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G.R. No.

SOLICI

KILUSANG MAYO UNO LABOR CENTER, petitioner,


vs.
HON. JESUS B. GARCIA, JR., the LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY
BOARD, and the PROVINCIAL BUS OPERATORS ASSOCIATION OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.

Potenciano A. Flores for petitioner.

Robert Anthony C. Sison, Cesar B. Brillantes and Jose Z. Galsim for private respondent.

Jose F. Miravite for movants.

KAPUNAN, J.:

Public utilities are privately owned and operated businesses whose service are essential to the general
public. They are enterprises which specially cater to the needs of the public and conduce to their comfort
and convenience. As such, public utility services are impressed with public interest and concern. The
same is true with respect to the business of common carrier which holds such a peculiar relation to the
public interest that there is superinduced upon it the right of public regulation when private properties are
affected with public interest, hence, they cease to be juris privati only. When, therefore, one devotes his
property to a use in which the public has an interest, he, in effect grants to the public an interest in that
use, and must submit to the control by the public for the common good, to the extent of the interest he
has thus created. 1

An abdication of the licensing and regulatory government agencies of their functions as the instant
petition seeks to show, is indeed lamentable. Not only is it an unsound administrative policy but it is
inimical to public trust and public interest as well.

The instant petition for certiorari assails the constitutionality and validity of certain memoranda, circulars
and/or orders of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Land
Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board LTFRB) 2 which, among others, (a) authorize provincial
bus and jeepney operators to increase or decrease the prescribed transportation fares without application
therefor with the LTFRB and without hearing and approval thereof by said agency in violation of Sec.
16(c) of Commonwealth Act No. 146, as amended, otherwise known as the Public Service Act, and in
derogation of LTFRB's duty to fix and determine just and reasonable fares by delegating that function to
bus operators, and (b) establish a presumption of public need in favor of applicants for certificates of
public convenience (C PC) and place on the oppositor the burden of proving that there is no need for the
proposed service, in patent violation not only of Sec. 16(c) of CA 146, as amended, but also of Sec. 20(a)
of the same Act mandating that fares should be "just and reasonable." It is, likewise, violative of the Rules
of Court which places upon each party the burden to prove his own affirmative allegations. 3 The offending
provisions contained in the questioned issuances pointed out by petitioner, have resulted in the
introduction into our highways and thoroughfares thousands of old and smoke-belching buses, many of
which are right-hand driven, and have exposed our consumers to the burden of spiraling costs of public
transportation without hearing and due process.
The following memoranda, circulars and/or orders are sought to be nullified by the instant petition, viz: (a)
DOTC Memorandum Order 90-395, dated June 26, 1990 relative to the implementation of a fare range
scheme for provincial bus services in the country; (b) DOTC Department Order No.
92-587, dated March 30, 1992, defining the policy framework on the regulation of transport services; (c)
DOTC Memorandum dated October 8, 1992, laying down rules and procedures to implement Department
Order No. 92-587; (d) LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 92-009, providing implementing guidelines on
the DOTC Department Order No. 92-587; and (e) LTFRB Order dated March 24, 1994 in Case No. 94-
3112.

The relevant antecedents are as follows:

On June 26, 1990; then Secretary of DOTC, Oscar M. Orbos, issued Memorandum Circular No. 90-395 to
then LTFRB Chairman, Remedios A.S. Fernando allowing provincial bus operators to charge passengers
rates within a range of 15% above and 15% below the LTFRB official rate for a period of one (1) yea r.
The text of the memorandum order reads in full:

One of the policy reforms and measures that is in line with the thrusts and the priorities
set out in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 1987 1992) is the
liberalization of regulations in the transport sector. Along this line, the Government
intends to move away gradually from regulatory policies and make progress towards
greater reliance on free market forces.

Based on several surveys and observations, bus companies are already charging
passenger rates above and below the official fare declared by LTFRB on many provincial
routes. It is in this context that some form of liberalization on public transport fares is to
be tested on a pilot basis.

In view thereof, the LTFRB is hereby directed to immediately publicize a fare range
scheme for all provincial bus routes in country (except those operating within Metro
Manila). Transport Operators shall be allowed to charge passengers within a range of
fifteen percent (15%) above and fifteen percent (15%) below the LTFRB official rate for a
period of one year.

Guidelines and procedures for the said scheme shall be prepared by LTFRB in
coordination with the DOTC Planning Service.

The implementation of the said fare range scheme shall start on 6 August 1990.

For compliance. (Emphasis ours.)

Finding the implementation of the fare range scheme "not legally feasible," Remedios A.S. Fernando
submitted the following memorandum to Oscar M. Orbos on July 24, 1990, to wit:

With reference to DOTC Memorandum Order No. 90-395 dated 26 June 1990 which the
LTFRB received on 19 July 1990, directing the Board "to immediately publicize a fare
range scheme for all provincial bus routes in the country (except those operating within
Metro Manila)" that will allow operators "to charge passengers within a range of fifteen
percent (15%) above and fifteen percent (15%) below the LTFRB official rate for a period
of one year" the undersigned is respectfully adverting the Secretary's attention to the
following for his consideration:
1. Section 16(c) of the Public Service Act prescribes the following for the
fixing and determination of rates (a) the rates to be approved should
be proposed by public service operators; (b) there should be a
publication and notice to concerned or affected parties in the territory
affected; (c) a public hearing should be held for the fixing of the rates;
hence, implementation of the proposed fare range scheme on August 6
without complying with the requirements of the Public Service Act may
not be legally feasible.

2. To allow bus operators in the country to charge fares fifteen (15%)


above the present LTFRB fares in the wake of the devastation, death and
suffering caused by the July 16 earthquake will not be socially warranted
and will be politically unsound; most likely public criticism against the
DOTC and the LTFRB will be triggered by the untimely motu
propio implementation of the proposal by the mere expedient of
publicizing the fare range scheme without calling a public hearing, which
scheme many as early as during the Secretary's predecessor know
through newspaper reports and columnists' comments to be Asian
Development Bank and World Bank inspired.

3. More than inducing a reduction in bus fares by fifteen percent (15%)


the implementation of the proposal will instead trigger an upward
adjustment in bus fares by fifteen percent (15%) at a time when
hundreds of thousands of people in Central and Northern Luzon,
particularly in Central Pangasinan, La Union, Baguio City, Nueva Ecija,
and the Cagayan Valley are suffering from the devastation and havoc
caused by the recent earthquake.

4. In lieu of the said proposal, the DOTC with its agencies involved in
public transportation can consider measures and reforms in the industry
that will be socially uplifting, especially for the people in the areas
devastated by the recent earthquake.

In view of the foregoing considerations, the undersigned respectfully suggests that the
implementation of the proposed fare range scheme this year be further studied and
evaluated.

On December 5, 1990, private respondent Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, Inc.
(PBOAP) filed an application for fare rate increase. An across-the-board increase of eight and a half
centavos (P0.085) per kilometer for all types of provincial buses with a minimum-maximum fare range of
fifteen (15%) percent over and below the proposed basic per kilometer fare rate, with the said minimum-
maximum fare range applying only to ordinary, first class and premium class buses and a fifty-centavo
(P0.50) minimum per kilometer fare for aircon buses, was sought.

On December 6, 1990, private respondent PBOAP reduced its applied proposed fare to an across-the-
board increase of six and a half (P0.065) centavos per kilometer for ordinary buses. The decrease was
due to the drop in the expected price of diesel.

The application was opposed by the Philippine Consumers Foundation, Inc. and Perla C. Bautista
alleging that the proposed rates were exorbitant and unreasonable and that the application contained no
allegation on the rate of return of the proposed increase in rates.
On December 14, 1990, public respondent LTFRB rendered a decision granting the fare rate increase in
accordance with the following schedule of fares on a straight computation method, viz:

AUTHORIZED FARES

LUZON
MIN. OF 5 KMS. SUCCEEDING KM.

REGULAR P1.50 P0.37


STUDENT P1.15 P0.28

VISAYAS/MINDANAO

REGULAR P1.60 P0.375


STUDENT P1.20 P0.285
FIRST CLASS (PER KM.)
LUZON P0.385
VISAYAS/
MINDANAO P0.395
PREMIERE CLASS (PER KM.)
LUZON P0.395
VISAYAS/
MINDANAO P0.405

AIRCON (PER KM.) P0.415. 4

On March 30, 1992, then Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications Pete
Nicome des Prado issued Department Order No.
92-587 defining the policy framework on the regulation of transport services. The full text of the said order
is reproduced below in view of the importance of the provisions contained therein:

WHEREAS, Executive Order No. 125 as amended, designates the Department of


Transportation and Communications (DOTC) as the primary policy, planning, regulating
and implementing agency on transportation;

WHEREAS, to achieve the objective of a viable, efficient, and dependable transportation


system, the transportation regulatory agencies under or attached to the DOTC have to
harmonize their decisions and adopt a common philosophy and direction;

WHEREAS, the government proposes to build on the successful liberalization measures


pursued over the last five years and bring the transport sector nearer to a balanced
longer term regulatory framework;

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the powers granted by laws to the DOTC, the following
policies and principles in the economic regulation of land, air, and water transportation
services are hereby adopted:

1. Entry into and exit out of the industry. Following the Constitutional dictum against
monopoly, no franchise holder shall be permitted to maintain a monopoly on any route. A
minimum of two franchise holders shall be permitted to operate on any route.
The requirements to grant a certificate to operate, or certificate of public convenience,
shall be: proof of Filipino citizenship, financial capability, public need, and sufficient
insurance cover to protect the riding public.

In determining public need, the presumption of need for a service shall be deemed in
favor of the applicant. The burden of proving that there is no need for a proposed service
shall be with the oppositor(s).

In the interest of providing efficient public transport services, the use of the "prior
operator" and the "priority of filing" rules shall be discontinued. The route measured
capacity test or other similar tests of demand for vehicle/vessel fleet on any route shall be
used only as a guide in weighing the merits of each franchise application and not as a
limit to the services offered.

Where there are limitations in facilities, such as congested road space in urban areas, or
at airports and ports, the use of demand management measures in conformity with
market principles may be considered.

The right of an operator to leave the industry is recognized as a business decision,


subject only to the filing of appropriate notice and following a phase-out period, to inform
the public and to minimize disruption of services.

2. Rate and Fare Setting. Freight rates shall be freed gradually from government
controls. Passenger fares shall also be deregulated, except for the lowest class of
passenger service (normally third class passenger transport) for which the government
will fix indicative or reference fares. Operators of particular services may fix their own
fares within a range 15% above and below the indicative or reference rate.

Where there is lack of effective competition for services, or on specific routes, or for the
transport of particular commodities, maximum mandatory freight rates or passenger fares
shall be set temporarily by the government pending actions to increase the level of
competition.

For unserved or single operator routes, the government shall contract such services in
the most advantageous terms to the public and the government, following public bids for
the services. The advisability of bidding out the services or using other kinds of incentives
on such routes shall be studied by the government.

3. Special Incentives and Financing for Fleet Acquisition. As a matter of policy, the
government shall not engage in special financing and incentive programs, including direct
subsidies for fleet acquisition and expansion. Only when the market situation warrants
government intervention shall programs of this type be considered. Existing programs
shall be phased out gradually.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the Civil Aeronautics Board,
the Maritime Industry Authority are hereby directed to submit to the Office of the
Secretary, within forty-five (45) days of this Order, the detailed rules and procedures for
the Implementation of the policies herein set forth. In the formulation of such rules, the
concerned agencies shall be guided by the most recent studies on the subjects, such as
the Provincial Road Passenger Transport Study, the Civil Aviation Master Plan, the
Presidential Task Force on the Inter-island Shipping Industry, and the Inter-island Liner
Shipping Rate Rationalization Study.

For the compliance of all concerned. (Emphasis ours)

On October 8, 1992, public respondent Secretary of the Department of Transportation and


Communications Jesus B. Garcia, Jr. issued a memorandum to the Acting Chairman of the LTFRB
suggesting swift action on the adoption of rules and procedures to implement above-quoted Department
Order No. 92-587 that laid down deregulation and other liberalization policies for the transport sector.
Attached to the said memorandum was a revised draft of the required rules and procedures covering (i)
Entry Into and Exit Out of the Industry and (ii) Rate and Fare Setting, with comments and suggestions
from the World Bank incorporated therein. Likewise, resplendent from the said memorandum is the
statement of the DOTC Secretary that the adoption of the rules and procedures is a pre-requisite to the
approval of the Economic Integration Loan from the World Bank. 5

On February 17, 1993, the LTFRB issued Memorandum Circular


No. 92-009 promulgating the guidelines for the implementation of DOTC Department Order No. 92-587.
The Circular provides, among others, the following challenged portions:

xxx xxx xxx

IV. Policy Guidelines on the Issuance of Certificate of Public Convenience.

The issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience is determined by public need. The


presumption of public need for a service shall be deemed in favor of the applicant, while
burden of proving that there is no need for the proposed service shall be the oppositor'(s).

xxx xxx xxx

V. Rate and Fare Setting

The control in pricing shall be liberalized to introduce price competition complementary


with the quality of service, subject to prior notice and public hearing. Fares shall not be
provisionally authorized without public hearing.

A. On the General Structure of Rates

1. The existing authorized fare range system of plus or minus 15 per cent for provincial
buses and jeepneys shall be widened to 20% and -25% limit in 1994 with the authorized
fare to be replaced by an indicative or reference rate as the basis for the expanded fare
range.

2. Fare systems for aircon buses are liberalized to cover first class and premier services.

xxx xxx xxx

(Emphasis ours).

Sometime in March, 1994, private respondent PBOAP, availing itself of the deregulation policy of the
DOTC allowing provincial bus operators to collect plus 20% and minus 25% of the prescribed fare without
first having filed a petition for the purpose and without the benefit of a public hearing, announced a fare
increase of twenty (20%) percent of the existing fares. Said increased fares were to be made effective on
March 16, 1994.

On March 16, 1994, petitioner KMU filed a petition before the LTFRB opposing the upward adjustment of
bus fares.

On March 24, 1994, the LTFRB issued one of the assailed orders dismissing the petition for lack of merit.
The dispositive portion reads:

PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Board after considering the arguments of the parties,
hereby DISMISSES FOR LACK OF MERIT the petition filed in the above-entitled case.
This petition in this case was resolved with dispatch at the request of petitioner to enable
it to immediately avail of the legal remedies or options it is entitled under existing laws.

SO ORDERED. 6

Hence, the instant petition for certiorari with an urgent prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining
order.

The Court, on June 20, 1994, issued a temporary restraining order enjoining, prohibiting and preventing
respondents from implementing the bus fare rate increase as well as the questioned orders and
memorandum circulars. This meant that provincial bus fares were rolled back to the levels duly authorized
by the LTFRB prior to March 16, 1994. A moratorium was likewise enforced on the issuance of franchises
for the operation of buses, jeepneys, and taxicabs.

Petitioner KMU anchors its claim on two (2) grounds. First, the authority given by respondent LTFRB to
provincial bus operators to set a fare range of plus or minus fifteen (15%) percent, later increased to plus
twenty (20%) and minus twenty-five (-25%) percent, over and above the existing authorized fare without
having to file a petition for the purpose, is unconstitutional, invalid and illegal. Second, the establishment
of a presumption of public need in favor of an applicant for a proposed transport service without having to
prove public necessity, is illegal for being violative of the Public Service Act and the Rules of Court.

In its Comment, private respondent PBOAP, while not actually touching upon the issues raised by the
petitioner, questions the wisdom and the manner by which the instant petition was filed. It asserts that the
petitioner has no legal standing to sue or has no real interest in the case at bench and in obtaining the
reliefs prayed for.

In their Comment filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, public respondents DOTC Secretary Jesus
B. Garcia, Jr. and the LTFRB asseverate that the petitioner does not have the standing to maintain the
instant suit. They further claim that it is within DOTC and LTFRB's authority to set a fare range scheme
and establish a presumption of public need in applications for certificates of public convenience.

We find the instant petition impressed with merit.

At the outset, the threshold issue of locus standi must be struck. Petitioner KMU has the standing to sue.

