 2, pp. 798-799). Two other congressmen were
censured for employing insulting words during debate. (2 Hinds' Precedents, 799801). In one case, a member of Congress was summoned to testify on a
statement made by him in debate, but invoked his parliamentary privilege. The
Committee rejected his plea. (3 Hinds' Precedents 123-124.)
For unparliamentary conduct, members of Parliament or of Congress have been,
or could be censured, committed to prison 3 , suspended, even expelled by the

votes of their colleagues. The appendix to this decision amply attests to the
consensus of informed opinion regarding the practice and the traditional power of
legislative assemblies to take disciplinary action against its members, including
imprisonment, suspension or expulsion. It mentions one instance of suspension of
a legislator in a foreign country.
And to cite a local illustration, 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 me, he argues, because after my speech, and before approving Resolution
No. 59, 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 be done by unanimous consent.
Granted, counters the petitioner, that the House may suspend the operation of its
Rules, it may not, however, affect past acts or renew its right to take action which
had already lapsed.
The situation might thus be compared to laws 4 extending the period of limitation
of actions and making them applicable to actions that had lapsed. The Supreme
Court of the United States has upheld such laws as against the contention that
they impaired vested rights in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment
(Campbell vs. Holt, 115 U. S. 620). The states hold divergent views. 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." 5
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." 6
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 conduct of business, and as security against hasty action."


(Bennet vs. New Bedford, 110 Mass, 433; Holt vs. Somerville, 127
Mass. 408, 411; City of Sadalia vs. Scott, 104 Mo. App. 595, 78 S. W.
276; Ex parte Mayor, etc., of Albany, 23 Wend. [N.Y.] 277, 280;
Wheelock vs. City of Lowell, 196 Mass. 220, 230. 81 N. E. 977, 124
Am. St. Rep. 543, 12 Ann. Cas. 1109; City of Corinth vs. Sharp, 107
Miss. 696, 65 So. 888; McGraw vs. Whitson, 69 Iowa, 348, 28 N. W.
632; Tuell vs. Meacham contracting Co. 145 Ky. 181, 186, 140 S. W.
159, Ann. Cas. 1913B, 802.) [Taken from the case of Rutherford vs.
City of Nashville, 78 South Western Reporter, p. 534.]
It may be noted in this connection, that in the case of Congressman Stanbery of
Ohio, who insulted the Speaker, for which Act a resolution of censure was
presented, the House approved the resolution, despite the argument that other
business had intervened after the objectionable remarks. (2 Hinds' Precedents pp.
799-800.)
On the question whether delivery of speeches attacking the Chief Executive
constitutes disorderly conduct for which Osmea may be disciplined, many
arguments pro and con have been advanced. We believe, however, 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's 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. The theory of separation of
powers fastidiously observed by this Court, demands in such situation a prudent
refusal to interfere. Each department, it has been said, has exclusive cognizance
of matters within its jurisdiction and is supreme within its own sphere. (Angara vs.
Electoral Commission, 63 Phil., 139.)
"SEC. 200. Judicial Interference with Legislature. The principle is
well established that the courts will not assume a jurisdiction in any
case which will amount to an interference by the judicial department
with the legislature since each department is equally independent
within the powers conferred upon it by the Constitution. . . ."
"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 state Senate is given the power to expel a member,
the courts will not review its action or revise even a most arbitrary or
unfair decision." (11 Am. Jur., Const. Law, sec. 200, p. 902.) [Italics
Ours.]
The above statement of American law merely abridged the landmark case of
Clifford vs. French. 7 In 1905, several senators who had been expelled by the
State Senate of California for having taken a bribe, filed mandamus proceedings
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, explaining in orthodox juristic language:
"Under our form of government, the judicial department has no
power to revise even the most arbitrary and unfair action of the
legislative department, or of either house thereof, taking in
pursuance of the power committed exclusively to that department by
the Constitution. It had been held by high authority that, even in the
absence of an express provision conferring the power, 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. 3 Gray 473. 63 Am. Dec. 768,
the supreme court of Mass. says, in substance, that this power is
inherent in every legislative body; that it is necessary 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. '. . . There is no provision
authorizing courts to control, direct, supervise, or forbid the exercise
by either house of the power to expel a member. These powers are
functions of the legislative department and therefore, in the exercise
of the power thus committed to it, the senate is supreme. An attempt
by this court to direct or control the legislature, or either house
thereof, in the exercise of the power, would be an attempt to exercise
legislative functions, which it is expressly forbidden to do."
We have underscored in the above quotation these lines which in our opinion
emphasize the principles controlling this litigation. Although referring to expulsion,
they may as well be applied to other disciplinary action. Their gist as applied to
the case at bar: the House has exclusive power; the courts have no jurisdiction to
interfere.

Our refusal to intervene might impress some readers as subconscious hesitation


due to discovery of impermissible course of action in the legislative chamber.
Nothing of that sort: we merely refuse to disregard the allocation of constitutional
functions which it is our special duty to maintain. Indeed, in the interest of comity,
we feel bound to state that in a conscientious survey of governing principles
and/or episodic illustrations, we found the House of Representatives of the United
States taking the position on at least two occasions, that personal attacks upon
the Chief Executive constitute unparliamentary conduct or breach of order. 8 And
in several instances, it took action against offenders, even after other
business had been considered. 9

Petitioner's principal argument against the House's power to suspend is the


Alejandrino precedent. In 1924, Senator Alejandrino was, by resolution of the
Senate, suspended from office for 12 months because he had assaulted another
member of that Body for certain phrases the latter had uttered in the course of a
debate. The Senator applied to this Court for reinstatement, challenging 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
(under which the Senate was then functioning) gave the Senate no power to
remove on 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
an elective member (sec. 18). Note particularly the word "elective."
The Jones Law, it must be observed, empowered the Governor General to appoint
"without consent of the Senate and without restriction as to residence
senators . . . who will, in his opinion, best represent the Twelfth District."
Alejandrino was one appointive Senator.
It is true, the opinion in that case contained an obiter dictum 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 and
who was by the same Jones Law charged with the duty to represent the Twelfth
District and maybe the views of the Government of the United States or of the
Governor-General, who had appointed him.

It must be observed, however, that at that time the Legislature had only those
powers which were granted to it by the Jones Law 10 ; whereas now the Congress
has the full legislative powers and prerogatives of a sovereign nation, except as
restricted by the Constitution. In other words, in the Alejandrino case, the Court
reached the conclusion that the Jones Law did not give the Senate the power it
then exercised the power of suspension for one year. Whereas now, as we find,
the Congress has the inherent legislative prerogative of suspension 11 which the
Constitution did not impair. In fact, as already pointed out, the Philippine Senate
suspended a Senator for 12 months in 1949.
"The Legislative power of the Philippine Congress is plenary, subject
only to such limitations as are found in 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." (Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil., 192,
212.)
In any event, petitioner's argument as to the deprivation of the district's
representation can not be more weighty in the matter of suspension than in the
case of imprisonment of a legislator; yet deliberative bodies have the power in
proper cases, to commit one of their members to jail. 12
Now come questions of procedure and jurisdiction. The petition intended to
prevent the Special Committee from acting in 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 has closed its 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. 13 Of course, there is nothing to prevent petitioner from filing new
pleadings to include all members of the House as respondents, ask for
reinstatement and thereby to present a justiciable cause. Most probable outcome
of such reformed suit, however, will be a pronouncement of lack of jurisdiction, as
in Vera vs. Avelino 14 and Alejandrino vs. Quezon.
At any rate, having perceived suitable solutions to the important questions of
political law, the Court thought it proper to express at this time its conclusions on
such issues as were deemed relevant and decisive.
Accordingly, the petition has to be, and is hereby dismissed. So ordered.
Pars, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcin, Barrera, Gutierrez David, Paredes,
and Dizon, JJ., concur.

||| (Osmea, Jr. v. Pendatun, G.R. No. L-17144, [October 28, 1960], 109 PHIL 863888)

147. Alejandro v Quezon


SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-22041. September 11, 1924.]
JOSE ALEJANDRINO, petitioner, vs. MANUEL L. QUEZON, ET
AL., respondents.
Araneta & Zaragoza for petitioner.
Attorney-General Villa-Real for respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
PHILIPPINE ISLANDS; MANDAMUS AGAINST PHILIPPINE LEGISLATURE OR A
BRANCH THEREOF. The Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands lacks
jurisdiction by mandamus to restrain or control action by the Philippine
Legislature or a branch thereof.
Per JOHNSON, J., dissenting:
2. RESOLUTION OF SENATE, SUSPENDING AN APPOINTIVE SENATOR AND
DEPRIVING HIM OF ALL HIS RIGHTS FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR, LEGALITY.
Held, by the unanimous vote of the court, that a resolution adopted by the
Senate, suspending Jose Alejandrino, an appointed Senator for the Twelfth
District, for a period of one year, from January 1, 1924, is illegal, ultra vires, null
and void, because such suspension amounted to an expulsion, and that the
Senate has no authority to expel an appointed Senator.

3. JURISDICTION OF SUPREME COURT TO INQUIRE INTO THE LEGALITY OF


A STATUTE OR A RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OR EITHER
BRANCH THEREOF. A careful study of all the decisions on the question of the
right of the courts to take jurisdiction to inquire into the legality of a statute or
a resolution of the legislative department or either branch thereof, justifies the
conclusion that the courts have jurisdiction to examine and inquire into the acts
actually taken by the legislative department or either branch thereof, when
such acts affect the rights, privileges, property, or lives of citizens of the state;
that while the courts hesitate, and rightfully so, to inquire into the legality of
the acts of the legislature, yet they are without discretion in the premises when
it is alleged that a citizen is illegally deprived of his life, liberty, or property by
said department; that the fact that such alleged illegal deprivation of life,
liberty, or property is caused by the legislature, in the face of the mandatory
provisions of the Organic Law, is no sufficient excuse or justification for a
refusal on the part of the courts to take jurisdiction for the purpose of inquiring
into such alleged illegal acts and to make a pronouncement thereon. There is
no more sacred duty of the courts than that of maintaining, unimpaired, those
securities for the personal rights of the individuals of the state, which have
been guaranteed to them and which have received the sanction of the jurists
and the statesmen of the civilized nations of the world. While the courts will not
take jurisdiction in matters of a purely political nature confided to the
legislature, yet even political rights are matters of judicial solicitude, and the
courts will not refuse to take jurisdiction in a proper case and to give a prompt
and efficient protection to the citizens of the state.
A statute or resolution of the legislature which deprives a citizen of the
rights guaranteed to him by the organic law of the land, is null and void.
The provision of the Jones Law which guarantees to the citizen his right to
life, liberty, and property, is as binding upon the legislature as it is upon any
department, bureau or person of the government. The provisions of the Jones
Law for the security of the rights of the citizen stand in the same connection
and upon the same ground as they do in regard to his liberty and his property.
It cannot be denied that both were intended to be enforced by the judicial
department of the government.
When an act or resolution of the legislature is held illegal by the courts, it
is not because the judges have any control over the legislature, but because
the particular statute or resolution is forbidden by the fundamental law of the
land and because the fundamental law is paramount and must be obeyed by
the citizen and even by the legislature or either branch thereof. If the resolution

or statute covers a subject not authorized by the fundamental law, then the
courts are not only authorized, but are compelled and justified in pronouncing
the same illegal and void, no matter how wise or beneficient such resolution or
statute may seem to be. The legality of a statute or resolution must be tested
by the provisions of the fundamental law of the state.
4. RIGHT OF THE COURTS TO GRANT A REMEDY WHEN IT IS ESTABLISHED
THAT THE CITIZEN PRAYING THEREFOR HAS BEEN DEPRIVED OF ALL HIS
PREROGATIVES, PRIVILEGES, AND EMOLUMENTS UNDER AN ILLEGAL, NULL,
AND VOID STATUTE OR RESOLUTION. When it has been established that a
citizen of the state has been deprived of a right guaranteed to him under the
organic law by an illegal and void resolution, it is the sworn duty of the courts
to take jurisdiction, to make pronouncements upon the legality of such
resolution, and to grant an appropriate remedy. A contrary conclusion would
sanction a tyranny, which has no existence even in monarchies nor in any
government which has a just claim to a stable government, a well regulated
liberty and the protection of the personal rights of individuals. Every
department, every officer of the government, and every individual, are equally
bound by the mandatory provisions of the fundamental law. When a citizen has
been deprived of his life, his liberty, or his property by an illegal statute or
resolution, the official or department so depriving him cannot say to the courts:
"Stop here, for the reason that I (we) have acted as a representative of a
department of the government."
The fear that the respondent in any particular action properly presented
to the courts will not obey the orders of the court, is no reason why the courts
should abstain from making a pronouncement, in accordance with the facts and
the law, upon the rights of citizens of the state who have been illegally
deprived of their prerogatives, privileges, and emoluments. The history of the
Filipino people shows that they love peace, good order, and will, with a spirit of
alacrity, obey the law when they once understand what the law is. The courts
should rest in the confident faith that their orders will be obeyed, and not
disobeyed.
The prayer of the petition should be granted in a modified form.

DECISION

MALCOLM, J p:

The petitioner in this original proceeding in mandamus and injunction is


Jose Alejandrino, a Senator appointed by the Governor-General to represent the
Twelfth Senatorial District. The respondents are Manuel L. Quezon, President of
the Philippine Senate; Isabelo de los Reyes, Santiago Fonacier, Alejo Mabanag,
Bernabe de Guzman, Ramon Fernandez, Emiliano T. Tirona, Antero Soriano,
Juan B. Alegre, Vicente de Vera, Jose Ma. Arroyo, Francisco Enage, Tomas
Gomez, Sergio Osmea, Celestino Rodriguez, Francisco Soriano, Jose A. Clarin,
Hadji Butu, Espiridion Guanco, Hermenegildo Villanueva, Jose Hontiveros,
Teodor Sandiko, and Santiago Lucero, all members of the Philippine Senate;
Faustino Aguilar, Secretary of the Philippine Senate; Bernabe Bustamante,
Sergeant-at-arms of the Philippine Senate, and Francisco Dayaw, Paymaster of
the Philippine Senate.
The casus belli is a resolution adopted by the Philippine Senate composed
of the respondent Senators, on February 5, 1924, depriving Senator Alejandrino
of all the prerogatives, privileges, and emoluments of his office for the period of
one year from the first of January, 1924. The resolution reads as follows:
"Resolved: That the Honorable Jose Alejandrino, Senator for the Twelfth
District, be, as he is hereby, declared guilty of disorderly conduct and flagrant
violation of the privileges of the Senate for having treacherously assaulted the
Honorable Vicente de Vera, Senator for the Sixth District on the occasion of
certain, phrases being uttered by the latter in the course of the debate
regarding the credentials of said Mr. Alejandrino.
"Resolved, further: That the Honorable Jose Alejandrino be, as he is
hereby, deprived of all of his prerogatives, privileges and emoluments as such
Senator, during one year from the first of January nineteen hundred and twenty
four;
"And resolved, lastly: That the said Honorable Jose Alejandrino, being a
Senator appointed by the Governor-General of these Islands, a copy of this
resolution be furnished said Governor-General for his information."
The burden of petitioner's complaint is that the resolution above quoted is
unconstitutional and entirely of no effect, for five reasons. He prays the court:
(1) To issue a preliminary injunction against the respondents enjoining them
from executing the resolution; (2) to declare the aforesaid resolution of the
Senate null and void; and (3) as a consequence of the foregoing, to issue a final
writ of mandamus and injunction against the respondents ordering them to
recognize the rights of the petitioner to exercise his office as Senator and that
he enjoy all of his prerogatives, privileges, and emoluments, and prohibiting

them from preventing the petitioner from exercising the rights of his office, and
from carrying the order of suspension into effect. By special appearance, the
Attorney-General, in representation of the respondents, has objected to the
jurisdiction of the court, and later, by demurrer, has pressed the same point.
In order that an obvious angle to the case may not subsequently
embarrass us, we desire first of all to say that looking through the form of the
action to the substance, this is, in effect, a suit instituted by one member of the
Philippine Senate against the Philippine Senate and certain of its official
employees. May the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands by mandamus and
injunction annul the suspension of Senator Alejandrino and compel the
Philippine Senate to reinstate him in his official position? Without, therefore, at
this time discussing any of the other interesting questions which have been
raised and argued, we proceed at once to resolve the issue here suggested.
There are certain basic principles which lie at the foundation of the
Government of the Philippine Islands, which are familiar to students of public
law. It is here only necessary to recall that under our system of government,
each of the three departments is distinct and not directly subject to the control
of another department. The power to control is the power to abrogate and the
power to abrogate is the power to usurp. Each department may, nevertheless,
indirectly restrain the others.
It is peculiarly the duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, to enforce
the Constitution, and to decide whether the proper constitutional sphere of a
department has been transcended. The courts must determine the validity of
legislative enactments as well as the legality of all private and official acts. To
this extent, do the courts restrain the other departments.
With these sound premises in mind, we are not at all surprised to find the
general rule of mandamus to be, that the writ will not lie from one branch of
the government to a coordinate branch, for the very obvious reason that
neither is inferior to the other. Mandamus will not lie against the legislative
body, its members, or its officers, to compel the performance of duties purely
legislative in their character which therefore pertain to their legislative
functions and over which they have exclusive control. The courts cannot dictate
action in this respect without a gross usurpation of power. So it has been held
that where a member has been expelled by the legislative body, the courts
have no power, irrespective of whether the expulsion was right or wrong, to
issue a mandate to compel his reinstatement. (Code of Civil Procedure, secs.

222, 515; 18 R. C. L., 186, 187; Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 190; French
vs. Senate [1905], 146 Cal., 604; Hiss vs. Bartlett [1855], 69 Mass., 468; Ex
parte Echols [1886], 39 Ala., 698; State vs. Bolte [1889], 151 Mo., 362; De
Diego vs. House of Delegates [1904], 5 Porto Rico, 235; Greenwood Cemetery
Land Co. vs. Routt [1892], 17 Colo., 156; State ex rel. Cranner vs. Thorson
[1896], 33 L. R. A., 582; People ex rel. Billings vs. Bissell [1857], 19 Ill., 229;
People ex rel. Bruce vs. Dunne [1913], 258 Ill., 441; People ex rel. La
Chicote vs. Best [1907], 187 N. Y., 1; Abueva vs. Wood [1924], 45 Phil., 612.)
The authorities which support the doctrines above announced are
numerous and instructive. They are found among the decisions of our own
court, of the United States Supreme Court, and of other jurisdictions. If some of
these cases relate to the chief executive rather than to the legislature, it is only
necessary to explain that the same rules which govern the relations of the
courts to the chief executive likewise govern the relations of the courts to the
legislature.
The controlling case in this jurisdiction on the subject is Severino vs.
Governor-General and Provincial Board of Occidental Negros ([1910], 16 Phil.,
366). This was an original application made in this court praying for a writ of
mandamus to the Governor-General to compel him to call a special election as
provided by law. The Attorney-General demurred to the petition on the ground
of lack of jurisdiction, and the court, after an elaborate discussion, reached the
conclusion that "we have no jurisdiction to interfere with the Governor-General
of these Islands, as the head of the executive department, in the performance
of any of his official acts." The demurrer was accordingly sustained and the
complaint dismissed. It is noted that in this decision reliance was placed on the
cases of Mississippi vs. Johnson and Ord ([1867], 4 Wall., 475, and
Sutherland vs. Governor ([1874], 29 Mich., 320), which we will now proceed to
notice.
State of Mississippi vs. Andrew Johnson, President of the United
States, supra, concerned a bill praying the United States Supreme Court to
enjoin and restrain Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, and E. O. C.
Ord, General Commanding in the District of Mississippi and Arkansas from
executing certain Acts of Congress. Mr. Chief Justice Chase delivering the
opinion of the court said the single point which required consideration was this:
Can the President be restrained by injunction from carrying into effect an Act of
Congress alleged to be unconstitutional? He continued:

"The Congress is the Legislative Department of the Government; the


President is the Executive Department. Neither can be restrained in its action
by the Judicial Department; though the acts of both, when performed, are, in
proper cases, subject to its cognizance.
"The impropriety of such interference will be clearly seen upon
consideration of its possible consequences.
"Suppose the bill filed and the injunction prayed for allowed. If the
President refuse obedience, it is needless to observe that the court is without
power to enforce its process. It, on the other hand, the President complies with
the order of the court and refuses to execute the Acts of Congress, is it not
clear that a collision may occur between the Executive and Legislative
Departments of the Government? May not the House of Representatives
impeach the President for such refusal? And in that case could this court
interfere in behalf of the President, thus endangered by compliance with its
mandate, and restrain by injunction the Senate of the United States from sitting
as a court of impeachment? Would the strange spectacle be offered to the
public wonder of an attempt by this court to arrest proceedings in that court?
"These questions answer themselves.
xxx xxx xxx
"We are fully satisfied that this court has no jurisdiction of a bill to enjoin
the President in the performance of his official duties; and that no such bill
ought to be received by us.
"It has been suggested that the bill contains a prayer that, if the relief
sought cannot be had against Andrew Johnson, as President, it may be granted
against Andrew Johnson as a citizen of Tennessee. But it is plain that relief as
against the execution of an Act of Congress by Andrew Johnson, is relief against
its execution by the President. . . ."
Sutherland vs. Governor of Michigan, supra well known to the legal
fraternity on account of being written by Judge Cooley, related to an application
for mandamus to the Governor to compel him to perform a duty imposed upon
him by statute. Judge Cooley, in part, said:
". . . Our government is one whose powers have been carefully
apportioned between three distinct departments, which emanate alike from the
people, have their powers alike limited and defined by the constitution, are of
equal dignity, and within their respective spheres of action equally
independent.

xxx xxx xxx


"It is true that neither of the departments can operate in all respects
independently of the others, and that what are called the checks and balances
of government constitute each a restraint upon the rest. . . . But in each of
these cases the action of the department which controls, modifies, or in any
manner influences that of another, is had strictly within its own sphere, and for
that reason gives no occasion for conflict, controversy or jealousy. The
Legislature in prescribing rules for the courts, is acting within its proper
province an unconstitutional law, are in like manner acting within their proper
province, because they are only applying that which is law to the controversies
in which they are called upon to give judgment. It is mainly by means of these
checks and balances that the officers of the several departments are kept
within their jurisdiction, and it they are disregarded in any case, and power is
usurped or abused, the remedy is by impeachment, and not by another
department of the government attempting to correct the wrong by asserting a
superior authority over that which by the constitution is its equal.
"It has long been a maxim in this country that the Legislature cannot
dictate to the courts what their judgments shall be, or set aside or alter such
judgments after they have been rendered. If it could, constitutional liberty
would cease to exist; and if the Legislature could in like manner override
executive action also, the government would become only a despotism under
popular forms. On the other hand it would be readily conceded that no court
can compel the Legislature to make or to refrain from making laws, or to meet
or adjourn at its command, or to take any action whatsoever, though the duty
to take it be made ever so clear by the constitution or the laws. In these cases
the exemption of the one department from the control of the other is not only
implied in the framework of government, but is indispensably necessary if any
useful apportionment of power is to exist.
xxx xxx xxx
"It is not attempted to be disguised on the part of the relators that any
other course than that which leaves the head of the executive department to
act independently in the discharge of his duties might possibly lead to
unseemly conflicts, if not to something worse, should the courts undertake to
enforce their mandates and the executive refuse to obey. . . . And while we
should concede, if jurisdiction was plainly vested in us, the inability to enforce
our judgment would be no sufficient reason for failing to pronounce it especially
against an officer who would be presumed ready and anxious in all cases to

render obedience to the law, yet in a case where jurisdiction is involved in


doubt it is not consistent with the dignity of the court to pronounce judgments
which may be disregarded with impunity, nor with that of the executive to
place him in position where, in a matter within his own province, he must act
contrary to his judgment, or stand convicted of a disregard of the laws."
We only take space to notice one more case, which concerns specifically
the right of the judiciary to control by mandamus the action of the legislature.
Frenchvs. Senate of the State of California, supra, was an original proceeding in
mandamus brought by the petitioners who were duly elected senators of the
state to compel the Senate of California to admit them as members thereof. It
was alleged that the petitioners had been expelled without hearing or
opportunity for defense. The writ was denied, Mr. Justice Shaw delivering the
opinion of the court, saying:
"Even if we should give these allegations their fullest force in favor of the
pleader, they do not make a case justifying the interposition of this
court. Under our form of government the judicial department has no power to
revise even the most arbitrary and unfair action of the legislative department,
or of either house thereof, taken in pursuance of the power committed
exclusively to that department by the constitution. . . ."
There can be noted as specific corroborative authority, State vs.
Bolte, supra. Abueva vs. Wood, supra, and Commonwealth of
Massachusetts vs. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury ([1923], 262 U.S., 447), the
latest expression of opinion by the United States Supreme Court. The record
discloses that it was the firm opinion of our late Chief Justice that the court
should not assume jurisdiction of the proceedings.
So as to be perfectly fair to the petitioner, it is but proper to state that the
principles laid down in some of the preceding authorities have been the subject
of adverse criticism. It is said that the fallacy of the argument lies in the
statement that the three departments of the government are independent of
each other. "They are independent in so far as they proceed within their
legitimate province and perform the duties that the law requires; yet it has
never been held that the executive was the sole judge of what duties the law
imposes upon him, or the manner in which duties shall be exercised. The final
arbiter in cases of dispute is the judiciary, and to this extent at least the
executive department may be said to be dependent upon and subordinate to
the judiciary. . . . It is not the office of the person to whom the writ of

mandamus is directed, but the nature of the think to be done, by which the
propriety of issuing a mandamus is to be determined." (2 Bailey on Mandamus,
pp. 926-927.) But these were arguments which should have been presented
years ago in this court, and which when recently presented by counsel in his
argument for the petitioner in the case of Perfecto vs. Wood, R. G. No.
20867, 1 met with no favorable response from the court. It is now too late to go
back and revise previous decisions and overturn them; in fact this would be not
only impracticable but impossible since at least two decisions of the United
States Supreme Court seem to us to be controlling.
No court has ever held and we apprehend no court will ever hold that it
possesses the power to direct the Chief Executive or the Legislature or a
branch thereof to take any particular action. If a court should ever be so rash
as to thus trench on the domain of either of the other departments, it will be
the end of popular government as we know it in democracies.
It is intimated rather faintly that, conceding all that is said with reference
to the right of the Supreme Court to issue mandamus directed to the Philippine
Senate, yet we would be justified in having our mandate run not against the
Philippine Senate or against the President of the Philippine Senate and his
fellow Senators but against the secretary, the sergeant-at-arms, and the
disbursing officer of the Senate. But this begs the question. If we have no
authority to control the Philippine Senate, we have no authority to control the
actions of subordinate employees acting under the direction of the Senate. The
secretary, sergeant-at-arms, and disbursing officer of the Senate are mere
agents of the Senate who cannot act independently of the will of that body.
Should the Court do as requested, we might have the spectacle presented of
the court ordering the secretary, the sergeant-at-arms, and the disbursing
officer of the Philippine Senate to do one thing, and the Philippine Senate
ordering them to do another thing. The writ of mandamus should not be
granted unless it clearly appears that the person to who it is directed has the
absolute power to execute it. (Turnbull vs. Giddings [1893], 95 Mich., 314;
Abueva vs. Wood, supra.)
The question of jurisdiction is invariably one of perplexing difficulty. On
the one hand, no consideration of policy or convenience should induce this
court to exercise a power that does not belong to it. On the other hand, no
consideration of policy or convenience should induce this court to surrender a
power which it is its duty to exercise. But certainly mandamus should never
issue from this court where it will not prove to be effectual and beneficial. It
should not be awarded where it will create discord and confusion. It should not

be awarded where mischievous consequences are likely to follow. Judgment


should not be pronounced which might possibly lead to unseemly conflicts or
which might be disregarded with impunity. This court should offer no means by
a decision for any possible collision between it as the highest court in the
Philippines and the Philippine Senate as a branch of a coordinate department,
or between the Court and the Chief Executive or the Chief Executive and the
Legislature.
On the merits of the controversy, we will only say this: The Organic Act
authorizes the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands to appoint two
senators and nine representatives to represent the non-Christian regions in the
Philippine Legislature. These senators and representatives "hold office until
removed by the Governor-General." (Organic Act, secs. 16, 17.) They may not
be removed by the Philippine Legislature. However, to the Senate and the
House of Representatives, respectively, is granted the power to "punish its
members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds,
expel an elective member." (Organic Act, sec. 18.) Either House may thus
punish an appointive member for disorderly behavior. Neither House may expel
an appointive member for any reason. As to whether the power to "suspend" is
then included in the power to "punish," a power granted to the two Houses of
the Legislature by the Constitution, or in the power to "remove," a power
granted to the Governor-General by the Constitution, it would appear that
neither is the correct hypothesis. The Constitution has purposely withheld from
the two Houses of the Legislature and the Governor-General alike the power to
suspend an appointive member of the Legislature.
It is noteworthy that the Congress of the United States has not in all its
long history suspended a member. And the reason is obvious. Punishment by
way of reprimand or fine vindicates the outraged dignity of the House without
depriving the constituency of representation; expulsion, when permissible,
likewise vindicates the honor of the legislative body while giving to the
constituency an opportunity to elect anew; but suspension deprives the
electoral district of representation without that district being afforded any
means by which to fill the vacancy. By suspension, the seat remains filled but
the occupant is silenced. Suspension for one year is equivalent to qualified
expulsion or removal.
It is beyond the power of any branch of the Government of the Philippine
Islands to exercise its functions in any other way than that prescribed by the
Organic Law or by local laws which conform to the Organic Law. This was, in
effect, our holding in the comparatively recent case of Concepcion vs. Paredes

([1921], 42 Phil., 599), when we had under particular consideration a legislative


attempt to deprive the Chief Executive of his constitutional power of
appointment. What was there announced is equally applicable to the instant
proceedings.
While what has just been said may be unnecessary for a correct decision,
it is inserted so that the vital question argued with so much ability may not
pass entirely unnoticed, and so that there may be at least an indication of the
attitude of the court as a restraining force, with respect to the checks and
balances of government. The Supreme Court, out of respect for the Upper
House of a coordinate branch of the government, takes no affirmative action.
But the perfection of the entire system suggests the thought that no action
should be taken elsewhere which would constitute, or even seem to constitute,
disregard for the Constitution.
Conceding therefore that the power of the Senate to punish its members
for disorderly behavior does not authorize it to suspend an appointive member
from the exercise of his office for one year, conceding what has been so well
stated by the learned counsel for the petitioner, conceding all this and more,
yet the writ prayed for cannot issue, for the all-conclusive reason that the
Supreme Court does not possess the power of coercion to make the Philippine
Senate take any particular action. If it be said that conclusion leaves the
petitioner without a remedy, the answer is that the judiciary is not the
repository of all wisdom and all power. It would hardly be becoming for the
judiciary to assume the role of either a credulous inquisitor, a querulous censor,
or a jaunty knight, who passes down the halls of legislation and of
administration giving heed to those who have grievances against the
Legislature and the Chief Executive.
We rule that neither the Philippine Legislature nor a branch thereof can be
directly controlled in the exercise of their legislative powers by any judicial
process. The court accordingly lacks jurisdiction to consider the petition and
the demurrer must be sustained. As it is unlikely that the petition could be
amended to state a cause of action, it must be dismissed without costs. Such is
the judgment of the court. So ordered.
Street, Villamor, and Romualdez, JJ., concur.
||| (Alejandrino v. Quezon, G.R. No. L-22041, [September 11, 1924], 46 PHIL 83144)

148. People v Jalosjos


EN BANC
[G.R. Nos. 132875-76. February 3, 2000.]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROMEO G.
JALOSJOS, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Prospero Cresceni, Gancayco, Balasbas & Associates, Saguisag & Associates,
Balisado Law Office, and Lazaro Law Office for accused-appellant.
SYNOPSIS
Accused-appellant is a full-fledged member of Congress who is now confined at
the national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape on two counts and
acts of lasciviousness on six counts is pending appeal. 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.
Accused-appellant insisted that having been re-elected by his constituents, he
had the duty to perform the functions of a Congressman. According to him, his
covenant with his constituents cannot be defeated by insuperable procedural
restraint arising from pending criminal cases. He asserted that the duty to
legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of government.
When the voters of his district elected accused-appellant to Congress, they did so
with full awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so with

the knowledge that he could achieve only such legislative results, which he could
accomplish within the confines of prison.
What the accused-appellant seeks is not of an emergency nature. Allowing
accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings for
five days or more in a week virtually make him a free man with all the privileges
appurtenant to his position. As such, an aberrant situation not only elevates
accused-appellant's status to that of a special class, it also would be a mockery of
the purposes of the correction system.
The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has
never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison. Accused-appellant is only
one of 250 members of the House of Representatives, not to mention the 24
members of the Senate, charged with the duties of legislation. Congress continues
to function well in the physical absence of one or a few of its members.
The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public
welfare may justify exercise of government authority to regulate even if thereby
certain groups may plausibly assert that their interests are disregarded.
The Court found the election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable
classification in criminal enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are
not substantial distinctions, which lift him from the class of prisoners interrupted
in their freedom and restrict in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and
confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those
belonging to the same class. The Court was constrained to rule against the
accused-appellant's claim that re-election to public office gives priority to any
other right or interest, including the police power of the State.
Instant motion was denied.
SYLLABUS
1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; PUBLIC OFFICERS; PRIVILEGES ARISING FROM BEING
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. 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 restraints 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.
2. ID.; ID.; RULING IN AGUINALDO CASE (212 SCRA 768, AT 773) DOES NOT APPLY
IN IMPRISONMENT ARISING FROM ENFORCEMENT OF CRIMINAL LAW;
CONFINEMENT PENDING APPEAL IS NOT REMOVAL. Accused-appellant's reliance
on the ruling in Aguinaldo v. Santos, which states, inter alia, that "The Court
should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of
office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their
officers. When a people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that
they did this with the knowledge of his life and character, and that they
disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is
not for the Court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the
will of the people," will not extricate him from his predicament. It can be readily
seen in the above-quoted ruling that the Aguinaldo case involves the
administrative removal of a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of
office. It does not apply to imprisonment arising from the enforcement of criminal
law. Moreover, in the same way that preventive suspension is not removal,
confinement pending appeal is not removal. He remains a congressman unless
expelled by Congress or, otherwise, disqualified.
3. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT; PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY
FROM ARREST AND DETENTION; GRANTED IN A RESTRICTIVE SENSE AND MAY NOT
BE EXTENDED BY INTENDMENT, IMPLICATION OR EQUITABLE CONSIDERATION.
The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and members of the House of
Representatives, the latter 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.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; SCOPE. The 1935 Constitution provided in its Article VI on the
Legislative Department: Sec. 15. The Senators and Members of the House of
Representatives shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace
be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of Congress, and
in going to and returning from the same; . . .. Because of the broad coverage of
felony and breach of the peace, the exemption applied only to civil arrests. A
congressman like the accused-appellant, convicted under Title Eleven of the

Revised Penal Code could not claim parliamentary immunity from arrest. He was
subject to the same general laws governing all persons still to be tried or whose
convictions were pending appeal. The 1973 Constitution broadened the privilege
of immunity as follows: Article VIII, Sec. 9. A Member of the Batasang Pambansa
shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be
privileged from arrest during his attendance at its sessions and in going to and
returning from the same. For offenses punishable by more than six years
imprisonment, there was no immunity from arrest. The restrictive interpretation of
immunity and the intent to confine it within carefully defined parameters is
illustrated by the concluding portion of the provision, to wit: . . . but the Batasang
Pambansa shall surrender the member involved to the custody of the law within
twenty four hours after its adjournment for a recess or for its next session,
otherwise such privilege shall cease upon its failure to do so. The present
Constitution adheres to the same restrictive rule minus the obligation of Congress
to surrender the subject Congressman to the custody of the law. The requirement
that he should be attending sessions or committee meetings has also been
removed. For relatively minor offenses, it is enough that Congress is in
session. cEaCTS
5. ID.; ID.; MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CANNOT COMPEL ABSENT MEMBERS TO
ATTEND SESSION IF REASONS FOR ABSENCE IS A LEGITIMATE ONE. 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 months is not merely authorized by
law, it has constitutional foundations.
6. ID.; ID.; HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; ALLOWING ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO
ATTEND CONGRESSIONAL SESSIONS AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS WOULD BE A
MOCKERY OF THE PURPOSES OF CORRECTION SYSTEM; EMERGENCY OR
COMPELLING TEMPORARY LEAVES FROM IMPRISONMENT ARE ALLOWED TO ALL
PRISONERS AT DISCRETION OF AUTHORITIES OR UPON COURT ORDERS.
Emergency or compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are allowed to all
prisoners, at the discretion of the authorities or upon court orders. What the
accused-appellant seeks is not of an emergency nature. Allowing accusedappellant to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings for five (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 accusedappellant's status to that of a special class, it also would be a mockery of the
purposes of the correction system. Of particular relevance in this regard are the
following observations of the Court in Martinez v. Morfe: . . .
7. ID.; ID.; ID.; AS A DETAINEE, ACCUSED-APPELLANT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN
ALLOWED TO DISCHARGE HIS DUTY AS MEMBER THEREOF; CASE AT BAR. No
less than accused-appellant himself admits that like any other member of the
House of Representatives "[h]e is provided with a congressional office situated at
Room N-214, North Wing Building, House of Representatives Complex, Batasan
Hills, Quezon City, manned by a full complement of staff paid for by Congress.
Through [an] inter-department coordination, he is also provided with an office at
the Administration Building, New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City, where he attends
to his constituents." Accused-appellant further admits that while under detention,
he has filed several bills and resolutions. It also appears that he has been
receiving his salaries and other monetary benefits. Succinctly stated, accusedappellant has been discharging his mandate as a member of the House of
Representative consistent with the restraints upon one who is presently under
detention. Being a detainee, accused-appellant should not even have been
allowed by the prison authorities at the National Penitentiary to perform these
acts. When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress,
they did so with full awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action. They
did so with the knowledge that he could achieve only such legislative results
which he could accomplish within the confines of prison.

8. ID.; BILL OF RIGHTS; EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE; PERFORMANCE OF


LEGITIMATE DUTIES BY PUBLIC OFFICER IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO FREE A PERSON
VALIDLY IN PRISON. The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by
public officers has never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison. The
duties imposed by the "mandate of the people" are multifarious. The accusedappellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of
government. The accused-appellant is only one of 250 members of the House of
Representatives, not to mention the 24 members of the Senate, charged with the
duties of legislation. Congress continues to function well in the physical absence
of one or a few of its members.
9. ID.; ID.; ID.; ELECTION TO POSITION OF CONGRESSMAN IS NOT A REASONABLE
CLASSIFICATION IN CRIMINAL LAW ENFORCEMENT. The Court cannot validate
badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public welfare may justify

exercise of government authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may


plausibly assert that their interests are disregarded. We, therefore, find that
election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable classification in
criminal law enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are not
substantial distinctions which lift him from the class of prisoners interrupted in
their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and
confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those
belonging to the same class.
10. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; AFTER CONVICTION IN REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT, ACCUSED MAY BE DENIED BAIL AND THUS SUBJECTED TO
INCARCERATION IF THERE IS A RISK OF HIS ABSCONDING; RATIONALE BEHIND
CONFINEMENT; CASE AT BAR. One rationale behind confinement, whether
pending appeal or after final conviction, is public self-defense. Society must
protect itself. It also serves as an example and warning to others. A person
charged with crime is taken into custody for purposes of the administration of
justice. As stated in United States v. Gustilo, it is the injury to the public which
State action in criminal law seeks to redress. It is not the injury to the
complainant. After conviction in the Regional Trial Court, the accused may be
denied bail and thus subjected to incarceration if there is risk of his absconding.
The accused-appellant states that the plea of the electorate which voted him into
office cannot be supplanted by unfounded fears that he might escape eventual
punishment if permitted to perform congressional duties outside his regular place
of confinement. It will be recalled that when a warrant for accused-appellant's
arrest was issued, he fled and evaded capture despite a call from his colleagues in
the House of Representatives for him to attend the sessions and to surrender
voluntarily to the authorities. Ironically, it is now the same body whose call he
initially spurned which accused-appellant is invoking to justify his present motion.
This can not be countenanced because, to reiterate, aside from its being contrary
to well-defined Constitutional restraints, it would be a mockery of the aims of the
State's penal system.
11. WORDS AND PHRASES; IMPRISONMENT, ELABORATED. Imprisonment is the
restraint of a man's personal liberty; coercion exercised upon a person to prevent
the free exercise of his power of locomotion. More explicitly, "imprisonment" in its
general sense, is the restraint of one's liberty. As a punishment, it is restraint by
judgment of a court or lawful tribunal, and is personal to the accused. The term
refers to the restraint on the personal liberty of another; any prevention of his
movements from place to place, or of his free action according to his own
pleasure and will. Imprisonment is the detention of another against his

will depriving him of his power of locomotion and it "[is] something more than
mere loss of freedom. It includes the notion of restraint within limits defined by
wall or any exterior barrier." It can be seen from the foregoing that incarceration,
by its nature, changes an individual's status in society. Prison officials have the
difficult and often thankless job of preserving the security in a potentially
explosive setting, as well as of attempting to provide rehabilitation that prepares
inmates for re-entry into the social mainstream. Necessarily, both these demands
require the curtailment and elimination of certain rights.
||| R E S O L U T I O N
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J p:
The 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 two counts and acts of lasciviousness on six counts 1 is pending appeal.
The accused-appellant filed this 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. cdtai

The issue raised is one of first impression.


Does membership in Congress exempt an accused from statutes and rules which
apply to validly incarcerated persons in general? In answering the query, we are
called upon to balance relevant and conflicting factors in the judicial
interpretation of legislative privilege in the context of penal law.
The accused-appellant's "Motion To Be Allowed To Discharge Mandate As Member
of House of Representatives" was filed on the grounds that
1. Accused-appellant's reelection being an expression of popular will cannot be
rendered inutile by any ruling, giving priority to any right or interest not even
the police power of the State.
2. To deprive the electorate of their elected representative amounts to taxation
without representation.
3. To bar accused-appellant from performing his duties amounts to his
suspension/removal and mocks the renewed mandate entrusted to him by the
people.

4. The electorate of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte wants their voice to
be heard.
5. A precedent-setting U.S. ruling allowed a detained lawmaker to attend sessions
of the U.S. Congress.
6. The House treats accused-appellant as a bona fide member thereof and urges a
co-equal branch of government to respect its mandate.
7. The concept of temporary detention does not necessarily curtail the duty of
accused-appellant to discharge his mandate.
8. Accused-appellant has always complied with the conditions/restrictions when
allowed to leave jail.
The primary argument of the movant is the "mandate of sovereign will." He states
that the sovereign electorate of the First 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. He calls
this a covenant with his constituents made possible by the intervention of the
State. He adds that it cannot be defeated by insuperable procedural restraints
arising from pending criminal cases.
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, in spite 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 restraints 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. cdll
The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and members of the House of
Representatives, the latter 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.