The requirement of locus standi inheres from the definition of judicial power. Section 1 of Article VIII of the
Constitution provides:
xxx xxx xxx

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether
or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

In Lamb v. Phipps, 7 we ruled that judicial power is the power to hear and decide causes pending between
parties who have the right to sue in the courts of law and equity. Corollary to this provision is the principle
of locus standi of a party litigant. One who is directly affected by and whose interest is immediate and
substantial in the controversy has the standing to sue. The rule therefore requires that a party must show
a personal stake in the outcome of the case or an injury to himself that can be redressed by a favorable
decision so as to warrant an invocation of the court's jurisdiction and to justify the exercise of the court's
remedial powers in his behalf. 8

In the case at bench, petitioner, whose members had suffered and continue to suffer grave and
irreparable injury and damage from the implementation of the questioned memoranda, circulars and/or
orders, has shown that it has a clear legal right that was violated and continues to be violated with the
enforcement of the challenged memoranda, circulars and/or orders. KMU members, who avail of the use
of buses, trains and jeepneys everyday, are directly affected by the burdensome cost of arbitrary increase
in passenger fares. They are part of the millions of commuters who comprise the riding public. Certainly,
their rights must be protected, not neglected nor ignored.

Assuming arguendo that petitioner is not possessed of the standing to sue, this court is ready to brush
aside this barren procedural infirmity and recognize the legal standing of the petitioner in view of the
transcendental importance of the issues raised. And this act of liberality is not without judicial precedent.
As early as the Emergency Powers Cases, this Court had exercised its discretion and waived the
requirement of proper party. In the recent case of Kilosbayan, Inc., et al. v. Teofisto Guingona, Jr., et
al., 9 we ruled in the same lines and enumerated some of the cases where the same policy was
adopted, viz:

. . . A party's standing before this Court is a procedural technicality which it may, in the
exercise of its discretion, set aside in view of the importance of the issues raised. In the
landmark Emergency Powers Cases, [G.R. No. L-2044 (Araneta v. Dinglasan); G.R. No.
L-2756 (Araneta
v. Angeles); G.R. No. L-3054 (Rodriguez v. Tesorero de Filipinas); G.R. No. L-3055
(Guerrero v. Commissioner of Customs); and G.R. No. L-3056 (Barredo v. Commission
on Elections), 84 Phil. 368 (1949)], this Court brushed aside this technicality because "the
transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled
promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure. (Avelino
vs. Cuenco, G.R. No. L-2621)." Insofar as taxpayers' suits are concerned, this Court had
declared that it "is not devoid of discretion as to whether or not it should be entertained,"
(Tan v. Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677, 680 [1972]) or that it "enjoys an open discretion to
entertain the same or not." [Sanidad v. COMELEC, 73 SCRA 333 (1976)].

xxx xxx xxx

In line with the liberal policy of this Court on locus standi, ordinary taxpayers, members of
Congress, and even association of planters, and
non-profit civic organizations were allowed to initiate and prosecute actions before this
court to question the constitutionality or validity of laws, acts, decisions, rulings, or orders
of various government agencies or instrumentalities. Among such cases were those
assailing the constitutionality of (a) R.A. No. 3836 insofar as it allows retirement gratuity
and commutation of vacation and sick leave to Senators and Representatives and to
elective officials of both Houses of Congress (Philippine Constitution Association, Inc. v.
Gimenez, 15 SCRA 479 [1965]); (b) Executive Order No. 284, issued by President
Corazon C. Aquino on 25 July 1987, which allowed members of the cabinet, their
undersecretaries, and assistant secretaries to hold other government offices or positions
(Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, 194 SCRA 317 [1991]); (c) the automatic
appropriation for debt service in the General Appropriations Act (Guingona v. Carague,
196 SCRA 221 [1991]; (d) R.A. No. 7056 on the holding of desynchronized elections
(Osmea v. Commission on Elections, 199 SCRA 750 [1991]); (e) P.D. No. 1869 (the
charter of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) on the ground that it is
contrary to morals, public policy, and order (Basco v. Philippine Amusement and Gaming
Corp., 197 SCRA 52 [1991]); and (f) R.A. No. 6975, establishing the Philippine National
Police. (Carpio v. Executive Secretary, 206 SCRA 290 [1992]).

Other cases where we have followed a liberal policy regarding locus standi include those
attacking the validity or legality of (a) an order allowing the importation of rice in the light
of the prohibition imposed by R.A. No. 3452 (Iloilo Palay and Corn Planters Association,
Inc. v. Feliciano, 13 SCRA 377 [1965]; (b) P.D. Nos. 991 and 1033 insofar as they
proposed amendments to the Constitution and P.D. No. 1031 insofar as it directed the
COMELEC to supervise, control, hold, and conduct the referendum-plebiscite on 16
October 1976 (Sanidad v. Commission on Elections, supra); (c) the bidding for the sale of
the 3,179 square meters of land at Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan (Laurel v. Garcia,
187 SCRA 797 [1990]); (d) the approval without hearing by the Board of Investments of
the amended application of the Bataan Petrochemical Corporation to transfer the site of
its plant from Bataan to Batangas and the validity of such transfer and the shift of
feedstock from naphtha only to naphtha and/or liquefied petroleum gas (Garcia v. Board
of Investments, 177 SCRA 374 [1989]; Garcia v. Board of Investments, 191 SCRA 288
[1990]); (e) the decisions, orders, rulings, and resolutions of the Executive Secretary,
Secretary of Finance, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Commissioner of Customs,
and the Fiscal Incentives Review Board exempting the National Power Corporation from
indirect tax and duties (Maceda v. Macaraig, 197 SCRA 771 [1991]); (f) the orders of the
Energy Regulatory Board of 5 and 6 December 1990 on the ground that the hearings
conducted on the second provisional increase in oil prices did not allow the petitioner
substantial cross-examination; (Maceda v. Energy Regulatory Board, 199 SCRA 454
[1991]); (g) Executive Order No. 478 which levied a special duty of P0.95 per liter of
imported oil products (Garcia v. Executive Secretary, 211 SCRA 219 [1992]); (h)
resolutions of the Commission on Elections concerning the apportionment, by district, of
the number of elective members of Sanggunians (De Guia vs. Commission on Elections,
208 SCRA 420 [1992]); and (i) memorandum orders issued by a Mayor affecting the
Chief of Police of Pasay City (Pasay Law and Conscience Union, Inc. v. Cuneta, 101
SCRA 662 [1980]).

In the 1975 case of Aquino v. Commission on Elections (62 SCRA 275 [1975]), this Court,
despite its unequivocal ruling that the petitioners therein had no personality to file the
petition, resolved nevertheless to pass upon the issues raised because of the far-
reaching implications of the petition. We did no less in De Guia v. COMELEC
(Supra) where, although we declared that De Guia "does not appear to have locus standi,
a standing in law, a personal or substantial interest," we brushed aside the procedural
infirmity "considering the importance of the issue involved, concerning as it does the
political exercise of qualified voters affected by the apportionment, and petitioner alleging
abuse of discretion and violation of the Constitution by respondent."

Now on the merits of the case.

On the fare range scheme.

Section 16(c) of the Public Service Act, as amended, reads:

Sec. 16. Proceedings of the Commission, upon notice and hearing. The Commission
shall have power, upon proper notice and hearing in accordance with the rules and
provisions of this Act, subject to the limitations and exceptions mentioned and saving
provisions to the contrary:

xxx xxx xxx

(c) To fix and determine individual or joint rates, tolls, charges, classifications, or
schedules thereof, as well as commutation, mileage kilometrage, and other special rates
which shall be imposed, observed, and followed thereafter by any public
service: Provided, That the Commission may, in its discretion, approve rates proposed by
public services provisionally and without necessity of any hearing; but it shall call a
hearing thereon within thirty days thereafter, upon publication and notice to the concerns
operating in the territory affected: Provided, further, That in case the public service
equipment of an operator is used principally or secondarily for the promotion of a private
business, the net profits of said private business shall be considered in relation with the
public service of such operator for the purpose of fixing the rates. (Emphasis ours).

xxx xxx xxx

Under the foregoing provision, the Legislature delegated to the defunct Public Service
Commission the power of fixing the rates of public services. Respondent LTFRB, the existing
regulatory body today, is likewise vested with the same under Executive Order No. 202 dated
June 19, 1987. Section 5(c) of the said executive order authorizes LTFRB "to determine,
prescribe, approve and periodically review and adjust, reasonable fares, rates and other related
charges, relative to the operation of public land transportation services provided by motorized
vehicles."

Such delegation of legislative power to an administrative agency is permitted in order to adapt to the
increasing complexity of modern life. As subjects for governmental regulation multiply, so does the
difficulty of administering the laws. Hence, specialization even in legislation has become necessary. Given
the task of determining sensitive and delicate matters as
route-fixing and rate-making for the transport sector, the responsible regulatory body is entrusted with the
power of subordinate legislation. With this authority, an administrative body and in this case, the LTFRB,
may implement broad policies laid down in a statute by "filling in" the details which the Legislature may
neither have time or competence to provide. However, nowhere under the aforesaid provisions of law are
the regulatory bodies, the PSC and LTFRB alike, authorized to delegate that power to a common carrier,
a transport operator, or other public service.

In the case at bench, the authority given by the LTFRB to the provincial bus operators to set a fare range
over and above the authorized existing fare, is illegal and invalid as it is tantamount to an undue
delegation of legislative authority. Potestas delegata non delegari potest. What has been delegated
cannot be delegated. This doctrine is based on the ethical principle that such a delegated power
constitutes not only a right but a duty to be performed by the delegate through the instrumentality of his
own judgment and not through the intervening mind of another. 10 A further delegation of such power
would indeed constitute a negation of the duty in violation of the trust reposed in the delegate mandated
to discharge it directly. 11 The policy of allowing the provincial bus operators to change and increase their
fares at will would result not only to a chaotic situation but to an anarchic state of affairs. This would leave
the riding public at the mercy of transport operators who may increase fares every hour, every day, every
month or every year, whenever it pleases them or whenever they deem it "necessary" to do so. In Panay
Autobus Co. v. Philippine Railway Co., 12 where respondent Philippine Railway Co. was granted by the
Public Service Commission the authority to change its freight rates at will, this Court categorically
declared that:

In our opinion, the Public Service Commission was not authorized by law to delegate to
the Philippine Railway Co. the power of altering its freight rates whenever it should find it
necessary to do so in order to meet the competition of road trucks and autobuses, or to
change its freight rates at will, or to regard its present rates as maximum rates, and to fix
lower rates whenever in the opinion of the Philippine Railway Co. it would be to its
advantage to do so.

The mere recital of the language of the application of the Philippine Railway Co. is
enough to show that it is untenable. The Legislature has delegated to the Public Service
Commission the power of fixing the rates of public services, but it has not authorized the
Public Service Commission to delegate that power to a common carrier or other public
service. The rates of public services like the Philippine Railway Co. have been approved
or fixed by the Public Service Commission, and any change in such rates must be
authorized or approved by the Public Service Commission after they have been shown to
be just and reasonable. The public service may, of course, propose new rates, as the
Philippine Railway Co. did in case No. 31827, but it cannot lawfully make said new rates
effective without the approval of the Public Service Commission, and the Public Service
Commission itself cannot authorize a public service to enforce new rates without the prior
approval of said rates by the commission. The commission must approve new rates when
they are submitted to it, if the evidence shows them to be just and reasonable, otherwise
it must disapprove them. Clearly, the commission cannot determine in advance whether
or not the new rates of the Philippine Railway Co. will be just and reasonable, because it
does not know what those rates will be.

In the present case the Philippine Railway Co. in effect asked for permission to change its
freight rates at will. It may change them every day or every hour, whenever it deems it
necessary to do so in order to meet competition or whenever in its opinion it would be to
its advantage. Such a procedure would create a most unsatisfactory state of affairs and
largely defeat the purposes of the public service law. 13 (Emphasis ours).

One veritable consequence of the deregulation of transport fares is a compounded fare. If transport
operators will be authorized to impose and collect an additional amount equivalent to 20% over and
above the authorized fare over a period of time, this will unduly prejudice a commuter who will be made to
pay a fare that has been computed in a manner similar to those of compounded bank interest rates.

Picture this situation. On December 14, 1990, the LTFRB authorized provincial bus operators to collect a
thirty-seven (P0.37) centavo per kilometer fare for ordinary buses. At the same time, they were allowed to
impose and collect a fare range of plus or minus 15% over the authorized rate. Thus P0.37 centavo per
kilometer authorized fare plus P0.05 centavos (which is 15% of P0.37 centavos) is equivalent to P0.42
centavos, the allowed rate in 1990. Supposing the LTFRB grants another five (P0.05) centavo increase
per kilometer in 1994, then, the base or reference for computation would have to be P0.47 centavos
(which is P0.42 + P0.05 centavos). If bus operators will exercise their authority to impose an additional
20% over and above the authorized fare, then the fare to be collected shall amount to P0.56 (that is,
P0.47 authorized LTFRB rate plus 20% of P0.47 which is P0.29). In effect, commuters will be
continuously subjected, not only to a double fare adjustment but to a compounding fare as well. On their
part, transport operators shall enjoy a bigger chunk of the pie. Aside from fare increase applied for, they
can still collect an additional amount by virtue of the authorized fare range. Mathematically, the situation
translates into the following:

Year** LTFRB authorized Fare Range Fare to be


rate*** collected per
kilometer

1990 P0.37 15% (P0.05) P0.42


1994 P0.42 + 0.05 = 0.47 20% (P0.09) P0.56
1998 P0.56 + 0.05 = 0.61 20% (P0.12) P0.73
2002 P0.73 + 0.05 = 0.78 20% (P0.16) P0.94

Moreover, rate making or rate fixing is not an easy task. It is a delicate and sensitive government function
that requires dexterity of judgment and sound discretion with the settled goal of arriving at a just and
reasonable rate acceptable to both the public utility and the public. Several factors, in fact, have to be
taken into consideration before a balance could be achieved. A rate should not be confiscatory as would
place an operator in a situation where he will continue to operate at a loss. Hence, the rate should enable
public utilities to generate revenues sufficient to cover operational costs and provide reasonable return on
the investments. On the other hand, a rate which is too high becomes discriminatory. It is contrary to
public interest. A rate, therefore, must be reasonable and fair and must be affordable to the end user who
will utilize the services.

Given the complexity of the nature of the function of rate-fixing and its far-reaching effects on millions of
commuters, government must not relinquish this important function in favor of those who would benefit
and profit from the industry. Neither should the requisite notice and hearing be done away with. The
people, represented by reputable oppositors, deserve to be given full opportunity to be heard in their
opposition to any fare increase.

The present administrative procedure, 14 to our mind, already mirrors an orderly and satisfactory
arrangement for all parties involved. To do away with such a procedure and allow just one party, an
interested party at that, to determine what the rate should be, will undermine the right of the other parties
to due process. The purpose of a hearing is precisely to determine what a just and reasonable rate
is. 15 Discarding such procedural and constitutional right is certainly inimical to our fundamental law and to
public interest.

On the presumption of public need.

A certificate of public convenience (CPC) is an authorization granted by the LTFRB for the operation of
land transportation services for public use as required by law. Pursuant to Section 16(a) of the Public
Service Act, as amended, the following requirements must be met before a CPC may be granted, to wit:
(i) the applicant must be a citizen of the Philippines, or a corporation or co-partnership, association or
joint-stock company constituted and organized under the laws of the Philippines, at least 60 per centum of
its stock or paid-up capital must belong entirely to citizens of the Philippines; (ii) the applicant must be
financially capable of undertaking the proposed service and meeting the responsibilities incident to its
operation; and (iii) the applicant must prove that the operation of the public service proposed and the
authorization to do business will promote the public interest in a proper and suitable manner. It is
understood that there must be proper notice and hearing before the PSC can exercise its power to issue
a CPC.

While adopting in toto the foregoing requisites for the issuance of a CPC, LTFRB Memorandum Circular
No. 92-009, Part IV, provides for yet incongruous and contradictory policy guideline on the issuance of a
CPC. The guidelines states:

The issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience is determined by public need. The


presumption of public need for a service shall be deemed in favor of the applicant, while
the burden of proving that there is no need for the proposed service shall be the
oppositor's. (Emphasis ours).

The above-quoted provision is entirely incompatible and inconsistent with Section 16(c)(iii) of the Public
Service Act which requires that before a CPC will be issued, the applicant must prove by proper notice
and hearing that the operation of the public service proposed will promote public interest in a proper and
suitable manner. On the contrary, the policy guideline states that the presumption of public need for a
public service shall be deemed in favor of the applicant. In case of conflict between a statute and an
administrative order, the former must prevail.

By its terms, public convenience or necessity generally means something fitting or suited to the public
need. 16 As one of the basic requirements for the grant of a CPC, public convenience and necessity exists
when the proposed facility or service meets a reasonable want of the public and supply a need which the
existing facilities do not adequately supply. The existence or
non-existence of public convenience and necessity is therefore a question of fact that must be established
by evidence, real and/or testimonial; empirical data; statistics and such other means necessary, in a
public hearing conducted for that purpose. The object and purpose of such procedure, among other
things, is to look out for, and protect, the interests of both the public and the existing transport operators.

Verily, the power of a regulatory body to issue a CPC is founded on the condition that after full-dress
hearing and investigation, it shall find, as a fact, that the proposed operation is for the convenience of the
public. 17 Basic convenience is the primary consideration for which a CPC is issued, and that fact alone
must be consistently borne in mind. Also, existing operators in subject routes must be given an
opportunity to offer proof and oppose the application. Therefore, an applicant must, at all times, be
required to prove his capacity and capability to furnish the service which he has undertaken to
render. 18 And all this will be possible only if a public hearing were conducted for that purpose.

Otherwise stated, the establishment of public need in favor of an applicant reverses well-settled and
institutionalized judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative procedures. It allows the party who initiates the
proceedings to prove, by mere application, his affirmative allegations. Moreover, the offending provisions
of the LTFRB memorandum circular in question would in effect amend the Rules of Court by adding
another disputable presumption in the enumeration of 37 presumptions under Rule 131, Section 5 of the
Rules of Court. Such usurpation of this Court's authority cannot be countenanced as only this Court is
mandated by law to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure. 19

Deregulation, while it may be ideal in certain situations, may not be ideal at all in our country given the
present circumstances. Advocacy of liberalized franchising and regulatory process is tantamount to an
abdication by the government of its inherent right to exercise police power, that is, the right of government
to regulate public utilities for protection of the public and the utilities themselves.
While we recognize the authority of the DOTC and the LTFRB to issue administrative orders to regulate
the transport sector, we find that they committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing DOTC Department
Order
No. 92-587 defining the policy framework on the regulation of transport services and LTFRB
Memorandum Circular No. 92-009 promulgating the implementing guidelines on DOTC Department Order
No. 92-587, the said administrative issuances being amendatory and violative of the Public Service Act
and the Rules of Court. Consequently, we rule that the twenty (20%) per centum fare increase imposed
by respondent PBOAP on March 16, 1994 without the benefit of a petition and a public hearing is null and
void and of no force and effect. No grave abuse of discretion however was committed in the issuance of
DOTC Memorandum Order No. 90-395 and DOTC Memorandum dated October 8, 1992, the same being
merely internal communications between administrative officers.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED and the challenged
administrative issuances and orders, namely: DOTC Department Order No. 92-587, LTFRB Memorandum
Circular
No. 92-009, and the order dated March 24, 1994 issued by respondent LTFRB are hereby DECLARED
contrary to law and invalid insofar as they affect provisions therein (a) delegating to provincial bus and
jeepney operators the authority to increase or decrease the duly prescribed transportation fares; and (b)
creating a presumption of public need for a service in favor of the applicant for a certificate of public
convenience and placing the burden of proving that there is no need for the proposed service to the
oppositor.

The Temporary Restraining Order issued on June 20, 1994 is hereby MADE PERMANENT insofar as it
enjoined the bus fare rate increase granted under the provisions of the aforementioned administrative
circulars, memoranda and/or orders declared invalid.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 101279 August 6, 1992

PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE EXPORTERS, INC., petitioner,


vs.
HON. RUBEN D. TORRES, as Secretary of the Department of Labor & Employment, and JOSE N.
SARMIENTO, as Administrator of the PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT
ADMINISTRATION, respondents.

De Guzman, Meneses & Associates for petitioner.

GRIO-AQUINO, J.:

This petition for prohibition with temporary restraining order was filed by the Philippine Association of
Service Exporters (PASEI, for short), to prohibit and enjoin the Secretary of the Department of Labor and
Employment (DOLE) and the Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (or
POEA) from enforcing and implementing DOLE Department Order No. 16, Series of 1991 and POEA
Memorandum Circulars Nos. 30 and 37, Series of 1991, temporarily suspending the recruitment by
private employment agencies of Filipino domestic helpers for Hong Kong and vesting in the DOLE,
through the facilities of the POEA, the task of processing and deploying such workers.

PASEI is the largest national organization of private employment and recruitment agencies duly licensed
and authorized by the POEA, to engaged in the business of obtaining overseas employment for Filipino
landbased workers, including domestic helpers.

On June 1, 1991, as a result of published stories regarding the abuses suffered by Filipino housemaids
employed in Hong Kong, DOLE Secretary Ruben D. Torres issued Department Order No. 16, Series of
1991, temporarily suspending the recruitment by private employment agencies of "Filipino domestic
helpers going to Hong Kong" (p. 30, Rollo). The DOLE itself, through the POEA took over the business of
deploying such Hong Kong-bound workers.

In view of the need to establish mechanisms that will enhance the protection for Filipino
domestic helpers going to Hong Kong, the recruitment of the same by private
employment agencies is hereby temporarily suspended effective 1 July 1991. As such,
the DOLE through the facilities of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
shall take over the processing and deployment of household workers bound for Hong
Kong, subject to guidelines to be issued for said purpose.

In support of this policy, all DOLE Regional Directors and the Bureau of Local
Employment's regional offices are likewise directed to coordinate with the POEA in
maintaining a manpower pool of prospective domestic helpers to Hong Kong on a
regional basis.

For compliance. (Emphasis ours; p. 30, Rollo.)

Pursuant to the above DOLE circular, the POEA issued Memorandum Circular No. 30, Series of 1991,
dated July 10, 1991, providing GUIDELINES on the Government processing and deployment of Filipino
domestic helpers to Hong Kong and the accreditation of Hong Kong recruitment agencies intending to
hire Filipino domestic helpers.

Subject: Guidelines on the Temporary Government Processing and Deployment of


Domestic Helpers to Hong Kong.

Pursuant to Department Order No. 16, series of 1991 and in order to operationalize the
temporary government processing and deployment of domestic helpers (DHs) to Hong
Kong resulting from the temporary suspension of recruitment by private employment
agencies for said skill and host market, the following guidelines and mechanisms shall
govern the implementation of said policy.

I. Creation of a joint POEA-OWWA Household Workers Placement Unit (HWPU)

An ad hoc, one stop Household Workers Placement Unit [or HWPU] under the
supervision of the POEA shall take charge of the various operations involved in the Hong
Kong-DH industry segment:

The HWPU shall have the following functions in coordination with appropriate units and
other entities concerned:
1. Negotiations with and Accreditation of Hong Kong Recruitment Agencies

2. Manpower Pooling

3. Worker Training and Briefing

4. Processing and Deployment

5. Welfare Programs

II. Documentary Requirements and Other Conditions for Accreditation of Hong Kong
Recruitment Agencies or Principals

Recruitment agencies in Hong Kong intending to hire Filipino DHs for their employers
may negotiate with the HWPU in Manila directly or through the Philippine Labor Attache's
Office in Hong Kong.

xxx xxx xxx

X. Interim Arrangement

All contracts stamped in Hong Kong as of June 30 shall continue to be processed by


POEA until 31 July 1991 under the name of the Philippine agencies concerned.
Thereafter, all contracts shall be processed with the HWPU.

Recruitment agencies in Hong Kong shall submit to the Philippine Consulate General in
Hong kong a list of their accepted applicants in their pool within the last week of July. The
last day of acceptance shall be July 31 which shall then be the basis of HWPU in
accepting contracts for processing. After the exhaustion of their respective pools the only
source of applicants will be the POEA manpower pool.

For strict compliance of all concerned. (pp. 31-35, Rollo.)

On August 1, 1991, the POEA Administrator also issued Memorandum Circular No. 37, Series of 1991, on
the processing of employment contracts of domestic workers for Hong Kong.

TO: All Philippine and Hong Kong Agencies engaged in the recruitment of Domestic
helpers for Hong Kong

Further to Memorandum Circular No. 30, series of 1991 pertaining to the government
processing and deployment of domestic helpers (DHs) to Hong Kong, processing of
employment contracts which have been attested by the Hong Kong Commissioner of
Labor up to 30 June 1991 shall be processed by the POEA Employment Contracts
Processing Branch up to 15 August 1991 only.

Effective 16 August 1991, all Hong Kong recruitment agent/s hiring DHs from the
Philippines shall recruit under the new scheme which requires prior accreditation which
the POEA.
Recruitment agencies in Hong Kong may apply for accreditation at the Office of the Labor
Attache, Philippine Consulate General where a POEA team is posted until 31 August
1991. Thereafter, those who failed to have themselves accredited in Hong Kong may
proceed to the POEA-OWWA Household Workers Placement Unit in Manila for
accreditation before their recruitment and processing of DHs shall be allowed.

Recruitment agencies in Hong Kong who have some accepted applicants in their pool
after the cut-off period shall submit this list of workers upon accreditation. Only those DHs
in said list will be allowed processing outside of the HWPU manpower pool.

For strict compliance of all concerned. (Emphasis supplied, p. 36, Rollo.)

On September 2, 1991, the petitioner, PASEI, filed this petition for prohibition to annul the aforementioned
DOLE and POEA circulars and to prohibit their implementation for the following reasons:

1. that the respondents acted with grave abuse of discretion and/or in excess of their
rule-making authority in issuing said circulars;

2. that the assailed DOLE and POEA circulars are contrary to the Constitution, are
unreasonable, unfair and oppressive; and

3. that the requirements of publication and filing with the Office of the National
Administrative Register were not complied with.

There is no merit in the first and second grounds of the petition.

Article 36 of the Labor Code grants the Labor Secretary the power to restrict and regulate recruitment and
placement activities.

Art. 36. Regulatory Power. The Secretary of Labor shall have the power to restrict and
regulate the recruitment and placement activities of all agencies within the coverage of
this title [Regulation of Recruitment and Placement Activities] and is hereby authorized to
issue orders and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out the objectives and
implement the provisions of this title. (Emphasis ours.)

On the other hand, the scope of the regulatory authority of the POEA, which was created by Executive
Order No. 797 on May 1, 1982 to take over the functions of the Overseas Employment Development
Board, the National Seamen Board, and the overseas employment functions of the Bureau of
Employment Services, is broad and far-ranging for:

1. Among the functions inherited by the POEA from the defunct Bureau of Employment
Services was the power and duty:

"2. To establish and maintain a registration and/or licensing system to


regulate private sector participation in the recruitment and placement of
workers, locally and overseas, . . ." (Art. 15, Labor Code, Emphasis
supplied). (p. 13, Rollo.)

2. It assumed from the defunct Overseas Employment Development Board the power
and duty:
3. To recruit and place workers for overseas employment of Filipino
contract workers on a government to government arrangement and in
such other sectors as policy may dictate . . . (Art. 17, Labor Code.) (p.
13, Rollo.)

3. From the National Seamen Board, the POEA took over:

2. To regulate and supervise the activities of agents or representatives of


shipping companies in the hiring of seamen for overseas employment;
and secure the best possible terms of employment for contract seamen
workers and secure compliance therewith. (Art. 20, Labor Code.)

The vesture of quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers in administrative bodies is not unconstitutional,
unreasonable and oppressive. It has been necessitated by "the growing complexity of the modern
society" (Solid Homes, Inc. vs. Payawal, 177 SCRA 72, 79). More and more administrative bodies are
necessary to help in the regulation of society's ramified activities. "Specialized in the particular field
assigned to them, they can deal with the problems thereof with more expertise and dispatch than can be
expected from the legislature or the courts of justice" (Ibid.).

It is noteworthy that the assailed circulars do not prohibit the petitioner from engaging in the recruitment
and deployment of Filipino landbased workers for overseas employment. A careful reading of the
challenged administrative issuances discloses that the same fall within the "administrative and policing
powers expressly or by necessary implication conferred" upon the respondents (People vs. Maceren, 79
SCRA 450). The power to "restrict and regulate conferred by Article 36 of the Labor Code involves a grant
of police power (City of Naga vs. Court of Appeals, 24 SCRA 898). To "restrict" means "to confine, limit or
stop" (p. 62, Rollo) and whereas the power to "regulate" means "the power to protect, foster, promote,
preserve, and control with due regard for the interests, first and foremost, of the public, then of the utility
and of its patrons" (Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation vs. Alcuaz, 180 SCRA 218).

The Solicitor General, in his Comment, aptly observed:

. . . Said Administrative Order [i.e., DOLE Administrative Order No. 16] merely restricted
the scope or area of petitioner's business operations by excluding therefrom recruitment
and deployment of domestic helpers for Hong Kong till after the establishment of the
"mechanisms" that will enhance the protection of Filipino domestic helpers going to Hong
Kong. In fine, other than the recruitment and deployment of Filipino domestic helpers for
Hongkong, petitioner may still deploy other class of Filipino workers either for Hongkong
and other countries and all other classes of Filipino workers for other countries.

Said administrative issuances, intended to curtail, if not to end, rampant violations of the
rule against excessive collections of placement and documentation fees, travel fees and
other charges committed by private employment agencies recruiting and deploying
domestic helpers to Hongkong. [They are reasonable, valid and justified under the
general welfare clause of the Constitution, since the recruitment and deployment
business, as it is conducted today, is affected with public interest.

xxx xxx xxx

The alleged takeover [of the business of recruiting and placing Filipino domestic helpers
in Hongkong] is merely a remedial measure, and expires after its purpose shall have
been attained. This is evident from the tenor of Administrative Order No. 16 that
recruitment of Filipino domestic helpers going to Hongkong by private employment
agencies are hereby "temporarily suspended effective July 1, 1991."

The alleged takeover is limited in scope, being confined to recruitment of domestic


helpers going to Hongkong only.

xxx xxx xxx

. . . the justification for the takeover of the processing and deploying of domestic helpers
for Hongkong resulting from the restriction of the scope of petitioner's business is
confined solely to the unscrupulous practice of private employment agencies victimizing
applicants for employment as domestic helpers for Hongkong and not the whole
recruitment business in the Philippines. (pp. 62-65, Rollo.)

The questioned circulars are therefore a valid exercise of the police power as delegated to the executive
branch of Government.

Nevertheless, they are legally invalid, defective and unenforceable for lack of power publication and filing
in the Office of the National Administrative Register as required in Article 2 of the Civil Code, Article 5 of
the Labor Code and Sections 3(1) and 4, Chapter 2, Book VII of the Administrative Code of 1987 which
provide:

Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazatte, unless it is otherwise provided. . . . (Civil Code.)

Art. 5. Rules and Regulations. The Department of Labor and other government
agencies charged with the administration and enforcement of this Code or any of its parts
shall promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations. Such rules and
regulations shall become effective fifteen (15) days after announcement of their
adoption in newspapers of general circulation. (Emphasis supplied, Labor Code, as
amended.)

Sec. 3. Filing. (1) Every agency shall file with the University of the Philippines Law
Center, three (3) certified copies of every rule adopted by it. Rules in force on the date of
effectivity of this Code which are not filed within three (3) months shall not thereafter be
the basis of any sanction against any party or persons. (Emphasis supplied, Chapter 2,
Book VII of the Administrative Code of 1987.)

Sec. 4. Effectivity. In addition to other rule-making requirements provided by law not


inconsistent with this Book, each rule shall become effective fifteen (15) days from the
date of filing as above provided unless a different date is fixed by law, or specified in the
rule in cases of imminent danger to public health, safety and welfare, the existence of
which must be expressed in a statement accompanying the rule. The agency shall take
appropriate measures to make emergency rules known to persons who may be affected
by them. (Emphasis supplied, Chapter 2, Book VII of the Administrative Code of 1987).

Once, more we advert to our ruling in Taada vs. Tuvera, 146 SCRA 446 that:

. . . Administrative rules and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to


enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation. (p. 447.)
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the
personnel of the administrative agency and not the public, need not be published. Neither
is publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by administrative
superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their subordinates in the
performance of their duties. (p. 448.)

We agree that publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is to
inform the public of the content of the laws. (p. 448.)

For lack of proper publication, the administrative circulars in question may not be enforced and
implemented.

WHEREFORE, the writ of prohibition is GRANTED. The implementation of DOLE Department Order No.
16, Series of 1991, and POEA Memorandum Circulars Nos. 30 and 37, Series of 1991, by the public
respondents is hereby SUSPENDED pending compliance with the statutory requirements of publication
and filing under the aforementioned laws of the land.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 127325 March 19, 1997

MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, ALEXANDER PADILLA, and MARIA ISABEL ONGPIN, petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, JESUS DELFIN, ALBERTO PEDROSA & CARMEN PEDROSA, in
their capacities as founding members of the People's Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and
Action (PIRMA), respondents.