The 1935 Constitution provided in its Article VI on the Legislative Department:


Sec. 15. The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives
shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace be
privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of
Congress, and in going to and returning from the same; . . ..
Because of the broad coverage of felony and breach of the peace, the exemption
applied only to civil arrests. A congressman like the accused-appellant, convicted
under Title Eleven of the Revised Penal Code could not claim parliamentary
immunity from arrest. He was subject to the same general laws governing all
persons still to be tried or whose convictions were pending appeal.
The 1973 Constitution broadened the privilege of immunity as follows:
Article VIII, Sec. 9. A Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall, in all
offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be
privileged from arrest during his attendance at its sessions and in
going to and returning from the same.
For offenses punishable by more than six years imprisonment, there was no
immunity from arrest. The restrictive interpretation of immunity and the intent to
confine it within carefully defined parameters is illustrated by the concluding
portion of the provision, to wit:
. . . but the Batasang Pambansa shall surrender the member involved
to the custody of the law within twenty four hours after its
adjournment for a recess or for its next session, otherwise such
privilege shall cease upon its failure to do so.
The present Constitution adheres to the same restrictive rule minus the obligation
of Congress to surrender the subject Congressman to the custody of the law. The
requirement that he should be attending sessions or committee meetings has also
been removed. For relatively minor offenses, it is enough that Congress is in
session.
The accused-appellant argues that a member of Congress' function to attend
sessions is underscored by Section 16 (2), Article VI of the Constitution which
states that
(2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do
business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and
may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner, and
under such penalties, as such House may provide.

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 months is not
merely authorized by law, it has constitutional foundations.
Accused-appellant's reliance
states, inter alia, that

on

the

ruling

in Aguinaldo

v. Santos, 2 which

The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to
his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the
people of their right to elect their officers. When a people have
elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with
the knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or
forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not
for the Court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically
overrule the will of the people.
will not extricate him from his predicament. It can be readily seen in the abovequoted ruling that the Aguinaldo case involves the administrative removal of a
public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. It does not apply
to imprisonment arising from the enforcement of criminal law. Moreover, in the
same way that preventive suspension is not removal, confinement pending
appeal is not removal. He remains a congressman unless expelled by Congress
or, otherwise, disqualified. cdasia
One rationale behind confinement, whether pending appeal or after final
conviction, is public self-defense. Society must protect itself. It also serves as an
example and warning to others.
A person charged with crime is taken into custody for purposes of the
administration of justice. As stated in United States v. Gustilo, 3 it is the injury to
the public which State action in criminal law seeks to redress. It is not the injury to
the complainant. After conviction in the Regional Trial Court, the accused may be
denied bail and thus subjected to incarceration if there is risk of his absconding. 4
The accused-appellant states that the plea of the electorate which voted him into
office cannot be supplanted by unfounded fears that he might escape eventual
punishment if permitted to perform congressional duties outside his regular place
of confinement.

It will be recalled that when a warrant for accused-appellant's arrest was issued,
he fled and evaded capture despite a call from his colleagues in the House of
Representatives for him to attend the sessions and to surrender voluntarily to the
authorities. Ironically, it is now the same body whose call he initially spurned
which accused-appellant is invoking to justify his present motion. This can not be
countenanced because, to reiterate, aside from its being contrary to well-defined
Constitutional restrains, it would be a mockery of the aims of the State's penal
system.
Accused-appellant argues that on several occasions, the Regional Trial Court of
Makati granted several motions to temporarily leave his cell at the Makati City Jail,
for official or medical reasons, to wit:
a) to attend hearings of the House Committee on Ethics held at the
Batasan Complex, Quezon City, on the issue of whether to
expel/suspend him from the House of Representatives;
b) to undergo dental examination and treatment at the clinic of his
dentist in Makati City;
c) to undergo a thorough medical check-up at the Makati Medical
Center, Makati City;
d) to register as a voter at his hometown in Dapitan City. In this case,
accused-appellant commuted by chartered plane and private
vehicle.
He also calls attention to various instances, after his transfer at the New Bilibid
Prison in Muntinlupa City, when he was likewise allowed/permitted to leave the
prison premises, to wit:
a) to join "living-out" prisoners on "work-volunteer program" for the
purpose of 1) establishing a mahogany seedling bank and 2)
planting mahogany trees, at the NBP reservation. For this
purpose, he was assigned one guard and allowed to use his own
vehicle and driver in going to and from the project area and his
place of confinement.
b) to continue with his dental treatment at the clinic of his dentist in
Makati City.

c) to be confined at the Makati Medical Center in Makati City for his


heart condition.

There is no showing that the above privileges are peculiar to him or to a member
of Congress. Emergency or compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are
allowed to all prisoners, at the discretion of the authorities or upon court orders.
What the accused-appellant seeks is not of an emergency nature. Allowing
accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and committee meetings for
five (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-appellant's status to that of a special class, it also would be a
mockery of the purposes of the correction system. Of particular relevance in this
regard are the following observations of the Court in Martinez v. Morfe: 5
The above conclusion reached by this Court is bolstered and fortified
by policy considerations. There is, to be sure, a full recognition of the
necessity to have members of Congress, and likewise delegates to
the Constitutional Convention, entitled to the utmost freedom to
enable them to discharge their vital responsibilities, bowing to no
other force except the dictates of their conscience. Necessarily the
utmost latitude in free speech should be accorded them. When it
comes to freedom from arrest, however, it would amount to the
creation of a privileged class, without justification in reason, if
notwithstanding their liability for a criminal offense, they would be
considered immune during their attendance in Congress and in going
to and returning from the same. There is likely to be no dissent from
the proposition that a legislator or a delegate can perform his
functions efficiently and well, without the need for any transgression
of the criminal law. Should such an unfortunate event come to pass,
he is to be treated like any other citizen considering that there is a
strong public interest in seeing to it that crime should not go
unpunished. To the fear that may be expressed that the prosecuting
arm of the government might unjustly go after legislators belonging
to the minority, it suffices to answer that precisely all the safeguards
thrown around an accused by the Constitution, solicitous of the rights
of an individual, would constitute an obstacle to such an attempt at
abuse of power. The presumption of course is that the judiciary would
remain independent. It is trite to say that in each and every
manifestation of judicial endeavor, such a virtue is of the essence.
The accused-appellant avers that his constituents in the First District of
Zamboanga del Norte want their voices to be heard and that since he is treated

as bona fidemember of the House of Representatives, the latter urges a co-equal


branch of government to respect his mandate. He also claims that the concept of
temporary detention does not necessarily curtail his duty to discharge his
mandate and that he has always complied with the conditions/restrictions when
he is allowed to leave jail. dctai
We remain unpersuaded.
No less than accused-appellant himself admits that like any other member of the
House of Representatives "[h]e is provided with a congressional office situated at
Room N-214, North Wing Building, House of Representatives Complex, Batasan
Hills, Quezon City, manned by a full complement of staff paid for by Congress.
Through [an] inter-department coordination, he is also provided with an office at
the Administration Building, New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City, where he attends
to his constituents." Accused-appellant further admits that while under detention,
he has filed several bills and resolutions. It also appears that he has been
receiving his salaries and other monetary benefits. Succinctly stated, accusedappellant has been discharging his mandate as a member of the House of
Representative consistent with the restraints upon one who is presently under
detention. Being a detainee, accused-appellant should not even have been
allowed by the prison authorities at the National Penitentiary to perform these
acts.
When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they
did so with full awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so
with the knowledge that he could achieve only such legislative results which he
could accomplish within the confines of prison. To give a more drastic illustration,
if voters elect a person with full knowledge that he is suffering from a terminal
illness, they do so knowing that at any time, he may no longer serve his full term
in office.
In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question of
constitutional equal protection.
The Constitution guarantees: ". . . nor shall any person be denied the equal
protection of laws." 6 This simply means that all persons similarly situated shall
be treated alike both in rights enjoyed and responsibilities imposed. 7 The organs
of government may not show any undue favoritism or hostility to any person.
Neither partiality nor prejudice shall be displayed.
Does being an elective official result in a substantial distinction that allows
different treatment? Is being a Congressman a substantial differentiation which

removes the accused-appellant as a prisoner from the same class as all persons
validly confined under law?
The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has
never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison. The duties imposed by
the "mandate of the people" are multifarious. The accused-appellant asserts that
the duty to legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of government. The accusedappellant is only one of 250 members of the House of Representatives, not to
mention the 24 members of the Senate, charged with the duties of legislation.
Congress continues to function well in the physical absence of one or a few of its
members. Depending on the exigency of Government that has to be addressed,
the President or the Supreme Court can also be deemed the highest for that
particular duty. The importance of a function depends on the need for its exercise.
The duty of a mother to nurse her infant is most compelling under the law of
nature. A doctor with unique skills has the duty to save the lives of those with a
particular affliction. An elective governor has to serve provincial constituents. A
police officer must maintain peace and order. Never has the call of a particular
duty lifted a prisoner into a different classification from those others who are
validly restrained by law.
A strict scrutiny of classifications is essential lest wittingly or otherwise, insidious
discriminations are made in favor of or against groups or types of individuals. 8
The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public
welfare may justify exercise of government authority to regulate even if thereby
certain groups may plausibly assert that their interests are disregarded. 9
We, therefore, find that election to the position of Congressman is not a
reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement. The functions and duties of
the office are not substantial distinctions which lift him from the class of prisoners
interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest
and confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those
belonging to the same class. 10
Imprisonment is the restraint of a man's personal liberty; coercion exercised upon
a person to prevent the free exercise of his power of locomotion. 11
More explicitly, "imprisonment" in its general sense, is the restraint of one's
liberty. As a punishment, it is restraint by judgment of a court or lawful tribunal,
and is personal to the accused. 12 The term refers to the restraint on the personal
liberty of another; any prevention of his movements from place to place, or of his
free action according to his own pleasure and will. 13 Imprisonment is

the detention of another against his will depriving him of his power of
locomotion 14 and it "[is] something more than mere loss of freedom. It includes
the notion of restraint within limits defined by wall or any exterior barrier." 15
It can be seen from the foregoing that incarceration, by its nature, changes an
individual's status in society. 16 Prison officials have the difficult and often
thankless job of preserving the security in a potentially explosive setting, as well
as of attempting to provide rehabilitation that prepares inmates for re-entry into
the social mainstream. Necessarily, both these demands require the curtailment
and elimination of certain rights. 17
Premises considered, we are constrained to rule against the accused-appellant's
claim that re-election to public office gives priority to any other right or interest,
including the police power of the State. cdtai
WHEREFORE, the instant motion is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Kapunan, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ.,
concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, JJ., concur in the main and
separate opinion.
Gonzaga-Reyes, J., see separate concurring opinion.
149. Trillanes IV v Pimentel

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 179817. June 27, 2008.]
ANTONIO F. TRILLANES IV, petitioner, vs. HON. OSCAR
PIMENTEL, SR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE,
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-BRANCH 148, MAKATI CITY; GEN.
HERMOGENES ESPERON, VICE ADM. ROGELIO I. CALUNSAG,
MGEN. BENJAMIN DOLORFINO, AND LT. COL. LUCIARDO
OBEA,respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO-MORALES, J p:
At the wee hours of July 27, 2003, a group of more than 300 heavily armed
soldiers led by junior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stormed
into the Oakwood Premier Apartments in Makati City and publicly demanded the
resignation of the President and key national officials. SICDAa
Later in the day, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued Proclamation No.
427 and General Order No. 4 declaring a state of rebellion and calling out the
Armed Forces to suppress the rebellion. 1 A series of negotiations quelled the
teeming tension and eventually resolved the impasse with the surrender of the
militant soldiers that evening.
In the aftermath of this eventful episode dubbed as the "Oakwood Incident",
petitioner Antonio F. Trillanes IV was charged, along with his comrades, with coup
d'etatdefined under Article 134-A of the Revised Penal Code before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Makati. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 032784, "People v. Capt. Milo D. Maestrecampo, et al."
Close to four years later, petitioner, who has remained in detention, 2 threw his
hat in the political arena and won a seat in the Senate with a six-year term
commencing at noon on June 30, 2007. 3
Before the commencement of his term or on June 22, 2007, petitioner filed with
the RTC, Makati City, Branch 148, an "Omnibus Motion for Leave of Court to be
Allowed to Attend Senate Sessions and Related Requests" 4 (Omnibus Motion).
Among his requests were: ITcCaS
(a) To be allowed to go to the Senate to attend all official functions of
the Senate (whether at the Senate or elsewhere) particularly
when the Senate is in session, and to attend the regular and
plenary sessions of the Senate, committee hearings, committee
meetings, consultations, investigations and hearings in aid of
legislation, caucuses, staff meetings, etc., which are normally
held at the Senate of the Philippines located at the GSIS
Financial Center, Pasay City (usually from Mondays to Thursdays
from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.);
(b) To be allowed to set up a working area at his place of detention at
the Marine Brig, Marine Barracks Manila, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
City, with a personal desktop computer and the appropriate
communications equipment (i.e., a telephone line and internet
access) in order that he may be able to work there when there

are no sessions, meetings or hearings at the Senate or when the


Senate is not in session. The costs of setting up the said working
area and the related equipment and utility costs can be charged
against the budget/allocation of the Office of the accused from
the Senate; AEIHCS
(c) To be allowed to receive members of his staff at the said working
area at his place of detention at the Marine Brig, Marine
Barracks Manila, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, at reasonable times
of the day particularly during working days for purposes of
meetings, briefings, consultations and/or coordination, so that
the latter may be able to assists (sic) him in the performance
and discharge of his duties as a Senator of the Republic;
(d) To be allowed to give interviews and to air his comments,
reactions and/or opinions to the press or the media regarding
the important issues affecting the country and the public while
at the Senate or elsewhere in the performance of his duties as
Senator to help shape public policy and in the light of the
important role of the Senate in maintaining the system of
checks and balance between the three (3) co-equal branches of
Government;
(e) With prior notice to the Honorable Court and to the accused and
his custodians, to be allowed to receive, on Tuesdays and
Fridays, reporters and other members of the media who may
wish to interview him and/or to get his comments, reactions
and/or opinion at his place of confinement at the Marine Brig,
Marine Barracks Manila, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, particularly
when there are no sessions, meetings or hearings at the Senate
or when the Senate is not in session; and ScCIaA
(f) To be allowed to attend the organizational meeting and election of
officers of the Senate and related activities scheduled in the
morning (9:00 or 10:00 a.m.) of 23 July 2007 at the Senate of
the Philippines located at the GSIS Financial Center, Pasay
City. 5
By Order of July 25, 2007, 6 the trial court denied all the requests in the Omnibus
Motion. Petitioner moved for reconsideration in which he waived his requests in
paragraphs (b), (c) and (f) to thus trim them down to three. 7 The trial court just
the same denied the motion by Order of September 18, 2007. 8

Hence, the present petition for certiorari to set aside the two Orders of the trial
court, and for prohibition and mandamus to (i) enjoin respondents from banning
the Senate staff, resource persons and guests from meeting with him or
transacting business with him in his capacity as Senator; and (ii) direct
respondents to allow him access to the Senate staff, resource persons and guests
and permit him to attend all sessions and official functions of the Senate.
Petitioner preliminarily prayed for the maintenance of the status quo ante of
having been able hitherto to convene his staff, resource persons and guests 9 at
the Marine Brig. CETDHA
Impleaded as co-respondents of Judge Oscar Pimentel, Sr. are AFP Chief of Staff,
Gen. Hermogenes Esperon (Esperon); Philippine Navy's Flag Officer-in-Command,
Vice Admiral Rogelio Calunsag; Philippine Marines' Commandant, Major Gen.
Benjamin Dolorfino; and Marine Barracks Manila Commanding Officer, Lt. Col.
Luciardo Obea (Obea).
Petitioner later manifested, in his Reply of February 26, 2008, that he has, since
November 30, 2007, been in the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP)
Custodial Center following the foiled take-over of the Manila Peninsula
Hotel 10 the day before or on November 29, 2007.
Such change in circumstances thus dictates the discontinuation of the action as
against the above-named military officers-respondents. The issues raised in
relation to them had ceased to present a justiciable controversy, so that a
determination thereof would be without practical value and use. Meanwhile,
against those not made parties to the case, petitioner cannot ask for reliefs from
this Court. 11 Petitioner did not, by way of substitution, implead the police officers
currently exercising custodial responsibility over him; and he did not satisfactorily
show that they have adopted or continued the assailed actions of the former
custodians. 12 CTEaDc
Petitioner reiterates the following grounds which mirror those previously raised in
his Motion for Reconsideration filed with the trial court:
I.
THE JURISPRUDENCE CITED BY THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO IS
CLEARLY INAPPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT CASE BECAUSE OF THE
FOLLOWING REASONS:
A.
UNLIKE IN THIS CASE, THE ACCUSED IN THE JALOSJOS CASE WAS
ALREADY CONVICTED AT THE TIME HE FILED HIS MOTION. IN

THE INSTANT CASE, ACCUSED/PETITIONER HAS NOT BEEN


CONVICTED AND, THEREFORE, STILL ENJOYS THE PRESUMPTION
OF INNOCENCE; cDTaSH
B.
THE ACCUSED IN THE JALOJOS (SIC) CASE WAS CHARGED WITH
TWO (2) COUNTS OF STATUTORY RAPE AND SIX (6) COUNTS OF
ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS, CRIMES INVOLVING MORAL
TURPITUDE. HEREIN ACCUSED/PETITIONER IS CHARGED WITH
THE OFFENSE OF "COUP D'ETAT", A CHARGE WHICH IS
COMMONLY REGARDED AS A POLITICAL OFFENSE;
C.
THE ACCUSED IN THE JALOSJOS CASE ATTEMPTED TO FLEE
PRIOR TO BEING ARRESTED. THE ACCUSED/PETITIONER
VOLUNTARILY SURRENDERED TO THE AUTHORITIES AND
AGREED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS ACTS AT OAKWOOD;
II.
GEN. ESPERON DID NOT OVERRULE THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE
MARINE BRIG'S COMMANDING OFFICER TO ALLOW PETITIONER TO
ATTEND THE SENATE SESSIONS; TIHCcA
III.
ACCUSED/PETITIONER SUBMITS THAT THE FACT THAT THE PEOPLE, IN
THEIR SOVEREIGN CAPACITY, ELECTED HIM TO THE POSITION OF
SENATOR OF THE REPUBLIC PROVIDES THE PROPER LEGAL
JUSTIFICATION TO ALLOW HIM TO WORK AND SERVE HIS MANDATE AS
A SENATOR;
- AND IV.
MOREOVER, THERE ARE ENOUGH PRECEDENTS TO ALLOW LIBERAL
TREATMENT OF DETENTION PRISONERS WHO ARE HELD WITHOUT
BAIL AS IN THE CASE OF FORMER PRESIDENT JOSEPH "ERAP"
ESTRADA AND FORMER ARMM GOV. NUR MISUARI. 13 HSaCcE
The petition is bereft of merit.
In attempting to strike a distinction between his case and that of Jalosjos,
petitioner chiefly points out that former Rep. Romeo Jalosjos (Jalosjos) was already

convicted, albeit his conviction was pending appeal, when he filed a motion
similar to petitioner's Omnibus Motion, whereas he (petitioner) is a mere
detention prisoner. He asserts that he continues to enjoy civil and political rights
since the presumption of innocence is still in his favor.
Further, petitioner illustrates that Jalosjos was charged with crimes involving
moral turpitude, i.e., two counts of statutory rape and six counts of acts of
lasciviousness, whereas he is indicted for coup d'etat which is regarded as a
"political offense".
Furthermore, petitioner justifies in his favor the presence of noble causes in
expressing legitimate grievances against the rampant and institutionalized
practice of graft and corruption in the AFP. CASaEc
In sum, petitioner's first ground posits that there is a world of difference between
his case and that of Jalosjos respecting the type of offense involved, the stage of
filing of the motion, and other circumstances which demonstrate the
inapplicability of Jalosjos. 14
A plain reading of Jalosjos suggests otherwise, however.
The distinctions cited by petitioner were not elemental in the pronouncement
in Jalosjos that election to Congress is not a reasonable classification in criminal
law enforcement as the functions and duties of the office are not substantial
distinctions which lift one from the class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom
and restricted in liberty of movement. 15

It cannot be gainsaid that a person charged with a crime is taken into custody for
purposes of the administration of justice. No less than the Constitution provides:
All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable
by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before
conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on
recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be
impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required. 16 (Underscoring
supplied) ASTDCH
The Rules also state that no person charged with a capital offense, 17 or an
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted
to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal
action. 18

That the cited provisions apply equally to rape and coup d'etat cases, both being
punishable by reclusion perpetua, 19 is beyond cavil. Within the class of offenses
covered by the stated range of imposable penalties, there is clearly no distinction
as to the political complexion of or moral turpitude involved in the crime charged.
In the present case, it is uncontroverted that petitioner's application for bail and
for release on recognizance was denied. 20 The determination that the evidence
of guilt is strong, whether ascertained in a hearing of an application for bail 21 or
imported from a trial court's judgment of conviction, 22 justifies the detention of
an accused as a valid curtailment of his right to provisional liberty. This
accentuates the proviso that the denial of the right to bail in such cases is
"regardless of the stage of the criminal action." Such justification for confinement
with its underlying rationale of public self-defense 23 applies equally to detention
prisoners like petitioner or convicted prisoners-appellants like Jalosjos. TEDaAc
As the Court observed in Alejano v. Cabuay, 24 it is impractical to draw a line
between convicted prisoners and pre-trial detainees for the purpose of
maintaining jail security; and while pre-trial detainees do not forfeit their
constitutional rights upon confinement, the fact of their detention makes their
rights more limited than those of the public.
The Court was more emphatic in People v. Hon. Maceda: 25
As a matter of law, when a person indicted for an offense is arrested,
he is deemed placed under the custody of the law. He is placed in
actual restraint of liberty in jail so that he may be bound to answer for
the commission of the offense. He must be detained in jail during the
pendency of the case against him, unless he is authorized by the
court to be released on bail or on recognizance. Let it be stressed
that all prisoners whether under preventive detention or serving final
sentence can not practice their profession nor engage in any business
or occupation, or hold office, elective or appointive, while in
detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and
detention. 26 (Underscoring supplied) ADaEIH
These inherent limitations, however, must be taken into account only to the
extent that confinement restrains the power of locomotion or actual physical
movement. It bears noting that in Jalosjos, which was decided en banc one month
after Maceda, the Court recognized that the accused could somehow accomplish
legislative results.27

The trial court thus correctly concluded that the presumption of innocence does
not carry with it the full enjoyment of civil and political rights.
Petitioner is similarly situated with Jalosjos with respect to the application of the
presumption of innocence during the period material to the resolution of their
respective motions. The Court in Jalosjos did not mention that the presumption of
innocence no longer operates in favor of the accused pending the review on
appeal of the judgment of conviction. The rule stands that until a promulgation of
final conviction is made, the constitutional mandate of presumption of innocence
prevails. 28
In addition to the inherent restraints, the Court notes that petitioner neither
denied nor disputed his agreeing to a consensus with the prosecution that media
access to him should cease after his proclamation by the Commission on
Elections. 29 aSCHcA
Petitioner goes on to allege that unlike Jalosjos who attempted to evade trial, he is
not a flight risk since he voluntarily surrendered to the proper authorities and such
can be proven by the numerous times he was allowed to travel outside his place
of detention.
Subsequent events reveal the contrary, however. The assailed Orders augured
well when on November 29, 2007 petitioner went past security detail for some
reason and proceeded from the courtroom to a posh hotel to issue certain
statements. The account, dubbed this time as the "Manila Pen
Incident", 30 proves that petitioner's argument bites the dust. The risk that he
would escape ceased to be neither remote nor nil as, in fact, the cause for
foreboding became real.
Moreover, circumstances indicating probability of flight find relevance as a factor
in ascertaining the reasonable amount of bail and in canceling a discretionary
grant of bail. 31 In cases involving non-bailable offenses, what is controlling is the
determination of whether the evidence of guilt is strong. Once it is established
that it is so, bail shall be denied as it is neither a matter of right nor of
discretion. 32 HTIEaS
Petitioner cannot find solace in Montano v. Ocampo 33 to buttress his plea for
leeway because unlike petitioner, the therein petitioner, then Senator Justiniano
Montano, who was charged with multiple murder and multiple frustrated
murder, 34 was able to rebut the strong evidence for the prosecution. Notatu
dignum is this Court's pronouncement therein that "if denial of bail is authorized
in capital cases, it is only on the theory that the proof being strong, the defendant

would flee, if he has the opportunity, rather than face the verdict of the
jury." 35 At the time Montano was indicted, when only capital offenses were nonbailable where evidence of guilt is strong, 36 the Court noted the obvious reason
that "one who faces a probable death sentence has a particularly strong
temptation to flee." 37 Petitioner's petition for bail having earlier been denied, he
cannot rely on Montano to reiterate his requests which are akin to bailing him out.
Second, petitioner posits that, contrary to the trial court's findings, Esperon did
not overrule Obea's recommendation to allow him to attend Senate sessions.
Petitioner cites the Comment 38 of Obea that he interposed no objection to such
request but recommended that he be transported by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms
with adequate Senate security. And petitioner faults the trial court for deeming
that Esperon, despite professing non-obstruction to the performance of
petitioner's duties, flatly rejected all his requests, when what Esperon only
disallowed was the setting up of a political office inside a military installation
owing to AFP's a political nature. 39 HAaDTE
The effective management of the detention facility has been recognized as a valid
objective that may justify the imposition of conditions and restrictions of pre-trial
detention. 40 The officer with custodial responsibility over a detainee may
undertake such reasonable measures as may be necessary to secure the safety
and prevent the escape of the detainee. 41 Nevertheless, while the comments of
the detention officers provide guidance on security concerns, they are not binding
on the trial court in the same manner that pleadings are not impositions upon a
court.
Third, petitioner posits that his election provides the legal justification to allow
him to serve his mandate, after the people, in their sovereign capacity, elected
him as Senator. He argues that denying his Omnibus Motion is tantamount to
removing him from office, depriving the people of proper representation, denying
the people's will, repudiating the people's choice, and overruling the mandate of
the people.
Petitioner's contention hinges on the doctrine in administrative law that "a public
official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed during
a priorterm, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the
officer's previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him
therefor." 42 aCSDIc
The assertion is unavailing. The case against petitioner is not administrative in
nature. And there is no "prior term" to speak of. In a plethora of cases, 43 the
Court categorically held that the doctrine of condonation does not apply to

criminal cases. Election, or more precisely, re-election to office, does not


obliterate a criminal charge. Petitioner's electoral victory only signifies pertinently
that when the voters elected him to the Senate, "they did so with full awareness
of the limitations on his freedom of action [and] . . . with the knowledge that he
could achieve only such legislative results which he could accomplish within the
confines of prison." 44
In once more debunking the disenfranchisement argument, 45 it is opportune to
wipe out the lingering misimpression that the call of duty conferred by the voice
of the people is louder than the litany of lawful restraints articulated in the
Constitution and echoed by jurisprudence. The apparent discord may be
harmonized by the overarching tenet that the mandate of the people yields to the
Constitution which the people themselves ordained to govern all under the rule of
law.
The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public
officers has never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison.
The duties imposed by the "mandate of the people" are multifarious.
The accused-appellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest
in the hierarchy of government. The accused-appellant is only one of
250 members of the House of Representatives, not to mention the 24
members of the Senate, charged with the duties of legislation.
Congress continues to function well in the physical absence of one or
a few of its members. . . . Never has the call of a particular duty lifted
a prisoner into a different classification from those others who are
validly restrained by law. 46 (Underscoring supplied) aECTcA

Lastly, petitioner pleads for the same liberal treatment accorded certain detention
prisoners who have also been charged with non-bailable offenses, like former
President Joseph Estrada and former Governor Nur Misuari who were allowed to
attend "social functions." Finding no rhyme and reason in the denial of the more
serious request to perform the duties of a Senator, petitioner harps on an alleged
violation of the equal protection clause.
In arguing against maintaining double standards in the treatment of detention
prisoners, petitioner expressly admits that he intentionally did not seek
preferential treatment in the form of being placed under Senate custody or house
arrest, 47 yet he at the same time, gripes about the granting of house arrest to
others.

Emergency or compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are allowed to all


prisoners, at the discretion of the authorities or upon court orders. 48 That this
discretion was gravely abused, petitioner failed to establish. In fact, the trial court
previously allowed petitioner to register as a voter in December 2006, file his
certificate of candidacy in February 2007, cast his vote on May 14, 2007, be
proclaimed as senator-elect, and take his oath of office 49 on June 29, 2007. In a
seeming attempt to bind or twist the hands of the trial court lest it be accused of
taking a complete turn-around, 50 petitioner largely banks on these prior grants
to him and insists on unending concessions and blanket authorizations. CSEHcT
Petitioner's position fails. On the generality and permanence of his requests alone,
petitioner's case fails to compare with the species of allowable
leaves. Jaloslossuccinctly expounds:
. . . Allowing accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and
committee meetings for five (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 accusedappellant's status to that of a special class, it also would be a
mockery of the purposes of the correction system. 51
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, C.J., Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona,
Azcuna, Tinga, Chico-Nazario, Velasco, Jr., Nachura, Reyes, Leonardo-de
Castro and Brion, JJ.,concur.

150. Zandueta v Dela Costa


EN BANC
[G.R. No. 46267. November 28, 1938.]
FRANCISCO ZANDUETA, petitioner, vs. SIXTO DE LA
COSTA, respondent.
Vicente J. Francisco and Francisco Zandueta, for petitioner.
Solicitor-General Ozaeta and Ramon Diokno, for respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. JUDGES; ACCEPTANCE OF APPOINTMENT FOR A NEW JUDICIAL
DISTRICT; PETITIONER ESTOPPED TO QUESTION LEGALITY OF COMMONWEALTH
ACT No. 145 UNDER WHICH NEW APPOINTMENT WAS MADE. When a judge of
first instance, presiding over a branch of a Court of First Instance of a judicial
district by virtue of a legal and valid appointment, accepts another
appointment to preside over the same branch of the same Court of First
Instance, in addition to another court of the same category, both of which
belong to a new judicial district formed by the addition of another Court of First
Instance to the old one, enters into the discharge of the functions of his new
office and receives the corresponding salary, he abandons his old office and
cannot claim to be entitled to repossess it or question the constitutionality of
the law by virtue of which his new appointment has been issued; and, said new
appointment having been disapproved by the Commission on Appointments of
the National Assembly, neither can he claim to continue occupying the office
conferred upon him by said new appointment, havingipso jure ceased in the
discharge of the functions thereof.

DECISION

VILLA-REAL, J p:

This is a quo warranto proceeding instituted by the Honorable Francisco


Zandueta against the Honorable Sixto de la Costa to obtain from this court a
judgment declaring the respondent to be illegally occupying the office of Judge
of the Fifth Branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Fourth Judicial
District, ousting him from said office, and holding that the petitioner is entitled
to continue occupying the office in question by placing him in possession
thereof, with costs to said respondent.
Prior to the promulgation of Commonwealth Act No. 145, the petitioner,
the Honorable Francisco Zandueta was discharging the office of judge of first
instance, Ninth Judicial District, comprising solely the City of Manila, and was
presiding over the Fifth Branch of the Court of First Instance of said city, by
virtue of an ad interimappointment issued by the President of the Philippines in
his favor on June 2, 1936, and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments
of the National Assembly on September 8th of the same year.
On November 7, 1936, the date on which Commonwealth Act No. 145,
otherwise known as the Judicial Reorganization Law, took effect, the petitioner
received from the President of the Commonwealth and new ad
interim appointment as judge of first instance, this time of the Fourth Judicial
District, with authority to preside over the Courts of First Instance of Manila and
Palawan, issued in accordance with said Act. As the National Assembly
adjourned on November 20, 1937, without its Commission on Appointments'
having acted on said ad interim appointment, another ad interim appointment
to the same office was issued in favor of said petitioner, pursuant to which he
took a new oath on November 22, 1937, before discharging the duties thereof.
After his appointment and qualification as judge of first instance of the Fourth
Judicial District, the petitioner, acting as executive judge, performed several
executive acts, some of which consist in the designation of the assistant clerk
of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Ladislao Pasicolan, as administrative
officer, under the orders of the petitioner, as executive judge of said court, to
take charge of all matters pertaining to the Court of First Instance of Palawan,
which are handled by said executive judge in Manila (Exhibit 2); in the
appointment of attorney Rufo M. San Juan as notary public for the Province of
Palawan, said appointment to expire on December 31, 1938 (Exhibit 3); in
having authorized justice of the peace Iigo R. Pea to defend a criminal case
the hearing of which had begun during the past sessions in Coron, Palawan
(Exhibit 5); in having granted a leave of absence of ten days to justice of the
peace Abordo (of Puerto Princesa), Palawan (Exhbit 8); and in having granted a

leave of absence of thirteen days to the justice of the peace of Coron, Palawan
(Exhibit 9).
On May 19, 1938, the Commission on Appointments of the National
Assembly disapproved the aforesaid ad interim appointment of said petitioner,
who was advised thereof by the Secretary of Justice on the 20th of said month
and year.
On August 1, 1938, the President of the Philippines appointed the herein
respondent, Honorable Sixto de la Costa, judge of first instance of the Fourth
Judicial District, with authority to preside over the Fifty Branch of the Court of
First Instance of Manila and the Court of First Instance of Palawan, and his
appointment was approved by the Commission on Appointments of the
National Assembly. By virtue of said appointment, the respondent took the
necessary oath and assumed office. On the same date, August 1, 1938, the
President of the Philippines, pursuant to said appointment of judge of first
instance of the Fourth Judicial District and after confirmation thereof, issued the
corresponding final appointment in favor of the respondent, Honorable Sixto de
la Costa (Exhibit 11).
The respondent, in answer to the petition, admits some of the facts
alleged therein and denies the rest, and alleges, as one of his special defenses,
that the petitioner is estopped from attacking the constitutionality of
Commonwealth Act No. 145, for having accepted his new appointment as judge
of first instance of the Fourth Judicial District, issued by virtue thereof, to
preside over the Courts of First Instance of Manila and Palawan, and for having
taken the necessary oath, entering into the discharge of the functions of his
office and performing judicial as well as administrative acts.
The defense of estoppel being procedural, we shall discuss it first to
determine whether or not the petitioner may proceed to question the
constitutionality of the law by virtue of which the new ad interim appointment
of judge of first instance of the Fourth Judicial District, to preside over the Court
of First Instance of Manila and Palawan, was issued in his favor.
As stated beforehand, while the petitioner Honorable Francisco Zandueta
was presiding over the Fifth Branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila,
Ninth Judicial District, by virtue of an appointment issued to him on June 2,
1936, and confirmed by the National Assembly on September 8th of the same
year, he received, on November 7, 1936, a new ad interim appointment, issued
in accordance with the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 145, which took
effect on the same date, to discharge the office of judge of first instance,

Fourth Judicial District, with authority of preside over the Fifth Branch of the
Court of First Instance of Manila and the Court of First Instance of Palawan,
upon which he immediately took the corresponding oath and entered into the
discharge of his office. Under his former appointment of June 2, 1936, the
petitioner had authority to preside solely over the Fifth Branch of the Court of
First Instance of Manila but not over the Court of First Instance of Palawan,
while, according to his new appointment of November 7, 1936, he had
authority to preside not only over said Fifth Branch of said Court of First
Instance of Manila but also over the Court of First Instance of Palawan. It should
be noted that the territory over which the petitioner could exercise and did
exercise jurisdiction by virtue of his last appointment is wider than that over
which he could exercise and did exercise jurisdiction by virtue of his last
appointment is wider than that over which he could exercise and did exercise
jurisdiction by virtue of the former. Hence, there is incompatibility between the
two appointments and, consequently, in the discharge of the office conferred
by each of them, resulting in the absorption of the former by the latter. In
accepting this appointment and qualifying for the exercise of the functions of
the office conferred by it, by taking the necessary oath, and in discharging the
same, disposing of both judicial and administrative cases corresponding to the
Courts of First Instance of Manila and of Palawan, the petitioner abandoned his
appointment of June 22, 1936, and ceased in the exercised of the functions of
the office occupied by him by virtue thereof.
The rule of equity, sanctioned by jurisprudence, is that when a public
official voluntarily accepts an appointment to an office newly created or
reorganized by a law, which new office is incompatible with the one formerly
occupied by him , qualifies for the discharge of the functions thereof by
taking the necessary oath, and enters into the performance of his duties by
executing acts inherent in said newly created or reorganized office and
receiving the corresponding salary, he will be considered to have abandoned
the office he was occupying by virtue of his former appointment (46 Corpus
Juris, 947, sec. 55), and he can not question the constitutionality of the law by
virtue of which he was last appointed (11 American Jurisprudence, 166, par.
121; id., 767, par. 123). He is excepted from said rule only when his
nonacceptance of the new appointment may affect public interest or when he
is compelled to accept it by reason of legal exigencies (11 American
Jurisprudence, 770, par. 124).
In the case under consideration, the petitioner was free to accept or not
the ad interim appointment issued by the President of the Commonwealth Act

No. 145. Nothing or nobody compelled him to do so. While the office of judge of
first instance is of public interest, being one of the means employed by the
Government to carry out one of its purposes, which is the administration of
justice, considering the organization of the courts of justice in the Philippines
and the creation of the positions of judges-at-large or substitutes, the
temporary disability of a judge may be immediately remedied without
detriment to the smooth running of the judicial machinery. If the petitioner
believed, as he now seems to believe, that Commonwealth Act No. 145 is
unconstitutional, he should have refused to accept the appointment offered
him or, at least, he should have accepted it with reservation, had he believed
that this duty of obedience to the laws compelled him to do so, and afterwards
resort to the power entrusted with the final determination of the question
whether a law is unconstitutional or not. The petitioner, being aware of his
constitutional and legal rights and obligations, by implied order of the law (art.
2, Civil Code), accepted the office of judge of first instance of the Fourth Judicial
District, with authority to preside over the Fifth Branch of the Court of First
Instance of Manila and the Court of First Instance of Palawan and entered into
the performance of the duties inherent therein, after taking the necessary oath,
thereby acting with full knowledge that if he voluntarily accepted the office to
which he was appointed, he would later be estopped from questioning the
validity of said appointment was issued, is unconstitutional. He likewise knew,
or at least he should know, that his ad interim appointment was subject to the
approval of the Commission on Appointments of the National Assembly and
that if said commission were disapprove the same, it would become ineffective
and he would cease discharging the office.
It appears from all the foregoing that the petitioner having voluntarily
abandoned his appointment of June 2, 1936, and, consequently, the office of
judge of first instance of Manila, Ninth Judicial District, whose Fifth Branch was
being presided over by him by virtue thereof, upon accepting the ad
interim appointment of November 7, 1936, to the office of judge of first
instance of the Fourth Judicial District, with authority to preside over said Fifth
Branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila together with the Court of First
Instance of Palawan, and entering into the discharge of the functions of said
office, he can not now claim to be entitled to repossess the office occupied by
him under his said appointment of June 2, 1936 (22 R. C. L., 560, par. 264), or
question the constitutionality of Commonwealth Act No. 145, by virtue of which
he has been appointed judge of first instance of the Fourth Judicial District, with

authority to preside over the Fifth Branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila
and the Court of First Instance of Palawan, which appointment was disapproved
by the Commission on Appointments of the National Assembly.
Having arrived at the conclusion that the petitioner is estopped by his
own act from proceeding to question the constitutionality of Commonwealth
Act No. 145, by virtue of which he was appointed, by accepting said
appointment and entering into the performance of the duties appertaining to
the office conferred therein, and pursuant to the well settled doctrine
established by both American and Philippine jurisprudence relative to the
consideration of constitutional questions, this court deems it unnecessary to
decide the questions on constitutional law raised in the petition (Cruz vs.
Youngberg, 56 Phil., 234; Walter E. Olsen & Co. vs. Aldanese and Trinidad, 43
Phil., 259; Yangco vs. Board of Public Utility Commissioners, 36 Phil., 116;
Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Municipality of Binagonan, 34 Phil.,
518; Mc Girr vs. Hamilton and Abreu, 30 Phil., 563; 12 Corpus Juris, 699, section
40; id., 780, section 212).
For the foregoing considerations, we are of the opinion and so hold that
when a judge of first instance, presiding over a branch of a Court of First
Instance of a judicial district by virtue of a legal and valid appointment, accepts
another appointment to preside over the same branch of the same Court of
First Instance, in addition of another Court of First Instance to the old one,
enters into the discharge of the functions of his new office and receives the
corresponding salary, he abandons his old office and cannot claim to be
entitled to repossess it or question the constitutionality of the law by virtue of
which his new appointment has been issued; and, said new appointment
having been disapproved by the Commission on Appointments of the National
Assembly, neither can he claim to continue occupying the office conferred upon
him by said new appointment, having ipso jure ceased in the discharge of the
functions thereof.
Wherefore, the petition for quo warranto instituted is denied and the
same is dismissed, with costs to the petitioner. So ordered.
Avancea, C.J., Abad Santos, Imperial and Concepcion, JJ., concur.

151. Flores v Drilon


EN BANC
[G.R. No. 104732. June 22, 1993.]
ROBERTO A. FLORES, DANIEL Y. FIGUEROA, ROGELIO T. PALO,
DOMINGO A. JADLOC, CARLITO T. CRUZ and MANUEL P.
REYES, petitioners, vs. HON. FRANKLIN M. DRILON, Executive
Secretary, and RICHARD J. GORDON, respondents.