SENATOR RAUL S. ROCO, DEMOKRASYA-IPAGTANGGOL ANG KONSTITUSYON (DIK),


MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC.
(MABINI), INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), and LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG
PILIPINO (LABAN), petitioners-intervenors.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:

The heart of this controversy brought to us by way of a petition for prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules
of Court is the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system
of initiative under Section 2 of Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution. Undoubtedly, this demands special
attention, as this system of initiative was unknown to the people of this country, except perhaps to a few
scholars, before the drafting of the 1987 Constitution. The 1986 Constitutional Commission itself, through
the original proponent 1 and the main sponsor 2 of the proposed Article on Amendments or Revision of the
Constitution, characterized this system as "innovative". 3 Indeed it is, for both under the 1935 and 1973
Constitutions, only two methods of proposing amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution were
recognized, viz., (1) by Congress upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members and (2) by a
constitutional convention. 4 For this and the other reasons hereafter discussed, we resolved to give due
course to this petition.
On 6 December 1996, private respondent Atty. Jesus S. Delfin filed with public respondent Commission
on Elections (hereafter, COMELEC) a "Petition to Amend the Constitution, to Lift Term Limits of Elective
Officials, by People's Initiative" (hereafter, Delfin Petition) 5 wherein Delfin asked the COMELEC for an
order

1. Fixing the time and dates for signature gathering all over the country;

2. Causing the necessary publications of said Order and the attached "Petition for
Initiative on the 1987 Constitution, in newspapers of general and local circulation;

3. Instructing Municipal Election Registrars in all Regions of the Philippines, to assist


Petitioners and volunteers, in establishing signing stations at the time and on the dates
designated for the purpose.

Delfin alleged in his petition that he is a founding member of the Movement for People's Initiative, 6 a
group of citizens desirous to avail of the system intended to institutionalize people power; that he and the
members of the Movement and other volunteers intend to exercise the power to directly propose
amendments to the Constitution granted under Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution; that the exercise
of that power shall be conducted in proceedings under the control and supervision of the COMELEC; that,
as required in COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, signature stations shall be established all over the
country, with the assistance of municipal election registrars, who shall verify the signatures affixed by
individual signatories; that before the Movement and other volunteers can gather signatures, it is
necessary that the time and dates to be designated for the purpose be first fixed in an order to be issued
by the COMELEC; and that to adequately inform the people of the electoral process involved, it is likewise
necessary that the said order, as well as the Petition on which the signatures shall be affixed, be
published in newspapers of general and local circulation, under the control and supervision of the
COMELEC.

The Delfin Petition further alleged that the provisions sought to be amended are Sections 4 and 7 of
Article VI, 7Section 4 of Article VII, 8 and Section 8 of Article X 9 of the Constitution. Attached to the petition
is a copy of a "Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution" 10 embodying the proposed amendments
which consist in the deletion from the aforecited sections of the provisions concerning term limits, and
with the following proposition:

DO YOU APPROVE OF LIFTING THE TERM LIMITS OF ALL ELECTIVE


GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTIONS 4 AND 7 OF
ARTICLE VI, SECTION 4 OF ARTICLE VII, AND SECTION 8 OF ARTICLE X OF THE
1987 PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?

According to Delfin, the said Petition for Initiative will first be submitted to the people, and after it is signed
by at least twelve per cent of the total number of registered voters in the country it will be formally filed
with the COMELEC.

Upon the filing of the Delfin Petition, which was forthwith given the number UND 96-037 (INITIATIVE), the
COMELEC, through its Chairman, issued an Order 11 (a) directing Delfin "to cause the publication of the
petition, together with the attached Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution (including the proposal,
proposed constitutional amendment, and the signature form), and the notice of hearing in three (3) daily
newspapers of general circulation at his own expense" not later than 9 December 1996; and (b) setting
the case for hearing on 12 December 1996 at 10:00 a.m.

At the hearing of the Delfin Petition on 12 December 1996, the following appeared: Delfin and Atty. Pete
Q. Quadra; representatives of the People's Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and Action (PIRMA);
intervenor-oppositor Senator Raul S. Roco, together with his two other lawyers, and representatives of, or
counsel for, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Demokrasya-Ipagtanggol ang Konstitusyon (DIK),
Public Interest Law Center, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LABAN). 12 Senator Roco, on that
same day, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Delfin Petition on the ground that it is not the initiatory petition
properly cognizable by the COMELEC.

After hearing their arguments, the COMELEC directed Delfin and the oppositors to file their "memoranda
and/or oppositions/memoranda" within five days. 13

On 18 December 1996, the petitioners herein Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Alexander Padilla,
and Maria Isabel Ongpin filed this special civil action for prohibition raising the following arguments:

(1) The constitutional provision on people's initiative to amend the Constitution can only
be implemented by law to be passed by Congress. No such law has been passed; in fact,
Senate Bill No. 1290 entitled An Act Prescribing and Regulating Constitution
Amendments by People's Initiative, which petitioner Senator Santiago filed on 24
November 1995, is still pending before the Senate Committee on Constitutional
Amendments.

(2) It is true that R.A. No. 6735 provides for three systems of initiative, namely, initiative
on the Constitution, on statutes, and on local legislation. However, it failed to provide any
subtitle on initiative on the Constitution, unlike in the other modes of initiative, which are
specifically provided for in Subtitle II and Subtitle III. This deliberate omission indicates
that the matter of people's initiative to amend the Constitution was left to some future law.
Former Senator Arturo Tolentino stressed this deficiency in the law in his privilege speech
delivered before the Senate in 1994: "There is not a single word in that law which can be
considered as implementing [the provision on constitutional initiative]. Such implementing
provisions have been obviously left to a separate law.

(3) Republic Act No. 6735 provides for the effectivity of the law after publication in print
media. This indicates that the Act covers only laws and not constitutional amendments
because the latter take effect only upon ratification and not after publication.

(4) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, adopted on 16 January 1991 to govern "the conduct
of initiative on the Constitution and initiative and referendum on national and local laws,
is ultra vires insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned, since
the COMELEC has no power to provide rules and regulations for the exercise of the right
of initiative to amend the Constitution. Only Congress is authorized by the Constitution to
pass the implementing law.

(5) The people's initiative is limited to amendments to the Constitution, not


to revision thereof. Extending or lifting of term limits constitutes a revision and is,
therefore, outside the power of the people's initiative.

(6) Finally, Congress has not yet appropriated funds for people's initiative; neither the
COMELEC nor any other government department, agency, or office has realigned funds
for the purpose.

To justify their recourse to us via the special civil action for prohibition, the petitioners allege that in the
event the COMELEC grants the Delfin Petition, the people's initiative spearheaded by PIRMA would entail
expenses to the national treasury for general re-registration of voters amounting to at least P180 million,
not to mention the millions of additional pesos in expenses which would be incurred in the conduct of the
initiative itself. Hence, the transcendental importance to the public and the nation of the issues raised
demands that this petition for prohibition be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside technicalities of
procedure and calling for the admission of a taxpayer's and legislator's suit. 14 Besides, there is no other
plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
On 19 December 1996, this Court (a) required the respondents to comment on the petition within a non-
extendible period of ten days from notice; and (b) issued a temporary restraining order, effective
immediately and continuing until further orders, enjoining public respondent COMELEC from proceeding
with the Delfin Petition, and private respondents Alberto and Carmen Pedrosa from conducting a
signature drive for people's initiative to amend the Constitution.

15
On 2 January 1997, private respondents, through Atty Quadra, filed their Comment on the petition.
They argue therein that:

1. IT IS NOT TRUE THAT "IT WOULD ENTAIL EXPENSES TO THE NATIONAL


TREASURY FOR GENERAL REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AMOUNTING TO AT LEAST
PESOS: ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY MILLION (P180,000,000.00)" IF THE "COMELEC
GRANTS THE PETITION FILED BY RESPONDENT DELFIN BEFORE THE COMELEC.

2. NOT A SINGLE CENTAVO WOULD BE SPENT BY THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT


IF THE COMELEC GRANTS THE PETITION OF RESPONDENT DELFIN. ALL
EXPENSES IN THE SIGNATURE GATHERING ARE ALL FOR THE ACCOUNT OF
RESPONDENT DELFIN AND HIS VOLUNTEERS PER THEIR PROGRAM OF
ACTIVITIES AND EXPENDITURES SUBMITTED TO THE COMELEC. THE ESTIMATED
COST OF THE DAILY PER DIEM OF THE SUPERVISING SCHOOL TEACHERS IN THE
SIGNATURE GATHERING TO BE DEPOSITED and TO BE PAID BY DELFIN AND HIS
VOLUNTEERS IS P2,571,200.00;

3. THE PENDING PETITION BEFORE THE COMELEC IS ONLY ON THE SIGNATURE


GATHERING WHICH BY LAW COMELEC IS DUTY BOUND "TO SUPERVISE
CLOSELY" PURSUANT TO ITS "INITIATORY JURISDICTION" UPHELD BY THE
HONORABLE COURT IN ITS RECENT SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 DECISION IN THE
CASE OF SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY VS. COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. NO.
125416;

4. REP. ACT NO. 6735 APPROVED ON AUGUST 4, 1989 IS THE ENABLING LAW
IMPLEMENTING THE POWER OF PEOPLE INITIATIVE TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS
TO THE CONSTITUTION. SENATOR DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO'S SENATE BILL NO.
1290 IS A DUPLICATION OF WHAT ARE ALREADY PROVIDED FOR IN REP. ACT NO.
6735;

5. COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 2300 PROMULGATED ON JANUARY 16, 1991


PURSUANT TO REP. ACT 6735 WAS UPHELD BY THE HONORABLE COURT IN THE
RECENT SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 DECISION IN THE CASE OF SUBIC BAY
METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY VS. COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. NO. 125416 WHERE THE
HONORABLE COURT SAID: "THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS CAN DO NO LESS
BY SEASONABLY AND JUDICIOUSLY PROMULGATING GUIDELINES AND RULES
FOR BOTH NATIONAL AND LOCAL USE, IN IMPLEMENTING OF THESE LAWS."

6. EVEN SENATOR DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO'S SENATE BILL NO. 1290 CONTAINS A


PROVISION DELEGATING TO THE COMELEC THE POWER TO "PROMULGATE
SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE
PURPOSES OF THIS ACT." (SEC. 12, S.B. NO. 1290, ENCLOSED AS ANNEX E,
PETITION);

7. THE LIFTING OF THE LIMITATION ON THE TERM OF OFFICE OF ELECTIVE


OFFICIALS PROVIDED UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION IS NOT A "REVISION" OF
THE CONSTITUTION. IT IS ONLY AN AMENDMENT. "AMENDMENT ENVISAGES AN
ALTERATION OF ONE OR A FEW SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION.
REVISION CONTEMPLATES A RE-EXAMINATION OF THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT TO
DETERMINE HOW AND TO WHAT EXTENT IT SHOULD BE ALTERED." (PP. 412-413,
2ND. ED. 1992, 1097 PHIL. CONSTITUTION, BY JOAQUIN G. BERNAS, S.J.).

Also on 2 January 1997, private respondent Delfin filed in his own behalf a Comment 16 which starts off
with an assertion that the instant petition is a "knee-jerk reaction to a draft 'Petition for Initiative on the
1987 Constitution'. . . which is not formally filed yet." What he filed on 6 December 1996 was an "Initiatory
Pleading" or "Initiatory Petition," which was legally necessary to start the signature campaign to amend
the Constitution or to put the movement to gather signatures under COMELEC power and function. On
the substantive allegations of the petitioners, Delfin maintains as follows:

(1) Contrary to the claim of the petitioners, there is a law, R.A. No. 6735, which governs
the conduct of initiative to amend the Constitution. The absence therein of a subtitle for
such initiative is not fatal, since subtitles are not requirements for the validity or
sufficiency of laws.

(2) Section 9(b) of R.A. No. 6735 specifically provides that the proposition in
an initiative to amend the Constitution approved by the majority of the votes cast in the
plebiscite shall become effective as of the day of the plebiscite.

(3) The claim that COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is ultra vires is contradicted by (a)
Section 2, Article IX-C of the Constitution, which grants the COMELEC the power to
enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election,
plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall; and (b) Section 20 of R.A. 6735, which
empowers the COMELEC to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary
to carry out the purposes of the Act.

(4) The proposed initiative does not involve a revision of, but mere amendment to, the
Constitution because it seeks to alter only a few specific provisions of the Constitution, or
more specifically, only those which lay term limits. It does not seek to reexamine or
overhaul the entire document.

As to the public expenditures for registration of voters, Delfin considers petitioners' estimate of P180
million as unreliable, for only the COMELEC can give the exact figure. Besides, if there will be a plebiscite
it will be simultaneous with the 1997 Barangay Elections. In any event, fund requirements for initiative will
be a priority government expense because it will be for the exercise of the sovereign power of the people.

In the Comment 17 for the public respondent COMELEC, filed also on 2 January 1997, the Office of the
Solicitor General contends that:

(1) R.A. No. 6735 deals with, inter alia, people's initiative to amend the Constitution. Its
Section 2 on Statement of Policy explicitly affirms, recognizes, and guarantees that
power; and its Section 3, which enumerates the three systems of initiative, includes
initiative on the Constitution and defines the same as the power to propose amendments
to the Constitution. Likewise, its Section 5 repeatedly mentions initiative on the
Constitution.

(2) A separate subtitle on initiative on the Constitution is not necessary in R.A. No. 6735
because, being national in scope, that system of initiative is deemed included in the
subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum; and Senator Tolentino simply overlooked
pertinent provisions of the law when he claimed that nothing therein was provided
for initiative on the Constitution.
(3) Senate Bill No. 1290 is neither a competent nor a material proof that R.A. No. 6735
does not deal with initiative on the Constitution.

(4) Extension of term limits of elected officials constitutes a mere amendment to the
Constitution, not a revision thereof.

(5) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 was validly issued under Section 20 of R.A. No. 6735
and under the Omnibus Election Code. The rule-making power of the COMELEC to
implement the provisions of R.A. No. 6735 was in fact upheld by this Court in Subic Bay
Metropolitan Authority vs. COMELEC.

On 14 January 1997, this Court (a) confirmed nunc pro tunc the temporary restraining order; (b) noted the
aforementioned Comments and the Motion to Lift Temporary Restraining Order filed by private
respondents through Atty. Quadra, as well as the latter's Manifestation stating that he is the counsel for
private respondents Alberto and Carmen Pedrosa only and the Comment he filed was for the Pedrosas;
and (c) granted the Motion for Intervention filed on 6 January 1997 by Senator Raul Roco and allowed
him to file his Petition in Intervention not later than 20 January 1997; and (d) set the case for hearing on
23 January 1997 at 9:30 a.m.

On 17 January 1997, the Demokrasya-Ipagtanggol ang Konstitusyon (DIK) and the Movement of
Attorneys for Brotherhood Integrity and Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI), filed a Motion for Intervention.
Attached to the motion was their Petition in Intervention, which was later replaced by an Amended Petition
in Intervention wherein they contend that:

(1) The Delfin proposal does not involve a mere amendment to, but a revision of, the
Constitution because, in the words of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., 18 it would involve a
change from a political philosophy that rejects unlimited tenure to one that accepts
unlimited tenure; and although the change might appear to be an isolated one, it can
affect other provisions, such as, on synchronization of elections and on the State policy of
guaranteeing equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibiting political
dynasties. 19 A revision cannot be done by initiative which, by express provision of
Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution, is limited to amendments.

(2) The prohibition against reelection of the President and the limits provided for all other
national and local elective officials are based on the philosophy of governance, "to open
up the political arena to as many as there are Filipinos qualified to handle the demands of
leadership, to break the concentration of political and economic powers in the hands of a
few, and to promote effective proper empowerment for participation in policy and
decision-making for the common good"; hence, to remove the term limits is to negate and
nullify the noble vision of the 1987 Constitution.

(3) The Delfin proposal runs counter to the purpose of initiative, particularly in a conflict-
of-interest situation. Initiative is intended as a fallback position that may be availed of by
the people only if they are dissatisfied with the performance of their elective officials, but
not as a premium for good performance. 20

(4) R.A. No. 6735 is deficient and inadequate in itself to be called the enabling law that
implements the people's initiative on amendments to the Constitution. It fails to state (a)
the proper parties who may file the petition, (b) the appropriate agency before whom the
petition is to be filed, (c) the contents of the petition, (d) the publication of the same, (e)
the ways and means of gathering the signatures of the voters nationwide and 3% per
legislative district, (f) the proper parties who may oppose or question the veracity of the
signatures, (g) the role of the COMELEC in the verification of the signatures and the
sufficiency of the petition, (h) the appeal from any decision of the COMELEC, (I) the
holding of a plebiscite, and (g) the appropriation of funds for such people's initiative.
Accordingly, there being no enabling law, the COMELEC has no jurisdiction to hear
Delfin's petition.