Isagani M. Jungco, Valeriano S. Peralta, Miguel Famularcano, Jr. and Virgilio


E. Acierto for petitioners.

DECISION

BELLOSILLO, J p:
The constitutionality of Sec. 13, par. (d), of R.A. 7227, 1 otherwise known as the
"Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992," under which respondent Mayor
Richard J. Gordon of Olongapo City was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SMBA), is challenged in this
original petition with prayer for prohibition, preliminary injunction and temporary
restraining order "to prevent useless and unnecessary expenditures of public
funds by way of salaries and other operational expenses attached to the office . . .
." 2 Paragraph (d) reads

"(d) Chairman/Administrator

The

President

shall

appoint

professional manager as administrator of the Subic Authority with a


compensation to be determined by the Board subject to the approval
of the Secretary of Budget, who shall be the ex officio chairman of the
Board and who shall serve as the chief executive officer of the Subic
Authority: Provided, however, That for the first year of its operations
from the effectivity of this Act, the mayor of the City of Olongapo
shall be appointed as the chairman and chief executive officer of the
Subic Authority" (emphasis supplied).
Petitioners, who claim to be taxpayers, employees of the U.S. Facility at Subic,
Zambales, and officers and members of the Filipino Civilian Employees Association
in U.S. Facilities in the Philippines, maintain that the proviso in par. (d) of Sec. 13
herein-above quoted in italics infringes on the following constitutional and
statutory provisions: (a) Sec. 7, first par., Art. IX-B, of the Constitution, which
states that "[n]o elective official shall be eligible for appointment or designation in
any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure," 3 because the City
Mayor of Olongapo City is an elective official and the subject posts are public
offices; (b) Sec. 16, Art. VII, of the Constitution, which provides that "[t]he
President shall . . . . appoint all other officers of the Government whose
appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be
authorized by law to appoint", 4 since it was Congress through the questioned
proviso and not the President who appointed the Mayor to the subject
posts; 5 and, (c) Sec. 261, par. (g), of the Omnibus Election Code, which says:

"Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. The following shall be guilty of an


election offense: . . . . (g) Appointment of new employees, creation of
new position, promotion, or giving salary increases. During the
period of forty-five days before a regular election and thirty days
before a special election, (1) any head, official or appointing officer of
a government office, agency or instrumentality, whether national or
local, including government-owned or controlled corporations, who
appoints or hires any new employee, whether provisional, temporary
or casual, or creates and fills any new position, except upon prior
authority of the Commission. The Commission shall not grant the
authority sought unless it is satisfied that the position to be filled is
essential to the proper functioning of the office or agency concerned,
and that the position shall not be filled in a manner that may
influence the election. As an exception to the foregoing provisions, a
new employee may be appointed in case of urgent need: Provided,
however, That notice of the appointment shall be given to the
Commission within three days from the date of the appointment. Any
appointment or hiring in violation of this provision shall be null and
void. (2) Any government official who promotes, or gives any increase
of salary or remuneration or privilege to any government official or
employee,

including

corporations . . . ."

those in

government-owned

or controlled

for the reason that the appointment of respondent Gordon to the subject posts
made by respondent Executive Secretary on 3 April 1992 was within the
prohibited 45-day period prior to the 11 May 1992 Elections.
The principal question is whether the proviso in Sec. 13, par. (d), of R.A. 7227
which states, "Provided, however, That for the first year of its operations from the
effectivity of this Act, the mayor of the City of Olongapo shall be appointed as the
chairman and chief executive officer of the Subic Authority," violates the
constitutional proscription against appointment or designation of elective officials
to other government posts.
In full, Sec. 7 of Art. IX-B of the Constitution provides:
"No elective official shall be eligible for appointment or designation in
any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure.
"Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his
position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or
employment in the Government or any subdivision, agency or
instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled
corporations or their subsidiaries."
The section expresses the policy against the concentration of several public
positions in one person, so that a public officer or employee may serve full-time
with dedication and thus be efficient in the delivery of public services. It is an
affirmation that a public office is a full-time job. Hence, a public officer or
employee, like the head of an executive department described in Civil Liberties

Union v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 83896, and Anti-Graft League of the
Philippines, Inc. v. Philip Ella C. Juico, as Secretary of Agrarian Reform, G.R. No.
83815, 6 ". . . . should be allowed to attend to his duties and responsibilities
without the distraction of other governmental duties or employment. He should be
precluded from dissipating his efforts, attention and energy among too many
positions

of

responsibility,

which

may

result

in

haphazardness

and

inefficiency . . . ."
Particularly as regards the first paragraph of Sec. 7, "(t)he basic idea really is to
prevent a situation where a local elective official will work for his appointment in
an executive position in government, and thus neglect his constituents . . . ." 7
In the case before us, the subject proviso directs the President to appoint an
elective official, i.e., the Mayor of Olongapo City, to other government posts (as
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of SBMA). Since this is precisely
what the constitutional proscription seeks to prevent, it needs no stretching of the
imagination to conclude that the proviso contravenes Sec. 7, first part., Art. IX-B,
of the Constitution. Here, the fact that the expertise of an elective official may be
most beneficial to the higher interest of the body politic is of no moment.
It is argued that Sec. 94 of the Local Government Code (LGC) permits the
appointment of a local elective official to another post if so allowed by law or by
the primary functions of his office. 8 But, the contention is fallacious. Section 94
of the LGC is not determinative of the constitutionality of Sec. 13, par. (d), of R.A.
7227, for no legislative act can prevail over the fundamental law of the land.
Moreover, since the constitutionality of Sec. 94 of LGC is not the issue here nor is

that section sought to be declared unconstitutional, we need not rule on its


validity. Neither can we invoke a practice otherwise unconstitutional as authority
for its validity. cdasia
In any case, the view that an elective official may be appointed to another post if
allowed by law or by the primary functions of his office, ignores the clear-out
difference in the wording of the two (2) paragraphs of Sec. 7, Art. IX-B, of
the Constitution. While the second paragraph authorizes holding of multiple
offices by anappointive official when allowed by law or by the primary functions of
his position, the first paragraph appears to be more stringent by not providing any
exception to the rule against appointment or designation of an elective official to
other

government

posts,

except

as

are

particularly

recognized

in

the Constitution itself, e.g., the President as head of the economic and planning
agency;

the

Cabinet; 10 and,

Vice-President,
a

member

who
of

may

be

Congress

appointed

who

may

Member
be

of

the

designated ex

officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council. 11


The distinction between the first and second paragraphs of Sec. 7, Art. IX-B, was
not accidental when drawn, and not without reason. It was purposely sought by
the drafters of the Constitution as shown in their deliberation, thus
"MR. MONSOD.
In other words, what the Commissioner is saying, Mr. Presiding
Officer, is that the prohibition is more strict with respect to

elective officials, because in the case of appointive officials,


there may be a law that will allow them to hold other positions.
"MR. FOZ.
Yes. I suggest we make that difference, because in the case of
appointive officials, there will be certain situations where the
law should allow them to hold some other positions." 12
The distinction being clear, the exemption allowed to appointive officials in the
second paragraph cannot be extended to elective officials who are governed by
the first paragraph.
It is further argued that the SBMA posts are merely ex officio to the position of
Mayor of Olongapo City, hence, an excepted circumstance, citing Civil Liberties
Union v.Executive Secretary, 13 where we stated that the prohibition against the
holding of any other office or employment by the President, Vice-President,
Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants during their tenure, as
provided in Sec. 13, Art. VII, of the Constitution, does not comprehend additional
duties and functionsrequired by the primary functions of the officials concerned,
who are to perform them in an ex officio capacity as provided by law, without
receiving any additional compensation therefor.

This argument is apparently based on a wrong premise. Congress did not


contemplate making the subject SBMA posts as ex officio or automatically
attached to the Office of the Mayor of Olongapo City without need of appointment.

The phrase "shall be appointed" unquestionably shows the intent to make the
SBMA posts appointive and not merely adjunct to the post of Mayor of Olongapo
City. Had it been the legislative intent to make the subject positions ex officio,
Congress would have, at least, avoided the word "appointed" and, instead, "ex
officio" would have been used. 14
Even in the Senate deliberations, the Senators were fully aware that subject
proviso may contravene Sec. 7, first par., Art. IX-B, but they nevertheless passed
the bill and decided to have the controversy resolved by the courts. Indeed, the
Senators would not have been concerned with the effects of Sec. 7, first par., had
they considered the SBMA posts as ex officio. cda
Cognizant of the complication that may arise from the way the subject proviso
was stated, Senator Rene Saguisag remarked that "if the Conference Committee
just said 'the Mayor shall be the Chairman' then that should foreclose the issue. It
is a legislative choice." 15 The Senator took a view that the constitutional
proscription against appointment of elective officials may have been sidestepped
if Congress attached the SBMA posts to the Mayor of Olongapo City instead of
directing the President to appoint him to the post. Without passing upon this view
of Senator Saguisag, it suffices to state that Congress intended the posts to be
appointive, thus nibbling in the bud the argument that they are ex officio.
The analogy with the position of Chairman of the Metro Manila Authority made by
respondents cannot be applied to uphold the constitutionality of the challenged
proviso since it is not put in issue in the present case. In the same vein, the
argument that if no elective official may be appointed or designated to another

post then Sec. 8, Art. IX-B, of the Constitution allowing him to receive double
compensation 16 would be useless, is non sequitur since Sec. 8 does not affect
the constitutionality of the subject proviso. In any case, the Vice-President for
example, an elective official who may be appointed to a cabinet post under Sec.
3, Art. VII, may receive the compensation attached to the cabinet position if
specifically authorized by law.
Petitioners also assail the legislative encroachment on the appointing authority of
the President. Section 13, par. (d), itself vests in the President the power to
appoint the Chairman of the Board and the Chief Executive Officer of SBMA,
although he really has no choice under the law but to appoint the Mayor of
Olongapo City.
As may be defined, an "appointment" is "[t]he designation of a person, by the
person or persons having authority therefor, to discharge the duties of some office
or trust," 17 or "[t]he selection or designation of a person, by the person or
persons having authority therefor, to fill an office or public function and discharge
the duties of the same." 18 In his treatise, Philippine Political Law, 19 Senior
Associate Justice Isagani A. Cruz defines appointment as "the selection, by the
authority vested with the power, of an individual who is to exercise the functions
of a given office."
Considering that appointment calls for a selection, the appointing power
necessarily exercises a discretion. According to Woodbury, J., 20 "the choice of a
person to fill an office constitutes the essence of his appointment," 21 and Mr.
Justice Malcolm adds that an "[a]pointment to office is intrinsically an executive

act involving the exercise of discretion." 22 In Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila


v. Intermediate Appellate Court 23 we held:
The power to appoint is, in essence, discretionary. The appointing
power has the right of choice which he may exercise freely according
to his judgment, deciding for himself who is best qualified among
those who have the necessary qualifications and eligibilities. It is a
prerogative of the appointing power . . . ."
Indeed, the power of choice is the heart of the power to appoint. Appointment
involves an exercise of discretion of whom to appoint; it is not a ministerial act
of issuing appointment papers to the appointee. In other words, the choice of
the appointee is a fundamental component of the appointing power.
Hence, when Congress clothes the President with the power to appoint an officer,
it (Congress) cannot at the same time limit the choice of the President to only one
candidate. Once the power of appointment is conferred on the President, such
conferment necessarily carries the discretion of whom to appoint. Even on the
pretext of prescribing the qualifications of the officer, Congress may not abuse
such power as to divest the appointing authority, directly or indirectly, of his
discretion to pick his own choice. Consequently, when the qualifications
prescribed by Congress can only be met by one individual, such enactment
effectively eliminates the discretion of the appointing power to choose and
constitutes an irregular restriction on the power of appointment. 24
In the case at bar, while Congress willed that the subject posts be filled with a
presidential appointee for the first year of its operations from the effectivity of

R.A. 7227, the proviso nevertheless limits the appointing authority to only one
eligible, i.e., the incumbent Mayor of Olongapo City. Since only one can qualify for
the posts in question, the President is precluded from exercising his discretion to
choose whom to appoint. Such supposed power of appointment, sans the
essential element of choice, is no power at all and goes against the very nature
itself of appointment. cdphil
While it may be viewed that the proviso merely sets the qualifications of the
officer during the first year of operations of SBMA, i.e., he must be the Mayor of
Olongapo City, it is manifestly an abuse of congressional authority to prescribe
qualifications where only one, and no other, can qualify. Accordingly, while the
conferment of the appointing power on the President is a perfectly valid legislative
act, the proviso limiting his choice to one is certainly an encroachment on his
prerogative.
Since the ineligibility of an elective official for appointment remains all throughout
his tenure or during his incumbency, he may however resign first from his elective
post to cast off the constitutionally-attached disqualification before he may be
considered fit for appointment. The deliberation in the Constitutional Commission
is enlightening:
"MR. DAVIDE.
On Section 4, page 3, line 8, I propose the substitution of the word
"term" with TENURE.
"MR. FOZ.

The effect of the proposed amendment is to make possible for one to


resign from his position.
"MR. DAVIDE.
Yes, we should allow that prerogative.
"MR. FOZ.
Resign from his position to accept an executive position.
"MR. DAVIDE.
Besides, it may turn out in a given case that because of, say,
incapacity, he may leave the service, but if he is prohibited from
being appointed within the term for which he was elected, we
may be depriving the government of the needed expertise of an
individual." 25
Consequently, as long as he is an incumbent, an elective official remains ineligible
for appointment to another public office. LLpr
Where, as in the case of respondent Gordon, an incumbent elective official was,
notwithstanding his ineligibility, appointed to other government posts, he does
not automatically forfeit his elective office nor remove his ineligibility imposed by
the Constitution. On the contrary, since an incumbent elective official is not
eligible to the appointive position, his appointment or designation thereto cannot
be valid in view of his disqualification or lack of eligibility. This provision should
not be confused with Sec. 13, Art. VI, of the Constitution where "(n)o Senator or

Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or


employment in the Government . . . during his term without forfeiting his
seat . . . ." The difference between the two provisions is significant in the sense
that incumbent national legislators lose their elective posts only after they have
been appointed to another government office, while other incumbent elective
officials must first resign their posts before they can be appointed, thus running
the risk of losing the elective post as well as not being appointed to the other
post. It is therefore clear that ineligibility is not directly related with forfeiture of
office. ". . . . The effect is quite different where it is expressly provided by law that
a person holding one office shall be ineligible to another. Such a provision is held
to incapacitate the incumbent of an office from accepting or holding a second
office (State ex rel. Van Antwerp v Hogan, 283 Ala. 445, 218 So 2d 258;
McWilliams v Neal, 130 Ga 733, 61 SE 721) and to render his election or
appointment to the latter office void (State ex rel. Childs v Sutton, 63 Minn 147,
65 NW 262. Annotation: 40 ALR 945) or voidable (Baskin v State, 107 Okla 272,
232 P 388, 40 ALR 941)." 26 "Where the constitution or statutes declare that
persons holding one office shall be ineligible for election or appointment to
another office, either generally or of a certain kind, the prohibition has been held
to incapacitate the incumbent of the first office to hold the second so that any
attempt to hold the second is void (Ala. State ex rel. Van Antwerp v. Hogan, 218
So 2d 258, 283 Ala 445)." 27
As incumbent elective official, respondent Gordon is ineligible for appointment to
the position of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of SBMA; hence,

his

appointment

thereto

pursuant

to

legislative act

that

contravenes

the Constitution cannot be sustained. He however remains Mayor of Olongapo


City, and his acts as SBMA official are not necessarily null and void; he may be
considered a de facto officer, "one whose acts, though not those of a lawful
officer, the law, upon principles of policy and justice, will hold valid so far as they
involve the interest of the public and third persons, where the duties of the office
were exercised . . . . under color of a known election or appointment, void
because the officer was not eligible, or because there was a want of power in the
electing or appointing body, or by reason of some defect or irregularity in its
exercise, such ineligibility, want of power or defect being unknown to the public . .
. . [or] under color of an election, or appointment, by or pursuant to a public
unconstitutional law, before the same is adjudged to be such (State vs. Carroll, 38
Conn., 499; Wilcox vs. Smith, 5 Wendell [N.Y.], 231; 21 Am. Dec., 213; Sheehan's
Case, 122 Mass, 445, 23 Am. Rep., 323)." 28

Conformably with our ruling in Civil Liberties Union, any and all per diems,
allowances and other emoluments which may have been received by respondent
Gordon pursuant to his appointment may be retained by him.
The illegality of his appointment to the SBMA posts being now evident, other
matters affecting the legality of the questioned proviso as well as the
appointment of said respondent made pursuant thereto need no longer be
discussed.

In thus concluding as we do, we can only share the lament of Sen. Sotero Laurel
which he expressed in the floor deliberations of S.B. 1648, precursor of R.A. 7227,
when he articulated
". . . . (much) as we would like to have the present Mayor of Olongapo
City as the Chief Executive of this Authority that we are creating;
(much) as I, myself, would like to because I known the capacity,
integrity, industry and dedication of Mayor Gordon; (much) as we
would

like

to

give him

this

terrific, burdensome and

heavy

responsibility, we cannot do it because of the constitutional


prohibition which is very clear. It says: 'No elective official shall be
appointed or designated to another position in any capacity.'" 29
For, indeed, "a Constitution must be firm and immovable, like a mountain amidst
the strife of storms or a rock in the ocean amidst the raging of the
waves." 30 One of the characteristics of the Constitution is permanence, i.e., "its
capacity to resist capricious or whimsical change dictated not by legitimate needs
but only by passing fancies, temporary passions or occasional infatuations of the
people with ideas or personalities . . . . Such a Constitution is not likely to be
easily tampered with to suit political expediency, personal ambitions or ill-advised
agitation for change." 31
Ergo, under the Constitution, Mayor Gordon has a choice. We have no choice.
WHEREFORE, the proviso in par. (d), Sec. 13, of R.A. 7227, which states:
". . . Provided, however, That for the first year of its operations from the effectivity

of this Act, the Mayor of the City of Olongapo shall be appointed as the chairman
and chief executive officer of the Subic Authority," is declared unconstitutional;
consequently, the appointment pursuant thereto of the Mayor of Olongapo City,
respondent Richard J. Gordon, is INVALID, hence NULL and VOID.
However, all per diems, allowances and other emoluments received by
respondent Gordon, if any, as such Chairman and Chief Executive Officer may be
retained by him, and all acts otherwise legitimate done by him in the exercise of
his authority as officer de facto of SBMA are hereby UPHELD.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa C .J ., Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero,
Nocon, Melo and Quiason, JJ ., concur.

152. liban v Gordon

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 175352. January 18, 2011.]
DANTE V. LIBAN, REYNALDO M. BERNARDO and SALVADOR M.
VIARI, petitioners, vs. RICHARD J. GORDON, respondent.

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RED CROSS, intervenor.

RESOLUTION

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J p:
This resolves the Motion for Clarification and/or for Reconsideration 1 filed
on August 10, 2009 by respondent Richard J. Gordon (respondent) of
the Decisionpromulgated by this Court on July 15, 2009 (the Decision),
the Motion for Partial Reconsideration 2 filed on August 27, 2009 by movantintervenor Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), and the
latter's Manifestation and Motion to Admit Attached Position Paper 3 filed
on December 23, 2009. AaHTIE
In the Decision, 4 the Court held that respondent did not forfeit his seat in the
Senate when he accepted the chairmanship of the PNRC Board of Governors, as
"the office of the PNRC Chairman is not a government office or an office in a
government-owned or controlled corporation for purposes of the prohibition in
Section 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution." 5 The Decision, however, further
declared void the PNRC Charter "insofar as it creates the PNRC as a private
corporation" and consequently ruled that "the PNRC should incorporate under the
Corporation Code and register with the Securities and Exchange Commission if it
wants to be a private corporation." 6 The dispositive portion of the Decision reads
as follows:
WHEREFORE, we declare that the office of the Chairman of the
Philippine National Red Cross is not a government office or an office in
a government-owned or controlled corporation for purposes of the
prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. We also
declare that Sections 1, 2, 3, 4(a), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 of

the Charter of the Philippine National Red Cross, or Republic Act No.
95, as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 1264 and 1643, are VOID
because they create the PNRC as a private corporation or grant it
corporate powers. 7
In his Motion for Clarification and/or for Reconsideration, respondent raises
the following grounds: (1) as the issue of constitutionality of Republic Act (R.A.)
No. 95 was not raised by the parties, the Court went beyond the case in deciding
such issue; and (2) as the Court decided that Petitioners did not have standing to
file the instant Petition, the pronouncement of the Court on the validity of R.A. No.
95 should be considered obiter. 8
Respondent argues that the validity of R.A. No. 95 was a non-issue; therefore, it
was unnecessary for the Court to decide on that question. Respondent
cites Laurel v. Garcia, 9 wherein the Court said that it "will not pass upon a
constitutional question although properly presented by the record if the case can
be disposed of on some other ground" and goes on to claim that since this Court,
in the Decision, disposed of the petition on some other ground, i.e., lack of
standing of petitioners, there was no need for it to delve into the validity of R.A.
No. 95, and the rest of the judgment should be deemed obiter.
In its Motion for Partial Reconsideration, PNRC prays that the Court sustain
the constitutionality of its Charter on the following grounds:
A.THE ASSAILED DECISION DECLARING
UNCONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC ACT NO. 95 AS

AMENDED DEPRIVED INTERVENOR PNRC OF ITS


CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.
1.INTERVENOR PNRC WAS NEVER A PARTY TO THE INSTANT
CONTROVERSY.
2.THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 95, AS
AMENDED WAS NEVER AN ISSUE IN THIS CASE.
B.THE CURRENT CHARTER OF PNRC IS PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO.
1264 AND NOT REPUBLIC ACT NO. 95. PRESIDENTIAL DECREE
NO. 1264 WAS NOT A CREATION OF CONGRESS. DcCEHI
C.PNRC'S STRUCTURE IS SUI GENERIS; IT IS A CLASS OF ITS OWN.
WHILE IT IS PERFORMING HUMANITARIAN FUNCTIONS AS AN
AUXILIARY TO GOVERNMENT, IT IS A NEUTRAL ENTITY SEPARATE
AND INDEPENDENT OF GOVERNMENT CONTROL, YET IT DOES
NOT QUALIFY AS STRICTLY PRIVATE IN CHARACTER.
In his Comment and Manifestation 10 filed on November 9, 2009, respondent
manifests: (1) that he agrees with the position taken by the PNRC in its Motion for
Partial Reconsideration dated August 27, 2009; and (2) as of the writing of said
Comment and Manifestation, there was pending before the Congress of the
Philippines a proposed bill entitled "An Act Recognizing the PNRC as an
Independent, Autonomous, Non-Governmental Organization Auxiliary to the
Authorities of the Republic of the Philippines in the Humanitarian Field, to be
Known as The Philippine Red Cross." 11

After a thorough study of the arguments and points raised by the respondent as
well as those of movant-intervenor in their respective motions, we have
reconsidered our pronouncements in our Decision dated July 15, 2009 with regard
to the nature of the PNRC and the constitutionality of some provisions of the PNRC
Charter, R.A. No. 95, as amended.
As correctly pointed out in respondent's Motion, the issue of constitutionality
of R.A. No. 95 was not raised by the parties, and was not among the issues
defined in the body of the Decision; thus, it was not the very lis mota of the case.
We have reiterated the rule as to when the Court will consider the issue of
constitutionality inAlvarez v. PICOP Resources, Inc., 12 thus:
This Court will not touch the issue of unconstitutionality
unless it is the very lis mota. It is a well-established rule that
a court should not pass upon a constitutional question and
decide a law to be unconstitutional or invalid, unless such
question is raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if the
record also presents some other ground upon which the court may
[rest] its judgment, that course will be adopted and the constitutional
question will be left for consideration until such question will be
unavoidable. 13
Under the rule quoted above, therefore, this Court should not have declared void
certain sections of R.A. No. 95, as amended by Presidential Decree (P.D.) Nos.
1264 and 1643, the PNRC Charter. Instead, the Court should have exercised
judicial restraint on this matter, especially since there was some other ground

upon which the Court could have based its judgment. Furthermore, the PNRC, the
entity most adversely affected by this declaration of unconstitutionality, which
was not even originally a party to this case, was being compelled, as a
consequence of the Decision, to suddenly reorganize and incorporate under the
Corporation Code, after more than sixty (60) years of existence in this
country.
Its existence as a chartered corporation remained unchallenged on ground of
unconstitutionality notwithstanding that R.A. No. 95 was enacted on March 22,
1947 during the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, which provided for a
proscription against the creation of private corporations by special law, to wit:
SEC. 7.The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the
formation, organization, or regulation of private corporations, unless
such corporations are owned and controlled by the Government or
any subdivision or instrumentality thereof. (Art. XIV, 1935
Constitution.) SIaHDA
Similar

provisions

are

found

in

Article

XIV,

Section

of

the 1973

Constitution and Article XII, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution. The latter
reads:
SECTION 16.The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide
for the formation, organization, or regulation of private corporations.
Government-owned or controlled corporations may be created or
established by special charters in the interest of the common good
and subject to the test of economic viability.

Since its enactment, the PNRC Charter was amended several times, particularly
on June 11, 1953, August 16, 1971, December 15, 1977, and October 1, 1979, by
virtue of R.A. No. 855, R.A. No. 6373, P.D. No. 1264, and P.D. No. 1643,
respectively. The passage of several laws relating to the PNRC's corporate
existence notwithstanding the effectivity of the constitutional proscription on the
creation of private corporations by law, is a recognition that the PNRC is not
strictly in the nature of a private corporation contemplated by the aforesaid
constitutional ban.
A closer look at the nature of the PNRC would show that there is none like it not
just in terms of structure, but also in terms of history, public service and official
status accorded to it by the State and the international community. There is merit
in PNRC's contention that its structure is sui generis.
The PNRC succeeded the chapter of the American Red Cross which was in
existence in the Philippines since 1917. It was created by an Act of Congress after
the Republic of the Philippines became an independent nation on July 6, 1946 and
proclaimed on February 14, 1947 its adherence to the Convention of Geneva of
July 29, 1929 for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of
Armies in the Field (the "Geneva Red Cross Convention"). By that action the
Philippines indicated its desire to participate with the nations of the world in
mitigating the suffering caused by war and to establish in the Philippines a
voluntary organization for that purpose and like other volunteer organizations
established in other countries which have ratified the Geneva Conventions, to
promote the health and welfare of the people in peace and in war. 14

The provisions of R.A. No. 95, as amended by R.A. Nos. 855 and 6373, and further
amended by P.D. Nos. 1264 and 1643, show the historical background and legal
basis of the creation of the PNRC by legislative fiat, as a voluntary organization
impressed with public interest. Pertinently R.A. No. 95, as amended by P.D. 1264,
provides:
WHEREAS, during the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 22 August
1894, the nations of the world unanimously agreed to diminish within
their power the evils inherent in war;
WHEREAS, more than one hundred forty nations of the world have
ratified or adhered to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949 for
the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armed
Forces in the Field and at Sea, The Prisoners of War, and The Civilian
Population in Time of War referred to in this Charter as the Geneva
Conventions;
WHEREAS, the Republic of the Philippines became an
independent nation on July 4, 1946, and proclaimed on
February 14, 1947 its adherence to the Geneva Conventions
of 1929, and by the action, indicated its desire to participate
with the nations of the world in mitigating the suffering
caused by war and to establish in the Philippines a voluntary
organization for that purpose as contemplated by the Geneva
Conventions;

WHEREAS, there existed in the Philippines since 1917 a chapter of the


American National Red Cross which was terminated in view of the
independence of the Philippines; and DTIaHE
WHEREAS, the volunteer organizations established in other countries
which have ratified or adhered to the Geneva Conventions assist in
promoting the health and welfare of their people in peace and
in war, and through their mutual assistance and cooperation directly
and through their international organizations promote better
understanding and sympathy among the people of the world;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the
Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the
Constitution as Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the
Philippines and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September
21, 1972, and General Order No. 1 dated September 22, 1972, do
hereby decree and order that Republic Act No. 95, Charter of the
Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) as amended by Republic Acts
No. 855 and 6373, be further amended as follows:
Section 1.There is hereby created in the Republic of the
Philippines a body corporate and politic to be the voluntary
organization officially designated to assist the Republic of the
Philippines in discharging the obligations set forth in the
Geneva Conventions and to perform such other duties as are
inherent upon a national Red Cross Society. The national

headquarters of this Corporation shall be located in


Metropolitan Manila. (Emphasis supplied.)
The significant public service rendered by the PNRC can be gleaned from Section
3 of its Charter, which provides:
Section 3.That the purposes of this Corporation shall be as follows:
(a)To provide volunteer aid to the sick and wounded of armed forces
in time of war, in accordance with the spirit of and under the
conditions prescribed by the Geneva Conventions to which the
Republic of the Philippines proclaimed its adherence;
(b)For the purposes mentioned in the preceding sub-section, to
perform all duties devolving upon the Corporation as a result of the
adherence of the Republic of the Philippines to the said Convention;
(c)To act in matters of voluntary relief and in accordance with the
authorities of the armed forces as a medium of communication
between people of the Republic of the Philippines and their Armed
Forces, in time of peace and in time of war, and to act in such matters
between similar national societies of other governments and the
Governments and people and the Armed Forces of the Republic of the
Philippines;
(d)To establish and maintain a system of national and international
relief in time of peace and in time of war and apply the same in
meeting and emergency needs caused by typhoons, flood, fires,

earthquakes, and other natural disasters and to devise and carry on


measures for minimizing the suffering caused by such disasters;
(e)To devise and promote such other services in time of peace and in
time of war as may be found desirable in improving the health, safety
and welfare of the Filipino people;
(f)To devise such means as to make every citizen and/or resident of
the Philippines a member of the Red Cross.
The PNRC is one of the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which,
together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the IFRC
and RCS, make up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the
Movement). They constitute a worldwide humanitarian movement, whose mission
is: SAHITC
[T]o prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found,
to protect life and health and ensure respect for the human being, in
particular in times of armed conflict and other emergencies, to work
for the prevention of disease and for the promotion of health and
social welfare, to encourage voluntary service and a constant
readiness to give help by the members of the Movement, and a
universal sense of solidarity towards all those in need of its protection
and assistance. 15

The PNRC works closely with the ICRC and has been involved in humanitarian
activities in the Philippines since 1982. Among others, these activities in the
country include:
1.Giving protection and assistance to civilians displaced or otherwise
affected by armed clashes between the government and armed
opposition groups, primarily in Mindanao;
2.Working to minimize the effects of armed hostilities and violence on
the population;
3.Visiting detainees; and
4.Promoting awareness of international humanitarian law in the public
and private sectors. 16
National Societies such as the PNRC act as auxiliaries to the public authorities of
their own countries in the humanitarian field and provide a range of services
including disaster relief and health and social programmes.
The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies (RCS)
Position Paper, 17 submitted by the PNRC, is instructive with regard to the
elements of the specific nature of the National Societies such as the PNRC, to wit:
National Societies, such as the Philippine National Red Cross and its
sister Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, have certain specificities
deriving from the 1949 Geneva Convention and the Statutes of the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement).

They are also guided by the seven Fundamental Principles of the Red
Cross and Red Crescent Movement: Humanity, Impartiality,
Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and
Universality.
A National Society partakes of a sui generis character. It is a
protected component of the Red Cross movement under Articles 24
and 26 of the First Geneva Convention, especially in times of armed
conflict. These provisions require that the staff of a National Society
shall be respected and protected in all circumstances. Such protection
is not ordinarily afforded by an international treaty to ordinary private
entities or even non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This sui
generischaracter is also emphasized by the Fourth Geneva
Convention which holds that an Occupying Power cannot require any
change in the personnel or structure of a National Society. National
societies are therefore organizations that are directly
regulated by international humanitarian law, in contrast to
other ordinary private entities, including NGOs. aSAHCE
xxx xxx xxx
In addition, National Societies are not only officially recognized by
their public authorities as voluntary aid societies, auxiliary to the
public authorities in the humanitarian field, but also benefit from
recognition at the International level. This is considered to be an

element distinguishing National Societies from other organisations


(mainly NGOs) and other forms of humanitarian response.
. . . . No other organisation belongs to a world-wide Movement in
which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities
and duties in helping each other. This is considered to be the essence
of the Fundamental Principle of Universality.
Furthermore, the National Societies are considered to
be auxiliaries to the public authorities in the humanitarian field. . . . .
The auxiliary status of [a] Red Cross Society means that it is at one
and the same time a private institution and a public service
organization because the very nature of its work implies
cooperation with the authorities, a link with the State. In
carrying out their major functions, Red Cross Societies give their
humanitarian support to official bodies, in general having larger
resources than the Societies, working towards comparable ends in a
given sector.
. . . No other organization has a duty to be its government's
humanitarian partner while remaining
independent. 18 (Emphases ours.)
It is in recognition of this sui generis character of the PNRC that R.A. No. 95 has
remained valid and effective from the time of its enactment in March 22, 1947

under the 1935 Constitution and during the effectivity of the 1973
Constitution and the 1987 Constitution.
The PNRC Charter and its amendatory laws have not been questioned or
challenged on constitutional grounds, not even in this case before the Court now.
In the Decision, the Court, citing Feliciano v. Commission on Audit, 19 explained
that the purpose of the constitutional provision prohibiting Congress from creating
private corporations was to prevent the granting of special privileges to certain
individuals, families, or groups, which were denied to other groups. Based on the
above discussion, it can be seen that the PNRC Charter does not come within the
spirit of this constitutional provision, as it does not grant special privileges to a
particular individual, family, or group, but creates an entity that strives to serve
the common good.
Furthermore, a strict and mechanical interpretation of Article XII, Section 16 of
the 1987 Constitution will hinder the State in adopting measures that will serve
the public good or national interest. It should be noted that a special law, R.A. No.
9520, the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, and not the general corporation
code, vests corporate power and capacities upon cooperatives which are private
corporations, in order to implement the State's avowed policy.
In the Decision of July 15, 2009, the Court recognized the public service rendered
by the PNRC as the government's partner in the observance of its international
commitments, to wit:

The PNRC is a non-profit, donor-funded, voluntary, humanitarian


organization, whose mission is to bring timely, effective, and
compassionate humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable
without consideration of nationality, race, religion, gender, social
status, or political affiliation. The PNRC provides six major services:
Blood Services, Disaster Management, Safety Services, Community
Health and Nursing, Social Services and Voluntary Service.
The Republic of the Philippines, adhering to the Geneva Conventions,
established the PNRC as a voluntary organization for the purpose
contemplated in the Geneva Convention of 27 July
1929. . . . . 20 (Citations omitted.) CAHaST
So must this Court recognize too the country's adherence to the Geneva
Convention and respect the unique status of the PNRC in consonance
with its treaty obligations. The Geneva Convention has the force and effect of
law. 21 Under the Constitution, the Philippines adopts the generally accepted
principles of international law as part of the law of the land. 22 This constitutional
provision must be reconciled and harmonized with Article XII, Section 16 of the
Constitution, instead of using the latter to negate the former.
By requiring the PNRC to organize under the Corporation Code just like any other
private corporation, the Decision of July 15, 2009 lost sight of the PNRC's special
status under international humanitarian law and as an auxiliary of the State,
designated to assist it in discharging its obligations under the Geneva
Conventions. Although the PNRC is called to be independent under its

Fundamental Principles, it interprets such independence as inclusive of its duty to


be the government's humanitarian partner. To be recognized in the International
Committee, the PNRC must have an autonomous status, and carry out its
humanitarian mission in a neutral and impartial manner.
However, in accordance with the Fundamental Principle of Voluntary Service of
National Societies of the Movement, the PNRC must be distinguished from private
and profit-making entities. It is the main characteristic of National Societies that
they "are not inspired by the desire for financial gain but by individual
commitment and devotion to a humanitarian purpose freely chosen or accepted
as part of the service that National Societies through its volunteers and/or
members render to the Community." 23
The PNRC, as a National Society of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent
Movement, can neither "be classified as an instrumentality of the State, so as not
to lose its character of neutrality" as well as its independence, nor strictly as a
private corporation since it is regulated by international humanitarian law and is
treated as an auxiliary of the State. 24
Based on the above, the sui generis status of the PNRC is now sufficiently
established. Although it is neither a subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the
government, nor a government-owned or -controlled corporation or a subsidiary
thereof, as succinctly explained in the Decision of July 15, 2009, so much so that
respondent, under the Decision, was correctly allowed to hold his position as
Chairman thereof concurrently while he served as a Senator, such a conclusion
does notipso facto imply that the PNRC is a "private corporation" within the

contemplation of the provision of the Constitution, that must be organized under


the Corporation Code. As correctly mentioned by Justice Roberto A. Abad, the sui
generis character of PNRC requires us to approach controversies involving the
PNRC on a case-to-case basis.
In sum, the PNRC enjoys a special status as an important ally and auxiliary of the
government in the humanitarian field in accordance with its commitments under
international law. This Court cannot all of a sudden refuse to recognize its
existence, especially since the issue of the constitutionality of the PNRC Charter
was never raised by the parties. It bears emphasizing that the PNRC has
responded to almost all national disasters since 1947, and is widely known to
provide a substantial portion of the country's blood requirements. Its
humanitarian work is unparalleled. The Court should not shake its existence to the
core in an untimely and drastic manner that would not only have negative
consequences to those who depend on it in times of disaster and armed hostilities
but also have adverse effects on the image of the Philippines in the international
community. The sections of the PNRC Charter that were declared void
must therefore stay. TcSAaH
WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent Richard J. Gordon's Motion
for Clarification and/or for Reconsideration and movant-intervenor
PNRC's Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the Decision in G.R.
No. 175352 dated July 15, 2009 are GRANTED. The constitutionality of R.A.
No. 95, as amended, the charter of the Philippine National Red Cross, was not
raised by the parties as an issue and should not have been passed upon by this

Court. The structure of the PNRC is sui generis,being neither strictly private nor
public in nature. R.A. No. 95 remains valid and constitutional in its entirety. The
dispositive portion of the Decision should therefore beMODIFIED by deleting the
second sentence, to now read as follows:
WHEREFORE, we declare that the office of the Chairman of the
Philippine National Red Cross is not a government office or an office in
a government-owned or controlled corporation for purposes of the
prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
SO ORDERED.
Velasco, Jr., Nachura, Peralta, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Villarama, Jr. and Perez,
JJ., concur.
Corona, C.J., took no part.
Carpio, J., see dissenting opinion.
Carpio Morales, Brion and Mendoza, JJ., join the dissent of J. Carpio.
Abad, J., see my concurring opinion.
Sereno, J., I agree with the dissent of J. Carpio.

Separate Opinions
CARPIO, J., dissenting:

I vote to deny the motions for reconsideration filed by Respondent Richard J.


Gordon (respondent Gordon) and movant-intervenor Philippine National Red Cross
(PNRC).
Respondent Gordon and the PNRC seek partial reconsideration of the Court's
Decision dated 15 July 2009, declaring that Republic Act No. 95 (RA 95), insofar as
it creates the PNRC as a private corporation and grants it corporate powers, is
void for being unconstitutional. The Decision also declared that the Office of the
Chairman of the PNRC is not a government office or an office in a governmentowned or controlled corporation for purposes of the prohibition in Section 13,
Article VI of the1987 Constitution, which reads:
SEC. 13.No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may
hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any
subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including
government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries,
during his term without forfeiting his seat. Neither shall he be
appointed to any office which may have been created or the
emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was
elected.
Respondent Gordon and the PNRC are seeking reconsideration of the portion of
the Decision relating to the unconstitutionality of certain provisions of RA 95.

This case originated from a petition filed by petitioners, seeking to declare


respondent Gordon as having forfeited his seat in the Senate when he accepted
the chairmanship of the PNRC Board of Governors.
In the assailed Decision, this Court held that the PNRC is a private organization
performing public functions. The Philippine government does not own or control
the PNRC and neither the President nor the head of any department, agency,
commission or board appoints the PNRC Chairman. Thus, the prohibition in Section
13, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution is not applicable to the office of the PNRC
Chairman, which is not a government office or an office in a government-owned or
controlled corporation. ATDHSC
Since the PNRC is a private corporation, the creation of the PNRC through a
special charter is violative of the constitutional proscription against the creation of
private corporations by special law. The creation of the PNRC by special charter on
22 March 1947 through RA 95 contravenes Section 7, Article XIV of the 1935
Constitution, as amended, which reads:
SEC. 7.The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the
formation, organization, or regulation of private corporations, unless
such corporations are owned or controlled by the Government or any
subdivision or instrumentality thereof.
This provision prohibiting Congress from creating private corporations, except
by general law, is reiterated in the 1973 1 and 1987 2 Constitutions.

In its Motion for Partial Reconsideration, the PNRC maintains that the decision
declaring unconstitutional certain provisions of RA 95 deprived the PNRC of its
right to due process considering that the PNRC was not a party to the case.
Furthermore, the PNRC states that the constitutionality of RA 95 was never an
issue in the case. Similarly, respondent Gordon posits in his Motion for
Clarification and Reconsideration that the Court should not have passed upon the
constitutionality of RA 95 since such issue was not raised by the parties.
Generally, the Court will not pass upon a constitutional question unless such
question is raised by the parties. 3 However, as explained by the Court in Fabian
v. Hon. Desierto, 4 the rule that a challenge on constitutional grounds must be
raised by a party to the case is not an inflexible rule. In the Fabian case, the issue
of the constitutionality of Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 5 (RA 6770) was not
presented as an issue by the parties. Nevertheless, the Court ruled that Section
27 of RA 6770, which provides for appeals in administrative disciplinary cases
from the Office of the Ombudsman to the Supreme Court, infringes on the
constitutional proscription against laws increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court without its advice and consent.
In this case, the constitutional issue was inevitably thrust upon the Court upon its
finding that the PNRC is a private corporation, whose creation by a special charter
is proscribed by the Constitution. In view of the Court's finding that the PNRC is a
private corporation, it was imperative for the Court to address the issue of the
creation of the PNRC through a special charter. The Constitution prohibits the
creation of a private corporation through a special law. The Court could not

declare the PNRC a private corporation created by the special law RA 95 without
running afoul of Section 16, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. To declare the
PNRC a private corporation necessarily meant declaring RA 95 unconstitutional. To
declare the PNRC, a creation of RA 95, a private corporation without declaring RA
95 unconstitutional would mean that Congress can create a private corporation
through a special law. This the Court could not do. CcaDHT
The fact that the constitutionality of RA 95 has not been questioned for more than
sixty (60) years does not mean that it could no longer be declared
unconstitutional. One is not estopped from assailing the validity of a law just
because such law has been relied upon in the past and all that time has not been
attacked as unconstitutional. 6 Indeed, there is no prescription to declare a law
unconstitutional. Thus, in the case of Moldex Realty, Inc. v. Housing and Land Use
Regulatory Board,7 this Court held that constitutional challenge can be made
anytime:
That the question of constitutionality has not been raised
before is not a valid reason for refusing to allow it to be
raised later. A contrary rule would mean that a law, otherwise
unconstitutional, would lapse into constitutionality by the mere failure
of the proper party to promptly file a case to challenge the same.
(Emphasis supplied)
More importantly, the Court granted the PNRC's motion to intervene and
the PNRC then filed its Motion for Partial Reconsideration, in which the
PNRC argued that its charter is valid and constitutional. Thus, the PNRC,

the entity that is directly affected by the issue of the constitutionality


of RA 95, is in law and in fact a party to this case, raising specifically the
issue that its charter is valid and constitutional. Moreover, although the
original parties did not raise as an issue the constitutionality of RA 95, they were
still afforded the opportunity to be heard on this constitutional issue when they
filed their respective motions for reconsideration.
In its Motion for Partial Reconsideration, the PNRC claims that the constitutional
proscription against the creation of private corporations by special law is not
applicable in this case since the PNRC was not created by Congress but by then
President Ferdinand Marcos, who issued Presidential Decree No. 1264 8 (PD 1264)
which repealed RA 95. The PNRC insists that PD 1264 repealed and superseded RA
95. The PNRC maintains that since PD 1264 was issued by President Marcos in the
exercise of his legislative power during the martial law period pursuant
to Proclamation 1081, then the constitutional prohibition does not apply.
Respondent Gordon agrees with the position taken by the PNRC.
I disagree. Even if the PNRC derived its existence from PD 1264, still the
constitutional prohibition will apply. President Marcos issued PD 1264 on 5
December 1977 during martial law period when the President assumed extensive
legislative power. Such assumption of legislative power did not place President
Marcos above the Constitution. President Marcos could not issue decrees or orders
contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. The exercise of legislative power by
President Marcos under martial law must still be in accordance with the
Constitution because legislative power cannot be exercised in violation of the

Constitution from which legislative power draws its existence. The limits on
legislative power is explained by the Court in Government v. Springer, 9 thus:
Someone has said that the powers of the legislative department of
the Government, like the boundaries of the ocean, are unlimited. In
constitutional governments, however, as well as governments
acting under delegated authority, the powers of each of the
departments of the same are limited and confined within the
four wall of the constitution or the charter, and each
department can only exercise such powers as are expressly
given and such other powers as are necessarily implied from
the given powers. The constitution is the shore of legislative
authority against which the waves of legislative enactment
may dash, but over which it cannot leap. (Emphasis supplied)
The 1973 Constitution, as amended, was in force when President Marcos
issued PD 1264. Under Section 1, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, legislative
power is vested in the National Assembly. By virtue of Amendment No. 6 10 of
the 1973 Constitution, the President was granted legislative power. Thus, under
Amendment No. 6, President Marcos was granted concurrent legislative authority
with the interim Batasang Pambansa. 11 Considering that the legislative power of
the interim Batasang Pambansa and the regular National Assembly is subject to
the limitations imposed by the Constitution, then more so for the emergency
legislative power granted to the President during the period of martial law. In fact,

the Court has declared void several Presidential Decrees or provisions thereof for
being unconstitutional. ATaDHC
In Demetria v. Alba,12 the Court declared void Paragraph 1 of Section 44 of PD
1177 for being unconstitutional since it empowers the President to
indiscriminately transfer funds and unduly extends the privilege granted under
Section 16 (5), Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution. In Export Processing Zone
Authority v. Judge Dulay, 13the Court held that PD 1533 is unconstitutional
because it deprives the courts of their function of determining just compensation
in eminent domain cases and eliminates the courts' discretion to appoint
commissioners pursuant to Rule 67 of the Rules of Court. In subsequent cases,
similar provisions on just compensation found in expropriation laws such as PD 42,
76, 464, 794, 1224, 1259, 1313, and 1517 were also declared void and
unconstitutional for the same reason and for being violative of due
process. 14 In Tuason v. Register of Deeds, Caloocan City, 15 PD 293 was
declared void and unconstitutional since it allows the President to exercise judicial
function and to take property without due process and without compensation.
In Manotok v. National Housing Authority, 16 the Court held that PD 1669 and
1670, which expropriated certain properties, were void and unconstitutional for
violating due process of law.
In this case, PD 1264 contravenes Section 4, Article XIV of the 1973
Constitution which provides that "[t]he National Assembly shall not, except by
general law, provide for the formation, organization, or regulation of private
corporations, unless such corporations are owned or controlled by the government

or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof." This same prohibition is found in


Section 16, Article XII of the present Constitution. Thus, just like RA 95, PD 1264 is
also void insofar as it creates the PNRC as a private corporation.
The PNRC further submits that "due to its peculiar nature, it should be considered
as a private, neutral and separate entity independent of government control and
supervision, but acting as an auxiliary to government when performing
humanitarian functions, and specially created pursuant to the treaty obligations of
the Philippines to the Geneva Conventions." 17 Thus, the PNRC maintains that its
structure is sui generis and that it is not strictly private in character since it
performs certain governmental functions. The PNRC posits that its argument is
reinforced by the Position Paper 18 dated 7 December 2009 of the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies ("International Federation"),
which reads in part:
A National Society partakes of a sui generis character. It is a
protected component of the Red Cross Movement under Articles 24
and 26 of the First Geneva Convention, especially in times of armed
conflict. These provisions require that the staff of a National Society
shall be respected and protected in all circumstances. Such protection
is not ordinarily afforded by an international treaty to ordinary private
entities or even non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This sui
generischaracter is also emphasized by the Fourth Geneva
Convention which holds that an Occupying Property cannot require
any change in the personnel or structure of a National

Society. National Societies are therefore organizations that are


directly regulated by international humanitarian law, in contrast to
other ordinary private entities, including NGOs.
xxx xxx xxx
Once recognized by its Government as an independent National
Society auxiliary to the public authorities in humanitarian field, a
National Society, if it fulfills the ten (10) conditions for recognition,
can be recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross
and be admitted as member of the International Federation of the
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. No other organization belongs
to a world-wide Movement in which all Societies have equal status
and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other. This
is considered to be the essence of the Fundamental Principle of
Universality.
Furthermore, the National Societies are considered to be auxiliaries to
the public authorities in the humanitarian field. The concept of
National Societies auxiliary to the public authorities was reaffirmed in
Resolution 3 of the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross
and Red Crescent, on 26-30 November 2007. This status, as you may
see, is not only a positive and distinct feature of any organization, but
it is a precondition of its existence and functioning as a member of
the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The auxiliary status of Red Cross Society means that it is at


one and the same time a private institution and a public
service organization because the very nature of its work
implies cooperation with the authorities, a link with the State.
In carrying out their major functions, Red Cross Societies give their
humanitarian support to official bodies, in general having larger
resources than the Societies, working towards comparable ends in a
given sector. DAETcC
This is also the essence of the Fundamental Principle of
Independence. No other humanitarian organization gives such
interpretation to its independence, although many claim that they are
independent. No other organization has a duty to be its
government's humanitarian partner while remaining
independent.
The Movement places much importance on the Principle of
Independence and the duty of the States Parties to the
Geneva Conventions to respect the adherence by all the
components of the Movement to the Fundamental Principles.
Before it can be recognized by the International Committee, a
National Society must have autonomous status which allows
it to operate in conformity with the Fundamental Principles of
the Movement.

Thus, in protecting the independence of the National Society


in carrying out its humanitarian mission in a neutral and
impartial manner, it is crucial that it must be free from any
form of intervention from the government at the level of the
internal organization of the National Society mainly its
governance and management structure. (Boldfacing supplied.
Underscoring in the original.)
All private charitable organizations are doing public service or activities that also
constitute governmental functions. 19 Hence, the PNRC cannot claim that it is sui
generis just because it is a private organization performing certain public or
governmental functions. That the PNRC is rendering public service does not
exempt it from the constitutional prohibition against the creation of a private
corporation through a special law since the PNRC is, admittedly, still a private
organization. The express prohibition against the creation of private corporations
by special charter under Section 16, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution cannot be
disregarded just because a private corporation claims to be sui generis. The
constitutional prohibition admits of no exception.
Even the International Federation specifies the nature of the National Red Cross
Society as a "private institution and a public service organization."
Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of maintaining and protecting
the independence of the National Society, free from any form of
intervention from the government particularly concerning its
governance and management structure. Full independence means that the

National Societies are prohibited from being owned or controlled by their host
government or from becoming government instrumentalities as this would
undermine their independence, neutrality, and autonomy.
Indeed, the PNRC, as a member National Society of the International Red Cross
and Red Crescent Movement (Movement) must meet the stringent requirement of
independence, autonomy, and neutrality in order to be recognized as a National
Society by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The conditions for
recognition of National Societies are enumerated in Article 4 of the Statutes of the
Movement, thus:
Article 4
Conditions for Recognition of National Societies
In order to be recognized in terms of Article 5, paragraph 2
b) 20 as a National Society, the Society shall meet the
following conditions:
1.Be constituted on the territory of an independent State where the
Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the
Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field is in force.
2.Be the only National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society of the said
State and be directed by a central body which shall alone be
competent to represent it in its dealings with other components of the
Movement. ADcHES

3.Be duly recognized by the legal government of its country


on the basis of the Geneva Conventions and of the national
legislation as a voluntary aid society, auxiliary to the public
authorities in the humanitarian field.
4.Have an autonomous status which allows it to operate in
conformity with the Fundamental Principles of the Movement.
5.Use a name and distinctive emblem in conformity with the
Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.
6.Be so organized as to be able to fulfil the tasks defined in
its own statutes, including the preparation in peace time for its
statutory tasks in case of armed conflict.
7.Extend its activities to the entire territory of the State.
8.Recruit its voluntary members and its staff without consideration of
race, sex, class, religion or political opinions.
9.Adhere to the present Statutes, share in the fellowship which unites
the components of the Movement and cooperate with them.
10.Respect the Fundamental Principles of the Movement and be
guided in its work by the principles of international humanitarian
law. 21
The conditions for recognition of National Societies do not require that
the State itself create the National Society through a special charter. The

absence of such requirement is proper and necessary considering the Movement's


emphasis on the importance of maintaining the independence of the National
Society, free from any form of intervention from the government. However, it is
required that the National Society be officially recognized by the government of its
country as auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian field.
A decree granting official recognition to the National Society is essential in order
to distinguish it from other charitable organizations in the country and to be
entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions in the event of armed
conflict. 22 The content of the decree of recognition may vary from one country to
another but it should explicitly specify:
1.That the National Society is the country's only Red Cross or Red
Crescent organization; aTICAc
2.That it is autonomous in relation to the State;
3.That it performs its activities in conformity with the Fundamental
Principles; and
4.The conditions governing the use of the emblem. 23
Thus, there is no specific requirement for the creation of the National
Society through a special charter. The State does not have the obligation to
create the National Society, in our case, the PNRC. What is important is that the
National Society is officially recognized by the government as auxiliary to the
public authorities in the humanitarian services of the government. This the

Philippine government can accomplish even without creating the PNRC through a
special charter.
Besides, as auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their host
governments, the National Societies are subject to the laws of their
respective countries. 24 Thus, the National Societies are bound by the laws of
their host countries and must submit to the Constitution of their respective host
countries.
The Philippine Constitution prohibits Congress from creating private corporations
except by general law. I agree with the PNRC that it is a private organization
performing public functions. Precisely because it is a private organization, the
PNRC charter whether it be RA 95 or PD 1264 is violative of the constitutional
proscription against the creation of private corporations by special law.
Nevertheless, keeping in mind the treaty obligations of the Philippines under the
Geneva Conventions, the assailed Decision only held void those provisions of the
PNRC charter which create PNRC as a private corporation or grant it corporate
powers. The other provisions respecting the government's treaty obligations
remain valid, thus:
The other provisions 25 of the PNRC Charter remain valid
as they can be considered as a recognition by the State that
the unincorporated PNRC is the local National Society of the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and
thus entitled to the benefits, exemptions and privileges set
forth in the PNRC Charter. The other provisions of the PNRC

Charter implement the Philippine Government's treaty obligations


under Article 4(5) of the Statutes of the International Red Cross and
Red Crescent Movement, which provides that to be recognized as a
National Society, the Society must be "duly recognized by the legal
government of its country on the basis of the Geneva Conventions
and of the national legislation as a voluntary aid society, auxiliary to
the public authorities in the humanitarian field." 26 (Emphasis
supplied)
This Court's paramount duty is to faithfully apply the provisions of the
Constitution to the present case. The Constitutional prohibition under Section 16,
Article XII of the 1987 Constitution is clear, categorical, and absolute:
SEC. 16.The Congress, shall not, except by general law, provide
for the formation, organization, or regulation of private corporations.
Government-owned or controlled corporations may be created or
established by special charters in the interest of the common good
and subject to the test of economic viability. (Emphasis supplied)
Since the constitutional prohibition admits of no exception, this Court has no
recourse but to apply the prohibition to the present case. This Court has no
power to make PNRC an exception to Section 16, Article XII of the 1987
Constitution. SHEIDC
The PNRC could either choose to remain unincorporated or it could adopt its own
articles of incorporation and by-laws and incorporate under the Corporation Code

and register with the Securities and Exchange Commission if it wants to be a


private corporation.
Accordingly, I vote to DENY the Motions for Reconsideration.
ABAD, J., concurring:
On July 15, 2009 the Court rendered a decision partially voiding Republic Act 95
(R.A. 95), the charter of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) as amended by
Presidential Decrees 1264 and 1643 (P.D. 1264 and 1643). The Court ruled that
Congress enacted the PNRC Charter in violation of Section 7, Article XIV of
the 1935 Constitution, which states:
SEC. 7.The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide
for the formation, organization, or regulation of private
corporations, unless such corporations are owned or
controlled by the Government or any subdivision or
instrumentality thereof.
The Court based its decision on a finding that the PNRC is a private corporation
which Congress could not create by special law. Like any other private
corporation, the PNRC can only be formed and organized under a general
enabling law like the Corporation Code.
The decision stemmed from a petition that petitioners Dante Liban, et
al. (Liban, et al.) filed with the Court to declare respondent Senator Richard J.
Gordon (Sen. Gordon) as having forfeited his Senate seat under Section 13, Article
VI of the 1987 Constitution. 1 Sen. Gordon had been elected Chairman of the

Board of Governors of the PNRC, which the Court classified in Camporedondo v.


NLRC 2 as a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).
Consequently, he automatically forfeited his Senate seat for holding an
incompatible office in a GOCC.
Parenthetically, in resolving the case, the Court held that Liban, et al., had no
standing to file the petition, as it is a quo warranto case that could only be
brought by the Government or an individual who claims entitlement to the public
office. Since Liban, et al., did not seek the Senator's seat, they were not proper
parties to bring the action.
Despite Liban, et al's., lack of standing, however, the Court chose to address the
merits of their petition. The main issue was: "whether the office of the PNRC
Chairman is a government office or an office in a government-owned or controlled
corporation for purposes of the prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of the
Constitution." 3
According to the Court, the PNRC is a private organization performing public
functions. Congress established it in adherence to the Geneva Conventions for the
purpose contemplated under the treaties. The PNRC is a member National Society
of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and is guided and
bound by its seven Fundamental Principles. 4 To be recognized as a National
Society, the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
required that the PNRC be autonomous or independent.

Due to this requirement, the PNRC must not appear to be an instrument or agency
of the government for, "otherwise, it cannot merit the trust of all and cannot
effectively carry out its mission." 5 It must, in case of invasion or an internal war,
maintain its neutrality and independence to be able to fulfill its humanitarian
tasks. It cannot choose to treat only the wounded on one side.
Moreover, the PNRC cannot be government-owned because it does not receive
appropriations from Congress or possess government assets. It is funded by
voluntary donations from private contributors. The government does not have
control over its affairs. While the President of the Philippines appoints six of the
PNRC Board of Governors, the overwhelming majority of the thirty-member board
is elected by private sector members. The PNRC Chairman is not appointed by or
under the control of the President of the Philippines. He is elected by the
organization's governing board. These all prove that the position of PNRC
Chairman is a private, not a government office. ScaAET
Additionally, the Court held that the Camporedondo ruling relied on by Liban, et
al., was erroneous. The Court's conclusion in that case that the PNRC is a GOCC
is based solely on the fact that it was Congress which created PNRC under a
special law. The case failed to consider, however, that the 1987 Administrative
Code defines a GOCC as "any agency organized as a stock or non-stock
corporation, vested with functions relating to public needs . . ., and owned by
the Government directly or through its instrumentalities . . . ." 6 Since the
government did not own PNRC, it cannot be a GOCC under such definition.
The Court thus concluded that Sen. Gordon did not forfeit his Senate seat.

As stated earlier, the Court partially voided the PNRC Charter on the ground that
Congress has been constitutionally prohibited from creating private corporations
by special law. The Court declared as void those provisions of the PNRC Charter
that related to its creation and those that granted it corporate powers. 7 What
remained of the Charter, said the Court, 8 served "as recognition by the State that
the unincorporated PNRC is the local National Society of the International Red
Cross and Red Crescent Movement." The surviving provisions supposedly
implemented the Philippine Government's treaty obligations under Article 4 (5) of
the Statutes of the Movement which required a National Society to be "duly
recognized by the legal government of its country on the basis of the Geneva
Conventions and of the national legislation." 9
Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura dissented and was joined by four other
members of the Court. 10 First, he argued that Liban, et al., had standing to file
the petition, which he characterized as one for prohibition and not quo warranto.
The petition actually sought an injunction against a continuing violation of the
Constitution and involved a constitutional issue with great impact on public
interest. Thus, the petition deserved the attention of the Court in view of its
seriousness, novelty, and weight as precedent.
According to Justice Nachura, since no private corporation can have a special
charter under the Constitution, it follows that the PNRC is a GOCC. As held
inCamporedondo and Baluyot v. Holganza, 11 the test for determining whether a
corporation is a GOCC is simply whether it was created under its own charter for
the exercise of a public function or by incorporation under the general corporation

law. The definition of a GOCC under the 1987 Administrative Code, on the other
hand, is broad enough to admit of other distinctions as to the kinds of GOCCs.
The more crucial factor to consider, said Justice Nachura, is the definition's
reference to the corporation being vested with functions relating to public needs.
In this regard, the PNRC Charter states that it is created as a "voluntary
organization officially designated to assist the Republic of the Philippines in
discharging the obligations set forth in the Geneva Convention . . . ." 12 These
obligations are undoubtedly public or governmental in character. Hence, the PNRC
is engaged in the performance of the government's public functions.
Justice Nachura added that, at the very least, the PNRC should be regarded as a
government instrumentality under the 1987 Administrative Code. An
instrumentality "refers to any agency of the National Government not integrated
within the department framework, vested with special functions or jurisdiction by
law, endowed with some if not all corporate powers, administering special funds,
and enjoying operational autonomy, usually through a charter." 13 The PNRC's
organizational attributes, said Justice Nachura, are consistent with this definition.
The dissent then cites the unsettling ripple effect which the main ruling could
create on numerous Court decisions, such as those dealing with the jurisdiction of
the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the authority of the Commission on Audit
(COA). It also noted the absurdity of partially invalidating the PNRC Charter as this
would have the consequence of imposing obligations and providing an operational
framework for a legally non-existing entity.

Justice Nachura finally warns against the PNRC's ultimate demise if it were
regarded as a private corporation. Because of possible violations of the equal
protection clause and penal statutes, the PNRC may no longer be extended tax
exemptions and official immunity or be given any form of support by the National
Government, local government units, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes
Office (PCSO). If the PNRC is consequently obliterated, the Philippines will be
shirking its obligations under the Geneva Conventions. DEcITS
The dissent finally concluded that Sen. Gordon forfeited his Senate seat for
holding two incompatible offices.
Although the main ruling favored Sen. Gordon, he filed a motion for clarification
and reconsideration of the Court's decision. 14 He said that the Court decided the
case beyond what was necessary, considering that the parties never raised the
constitutionality of the PNRC Charter as an issue. He invoked the rule that the
Court will not pass upon a constitutional issue unless it is the very lis mota of the
case or if it can be disposed of on some other ground. Since the Court held that
Liban, et al., had no personality to file the petition, the Court should have simply
refrained from delving into the constitutionality of the PNRC Charter. Sen. Gordon
thus submits that the Court should regard the declaration of unconstitutionality of
the PNRC Charter obiter dictum.
Liban, et al., also filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's decision,
essentially adopting the thesis of Justice Nachura. 15

Subsequently, the PNRC, which was not a party to the case, sought to intervene
and filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's decision. 16 It claimed that,
although the Court annulled its very existence, it did not give the PNRC the
chance to defend itself and prove the validity of its creation. The PNRC pointed
out that P.D. 1264 and 1643 completely repealed R.A. 95. Consequently, the PNRC
no longer owed its creation to Congress but to President Marcos pursuant to his
power of executive legislation. The constitutional bar is on Congress.
As for its organizational nature, the PNRC asserts that it is neither a private nor a
government corporation but a sui generis entity, a unique being with no
equivalent in corporate organizations. While the PNRC performs certain public
services, its neutrality and independence would be compromised if it were to be
deemed as a government-owned corporation or instrumentality. Besides, it is in
fact neither owned nor controlled by the government.
The PNRC also stressed that, although it has private characteristics, it was not
created for profit or gain but in compliance with treaty obligations under the
Geneva Conventions. As such, it is an auxiliary of government in the performance
of humanitarian functions under international law.
To support its stand that it is a sui generis entity, the PNRC submitted a position
paper 17 prepared by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (the Federation) explaining the specific nature of National Societies like
the PNRC.

There is a need to examine the Court's decision in this case considering its far
reaching effects. Allowing such decision to stand will create innumerable mischief
that would hamper the PNRC's operations. With a void juridical personality, it
cannot open a bank account, issue tax-exempt receipts for donations, or enter
into contracts for delivery of rescue reliefs like blood, medicine, and food. Its
officers would be exposed to suits in their personal capacities. The validity of its
past transactions would be open to scrutiny and challenge. Neither the country
nor the PNRC needs this.
FIRST. Congress created the PNRC to comply with the country's commitments
under the Geneva Conventions. The treaties envisioned the establishment in each
country of a voluntary organization that would assist in caring for the wounded
and sick of the armed forces during times of armed conflict. Upon proclaiming its
adherence to the Geneva Conventions, the Republic of the Philippines forthwith
created the PNRC for the purpose contemplated by the treaties. Its creation was
not privately motivated, but borne of the Republic's observance of treaty
obligations. The "whereas clause" of P.D. 1643 or the revised PNRC Charter lays
down this basic premise:
xxx xxx xxx
WHEREAS, more than one hundred forty nations of the world
have ratified or adhered to the Geneva Conventions of August
12, 1949 for the Amelioration of the Condition of the
Wounded and Sick of Armed Forces and at Sea, The Prisoners

of War, and The Civilian Population in Time of War referred to


in this Charter as the Geneva Conventions; ESCacI
WHEREAS, the Republic of the Philippines became an
independent nation on July 4, 1946, and proclaimed on
February 14, 1947 its adherence to the Geneva Conventions
of 1929, and by the action, indicated its desire to participate
with the nations of the world in mitigating the suffering
caused by war and to establish in the Philippines a voluntary
organization for that purpose as contemplated by the Geneva
Conventions;
xxx xxx xxx
It is thus evident that the PNRC's creation derived primarily from the Geneva
Conventions. When Congress created the PNRC, it did not intend to form either a
private or government-owned corporation with the usual powers and attributes
that such entities might possess. Rather, it set out to form an organization that
would be responsive to the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. Section 1 of
the PNRC Charter thus provides:
SECTION 1. There is hereby created in the Republic of the
Philippines a body corporate and politic to be the voluntary
organization officially designated to assist the Republic of the
Philippines in discharging the obligations set forth in the
Geneva Conventions and to perform such other duties as are

inherent upon a national Red Cross Society. The national


headquarters of this Corporation shall be located in
Metropolitan Manila.
As a voluntary organization tasked to assist the Republic in fulfilling its
commitments under the Geneva Conventions, the PNRC is imbued with
characteristics that ordinary private or government organizations do not possess.
Its charter's direct reference to the Geneva Conventions gives the PNRC a special
status in relation to governments of any form, as well as a unique place in
international humanitarian law. 18 Since the impetus for the PNRC's creation
draws from the country's adherence to the treaties, it is in this context that its
organizational nature should be viewed and understood.
SECOND. The PNRC is a National Society of the Red Cross Movement and is
recognized by both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The PNRC is
regarded as a component of the Movement with concomitant rights and
obligations under international humanitarian law. Its status as a recognized
National Society has imbued it with attributes that ordinary private corporations
or government entities do not possess. It is a sui generis entity that has no
precise legal equivalent under our statutes.
The PNRC is not an ordinary private corporation within the meaning of the
Corporation Code. As stated earlier, its creation was not privately motivated but
originated from the State's obligation to comply with international law. The State
organized the PNRC to assist it in discharging its commitments under the Geneva

Conventions as an "auxiliary of the public authorities in the humanitarian


field." 19 It was not established by private individuals for profit or gain, but by the
State itself pursuant to the objectives of international humanitarian law.
The PNRC is not an ordinary charitable organization, foundation, or nongovernmental organization (NGO). As a component of the international Movement,
it enjoys protection not afforded to any charitable organization or NGO under the
Geneva Conventions. For instance, Articles 24 and 26 of the First Geneva
Convention vests National Society personnel with the same status as the armed
forces medical services in times of armed conflict, subject to certain conditions.
Also, only recognized National Societies enjoy exclusive use of the protective red
cross emblem in conformity with the treaties. 20 National Societies like the PNRC
are thus directly regulated by international humanitarian law, unlike
ordinary charitable organizations or NGOs.
The PNRC also has rights and obligations under international humanitarian law
that ordinary charitable organizations and NGOs do not have. Foremost of these
rights is the privilege to participate as a full member in the International
Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, in which States also participate as
members pursuant to the Geneva Conventions. 21 States Parties and all
components of the Movement attend the conference to discuss humanitarian
matters on equal footing.22 No other organization has this exceptional privilege
in relation to a State.
Significantly, both States Parties and the Movement's components adopt the
Statutes of the Movement during the conference held every four (4) years. 23 The

Statutes underscore the special relationship that National Societies have in


relation to the State. Article 2 of the Statutes lays down reciprocal rights and
obligations between States Parties to the Geneva Conventions and the National
Societies, thus: TEAcCD
1.The States Parties to the Geneva Conventions cooperate
with the components of the Movement in accordance
with these Conventions, the present Statutes and the
resolutions of the International Conference.
2.Each State shall promote the establishment on its territory
of a National Society and encourage its development.
3.The States, in particular those which have recognized the
National Society constituted on their territory, support,
whenever possible, the work of the components of the
Movement. The same components, in their turn and in
accordance with their respective statutes, support as far
as possible humanitarian activities of the States.
4.The States shall at all times respect the adherence by all
components of the Movement to the Fundamental
Principles.
5.The implementation of the present Statutes by the
components of the Movement shall not affect the

sovereignty of States, with due respect for the


provisions of international humanitarian law.
As can be seen, therefore, the PNRC is unlike ordinary charitable organizations or
NGOs in many respects due to the distinct features it directly derives from
international law. Although it is a local creation, it was so organized as a national
Red Cross Society with direct reference to the Geneva Conventions. The PNRC was
explicitly "designated as the organization which is authorized to act in matters of
relief under said Convention." 24 Consequently, its organizational status cannot
be assessed independently of the treaties that prompted its establishment.
The PNRC cannot also be regarded as a government corporation or
instrumentality. To begin with, it is not owned or controlled by the government or
part of the government machinery. The conditions for its recognition as a National
Society also militate against its classification as a government entity. Article 4 (4)
of the Statutes requires a National Society to "(h)ave an autonomous status which
allows it to operate in conformity with the Fundamental Principles of the
Movement."
Thus, a National Society must maintain its impartiality, neutrality, and
independence. In its mission "to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever
it may be found," it must make "no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious
beliefs, class or political opinions." It must enjoy the confidence of all and not take
sides in hostilities or controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological
nature. 25 It cannot be seen, therefore, as an instrument of the State or under
governmental control.

The Statutes require, however, that a National Society like the PNRC "(b)e duly
recognized by the legal government of its country on the basis of the Geneva
Conventions and of the national legislation as a voluntary aid
society, auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian
field." 26 This signifies a partnership with government in implementing State
obligations based on international humanitarian law. 27
The status of being an "auxiliary" of government in the humanitarian field is a
precondition to a National Society's existence and recognition as a component of
the Movement. In its position paper, the Federation explained that the status of
auxiliary "means that it is at one and the same time a private institution and a
public service organization because the very nature of its work implies
cooperation with the authorities, a link with the State." In other words, the status
confers upon the PNRC the duty to be the government's humanitarian partner
while, at the same time, remaining independent and free from government
intervention. As a recognized National Society, the PNRC must be autonomous,
even as it assists government in the discharge of its humanitarian
obligations. IcHEaA
Notably, the PNRC Charter is also reflective of the organization's dual nature. It
does not only vest the PNRC with corporate powers, but imposes upon it duties
related to the performance of government functions. Under Section 1 of the
charter, the PNRC is "officially designated to assist the Republic of the Philippines
in discharging the obligations set forth in the Geneva Conventions." As such, it is
obligated "to provide volunteer aid to the sick and wounded of the armed forces in

time of war" and "to perform all duties devolving upon the Corporation as a result
of the adherence of the Republic of the Philippines to the said Convention."
Moreover, the charter clearly established the PNRC as a National Red Cross
Society pursuant to the treaties and Statutes of the Movement. It was authorized
"to act in such matters between similar national societies of other governments
and the governments and people and the Armed Forces of the Republic of the
Philippines." The PNRC was to establish and maintain a system of national and
international relief and to apply the same in meeting natural disasters, all in the
spirit of the Geneva Conventions.
In the pursuit of its humanitarian tasks, the PNRC was thus granted the power of
perpetual succession, the capacity to sue and be sued, and the power to hold real
and personal property. It was authorized to adopt a seal, but was given exclusive
use of the Red Cross emblem and badge in accordance with the treaties. It may
likewise adopt by-laws and regulations and do all acts necessary to carry its
purposes into effect.
The PNRC is financed primarily by contributions obtained through solicitation
campaigns and private donations. And yet, it is required to submit to the President
of the Philippines an annual report of its activities including its financial condition,
receipts and disbursements. It is allotted one annual national lottery draw and is
exempt from taxes, duties, and fees on importations and purchases, as well as on
donations for its disaster relief work and other services.

Consequently, the PNRC cannot be classified as either a purely private or


government entity. It is a hybrid organization that derives certain peculiarities
from international humanitarian law. For this reason, its organizational character
does not fit the parameters provided by either the Corporation Code or
Administrative Code. It is a sui generis entity that draws its nature from the
Geneva Conventions, the Statutes of the Movement and the law creating it.
THIRD. The Constitution does not preclude the creation of corporations that may
neither be classified as private nor governmental. Sec. 7, Article XIV of the 1935
Constitution, which was carried over in subsequent versions of the fundamental
law, does not prohibit Congress from creating other types of organizations that
may not fall strictly within the terms of what is deemed a private or government
corporation. The Constitution simply provides that Congress cannot
create private corporations, except by general law, unless such corporations
are owned or controlled by the government. It does not forbid Congress from
creating organizations that do not belong to these two general types.
In Feliciano v. Commission on Audit, 28 the Court explained that the purpose of
the ban against the creation of private corporations by special charter is to
prevent the grant to certain individuals, families, or groups of special privileges
that are denied to other citizens. The creation of the PNRC does not traverse the
purpose of the prohibition, as Congress established the PNRC to comply with State
obligations under international law. The PNRC Charter is simply a manifestation of
the State's adherence to the Geneva Conventions. By enacting the PNRC Charter,

Congress merely implemented the will of the State to join other nations of the
world in the humanitarian cause.
The special status of the PNRC under international humanitarian law justifies the
special manner of its creation. The State itself committed the PNRC's formation to
the community of nations, and no less than an act of Congress should be deemed
sufficient compliance with such an obligation. To require the PNRC to incorporate
under the general law is to disregard its unique standing under international
conventions. It also ignores the very basic premise for the PNRC's creation.
FOURTH. The main issue in this case is whether or not the office of PNRC
Chairman is a government office or an office in a GOCC for purposes of the
prohibition in Section 13, Article VI of the Constitution. The resolution of this
question lies in the determination of whether or not the PNRC is in fact a GOCC. As
explained earlier, the PNRC is not a GOCC, but a sui generis entity that has no
legal equivalent under any of our statutes. Consequently, Senator Gordon did not
forfeit his Senate seat under the constitutional prohibition. ECDAcS
In view of the PNRC's sui generis character, the Court need not even dwell on the
issue of whether or not the PNRC Charter was validly enacted. Congress is
proscribed only from creating private corporations which, as demonstrated, the
PNRC is not. The issue of constitutionality was not raised by any of the original
parties and could have been avoided in the first place. Neither was the PNRC a
party to the case, despite being the entity whose creation was declared void
under the main decision.

Finally, the sui generis character of the PNRC does not necessarily overturn the
rulings of the Court in Camporedondo and Baluyot. The PNRC's exceptional nature
admits of the conclusions reached in those cases that the PNRC is a GOCC for the
purpose of enforcement of labor laws and penal statutes. The PNRC's sui
generischaracter compels us to approach controversies involving the PNRC on a
case-to-case basis, bearing in mind its distinct nature, purposes and special
functions. Rules that govern traditional private or public entities may thus be
adjusted in relation to the PNRC and in accordance with the circumstances of each
case.
ACCORDINGLY, I concur in the decision written for the majority by Justice Teresita
J. Leonardo-De Castro.
||| (Liban v. Gordon, G.R. No. 175352, [January 18, 2011], 654 PHIL 680-738)

153. Puyat v De guzman

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 51122. March 25, 1982.]
EUGENIO J. PUYAT, ERWIN L. CHIONGBIAN, EDGARDO P. REYES,
ANTONIO G. PUYAT, JAIME R. BLANCO, RAFAEL R. RECTO, and
REYNALDO L. LARDIZABAL,petitioners, vs. HON. SIXTO T. J. DE
GUZMAN, JR., as Associate Commissioner of the Securities &
Exchange
VILDZIUS,

Commission,
ENRIQUE

EUSTAQUIO

M.

BELO,

T.

C.

MANUEL

ACERO,
G.

R.G.

ABELLO,

SERVILLANO DOLINA, JUANITO MERCADO, and ESTANISLAO A.


FERNANDEZ, respondents.

SYNOPSIS
In an election for the eleven Directors of the International Pipe Industries
Corporation (IPI), the Puyat Group won six seats to gain control of the Board and
of the management of the company. The Acero Group which won only five seats,
questioned the said election in a quo warranto proceeding filed with the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) wherein they claimed that the stockholders'

votes were not properly counted. In the said case, Assemblyman Estanislao
Fernandez, then member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa, orally entered his
appearance as counsel for respondent Acero to which the Puyat Group objected
on constitutional grounds, thus discouraging Assemblyman Fernandez from
further appearing therein as counsel. Subsequently, however, Assemblyman
Fernandez acquired P200.00 worth of stock in the subject company representing
ten (10) shares out of 262,843 outstanding shares, on the basis of which he filed
an Urgent Motion for Intervention in the SEC Case alleging legal interest therein.
The respondent Associate Commissioner of the SEC granted leave to intervene on
the basis of Atty. Fernandez ownership of the said ten shares. Hence, this petition.
The Supreme Court, finding that under the facts and circumstances, there had
been an indirect "appearance as counsel before any administrative body" which is
a circumvention of the prohibition under Section 11, Article VIII, of the 1973
Constitution, held that the intervention of Assemblyman Fernandez in the
Securities and Exchange Commission case falls within the ambit of the said
constitutional prohibition.
Petition granted. Questioned order, reversed and set aside.

SYLLABUS
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SECTION 11, ARTICLE VIII OF THE 1973 CONSTITUTION;
ASSEMBLYMEN

PROHIBITED

FROM

APPEARING

AS

COUNSEL

BEFORE

ANY

ADMINISTRATIVE BODY; CIRCUMSTANCES IN CASE AT BAR WARRANTING A


FINDING THAT RESPONDENT ASSEMBLYMAN'S INTERVENTION IN CASE BEFORE

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION CONSTITUTE INDIRECT APPEARANCE AS


COUNSEL BEFORE AN ADMINISTRATIVE BODY. Certain salient circumstances
militate against the intervention of Assemblyman Estanislao Fernandez in the quo
warranto case filed before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He had
acquired a mere P200.00 worth of stock in the subject company, representing ten
(10) shares out of 262,843 outstanding shares. He acquired them "after the fact,"
that is, on May 30, 1979, after the contested election of Directors on May 14,
1979, after the quo warranto suit had been filed on May 25, 1979 before the SEC
on May 31, 1979. And what is more, before he moved to intervene, he had
signified his intention to appear as counsel for respondent Eustaquio T. C. Acero,
but which was objected to by petitioners. Realizing perhaps, the validity of the
objection, he decided, instead, to "intervene" on the ground of legal interest in the
matter under litigation. And it may be noted that in the case filed before the Rizal
Court of First Instance (L-51928), he appeared as counsel for defendant Excelsior,
co-defendant of respondent Acero therein. Under those facts and circumstances,
we are constrained to find that there has been an indirect "appearance as counsel
before . . . any administrative body" and in our opinion, that is a circumvention of
the prohibition contained in Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution. That
which the Constitution directly prohibits may not be done by indirection or by a
general legislative act which is intended to accomplish the objects specifically or
implied prohibited. (Am. Digest, 2d Dicennial Ed., Vol. 5, citing Atkinson vs. Board,
etc., 108 P1046.)

DECISION

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J p:
This suit for Certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction is poised against
the Order of respondent Associate Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) granting Assemblyman Estanislao A. Fernandez leave to
intervene in SEC Case No. 1747.
A question of novel import is in issue. For its resolution, the following dates and
allegations are being given and made:
a) May 14, 1979. An election for the eleven Directors of the International Pipe
Industries Corporation (IPI) a private corporation, was held. Those in charge ruled
that the following were elected as Directors:
Eugenio J. Puyat Eustaquio T.C. Acero
Erwin L. Chiongban R. G. Vildzius
Edgardo P. Reyes Enrique M. Belo
Antonio G. Puyat Servillano Dolina
Jaime R. Blanco Juanito Mercado
Rafael R. Recto
Those named on the left list may be called the Puyat Group; those on the right,
the Acero Group. Thus, the Puyat Group would be in control of the Board and of
the management of IPI.
b) May 25, 1979. The Acero Group instituted at the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) quo warranto proceedings, docketed as Case No. 1747 (the

SEC Case), questioning the election of May 14, 1979. The Acero Group claimed
that the stockholders' votes were not properly counted.
c) May 25-31, 1979. The Puyat Group claims that at conferences of the parties
with respondent SEC Commissioner de Guzman, Justice Estanislao A. Fernandez
then a member of the Interim Batasang Pambansa, orally entered his appearance
as counsel for respondent Acero to which the Puyat Group objected on
Constitutional grounds. Section 11, Article VIII, of the 1973 Constitution, then in
force, provided that no Assemblyman could "appear as counsel before . . . any
administrative body," and SEC was an administrative body. Incidentally, the same
prohibition

was

maintained

by

the

April

7,

1981

plebiscite.

The

cited

Constitutional prohibition, being clear, Assemblyman Fernandez did not continue


his appearance for respondent Acero.
d) May 31, 1979. When the SEC Case was called, it turned out that:
(i) On May 15, 1979, Assemblyman Estanislao A. Fernandez had
purchased from Augusto A. Morales ten (10) shares of stock of IPI for
P200.00 upon request of respondent Acero to qualify him to run for
election as a Director.
(ii) The deed of sale, however, was notarized only on May 30, 1979
and was sought to be registered on said date.
(iii) On May 31, 1979, the day following the notarization of
Assemblyman Fernandez' purchase, the latter had filed an Urgent

Motion for Intervention in the SEC Case as the owner of ten (10) IPI
shares alleging legal interest in the matter in litigation.
e) July 17, 1979. The SEC granted leave to intervene on the basis of Atty.
Fernandez' ownership of the said ten shares. 1 It is this Order allowing
intervention that precipitated the instant petition for Certiorari and Prohibition
with Preliminary Injunction.
f) July 3, 1979. Edgardo P. Reyes instituted a case before the Court of First
Instance of Rizal (Pasig), Branch XXI, against N.V. Verenigde Buinzefabrieken
Excelsior-De Maas and respondent Eustaquio T.C. Acero and others, to annul the
sale of Excelsior's shares in the IPI to respondent Acero (CC No. 33739). In that
case, Assemblyman Fernandez appeared as counsel for defendant Excelsior. In L51928, we ruled that Assemblyman Fernandez could not appear as counsel in a
case originally filed with a Court of First Instance as in such situation the Court
would be one "without appellate jurisdiction."
On September 4, 1979, the Court en banc issued a temporary Restraining Order
enjoining respondent SEC Associate Commissioner from allowing the participation
as an intervenor, of respondent Assemblyman Estanislao Fernandez at the
proceedings in the SEC Case.
The Solicitor General, in his Comment for respondent Commissioner, supports the
stand of the latter in allowing intervention. The Court en banc, on November 6,
1979, resolved to consider the Comment as an Answer to the Petition.

The issue which will be resolved is whether or not Assemblyman Fernandez, as a


then stockholder of IPI, may intervene in the SEC Case without violating Section
11, Article VIII of the Constitution, which, as amended, now reads:
"SEC 11.
No Member of the Batasang Pambansa shall appear as counsel before
any court without appellate jurisdiction,
before any court in any civil case wherein the Government, or any
subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof is the adverse party,
or in any criminal case wherein any officer or employee of the
Government is accused of an offense committed in relation to his
office,
or before any administrative body.
Neither shall be, directly or indirectly be interested financially in any
contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the
Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof,
including any government-owned or controlled corporation, during his
term of office.
He shall not accept employment to intervene in any cause or matter
where he may be called to act on account of his office. (Emphasis and
paragraphs supplied).

What really has to be resolved is whether or not in intervening in the SEC Case,
Assemblyman Fernandez is, in effect, appearing as counsel, albeit indirectly,
before an administrative body in contravention of the Constitution provision.
Ordinarily, by virtue of the Motion for Intervention, Assemblyman Fernandez
cannot be said to be appearing as counsel. Ostensibly, he is not appearing on
behalf of another, although he is not joining the cause of private respondents. His
appearance could theoretically be for the protection of his ownership of ten (10)
shares of IPI in respect of the matter in litigation and not for the protection of the
petitioners nor respondents who have their respective capable and respected
counsel.
However, certain salient circumstances militate against the intervention of
Assemblyman Fernandez in the SEC Case. He had acquired a mere P200.00 worth
of stock in IPI, representing ten shares out of 262,843 outstanding shares. He
acquired them "after the fact," that is, on May 30, 1979, after the contested
election of Directors on May 14, 1979, after the quo warranto suit had been filed
on May 25, 1979 before SEC and one day before the scheduled hearing of the
case before the SEC on May 31, 1979. And what is more, before he moved to
intervene, he had signified his intention to appear as counsel for respondent
Eustaquio T. C. Acero, 2 but which was objected to by petitioners. Realizing,
perhaps, the validity of the objection, he decided, instead, to "intervene" on the
ground of legal interest in the matter under litigation. And it may be noted that in
the case filed before the Rizal Court of First Instance (L-51928), he appeared as
counsel for defendant Excelsior, co-defendant of respondent Acero therein.

Under those facts and circumstances, we are constrained to find that there has
been an indirect "appearance as counsel before . . . any administrative body and,
in our opinion, that is a circumvention of the Constitutional prohibition. The
"intervention" was an afterthought to enable him to appear actively in the
proceedings in some other capacity. To believe the avowed purpose, that is, to
enable him eventually to vote and to be elected as Director in the event of an
unfavorable outcome of the SEC Case would be pure naivete. He would still
appear as counsel indirectly.
A ruling upholding the "intervention" would make the constitutional provision
ineffective. All an Assemblyman need do, if he wants to influence an
administrative body is to acquire a minimal participation in the "interest" of the
client

and

then

"intervene"

in

the

proceedings.

That

which

the Constitution directly prohibits may not be done by indirection or by a general


legislative act which is intended to accomplish the objects specifically or impliedly
prohibited. 3
In brief, we hold that the intervention of Assemblyman Fernandez in SEC No. 1747
falls within the ambit of the prohibition contained in Section 11, Article VIII of
the Constitution.
Our resolution of this case should not be construed as, absent the question of the
constitutional prohibition against members of the Batasan, allowing any
stockholder, or any number of stockholders, in a corporation to intervene in any

controversy before the SEC relating to intra-corporate matters. A resolution of that


question is not necessary in this case.
WHEREFORE, respondent Commissioner's Order granting Atty. Estanislao A.
Fernandez leave to intervene in SEC Case No. 1747 is hereby reversed and set
aside. The temporary Restraining Order heretofore issued is hereby made
permanent.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Concepcion Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero, Abad
Santos, De Castro, Ericta, Plana and Escolin, JJ., concur.
Barredo, J., reserves his vote.
Aquino, J., took no part.
||| (Puyat v. De Guzman, Jr., G.R. No. 51122, [March 25, 1982], 198 PHIL 420-427)
154. Avelino V Cuenco
[G.R. No. L-2821. March 4, 1949.]
JOSE AVELINO, petitioner, vs. MARIANO J. CUENCO, respondent.

Vicente J. Francisco for petitioner.


Solicitor General Felix Angelo Bautista, Ramon Diokno and Lorenzo M.
Taada for respondent.

Teehankee, Fernando, Sunico & Rodrigo; Vera, Montesines & Navarro;


Felixberto M. Serrano and Vicente del Rosario as amici curiae.