(5) The deficiency of R.A. No. 6735 cannot be rectified or remedied by COMELEC
Resolution No. 2300, since the COMELEC is without authority to legislate the procedure
for a people's initiative under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution. That function
exclusively pertains to Congress. Section 20 of R.A. No. 6735 does not constitute a legal
basis for the Resolution, as the former does not set a sufficient standard for a valid
delegation of power.

On 20 January 1997, Senator Raul Roco filed his Petition in


Intervention. 21 He avers that R.A. No. 6735 is the enabling law that implements the people's right to
initiate constitutional amendments. This law is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill No.
21505; he co-authored the House Bill and even delivered a sponsorship speech thereon. He likewise
submits that the COMELEC was empowered under Section 20 of that law to promulgate COMELEC
Resolution No. 2300. Nevertheless, he contends that the respondent Commission is without jurisdiction to
take cognizance of the Delfin Petition and to order its publication because the said petition is not the
initiatory pleading contemplated under the Constitution, Republic Act No. 6735, and COMELEC
Resolution No. 2300. What vests jurisdiction upon the COMELEC in an initiative on the Constitution is the
filing of a petition for initiative which is signed by the required number of registered voters. He also
submits that the proponents of a constitutional amendment cannot avail of the authority and resources of
the COMELEC to assist them is securing the required number of signatures, as the COMELEC's role in
an initiative on the Constitution is limited to the determination of the sufficiency of the initiative petition and
the call and supervision of a plebiscite, if warranted.

On 20 January 1997, LABAN filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene.

The following day, the IBP filed a Motion for Intervention to which it attached a Petition in Intervention
raising the following arguments:

(1) Congress has failed to enact an enabling law mandated under Section 2, Article XVII
of the 1987 Constitution.

(2) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 cannot substitute for the required implementing law
on the initiative to amend the Constitution.

(3) The Petition for Initiative suffers from a fatal defect in that it does not have the
required number of signatures.

(4) The petition seeks, in effect a revision of the Constitution, which can be proposed only
by Congress or a constitutional convention. 22

On 21 January 1997, we promulgated a Resolution (a) granting the Motions for Intervention filed by the
DIK and MABINI and by the IBP, as well as the Motion for Leave to Intervene filed by LABAN; (b)
admitting the Amended Petition in Intervention of DIK and MABINI, and the Petitions in Intervention of
Senator Roco and of the IBP; (c) requiring the respondents to file within a nonextendible period of five
days their Consolidated Comments on the aforesaid Petitions in Intervention; and (d) requiring LABAN to
file its Petition in Intervention within a nonextendible period of three days from notice, and the
respondents to comment thereon within a nonextendible period of five days from receipt of the said
Petition in Intervention.

At the hearing of the case on 23 January 1997, the parties argued on the following pivotal issues, which
the Court formulated in light of the allegations and arguments raised in the pleadings so far filed:
1. Whether R.A. No. 6735, entitled An Act Providing for a System of Initiative and
Referendum and Appropriating Funds Therefor, was intended to include or
cover initiative on amendments to the Constitution; and if so, whether the Act, as worded,
adequately covers such initiative.

2. Whether that portion of COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 (In re: Rules and Regulations
Governing the Conduct of Initiative on the Constitution, and Initiative and Referendum on
National and Local Laws) regarding the conduct of initiative on amendments to the
Constitution is valid, considering the absence in the law of specific provisions on the
conduct of such initiative.

3. Whether the lifting of term limits of elective national and local officials, as proposed in
the draft "Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution," would constitute a revision of, or
an amendment to, the Constitution.

4. Whether the COMELEC can take cognizance of, or has jurisdiction over, a petition
solely intended to obtain an order (a) fixing the time and dates for signature gathering; (b)
instructing municipal election officers to assist Delfin's movement and volunteers in
establishing signature stations; and (c) directing or causing the publication of, inter alia,
the unsigned proposed Petition for Initiative on the 1987 Constitution.

5. Whether it is proper for the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the petition when
there is a pending case before the COMELEC.

After hearing them on the issues, we required the parties to submit simultaneously their respective
memoranda within twenty days and requested intervenor Senator Roco to submit copies of the
deliberations on House Bill No. 21505.

On 27 January 1997, LABAN filed its Petition in Intervention wherein it adopts the allegations and
arguments in the main Petition. It further submits that the COMELEC should have dismissed the Delfin
Petition for failure to state a sufficient cause of action and that the Commission's failure or refusal to do so
constituted grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

On 28 January 1997, Senator Roco submitted copies of portions of both the Journal and the Record of
the House of Representatives relating to the deliberations of House Bill No. 21505, as well as the
transcripts of stenographic notes on the proceedings of the Bicameral Conference Committee, Committee
on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, of 6 June 1989 on House Bill No. 21505 and Senate Bill No. 17.

Private respondents Alberto and Carmen Pedrosa filed their Consolidated Comments on the Petitions in
Intervention of Senator Roco, DIK and MABINI, and IBP. 23 The parties thereafter filed, in due time, their
separate memoranda. 24

As we stated in the beginning, we resolved to give due course to this special civil action.

For a more logical discussion of the formulated issues, we shall first take up the fifth issue which appears
to pose a prejudicial procedural question.

THE INSTANT PETITION IS VIABLE DESPITE THE PENDENCY IN THE COMELEC OF THE
DELFIN PETITION.
Except for the petitioners and intervenor Roco, the parties paid no serious attention to the fifth issue, i.e.,
whether it is proper for this Court to take cognizance of this special civil action when there is a pending
case before the COMELEC. The petitioners provide an affirmative answer. Thus:

28. The Comelec has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the petition filed by private
respondent Delfin. This being so, it becomes imperative to stop the Comelec from
proceeding any further, and under the Rules of Court, Rule 65, Section 2, a petition for
prohibition is the proper remedy.

29. The writ of prohibition is an extraordinary judicial writ issuing out of a court of superior
jurisdiction and directed to an inferior court, for the purpose of preventing the inferior
tribunal from usurping a jurisdiction with which it is not legally vested. (People v.
Vera, supra., p. 84). In this case the writ is an urgent necessity, in view of the highly
divisive and adverse environmental consequences on the body politic of the questioned
Comelec order. The consequent climate of legal confusion and political instability begs for
judicial statesmanship.

30. In the final analysis, when the system of constitutional law is threatened by the
political ambitions of man, only the Supreme Court
can save a nation in peril and uphold the paramount majesty of the Constitution. 25

It must be recalled that intervenor Roco filed with the COMELEC a motion to dismiss the Delfin Petition
on the ground that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction or authority to entertain the petition. 26 The
COMELEC made no ruling thereon evidently because after having heard the arguments of Delfin and the
oppositors at the hearing on 12 December 1996, it required them to submit within five days their
memoranda or oppositions/memoranda. 27 Earlier, or specifically on 6 December 1996, it practically gave
due course to the Delfin Petition by ordering Delfin to cause the publication of the petition, together with
the attached Petition for Initiative, the signature form, and the notice of hearing; and by setting the case
for hearing. The COMELEC's failure to act on Roco's motion to dismiss and its insistence to hold on to the
petition rendered ripe and viable the instant petition under Section 2 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
which provides:

Sec. 2. Petition for prohibition. Where the proceedings of any tribunal, corporation,
board, or person, whether exercising functions judicial or ministerial, are without or in
excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, and there is no appeal
or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person
aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant to desist
from further proceedings in the action or matter specified therein.

It must also be noted that intervenor Roco claims that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction over the Delfin
Petition because the said petition is not supported by the required minimum number of signatures of
registered voters. LABAN also asserts that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in refusing to
dismiss the Delfin Petition, which does not contain the required number of signatures. In light of these
claims, the instant case may likewise be treated as a special civil action for certiorari under Section I of
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

In any event, as correctly pointed out by intervenor Roco in his Memorandum, this Court may brush aside
technicalities of procedure in
cases of transcendental importance. As we stated in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, Jr. 28

A party's standing before this Court is a procedural technicality which it may, in the
exercise of its discretion, set aside in view of the importance of issues raised. In the
landmark Emergency Powers Cases, this Court brushed aside this technicality because
the transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled
promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure.

II

R.A. NO. 6735 INTENDED TO INCLUDE THE SYSTEM OF INITIATIVE ON AMENDMENTS TO


THE CONSTITUTION, BUT IS, UNFORTUNATELY, INADEQUATE TO COVER THAT SYSTEM.

Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution provides:

Sec. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people
through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of
registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least
three per centum of the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall
be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener
than once every five years thereafter.

The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.

29
This provision is not self-executory. In his book, Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission, stated:

Without implementing legislation Section 2 cannot operate. Thus, although this mode of
amending the Constitution is a mode of amendment which bypasses congressional
action, in the last analysis it still is dependent on congressional action.

Bluntly stated, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through
the system of initiative would remain entombed in the cold niche of the Constitution until
Congress provides for its implementation. Stated otherwise, while the Constitution has
recognized or granted that right, the people cannot exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason,
does not provide for its implementation.

This system of initiative was originally included in Section 1 of the draft Article on Amendment or Revision
proposed by the Committee on Amendments and Transitory Provisions of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission in its Committee Report No. 7 (Proposed Resolution No. 332). 30 That section reads as
follows:

Sec. 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed:

(a) by the National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members; or

(b) by a constitutional convention; or

(c) directly by the people themselves thru initiative as provided for in Article___ Section
___of the Constitution. 31

After several interpellations, but before the period of amendments, the Committee submitted a
new formulation of the concept of initiative which it denominated as Section 2; thus:

MR. SUAREZ. Thank you, Madam President. May we respectfully call


attention of the Members of the Commission that pursuant to the
mandate given to us last night, we submitted this afternoon a complete
Committee Report No. 7 which embodies the proposed provision
governing the matter of initiative. This is now covered by Section 2 of the
complete committee report. With the permission of the Members, may I
quote Section 2:

The people may, after five years from the date of the last plebiscite held, directly propose
amendments to this Constitution thru initiative upon petition of at least ten percent of the
registered voters.

32
This completes the blanks appearing in the original Committee Report No. 7.

The interpellations on Section 2 showed that the details for carrying out Section 2 are left to the
legislature. Thus:

FR. BERNAS. Madam President, just two simple, clarificatory questions.

First, on Section 1 on the matter of initiative upon petition of at least 10


percent, there are no details in the provision on how to carry this out. Do
we understand, therefore, that we are leaving this matter to the
legislature?

MR. SUAREZ. That is right, Madam President.

FR. BERNAS. And do we also understand, therefore, that for as long as


the legislature does not pass the necessary implementing law on this,
this will not operate?

MR. SUAREZ. That matter was also taken up during the committee
hearing, especially with respect to the budget appropriations which would
have to be legislated so that the plebiscite could be called. We deemed it
best that this matter be left to the legislature. The Gentleman is right. In
any event, as envisioned, no amendment through the power of initiative
can be called until after five years from the date of the ratification of this
Constitution. Therefore, the first amendment that could be proposed
through the exercise of this initiative power would be after five years. It is
reasonably expected that within that five-year period, the National
Assembly can come up with the appropriate rules governing the exercise
of this power.

FR. BERNAS. Since the matter is left to the legislature the details on
how this is to be carried out is it possible that, in effect, what will be
presented to the people for ratification is the work of the legislature rather
than of the people? Does this provision exclude that possibility?

MR. SUAREZ. No, it does not exclude that possibility because even the
legislature itself as a body could propose that amendment, maybe
individually or collectively, if it fails to muster the three-fourths vote in
order to constitute itself as a constituent assembly and submit that
proposal to the people for ratification through the process of an initiative.

xxx xxx xxx


MS. AQUINO. Do I understand from the sponsor that the intention in the
proposal is to vest constituent power in the people to amend the
Constitution?

MR. SUAREZ. That is absolutely correct, Madam President.

MS. AQUINO. I fully concur with the underlying precept of the proposal in
terms of institutionalizing popular participation in the drafting of the
Constitution or in the amendment thereof, but I would have a lot of
difficulties in terms of accepting the draft of Section 2, as written. Would
the sponsor agree with me that in the hierarchy of legal mandate,
constituent power has primacy over all other legal mandates?

MR. SUAREZ. The Commissioner is right, Madam President.

MS. AQUINO. And would the sponsor agree with me that in the hierarchy
of legal values, the Constitution is source of all legal mandates and that
therefore we require a great deal of circumspection in the drafting and in
the amendments of the Constitution?

MR. SUAREZ. That proposition is nondebatable.

MS. AQUINO. Such that in order to underscore the primacy of


constituent power we have a separate article in the constitution that
would specifically cover the process and the modes of amending the
Constitution?

MR. SUAREZ. That is right, Madam President.

MS. AQUINO. Therefore, is the sponsor inclined, as the provisions are


drafted now, to again concede to the legislature the process or the
requirement of determining the mechanics of amending the Constitution
by people's initiative?

MR. SUAREZ. The matter of implementing this could very well be placed
in the hands of the National Assembly, not unless we can incorporate
into this provision the mechanics that would adequately cover all the
conceivable situations. 33

It was made clear during the interpellations that the aforementioned Section 2 is limited to proposals to
AMEND not to REVISE the Constitution; thus:

MR. SUAREZ. . . . This proposal was suggested on the theory that this
matter of initiative, which came about because of the extraordinary
developments this year, has to be separated from the traditional modes
of amending the Constitution as embodied in Section 1. The committee
members felt that this system of initiative should not extend to the
revision of the entire Constitution, so we removed it from the operation of
Section 1 of the proposed Article on Amendment or Revision. 34

xxx xxx xxx


MS. AQUINO. In which case, I am seriously bothered by providing this
process of initiative as a separate section in the Article on Amendment.
Would the sponsor be amenable to accepting an amendment in terms of
realigning Section 2 as another subparagraph (c) of Section 1, instead of
setting it up as another separate section as if it were a self-executing
provision?

MR. SUAREZ. We would be amenable except that, as we clarified a


while ago, this process of initiative is limited to the matter of amendment
and should not expand into a revision which contemplates a total
overhaul of the Constitution. That was the sense that was conveyed by
the Committee.

MS. AQUINO. In other words, the Committee was attempting to


distinguish the coverage of modes (a) and (b) in Section 1 to include the
process of revision; whereas the process of initiation to amend, which is
given to the public, would only apply to amendments?

MR. SUAREZ. That is right. Those were the terms envisioned in the
Committee. 35

Amendments to the proposed Section 2 were thereafter introduced by then Commissioner Hilario G.
Davide, Jr., which the Committee accepted. Thus:

MR. DAVIDE. Thank you Madam President. I propose to substitute the


entire Section 2 with the following:

MR. DAVIDE. Madam President, I have modified the proposed


amendment after taking into account the modifications submitted by the
sponsor himself and the honorable Commissioners Guingona, Monsod,
Rama, Ople, de los Reyes and Romulo. The modified amendment in
substitution of the proposed Section 2 will now read as follows:
"SECTION 2. AMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSTITUTION MAY
LIKEWISE BE DIRECTLY PROPOSED BY THE PEOPLE THROUGH
INITIATIVE UPON A PETITION OF AT LEAST TWELVE PERCENT OF
THE TOTAL NUMBER Of REGISTERED VOTERS, OF WHICH EVERY
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MUST BE REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST
THREE PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS THEREOF. NO
AMENDMENT UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE AUTHORIZED
WITHIN FIVE YEARS FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS
CONSTITUTION NOR OFTENER THAN ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS
THEREAFTER.

THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHALL BY LAW PROVIDE FOR THE


IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXERCISE OF THIS RIGHT.

MR. SUAREZ. Madam President, considering that the proposed


amendment is reflective of the sense contained in Section 2 of our
completed Committee Report No. 7, we accept the proposed
amendment. 36

The interpellations which ensued on the proposed modified amendment to Section 2 clearly showed that
it was a legislative act which must implement the exercise of the right. Thus:
MR. ROMULO. Under Commissioner Davide's amendment, is it possible
for the legislature to set forth certain procedures to carry out the initiative.
. .?

MR. DAVIDE. It can.

xxx xxx xxx

MR. ROMULO. But the Commissioner's amendment does not prevent


the legislature from asking another body to set the proposition in proper
form.

MR. DAVIDE. The Commissioner is correct. In other words, the


implementation of this particular right would be subject to legislation,
provided the legislature cannot determine anymore the percentage of the
requirement.

MR. ROMULO. But the procedures, including the determination of the


proper form for submission to the people, may be subject to legislation.

MR. DAVIDE. As long as it will not destroy the substantive right to


initiate. In other words, none of the procedures to be proposed by the
legislative body must diminish or impair the right conceded here.

MR. ROMULO. In that provision of the Constitution can the procedures


which I have discussed be legislated?

MR. DAVIDE. Yes. 37

Commissioner Davide also reaffirmed that his modified amendment strictly confines initiative to
AMENDMENTS to NOT REVISION of the Constitution. Thus:

MR. DAVIDE. With pleasure, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. My first question: Commissioner Davide's proposed


amendment on line 1 refers to "amendment." Does it not cover the word
"revision" as defined by Commissioner Padilla when he made the
distinction between the words "amendments" and "revision"?

MR. DAVIDE. No, it does not, because "amendments" and "revision"


should be covered by Section 1. So insofar as initiative is concerned, it
can only relate to "amendments" not "revision." 38

Commissioner Davide further emphasized that the process of proposing amendments


through initiative must be more rigorous and difficult than the initiative on legislation. Thus:

MR. DAVIDE. A distinction has to be made that under this proposal, what
is involved is an amendment to the Constitution. To amend a Constitution
would ordinarily require a proposal by the National Assembly by a vote of
three-fourths; and to call a constitutional convention would require a
higher number. Moreover, just to submit the issue of calling a
constitutional convention, a majority of the National Assembly is required,
the import being that the process of amendment must be made more
rigorous and difficult than probably initiating an ordinary legislation or
putting an end to a law proposed by the National Assembly by way of a
referendum. I cannot agree to reducing the requirement approved by the
Committee on the Legislative because it would require another voting by
the Committee, and the voting as precisely based on a requirement of 10
percent. Perhaps, I might present such a proposal, by way of an
amendment, when the Commission shall take up the Article on the
Legislative or on the National Assembly on plenary sessions. 39

The Davide modified amendments to Section 2 were subjected to amendments, and the final version,
which the Commission approved by a vote of 31 in favor and 3 against, reads as follows:

MR. DAVIDE. Thank you Madam President. Section 2, as amended,


reads as follows: "AMENDMENT TO THIS CONSTITUTION MAY
LIKEWISE BE DIRECTLY PROPOSED BY THE PEOPLE THROUGH
INITIATIVE UPON A PETITION OF AT LEAST TWELVE PERCENT OF
THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS, OF WHICH EVERY
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MUST BE REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST
THREE PERCENT OF THE REGISTERED VOTERS THEREOF. NO
AMENDMENT UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE AUTHORIZED
WITHIN FIVE YEARS FOLLOWING THE RATIFICATION OF THIS
CONSTITUTION NOR OFTENER THAN ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS
THEREAFTER.

THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHALL BY LAW PROVIDE


FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXERCISE OF THIS RIGHT. 40

The entire proposed Article on Amendments or Revisions was approved on second reading on 9
July 1986. 41 Thereafter, upon his motion for reconsideration, Commissioner Gascon was allowed
to introduce an amendment to Section 2 which, nevertheless, was withdrawn. In view thereof, the
Article was again approved on Second and Third Readings on 1 August 1986. 42

However, the Committee on Style recommended that the approved Section 2 be amended by changing
"percent" to "per centum" and "thereof" to "therein" and deleting the phrase "by law" in the second
paragraph so that said paragraph reads: The Congress 43 shall provide for the implementation of the
exercise of this right. 44 This amendment was approved and is the text of the present second paragraph of
Section 2.

The conclusion then is inevitable that, indeed, the system of initiative on the Constitution under Section 2
of Article XVII of the Constitution is not self-executory.

Has Congress "provided" for the implementation of the exercise of this right? Those who answer the
question in the affirmative, like the private respondents and intervenor Senator Roco, point to us R.A. No.
6735.

There is, of course, no other better way for Congress to implement the exercise of the right than through
the passage of a statute or legislative act. This is the essence or rationale of the last minute amendment
by the Constitutional Commission to substitute the last paragraph of Section 2 of Article XVII then reading:

The Congress 45 shall by law provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.

with
The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.

This substitute amendment was an investiture on Congress of a power to provide for the rules
implementing the exercise of the right. The "rules" means "the details on how [the right] is to be
carried out." 46

We agree that R.A. No. 6735 was, as its history reveals, intended to cover initiative to propose
amendments to the Constitution. The Act is a consolidation of House Bill No. 21505 and Senate Bill No.
17. The former was prepared by the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms of the House of
Representatives on the basis of two House Bills referred to it, viz., (a) House Bill No. 497, 47 which dealt
with the initiative and referendum mentioned
in Sections 1 and 32 of Article VI of the Constitution; and (b) House Bill No. 988, 48 which dealt with the
subject matter of House Bill No. 497, as well as with initiative and referendum under Section 3 of Article X
(Local Government) and initiative provided for in Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution. Senate Bill
No. 17 49 solely dealt with initiative and referendum concerning ordinances or resolutions of local
government units. The Bicameral Conference Committee consolidated Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill
No. 21505 into a draft bill, which was subsequently approved on 8 June 1989 by the Senate 50and by the
House of Representatives. 51 This approved bill is now R.A. No. 6735.

But is R.A. No. 6735 a full compliance with the power and duty of Congress to "provide for the
implementation of the exercise of the right?"

A careful scrutiny of the Act yields a negative answer.

First. Contrary to the assertion of public respondent COMELEC, Section 2 of the Act does not suggest an
initiative on amendments to the Constitution. The said section reads:

Sec. 2. Statement and Policy. The power of the people under a system of initiative and
referendum to directly propose, enact, approve or reject, in whole or in part, the
Constitution, laws, ordinances, or resolutions passed by any legislative body upon
compliance with the requirements of this Act is hereby affirmed, recognized and
guaranteed. (Emphasis supplied).

The inclusion of the word "Constitution" therein was a delayed afterthought. That word is neither
germane nor relevant to said section, which exclusively relates to initiative and referendum on
national laws and local laws, ordinances, and resolutions. That section is silent as
to amendments on the Constitution. As pointed out earlier, initiative on the Constitution is
confined only to proposals to AMEND. The people are not accorded the power to "directly
propose, enact, approve, or reject, in whole or in part, the Constitution" through the system
of initiative. They can only do so with respect to "laws, ordinances, or resolutions."

The foregoing conclusion is further buttressed by the fact that this section was lifted from Section 1 of
Senate Bill No. 17, which solely referred to a statement of policy on local initiative and referendum and
appropriately used the phrases "propose and enact," "approve or reject" and "in whole or in part." 52

Second. It is true that Section 3 (Definition of Terms) of the Act defines initiative on amendments to the
Constitution and mentions it as one of the three systems of initiative, and that Section 5 (Requirements)
restates the constitutional requirements as to the percentage of the registered voters who must submit the
proposal. But unlike in the case of the other systems of initiative, the Act does not provide for the contents
of a petition for initiative on the Constitution. Section 5, paragraph (c) requires, among other things,
statement of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or repealed, as the
case may be. It does not include, as among the contents of the petition, the provisions of the Constitution
sought to be amended, in the case of initiative on the Constitution. Said paragraph (c) reads in full as
follows:
(c) The petition shall state the following:

c.1 contents or text of the proposed law sought to be enacted, approved or rejected,
amended or repealed, as the case may be;

c.2 the proposition;

c.3 the reason or reasons therefor;

c.4 that it is not one of the exceptions provided therein;

c.5 signatures of the petitioners or registered voters; and

c.6 an abstract or summary proposition is not more than one hundred (100) words which
shall be legibly written or printed at the top of every page of the petition. (Emphasis
supplied).

The use of the clause "proposed laws sought to be enacted, approved or rejected, amended or
repealed" only strengthens the conclusion that Section 2, quoted earlier, excludes initiative on
amendments to the Constitution.

Third. While the Act provides subtitles for National Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle II) and for Local
Initiative and Referendum (Subtitle III), no subtitle is provided for initiative on the Constitution. This
conspicuous silence as to the latter simply means that the main thrust of the Act is initiative and
referendum on national and local laws. If Congress intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully provide for the
implementation of the initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle
therefor, considering that in the order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the right of
the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution is far more important than the initiative on
national and local laws.

We cannot accept the argument that the initiative on amendments to the Constitution is subsumed under
the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum because it is national in scope. Our reading of Subtitle
II (National Initiative and Referendum) and Subtitle III (Local Initiative and Referendum) leaves no room
for doubt that the classification is not based on the scope of the initiative involved, but on
its nature and character. It is "national initiative," if what is proposed to be adopted or enacted is
a national law, or a law which only Congress can pass. It is "local initiative" if what is proposed to be
adopted or enacted is a law, ordinance, or resolution which only the legislative bodies of the governments
of the autonomous regions, provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays can pass. This classification
of initiative into national and local is actually based on Section 3 of the Act, which we quote for emphasis
and clearer understanding:

Sec. 3. Definition of terms

xxx xxx xxx

There are three (3) systems of initiative, namely:

a.1 Initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the
Constitution;

a.2 Initiative on Statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national


legislation; and
a.3 Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional,
provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance. (Emphasis supplied).

Hence, to complete the classification under subtitles there should have been a subtitle on initiative on
amendments to the Constitution. 53

A further examination of the Act even reveals that the subtitling is not accurate. Provisions not germane to
the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum are placed therein, like (1) paragraphs (b) and (c) of
Section 9, which reads:

(b) The proposition in an initiative on the Constitution approved by the majority of the
votes cast in the plebiscite shall become effective as to the day of the plebiscite.

(c) A national or local initiative proposition approved by majority of the votes cast in an
election called for the purpose shall become effective fifteen (15) days after certification
and proclamation of the Commission. (Emphasis supplied).

(2) that portion of Section 11 (Indirect Initiative) referring to indirect initiative with the legislative bodies of
local governments; thus:

Sec. 11. Indirect Initiative. Any duly accredited people's organization, as defined by
law, may file a petition for indirect initiative with the House of Representatives, and other
legislative bodies. . . .

and (3) Section 12 on Appeal, since it applies to decisions of the COMELEC on the findings of
sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition for initiative or referendum, which could be petitions for
both national and local initiative and referendum.

Upon the other hand, Section 18 on "Authority of Courts" under subtitle III on Local Initiative and
Referendum is misplaced, 54 since the provision therein applies to both national and local initiative and
referendum. It reads:

Sec. 18. Authority of Courts. Nothing in this Act shall prevent or preclude the proper
courts from declaring null and void any proposition approved pursuant to this Act for
violation of the Constitution or want of capacity of the local legislative body to enact the
said measure.

Curiously, too, while R.A. No. 6735 exerted utmost diligence and care in providing for the details in the
implementation of initiative and referendum on national and local legislation thereby giving them special
attention, it failed, rather intentionally, to do so on the system of initiative on amendments to the
Constitution. Anent the initiative on national legislation, the Act provides for the following:

(a) The required percentage of registered voters to sign the petition and the contents of the petition;

(b) The conduct and date of the initiative;

(c) The submission to the electorate of the proposition and the required number of votes for its approval;

(d) The certification by the COMELEC of the approval of the proposition;

(e) The publication of the approved proposition in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general
circulation in the Philippines; and
55
(f) The effects of the approval or rejection of the proposition.

As regards local initiative, the Act provides for the following:

(a) The preliminary requirement as to the number of signatures of registered voters for the petition;

(b) The submission of the petition to the local legislative body concerned;

(c) The effect of the legislative body's failure to favorably act thereon, and the invocation of the power of
initiative as a consequence thereof;

(d) The formulation of the proposition;

(e) The period within which to gather the signatures;

(f) The persons before whom the petition shall be signed;

(g) The issuance of a certification by the COMELEC through its official in the local government unit
concerned as to whether the required number of signatures have been obtained;

(h) The setting of a date by the COMELEC for the submission of the proposition to the registered voters
for their approval, which must be within the period specified therein;

(i) The issuance of a certification of the result;

(j) The date of effectivity of the approved proposition;

(k) The limitations on local initiative; and

56
(l) The limitations upon local legislative bodies.

Upon the other hand, as to initiative on amendments to the Constitution, R.A. No. 6735, in all of its
twenty-three sections, merely (a) mentions, the word "Constitution" in Section 2; (b) defines "initiative on
the Constitution" and includes it in the enumeration of the three systems of initiative in Section 3; (c)
speaks of "plebiscite" as the process by which the proposition in an initiative on the Constitution may be
approved or rejected by the people; (d) reiterates the constitutional requirements as to the number of
voters who should sign the petition; and (e) provides for the date of effectivity of the approved proposition.

There was, therefore, an obvious downgrading of the more important or the paramount system of
initiative. RA. No. 6735 thus delivered a humiliating blow to the system of initiative on amendments to the
Constitution by merely paying it a reluctant lip service. 57

The foregoing brings us to the conclusion that R.A. No. 6735 is incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in
essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned. Its
lacunae on this substantive matter are fatal and cannot be cured by "empowering" the COMELEC "to
promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of [the] Act. 58

The rule is that what has been delegated, cannot be delegated or as expressed in a Latin
maxim: potestas delegata non delegari potest. 59 The recognized exceptions to the rule are as follows:

(1) Delegation of tariff powers to the President under Section 28(2) of Article VI of the Constitution;
(2) Delegation of emergency powers to the President under Section 23(2) of Article VI of the Constitution;

(3) Delegation to the people at large;

(4) Delegation to local governments; and

60
(5) Delegation to administrative bodies.

Empowering the COMELEC, an administrative body exercising quasi-judicial functions, to promulgate


rules and regulations is a form of delegation of legislative authority under no. 5 above. However, in every
case of permissible delegation, there must be a showing that the delegation itself is valid. It is valid only if
the law (a) is complete in itself, setting forth therein the policy to be executed, carried out, or implemented
by the delegate; and (b) fixes a standard the limits of which are sufficiently determinate and
determinable to which the delegate must conform in the performance of his functions. 61 A sufficient
standard is one which defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the
public agency to apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative command is to be
effected. 62

Insofar as initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution is concerned, R.A. No. 6735 miserably
failed to satisfy both requirements in subordinate legislation. The delegation of the power to the
COMELEC is then invalid.

III

COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 2300, INSOFAR AS IT PRESCRIBES RULES AND


REGULATIONS ON THE CONDUCT OF INITIATIVE ON AMENDMENTS TO THE
CONSTITUTION, IS VOID.

It logically follows that the COMELEC cannot validly promulgate rules and regulations to implement the
exercise of the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system
of initiative. It does not have that power under R.A. No. 6735. Reliance on the COMELEC's power under
Section 2(1) of Article IX-C of the Constitution is misplaced, for the laws and regulations referred to
therein are those promulgated by the COMELEC under (a) Section 3 of Article IX-C of the Constitution, or
(b) a law where subordinate legislation is authorized and which satisfies the "completeness" and the
"sufficient standard" tests.

IV

COMELEC ACTED WITHOUT JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN


ENTERTAINING THE DELFIN PETITION.

Even if it be conceded ex gratia that R.A. No. 6735 is a full compliance with the power of Congress to
implement the right to initiate constitutional amendments, or that it has validly vested upon the COMELEC
the power of subordinate legislation and that COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is valid, the COMELEC
acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in entertaining the Delfin Petition.

Under Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution and Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 6735, a petition for
initiative on the Constitution must be signed by at least 12% of the total number of registered voters of
which every legislative district is represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein. The Delfin
Petition does not contain signatures of the required number of voters. Delfin himself admits that he has
not yet gathered signatures and that the purpose of his petition is primarily to obtain assistance in his
drive to gather signatures. Without the required signatures, the petition cannot be deemed validly initiated.
The COMELEC acquires jurisdiction over a petition for initiative only after its filing. The petition then is
the initiatory pleading. Nothing before its filing is cognizable by the COMELEC, sitting en banc. The only
participation of the COMELEC or its personnel before the filing of such petition are (1) to prescribe the
form of the petition; 63(2) to issue through its Election Records and Statistics Office a certificate on the
total number of registered voters in each legislative district; 64 (3) to assist, through its election registrars,
in the establishment of signature stations; 65 and (4) to verify, through its election registrars, the signatures
on the basis of the registry list of voters, voters' affidavits, and voters' identification cards used in the
immediately preceding election. 66

Since the Delfin Petition is not the initiatory petition under R.A. No. 6735 and COMELEC Resolution No.
2300, it cannot be entertained or given cognizance of by the COMELEC. The respondent Commission
must have known that the petition does not fall under any of the actions or proceedings under the
COMELEC Rules of Procedure or under Resolution No. 2300, for which reason it did not assign to the
petition a docket number. Hence, the said petition was merely entered as UND, meaning, undocketed.
That petition was nothing more than a mere scrap of paper, which should not have been dignified by the
Order of 6 December 1996, the hearing on 12 December 1996, and the order directing Delfin and the
oppositors to file their memoranda or oppositions. In so dignifying it, the COMELEC acted without
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion and merely wasted its time, energy, and resources.