SYLLABUS
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; SEPARATION OF POWERS; SUPREME COURT HAS
NO JURISDICTION OVER SENATE CONTROVERSY FOR SELECTION OF PRESIDING
OFFICER. The subject matter of this quo warranto proceeding to declare
petitioner the rightful President of the Philippines Senate and oust respondent
is not within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, in view of the separation
of powers, the political nature of the controversy (Alejandrino vs. Quezon 46
Phil., 83., 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. The selection of the presiding officer of the Philippine Senate affects
only the senators themselves who are at liberty at any time to choose their
officers, change or reinstate them.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; CONSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL LAW; SEPARATION OF
POWERS; WHEN MAY SUPREME COURT ASSUME JURISDICTION OVER SENATE
CONTROVERSY FOR SELECTION OF PRESIDING OFFICER. The Supreme Court
assumed jurisdiction over this quo warranto proceeding, in the light of events
subsequent to the original resolution.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; QUORUM OF PHILIPPINE SENATE. The Court held that
there was a quorum in the session of the Philippine Senate (composed of
twenty-four Senators being in the United States.

RESOLUTION

In G. R. No. L-2821, Avelino vs. Cuenco, the Court by a vote of six justices
against four resolved to deny the petition.
Without prejudice to the promulgation of a more extended opinion, this is
now written briefly to explain the principal grounds for the denial.
The Court believes the following essential facts have been established:
In the session of the Senate of February 18, 1949, Senator Lorenzo M.
Taada requested that his right to speak on the floor on the next session day,
February 21, 1949, to formulate charges against the then Senate President Jose
Avelino be reserved. His request was approved.
On February 21, 1949, hours before the opening of the session Senator
Taada and Senator Prospero Sanidad filed with the Secretary of the Senate a
resolution enumerating charges against the then Senate President and ordering
the investigation thereof.
Although a sufficient number of senators to constitute a quorum were at
the Senate session hall at the appointed time (10:00 A. M.), and the petitioner
was already in his office, said petitioner delayed his appearance at the session
hall until about 11:35 A. M. When he finally ascended the rostrum, he did not
immediately open the session, but instead requested from the Secretary a copy
of the resolution submitted by Senators Taada and Sanidad and in the
presence of the public he read slowly and carefully said resolution, after which
he called and conferred with his colleagues Senators Francisco and Tirona.

Shortly before 12:00 noon, due to the insistent requests of Senators


Sanidad and Cuenco that the session be opened, the petitioner finally called
the meeting to order. Except Senator Sotto who was confined in a hospital and
Senator Confesor who is in the United States, all the Senators were present.
Senator Sanidad, following a long established practice, moved that the
roll call be dispensed with, but Senator Tirona opposed said motion, obviously
in pursuance of a premeditated plan of petitioner and his partisans to make use
of dilatory tactics to prevent Senator Taada from delivering his privilege
speech. The roll was called.
Senator Sanidad next moved, as is the usual practice, to dispense with
the reading of the minutes, but this motion was likewise opposed by Senators
Tirona and David, evidently, again, in pursuance of the above-mentioned
conspiracy.
Before and after the roll call and before and after the reading of the
minutes, Senator Taada repeatedly stood up to claim his right to deliver his
one-hour privilege speech but the petitioner, then presiding, continuously
ignored him; and when after the reading of the minutes, Senator Taada
insisted on being recognized by the Chair, the petitioner announced that he
would order the arrest of any senator who would speak without being
previously recognized by him, but all the while, tolerating the actions of his
follower, Senator Tirona, who was continuously shouting at Senator Sanidad
"Out of order!" everytime the latter would ask for recognition of Senator
Taada.

At this juncture, some disorderly conduct broke out in the Senate gallery,
as if by pre-arrangement. At about this same time Senator Pablo Angeles
David, one of the petitioner's followers, was recognized by petitioner, and he
moved for adjournment of session, evidently, again, in pursuance of the abovementioned conspiracy to muzzle Senator Taada.
Senator Sanidad registered his opposition to the adjournment of the
session and this opposition was seconded by herein respondent who moved
that the motion of adjournment be submitted to a vote. Another commotion
ensued.
Senator David reiterated his motion for adjournment and herein
respondent also reiterated his opposition to the adjournment and again moved
that the motion of Senator David be submitted to a vote.
Suddenly, the petitioner banged the gavel and abandoning the Chair
hurriedly walked out of the session hall followed by Senators David, Tirona,
Francisco, Torres, Magalona and Clarin, while the rest of the senators remained.
Whereupon Senator Melecio Arranz, Senate President Pro-tempore, urged by
those senators present took the Chair and proceeded with the session.
Senator Cabili stood up, and asked that it be made of record it was so
made that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made
it incumbent upon Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz and the remaining
members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to paralyze the
functions of the Senate. Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz then suggested

that respondent be designated to preside over the session, which suggestion


was carried unanimously. The respondent thereupon took the Chair.
Upon motion of Senator Arranz, which was approved, Gregorio Abad was
appointed Acting Secretary, because the Assistant Secretary, who was then
acting as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the latter abandoned the
session.
Senator Taada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally able
to deliver his privilege speech. Thereafter Senator Sanidad read aloud the
complete text of said Resolution (No. 68), and submitted his motion for
approval thereof and the same was unanimously approved.
With Senate President Pro-Tempore Arranz again occupying the Chair,
after the respondent had yielded it to him, Senator Sanidad introduced
Resolution No. 67, entitled "Resolution declaring vacant the position of the
President of the Senate and designating the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco
Acting President of the Senate." Put to a vote, the said resolution was
unanimously approved.
Senator Cuenco took the oath.
The next day the President of the Philippines recognized the respondent
as acting president of the Philippine Senate.
By his petition in this quo warranto proceeding petitioner asks the Court
to declare him the rightful President of the Philippine Senate and oust
respondent.

The Court has examined all principal angles of the controversy and
believes that these are the crucial points:
a. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the subject-matter?
b. If it has, were resolutions Nos. 68 and 67 validly approved?
c. Should the petition be granted?
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 allegedly affected without any
immediate remedy. A fortiori we 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.
The Court will not sally into the legitimate domain of the Senate on the
plea that our refusal to intercede might lead into a crisis, even a revolution. No
state of things has been proved that might change the temper of the Filipino
people as a peaceful and law-abiding citizens. And we should not allow

ourselves to be stampeded into a rash action inconsistent with the calm that
should characterize judicial deliberations.
The precedent of Werts vs. Rogers does not apply, because among other
reasons, the situation is not where two sets of senators have constituted
themselves into two senates actually functioning as such, (as in the said Werts
case), there being no question that there is presently one Philippine Senate
only. To their credit be it recorded that petitioner and his partisans have not
erected themselves into another Senate. The petitioner's claim is merely that
respondent has not been duly elected in his place in the same one Philippine
Senate.
It is furthermore believed that the recognition accorded by the Chief
Executive to the respondent makes it adviseable, more than ever, to adopt the
hands-off policy wisely enunciated by this Court in matters of similar nature.

The second question depends upon these sub-questions. (1) Was the
session of the so-called rump Senate a continuation of the session validly
assembled with twenty two Senators in the morning of February 21, 1949?; (2)
Was there a quorum in that session? Mr. Justice Montemayor and Mr. Justice
Reyes deem it useless, for the present to pass on these questions once it is
held, as they do, that the Court has no jurisdiction over the case. What follows
is the opinion of the other four on those subquestions.
Supposing that the Court has jurisdiction, 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 may not, by leaving the Hall,
prevent the other 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.
If the rump session was not a continuation of the morning session, was it
validly constituted? In other words, was there the majority required by the
Constitution for the transaction of the business of the Senate? Justices Paras,
Feria, Pablo and Bengzon say there was, firstly because the minutes say so,
secondly, because at the beginning of such session there were at least fourteen
senators including Senators Pendatun and Lopez, and thirdly because in view of
the absence from the country of Senator Tomas Confesor 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". (Missouri Pac. vs. Kansas, 63 Law ed. [U.
S.], p. 239). 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. Mr. Justice Pablo believes furthermore that 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.

In fine, all the four justices 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 amendable 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.
As already stated, the six justices hereinabove mentioned voted to
dismiss the petition. Without costs.

Separate Opinions
MORAN, C. J., concurring in part and dissenting in part:
I believe that this Court has jurisdiction over the case. 1 The present crisis
in the Senate is one that imperatively calls for the intervention of this Court.
Respondent Cuenco cannot invoke the doctrine of noninterference by the
courts with the Senate because the legal capacity of his group of twelve
senators to act as a senate is being challenged by petitioner on the ground of

lack of quorum (Attorney General ex rel. Werts vs. Rogers et al., 28 Atl. 726; 23
L. R. A., 354). If this group is found sufficient to constitute a quorum under the
Constitution, then its proceedings should be free from interference. But if it is
not possessed of a valid quorum, then its proceedings should be voided.
The issue as to the legal capacity of the Cuenco group to act as a senate
cannot be considered a political question the determination of which devolves
exclusively upon the Senate. That issue involves a constitutional question
which cannot be validly decided either by the Cuenco group or by the Avelino
group separately, for, if the Cuenco group has no quorum, the Avelino group
has decidedly less. And for obvious reasons, the two groups cannot act
together inasmuch as the members of the Avelino group, possibly to avoid
trouble, do not attend the sessions presided by the respondent believing as
they do that the latter was illegally elected. Upon the other hand, the Cuenco
group believing itself as possessing the constitutional quorum and not desiring
to make any semblance of admission to the contrary, does not find it
convenient to compel the attendance of any senator of the Avelino group. Then
the question arises who will decide the conflict between the two groups?
This anomalous situation will continue while the conflict remains unsettled, and
the conflict will remain unsettled while this Court refuses to intervene. In the
meantime, the validity of all the laws, resolutions and other measures which
may be passed by the Cuenco group will be open to doubt because of an
alleged lack of quorum in the body which authored them. This doubt may
extend, in diverse forms, to the House of Representatives and to the other
agencies of the government such as the Auditor General's Office. Thus, a

general situation of uncertainty, pregnant with grave dangers, is developing


into confusion and chaos with severe harm to the nation. This situation may, to
a large extent, be stopped and constitutional processes may be restored in the
Senate if only this Court, as the guardian of the Constitution, were to
pronounce the final word on the constitutional mandate governing the existing
conflict between the two groups. And, in my opinion, under the present
circumstances, this Court has no other alternative but to meet the challenge of
the situation which demands the utmost of judicial temper and judicial
statesmanship. As hereinbefore stated, the present crisis in the Senate is one
that imperative]y calls for the intervention of this Court.
As to the legality of respondent's election as acting President of the
Senate, 2 I firmly believe that although petitioner's adjournment of the session
of February 21, 1949, was illegal, such illegality cannot be countered with
another illegality. The session wherein respondent was elected as acting
President of the Senate was illegal because when Senator Mabanag raised the
question of a quorum and the roll was called, only twelve senators were
present. In the Philippines there are twenty-four senators, and therefore, the
quorum must be thirteen. The authorities on the matter are clear.
"The constitution of our state ordains that a majority of each
house shall constitute a quorum. The house of representatives
consists of 125 members; 63 is a majority and a quorum. When a
majority or quorum are present, the house can do business; not
otherwise. A quorum possessed all the powers of the whole body, a

majority of which quorum must, of course, govern." (In re Gunn, 50


Kan., 155; 32 P., 470, 476; 19 L. R. A., 519.)
"Quorum as used in U. S. C. A. Const. Art. 4, sec. 8, providing
that a majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do
business, is, for the purposes of the Assembly, not less than the
majority of the whole number of which the house may be composed.
Vacancies from death, resignation or failure to elect cannot be
deducted in ascertaining the quorum." (Opinion of Justices, 12 Fla.
653.)
"The general rule is that a quorum is a majority of all the
members and a majority of this majority may legislate and do the
work of the whole." (State vs. Ellington 117 N. C., 158; 23 S. E., 250252, 30 L. R. A., 532; 53 Am. SR., 580.)
". . . a majority of each House is necessary to transact business,
and a minority cannot transact business, this view being in keeping
with the provision of the Constitution permitting a smaller number
than a quorum to adjourn from day to day merely." (Earp vs. Riley, 40
Okl., 340; 138, P. 164; Ralls vs. Wyand, 40 Okl., 323; 138 P. 158.)
"The Constitution provides that 'a majority of each (house) shall
constitute a quorum to do business.' In other words, when a majority
are present the House is in a position to do business. Its capacity to
transact business is then established, created by the mere presence
of a majority, and does not depend upon the disposition or assent or

action of any single member or faction of the majority present. All


that the Constitution requires is the presence of a majority, and when
that majority are present, the power of the House arises." (U. S. vs.
Ballin, Joseph & Co., 36 Law ed. 321, 325.)
"If all the members of the select body or committee, or if all the agents
are assembled, or if all have been duly notified, and the minority refuse, or
neglect to meet with the others, a majority of those present may act, provided
those present constitute a majority of the whole number. In other words, in
such case, a major part of the whole is necessary to constitute a quorum, and a
majority of the quorum may act. If the major part withdraw so as to leave no
quorum, the power of the minority to act is, in general, considered to cease." (1
Dillon, Mun. Corp. 4th ed., sec. 283.) 3 Therefore, without prejudice to writing a
more extensive opinion, if necessary, I believe that respondent Mariano J.
Cuenco has not been legally elected as acting President of the Senate. It is true
that respondent Cuenco, in fact, must be the Senate President because he
represents the majority of the members now present in Manila, and, at any new
session with a quorum, upon the present senatorial alignment, he will be
elected to said office. But precisely because he is now the master of the
situation, he must win his victory in accordance with the Constitution. It is
absolutely essential in the adolescent life of our Republic to insist, strictly and
uncompromisingly, on the democratic principles consecrated in our
Constitution. By such efforts alone can we insure the future of our political life
as a republican form of government under the sovereignty of a Constitution
from being a mockery.

The situation now in this Court is this there are four members who
believe that there was no quorum in respondent's election as against four other
members who believe that there was such quorum. Two members declined to
render their opinion on the matter because of their refusal to assume
jurisdiction. And, one member is absent from the Philippines. Thus, the
question of whether or not respondent has been legally elected is, to say the
least, doubtful in this Court under the present conditions. This doubt, which
taints the validity of all the laws, resolutions and other measures that the
Cuenco group has passed and may pass in the future, can easily be dispelled
by them by convening a session wherein thirteen senators are present and by
reiterating therein all that has been previously done by them. This is a
suggestion coming from a humble citizen who is watching with a happy heart
the movements of this gallant group of prominent leaders campaigning for a
clean and honest government in this dear country of ours.
PERFECTO, J., dissenting:
In these quo warranto proceedings the question as to who among the
parties is entitled to hold the position of President of the Senate is in issue.
There is no question that up to Monday, February 21, 1949, at the time
the controversial incidents took place, petitioner Jose Avelino was the rightful
occupant of the position. The litigation has arisen because of the opposing
contentions as to petitioner's ouster and as to respondent's election as acting
President of the Senate, on February 21, 1949.

Petitioner contends that the proceedings in which a resolution was passed


declaring the position of President of the Senate vacant and electing
respondent Mariano J. Cuenco as acting President of the Senate were illegal
because, at the time, the session for said day has been properly adjourned, and
the twelve Senators who remained in the session hall had no right to convene
in a rump session, and said rump session lacked quorum, while respondent
contends that the session which was opened by petitioner had not been legally
adjourned, the Senators who remained in the session hall had only continued
the same session, and there was quorum when the position of the President of
the Senate was declared vacant and when respondent was elected as acting
President of the Senate, to fill the vacated position.
Petitioner's version of the facts, as alleged in his petition, is to the effect
that on Monday, February 21, 1949, at the time petitioner opened the session
in the Senate session hall, there were twenty two Senators present who
answered the roll call: Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria
Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatum, Ramon Torres, Enrique
Magalona, Carlos Tan, Olegario Clarin, Melecio Arranz, Mariano Cuenco,
Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo Taada, Vicente Madrigal, Geronima Pecson, Camilo
Osias, Carlos Garcia, Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Mabanag,
and the petitioner Jose Avelino. While the minutes of the preceding session was
being read the crowd of more than 1,000 people who entered the Senate hall to
witness the session, became unruly, the repeated efforts of petitioner as well
as the sergeant-at-arms and other peace officers to maintain peace and order
notwithstanding. Fights and commotions ensued and several shots were fired

among the audience. The Senators who spoke could not be heard because the
spectators would either shout to drown their voices or would demand that
some other Senators should take the floor and be recognized by petitioner.
Pandemonium reigned and it was impossible for the Senate to proceed with its
deliberations free from undue pressure and without grave danger to its
integrity as a body and to the personal safety of the members thereof. Senator
Pablo Angeles David moved for adjournment until Thursday, February 24, 1949.
There being no objection, petitioner adjourned the session until February 24,
1949. Thereupon petitioner and nine other Senators, namely, Vicente J.
Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada
Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, and Olegario Clarin left
the session hall. Senator Melecio Arranz, President Pro- Tempore of the Senate,
went up the rostrum and, assuming the presidency of the chamber, convened
the remaining twelve Senators into a rump session, in which a resolution was
passed declaring vacant the position of the President of the Senate and
electing respondent as President of the Senate. Thereupon respondent
pretended to assume the office of President of the Senate and continues to
pretend to assume said office.
Petitioner alleges five grounds to claim that respondent is usurping or
illegally exercising the office of the President of the Senate: 1. Petitioner had
adjourned the session of the Senate, the adjournment having been properly
moved and, without objection, favorably acted upon; 2. Petitioner had full
power to adjourn the session even without motion under Chapter II, Section 8,
paragraph (e) of the Rules of the Senate; 3. The ordinary daily session having

been adjourned, no other session could be called in the Senate on the same
day; 4. The President Pro-tempore had no authority to assume the presidency
except in the cases specified in Chapter I, section 4 of the Rules of the Senate,
and none of the conditions therein mentioned obtained at the time in question;
and 5. The twelve Senators that convened in the rump session did not
constitute a quorum to do business under the Constitution and the rules of the
Senate, being less than one-half plus one of the twenty four members of the
Senate.
Respondent's version of the events as follows:
"(a) Since Friday, February 18, 1949, when Senator Lorenzo M. Taada
announced and reserved in open session of the Senate that on Monday,
February 21, 1949, he would make use of his one-hour privilege, it was known
that formal charges would be filed against the then Senate President, petitioner
in this case, on said date. Hours before the opening of the session on Monday,
February 21, 1949, Senators Lorenzo M. Taada and Prospero Sanidad
registered in the Office of the Secretary of the Senate a resolution in which
serious charges were preferred against the herein petitioner. A certified copy of
said resolution, marked as Exhibit "1" is hereto attached and made an integral
part hereof:
"(b) Although a sufficient number of senators to constitute a quorum were
at the Senate session hall at and before 10:00 A. M., scheduled time for the
session to begin, and in spite of the fact that the petitioner was already in his

office, said petitioner deliberately delayed his appearance at the session hall
until about 11:30 A. M.;
"(c) When finally the petitioner ascended the rostrum, he did not
immediately open the session, but instead requested from the Secretary a copy
of the resolution submitted by Senators Taada and Sanidad and in the
presence of the public the petitioner read slowly and carefully said resolution,
after which he called and conferred with his followers, Senators Francisco and
Tirona;
"(d) Shortly before 12:00 noon, due to the insistent requests of Senators
Sanidad and Cuenco that the session be opened, the petitioner finally called
the meeting to order;
"(e) Senator Sanidad, following a practice long established in the Senate,
moved that the roll call be dispensed with as it was evident that with the
presence of all the 22 senators who could discharge their functions, there could
be no question of a quorum, but Senator Tirona opposed said motion, evidently
in pursuance of a premeditated plan and conspiracy of petitioner and his
followers to make use of all sorts of dilatory tactics to prevent Senator Taada
from delivering his privilege speech on the charges filed against petitioner. The
roll call affirmatively showed the presence of the following 22 Senators; Vicente
J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David,
Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, Olegario
Clarin, Melecio Arranz, M. Jesus Cuenco, Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo M. Taada,

Vicente Madrigal, Geronima Pecson, Camilo Osias, Carlos Garcia, Ramon


Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Mabanag and Jose Avelino;
"(f) Senator Sanidad next moved, as in the usual practice, to dispense
with the reading of the minutes, but this motion was likewise opposed by
Senators Tirona and David, evidently, again, in pursuance of the abovementioned conspiracy;
"(g) Before and after the roll call and before and after the reading of the
minutes, Senator Taada repeatedly took the floor to claim his right to deliver
his one-hour privilege speech in support of the charges against petitioner, but
the latter, then presiding, continually ignored him; and when after the reading
of the minutes, Senator Taada insisted on being recognized by the Chair, the
petitioner announced that he would order the arrest of any senator who would
speak without being previously recognized by him, but all the while, tolerating
the antics of his follower, Senator Tirona, who was continuously and
vociferously shouting at Senator Sanidad "Out of order! Out of order! Out of
order! . . . " everytime the latter would ask the petitioner to recognize the right
of Senator Taada to speak.
"(h) At this juncture, some disorderly conduct broke out in the Senate
gallery, as if by prearrangement, but the police officers present were able to
maintain order. No shots were fired among the audience, as alleged in the
petition. It was at about this same time that Senator Pablo Angeles David, one
of petitioner's followers, was recognized by petitioner, and he moved for

adjournment of the session, evidently again, in pursuance of the


abovementioned conspiracy to prevent Senator Taada from speaking;
"(i) Senator Sanidad registered his opposition to the adjournment of the
session and this opposition was seconded by herein respondent who moved
that the motion of adjournment be submitted to a vote;

"(j) Senator David reiterated his motion for adjournment and herein
respondent also reiterated his opposition to the adjournment and again moved
that the motion of Senator David be submitted to a vote;
"(k) Suddenly, the petitioner abandoned the Chair and hurriedly walked
out of the session hall.
"(l) Without the session being adjourned, Senators David, Tirona,
Francisco, Torres, Magalona, and Clarin followed the petitioner out of the
session hall, while the rest of the senators, as afore-named in sub-paragraph
(e) hereof, remained to continue the session abandoned by petitioner,
whereupon Senator Melecio Arranz, as Senate Pro- tempore, took the Chair and
proceeded with the session.
"(m) Senator Cabili took the floor and delivered a speech, whereby he
asked that it be made of record as it was in fact so made that the
deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made it incumbent
upon Senate President Pro-Tempore Arranz and the remaining members of the
Senate to continue the session in order not to impede and paralyze the
functions of the Senate;

"(n) Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz then suggested that respondent


be designated to preside over the session, which suggestion was carried
unanimously. The respondent thereupon took the Chair.
"(o) Upon motion of Senator Arranz, which was carried unanimously,
Gregorio Abad was appointed Acting Secretary, as the Assistant Secretary, who
was then acting as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the latter
abandoned the session;
"(p) Senator Taada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally
able to deliver his privilege speech, which took more than two hours, on the
charges against the petitioner contained in the Resolution, attached hereto as
Exhibit "1", and moved for the immediate consideration and approval of said
Resolution. Senator Sanidad reiterated this motion, after having first read aloud
the complete text of said Resolution, and thereafter the same was unanimously
approved;
"(q) With Senate President Pro-Tempore Arranz again occupying the Chair,
after the respondent had yielded it to him, Senator Sanidad introduced
Resolution No. 67, entitled "Resolution declaring vacant the position of the
President of the Senate and designating the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco
Acting President of the Senate," a copy of which is herewith attached and made
an integral part hereof as Exhibit "2". Put to a vote, the said Resolution was
unanimously approved, respondent having abstained from voting;
"(r) The respondent having been duly elected as Acting President of the
Senate, immediately took is oath of Office in open session, before Senate

President Pro-Tempore Melecio Arranz, and since then, has been discharging
the duties and exercising the rights and prerogatives appertaining to said
office;
"(s) From the allegations of the petition, it clearly appears that the
petitioner had only nine senators in his favor and twelve, decidedly against
him, which fact negates the petitioner's assertion that there was no opposition
to the motion for adjournment submitted by Senator David;
"(t) From the beginning of the session of February 21, 1949, to the alleged
adjournment, it was evidently and manifestly the purpose of the petitioner to
deprive Senator Taada of his right to take the floor and to speak on the
charges filed against said petitioner; that said petitioner resorted to all means
to deprive the Senate of its right and prerogative to deliberate on Senate
Resolution No. 68, Exhibit "I", and that when the petitioner realized that a
majority of the Senators who were present in the said session was ready to
approve said resolution, the petitioner abandoned the session;
"(u) The minutes of the session held on February 21, 1949, a copy of
which is hereto attached and made an integral part hereof as Exhibit "3", show
that the petitioner illegally abandoned the Chair while the Senate was in
session and that the respondent has been duly elected Acting Senate President
in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution."
Respondent alleges further that Senator David's motion for adjournment
was objected to and was not submitted to a vote and, therefore, could not have
been carried; that it is not true that petitioner had the power to adjourn the

session even without motion; that the session presided over, first by petitioner
and then by respondent, was orderly, no Senator having been threatened or
intimidated by anybody, and after petitioner abandoned the session continued
peacefully until its adjournment at 4:40 P.M.; that there was only one session
held on said date; that petitioner's abandonment of the Chair in the face of an
impending ouster therefrom constituted a temporary incapacity entitling the
Senate President Pro-tempore to assume the Chair; that there was quorum as,
with the absence of Senator Tomas Confesor, who was in the U.S. and of
Senator Vicente Sotto, who was seriously ill and confined in the Lourdes
Hospital, the presence of at least twelve senators constitutes a quorum; that,
despite petitioner's claim that he adjourned the session to February 24, 1949,
convinced that he did not count with the majority of the Senators and not
wanting to be investigated by the special investigating committee regarding
the grave charges preferred against him, the petitioner deliberately did not
appear at the session hall on said date.
Three special defenses are advanced by respondent: (a) Lack of
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court; (b) No cause of action as there are only nine
Senators who had recognized petitioner's claim against twelve Senators who
have made patent their loss of confidence in him by voting in favor of his
ouster; and (c) The object of the action is to make the Supreme Court a mere
tool of a minority group of ten Senators to impose petitioner's will over and
above that of the twelve other members of the Senate, to entrench petitioner
in power.

In impugning the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, respondent contends


that the present case is not justiciable, because it involves a purely political
question, the determination of which by the Senate is binding and conclusive
upon the courts (Alejandro vs. Quezon, 43 Phil., 83; Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil.,
192); respondent has been recognized as acting President of the as acting
President of the Senate by the President of the Philippines and said recognition
is binding and conclusive on the courts (Barcelon vs. Baker, 5 Phil., 87;
Severino vs. Governor-General, 16 Phil., 366); the Senate is the only body that
can determine from time to time who shall be its President and petitioner's only
recourse lies in said body; and this Court's action in entertaining the petition
would constitute an invasion and an encroachment upon the powers, rights and
prerogatives solely and exclusively appertaining to Congress, of which the
Senate is a branch.
Upon the conflicting claims of the parties as to the real events, this Court
authorized the reception of evidence. Before passing to consider and to weigh
said evidence so as to determine the true events, it is only logical that we
should first pass upon the question of jurisdiction raised by respondent.
In attacking the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court respondent alleges, as
first ground, that the present controversy is not justiciable in nature, involving,
as it does, a purely political question, the determination of which by the
political agency concerned, the Senate, is binding and conclusive on the courts.
The contention is untenable. In the first place, it begs question. It
assumes as premise that the question has been determined by the Senate,

when the two opposing parties claim that each one of them represents the will
of the Senate, and if the controversy should be allowed to remain unsettled, it
would be impossible to determine who is right and who is wrong, and who
really represents the Senate.
The questions raised in the petition, although political in nature, are
justiciable because they involve the enforcement of legal precepts, such as the
provisions of the Constitution and of the rules of the Senate. The power and
authority to decide such questions of law form part of the jurisdiction, not only
expressly conferred on the Supreme Court, but of which, by express prohibition
of the Constitution, it cannot be divested.
"Sec 2. The Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe
and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts, but may not
deprive the supreme court of its original jurisdiction over cases
affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, nor of its
jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal,
certiorari, or writ of error, as the law or the rules of court may
provide, final; Judgments and decrees of inferior courts in
"(1) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any
treaty, law, ordinance or executive order or regulations is in question.
"(2) All cases

involving

the legality of any tax, impost,

assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.


"(3) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any trial court is in
issue.

"(4) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is death or


life imprisonment.
"(5) All cases in which an error or question of law is involved."
Because the legal questions raised in this case cannot be decided without
deciding also what is the truth on the controversial facts, by the very nature of
things, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court reached the settlement of the
conflicting claims as to the real events.
Respondent alleges that he has been recognized by the President of the
Philippines as acting President of the Senate and that executive recognition is
binding and conclusive on the courts. The contention is erroneous. The actions
of the President of the Philippines cannot deprive the Supreme Court of the
jurisdiction vested in it by the Constitution. If the Congress of the Philippines, in
which the Legislative power is vested, cannot deprive the Supreme Court of its
jurisdiction to decide questions Or law, much less can the President of the
Philippines, on whom is vested the Executive power, which in the philosophical
and political hierarchy is of subordinate category to that of the Legislative
power, do so. The power to enact laws is higher than the power to execute
them.

The third argument of respondent, although based on truth, has nothing


to do with the legal questions raised in this ease. It is true that the Senate is
the only body that can determine from time to time who is and shall be its
President, but when the legal questions are raised in a litigation like in the

present case, the proper court has the function, the province and the
responsibility to decide them. To shirk that responsibility is to commit a
dereliction of official duty.
Finally, it is alleged that for this Court to entertain the petition, is to
invade and encroach upon the powers, rights and prerogatives solely and
exclusively appertaining to the Legislative Department, of which the Senate is
a branch. The contention is erroneous. The controversy as to the legality of the
adjournment declared by petitioner, of petitioner's ouster, as a result of the
resolution declaring vacant the position of President of the Senate, of
respondent's election as acting President of the Senate, and as to whether or
not the twelve Senators who remained in the session hall could continue
holding session and if they constitute quorum, are all legal questions upon
which courts of justice have jurisdiction and the Supreme Court is the final
arbiter.
From the evidence, it appears that in the session of Friday, February 18,
1949, at the time the resolution of confidence in favor of petitioner, introduced
by Senator Lopez, was being put to vote, Senator Taada voted in the negative,
alleging as ground damaging facts, supported by several checks, highly
detrimental to the personal and official honesty of petitioner. At the same time,
Senator Taada announced his intention of filing in the next session, to be held
on Monday, February 21, 1949, formal charges against petitioner and of
delivering during the so-called privilege hour a speech in support of said
charges.

On said Monday morning, hours before the opening of the ordinary daily
session, Senators Taada and Sanidad registered with the Secretary of the
Senate a resolution for the appointment of a Committee of Three, composed of
Senators Cuenco, Angeles David, and Mabanag, with instructions to proceed
immediately to investigate the serious charges against petitioner embodied in
the document. Said resolution, marked as Exhibit 1 of respondent's answer, is
as follows:
RESOLUTION ORDERING THE INVESTIGATION OF CHARGES FILED
AGAINST THE SENATE PRESIDENT JOSE AVELINO.
WHEREAS, Senate President Jose Avelino, in a caucus of high
government officials of the Philippine Government and leaders of the
Liberal Party held at Malacaan Palace on January 15, 1949, delivered
a speech, wherein he advocated the protection, or, at least,
tolerance, of graft and corruption in the government, and placed the
interest of grafters and corrupt officials as supreme and above the
welfare of the people, a doctrine under which it is impossible for an
honest and clean government to exist;
WHEREAS, this speech of Senate President Jose Avelino was
given

wide

publicity

by

the

press,

especially

the

Chronicle

Publications in their issues of January 16 and 18, 1949, as follows:


"The Senate President defended the abuses perpetrated by
Liberal Party men. He called the investigations of the surplus property
commission irregularities and the immigration quota scandal as acts

of injustice. He described the probe as 'criminal' and 'odious'. He


flayed the National Bureau of Investigation agents for persecuting
Liberal party leaders.
"'We are not angels', he said. 'When we die we all go to hell. It is
better to be in hell because in that place there are no investigations,
no secretary of justice, no secretary of interior to go after us.'
"Avelino, who is the present President of the Liberal Party,
censured the President for his actuations which, he claimed, were
mainly responsible for the division of the party into two hostile
camps. "Avelino asked the President to 'tolerate' if he could not
'permit', the abuses of the party in power, because why should we be
saints when in reality we are not?
"He stressed that the present investigation being conducted by
President

Quirino

on

the

surplus

property

scandal

and

the

immigration quota racket has lowered the prestige of the Liberal Party
in the eyes of the people, and is a desecration to the memory of the
late President Manuel Roxas. 'It is a crime against the Liberal Party',
Avelino said.
"Defining his attitude regarding rights and privileges of those
who are in power in the government, Avelino maintained that the
Liberal Party men are entitled to more considerations and should be
given allowance to use power and privileges. If they abuse their
power as all humans are prone to do, they will be given a certain

measure of tolerance, Avelino said, adding, 'What are we in power


for?'
"Avelino cited the surplus property investigation as an attempt
to besmear the memory of President Roxas. As a result of these
investigations, the members of Congress are subjected to unjust and
embarrassing questionings by NBI, Avelino said. And what is worse is
the fact that these senators and representatives are being pilloried in
public without formal charges filed against them."(Manila Chronicle
issue of Jan. 16, 1949).
"At last Saturday night's caucus Senate President Avelino
for two hours lectured to President Quirino on Liberal Party
discipline. At the same time he demanded 'tolerance' on the
part of the Chief Executive by the party in power.
"The investigations were conducted on vague charges,
Avelino claimed. Nothing specific has been filed against any top
Liberal Party man. And yet National Bureau of Investigation
agents have persecuted top leaders of the Liberal Party. That is
not justice. That is injustice . . . It is odious . . . It is criminal.
"Why did you have to order an investigation Honorable Mr.
President? If you cannot permit abuses, you must at least
tolerate them. What are we in power for? We are not hypocrites.
Why should we pretend to be saints when in reality we are not?
We are not angels. And besides when we die we all go to hell.

Anyway, it is preferable to go to hell where there are no


investigations, no Secretary of Justice, no Secretary of Interior to
go after us.
"When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He made a
distinction between a good crook and the bad crooks. We can
prepare to be good crooks.
"Avelino related the story of St. Francis of Assissi. A thief
sought sanctuary in St. Francis' convent. When the soldiers
came to the convent and ordered St. Francis to produce the
wanted thief, St. Francis told the soldiers that the hunted man
had gone the other way.
"Avelino then pointed out that even a saint had condoned
the sins of a thief.
xxx xxx xxx
"The investigations ordered by President Quirino, Avelino
said, was a desecration of the memory of the late President
Roxas. The probe has lowered, instead of enhanced, the
prestige of the Liberal Party and its leaders in the eyes of the
public.
"If the present administration fails, it is Roxas and not
Quirino that suffers by it, because Quirino's administration is
only a continuation of Roxas, Avelino said.

"Avelino

compared

all

political

parties

to

business

corporations, of which all members are stockholders. Every year


the Liberal Party makes an accounting of its loss and profit. The
Liberal Party, he said, has practically no dividends at all. It has
lost

even

its

original

capital.

Then

he

mentioned

the

appointments to the government of Nacionalistas like: Lino


Castillejo,

as

governor

of

the

Reconstruction

Finance

Corporation, Nicanor Carag, consul to Madrid; and Vicente


Formoso,

General

Manager

of

the

National

Tobacco

Corporation." (Manila Chronicle issue of Jan. 18, 1949.)


WHEREAS, after the first publication of the said speech in the
Manila Chronicle issue of January 16, 1949, the Senate President, in a
letter to the Chronicle Publications dated January 17, 1949, asserted
that the said news report was a "maliciously distorted presentation of
my remarks at that caucus, under a tendentious headline", and
threatened that "unless the proper redress is given to me, therefore, I
shall feel compelled to take the necessary steps to protect my
reputation and good name";
WHEREAS, the Chronicle Publications not only refused to retract
or make the rectification demanded by the Senate President, but on
the contrary, in their issue of January 18, 1949, challenged him to
take his threatened action, stating that "in order to establish the
truth, we are inviting the Senate President to file a libel suit against
the Chronicle" and further repeated the publications of their reports

on the Senate President's speech in the same issue of January 18,


1949 as quoted above;
WHEREAS, notwithstanding in the considerable length of time
that has elapsed, the Senate President has not carried out his threat
of filing action against the Chronicle Publications, thereby confirming,
in effect, his doctrine of toleration of graft and corruption;
WHEREAS, in open and public session of the Senate on February
18, 1949, there were exhibited photostatic copies of four checks
totalling P566,405.60, which appear to have come into the possession
and control of the Senate President, after he had assumed his office;
WHEREAS, the first of the aforesaid checks, which is Manager's
Check No. M5375 of the National City Bank of New York, drawn on
September 24, 1946, in favor of the Senate President in the amount
of P312,500.00, was indorsed by him to his wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C.
Avelino, who deposited it in her current account with the Philippine
National Bank on October 26, 1946;
WHEREAS, the second of the aforesaid checks, which is
Manager's

Check

No.

49706

of

the

Nederlandsch

Indische

Hardelsbank, drawn on October 21, 1946, in favor of the Senate


President in the amount of P196,905.60, was indorsed by him to his
son, Mr. Jose Avelino, Jr., who cashed it ml October 22, 1946;
WHEREAS, the third of the aforesaid checks, which is Check No.
37262 of the Nederlandsch Indische Handelsbank, drawn on October

23, 1946 by Chung Liu Ching Long & Co., Ltd., a Chinese concern, in
favor of "Cash", in the amount of P10,000.00, was indorsed by the
Senate President to his wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, who deposited
it in her Savings Account No. 63436 with the Philippine National Bank
on October 26, 1946;

WHEREAS, the fourth of the aforesaid checks, which is Check


No. 37268 of the Nederlandsch Indische Handelsbank, drawn by the
aforementioned Chinese concern, Chiung Liu Ching Long and Co, Ltd.,
in the amount of P47,500.00 in favor of the Senate President, was
indorsed by him to his wife, Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, who deposited
it in her current account with the Philippine National Bank on October
26, 1946;
WHEREAS, of the four checks aforementioned, the one for
P196,905.60 was cashed by the Senate President's son, Jose Avelino,
Jr., on October 22, 1946; while of the three other checks totalling
P370,000.00, which was deposited by the Senate President's wife,
Mrs. Enriqueta C. Avelino, in her savings and current accounts with
the Philippine National Bank on October 26, 1946, P325,000.00 were
withdrawn by her on the same day;
WHEREAS, in the course of the speech delivered by the Senate
President on the floor of the Senate on February 18, 1946, in an
attempt

to

explain

the

foregoing

checks,

he

refused

to

be

interpellated on the same, and his explanation lacked such details


and definiteness that it has left many doubts unsettled;
WHEREAS, in the case of the check for P312,500.00, the Senate
President's explanation that the same represented proceeds from the
sale of surplus beer to cover party obligations is directly contradicted
by the source of the same, Ching Ban Yek, who declared under oath
before the Horilleno Investigating Committee that the said sum of
P312,500.00 had been loaned by him to the Senate President, who
repaid the same within ten days;
WHEREAS, it appears that during the period from December 29,
1945 to April 30, 1948, deposits totalling P803,865.45 were made in
the current account of the Senate President's wife Mrs. Enriqueta C.
Avelino, in the Philippine National Bank, of which amoumt P6,204.86
were deposited before his election to office and the sum of
P797,660.59 was deposited after his election;
WHEREAS, the tax returns of the Senate President do not bear
explanations made in his speech of February 18, 1949 to the effect
that he and his wife had made substantial amounts in commercial
transactions in shoes and liquor;
WHEREAS, in his said speech of February 18, 1949, the Senate
President said that "en poltica todo vale", and that inasmuch as the
Nacionalistas were prone to commit frauds, it was right for the

Liberals to commit frauds in the elections to even up with frauds


committed by the opposition;
WHEREAS, the said speech of February 18, 1949 delivered by
the Senate President justified the commission of electoral frauds,
which justification is a direct attack on the sovereignty of the people
and may be a cause of unrest or revolution;
WHEREAS, the Senate President, as ex-officio Chairman of the
Commission on Appointments which passes upon all Presidential
appointments, including those to the judiciary, has abused the
prerogatives of his office by seeking in several instances to interfere
with and influence some judges in deciding cases pending before
them, thereby imperiling the independence of the judiciary and
jeopardizing the impartial administration of justice;
WHEREAS, the honor, dignity and prestige of the people and of
the members of the Senate demand a thorough, impartial and
immediate investigation of all the foregoing; Now, therefore,
1 Be it resolved, To appoint, as they are hereby appointed
2 a Committee of three (3) members of this Senate, to be com3 posed of Senators Cuenco, Angeles David and Mabanag, who
4 shall

immediately

proceed

to

investigate

the

charges

mentioned
5 above, with full powers to compel the attendance of witnesses

6 and the production of books of account, documents, and other


7 evidence, and to utilize the facilities and the services of such
8 personnel of this Senate as it may deem necessary, with
9 instructions to render its report and recommendations to the
10. Senate on or before Friday, February 25, 1949.
Adopted, February 21, 1949.
Although a sufficient number of Senators to constitute quorum were
already present in said morning at and before 10:00 o'clock, the scheduled
time for the daily session to begin, the session was not then opened, because
petitioner failed to appear in the hall until about 11:35, the time petitioner
ascended the rostrum where, instead of calling the meeting to order, he asked
for a copy of the resolution introduced by Senators Taada and Sanidad and,
after reading it slowly, he called to his side Senators Angeles David and Tirona
and conferred with them.
Only after the insistent requests of Senators Sanidad and Cuenco that the
session be opened, that petitioner called the meeting to order shortly before
12:00 o'clock noon.
Senator Sanidad moved that the roll call he dispensed with. Senator
Tirona opposed the motion and the roll call showed the presence of the
following twenty two Senators: Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando Lopez, Emiliano
Tria Tirona, Pablo Angles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon Torres, Enrique

Magalona, Callos Tan, Olegario Clarin, Melecio Arranz, Mariano Jesus Cuenco,
Prospero Sanidad, Lorenzo Taada, Vicente Madrigal, Geronima Pecson, Camilo
Osias, Carlos Garcia, Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera, Tomas Cabili, Alejo Manag and
Tose Avelino.
Senator Sanidad again moved that the reading of the minutes be
dispensed with, but the motion was again opposed by Senator Tirona whose
opposition was joined by Senator Angeles David, and the reading of the
minutes proceeded.
Senator Taada repeatedly took the floor to claim his right to deliver his
one-hour privilege speech in support of the charges against petitioner,
pursuant to the announcement he made in the session of February 18, 1949;
he did it before and after the roll call and the reading of the minutes. He was
ignored by the Chair and petitioner announced that he would order the arrest
of any Senator who would speak without having been previously recognized by
him. Senator Sanidad requested the Chair to recognize the right of Senator
Taada to speak, and every time he would make the request, Senator Tirona
would oppose him upon the ground that the requests were out of order.
Meanwhile, commotion and disorder took place in the Senate gallery.
Shouts were heard from individuals of the audience, where two fist fights took
place. The detonation of a gun shot was heard from outside. Senator Angeles
David, after being recognized by the Chair, moved for adjournment of the
session. The motion was objected by Senator Cuenco who, at the same time,
moved that the motion be submitted to vote. Petitioner, instead of submitting

to vote the motion to adjourn, banged the gavel and declared the session
adjourned until next Thursday, February 24, 1949, and, thereupon, left the
session hall followed by the nine Senators (Vicente J. Francisco, Fernando
Lopez, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Pablo Angeles David, Salipada Pendatun, Ramon
Torres, Enrique Magalona, Carlos Tan, and Olegario Clarin), supporting him.
Twelve Senators, respondent and his eleven supporters, remained in the
session hall. Senator Arranz, President Pro-tempore of the Senate, ascended
the rostrum, and called those Senators present to order. Senator Mabanag
raised the question of quorum and the President Pro-tempore ordered a roll
call, to which all the twelve Senators remaining in the session hall answered.
The President Pro-tempore declared the presence of quorum and those
present proceeded to continue transacting business. Senator Cabili took the
door and made it of record that the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by
petitioner made it incumbent upon the Senate President Pro-tempore and those
remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not to
impede and paralyze the functions of the Senate. Senator Arranz suggested
that respondent be designated to preside over the session and the suggestion
was carried unanimously and respondent took the Chair.
Senator Taada delivered his privileged speech, which took two hours on
the charge against petitioner contained in Resolution No. 68, Exhibit "1", and
moved for the immediate consideration and approval of said resolution, the
complete text of which was read. The motion was seconded by Senator
Sanidad, and the resolution was unanimously approved. Respondent yielded

the Chair to the President Pro-tempore and Senator Sanidad introduced


Resolution No. 67, Exhibit "2", which read as follows:
RESOLUTION

DECLARING

VACANT

THE

POSITION

OF

THE

PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND DESIGNATING THE HONORABLE


MARIANO JESUS CUENCO ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.
Resolved by the Senate in session assembled, That a quorum
exists; that the Honorable Jose Avelino, President of the Senate,
having abandoned the chair, his position is hereby declared vacant;
and that, the Honorable Mariano Jesus Cuenco of Cebu, be designated
Acting President of the Senate, until further orders from this Body.
Adopted, February 21, 1949.
The resolution was unanimously approved, with respondent abstaining
from voting. Pursuant to said resolution, respondent took his oath of office in
open session before President Pro-Tempore Arranz and has started, since then,
to discharge the duties, rights and privileges of acting President of the Senate.
The above recital of facts is based on our findings on the evidence on
record. From the said facts we believe the following conclusions are
unavoidable.
1. The adjournment declared by petitioner was arbitrary and illegal.
2. After petitioner and the 9 Senators supporting him had walked out from
the session hall, the Senate could not continue holding session and transact
business for lack of quorum.