The foregoing considered, further discussion on the issue of whether the proposal to lift the term limits of
elective national and local officials is an amendment to, and not a revision of, the Constitution is rendered
unnecessary, if not academic.

CONCLUSION

This petition must then be granted, and the COMELEC should be permanently enjoined from entertaining
or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments to the Constitution until a sufficient law
shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system.

We feel, however, that the system of initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution should no
longer be kept in the cold; it should be given flesh and blood, energy and strength. Congress should not
tarry any longer in complying with the constitutional mandate to provide for the implementation of the right
of the people under that system.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered

a) GRANTING the instant petition;

b) DECLARING R.A. No. 6735 inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the
Constitution, and to have failed to provide sufficient standard for subordinate legislation;

c) DECLARING void those parts of Resolution No. 2300 of the Commission on Elections prescribing rules
and regulations on the conduct of initiative or amendments to the Constitution; and

d) ORDERING the Commission on Elections to forthwith DISMISS the DELFIN petition (UND-96-037).

The Temporary Restraining Order issued on 18 December 1996 is made permanent as against the
Commission on Elections, but is LIFTED as against private respondents.

Resolution on the matter of contempt is hereby reserved.

SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Kapunan, Hermosisima, Jr. and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.

Padilla, J., took no part.

G.R. No. 17122 February 27, 1922

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ANG TANG HO, defendant-appellant.

Williams & Ferrier for appellant.


Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee.

JOHNS, J.:

At its special session of 1919, the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 2868, entitled "An Act penalizing
the monopoly and holding of, and speculation in, palay, rice, and corn under extraordinary circumstances,
regulating the distribution and sale thereof, and authorizing the Governor-General, with the consent of the
Council of State, to issue the necessary rules and regulations therefor, and making an appropriation for
this purpose," the material provisions of which are as follows:

Section 1. The Governor-General is hereby authorized, whenever, for any cause, conditions arise
resulting in an extraordinary rise in the price of palay, rice or corn, to issue and promulgate, with
the consent of the Council of State, temporary rules and emergency measures for carrying out
the purpose of this Act, to wit:

(a) To prevent the monopoly and hoarding of, and speculation in, palay, rice or corn.

(b) To establish and maintain a government control of the distribution or sale of the commodities
referred to or have such distribution or sale made by the Government itself.

(c) To fix, from time to time the quantities of palay rice, or corn that a company or individual may
acquire, and the maximum sale price that the industrial or merchant may demand.

(d) . . .

SEC. 2. It shall be unlawful to destroy, limit, prevent or in any other manner obstruct the
production or milling of palay, rice or corn for the purpose of raising the prices thereof; to corner
or hoard said products as defined in section three of this Act; . . .

Section 3 defines what shall constitute a monopoly or hoarding of palay, rice or corn within the meaning of
this Act, but does not specify the price of rice or define any basic for fixing the price.

SEC. 4. The violations of any of the provisions of this Act or of the regulations, orders and
decrees promulgated in accordance therewith shall be punished by a fine of not more than five
thousands pesos, or by imprisonment for not more than two years, or both, in the discretion of the
court: Provided, That in the case of companies or corporations the manager or administrator shall
be criminally liable.

SEC. 7. At any time that the Governor-General, with the consent of the Council of State, shall
consider that the public interest requires the application of the provisions of this Act, he shall so
declare by proclamation, and any provisions of other laws inconsistent herewith shall from then
on be temporarily suspended.

Upon the cessation of the reasons for which such proclamation was issued, the Governor-
General, with the consent of the Council of State, shall declare the application of this Act to have
likewise terminated, and all laws temporarily suspended by virtue of the same shall again take
effect, but such termination shall not prevent the prosecution of any proceedings or cause begun
prior to such termination, nor the filing of any proceedings for an offense committed during the
period covered by the Governor-General's proclamation.

August 1, 1919, the Governor-General issued a proclamation fixing the price at which rice should be sold.

August 8, 1919, a complaint was filed against the defendant, Ang Tang Ho, charging him with the sale of
rice at an excessive price as follows:

The undersigned accuses Ang Tang Ho of a violation of Executive Order No. 53 of the Governor-
General of the Philippines, dated the 1st of August, 1919, in relation with the provisions of
sections 1, 2 and 4 of Act No. 2868, committed as follows:

That on or about the 6th day of August, 1919, in the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, the said
Ang Tang Ho, voluntarily, illegally and criminally sold to Pedro Trinidad, one ganta of rice at the
price of eighty centavos (P.80), which is a price greater than that fixed by Executive Order No. 53
of the Governor-General of the Philippines, dated the 1st of August, 1919, under the authority of
section 1 of Act No. 2868. Contrary to law.

Upon this charge, he was tried, found guilty and sentenced to five months' imprisonment and to pay a fine
of P500, from which he appealed to this court, claiming that the lower court erred in finding Executive
Order No. 53 of 1919, to be of any force and effect, in finding the accused guilty of the offense charged,
and in imposing the sentence.

The official records show that the Act was to take effect on its approval; that it was approved July 30,
1919; that the Governor-General issued his proclamation on the 1st of August, 1919; and that the law was
first published on the 13th of August, 1919; and that the proclamation itself was first published on the 20th
of August, 1919.

The question here involves an analysis and construction of Act No. 2868, in so far as it authorizes the
Governor-General to fix the price at which rice should be sold. It will be noted that section 1 authorizes
the Governor-General, with the consent of the Council of State, for any cause resulting in an extraordinary
rise in the price of palay, rice or corn, to issue and promulgate temporary rules and emergency measures
for carrying out the purposes of the Act. By its very terms, the promulgation of temporary rules and
emergency measures is left to the discretion of the Governor-General. The Legislature does not
undertake to specify or define under what conditions or for what reasons the Governor-General shall
issue the proclamation, but says that it may be issued "for any cause," and leaves the question as to what
is "any cause" to the discretion of the Governor-General. The Act also says: "For any cause, conditions
arise resulting in an extraordinary rise in the price of palay, rice or corn." The Legislature does not specify
or define what is "an extraordinary rise." That is also left to the discretion of the Governor-General. The
Act also says that the Governor-General, "with the consent of the Council of State," is authorized to issue
and promulgate "temporary rules and emergency measures for carrying out the purposes of this Act." It
does not specify or define what is a temporary rule or an emergency measure, or how long such
temporary rules or emergency measures shall remain in force and effect, or when they shall take effect.
That is to say, the Legislature itself has not in any manner specified or defined any basis for the order, but
has left it to the sole judgement and discretion of the Governor-General to say what is or what is not "a
cause," and what is or what is not "an extraordinary rise in the price of rice," and as to what is a temporary
rule or an emergency measure for the carrying out the purposes of the Act. Under this state of facts, if the
law is valid and the Governor-General issues a proclamation fixing the minimum price at which rice
should be sold, any dealer who, with or without notice, sells rice at a higher price, is a criminal. There may
not have been any cause, and the price may not have been extraordinary, and there may not have been
an emergency, but, if the Governor-General found the existence of such facts and issued a proclamation,
and rice is sold at any higher price, the seller commits a crime.

By the organic law of the Philippine Islands and the Constitution of the United States all powers are
vested in the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary. It is the duty of the Legislature to make the law; of the
Executive to execute the law; and of the Judiciary to construe the law. The Legislature has no authority to
execute or construe the law, the Executive has no authority to make or construe the law, and the Judiciary
has no power to make or execute the law. Subject to the Constitution only, the power of each branch is
supreme within its own jurisdiction, and it is for the Judiciary only to say when any Act of the Legislature is
or is not constitutional. Assuming, without deciding, that the Legislature itself has the power to fix the price
at which rice is to be sold, can it delegate that power to another, and, if so, was that power legally
delegated by Act No. 2868? In other words, does the Act delegate legislative power to the Governor-
General? By the Organic Law, all Legislative power is vested in the Legislature, and the power conferred
upon the Legislature to make laws cannot be delegated to the Governor-General, or any one else. The
Legislature cannot delegate the legislative power to enact any law. If Act no 2868 is a law unto itself and
within itself, and it does nothing more than to authorize the Governor-General to make rules and
regulations to carry the law into effect, then the Legislature itself created the law. There is no delegation of
power and it is valid. On the other hand, if the Act within itself does not define crime, and is not a law, and
some legislative act remains to be done to make it a law or a crime, the doing of which is vested in the
Governor-General, then the Act is a delegation of legislative power, is unconstitutional and void.

The Supreme Court of the United States in what is known as the Granger Cases (94 U.S., 183-187; 24 L.
ed., 94), first laid down the rule:

Railroad companies are engaged in a public employment affecting the public interest and, under
the decision in Munn vs. Ill., ante, 77, are subject to legislative control as to their rates of fare and
freight unless protected by their charters.

The Illinois statute of Mar. 23, 1874, to establish reasonable maximum rates of charges for the
transportation of freights and passengers on the different railroads of the State is not void as
being repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or to that of the State.

It was there for the first time held in substance that a railroad was a public utility, and that, being a public
utility, the State had power to establish reasonable maximum freight and passenger rates. This was
followed by the State of Minnesota in enacting a similar law, providing for, and empowering, a railroad
commission to hear and determine what was a just and reasonable rate. The constitutionality of this law
was attacked and upheld by the Supreme Court of Minnesota in a learned and exhaustive opinion by
Justice Mitchell, in the case of State vs. Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul ry. Co. (38 Minn., 281), in which
the court held:

Regulations of railway tariffs Conclusiveness of commission's tariffs. Under Laws 1887, c.


10, sec. 8, the determination of the railroad and warehouse commission as to what are equal and
reasonable fares and rates for the transportation of persons and property by a railway company is
conclusive, and, in proceedings by mandamus to compel compliance with the tariff of rates
recommended and published by them, no issue can be raised or inquiry had on that question.

Same constitution Delegation of power to commission. The authority thus given to the
commission to determine, in the exercise of their discretion and judgement, what are equal and
reasonable rates, is not a delegation of legislative power.

It will be noted that the law creating the railroad commission expressly provides
That all charges by any common carrier for the transportation of passengers and property shall
be equal and reasonable.

With that as a basis for the law, power is then given to the railroad commission to investigate all the facts,
to hear and determine what is a just and reasonable rate. Even then that law does not make the violation
of the order of the commission a crime. The only remedy is a civil proceeding. It was there held

That the legislative itself has the power to regulate railroad charges is now too well settled to
require either argument or citation of authority.

The difference between the power to say what the law shall be, and the power to adopt rules and
regulations, or to investigate and determine the facts, in order to carry into effect a law already
passed, is apparent. The true distinction is between the delegation of power to make the law,
which necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and the conferring an authority or
discretion to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law.

The legislature enacts that all freights rates and passenger fares should be just and reasonable. It
had the undoubted power to fix these rates at whatever it deemed equal and reasonable.

They have not delegated to the commission any authority or discretion as to what the law shall
be, which would not be allowable, but have merely conferred upon it an authority and
discretion, to be exercised in the execution of the law, and under and in pursuance of it, which is
entirely permissible. The legislature itself has passed upon the expediency of the law, and what is
shall be. The commission is intrusted with no authority or discretion upon these questions. It can
neither make nor unmake a single provision of law. It is merely charged with the administration of
the law, and with no other power.

The delegation of legislative power was before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in
Dowling vs. Lancoshire Ins. Co. (92 Wis., 63). The opinion says:

"The true distinction is between the delegation of power to make the law, which necessarily
involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring authority or discretion as to its
execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot be done; to the
latter no valid objection can be made."

The act, in our judgment, wholly fails to provide definitely and clearly what the standard policy should
contain, so that it could be put in use as a uniform policy required to take the place of all others, without
the determination of the insurance commissioner in respect to maters involving the exercise of a
legislative discretion that could not be delegated, and without which the act could not possibly be put in
use as an act in confirmity to which all fire insurance policies were required to be issued.

The result of all the cases on this subject is that a law must be complete, in all its terms and provisions,
when it leaves the legislative branch of the government, and nothing must be left to the judgement of the
electors or other appointee or delegate of the legislature, so that, in form and substance, it is a law in all
its details in presenti, but which may be left to take effect in futuro, if necessary, upon the ascertainment
of any prescribed fact or event.

The delegation of legislative power was before the Supreme Court in United States vs. Grimaud (220
U.S., 506; 55 L. ed., 563), where it was held that the rules and regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture
as to a trespass on government land in a forest reserve were valid constitutional. The Act there provided
that the Secretary of Agriculture ". . . may make such rules and regulations and establish such service as
will insure the object of such reservations; namely, to regulate their occupancy and use, and to preserve
the forests thereon from destruction; and any violation of the provisions of this act or such rules and
regulations shall be punished, . . ."
The brief of the United States Solicitor-General says:

In refusing permits to use a forest reservation for stock grazing, except upon stated terms or in
stated ways, the Secretary of Agriculture merely assert and enforces the proprietary right of the
United States over land which it owns. The regulation of the Secretary, therefore, is not an
exercise of legislative, or even of administrative, power; but is an ordinary and legitimate refusal
of the landowner's authorized agent to allow person having no right in the land to use it as they
will. The right of proprietary control is altogether different from governmental authority.

The opinion says:

From the beginning of the government, various acts have been passed conferring upon executive
officers power to make rules and regulations, not for the government of their departments, but
for administering the laws which did govern. None of these statutes could confer legislative
power. But when Congress had legislated power. But when Congress had legislated and
indicated its will, it could give to those who were to act under such general provisions "power to fill
up the details" by the establishment of administrative rules and regulations, the violation of which
could be punished by fine or imprisonment fixed by Congress, or by penalties fixed by Congress,
or measured by the injury done.

That "Congress cannot delegate legislative power is a principle universally recognized as vital to
the integrity and maintenance of the system of government ordained by the Constitution."

If, after the passage of the act and the promulgation of the rule, the defendants drove and grazed
their sheep upon the reserve, in violation of the regulations, they were making an unlawful use of
the government's property. In doing so they thereby made themselves liable to the penalty
imposed by Congress.

The subjects as to which the Secretary can regulate are defined. The lands are set apart as a forest
reserve. He is required to make provisions to protect them from depredations and from harmful uses. He
is authorized 'to regulate the occupancy and use and to preserve the forests from destruction.' A violation
of reasonable rules regulating the use and occupancy of the property is made a crime, not by the
Secretary, but by Congress."

The above are leading cases in the United States on the question of delegating legislative power. It will be
noted that in the "Granger Cases," it was held that a railroad company was a public corporation, and that
a railroad was a public utility, and that, for such reasons, the legislature had the power to fix and
determine just and reasonable rates for freight and passengers.

The Minnesota case held that, so long as the rates were just and reasonable, the legislature could
delegate the power to ascertain the facts and determine from the facts what were just and reasonable
rates,. and that in vesting the commission with such power was not a delegation of legislative power.

The Wisconsin case was a civil action founded upon a "Wisconsin standard policy of fire insurance," and
the court held that "the act, . . . wholly fails to provide definitely and clearly what the standard policy
should contain, so that it could be put in use as a uniform policy required to take the place of all others,
without the determination of the insurance commissioner in respect to matters involving the exercise of a
legislative discretion that could not be delegated."

The case of the United States Supreme Court, supra dealt with rules and regulations which were
promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture for Government land in the forest reserve.
These decisions hold that the legislative only can enact a law, and that it cannot delegate it legislative
authority.

The line of cleavage between what is and what is not a delegation of legislative power is pointed out and
clearly defined. As the Supreme Court of Wisconsin says:

That no part of the legislative power can be delegated by the legislature to any other department
of the government, executive or judicial, is a fundamental principle in constitutional law, essential
to the integrity and maintenance of the system of government established by the constitution.