In the following discussion we will express the reasons in support of the


above conclusions.
ILLEGAL ADJOURNMENT
A motion to adjourn has the highest precedence when a question is under
debate and, with certain restrictions, it has the highest privilege under all other
conditions. Under parliamentary practice, even questions of privilege and the
motion to reconsider yield to it. The motion to adjourn may be made after the
"yeas" and "nays" are ordered and before the roll call has begun, before
reading of the journal. The motion is not debatable and, after the motion is
made, neither another motion nor an appeal may intervene before the taking
of the vote.

The power to adjourn is one of the exclusive prerogatives of a legislative


chamber. It cannot be exercised by any single individual, without usurpation of
the collective prerogatives. It is too tremendous a power to be wielded by a
single individual. The functions of the Senate and its opportunity to transact
official business cannot be left to the discretion of a single individual without
jeopardizing the high purposes for which a legislative deliberative body is
established in a democratic social order. Single-handed individual discretion on
the matter may not mean anything other than placing the legislative chamber
under a unipersonal tyranny.
There is no provision in the present rules of the Senate which expressly or
impliedly authorizes an adjournment without the consent of the body or one

which authorizes the presiding officer to decree motu proprio said adjournment,
and the sound parliamentary practice and experience in this country and in the
United States of America, upon which ours is patterned, would not authorize
the existence of such a provision.
Petitioner alleges that he ordered the adjournment because the motion of
Senator Angeles David to said effect was properly made and met with no
objection. If this version of the facts is true, then it was right for petitioner to
declare the adjournment, because the absence of any objection, provided the
motion was properly made and the other Senators after having been properly
apprised of the motion, did not object to it, was an evidence of an implied
consent of all the members. The evidence, however, fails to support
petitioner's claim.
We are inclined to consider respondent's version to be more in
consonance with truth. We are of opinion that the motion to adjourn was
actually objected to. Senator Taada was bent on delivering a speech he had
ready on the charges embodied in a resolution fathered by himself and by
Senator Sanidad, which both filed early in the morning, long before the session
was opened. The formulation of said charges had been announced days before,
since the session of Friday, February 18, 1949, when he showed photostatic
copies of some checks as basis of a part of the charges to be filed. In said
Friday session respondent's group suffered defeat on the approval of the
resolution of confidence fathered by Senator Lopez. And it is understandable
that respondent's group of Senators, believing themselves to constiute the
majority, did not want to waste any time to give a showing of said majority and

must have decided to depose petitioner as soon as possible to wrest from him
the Senate leadership that upon democratic principles rightly belongs to them.
As a showing of eargerness to hurry up the unfolding events that would
give them the control of the Senate, Senator Sanidad moved to dispense with
the roll call and the reading of the minutes, and had been requesting that
Senator Taada be recognized to take the floor. Senator Taada himself made
attempts to deliver his speech.
Evidently, petitioner and his supporters decided to adopt a blocking
strategy to obstruct the processes that would give due course to the
investigation of the serious charges made in resolution No. 68, Exhibit 1, and
would effect petitioner's ouster as President of the Senate.
This strategy is evidenced by the belated appearance of petitioner and
his supporters at the session hall and petitioner's procrastination in opening
the session, by taking all his time in reading first the Taada and Sanidad
resolution, formulating charges against him, and conferring with Senators
Angeles David and Tirona and in not calling to order the members of the
Senate before Senators Cuenco and Sanidad began urging that the session be
opened.
Petitioner's allegation that, even without motion from any member, he
could adjourn the session under the rules of the Senate, is not well taken.
There is nothing in the rules of the Senate giving petitioner such authority. The
provisions quoted in the petition authorizes the Senate President to take
measures to stop disorder, but that power does not include the one to adjourn.

The circumstances lead us to the conclusion that illegal adjournment and


the walk out of the petitioner and his supporters from the session hall had the
purpose of defeating or, at least, delaying, action on the proposed investigation
of the charges against petitioner and of his impeding ouster, by the decisive
votes of respondent's group of Senators.
The adjournment decreed by petitioner was arbitrary and illegal.
QUORUM
There is no controversy that at the session in question there were present
in the session hall only twelve Senators, those composing respondent's group,
and this fact had been ascertained by the roll call ordered by President ProTempore Arranz, after Senator Mabanag had raised the question of quorum.
The Constitution provides:
"A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do
business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and
may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner and
under such penalties as such House may provide." (Sec. 10, Sub-sec.
2 Article VI.)
The majority mentioned in the above provision cannot be other than the
majority of the actual members of the Senate. The words "each House" in the
above provision refer to the full membership of each chamber of Congress.
The Senate was and actually is composed of 24 Senators, and a majority
of them cannot be less than thirteen. Twelve is only half of twenty-four.

Nowhere and at no time has one-half ever been the majority. Majority
necessarily has to be more than one-half.
We have heard with interest the arguments advanced by respondent's
counsel, premised on the fact that the above constitutional provision does not
use the words "of the members" and the theory of the amicus curi that the
majority mentioned in the Constitution refers only to the majority of the
members who can be reached by coercive processes. There is, however,
nothing in said arguments that can validly change the natural interpretation of
the unmistakable wordings of the Constitution. "Majority of each House" can
mean only majority of the members of each House, and the number of said
members cannot be reduced upon any artificial or imaginary basis not
authorized by the context of the Constitution itself or by the sound processes of
reason.
For all the foregoing, we conclude that:
1. The legal and constitutional issues raised by the petitioner in this case,
notwithstanding their political nature and implications, are justiciable and
within the jurisdiction expressly conferred to the Supreme Court, which cannot
be divested from it by express prohibition of the Constitution. Should there be
analogous controversy between two claimants to the position of the President
of the Philippines, according to the Solicitor General, one of the attorneys for
respondent, the Supreme Court would have jurisdiction to decide the
controversy, because it would raise a constitutional question. Whether there
was a quorum or not in the meeting of twelve Senators in which respondent

was elected acting President of the Senate, is a question that calls for the
interpretation, application and enforcement of an express and specific provision
of the Constitution. Should the two absent Senators come and attend the
session and side with the petitioner's group, it is agreed that the Senate will be
kept at a stand still, because of the deadlock resulting from twelve Senators
voting against twelve other Senators, each group supporting petitioner's and
respondent's opposing claims to the position of President of the Senate.
Admitting that pressure of public opinion may not break the impasse, it has
been suggested from respondent's side that it may invite revolution. Between
the two alternatives, jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and revolution, there is
only one choice possible, and that is the one in consonance with the
Constitution, which is complete enough to offer orderly remedies for any wrong
committed within the framework of democracy it established in this country.
Should this Supreme Court refuse to exercise jurisdiction in this case, such
refusal can only be branded as judicial abdication, and such shirking of official
responsibility cannot expect acquittal in the judgment of history. The gravity of
the issues involved in this case, affecting not only the upper branch of
Congress, but also the presidential succession as provided byRepublic Act No.
181, is a challenge to our sense of duty which we should not fail to meet.
2. The adjournment decreed by petitioner of the Monday session, without
the authority of the Senate, was illegal and, therefore, null and void.
3. The rump session held by twelve Senators, the respondent and his
supporters, after petitioner and his nine supporters had walked out from the
session hall, had no constitutional quorum to transact business.

4. The resolution declaring vacant the position of the President of the


Senate and choosing respondent as acting President of the Senate, has been
adopted in contravention of the Constitution for lack of quorum. The fact that
respondent has been designated only as acting President of the Senate, a
position not contemplated by the Constitution or by Republic Act No. 181 on
presidential succession, so much so that his position in acting capacity,
according to his own counsel, would not entitle respondent to succeed to the
position of the President of the Philippines, emphasizes the invalidity of
respondent's election.
Notwithstanding the importance of this case, the legal issues involved are
very simple, and it would not be hard to reach a prompt conclusion if we could
view the controversies with the attitude of a mathematician tackling an
algebraic equation. Many considerations which, from the point of view of the
laymen, of the press, of public opinion in general and the people at large, may
appear of great importance, such as who will wield the power to control the
Senate and whether or not petitioner is guilty of the serious charges filed
against him, are completely alien to the questions that this Court must answer.
The motives and motivations of petitioner and respondent of their respective
supporters in the Senate in taking the moves upon which this case has arisen
are their exclusive business and should not be minded for the purposes of our
decision.

The members of the Senate were and are free to depose petitioner and to
elect another Senator as President of the Senate, and their freedom to make
such change is subject only to the dictates of their own conscience and to any
verdict that the people, through the electorate, may render at the polls, and to
the judgment of historians and posterity. But in making such changes of
leadership, the Senate and the Senators are bound to follow the orderly
processes set and outlined by the Constitution and by the rules adopted by the
Senate as authorized by the fundamental law. Any step beyond said legal
bounds may create a legal issue which, once submitted to the proper courts of
justice, the latter cannot simply wash their hands and ignore the issue upon the
pretext of lack of jurisdiction, adopting the indifferent attitude of a passerby
who does not care whether the lashing of the wind may cause a live wire to
ignite a neighboring house.
When a Senator or a number of Senators come to the Supreme Court,
complaining that the President of the Senate has adjourned or is adjourning the
daily sessions of the Senate over and above objections voiced from the floor
and without obtaining first the approval or consent of the majority, we cannot
close our eyes to the complaint or bury our heads in the sand in ostrich fashion.
Otherwise, we would be disregarding our sworn duty and, with our abstention
or inaction, we would be printing the stamp of our approval to the existence
and continuation of a unipersonal tyranny imposed upon the upper chamber of
Congress, a tyranny that may obstruct and defeat the functioning and
actuations of the Senate and, consequently, of the whole Congress, thus
depriving the country of the benefits of legislation.

When a member of the Senate comes to us complaining that he is being


deprived of the powers and prerogatives of the position of President of the
Senate, to which he has been duly elected because twelve Senators, without
constituting a quorum, have illegally convened and voted to depose him and to
elect another Senator in his place, he raises a constitutional question of
momentous importance which we should not fail to answer without betraying
the official trust reposed on us. Such complaint constitutes, in effect, an
accusation of usurpation of authority by the twelve Senators, in utter violation
of the fundamental law. The situation would demand remedy and no other
agency of government can offer that remedy than the Supreme Court itself
with whom the complaint has been filed.
The existence of a quorum in a collective body is an indispensable
condition for effective collective action. Because a society or collective body is
composed of separate and independent individual units, it cannot exist without
the moral annectent of proper organization and can only act in organized form.
Every time it has to act, it has to convene its individual units into an organic
whole, and quorum here is the organizing element without which the
personality of the body cannot exist or be recognized. The importance of such
organizing element has been recognized by the members of our Constitutional
Convention, and that is the reason why they inserted in the Constitution the
provision requiring the existence of quorum for the former National Assembly
to transact official business and that requirement was also imposed by the
National Assembly when, amending the Constitution, it voted itself out of
existence, to be replaced by a bicameral Congress. The requirement, both in

the original text of the Constitution and in the amendment, had been ratified
by the sovereign will of the people.
When we required a majority of a legislative chamber to constitute
a quorum we did it for mighty reasons, such as that democracy is based on the
rule of the majority and, to allow a quorum of less than the majority of the
members, one-half of them for example, as in the present controversy, is to
allow the anomalous and anarchic existence of two independent bodies where
the Constitution provides for only one. If the twelve Senators of respondent's
group constitute quorum to transact official business, what will preclude the
twelve remaining Senators from constituting themselves into a quorum to
transact official business? This is not impossible, should Senator Sotto decide to
attend the session, even if carried in a stretcher, and Senator Confesor returns
from abroad and sides with petitioner's group. Then there will be, in effect, two
Senates and, according to respondent's theory the Supreme Court will have no
jurisdiction to decide the conflict, and no one can decide it except public
opinion or, in its failure, revolution. Such absurd situation and catastrophic
result should be avoided.
Lack of jurisdiction is sometimes a refuge behind which weak courts may
take shelter when afraid to displease the powerful.
Instead of disputing the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in this case,
everybody must congratulate himself because petitioner, instead of resorting
to any high-handed means to enforce his right to continue holding the position
of President of the Senate, has come to us for proper redress by the orderly

processes of judicial settlement. Notwithstanding the fact that three years ago,
he impugned the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and won his case on that
ground the injustice then committed against the suspended Senators Vera,
Diokno and Romero now being more generally recognized petitioner came to
this Court to submit his case to our jurisdiction.
The action taken by petitioner in filing his complaint with this Supreme
Court is premised on this sharing the conviction that said Tribunal is the last
bulwark of the rights and liberties of the people, the final arbiter on all
constitutional conflicts, and the ultimate redoubt of the majesty of the law. That
conviction and faith should not be betrayed, but rather strengthened, and more
imperatively nowadays when the majesty of the law, the basic tenets of the
Constitution, the principles of humanity springing from the golden rule, which is
the law of laws, are being the subject of bold onslaughts from many elements
of society, bent on taking justice in their own hands or on imposing their will
through fraud or violence. The malady is widespread enough to imperatively
and urgently demand a more complete respect and faith in the effectiveness of
our system of administration of justice.
For the Supreme Court to renounce its jurisdiction in this case is to
disappoint the believers in a philosophy and social order based on
constitutional processes and on legal juridical settlement of all conflicts that
may beset a democracy. It has been said in the hearing of this case that for this
Court to refuse cognizance of it may not have other alternative, if the pressure
of public opinion may fail and by experience we know that it had suffered
many failures than revolution. This emphasizes the immeasurable

responsibility of this Supreme Court if it should falter in the performance of its


plain duty and should dispose of this case with the indifference with which a
beach vacationist would dismiss a gust of wind.
The principle of separation of powers, so often invoked, to bind the hands
of the courts of justice into futility, should not be understood as absolute. It is
an apt rule of the tri-partite division of government as ennunciated by Aristotle
and further developed by Montesquieu, as the best scheme to put in practice
the system of check and balance considered necessary for a workable
democracy. To make absolute that principle is to open the doors to irretrievable
absurdity and to create three separate governments within a government and
three independent states within a state. Indeed, it is to avoid such a teratologic
creature that the Constitutional Convention had not inserted among the
principles embodied in the fundamental law.
Judicial determination of all constitutional or legal controversies is the
inherent function of courts. The Constitution of the United States of America,
unlike our own Constitution, is silent as to the power of courts of justice to
nullify an unconstitutional act of Congress. Notwithstanding the silence, when
the proper case arose, the United States Supreme Court, under the wise
leadership of Chief Justice Marshall, had not hesitated in declaring null and void
a law enacted in contravention of constitutional provisions. The Supreme Court
of the Republic of the Philippines should not fail to match such an outstanding
evidence of judicial statesmanship.

To bolster the stand against our assumption of jurisdiction in this case the
theory has been advanced that, the President of the Philippines having
recognized respondent as a duly elected acting President of the Senate, that
recognition is final and should bind this Court. The theory sprouts from the
same ideology under which a former king of England tried to order Lord Coke
how the latter should dispose of a pending litigation. Our answer is to
paraphrase the great English judge by saying that nothing should guide us
except what in conscience we believe is becoming of our official functions,
disregarding completely what the President of the Philippines may say or feel
about it.
As a matter of fact, two pretenders may dispute the office. As in the
present case, Congress may split into two groups after a presidential election
and each group may proclaim a different candidate as the duly elected
President of the Philippines. Because of a mistaken ideas to the scope of the
principle of separation of powers, if the case is brought to us for decision, shall
we, as Pontious Pilate, wash our hands and let the people bleed and be
crucified in the Calvary of revolution?
There is absolutely no merit in invoking the unfortunate decision in the
case of Vera vs. Avelino, (77 Phil., 192). No one now would regret more that
such a decision had been rendered than petitioner himself, the very one who
won it upon the pusillanimous judicial theory of lack of jurisdiction. The more
said decision is forgotten, the better, it being one of the blemishes without
which the scutcheon of the post-liberation Supreme Court would be spotless.

We vote to render judgment granting the petition and ordering


respondent to relinquish the powers, prerogatives and privileges of the position
of the President of the Senate in favor of petitioner who, on the other side,
should be restrained from putting any obstacle or obstruction by illegal
adjournments or otherwise, in the holding of the regular daily session of the
Senate. Said body should be allowed to continue transacting official business
unhampered by any procedure intended to impede the free expression of the
will of the majority.
||| (Avelino v. Cuenco, G.R. No. L-2821 (Resolution), [March 4, 1949], 83 PHIL 1784)

155. Osmena v Pendutan (Same with number 146)

156. Abbas v Senate Electoral Tribunal

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 83767. October 27, 1988.]
FIRDAUSI SMAIL ABBAS, HOMOBONO A. ADAZA, ALEJANDRO
D.

ALMENDRAS,

ABUL

KAHYR

D.

ALONTO,

JUAN

PONCE

ENRILE, RENE G. ESPINA, WILSON P. GAMBOA, ROILO S.


GOLEZ,

ROMEO

G.

JALOSJOS,

EVA

R.

ESTRADA-KALAW,

WENCESLAO R. LAGUMBAY, VICENTE P. MAGSAYSAY, JEREMIAS

U.

MONTEMAYOR,

BLAS

F.

OPLE,

RAFAEL

P.

PALMARES,

ZOSIMO JESUS M. PAREDES, JR., VICENTE G. PUYAT, EDITH N.


RABAT, ISIDRO S. RODRIGUEZ, FRANCISCO S. TATAD, LORENZO
G.

TEVES,

ARTURO

M.

VELOSO, petitioners, vs. THE

TOLENTINO,

and

FERNANDO

SENATE

R.

ELECTORAL

TRIBUNAL, respondent.

SYLLABUS
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL; PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO ITS
RULES (SEC. 24), NOT FEASIBLE. The proposed amendment to the Tribunal's
Rules (Section 24) requiring the concurrence of five (5) members for the
adoption of resolutions of whatever nature is a proviso that where more than
four (4) members are disqualified, the remaining members shall constitute a
quorum, if not less than three (3) including one (1) Justice, and may adopt
resolutions by majority vote with no abstentions. Obviously tailored to fit the
situation created by the petition for disqualification, this would, in the context of
that situation, leave the resolution of the contest to the only three Members who
would remain, all Justices of this Court, whose disqualification is not sought. We do
not agree with petitioners' thesis that the suggested device is neither unfeasible
nor repugnant to the Constitution. We opine that in fact the most fundamental
objection to such proposal lies in the plain terms and intent of the Constitution
itself which, in its Article VI, Section 17, creates the Senate Electoral Tribunal,
ordains its composition and defines its jurisdiction and powers.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; SPIRIT BEHIND THE PROPORTION OF SENATORS TO JUSTICES AS


MEMBERS OF THE TRIBUNAL. It seems quite clear to us that in thus providing
for a Tribunal to be staffed by both Justices of the Supreme Court and Members of
the Senate, the Constitution intended that both those "judicial" and "legislative"
components commonly share the duty and authority of deciding all contests
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of Senators. Said intent is even
more clearly signalled by the fact that the proportion of Senators to Justices in the
prescribed membership of the Senate Electoral Tribunal is 2 to 1 an
unmistakable indication that the "legislative component" cannot be totally
excluded from participation in the resolution of senatorial election contests,
without doing violence to the spirit and intent of the Constitution.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; PROPOSED MASS DISQUALIFICATION OF MEMBERS SHOULD NOT BE
COUNTENANCED; REASONS. The proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned
and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative but to abandon a duty that
no other court or body can perform, but which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn
of the participation of its entire membership of Senators. To our mind, this is the
overriding consideration that the Tribunal be not prevented from discharging a
duty which it alone has the power to perform, the performance of which is in the
highest public interest as evidenced by its being expressly imposed by no less
than the fundamental law. Electoral Tribunal cannot legally function as such,
absent its entire membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can
confer on the three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a
senatorial election contest.

4. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION; CERTIORARI DOES NOT LIE; TRIBUNAL
DID NOT ACT WITH ABUSE OF DISCRETION. The charge that the respondent
Tribunal gravely abused its discretion in its disposition of the incidents referred to
must therefore fail. In the circumstances, it acted well within law and principle in
dismissing the petition for disqualification or inhibition filed by herein petitioners.
FELICIANO, J., Concurring:
REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION; CERTIORARI NOT THE PROPER REMEDY.
Should any three (3) Senator-Members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal voluntarily
inhibit or disqualify themselves from participating in the proceedings in SET Case
No. 002-87, a Tribunal would result that would be balanced between the three (3)
Justice-Members and the three (3) Senator-Members and still constitute more than
a bare quorum. In such a Tribunal, both the considerations of public policy and fair
play raised by petitioners and the constitutional intent above noted concerning
the mixed "judicial" and "legislative" composition of the Electoral Tribunals would
appear to be substantially met and served. This denouement, however, must be
voluntarily reached and not compelled by certiorari.

RESOLUTION

GANCAYCO, J p:
This is a Special Civil Action for certiorari to nullify and set aside the Resolutions of
the Senate Electoral Tribunal dated February 12, 1988 and May 27, 1988, denying,

respectively, the petitioners' Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition and their


Motion for Reconsideration thereafter filed. LLphil
On October 9, 1987, the petitioners filed before the respondent Tribunal an
election contest docketed as SET Case No. 002-87 against 22 candidates of the
LABAN coalition who were proclaimed senators-elect in the May 11, 1987
congressional elections by the Commission on Elections. The respondent Tribunal
was at the time composed of three (3) Justices of the Supreme Court and six (6)
Senators, namely: Senior Associate Justice Pedro L. Yap (Chairman). Associate
Justices Andres R. Narvasa and Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., and Senators Joseph E.
Estrada, Neptali A. Gonzales, Teofisto T. Guingona, Jose Lina, Jr., Mamintal A.J.
Tamano and Victor S. Ziga.
On November 17, 1987, the petitioners, with the exception of Senator Estrada but
including Senator Juan Ponce Enrile (who had been designated Member of the
Tribunal replacing Senator Estrada, the latter having affiliated with the Liberal
Party and resigned as the Opposition's representative in the Tribunal) filed with
the respondent Tribunal a Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition of the SenatorsMembers thereof from the hearing and resolution of SET Case No. 002-87 on the
ground that all of them are interested parties to said case, as respondents therein.
Before that, Senator Rene A.V. Saguisag, one of the respondents in the same case,
had filed a Petition to Recuse and later a Supplemental Petition to Recuse the
same Senators-Members of the Tribunal on essentially the same ground. Senator
Vicente T. Paterno, another respondent in the same contest, thereafter filed his
comments on both the petitions to recuse and the motion for disqualification or

inhibition. Memoranda on the subject were also filed and oral arguments were
heard by the respondent Tribunal, with the latter afterwards issuing the
Resolutions now complained of. Cdpr
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the meantime had voluntarily inhibited himself from
participating in the hearings and deliberations of the respondent Tribunal in both
SET Case No. 002-87 and SET Case No. 001-87, the latter being another contest
filed by Augusto S. Sanchez against him and Senator Santanina T. Rasul as
alternative respondents, citing his personal involvement as a party in the two
cases.
The petitioners, in essence, argue that considerations of public policy and the
norms of fair play and due process imperatively require the mass disqualification
sought and that the doctrine of necessity which they perceive to be the
foundation of the questioned Resolutions does not rule out a solution both
practicable and constitutionally unobjectionable, namely; the amendment of the
respondent Tribunal's Rules of procedure so as to permit the contest being
decided by only three Members of the Tribunal.
The proposed amendment to the Tribunal's Rules (Section 24) requiring the
concurrence of five (5) members for the adoption of resolutions of whatever
nature is a provisothat where more than four (4) members are disqualified, the
remaining members shall constitute a quorum, if not less than three (3) including
one (1) Justice, and may adopt resolutions by majority vote with no abstentions.
Obviously tailored to fit the situation created by the petition for disqualification,
this would, in the context of that situation, leave the resolution of the contest to

the only three Members who would remain, all Justices of this Court, whose
disqualification is not sought.
We do not agree with petitioners' thesis that the suggested device is neither
unfeasible nor repugnant to the Constitution. We opine that in fact the most
fundamental objection to such proposal lies in the plain terms and intent of
the Constitution itself which, in its Article VI, Section 17, creates the Senate
Electoral Tribunal, ordains its composition and defines its jurisdiction and powers.
"Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each
have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective
Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine
Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be
designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be
Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case
may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
representation

from

the

political

parties

and

the

parties

or

organizations registered under the party-list system represented


therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its
Chairman."
It seems quite clear to us that in thus providing for a Tribunal to be staffed by both
Justices of the Supreme Court and Members of the Senate, the Constitution
intended that both those "judicial" and "legislative" components commonly share
the duty and authority of deciding all contests relating to the election, returns and

qualifications of Senators. The respondent Tribunal correctly stated one part of


this proposition when it held that said provision ". . . is a clear expression of an
intent that all (such) contests . . . shall be resolved by a panel or body in which
their (the Senators') peers in that Chamber are represented." 1 The other part, of
course, is that the constitutional provision just as clearly mandates the
participation

in

the

same

process

of

decision

of

representative

or

representatives of the Supreme Court.

Said intent is even more clearly signalled by the fact that the proportion of
Senators to Justices in the prescribed membership of the Senate Electoral Tribunal
is 2 to 1 an unmistakable indication that the "legislative component" cannot be
totally excluded from participation in the resolution of senatorial election contests,
without doing violence to the spirit and intent of the Constitution. prcd
Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the substitution of any
Senator sitting in the Tribunal by any of his other colleagues in the Senate without
inviting the same objections to the substitute's competence, the proposed mass
disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative
but to abandon a duty that no other court or body can perform, but which it
cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire membership of
Senators.
To our mind, this is the overriding consideration that the Tribunal be not
prevented from discharging a duty which it alone has the power to perform, the

performance of which is in the highest public interest as evidenced by its being


expressly imposed by no less than the fundamental law.
It is aptly noted in the first of the questioned Resolutions that the framers of the
Constitution could not have been unaware of the possibility of an election contest
that would involve all 24 Senatorselect, six of whom would inevitably have to sit
in judgment thereon. Indeed, such possibility might surface again in the wake of
the 1992 elections when once more, but for the last time, all 24 seats in the
Senate will be at stake. Yet the Constitution provides no scheme or mode for
settling such unusual situations or for the substitution of Senators designated to
the Tribunal whose disqualification may be sought. Litigants in such situations
must simply place their trust and hopes of vindication in the fairness and sense of
justice of the Members of the Tribunal. Justices and Senators, singly and
collectively. LexLib
Let us not be misunderstood as saying that no Senator-Member of the Senate
Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or disqualify himself from sitting in judgment on any
case before said Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as his conscience
dictates, refrain from participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely
feels that his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an objective
and impartial judgment. What we are merely saying is that in the light of the
Constitution, the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot legally function as such, absent
its entire membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can confer
on the three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a
senatorial election contest.

The charge that the respondent Tribunal gravely abused its discretion in its
disposition of the incidents referred to must therefore fail. In the circumstances, it
acted well within law and principle in dismissing the petition for disqualification or
inhibition filed by herein petitioners. The instant petition for certiorari is
DISMISSED for lack of merit. prLL
SO ORDERED.
Fernan C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, GrioAquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr. and Paras, JJ., took no part.
||| (Firdausi Smail Abbas v. Senate Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 83767 (Resolution),
[October 27, 1988], 248 PHIL 879-886)

157. Lazatin v HRET

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 84297. December 8, 1988.]
CARMELO F. LAZATIN, petitioner, vs. THE HOUSE ELECTORAL
TRIBUNAL and LORENZO G. TIMBOL, respondents.

Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz for petitioner.


The Solicitor General for respondents.

SYLLABUS
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; ELECTION CONTEST; JURISDICTION OF THE COMELEC
AND THE ELECTORAL TRIBUNALS. That Sec. 250 of the Omnibus Election Code,
as far as contests regarding the election, returns and qualifications of Members of
the Batasang Pambansa is concerned, had ceased to be effective under the 1987
Constitution is readily apparent. First, the Batasang Pambansa has already been
abolished and the legislative power is now vested in a bicameral Congress.
Second, the Constitution vests exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relating to
the election, returns and qualifications of the Members of the Senate and the
House of Representatives in the respective Electoral Tribunals [Art. VI, Sec. 17].
The exclusive original jurisdiction of the COMELEC is limited by constitutional fiat
to election contests pertaining to elective regional, provincial and city offices and
its appellate jurisdiction to those involving municipal and barangay offices [Art. IXC, Sec. 2(2)].

2. ID.; ID.; HOUSE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL; POWERS. The power of the HRET, as
the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
the Members of the House of Representatives, to promulgate rules and
regulations relative to matters within its jurisdiction, including the period for filing
election protests before it, is beyond dispute. Its rule-making power necessarily
flows from the general power granted it by the Constitution.
3. ID.; ID.; HISTORICAL BACKGROUND REGARDING THE GRANT OF POWER TO A
BODY TO JUDGE ELECTION PROTESTS. A short review of our constitutional
history reveals that, except under the 1973 Constitution, the power to judge all
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the
legislative branch has been exclusively granted either to the legislative body itself
or to an independent, impartial and non-partisan body attached to the legislature.
Except under the 1973 Constitution, the power granted is that of being
the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
the members of the legislative body. The 1935 and 1987 Constitutions, which
separate and distinctly apportion the powers of the three branches of
government, lodge the power to judge contests relating to the election, returns
and qualifications of members of the legislature in an independent, impartial and
non-partisan body attached to the legislature and specially created for that
singular purpose (i.e., the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Tribunals) [see
Suanes v. Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818]. It was only under
the 1973 Constitution where the delineation between the powers of the Executive
and the Legislature was blurred by constitutional experimentation that the

jurisdiction over election contests involving members of the Legislature was


vested in the COMELEC, an agency with general jurisdiction over the conduct of
elections for all elective national and local officials.
4. ID.; ID.; JURISDICTION OF COMELEC TO HEAR AND DECIDE ELECTION CONTESTS
TRIMMED DOWN UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION; HOUSE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL
HAS POWER TO PRESCRIBE PERIOD TO FILE PROTESTS. With regard to the
jurisdiction of the COMELEC to hear and decide election contests. This has been
trimmed down under the1987 Constitution. Whereas the 1973 Constitution vested
the COMELEC with jurisdiction to be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
elections, returns and qualifications of all Members of the Batasang Pambansa
and elective provincial and city officials [Art. XII(C), Sec. 2(2)], the 1987
Constitution, while lodging in the COMELEC exclusive original jurisdiction over all
contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of all elective
regional, provincial and city officials and appellate jurisdiction over contests
relating to the election of municipal and barangay officials [Art. IX(C), Sec. 2(2)],
expressly makes the Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House of
Representatives the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of their respective Members [Art. VI, Sec. 17]. The inescapable
conclusion from the foregoing is that it is well within the power of the HRET to
prescribe the period within which protests may be filed before it. This is founded
not only on historical precedents and jurisprudence but, more importantly, on the
clear language of the Constitution itself.

5. ID.; ID.; HOUSE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL; HAS DISCRETIONARY POWER TO ISSUE


RESTRAINING ORDER OR WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION. The matter of
whether or not to issue a restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction
during the pendency of a protest lies within the sound discretion of the HRET as
sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the
members of the House of Representatives. Necessarily, the determination of
whether or not there are indubitable grounds to support the prayer for the
aforementioned ancillary remedies also lies within the HRET's sound judgment.
6. ID.; SUPREME COURT; CANNOT GENERALLY REVIEW FINAL ACTION OF THE
ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL ON MATTERS WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION. So long as the
Constitutiongrants the HRET the power to be the sole judge of all contests relating
to the election, returns and qualifications of Members of the House of
Representatives, any final action taken by the HRET on a matter within its
jurisdiction shall, as a rule, not be reviewed by this Court. As stated earlier, the
power granted to the Electoral Tribunal is full, clear and complete and "excludes
the exercise of any authority on the part of this Court that would in any wise
restrict or curtail it or even affect the same."
7. ID.; ID.; MAY INTERFERE WITH THE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL'S JUDGMENT WHICH
WAS RENDERED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. Under the 1987
Constitution, the scope of the Court's authority is made explicit. The power
granted to the Court includes the duty "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" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1]. Thus,

only where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court
interfere with the HRET's judgment.

DECISION

CORTES, J p:
Petitioner and private respondent were among the candidates for Representative
of the first district of Pampanga during the elections of May 11, 1987. During the
canvassing of the votes, private respondent objected to the inclusion of certain
election returns. But since the Municipal Board of Canvassers did not rule on his
objections, he brought his case to the Commission on Elections. On May 19, 1987,
the COMELEC ordered the Provincial Board of Canvassers to suspend the
proclamation of the winning candidate for the first district of Pampanga. However,
on May 26, 1987, the COMELEC ordered the Provincial Board of Canvassers to
proceed with the canvassing of votes and to proclaim the winner. On May 27,
1987, petitioner was proclaimed as Congressman-elect. Private respondent thus
filed in the COMELEC a petition to declare petitioner's proclamation void ab
initio.Later, private respondent also filed a petition to prohibit petitioner from
assuming office. The COMELEC failed to act on the second petition so petitioner
was able to assume office on June 30, 1987. On September 15, 1987, the
COMELEC declared petitioner's proclamation void ab initio. Petitioner challenged
the COMELEC resolution before this Court in a petition entitled "Carmelo F. Lazatin
v. The Commission on Elections, Francisco R. Buan, Jr. and Lorenzo G. Timbol,"

docketed as G.R. No. 80007. In a decision promulgated on January 25, 1988, the
Court set aside the COMELEC's revocation of petitioner's proclamation. On
February 8, 1988, private respondent filed in the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as "HRET") an election protest, docketed
as Case No. 46. LLjur
Petitioner moved to dismiss private respondent's protest on the ground that it had
been filed late, citing Sec. 250 of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. Blg. 881).
However, the HRET ruled that the protest had been filed on time in accordance
with Sec. 9 of the HRET Rules. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was also
denied. Hence, petitioner has come to this Court, challenging the jurisdiction of
the HRET over the protest filed by private respondent.
A. The Main Case
This special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance
of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or restraining order seeks the annulment
and setting aside of (1) the resolution of the HRET, dated May 2, 1988, in Case No.
46, holding that the protest filed by private respondent had been filed on time,
and (2) its July 29, 1988 resolution denying the motion for reconsideration.
Without giving due course to the petition, the Court required the respondents to
comment on the petition. The Solicitor General filed a comment in behalf of the
HRET while the private respondent filed his comment with a motion to admit
counter/cross petition and the petitioner filed his consolidated reply. Thereafter,
the Court resolved to give due course to the petition, taking the comments filed
as the answers to the petition, and considered the case submitted for decision.

Resolution of the instant controversy hinges on which provision governs the


period for filing protests in the HRET. Should Sec. 250 of the Omnibus Election
Code be held applicable, private respondent's election protest would have been
filed out of time. On the other hand, if Sec. 9 of the HRET Rules is applicable, the
filing of the protest would be timely. Succinctly stated, the basic issue is whether
or not private respondent's protest had been seasonably filed. cdphil

To support his contention that private respondent's protest had been filed out of
time and, therefore, the HRET did not acquire jurisdiction over it, petitioner relies
on Sec. 250 of the Omnibus Election Code, which provides:
Sec.

250. Election

contests

for

Batasang

Pambansa,

regional,

provincial and city offices. A sworn petition contesting the election


of any Member of the Batasang Pambansa or any regional, provincial
or city official shall be filed with the Commission by any candidate
who has duly filed a certificate of candidacy and has been voted for
the same office,within ten days after the proclamation of the results
of the election. [Emphasis supplied].
Petitioner argues that even assuming that the period to file an election protest
was suspended by the pendency of the petition to annul his proclamation, the
petition was filed out of time, considering that he was proclaimed on May 27,
1987 and therefore private respondent had only until June 6, 1987 to file a
protest; that private respondent filed a petition to annul the proclamation on May

28, 1987 and the period was suspended and began to run again on January 28,
1988 when private respondent was served with a copy of the decision of the Court
in G.R. No. 80007; that private respondent therefore only had nine (9) days left or
until February 6, 1988 within which to file his protest; but that private respondent
filed his protest with the HRET only on February 8, 1988.
On the other hand, in finding that the protest was filed on time, the HRET relied
on Sec. 9 of its Rules, to wit:
Election contests arising from the 1987 Congressional elections shall
be filed with the Office of the Secretary of the Tribunal or mailed at
the post office as registered matter addressed to the Secretary of the
Tribunal, together with twelve (12) legible copies thereof plus one (1)
copy for each protestee, within fifteen (15) days from the effectivity
of these Rules on November 22, 1987 where the proclamation has
been made prior to the effectivity of these Rules, otherwise, the
same may be filed within fifteen (15) days from the date of the
proclamation. Election contests arising from the 1987 Congressional
elections filed with the Secretary of the House of Representatives and
transmitted by him to the Chairman of the Tribunal shall be deemed
filed with the Tribunal as of the date of effectivity of these Rules,
subject to payment of filing fees as prescribed in Section 15 hereof.
[Emphasis supplied.]
Thus, ruled the HRET:

On the basis of the foregoing Rule, the protest should have been filed
within fifteen (15) days from November 22, 1987, or not later than
December 7, 1987. However, on September 15, 1987, the COMELEC,
acting upon a petition filed by the Protestant (private respondent
herein), promulgated a Resolution declaring the proclamation void ab
initio. This resolution had the effect of nullifying the proclamation,
and such proclamation was not reinstated until Protestant received a
copy of the Supreme Court's decision annulling the COMELEC
Resolution on January 28, 1988. For all intents and purposes,
therefore,

Protestee's

(petitioner

herein)

proclamation

became

effective only on January 28, 1988, and the fifteen-day period for
Protestant to file his protest must be reckoned from that date.
Protestant filed his protest on February 8, 1988, or eleven (11) days
after January 28. The protest, therefore, was filed well within the
reglementary period provided by the Rules of this Tribunal. (Rollo, p.
129.].
The Court is of the view that the protest had been filed on time and, hence, the
HRET acquired jurisdiction over it.
Petitioner's reliance on Sec. 250 of the Omnibus Election Code is misplaced. Sec.
250 is couched in unambiguous terms and needs no interpretation. It applies only
to petitions filed before the COMELEC contesting the election of any Member of
the Batasang Pambansa, or any regional, provincial or city official. Furthermore,
Sec. 250 should be read together with Sec. 249 of the same code which provides

that the COMELEC "shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections,
returns and qualifications of all Members of the Batasang Pambansa, elective
regional, provincial and city officials," reiterating Art. XII-C, Sec. 2(2) of the 1973
Constitution. It must be emphasized that under the1973 Constitution there was no
provision for an Electoral Tribunal, the jurisdiction over election contests involving
Members of the Batasang Pambansa having been vested in the COMELEC. cdrep
That Sec. 250 of the Omnibus Election Code, as far as contests regarding the
election, returns and qualifications of Members of the Batasang Pambansa is
concerned, had ceased to be effective under the 1987 Constitution is readily
apparent. First, the Batasang Pambansa has already been abolished and the
legislative

power

is

now

vested

in

bicameral

Congress.

Second, the

Constitution vests exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the Members of the Senate and the House of
Representatives in the respective Electoral Tribunals [Art. VI, Sec. 17]. The
exclusive original jurisdiction of the COMELEC is limited by constitutional fiat to
election contests pertaining to elective regional, provincial and city offices and its
appellate jurisdiction to those involving municipal and barangay offices [Art. IX-C,
Sec. 2(2)].
Petitioner makes much of the fact that the provisions of the Omnibus Election
Code on the conduct of the election were generally made applicable to the
congressional elections of May 11, 1987. It must be emphasized, however, that
such does not necessarily imply the application of all the provisions of said code
to each and every aspect of that particular electoral exercise, as petitioner

contends. On the contrary, the Omnibus Election Code was only one of several
laws governing said elections. **
An

examination

of

the Omnibus

Election

Code and

the

executive

orders

specifically applicable to the May 11, 1987 congressional elections reveals that
there is no provision for the period within which to file election protests in the
respective Electoral Tribunals. Thus, the question may well be asked whether the
rules governing the exercise of the Tribunals' constitutional functions may be
prescribed by statute.
The Court is of the considered view that it may not.
The power of the HRET, as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives, to
promulgate rules and regulations relative to matters within its jurisdiction,
including the period for filing election protests before it, is beyond dispute. Its
rule-making power necessarily flows from the general power granted it by the
Constitution. This is the import of the ruling in the landmark case of Angara v.
Electoral Commission [63 Phil. 139 (1936)], where the Court, speaking through
Justice Laurel, declared in no uncertain terms:
. . . [T]he creation of the Electoral Commission carried with it ex
necesitate rei the power regulative in character to limit the time
within which protests intrusted to its cognizance should be filed. It is
a settled rule of construction that where a general power is conferred
or duly enjoined, every particular power necessary for the exercise of

the one or the performance of the other is also conferred (Cooley,


Constitutional Limitations, eighth ed., vol. I, pp. 138, 139). In the
absence of any further constitutional provision relating to the
procedure to be followed in filing protests before the Electoral
Commission, therefore, the incidental power to promulgate such rules
necessary for the proper exercise of its exclusive power to judge all
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
members of the National Assembly, must be deemed by necessary
implication to have been lodged also in the Electoral Commission. [At
p. 177; emphasis supplied.]
A short review of our constitutional history reveals that, except under the 1973
Constitution, the power to judge all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the legislative branch has been exclusively
granted either to the legislative body itself [i.e., the Philippine Assembly under the
Philippine Bill of 1902 and the Senate and the House of Representatives under the
Philippine Autonomy Act (Jones Law)] or to an independent, impartial and nonpartisan body attached to the legislature [i.e., the Electoral Commission under
the 1935 Constitution and the Electoral Tribunals under the amended 1935 and
the 1987 Constitutions]. Cdpr
Except under the 1973 Constitution, the power granted is that of being
the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
the members of the legislative body. Article VI of the 1987 Constitution states it in
this wise:

Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each
have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective
Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine
Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be
designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be
Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case
may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
representation

from

the

political

parties

and

the

parties

or

organizations registered under the party-list system represented


therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its
Chairman.
The use of the word "sole" emphasizes the exclusive character of the
jurisdiction conferred [Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra, at 162]. The
exercise of the power by the Electoral Commission under the 1935
Constitution has been described as "intended to be as complete and
unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature" [Id. at 175].
Earlier, this grant of power to the legislature was characterized by Justice
Malcolm as " full, clear and complete" [Veloso v. Board of Canvassers of Leyte
and Samar, 39 Phil. 886 (1919)]. Under the amended 1935 Constitution, the
power was unqualifiedly reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal [Suanes v. Chief
Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818 (1948)] and it remained as full, clear
and complete as that previously granted the legislature and the Electoral

Commission [Lachica v. Yap, G.R. No. L-25379, September 25, 1968, 25 SCRA
140]. The same may be said with regard to the jurisdiction of the Electoral
Tribunals under the 1987 Constitution.

The 1935 and 1987 Constitutions, which separate and distinctly apportion the
powers of the three branches of government, lodge the power to judge contests
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of members of the legislature in
an independent, impartial and non-partisan body attached to the legislature and
specially created for that singular purpose (i.e., the Electoral Commission and the
Electoral Tribunals) [see Suanes v. Chief Accountant of the Senate, supra]. It was
only under the 1973 Constitution where the delineation between the powers of
the Executive and the Legislature was blurred by constitutional experimentation
that the jurisdiction over election contests involving members of the Legislature
was vested in the COMELEC, an agency with general jurisdiction over the conduct
of elections for all elective national and local officials.
That the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended to restore fully to the Electoral
Tribunals exclusive jurisdiction over all contests relating to the election, returns
and qualifications of its Members, consonant with the return to the separation of
powers of the three branches of government under the presidential system, is too
evident to escape attention. The new Constitution has substantially retained the
COMELEC's purely administrative powers, namely, the exclusive authority to
enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an
election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall; to decide, except those

involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections; to deputize law
enforcement agencies and government instrumentalities for election purposes; to
register political parties and accredit citizens' arms; to file in court petitions for
inclusion and exclusion of voters and prosecute, where appropriate, violations of
election laws [Art. IX(C), Sec. 2(1), (3)-(6)], as well as its rule-making power. In
this sense, and with regard to these areas of election law, the provisions of
the Omnibus Election Code are fully applicable, except where specific legislation
provides otherwise. But the same cannot be said with regard to the jurisdiction of
the COMELEC to hear and decide election contests. This has been trimmed down
under the 1987 Constitution. Whereas the 1973 Constitution vested the COMELEC
with jurisdiction to be the sole judge of all contests relating to the elections,
returns and qualifications of all Members of the Batasang Pambansa and elective
provincial and city officials [Art. XII(C), Sec. 2(2)], the 1987 Constitution, while
lodging in the COMELEC exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to
the elections, returns and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial and city
officials and appellate jurisdiction over contests relating to the election of
municipal and barangay officials [Art. IX(C), Sec. 2(2)], expressly makes the
Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House of Representatives the sole judge
of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of their
respective Members [Art. VI, Sec. 17]. LLpr
The inescapable conclusion from the foregoing is that it is well within the power of
the HRET to prescribe the period within which protests may be filed before it. This

is founded not only on historical precedents and jurisprudence but, more


importantly, on the clear language of the Constitution itself.
Consequently, private respondent's election protest having been filed within the
period prescribed by the HRET, the latter cannot be charged with lack of
jurisdiction to hear the case.
B. Private Respondent's Counter/Cross Petition
Private respondent in HRET Case No. 46 prayed for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin petitioner herein
from discharging his functions and duties as the Representative of the first district
of Pampanga during the pendency of the protest. However, on May 5, 1988, the
HRET resolved to defer action on said prayer after finding that the grounds
therefor did not appear to be indubitable. Private respondent moved for
reconsideration, but this was denied by the HRET on May 30, 1988. Thus, private
respondent now seeks to have the Court annul and set aside these two resolutions
and to issue a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction on
the premise that the grounds therefor are too evident to be doubted.
The relief prayed for in private respondent's counter/cross petition is not
forthcoming.
The matter of whether or not to issue a restraining order or a writ of preliminary
injunction during the pendency of a protest lies within the sound discretion of the
HRET as sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives. Necessarily, the

determination of whether or not there are indubitable grounds to support the


prayer for the aforementioned ancillary remedies also lies within the HRET's
sound judgment. Thus, in G.R. No. 80007, where the Court declined to take
cognizance of the private respondent's electoral protest, this Court said:
The alleged invalidity of the proclamation (which had been previously
ordered by the COMELEC itself) despite alleged irregularities in
connection therewith, and despite the pendency of the protests of the
rival candidates, is a matter that is also addressed, considering the
premises, to the sound judgment of the Electoral Tribunal.
Moreover, private respondent's attempt to have the Court set aside the HRET's
resolution to defer action on his prayer for provisional relief is undeniably
premature, considering that the HRET had not yet taken any final action with
regard to his prayer. Hence, there is actually nothing to review or annul and set
aside. But then again, so long as the Constitution grants the HRET the power to be
the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of
Members of the House of Representatives, any final action taken by the HRET on a
matter within its jurisdiction shall, as a rule, not be reviewed by this Court. As
stated earlier, the power granted to the Electoral Tribunal is full, clear and
complete and "excludes the exercise of any authority on the part of this Court that
would in any wise restrict or curtail it or even affect the same." [Lachica v.
Yap, supra,at 143.] As early as 1938 in Morrero v. Bocar [66 Phil. 429, 431 (1938)],
the Court declared that "[t]he judgment rendered by the Electoral] Commission in
the exercise of such an acknowledged power is beyond judicial interference,

except, in any event, upon a clear showing of such arbitrary and improvident use
of the power as will constitute a denial of due process of law." Under the 1987
Constitution, the scope of the Court's authority is made explicit. The power
granted to the Court includes the duty "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" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1]. Thus,
only where such grave abuse of discretion is clearly shown shall the Court
interfere with the HRET's judgment. In the instant case, there is no occasion for
the exercise of the Court's corrective power, since no grave abuse of discretion
that would amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the
issuance of the writs prayed for has been clearly shown. llcd
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is hereby DISMISSED. Private respondent's
Counter/Cross Petition is likewise DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Gutierrez,

Jr.,

Paras,

Gancayco,

Padilla,

Bidin,

Grio-Aquino,

Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.


Fernan, C.J., took no part, having served as chairman of the HRET.
Narvasa, J., is on leave.
Melencio-Herrera, J ., took no part, being a member of the HRET.
Cruz and Feliciano, JJ ., took no part as members of respondent HRET.

Sarmiento, J., took no part; private respondent having been associated with me in
the practice of law.

||| (Lazatin v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 84297,


[December 8, 1988], 250 PHIL 390-403)

158. Robles v HRET

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 86647. February 5, 1990.]
REP.

VIRGILIO

P.

REPRESENTATIVES

ROBLES, petitioner, vs. HON.


ELECTORAL

TRIBUNAL

AND

HOUSE
ROMEO

OF
L.

SANTOS, respondents.

Virgilio P. Robles for and in his own behalf.


Brillantes, Nachura, Navarro & Arcilla Law Offices for private respondent.

DECISION

MEDIALDEA, J p:
This is a petition for certiorari with prayer for a temporary restraining order
assailing the resolutions of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
(HRET): 1) dated September 19, 1988 granting herein private respondent's Urgent
Motion to Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of Protest, and 2) dated January 26,
1989, denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.
Petitioner Virgilio Robles and private respondent Romeo Santos were candidates
for the position of Congressman of the 1st district of Caloocan City in the last May

11, 1987 congressional elections. Petitioner Robles was proclaimed the winner on
December 23, 1987.
On January 5, 1988, Santos filed an election protest with respondent HRET. He
alleged, among others, that the elections in the 1st District of Caloocan City held
last May 11, 1987 were characterized by the commission of electoral frauds and
irregularities in various forms, on the day of elections, during the counting of
votes and during the canvassing of the election returns. He likewise prayed for the
recounting of the genuine ballots in all the 320 contested precincts (pp. 1620, Rollo).
On January 14, 1988, petitioner filed his Answer (pp. 22-26, Rollo) to the protest.
He alleged as among his affirmative defenses, the lack of residence of protestant
and the late filing of his protest. cdrep
On

August

15,

1988,

respondent

HRET

issued

an

order

setting

the

commencement of the revision of contested ballots on September 1, 1988 and


directed protestant Santos to identify 25% of the total contested precincts which
he desires to be revised first in accordance with Section 18 of the Rules of the
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (pp. 76-77, Rollo).
On September 7, 1988, the revision of the ballots for 75 precincts, representing
the initial 25% of all the contested precincts, was terminated.
On September 8, 1988, Robles filed an Urgent Motion to Suspend Revision and on
September 12, 1988, Santos filed a Motion to Withdraw Protest on the unrevised
precincts (pp. 78-80, Rollo).

No action on Robles' motion to suspend revision and Santos' motion to withdraw


protest on unrevised precincts were yet taken by respondent HRET when on
September 14, 1988, Santos filed an Urgent Motion to Recall and Disregard
Withdrawal of Protest (pp. 81-85, Rollo). On September 19, 1988, Robles opposed
Santos' Motion to Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of Protest in an Urgent Motion
to Cancel Continuation of Revision with Opposition to Motion to Recall Withdrawal
(pp. 86-91, Rollo). On the same day, respondent HRET issued a resolution which,
among others, granted Santos' Urgent Motion to Recall and Disregard Withdrawal
of Protest. The said resolution states:
"House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal Case No. 43 (Romeo L.
Santos vs. Virgilio P. Robles). Three pleadings are submitted for
consideration by the Tribunal: (a) Protestee's 'Urgent Motion to
Suspend Revision,' dated September 8, 1988; (b) Protestant's 'Motion
to Withdraw Protest on Unrevised Precincts and Motion to Set Case for
Hearing,' dated September 12, 1988; and (c) Protestant's 'Urgent
Motion to Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of Protest,' dated
September 14, 1988.
"Upon the filing of Protestant's Motion to Withdraw Protest, the
revision of ballots was stopped and such revision remains suspended
until now. In view of such suspension, there is no need to act on
Protestee's Motion.
"The

'Motion

to

Withdraw

Protest,'

has

been

withdrawn

Protestant's later motion, and therefore need not be acted upon.

by

"WHEREFORE, Protestee's 'Urgent Motion to Suspend Revision' and


Protestant's 'Motion to Withdraw Protest' are NOTED. The 'Urgent
Motion to Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of Protest' is GRANTED.
"The Secretary of the Tribunal is directed to schedule the resumption
of the revision on September 26, 1988 and to send out the necessary
notices for this purpose." (p. 84, Rollo)
On September 20, 1988, Robles filed an Urgent Motion and Manifestation praying
that his Urgent Motion to Cancel Revision with Opposition to Motion to Recall
dated September 19, 1988 be treated as a Motion for Reconsideration of the HRET
resolution of September 19, 1988 (pp. 92-94, Rollo). LexLib
On September 22, 1988, respondent HRET directed Santos to comment on Robles'
"Urgent Motion to Cancel Continuation of Revision with Opposition to Motion to
Recall Withdrawal" and ordered the suspension of the resumption of revision
scheduled for September 26, 1988.
On January 26, 1989, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal denied
Robles' Motion for Reconsideration (pp. 109-111, Rollo). Hence, the instant
petition was filed on February 1, 1989 (pp. 1-14, Rollo).
On February 2, 1989, We required the respondent to comment within ten (10)
days from notice of the petition (p. 118, Rollo). On February 9, 1989, petitioner
Robles filed an Urgent Motion Reiterating Prayer for Injunction or Restraining
Order (pp. 119-120, Rollo) which We Noted on February 16, 1989. Petitioner's
Motion for Leave to File Reply to Comment was granted in the same resolution of

February 16, 1989. On February 22, 1989, petitioner filed a Supplemental Petition
(p. 129, Rollo), this time questioning respondent HRET's February 16, 1989
resolution denying petitioner's motion to defer or reset revision until this Court
has finally disposed of the instant petition and declaring that a partial
determination pursuant to Section 18 of the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal Rules was had with private respondent Santos making a recovery of 267
votes (see Annex "C" of Supplemental Petition, p. 138, Rollo).
It is petitioner's main contention in this petition that when private respondent
Santos filed the Motion to Withdraw Protest on Unrevised Precincts and Motion to
Set Case for Hearing dated September 12, 1988, respondent HRET lost its
jurisdiction over the case, hence, when respondent HRET subsequently ordered
the revision of the unrevised protested ballots, notwithstanding the withdrawal of
the protest, it acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.
We do not agree with petitioner.
It is noted that upon Santos' filing of his Motion to Withdraw Protest on Unrevised
Precincts on September 12, 1988, no action thereon was taken by respondent
HRET. Contrary to petitioner's claim that the motion to withdraw was favorably
acted upon, the records show that it was only on September 19, 1988 when
respondent HRET resolved said motion together with two other motions. The
questioned resolution of September 19, 1988 resolved three (3) motions, namely:
a) Protestee's Urgent Motion to Suspend Revision dated September 8, 1988; b)
Protestant's Motion to Withdraw Protest on Unrevised Precincts and Motion to Set
Case for Hearing dated September 12, 1988; and c) Protestant's 'Urgent Motion to

Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of Protest,' dated September 14, 1988. The
resolution resolved the three (3) motions as follows:
"xxx xxx xxx
"WHEREFORE, Protestee's 'Urgent Motion to Suspend Revision' and
Protestant's 'Motion to Withdraw Protest' are NOTED. The 'Urgent
Motion to Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of Protest' is GRANTED.
xxx xxx xxx"
The mere filing of the motion to withdraw protest on the remaining uncontested
precincts, without any action on the part of respondent tribunal, does not by itself
divest the tribunal of its jurisdiction over the case. Jurisdiction, once acquired, is
not lost upon the instance of the parties but continues until the case is terminated
(Jimenez v. Nazareno, G.R. No. L-37933, April 15, 1988, 160 SCRA 1).
We agree with respondent House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal when it
held:
"We cannot agree with Protestee's contention that Protestant's
'Motion to Withdraw Protest on Unrevised Precincts' effectively with
drew the precincts referred to therein from the protest even before
the Tribunal has acted thereon. Certainly, the Tribunal retains the
authority to grant or deny the Motion, and the withdrawal becomes
effective only when the Motion is granted. To hold otherwise would
permit a party to deprive the Tribunal of jurisdiction already acquired.

"We hold therefore that this Tribunal retains the power and the
authority to grant or deny Protestant's Motion to Withdraw, if only to
insure that the Tribunal retains sufficient authority to see to it that the
will of the electorate is ascertained.
"Since Protestant's 'Motion to Withdraw Protest on the Unrevised
Precincts' had not been acted upon by this Tribunal before it was
recalled by the Protestant, it did not have the effect of removing the
precincts covered thereby from the protest. If these precincts were
not withdrawn from the protest, then the granting of Protestant's
'Urgent Motion to Recall and Disregard Withdrawal of Protest' did not
amount to allowing the refiling of protest beyond the reglementary
period."
Where the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter, its orders upon all
questions pertaining to the cause are orders within its jurisdiction, and however
erroneous they may be, they cannot be corrected by certiorari (Santos v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 56614, July 28, 1987, 152 SCRA 378; Paramount Insurance
Corp. v. Luna, G.R. No. 61404, March 16, 1987, 148 SCRA 564). This rule more
appropriately applies to respondent HRET whose independence as a constitutional
body has time and again been upheld by Us in many cases. As explained in the
case

of Lazatin

v.

The

House of

Representatives

Electoral Tribunal

Timbol, G.R. No. 84297, December 8, 1988, thus:


"The use of the word 'sole' emphasizes the exclusive character of the
jurisdiction conferred [Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra, at 162].

and

The exercise of the Power by the Electoral Commission under


the 1935 Constitution has been described as `intended to be
complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the
legislature' [Id. at 175]. Earlier, this grant of power to the legislature
was characterized by Justice Malcolm as 'full, clear and complete'
[Veloso v. Board of Canvassers of Leyte and Samar, 39 Phil. 886
(1919)]. Under the amended 1935 Constitution, the power was
unqualifiedly reposed upon the Electoral Tribunal [Suanes v. Chief
Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818 (1948)] and it remained as full,
clear and complete as that previously granted the legislature and the
Electoral Commission [Lachica v. Yap, G.R. No. L-25379, September
25, 1968, 25 SCRA 140]. The same may be said with regard to the
jurisdiction of the Electoral Tribunals under the 1987 Constitution.
Thus, 'judicial review of decisions or final resolutions of the House
Electoral Tribunal is (thus) possible only in the exercise of this Court's
so-called extraordinary jurisdiction, . . . upon a determination that the
tribunal's decision or resolution was rendered without or in excess of
its

jurisdiction,

or

with

grave

abuse

of

discretion

or,

paraphrasing Morrera, upon a clear showing of such arbitrary and


improvident use by the Tribunal of its power as constitutes a denial of
due process of law, or upon a demonstration of a very clear
unmitigated ERROR, manifestly constituting such a GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION that there has to be a remedy for such abuse."

In the absence of any clear showing of abuse of discretion on the part of


respondent tribunal in promulgating the assailed resolutions, a writ of certiorari
will not issue. LibLex
Further, petitioner's objections to the resolutions issued by respondent tribunal
center mainly on procedural technicalities, i.e., that the motion to withdraw, in
effect, divested the HRET of jurisdiction over the electoral protest. This argument
aside from being irrelevant and baseless, overlooks the essence of a public office
as a public trust. The right to hold an elective office is rooted on electoral
mandate, not perceived entitlement to the office. This is the reason why an
electoral tribunal has been set up in order that any doubt as to right/mandate to a
public office may be fully resolved vis-a-vis the popular/public will. To this end, it is
important that the tribunal be allowed to perform its functions as a constitutional
body, unhampered by technicalities or procedural play of words.
The case of Dimaporo v. Estipona (G.R. No. L-17358, May 30, 1961, 2 SCRA 282)
relied upon by petitioner does not help to bolster his case because the facts
attendant therein are different from the case at bar. In the said case, the motion
to withdraw was favorably acted upon before the resolution thereon was
questioned.
As regards petitioner's Supplemental Petition questioning respondent tribunal's
resolution denying his motion to defer or reset revision of the remaining seventyfive (75) per cent of the contested precincts, the same has become academic in

view of the fact that the revision was resumed on February 20, 1989 and was
terminated on March 2, 1989 (Private Respondent's Memorandum, p. 208, Rollo).
This fact was not rebutted by petitioner.
The allegation of petitioner that he was deprived of due process when respondent
tribunal rendered a partial determination pursuant to Section 18 of the HRET rules
and found that Santos made a recovery of 267 votes after the revision of the first
twenty-five per cent of the contested precincts has likewise, no basis. The partial
determination was arrived at only by a simple addition of the votes adjudicated to
each party in the revision of which both parties were properly represented. cdll
It would not be amiss to state at this point that "an election protest is impressed
with public interest in the sense that the public is interested in knowing what
happened in the elections" (Dimaporo v. Estipona, supra.), for this reason, private
interests must yield to what is for the common good.
ACCORDINGLY, finding no grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent
House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal in issuing the assailed resolutions, the
instant petition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa,

Paras,

Gancayco,

Padilla,

Bidin,

Aquino and Regalado, JJ., concur.


Fernan, C.J., No part; former member of HRET.
Melencio-Herrera, J., No part; member of HRET.

Sarmiento,

Cortes,

Grio-

Gutierrez, Jr., J., No part as I did not participate in the deliberations.


Cruz, J., No part, member of HRET.
Feliciano, J ., No part being member of HRET.
||| (Robles v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 86647,
[February 5, 1990], 260 PHIL 831-839)

159.Bondoc v Pineda

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 97710. September 26, 1991.]

DR. EMIGDIO A. BONDOC, petitioner, vs. REPRESENTATIVES


MARCIANO M. PINEDA, MAGDALENO M. PALACOL, COL.
JUANITO G. CAMASURA, JR., or any other representative who
may be appointed vice representative Juanito G. Camasura,
Jr., and THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL
TRIBUNAL,respondents.

Estelito P. Mendoza, Romulo C . Felixmera and Horacio S.J. Apostol for petitioner.
Nicanor S. Bautista for respondent Marciano M. Pineda.
Benedicto R. Palacol for respondent M.M. Palacol.

SYLLABUS
1. POLITICAL LAW; "POLITICAL QUESTION"; DEFINED. The accepted meaning of
"political question" is that "where the matter involved is left to a decision by the
people acting in their sovereign capacity or to the sole determination by either or
both the legislative or executive branch of the government, it is beyond judicial
cognizance. Thus it was that in suits where the party proceeded against was
either the President or Congress, or any of its branches for that matter, the courts
refused to act." (Aquino vs. Ponce Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 196.)
2. ID.;

CONSTITUTIONAL

LAW;

SECTION

1,

ARTICLE

VIII

OF

THE

1987

CONSTITUTIONAL; DEFINES "JUDICIAL POWER." Section 1, Article VIII of


the 1987

Constitution

of

the

Philippines defines

judicial

power

as

both authority and duty of the courts "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."
3. ID.; ID.; HOUSE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION;
DISTINGUISHED FROM THAT UNDER THE 1935 CONSTITUTION. Section 17,
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, provides: "Sec. 17. The Senate and the House
of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole
judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of their
respective members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members,
three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the
Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or House of
Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of
proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or
organizations registered under the party list system represented therein. The
senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman." Section 17 reechoes
Section 11, Article VI of the 1935 Constitution, except the provision on the
representation of the main political parties in the tribunal which is now based
on proportional representation

from

all

the

political

parties,

instead

of equal representation of three members from each of the first and second
largest political aggrupations in the Legislature.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; INDEPENDENT AND NON-PARTISAN. The use of the word "sole" in
both

Section

17

of

the 1987

Constitution and

Section

11

of

the 1935

Constitutionunderscores the exclusive jurisdiction of the House Electoral Tribunal

as judge of contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the


members of the House of Representatives (Robles vs. House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 86647, February 5, 1990). The tribunal was created to
function as a nonpartisan court although two-thirds of its members are politicians.
It is a non-political body in a sea of politicians. What this Court had earlier said
about the Electoral Commission applies as well to the electoral tribunals of the
Senate and House of Representatives: "The purpose of the constitutional
convention creating the Electoral Commission was to provide an independent and
impartial tribunal for the determination of contests to legislative office, devoid of
partisan consideration, and to transfer to that tribunal all the powers previously
exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested elections of its
members. "The power granted to the electoral Commission to judge contests
relating to the election and qualification of members of the National Assembly is
intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had remained in the
legislature." "The Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House were created
by the Constitution as special tribunals to be the sole judge of all contests relating
to election returns and qualifications of members of the legislative houses, and, as
such, are independent bodies which must be permitted to select their own
employees,

and

to

supervise

and

control

them,

without

any

legislative

interference." (Suanes vs. Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818.) To be


able to exercise exclusive jurisdiction, the House Electoral Tribunal must
be independent. Its jurisdiction to hear and decide congressional election contests
is not to be shared by it with the Legislature nor with the Courts. "The Electoral
Commission is a body separate from and independent of the legislature and

though not a power in the tripartite scheme of government, it is to all intents and
purposes, when acting within the limits of its authority, an independent organ;
while composed of a majority of members of the legislature it is a body separate
from

and

independent

of

the

legislature.

"The

Electoral

Commission,

constitutional organ created for the specific purpose of determining contests


relating to election returns and qualifications of members of the National
Assembly may not be interfered with by the judiciary when and while acting
within the limits of its authority, but the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the
Electoral Commission for the purpose of determining the character, scope and
extent of the constitutional grant to the commission as sole judge of all contests
relating to the election and qualifications of the members of the National
Assembly." (Angara vs. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139.)
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; RESOLUTION OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO REMOVE A
MEMBER FROM THE HOUSE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The
independence of the House Electoral Tribunal so zealously guarded by the framers
of our Constitution,would, however, be a myth and its proceedings a farce if the
House of Representatives, or the majority party therein, may shuffle and
manipulate the political (as distinguished from the judicial) component of the
electoral tribunal, to serve the interests of the party in power. The resolution of
the House of Representatives removing Congressman Camasura from the House
Electoral Tribunal for disloyalty to the LDP, because he cast his vote in favor of the
Nacionalista Party's candidate, Bondoc, is a clear impairment of the constitutional
prerogative of the House Electoral Tribunal to be thesole judge of the election

contest between Pineda and Bondoc. To sanction such interference by the House
of Representatives in the work of the House Electoral Tribunal would reduce the
tribunal to a mere tool for the aggrandizement of the party in power. The
expulsion of Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal by the
House of Representatives was not for a lawful and valid cause, but to unjustly
interfere with the tribunal's disposition of the Bondoc case and to deprive Bondoc
of the fruits of the Tribunal's decision in his favor, the action of the House of
Representatives is clearly violative of the constitutional mandate (Sec. 17, Art.
VI, 1987 Constitution).
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; "DISLOYALTY TO PARTY AND "BREACH OF PARTY DISCIPLINE" NOT
VALID GROUND FOR TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP THEREIN. As judges, the
members of the House Electoral Tribunal must be non-partisan. They must
discharge

their

functions

with

complete

detachment,

impartiality,

and

independence even independence from the political party to which they


belong. Hence, "disloyalty to party" and "breach of party discipline," are not valid
grounds for the expulsion of a member of the tribunal. In expelling Congressman
Camasura from the HRET for having cast a "conscience vote" in favor of Bondoc,
based strictly on the result of the examination and appreciation of the ballots and
the recount of the votes by the tribunal, the House of Representatives committed
a grave abuse of discretion, an injustice, and a violation of the Constitution. Its
resolution of expulsion against Congressman Camasura is, therefore, null and
void.

7. ID.; ID.; ID.; MEMBERS THEREIN ENJOY SECURITY OF TENURE; REMOVAL MUST
BE FOR A VALID CAUSE. The resolution of the House of Representatives
expelling Congressman Camasura violates his right to security of tenure. Members
of the HRET, as "sole judge" of congressional election contests, are entitled to
security of tenure just as members of the judiciary enjoy security of tenure under
our Constitution (Sec. 2, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). Therefore, membership in
the House Electoral Tribunal may not be terminated except for a just cause, such
as, the expiration of the member's congressional term of office, his death,
permanent disability, resignation from the political party he represents in the
tribunal, formal affiliation with another political party, or removal for other valid
cause. A member may not be expelled by the House of Representatives for "party
disloyalty" short of proof that he has formally affiliated with another political
group. As the records of this case fail to show that Congressman Camasura has
become a registered member of another political party, his expulsion from the
LDP and from the HRET was not for a valid cause, hence, it violated his right to
security of tenure.
_______

DECISION

GRIO-AQUINO, J p:
This case involves a question of power. May the House of Representatives, at the
request of the dominant political party therein, change that party's representation

in the House Electoral Tribunal to thwart the promulgation of a decision freely


reached by the tribunal in an election contest pending therein? May the Supreme
Court review and annul that action of the House? LLphil
Even the Supreme Court of the United States over a century ago, in Marbury vs.
Madison, 2 L. ed. 60 (1803), had hesitated to embark upon a legal investigation of
the acts of the other two branches of the Government, finding it "peculiarly
irksome as well as delicate" because it could be considered by some as "an
attempt to intrude" into the affairs of the other two and to intermeddle with their
prerogatives.
In the past, the Supreme Court, as head of the third and weakest branch of our
Government, was all too willing to avoid a political confrontation with the other
two branches by burying its head ostrich-like in the sands of the "political
question" doctrine, the accepted meaning of which is that "where the matter
involved is left to a decision by the people acting in their sovereign capacity or to
the sole determination by either or both the legislative or executive branch of the
government, it is beyond judicial cognizance. Thus it was that in suits where the
party proceeded against was either the President or Congress, or any of its
branches for that matter, the courts refused to act." (Aquino vs. Ponce Enrile, 59
SCRA 183, 196.).
In time, however, the duty of the courts to look into the constitutionality and
validity of legislative or executive action, especially when private rights are
affected, came to be recognized. As we pointed out in the celebrated Aquino case,
a showing that plenary power is granted either department of government may

not be an obstacle to judicial inquiry, for the improvident exercise or the abuse
thereof may give rise to a justiciable controversy. Since "a constitutional grant of
authority is not usually unrestricted, limitations being provided for as to what may
be done and how it is to be accomplished, necessarily then, it becomes the
responsibility of the courts to ascertain whether the two coordinate branches have
adhered to the mandate of the fundamental law. The question thus posed is
judicial rather than political. The duty remains to assure that the supremacy of the
Constitution is upheld" (Aquino vs. Ponce Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 196).
That duty is a part of the judicial power vested in the courts by an express grant
under Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines which
defines judicial power as both authority and duty of the courts "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."
The power and duty of the courts to nullify, in appropriate cases, the actions of
the executive and legislative branches of the Government, does not mean that
the courts are superior to the President and the Legislature. It does mean though
that the judiciary may not shirk "the irksome task" of inquiring into the
constitutionality and legality of legislative or executive action when a justiciable
controversy is brought before the courts by someone who has been aggrieved or
prejudiced by such action, as in this case. It is

"a plain exercise of the judicial power, that power vested in courts to
enable them to administer justice according to law. . . . It is simply a
necessary concomitant of the power to hear and dispose of a case or
controversy properly before the court, to the determination of which
must be brought the test and measure of the law." (Vera vs. Avelino,
77 Phil. 192, 203.)
In the local and congressional elections held on May 11, 1987, Marciano M. Pineda
of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and Dr. Emigdio A. Bondoc of the
Nacionalista Party (NP) were rival candidates for the position of Representative for
the Fourth District of the province of Pampanga. Each received the following votes
in the canvass made by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of Pampanga:
Marciano M. Pineda
Emigdio A. Bondoc
Difference

31,700 votes
28,400 votes
3,300 votes

On May 19,1987, Pineda was proclaimed winner in the election. In due time,
Bondoc filed a protest (HRET Case No. 25) in the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal (HRET for short) which is composed of nine (9) members, three
of whom are Justices of the Supreme Court and the remaining six are members of
the House of Representatives chosen on the basis of proportional representation
from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the
party-list system represented therein (Sec. 17, Art. VI,1987 Constitution) as
follows:
AMEURFINA M. HERRERA
Associate Justice

Chairman

Supreme Court
ISAGANI A. CRUZ
Associate Justice
Supreme Court

Member

FLORENTINO P. FELICIANO
Associate Justice
Supreme Court

Member

HONORATO Y. AQUINO
Congressman
1st Dist., Benguet
LDP

Member

DAVID A. PONCE DE LEON


Congressman
1st Dist., Palawan
LDP

Member

SIMEON E. GARCIA, JR.


Congressman 2nd Dist., Nueva Ecija
LDP

Member

JUANITO G. CAMASURA, JR.


Congressman
1st Dist., Davao del Sur
LDP

Member

JOSE E. CALINGASAN
Congressman
4th Dist., Batangas
LDP

Member

ANTONIO H. CERILLES
Congressman
2nd Dist., Zamboanga del Sur
(formerly GAD, now NP).

Member

After the revision of the ballots, the presentation of evidence, and submission of
memoranda, Bondoc's protest was submitted for decision in July, 1989.

By October 1990, a decision had been reached in which Bondoc won over Pineda
by a margin of twenty-three (23) votes. At that point, the LDP members in the
Tribunal insisted on a re appreciation and recount of the ballots cast in some
precincts, thereby delaying by at least four (4) months the finalization of the
decision in the case.
The

reexamination

and

re-appreciation

of

the

ballots

resulted

in increasing Bondoc's lead over Pineda to 107 votes. Congressman Camasura


voted with the Supreme Court Justices and Congressman Cerilles to proclaim
Bondoc the winner of the contest. LLpr
Moved by candor and honesty, Congressman Camasura revealed on March 4,
1991, to his "Chief," Congressman Jose S. Cojuangco, Jr., LDP Secretary General,
not only the final tally in the Bondoc case but also that he voted for Bondoc
"consistent with truth and justice and self-respect," and to honor a "gentlemen's
agreement" among the members of the HRET that they would "abide by the result
of the appreciation of the contested ballot 1 Congressman Camasura's revelation
stirred a hornets' nest in the LDP which went into a flurry of plotting appropriate
moves to neutralize the pro-Bondoc majority in the Tribunal.
On March 5, 1991, the HRET issued a Notice of Promulgation of Decision on March
14, 1991 at 2:30 P.M. in HRET Case No. 25. A copy of the notice was received by
Bondoc's counsel on March 6, 1991.
On March 13, 1991, the eve of the promulgation of the Bondoc decision,
Congressman Cojuangco informed Congressman Camasura by letter 2 that on

February 28, 1991 yet, the LDP Davao del Sur Chapter at Digos, Davao del Sur, by
Resolution No. 03-91, had already expelled him and Congressman Benjamin
Bautista from the LDP for having allegedly helped to organize the Partido Pilipino
of Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, and for allegedly having invited LDP members in
Davao del Sur to join said political party; and that as those acts are "not only
inimical, uncalled for, unethical and immoral, but also a complete betrayal to (sic)
the cause and objectives, and loyalty to LDP," in a meeting on March 12, 1991,
the LDP Executive Committee unanimously confirmed the expulsions. 3
At the same time, Congressman Cojuangco notified Speaker Ramon V. Mitra about
the ouster of the two congressmen from the LDP, and asked the House of
Representatives, through the Speaker, to take note of it "especially in matters
where party membership is a prerequisite." 4
At 9:45 in the morning of March 4, 1991, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mme.
Justice Ameurfina M. Herrera, received the following letter dated March 13, 1991,
from the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives,
informing the Tribunal that on the basis of the letter from the LDP, the House of
Representatives, during its plenary session on March 13, 1991, decided to
withdraw the nomination and rescind the election of Congressman Camasura, Jr.
to the House of Electoral Tribunal. The letter reads as follows:
"13 March 1991
"Honorable Justice Ameurfina
Melencio-Herrera
Chairman

House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal
Constitution Hills Quezon City
"Dear Honorable Justice Melencio-Herrera:
"I have the honor to notify the House of Electoral Tribunal of the
decision of the House of Representatives during its plenary session on
13 March 1991, to withdraw the nomination and to rescind the
election of the Honorable Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. to the House
Electoral Tribunal on the basis of an LDP communication which is selfexplanatory and copies of which are hereto attached.
"Thank you.
"For the Secretary-General
"(SGD.) Josefina D. Azarcon
"Officer-in-charge
Operations Department"
(p. 10, Rollo.)
Justices Herrera, Cruz, and Feliciano promptly apprised the Chief Justice and
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court in writing, of this "distressing
development" and asked to be relieved from their assignments in the HRET
because

"By the above action (of the House) the promulgation of the decision
of

the

Tribunal

in

the

electoral

protest

entitled "Bondoc

v.

Pineda" (HRET Case No. 25), previously scheduled for 14 March 1991,
is sought to be aborted (See the Consolidated Bank and Trust
Corporation v. Hon. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 73777-78,
promulgated 12 September 1990). Even if there were no legal
impediment to its promulgation, the decision which was reached on a
5 to 4 vote may now be confidently expected to be overturned on a
motion for reconsideration by the party-litigant which would have
been defeated.
"The decision in Bondoc v. Pineda was ready as early as October 1990
with a margin of 23 votes in favor of protestant Bondoc. Because
some members of the Tribunal requested re-appreciation of some
ballots, the finalization of the decision had to be deferred by at least 4
months.
With the re-appreciation completed, the decision, now with a margin
of 107 votes in favor of protestant Bondoc, and concurred in by
Justices Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera, Isagani A. Cruz and Florentino
P. Feliciano, and Congressmen Juanito G. Camasura and Antonio H.
Cerilles, is set for promulgation on 14 March 1991, with Congressmen
Honorato Y. Aquino, David A. Ponce de Leon, Simeon E. Garcia, Jr. and
Jose E. Calingasan, dissenting.

"Congressman Camasura's vote in the Bondoc v. Pined case was, in


our view, a conscience vote, for which he earned the respect of the
Tribunal but also the loss of the confidence of the leadership of his
party.
"Under the above circumstances, an untenable situation has come
about. It is extremely difficult to continue with membership in the
Tribunal and for the Tribunal to preserve its integrity and credibility as
a constitutional body charged with a judicial task. It is clear to us that
the unseating of an incumbent member of Congress is being
prevented at all costs. We believe that the Tribunal should not be
hampered in the performance of its constitutional function by factors
which have nothing to do with the merits of the cases before it.
"In this connection, our own experience teaches that the provision for
proportional representation in the Tribunal found in Article VI, Section
17 of the 1987 Constitution, should be amended to provide instead
for a return to the composition mandated in the 1935 Constitution,
that is: three (3) members chosen by the House or Senate upon
nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three
(3) of the party having the second largest number of votes: and a
judicial component consisting of three (3) justices from the Supreme
Court. Thereby, no party or coalition of parties can dominate the
legislative component in the Tribunal.

"In the alternative, the Senate Electoral Tribunal could perhaps sit as
the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of members of the House of Representatives. Similarly,
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal could sit as the sole
judge of all such contests involving members of the Senate. In this
way, there should be lesser chances of non-judicial elements playing
a decisive role in the resolution of election contests.
"We

suggest

that

there

should

also

be

provision

in the

Constitution that upon designation to membership in the Electoral


Tribunal, those so designated should divest themselves of affiliation
with their respective political parties, to insure their independence
and objectivity as they sit in Tribunal deliberations.
"There are only three (3) remaining cases for decision by the
Tribunal. Bondoc should have been promulgated today, 14 March
1991. Cabrera v. Apacible (HRET Case No. 21) is scheduled for
promulgation on 31 March 1991 and Lucman v. Dimaporo (HRET Case
No. 45), after the Holy Week recess.
"But political factors are blocking the accomplishment of the
constitutionally mandated task of the Tribunal well ahead of the
completion of the present congressional term.
"Under these circumstances, we are compelled to ask to be relieved
from the chairmanship and membership in the Tribunal.

"xxx xxx xxx".


At the open session of the HRET in the afternoon of the same day, the Tribunal
issued Resolution No. 91-0018 cancelling the promulgation of the decision in HRET
Case No. 25. The resolution reads:
"In view of the formal notice the Tribunal has received at 9:45 this
morning from the House of Representatives that at its plenary session
held on March 13, 1991, it had voted to withdraw the nomination and
rescind the election of Congressman Camasura to the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal,' the Tribunal Resolved to cancel
the promulgation of its Decision in Bondoc vs. Pineda (HRET Case No.
25)

scheduled

for

this

afternoon.

This

is

because,

without

Congressman Camasura's vote, the decision lacks the concurrence of


five members as required by Section 24 of the Rules of the Tribunal
and, therefore, cannot be validly promulgated.
"The Tribunal noted that the three (3) Justices-members of the
Supreme

Court,

being

of

the

opinion

that

this

development

undermines the independence of the Tribunal and derails the orderly


adjudication of electoral cases, they have asked the Chief Justice, in a
letter of even date, for their relief from membership in the Tribunal.
"The

Tribunal

further

Noted

that

Congressman

Cerilles

manifested his intention to resign as a member of the Tribunal.

also

"The Tribunal further Noted that Congressmen Aquino, Ponce de Leon,


Garcia, Jr., and Calingasan also manifested a similar intention." (p. 37,
Rollo.)
On March 19, 1991, this Court, after deliberating on the request for relief of
Justices Herrera, Cruz and Feliciano, resolved to direct them to return to their
duties in the Tribunal. The Court observed that: LibLex
". . . in view of the sensitive constitutional functions of the Electoral
Tribunals as the 'sole judge' of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of the members of Congress, all members
of these bodies are appropriately guided only by purely legal
considerations in the decision of the cases before them and that in
the

contemplation

ofthe

Constitution the

members-legislators,

thereof, upon assumption of their duties therein, sit in the Tribunal no


longer as representatives of their respective political parties but as
impartial judges. The view was also submitted that, to further bolster
the independence of the Tribunals, the term of office of every
member

thereof

should

be

considered

co-extensive

with

the

corresponding legislative term and may not be legally terminated


except only by death, resignation, permanent disability, or removal
for valid cause, not including political disloyalty.
"ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved: a) to DECLINE the request of
Justices Herrera, Cruz, and Feliciano to be relieved from their
membership in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and

instead to DIRECT them to resume their duties therein: b) to EXPRESS


its

concern

over

the

intrusion

of

non-judicial

factors

in

the

proceedings of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, which


performs functions purely judicial in character despite the inclusion of
legislators in its membership; and c) to NOTE the new that the term
of all the members of the Electoral Tribunals, including those from the
legislature, is co-extensive with the corresponding legislative term
and cannot be terminated at will but only for valid legal cause, and to
REQUIRE the Justices-members of the Tribunal to submit the issue to
the said Tribunal in the first instance.
"Paras J. filed this separate concurring opinion: 'I concur, but I wish to
add that Rep. Camasura should be allowed to cast his original vote in
favor of protestant Bondoc, otherwise a political and judicial travesty
will take place.' Melencio-Herrera, Cruz and Feliciano, JJ., took no part.
Gancayco, J., is on leave."
On March 21, 1991, a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus was filed
by Dr. Emigdio A. Bondoc against Representatives Marciano M. Pineda, Magdaleno
M. Palacol, Juanito G. Camasura, Jr., or any other representative who may be
appointed Vice Representative Juanito G. Camasura Jr., and the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal, praying this Court to:

1. Annul the decision of the House of Representatives of March 13,


1991, "to withdraw the nomination and to rescind the nomination of
Representative Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. to the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal;"
2. Issue a writ of prohibition restraining respondent Palacol or
whomsoever may be designated in place of respondent Camasura
from assuming, occupying and discharging functions as a member of
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal;
3. Issue a writ of mandamus ordering respondent Camasura to
immediately reassume and discharge his functions as a member of
the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal; and
4. Grant such other relief as may be just and equitable.
Upon receipt of the petition, the Court, without giving it due course, required the
respondents to comment 5 on the petition within ten days from notice and to
enjoin the HRET "from reorganizing and allowing participation in its proceedings of
Honorable Magdaleno M. Palacol or whoever is designated to replace Honorable
Juanito G. Camasura in said House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, until the
issue of the withdrawal of the nomination and rescission of the election of said
Congressman Camasura as member of the HRET by the House of Representatives
is resolved by this Court, or until otherwise ordered by the Court." (p. 39, Rollo.)
Congressman Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. did not oppose the petition.

Congressman Marciano M. Pineda's plea for the dismissal of the petition is


centered on Congress' being the sole authority that nominates and elects from its
members. Upon recommendation by the political parties therein, those who are to
sit in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (and in the Commission on
Appointments as well), hence, it allegedly has the sole power to remove any of
them whenever the ratio in the representation of the political parties in the House
or Senate is materially changed on account of death, incapacity, removal or
expulsion from the political party; 6 that a Tribunal member's term of office is not
co-extensive with his legislative term, 7 for if a member of the Tribunal who
changes his party affiliation is not removed from the Tribunal, the constitutional
provision mandating representation based on political affiliation would be
completely nullified; 8 and that the expulsion of Congressman Camasura from the
LDP, is "purely a party affair" of the LDP 9 and the decision to rescind his
membership in the House Electoral Tribunal is the sole prerogative of the House of
Representatives, hence, it is a purely political question beyond the reach of
judicial review. 10
In his comment, respondent Congressman Magdaleno M. Palacol alleged that the
petitioner has no cause of action against him because he has not yet been
nominated by the LDP for membership in the HRET. 11 Moreover, the petition
failed to implead the House of Representatives as an indispensable party for it
was the House, not the HRET, that withdrew and rescinded Congressman
Camasura's membership in the HRET. 12

The Solicitor General, as counsel for the Tribunal, argued in a similar vein; that the
inclusion of the HRET as a party respondent is erroneous because the petition
states no cause of action against the Tribunal. The petitioner does not question
any act or order of the HRET in violation of his rights. What he assails is the act of
the House of Representatives of withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding the
election, of Congressman Juanito Camasura as a member of the HRET. 13
Replying to the Solicitor General's Manifestation, the petitioner argued that while
the Tribunal indeed had nothing to do with the assailed decision of the House of
Representatives, it acknowledged that decision by cancelling the promulgation of
its decision in HRET Case No. 25 to his (Bondoc's) prejudice. 14 Hence, although
the Tribunal may not be an indispensable party, it is a necessary party to the suit,
to assure that complete relief is accorded to the petitioner for "in the ultimate, the
Tribunal would have to acknowledge, give recognition, and implement the
Supreme Court's decision as to whether the relief of respondent Congressman
Camasura from the Office of the Electoral Tribunal is valid." 15
In his reply to Congressman Palacol's Comment, the petitioner explained that
Congressman Palacol was impleaded as one of the respondents in this case
because after the House of Representatives had announced the termination of
Congressman Camasura's membership in the HRET, several newspapers of
general circulation reported that the House of Representatives would nominate
and elect Congressman Palacol to take Congressman Camasura's seat in the
Tribunal. 16

Now, is the House of Representatives empowered by the Constitution to do that,


i.e., to interfere with the disposition of an election contest in the House Electoral
Tribunal through the ruse of "reorganizing" the representation in the tribunal of
the majority party?
Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution supplies the answer to that
question. It provides:
"Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each
have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating to the election, returns and qualifications of their respective
members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine
Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be
designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be
members of the Senate or House of Representatives, as the case may
be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional representation
from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered
under the party list system represented therein. The senior Justice in
the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman."
Section 17 reechoes Section 11, Article VI of the 1935 Constitution, except the
provision on the representation of the main political parties in the tribunal which is
now based onproportional representation from all the political parties, instead
of equal representation of three members from each of the first and second
largest political aggravations in the Legislature. The 1935 constitutional provision
reads as follows:

"Sec. 11. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall have an
Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating
to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective
Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine
Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be
designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be
Members of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the
case may be, who shall be chosen by each House, three upon
nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three
of the party having the second largest number of votes therein. The
senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman."
(1935 Constitution of the Philippines.).
Under the above provision, the Justices held the deciding votes, and it was
impossible for any political party to control the voting in the tribunal.
The 1973 Constitution did not provide for an electoral tribunal in the Batasang
Pambansa. LLpr
The use of the word "sole" in both Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and Section
11 of the 1935 Constitution underscores the exclusive jurisdiction of the House
Electoral Tribunal as judge of contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives (Robles vs. House
of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 86647, February 5, 1990). The
tribunal was created to function as a nonpartisan court although two-thirds of its
members are politicians. It is a non-political body in a sea of politicians. What this

Court had earlier said about the Electoral Commission applies as well to the
electoral tribunals of the Senate and House of Representatives:
"The purpose of the constitutional convention creating the Electoral
Commission was to provide an independent and impartial tribunal for
the determination of contests to legislative office, devoid of partisan
consideration, and to transfer to that tribunal all the powers
previously exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to
contested elections of its members.
"The power granted to the electoral Commission to judge contests
relating to the election and qualification of members of the National
Assembly is intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had
remained in the legislature."
"The Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House were created
by the Constitution as special tribunals to be the sole judge of all
contests relating to election returns and qualifications of members of
the legislative houses, and, as such, are independent bodies which
must be permitted to select their own employees, and to supervise
and control them, without any legislative interference." (Suanes vs.
Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818.)
To be able to exercise exclusive jurisdiction, the House Electoral Tribunal must
be independent. Its jurisdiction to hear and decide congressional election contests
is not to be shared by it with the Legislature nor with the Courts.

"The Electoral Commission is a body separate from and independent


of the legislature and though not a power in the tripartite scheme of
government, it is to all intents and purposes, when acting within the
limits of its authority, an independent organ; while composed of a
majority of members of the legislature it is a body separate from and
independent of the legislature.
xxx xxx xxx.
"The Electoral Commission, a constitutional organ created for the
specific purpose of determining contests relating to election returns
and qualifications of members of the National Assembly may not be
interfered with by the judiciary when and while acting within the
limits of its authority, but the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the
Electoral Commission for the purpose of determining the character,
scope and extent of the constitutional grant to the commission as
sole judge of all contests relating to the election and qualifications of
the members of the National Assembly." (Angara vs. Electoral
Commission, 63 Phil. 139.)

The independence of the electoral tribunal was preserved undiminished in


the 1987 Constitution as the following exchanges on the subject between
Commissioners Maambong and Azcuna in the 1986 Constitutional Commission,
attest:

"MR. MAAMBONG. Thank you.


"My questions will be very basic so we can go as fast as we can. In
the case of the electoral tribunal, either of the House or of the
Senate, is it correct to say that these tribunals are constitutional
creations? I will distinguish these with the case of the Tanodbayan
and the Sandiganbayan which are created by mandate of the
Constitution but they are not constitutional creations. Is that a good
distinction?.
"MR. AZCUNA. That is an excellent statement.
"MR. MAAMBONG. Could we, therefore, say that either the Senate
Electoral Tribunal or the House Electoral Tribunal is a constitutional
body?
"MR. AZCUNA. It is, Madam President.
"MR. MAAMBONG. If it is a constitutional body, is it then subject to
constitutional restrictions?
"MR. AZCUNA. It would be subject to constitutional restrictions
intended for that body.
"MR. MAAMBONG. I see. But I want to find out if the ruling in the case
of Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil. 192, will still be applicable to the present
bodies we are creating since it ruled that the electoral tribunals are

not separate departments of the government. Would that ruling still


be valid?
"MR. AZCUNA. Yes, they are not separate departments because the
separate departments are the legislative, the executive and the
judiciary; but they are constitutional bodies.
"MR. MAAMBONG. Although they are not separate departments of
government, I would like to know again if the ruling in Angara vs.
Electoral Commission, 53 Phil. 139, would still be applicable to the
present bodies we are deciding on, when the Supreme court said
that these electoral tribunals are independent from Congress, devoid
of partisan influence or consideration and, therefore, Congress has no
power to regulate proceedings of these electoral tribunals.
"MR. AZCUNA. I think that is correct. They are independent although
they are not a separate branch of government.
"MR. MAAMBONG. There is a statement that in all parliaments of the
world,

the

invariable

rule

is

to

leave

unto

themselves

the

determination of controversies with respect to the election and


qualifications of their members, and precisely they have this
Committee
controversy.

on

Privileges

which

takes

care

of

this

particular

"Would the Gentleman say that the creation of electoral tribunals is


an exception to this rule because apparently we have an independent
electoral tribunal?
"MR.

AZCUNA. To

the

extent

that

the

electoral

tribunals

are

independent, but the Gentleman will notice that the wordings say:
`The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an
Electoral Tribunal.' It is still the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the
House Electoral Tribunal. So, technically, it is the tribunal of the House
and tribunal of the Senate although they are independent.
"MR. MAAMBONG. But both of them, as we have agreed on, are
independent from both bodies?
"MR. AZCUNA. That is correct.
"MR. MAAMBONG. This is the bottom line of my question. How can we
say that these bodies are independent when we still have six
politicians sitting in both tribunals?
"MR. AZCUNA. Politicians can be independent, Madam President.
"MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, when we discussed a portion of
this in the Committee on the Executive, there was a comment by
Chief Justice Concepcion Commissioner Concepcion that there
seems to be some incongruity in these electoral tribunals, considering
that politicians still sit in the tribunals in spite of the fact that in the
ruling in the case of Sanidad vs. Vera, Senate Electoral Tribunal Case

No. 1, they are supposed to act in accordance with law and justice
with complete detachment from all political considerations. That is
why I am asking now for the record how we could achieve such
detachment when there are six politicians sitting there.
"MR. AZCUNA. The same reason that the Gentleman, while chosen on
behalf of the opposition, has, with sterling competence, shown
independence in the proceedings of this Commission. I think we can
also trust that the members of the tribunals will be independent." (pp.
111-112, Journal, Tuesday, July 22, 1986, Emphasis ours.)
Resolution of the House of
Representatives violates
the independence of the HRET.
The independence of the House Electoral Tribunal so zealously guarded by the
framers of our Constitution,would, however, be a myth and its proceedings a farce
if the House of Representatives, or the majority party therein, may shuffle and
manipulate the political (as distinguished from the judicial) component of the
electoral tribunal, to serve the interests of the party in power.
The resolution of the House of Representatives removing Congressman Camasura
from the House Electoral Tribunal for disloyalty to the LDP, because he cast his
vote in favor of the Nacionalista Party's candidate, Bondoc, is a clear impairment
of the constitutional prerogative of the House Electoral Tribunal to be the sole
judge of the election contest between Pineda and Bondoc.

To sanction such interference by the House of Representatives in the work of the


House Electoral Tribunal would reduce the tribunal to a mere tool for the
aggrandizement of the party in power (LDP) which the three justices of the
Supreme Court and the lone NP member would be powerless to stop. A minority
party candidate may as well abandon all hope at the threshold of the tribunal.
Disloyalty to party is not
a valid cause for
termination of membership
in the HRET.
As judges, the members of the tribunal must be non-partisan. They must
discharge

their

functions

with

complete

detachment,

impartiality,

and

independence even independence from the political party to which they


belong. Hence, "disloyalty to party" and "breach of party discipline," are not valid
grounds for the expulsion of a member of the tribunal. In expelling Congressman
Camasura from the HRET for having cast a "conscience vote" in favor of Bondoc,
based strictly on the result of the examination and appreciation of the ballots and
the recount of the votes by the tribunal, the House of Representatives committed
a grave abuse of discretion, an injustice, and a violation of the Constitution. Its
resolution of expulsion against Congressman Camasura is, therefore, null and
void.
Expulsion of Congressman
Camasura violates his
right to security of tenure.

Another reason for the nullity of the expulsion resolution of the House of
Representatives is that it violates Congressman Camasura's right to security of
tenure. Members of the HRET, as "sole judge" of congressional election contests,
are entitled to security of tenure just as members of the judiciary enjoy security of
tenure under our Constitution (Sec. 2, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). Therefore,
membership in the House Electoral Tribunal may not be terminated except for a
just cause, such as, the expiration of the member's congressional term of office,
his death, permanent disability, resignation from the political party he represents
in the tribunal, formal affiliation with another political party, or removal for other
valid cause. A member may not be expelled by the House of Representatives for
"party disloyalty" short of proof that he has formally affiliated with another
political group. As the records of this case fail to show that Congressman
Camasura has become a registered member of another political party, his
expulsion from the LDP and from the HRET was not for a valid cause, hence, it
violated his right to security of tenure. LLjur
There is nothing to the argument of respondent Pineda that members of the
House Electoral Tribunal are not entitled to security of tenure because, as a
matter of fact, two Supreme Court Justices in the Tribunal were changed before
the end of the congressional term, namely: Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan who,
upon his elevation to the office of Chief Justice, was replaced by Justice Florentino
P. Feliciano, and the latter, who was temporarily replaced by Justice Emilio A.
Gancayco, when he (J. Feliciano) took a leave of absence to deliver a lecture in
Yale University. It should be stressed, however, that those changes in the judicial

composition to the HRET had no political implications at all unlike the present
attempt to remove Congressman Camasura. No coercion was applied on Chief
Justice Fernan to resign from the tribunal, nor on Justice Feliciano to go on a leave
of absence. They acted on their own free will, for valid reasons, and with no covert
design to derail the disposition of a pending case in the HRET.
The case of Congressman Camasura is different. He was expelled from, and by,
the LDP to punish him for "party disloyalty" after he had revealed to the
Secretary-General of the party how he voted in the Bondoc case. The purpose of
the expulsion of Congressman Camasura was to nullify his vote in the Bondoc
case so that the HRET's decision may not be promulgated, and so that the way
could be cleared for the LDP to nominate a replacement for Congressman
Camasura in the Tribunal. That stratagem of the LDP and the House of
Representatives is clearly aimed to substitute Congressman Camasura's vote and,
in effect, to change the judgment of the HRET in the Bondoc case.
The judicial power of this Court has been invoked by Bondoc for the protection of
his rights against the strong arm of the majority party in the House of
Representatives. The Court cannot be deaf to his plea for relief, nor indifferent to
his charge that the House of Representatives had acted with grave abuse of
discretion in removing Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal.
He calls upon the Court, as guardian of the Constitution, to exercise its judicial
power and discharge its duty to protect his rights as the party aggrieved by the
action of the House. The Court must perform its duty under the Constitution "even
when the violator be the highest official of the land or the Government itself"

(Concurring opinion of J. Antonio Barredo in Aquino vs. Ponce-Enrile, 59 SCRA 183,


207).
Since the expulsion of Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal
by the House of Representatives was not for a lawful and valid cause, but to
unjustly interfere with the tribunal's disposition of the Bondoc case and to deprive
Bondoc of the fruits of the Tribunal's decision in his favor, the action of the House
of Representatives is clearly violative of the constitutional mandate (Sec. 17, Art.
VI, 1987 Constitution) which created the House Electoral Tribunal to be the "sole
judge" of the election contest between Pineda and Bondoc. We, therefore, declare
null and void the resolution dated March 13, 1991 of the House of Representatives
withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding the election, of Congressman
Camasura as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal. The petitioner, Dr.
Emigdio Bondoc, is entitled to the reliefs he prays for in this case.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus is granted. The
decision of the House of Representatives withdrawing the nomination and
rescinding the election of Congressman Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. as a member of
the House Electoral Tribunal is hereby declared null and void abinitio for being
violative of the Constitution, and Congressman Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. is ordered
reinstated to his position as a member of the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal. The HRET Resolution No. 91-0018 dated March 14, 1991, cancelling the
promulgation of the decision in HRET Case No. 25 ("Dr. Emigdio Bondoc vs.
Marciano A. Pineda") is also set aside. Considering the unconscionable delay
incurred in the promulgation of that decision to the prejudice of the speedy

resolution of electoral cases, the Court, in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction,
and in the interest of justice, hereby declares the said decision DULY
PROMULGATED, effective upon service of copies thereof on the parties, to be done
immediately by the Tribunal. Costs against respondent Marciano A. Pineda.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, Paras, Bidin, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.
Fernan, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Cruz and Feliciano, JJ., took no part.
||| (Bondoc v. Pineda, G.R. No. 97710, [September 26, 1991], 278 PHIL 784-817)
160. Chavez v COMELEC

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 105323. July 3, 1992.]
FRANCISCO

I.

CHAVEZ, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION

ON

ELECTIONS, respondent.

SYLLABUS
1. POLITICAL LAW; JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT; POWER OF JUDICIAL REVIEW OVER
OTHER BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT; RULE; CASE AT BAR. The alleged inaction
of respondent Comelec in ordering the deletion of Melchor Chavez's name in the
list of qualified candidates does not call for the exercise of the Court's function of
judicial review. This Court can review the decisions or orders of the Comelec only

in cases of grave abuse of discretion committed by it in the discharge of its quasijudicial powers and not those arising from the exercise of its administrative
functions. Respondent Commission's alleged failure to implement its own
resolution is undoubtedly administrative in nature, hence, beyond judicial
interference (see Filipinas Engineering Co. v. Ferrer, 135 SCRA 25 [1985];
Aratuc v. Commission on Elections, 88 SCRA 251 [1979]; see also Pungutan v.
Abubakar,

43

SCRA

General, respondent

[1972]).

Comelec

can

As

aptly

observed

administratively

by

undo

the
what

Solicitor
it

has

administratively left undone (Manifestation, p. 2). Moreover, respondent Comelec


has in fact, on May 6, 1992 to be exact, ordered the deletion of Melchor Chavez's
name not only on the official list of candidates, but also on the election returns,
tally sheet and certificate of canvass (Comment, p. 7). Hence, petitioner's
allegation that respondent Comelec failed to implement Res. No. 92-132 does not
hold water.
2. ID.; LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT; HOUSE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL; SHALL BE THE
SOLE JUDGE OF ALL CONTEST RELATING TO THE ELECTION, RETURNS AND
QUALIFICATIONS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE MEMBERS. Thus, Sec. 17, Art. VI of the
Constitution provides that "(t)he Senate and the House of Representatives shall
each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating

to

the

election,

returns,

and

qualifications

of

their

respective

Members. . . ." (emphasis supplied). The word "sole" underscores the exclusivity
of the Tribunals' jurisdiction over election contests relating to their respective
Members (Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 199 SCRA 692

[1991]; Lazatin v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, 168 SCRA 391


[1988]; Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139 [1936]). It is therefore
crystal clear that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the instant petition. It
is the Senate Electoral Tribunal which has exclusive jurisdiction to act on the
complaint of petitioner involving, as it does, contest relating to the election of a
member of the Senate. As aforesaid, petitioner's proper recourse is to file a
regular election protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal after the winning
senatorial candidates have been proclaimed.
3. ELECTION LAW; ELECTION CONTEST ; PRE-PROCLAMATION CONTROVERSY; NOT
ALLOWED IN ELECTIONS FOR PRESIDENT, VICE-PRESIDENT, SENATORS AND
MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE. While the Commission has exclusive
jurisdiction over pre-proclamation controversies involving local elective officials
(Sec. 242, Omnibus Election Code), nevertheless, pre-proclamation cases are not
allowed in elections for President, Vice-President, Senator and Member of the
House of Representatives as provided in Sec. 15 of Republic Act 7166.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT A PROPER RECOURSE IN CASE OF ERRORS IN THE
APPRECIATION OF BALLOT; REASON THEREFOR. The function of ballots
appreciation is performed by the boards of election inspectors at the precinct
level. 3."The scope of pre-proclamation controversy is limited to the issues
enumerated under Sec. 243 of the Omnibus Election Code. The enumeration
therein of the issues that may be raised in pre-proclamation controversy is
restrictive and exclusive. In the absence of any clear showing or proof that the
election returns canvassed are incomplete or contain material defects (sec. 234),

appear to have been tampered with, falsified or prepared under duress (sec. 235)
and/or contain discrepancies in the votes credited to any candidate, the difference
of which affects the result of the election (sec. 236), which are the only instances
where a pre-proclamation recount may be resorted to, granted the preservation of
the integrity of the ballot box and its contents, Sanchez' petition must fail. The
complete election returns whose authenticity is not in question, must be prima
facie considered valid for the purpose of canvassing the same and proclamation of
the winning candidates. . . . "7. The ground for recount relied upon by Sanchez is
clearly not among the issues that may be raised in pre-proclamation controversy.
His allegation of invalidation of "Sanchez" votes intended for him bear no relation
to the correctness and authenticity of the election returns canvassed. Neither the
Constitution nor statute has granted the Comelec or the board of canvassers the
power in the canvass of election returns to look beyond the face thereof, once
satisfied of their authenticity (Abes v. Comelec, 21 SCRA 1252, 1256)."
5. ID.; ID.; CORRECTION OF MANIFEST ERROR IN THE CERTIFICATE OF CANVASS
OR ELECTION RETURNS; MAY BE ALLOWED IN ELECTION FOR PRESIDENT, VICE
PRESIDENT, SENATORS AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE. It
is clear from the above-quoted provision of the law that "pre-proclamation cases
(are) not allowed in elections for President, Vice-President, Senator and Member of
the House of Representatives." What is allowed is the correction of "manifest
errors in the certificate of canvass or election returns." To be manifest, the errors
must appear on the face of the certificates of canvass or election returns sought
to be corrected and/or objections thereto must have been made before the board

of canvassers and specifically noted in the minutes of their respective


proceedings.
6. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT SATISFIED IN CASE AT BAR. It is quite obvious that
petitioner's prayer does not call for the correction of "manifest error's in the
certificate of canvass or election returns" before the Comelec but for the reopening of the ballot boxes and appreciation of the ballots contained therein.
Indeed, petitioner has not even pointed to any "manifest error" in the certificates
of canvass or election returns he desires to be rectified. There being none,
petitioner's proper recourse is to file a regular election protest which, under the
Constitution and the Omnibus Election Code, exclusively pertains to the Senate
Electoral Tribunal. In the case at bar, petitioner's allegation that "Chavez" votes
were either invalidated or declared stray has no relation to the correctness or
authenticity of the election returns canvassed. Otherwise stated, petitioner has
not demonstrated any manifest error in the certificates of canvass or election
returns before the Comelec which would warrant their correction. As the
authenticity of the certificates of canvass or election returns are not questioned,
they must be prima facie considered valid for purposes of canvassing the same
and proclamation of the winning candidates (Sanchez v. Comelec, supra)

RESOLUTION

BIDIN, J p:

This case was originally on urgent petition ad cautelam praying, among others, for
the issuance of a temporary restraining order enjoining respondent Commission
on Elections (Comelec) from proclaiming the 24th highest senatorial candidate.
The antecedents facts are as follows:
On May 5, 1992, this Court issued a Resolution in GR No. 104704, entitled
"Francisco Chavez v. Comelec, et al.," disqualifying Melchor Chavez, private
respondent therein, from running for the Office of Senator in the May 11, 1992
elections.
The above-mentioned resolution was received by respondent Comelec on May 6,
1992. On the same day, petitioner filed an urgent motion with the Comelec
praying that it (1) disseminate through the fastest available means this Court's
Resolution dated May 5, 1992 to all regional election directors, provincial election
supervisors, city and municipal election registrars, boards of election inspectors,
the six (6) accredited political parties and the general public; and (2) order said
election officials to delete the name of Melchor Chavez as printed in the certified
list of candidates tally sheets, election returns and "to count all votes cast for the
disqualified Melchor, Chavez in favor of Francisco I. Chavez . . . ."
On May 8, 1992, the Comelec issued Res. No. 92-1322 which resolved to delete
the name of Melchor Chavez from the list of qualified candidates. However, it
failed to order the crediting of all "Chavez" votes in favor of petitioner as well as
the cancellation of Melchor Chavez' name in the list of qualified candidates.

According to petitioner, the Comelec failed to perform its mandatory function


under Sec. 7, RA 7166 which states that if a candidate has been disqualified, it
shall be the duty of the Commission to instruct without delay the deletion of the
name of said candidate.
Thus, the name of Melchor Chavez remained undeleted in the list of qualified
candidates on election day. cdrep
Confusion arose, allegedly nationwide, as the "Chavez" votes were either declared
stray or invalidated by the Boards of Election Inspectors (BEIs).
On May 11, 1992, Commissioner Rama of respondent Comelec issued a directive
over radio and TV ordering all "Chavez" votes to be credited in favor of petitioner.
Petitioner contends that the radio and TV announcements did not reach the BEI at
the 170,354 precincts nationwide. As a result, "Chavez" votes were not credited in
favor of petitioner.
On May 12, 1992, Comelec issued another Resolution directing all municipal and
city election registrars throughout the country to examine the minutes of voting
submitted by the BEIs and to credit all the "Chavez" votes, which have been
declared stray or invalidated by the BEIs, in favor of petitioner.
Petitioner maintains that the said resolution proved futile because it did not reach
all the various BEIs of the 170,354 election precincts throughout the country on
time for implementation and that the minutes of voting did not indicate the
number of "Chavez" votes which were declared stray or invalidated.

On May 14, 1992, petitioner sent a letter to the Comelec requesting the latter to
devise ways and means in crediting "Chavez" votes in his favor but the
respondent Commission failed to act on said letter/complaint.
On May 23, 1992, petitioner filed an urgent petition before the respondent
Comelec praying the latter to (1) implement its May 12, 1992 resolution with
costs de officio; (2) to re-open the ballot boxes in 13 provinces including the
National Capital Region involving some 80,348 precincts (p. 9 of petition) and to
scan for the "Chavez" votes for purposes of crediting the same in his favor; (3)
make the appropriate entries in the election returns/certificates of canvass; and
(4) to suspend the proclamation of the 24 winning candidates.
Dissatisfied with the failure of respondent Comelec to act on his petition,
petitioner filed, as aforesaid, this urgent petition for prohibition and mandamus,
with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order, enjoining the
Comelec from proclaiming the 24th highest senatorial candidate, without first
implementing respondent Comelec's resolution of May 12, 1992 and acting upon
petitioner's letter/complaint dated May 14, 1992 and urgent petition dated May
22, 1992. LLjur
It is the submission of petitioner that assuming only ten (10) "Chavez" votes were
invalidated per precinct, he would have lost at least 1.7 million votes (considering
that there are more than 170,000 precincts nationwide); the result of which will
affect the 24 ranking senatorial candidates.

Petitioner alleges that respondent Comelec acted capriciously and whimsically


and with grave abuse of discretion and therefore prays that the Comelec be
enjoined from proclaiming the 24th winning senatorial candidate until after his
petition before the Commission is resolved.
On June 4, 1992, the Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining
respondent Comelec from proclaiming the 24th winning senatorial candidate and
set the case for hearing on June 9, 1992.
On the same day (June 4, 1992), petitioner filed a manifestation stating that on
May 30, 1992, his urgent petition dated May 22, 1992 was dismissed by
respondent Comelec and prayed that the petition ad cautelam at bar be
considered a regular petition.
On June 8, 1992, Senator Agapito Aquino ** filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene
with Comment in Intervention praying for the dismissal of the instant petition on
the ground that the law does not allow pre-proclamation controversy involving the
election of members of the Senate.
After hearing the arguments of the parties on June 9, 1992, the Court resolved to
lift the temporary restraining order in the afternoon of the same day (June 9,
1992).
Coming now to the merits, We find the petition devoid of any.
As stated earlier, petitioner's urgent petition dated May 22, 1992 was dismissed
by respondent Comelec on May 30, 1992. Had it not been prayed that the
proclamation of the 24th winning senatorial candidate be suspended, which this

Court granted on June 4, 1992, the instant petition would have been dismissed
outright for having become moot and academic. But even then, this Court could
have acted favorably on petitioner's plaint.
The alleged inaction of respondent Comelec in ordering the deletion of Melchor
Chavez's name in the list of qualified candidates does not call for the exercise of
the Court's function of judicial review. This Court can review the decisions or
orders of the Comelec only in cases of grave abuse of discretion committed by it
in the discharge of its quasi-judicial powers and not those arising from the
exercise of its administrative functions. Respondent Commission's alleged failure
to implement its own resolution is undoubtedly administrative in nature, hence,
beyond judicial interference (See Filipinas Engineering Co. v. Ferrer, 135 SCRA 25
[1985]; Aratuc v. Commission on Elections, 88 SCRA 251 (1979); see also
Pungutan v. Abubakar, 43 SCRA 1 [1972]). As aptly observed by the Solicitor
General, respondent

Comelec

can

administratively

undo

what

it

has

administratively left undone (Manifestation, p. 2). Moreover, respondent Comelec


has in fact, on May 6, 1992 to be exact, ordered the deletion of Melchor Chavez's
name not only on the official list of candidates, but also on the election returns,
tally sheet and certificate of canvass (Comment, p. 7). Hence, petitioner's
allegation that respondent Comelec failed to implement Res. No. 92-132 does not
hold water.
Be that as it may, there are other compelling reasons why the instant petition is
bound to fail.

A simple reading of the petition would readily show that petitioner has no cause of
action,

the

controversy

presented

being

one

in

the

nature

of

pre-

proclamation. **
While

the

Commission

has

exclusive

jurisdiction

over

pre-proclamation

controversies involving local elective officials (Sec. 242, Omnibus Election Code),
nevertheless, pre-proclamation cases are not allowed in elections for President,
Vice-President, Senator and Member of the House of Representatives. llcd
Sec. 15 of Republic Act 7166 provides:
"Sec. 15. Pre-proclamation Cases Not Allowed in Elections for
President, Vice-President, Senator, and Member of the House of
Representatives. For purposes of the elections for President, VicePresident, Senator and Member of the House of Representatives, no
pre-proclamation cases shall be allowed on matters relating to the
preparation, transmission, receipt, custody and appreciation of the
election returns or the certificate of canvass, as the case may be.
However, this does not preclude the authority of the appropriate
canvassing body motu propio or upon written complaint of an
interested person to correct manifest errors in the certificate of
canvass or election returns before it. (emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
"Any objection on the election returns before the city or municipal
board of canvassers, or on the municipal certificates of canvass

before the provincial boards of canvassers or district board of


canvassers in Metro Manila Area, shall be specifically noted in the
minutes of their respective proceedings."
It is clear from the above-quoted provision of the law that "pre-proclamation cases
(are) not allowed in elections for President, Vice-President, Senator and Member of
the House of Representatives." What is allowed is the correction of "manifest
errors in the certificate of canvass or election returns." To be manifest, the errors
must appear on the face of the certificates of canvass or election returns sought
to be corrected and/or objections thereto must have been made before the board
of canvassers and specifically noted in the minutes of their respective
proceedings.
In the case at bar, however, petitioner prays not only for a restraining order
enjoining "the proclamation of the 24th highest ranking senatorial candidate
without first acting upon petitioner's letter/complaint dated May 14, 1992 and
urgent petition dated May 22, 1992" but also prays that judgment be rendered
requiring the Comelec to re-open the ballot boxes in 80,348 precincts in 13
provinces therein enumerated (Petition, p. 9) including Metro Manila, scan the
ballots for "Chavez" votes which were invalidated or declared stray and credit said
scanned "Chavez" votes in favor of petitioner.
It is quite obvious that petitioner's prayer does not call for the correction of
"manifest error's in the certificates of canvass or election returns" before the
Comelec but for the re-opening of the ballot boxes and appreciation of the ballots
contained therein. Indeed, petitioner has not even pointed to any "manifest error"

in the certificates of canvass or election returns he desires to be rectified. There


being none, petitioner's proper recourse is to file a regular election protest which,
under the Constitution and the Omnibus Election Code, exclusively pertains to the
Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Thus, Sec. 17, Art. VI of the Constitution provides that "(t)he Senate and the
House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be
the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of
their respective Members. . . ." (emphasis supplied). The word "sole" underscores
the exclusivity of the Tribunals' jurisdiction over election contests relating to their
respective Members (Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 199
SCRA 692 [1991]; Lazatin v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, 168
SCRA 391 [1988]; Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139 [1936]). It is
therefore crystal clear that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the instant
petition. It is the Senate Electoral Tribunal which has exclusive jurisdiction to act
on the complaint of petitioner involving, as it does, contest relating to the election
of a member of the Senate. As aforesaid, petitioner's proper recourse is to file a
regular election protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal after the winning
senatorial candidates have been proclaimed.
Petitioner argues, on the other hand, that a recount before the Senate Electoral
Tribunal where he would be forced to shell out the expenses imposes not only a
property requirement for the enjoyment of the right to be voted upon but also a
price on the right of suffrage which would ultimately stifle the sovereign will.

The argument, however, is beside the point. The law is very clear on the matter
and it is not right for petitioner to ask this Court to abandon settled jurisprudence,
engage in judicial legislation, amend the Constitution and alter the Omnibus
Election Code. The mandatory procedures laid down by the existing law in cases
like the one at bar must be faithfully followed lest we allow anarchy to reign. The
proper recourse is for petitioner to ask not this Court but the Legislature to enact
remedial measures. LexLib
Finally, the instant petition falls squarely with the case of Sanchez v. Commission
on Elections (153 SCRA 67 [1987]) and the disposition arrived therein finds
application in the case at bar, mutatis mutandis:

"Sanchez anchors his petition for recount and/or reappreciation on


Section 243, paragraph (b) of the Omnibus Election Code in relation
to Section 234 thereof with regard to material defects in canvassed
election returns. He contends that the canvassed returns discarding
"Sanchez" votes as stray were "incomplete" and therefore warrant a
recount or reappreciation of the ballots under Section 234. . . .
". . . The fact that some votes written solely as Sanchez" were
declared stray votes because of the inspectors' erroneous belief that
Gil Sanchez had not been disqualified as a candidate, involves an
erroneous appreciation of the ballots. It is established by the law as
well as jurisprudence . . . that errors in the appreciation of ballots by

the board of inspectors are proper subject for election protest and not
for recount or reappreciation of ballots.
"2. The appreciation of the ballots cast in the precincts is not a
'proceeding of the board of canvassers' for purposes of preproclamation proceedings under Section 241, Omnibus Election Code,
but of the boards of election inspectors who are called upon to count
and appreciate the votes in accordance with the rules of appreciation
provided in Section 211, Omnibus Election Code. Otherwise stated,
the appreciation of ballots is not part of the proceedings of the board
of canvassers. The functions of ballots appreciation is performed by
the boards election inspectors at the precinct level. (Emphasis
supplied)
"3. The scope of pre-proclamation controversy is limited to the issues
enumerated under Sec. 243 of the Omnibus Election Code. The
enumeration therein of the issues that may be raised in preproclamation controversy is restrictive and exclusive. In the absence
of any clear showing or proof that the election returns canvassed are
incomplete or contain material defects (sec. 234), appear to have
been tampered with, falsified or prepared under duress (sec. 235)
and/or contain discrepancies in the votes credited to any candidate,
the difference of which affects the result of the election (sec. 236),
which are the only instances where a pre-proclamation recount may
be resorted to, granted the preservation of the integrity of the ballot

box and its contents, Sanchez' petition must fail. The complete
election returns whose authenticity is not in question, must be prima
facie considered valid for the purpose of canvassing the same and
proclamation of the winning candidates.
xxx xxx xxx
"7. The ground for recount relied upon by Sanchez is clearly not
among the issues that may be raised in pre-proclamation controversy.
His allegation of invalidation of "Sanchez" votes intended for him bear
no relation to the correctness and authenticity of the election returns
canvassed. Neither the Constitution nor statute has granted the
Comelec or the board of canvassers the power in the canvass of
election returns to look beyond the face thereof, once satisfied of
their authenticity (Abes v. Comelec, 21 SCRA 1252, 1256)."
In the case at bar, petitioner's allegation that "Chavez" votes were either
invalidated or declared stray has no relation to the correctness or authenticity of
the

election

returns

canvassed.

Otherwise

stated,

petitioner

has

not

demonstrated any manifest error in the certificates of canvass or election returns


before the Comelec which would warrant their correction. As the authenticity of
the certificates of canvass or election returns are not questioned, they must
be prima facie considered valid for purposes of canvassing the same and
proclamation of the winning candidates (Sanchez v. Comelec, supra).

Premises considered, the Court Resolved to DISMISS the instant petition for lack of
merit.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C .J ., Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Grio-Aquino,
Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon and Bellosillo, JJ ., concur.

||| (Chavez v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 105323 (Resolution), [July 3,


1992])

161. Aquino v COMELEC


(same with case 138)

162. Sampayan v Daza

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 103903. September 11, 1992.]
MELANIO D. SAMPAYAN, DIEGO L. TURLA, JR., and LEONARDO
G.

TIOZON, petitioners, vs. RAUL.

A.

DAZA,

HON.

CAMILO

SABIO, as Secretary of the House of Representatives, MR.


JOSE

MARIA

TUAO,

as

Officer-in-Charge,

Gen.

Services

Division of the House of Representatives, MRS. ROSALINDA G.


MEDINA,

as

Chief

Representatives,

and

Accountant
the

HON.

of

the

House

COMMISSION

of
ON

AUDIT, respondents.

Luis H. Dado for petitioners.


Sevilla, Hechanova, Ballicud & Associates for respondent Raul Daza.

SYLLABUS
1. POLITICAL LAW; LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT; HOUSE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL;
SHALL BE THE SOLE JUDGE OF ALL CONTESTS RELATING TO THE ELECTION,

RETURNS AND QUALIFICATIONS OF ITS MEMBERS. Under Section 17 of Article VI


of the 1987 Constitution, it is the House Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole
judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualification of its
members. Since petitioners challenge the qualifications of Congressman Daza, the
appropriate remedy should have been to file a petition to cancel respondent
Daza's certificate of candidacy before the election or a quo warranto case with the
House Electoral Tribunal within ten (10) days after Daza's proclamation.
2. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; WRIT OF PROHIBITION; NOT INTENDED
TO PROVIDE FOR ACTS ALREADY CONSUMMATED. A writ of prohibition can no
longer be issued against respondent since his term has already expired. A writ of
prohibition is not intended to provide for acts already consummated.
3. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; PUBLIC OFFICERS; DE FACTO OFFICERS; ENTITLED TO
EMOLUMENT FOR ACTUAL SERVICES RENDERED. As a de facto public officer,
respondent cannot be made to reimburse funds disbursed during his term of office
because his acts are as valid as those of a de jure officer. Moreover, as a de
facto officer, he is entitled to emoluments for actual services rendered.

RESOLUTION

ROMERO, J p:
On February 18, 1992, petitioners, residents of the second Congressional District
of Northern Samar filed the instant petition for prohibition seeking to disqualify
respondent Raul Daza, then incumbent congressman of the same congressional

district, from continuing to exercise the functions of his office, on the ground that
the latter is a greencard holder and a lawful permanent resident of the United
States since October 16, 1974.
Petitioners allege that Mr. Daza has not, by any act or declaration, renounced his
status as permanent resident, thereby violating Section 68 of Batas Pambansa
Bilang 881 (Omnibus Election Code) and Section 18, Article XI of the 1987
Constitution. LibLex
On February 25, 1992, we required respondents to comment. On March 13, 1992,
respondents, through the Solicitor General, filed a motion for extension of time to
file their comment for a period of thirty days or until April 12, 1992. Reacting to
the said motion, petitioners on March 30, 1992, manifested their opposition to the
30-day extension of time stating that such extension was excessive and prayed
that respondent instead be granted only 10 days to file their comment. On May 5,
1992, the Court noted the manifestation and opposition.
On April 7, 1992, petitioners manifested before us that on April 2, 1992, they filed
a petition before the COMELEC to disqualify respondent Daza from running in the
recent May 11, 1992 elections on the basis of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election
Code (SPC 92-084) and that the instant petition is concerned with the unlawful
assumption of office by respondent Daza from June 30, 1987 until June 30,
1992. 1
On April 10, 1992, respondent Congressman Daza filed his comment denying the
fact that he is a permanent resident of the United States; that although he was

accorded a permanent residency status on October 8, 1980 as evidenced by a


letter order of the District Director, US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Los
Angeles, U.S.A., 2 he had long waived his status when he returned to the
Philippines on August 12, 1985. 3
On April 13, 1992, public respondent Camilo Sabio, Secretary General of the
House of Representatives, Mr. Jose Mari Tuao, as OIC of the General Services
Division, Mrs. Rosalinda G. Medina, as Chief Accountant of the House of
Representatives and Commission on Audit, filed their comment. They contend that
if indeed Congressman Daza is a greencard holder and a permanent resident of
the United States of America, then he should be removed from his position as
Congressman. However, they opined that only Congressman Daza can best
explain his true and correct status as a greencard holder. Until he files his
comment to the petition, petitioners' prayer for temporary restraining order
and/or writ of preliminary injunction should not be granted. 4
Eight (8) days later, respondent Daza, reacting to the petition before the
COMELEC (SPC 92-084) and hypothesizing that the case before the COMELEC
would become moot should this Court find that his permanent resident status
ceased when he was granted a US non-immigrant visa, asked this Court to direct
the COMELEC to dismiss SPC No. 92-084. 5
On May 5, 1992, petitioners filed their reply. On May 21, 1992, this Court gave due
course to the petition and required the parties to file their respective
memoranda. cdphil

The central issue to be resolved in this case is whether or not respondent Daza
should be disqualified as a member of the House of Representatives for violation
of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Petitioners insist that Congressman Daza should be disqualified from exercising
the functions of his office being a permanent resident alien of the United States at
the time when he filed his certificate of candidacy for the May 11, 1987 Elections.
To buttress their contention, petitioners cite the recent case of Caasi v. Court of
Appeals. 6
In support of their charge that respondent Daza is a greencard holder, petitioners
presented to us a letter from the United States Department of Justice, Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS) which reads: 7
File No. A20 968 618
Date: Nov. 5, 1991
LOS914732
Geraghty, O'Loughlin and Kenney
Attn: David C. Hutchinson
386 N. Wasbasha Street
St. Paul, Minn. 55102-1308
SUBJECT:
Daza, Raul A.

Your request was received in this office on _________; please note the
paragraph(s) checked below:
xxx xxx xxx
10. [XX] Other remarks:
Service File A20 968 619 relating to Raul Daza reflects: subject
became a Lawful Permanent Resident on Oct. 16, 1974. As far as we
know subject (sic) still has his greencard. No he has not applied for
citizenship.
Sincerely, (sic)
Sgd.
District Director
Form G-343 (Rev. 8-20-82)N
We vote to dismiss the instant prohibition case. First, this case is already moot
and academic for it is evident from the manifestation filed by petitioners dated
April 6, 1992 8 that they seek to unseat respondent from his position as
Congressman for the duration of his term of office commencing June 30, 1987 and
ending June 30, 1992. Secondly, jurisdiction of this case rightfully pertains to the
House Electoral Tribunal. Under Section 17 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, it
is the House Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating
to the election, returns and qualification of its members. Since petitioners
challenge the qualifications of Congressman Daza, the appropriate remedy should

have been to file a petition to cancel respondent Daza's certificate of candidacy


before the election 9 or a quo warranto case with the House Electoral Tribunal
within ten (10) days after Daza's proclamation. 10 Third, a writ of prohibition can
no longer be issued against respondent since his term has already expired. A writ
of prohibition is not intended to provide for acts already consummated. 11 Fourth,
as a de facto public officer, 1 2 respondent cannot be made to reimburse funds
disbursed during his term of office because his acts are as valid as those of a de
jure officer. Moreover, as a de facto officer, he is entitled to emoluments for actual
services rendered. 13
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to DISMISS the instant petition for being MOOT
and ACADEMIC.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa C .J ., Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr.,
Nocon and Bellosillo, JJ ., concur.
Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz and Feliciano, JJ ., are on leave.
Melo and Campos, Jr., JJ ., took no part.
||| (Sampayan v. Daza, G.R. No. 103903 (Resolution), [September 11, 1992], 288
PHIL 720-726)