Where an act is clothed with all the forms of law, and is complete in and of itself, it may be
provided that it shall become operative only upon some certain act or event, or, in like manner,
that its operation shall be suspended.

The legislature cannot delegate its power to make a law, but it can make a law to delegate a
power to determine some fact or state of things upon which the law makes, or intends to make, its
own action to depend.

The Village of Little Chute enacted an ordinance which provides:

All saloons in said village shall be closed at 11 o'clock P.M. each day and remain closed until 5
o'clock on the following morning, unless by special permission of the president.

Construing it in 136 Wis., 526; 128 A. S. R., 1100,1 the Supreme Court of that State says:

We regard the ordinance as void for two reasons; First, because it attempts to confer arbitrary
power upon an executive officer, and allows him, in executing the ordinance, to make unjust and
groundless discriminations among persons similarly situated; second, because the power to
regulate saloons is a law-making power vested in the village board, which cannot be delegated. A
legislative body cannot delegate to a mere administrative officer power to make a law, but it can
make a law with provisions that it shall go into effect or be suspended in its operations upon the
ascertainment of a fact or state of facts by an administrative officer or board. In the present case
the ordinance by its terms gives power to the president to decide arbitrary, and in the exercise of
his own discretion, when a saloon shall close. This is an attempt to vest legislative discretion in
him, and cannot be sustained.

The legal principle involved there is squarely in point here.

It must be conceded that, after the passage of act No. 2868, and before any rules and regulations were
promulgated by the Governor-General, a dealer in rice could sell it at any price, even at a peso per
"ganta," and that he would not commit a crime, because there would be no law fixing the price of rice, and
the sale of it at any price would not be a crime. That is to say, in the absence of a proclamation, it was not
a crime to sell rice at any price. Hence, it must follow that, if the defendant committed a crime, it was
because the Governor-General issued the proclamation. There was no act of the Legislature making it a
crime to sell rice at any price, and without the proclamation, the sale of it at any price was to a crime.

The Executive order2 provides:

(5) The maximum selling price of palay, rice or corn is hereby fixed, for the time being as follows:

In Manila

Palay at P6.75 per sack of 57 kilos, or 29 centavos per ganta.


Rice at P15 per sack of 57 kilos, or 63 centavos per ganta.

Corn at P8 per sack of 57 kilos, or 34 centavos per ganta.

In the provinces producing palay, rice and corn, the maximum price shall be the Manila price less
the cost of transportation from the source of supply and necessary handling expenses to the
place of sale, to be determined by the provincial treasurers or their deputies.

In provinces, obtaining their supplies from Manila or other producing provinces, the maximum
price shall be the authorized price at the place of supply or the Manila price as the case may be,
plus the transportation cost, from the place of supply and the necessary handling expenses, to
the place of sale, to be determined by the provincial treasurers or their deputies.

(6) Provincial treasurers and their deputies are hereby directed to communicate with, and execute
all instructions emanating from the Director of Commerce and Industry, for the most effective and
proper enforcement of the above regulations in their respective localities.

The law says that the Governor-General may fix "the maximum sale price that the industrial or merchant
may demand." The law is a general law and not a local or special law.

The proclamation undertakes to fix one price for rice in Manila and other and different prices in other and
different provinces in the Philippine Islands, and delegates the power to determine the other and different
prices to provincial treasurers and their deputies. Here, then, you would have a delegation of legislative
power to the Governor-General, and a delegation by him of that power to provincial treasurers and their
deputies, who "are hereby directed to communicate with, and execute all instructions emanating from the
Director of Commerce and Industry, for the most effective and proper enforcement of the above
regulations in their respective localities." The issuance of the proclamation by the Governor-General was
the exercise of the delegation of a delegated power, and was even a sub delegation of that power.

Assuming that it is valid, Act No. 2868 is a general law and does not authorize the Governor-General to
fix one price of rice in Manila and another price in Iloilo. It only purports to authorize him to fix the price of
rice in the Philippine Islands under a law, which is General and uniform, and not local or special. Under
the terms of the law, the price of rice fixed in the proclamation must be the same all over the Islands.
There cannot be one price at Manila and another at Iloilo. Again, it is a mater of common knowledge, and
of which this court will take judicial notice, that there are many kinds of rice with different and
corresponding market values, and that there is a wide range in the price, which varies with the grade and
quality. Act No. 2868 makes no distinction in price for the grade or quality of the rice, and the
proclamation, upon which the defendant was tried and convicted, fixes the selling price of rice in Manila
"at P15 per sack of 57 kilos, or 63 centavos per ganta," and is uniform as to all grades of rice, and says
nothing about grade or quality. Again, it will be noted that the law is confined to palay, rice and corn. They
are products of the Philippine Islands. Hemp, tobacco, coconut, chickens, eggs, and many other things
are also products. Any law which single out palay, rice or corn from the numerous other products of the
Islands is not general or uniform, but is a local or special law. If such a law is valid, then by the same
principle, the Governor-General could be authorized by proclamation to fix the price of meat, eggs,
chickens, coconut, hemp, and tobacco, or any other product of the Islands. In the very nature of things, all
of that class of laws should be general and uniform. Otherwise, there would be an unjust discrimination of
property rights, which, under the law, must be equal and inform. Act No. 2868 is nothing more than a
floating law, which, in the discretion and by a proclamation of the Governor-General, makes it a floating
crime to sell rice at a price in excess of the proclamation, without regard to grade or quality.

When Act No. 2868 is analyzed, it is the violation of the proclamation of the Governor-General which
constitutes the crime. Without that proclamation, it was no crime to sell rice at any price. In other words,
the Legislature left it to the sole discretion of the Governor-General to say what was and what was not
"any cause" for enforcing the act, and what was and what was not "an extraordinary rise in the price of
palay, rice or corn," and under certain undefined conditions to fix the price at which rice should be sold,
without regard to grade or quality, also to say whether a proclamation should be issued, if so, when, and
whether or not the law should be enforced, how long it should be enforced, and when the law should be
suspended. The Legislature did not specify or define what was "any cause," or what was "an
extraordinary rise in the price of rice, palay or corn," Neither did it specify or define the conditions upon
which the proclamation should be issued. In the absence of the proclamation no crime was committed.
The alleged sale was made a crime, if at all, because the Governor-General issued the proclamation. The
act or proclamation does not say anything about the different grades or qualities of rice, and the
defendant is charged with the sale "of one ganta of rice at the price of eighty centavos (P0.80) which is a
price greater than that fixed by Executive order No. 53."

We are clearly of the opinion and hold that Act No. 2868, in so far as it undertakes to authorized the
Governor-General in his discretion to issue a proclamation, fixing the price of rice, and to make the sale of
rice in violation of the price of rice, and to make the sale of rice in violation of the proclamation a crime, is
unconstitutional and void.

It may be urged that there was an extraordinary rise in the price of rice and profiteering, which worked a
severe hardship on the poorer classes, and that an emergency existed, but the question here presented
is the constitutionality of a particular portion of a statute, and none of such matters is an argument for, or
against, its constitutionality.

The Constitution is something solid, permanent an substantial. Its stability protects the life, liberty and
property rights of the rich and the poor alike, and that protection ought not to change with the wind or any
emergency condition. The fundamental question involved in this case is the right of the people of the
Philippine Islands to be and live under a republican form of government. We make the broad statement
that no state or nation, living under republican form of government, under the terms and conditions
specified in Act No. 2868, has ever enacted a law delegating the power to any one, to fix the price at
which rice should be sold. That power can never be delegated under a republican form of government.

In the fixing of the price at which the defendant should sell his rice, the law was not dealing with
government property. It was dealing with private property and private rights, which are sacred under the
Constitution. If this law should be sustained, upon the same principle and for the same reason, the
Legislature could authorize the Governor-General to fix the price of every product or commodity in the
Philippine Islands, and empower him to make it a crime to sell any product at any other or different price.

It may be said that this was a war measure, and that for such reason the provision of the Constitution
should be suspended. But the Stubborn fact remains that at all times the judicial power was in full force
and effect, and that while that power was in force and effect, such a provision of the Constitution could not
be, and was not, suspended even in times of war. It may be claimed that during the war, the United States
Government undertook to, and did, fix the price at which wheat and flour should be bought and sold, and
that is true. There, the United States had declared war, and at the time was at war with other nations, and
it was a war measure, but it is also true that in doing so, and as a part of the same act, the United States
commandeered all the wheat and flour, and took possession of it, either actual or constructive, and the
government itself became the owner of the wheat and flour, and fixed the price to be paid for it. That is not
this case. Here the rice sold was the personal and private property of the defendant, who sold it to one of
his customers. The government had not bought and did not claim to own the rice, or have any interest in
it, and at the time of the alleged sale, it was the personal, private property of the defendant. It may be that
the law was passed in the interest of the public, but the members of this court have taken on solemn oath
to uphold and defend the Constitution, and it ought not to be construed to meet the changing winds or
emergency conditions. Again, we say that no state or nation under a republican form of government ever
enacted a law authorizing any executive, under the conditions states, to fix the price at which a price
person would sell his own rice, and make the broad statement that no decision of any court, on principle
or by analogy, will ever be found which sustains the constitutionality of the particular portion of Act No.
2868 here in question. By the terms of the Organic Act, subject only to constitutional limitations, the power
to legislate and enact laws is vested exclusively in the Legislative, which is elected by a direct vote of the
people of the Philippine Islands. As to the question here involved, the authority of the Governor-General
to fix the maximum price at which palay, rice and corn may be sold in the manner power in violation of the
organic law.

This opinion is confined to the particular question here involved, which is the right of the Governor-
General, upon the terms and conditions stated in the Act, to fix the price of rice and make it a crime to sell
it at a higher price, and which holds that portions of the Act unconstitutional. It does not decide or
undertake to construe the constitutionality of any of the remaining portions of the Act.

The judgment of the lower court is reversed, and the defendant discharged. So ordered.

Araullo, C.J., Johnson, Street and Ostrand, JJ., concur.


Romualdez, J., concurs in the result

G.R. No. 74457 March 20, 1987

RESTITUTO YNOT, petitioner,


vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, THE STATION COMMANDER, INTEGRATED NATIONAL
POLICE, BAROTAC NUEVO, ILOILO and THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF ANIMAL
INDUSTRY, REGION IV, ILOILO CITY, respondents.

Ramon A. Gonzales for petitioner.

CRUZ, J.:

The essence of due process is distilled in the immortal cry of Themistocles to Alcibiades "Strike but
hear me first!" It is this cry that the petitioner in effect repeats here as he challenges the constitutionality of
Executive Order No. 626-A.

The said executive order reads in full as follows:

WHEREAS, the President has given orders prohibiting the interprovincial movement of
carabaos and the slaughtering of carabaos not complying with the requirements of
Executive Order No. 626 particularly with respect to age;

WHEREAS, it has been observed that despite such orders the violators still manage to
circumvent the prohibition against inter-provincial movement of carabaos by transporting
carabeef instead; and

WHEREAS, in order to achieve the purposes and objectives of Executive Order No. 626
and the prohibition against interprovincial movement of carabaos, it is necessary to
strengthen the said Executive Order and provide for the disposition of the carabaos and
carabeef subject of the violation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue
of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby promulgate the following:

SECTION 1. Executive Order No. 626 is hereby amended such that henceforth, no
carabao regardless of age, sex, physical condition or purpose and no carabeef shall be
transported from one province to another. The carabao or carabeef transported in
violation of this Executive Order as amended shall be subject to confiscation and
forfeiture by the government, to be distributed to charitable institutions and other similar
institutions as the Chairman of the National Meat Inspection Commission may ay see fit,
in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of
Animal Industry may see fit, in the case of carabaos.

SECTION 2. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 25th day of October, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen
hundred and eighty.

(SGD.) FERDINAND E.
MARCOS

Preside
nt

Republic of the
Philippines

The petitioner had transported six carabaos in a pump boat from Masbate to Iloilo on January 13, 1984,
when they were confiscated by the police station commander of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, for violation of the
above measure. 1 The petitioner sued for recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ
of replevin upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00. After considering the merits of the case,
the court sustained the confiscation of the carabaos and, since they could no longer be produced, ordered
the confiscation of the bond. The court also declined to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order,
as raise by the petitioner, for lack of authority and also for its presumed validity. 2

The petitioner appealed the decision to the Intermediate Appellate Court,* 3 which upheld the trial
court, ** and he has now come before us in this petition for review on certiorari.

The thrust of his petition is that the executive order is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes outright
confiscation of the carabao or carabeef being transported across provincial boundaries. His claim is that
the penalty is invalid because it is imposed without according the owner a right to be heard before a
competent and impartial court as guaranteed by due process. He complains that the measure should not
have been presumed, and so sustained, as constitutional. There is also a challenge to the improper
exercise of the legislative power by the former President under Amendment No. 6 of the 1973
Constitution. 4

While also involving the same executive order, the case of Pesigan v. Angeles 5 is not applicable here.
The question raised there was the necessity of the previous publication of the measure in the Official
Gazette before it could be considered enforceable. We imposed the requirement then on the basis of due
process of law. In doing so, however, this Court did not, as contended by the Solicitor General, impliedly
affirm the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 626-A. That is an entirely different matter.
This Court has declared that while lower courts should observe a becoming modesty in examining
constitutional questions, they are nonetheless not prevented from resolving the same whenever
warranted, subject only to review by the highest tribunal. 6 We have jurisdiction under the Constitution to
"review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or rules of court may provide,"
final judgments and orders of lower courts in, among others, all cases involving the constitutionality of
certain measures. 7 This simply means that the resolution of such cases may be made in the first instance
by these lower courts.

And while it is true that laws are presumed to be constitutional, that presumption is not by any means
conclusive and in fact may be rebutted. Indeed, if there be a clear showing of their invalidity, and of the
need to declare them so, then "will be the time to make the hammer fall, and heavily," 8 to recall Justice
Laurel's trenchant warning. Stated otherwise, courts should not follow the path of least resistance by
simply presuming the constitutionality of a law when it is questioned. On the contrary, they should probe
the issue more deeply, to relieve the abscess, paraphrasing another distinguished jurist, 9 and so heal the
wound or excise the affliction.

Judicial power authorizes this; and when the exercise is demanded, there should be no shirking of the
task for fear of retaliation, or loss of favor, or popular censure, or any other similar inhibition unworthy of
the bench, especially this Court.

The challenged measure is denominated an executive order but it is really presidential decree,
promulgating a new rule instead of merely implementing an existing law. It was issued by President
Marcos not for the purpose of taking care that the laws were faithfully executed but in the exercise of his
legislative authority under Amendment No. 6. It was provided thereunder that whenever in his judgment
there existed a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof or whenever the legislature failed or
was unable to act adequately on any matter that in his judgment required immediate action, he could, in
order to meet the exigency, issue decrees, orders or letters of instruction that were to have the force and
effect of law. As there is no showing of any exigency to justify the exercise of that extraordinary power
then, the petitioner has reason, indeed, to question the validity of the executive order. Nevertheless, since
the determination of the grounds was supposed to have been made by the President "in his judgment, " a
phrase that will lead to protracted discussion not really necessary at this time, we reserve resolution of
this matter until a more appropriate occasion. For the nonce, we confine ourselves to the more
fundamental question of due process.

It is part of the art of constitution-making that the provisions of the charter be cast in precise and
unmistakable language to avoid controversies that might arise on their correct interpretation. That is the
Ideal. In the case of the due process clause, however, this rule was deliberately not followed and the
wording was purposely kept ambiguous. In fact, a proposal to delineate it more clearly was submitted in
the Constitutional Convention of 1934, but it was rejected by Delegate Jose P. Laurel, Chairman of the
Committee on the Bill of Rights, who forcefully argued against it. He was sustained by the body. 10

The due process clause was kept intentionally vague so it would remain also conveniently resilient. This
was felt necessary because due process is not, like some provisions of the fundamental law, an "iron rule"
laying down an implacable and immutable command for all seasons and all persons. Flexibility must be
the best virtue of the guaranty. The very elasticity of the due process clause was meant to make it adapt
easily to every situation, enlarging or constricting its protection as the changing times and circumstances
may require.

Aware of this, the courts have also hesitated to adopt their own specific description of due process lest
they confine themselves in a legal straitjacket that will deprive them of the elbow room they may need to
vary the meaning of the clause whenever indicated. Instead, they have preferred to leave the import of
the protection open-ended, as it were, to be "gradually ascertained by the process of inclusion and
exclusion in the course of the decision of cases as they arise." 11 Thus, Justice Felix Frankfurter of the
U.S. Supreme Court, for example, would go no farther than to define due process and in so doing
sums it all up as nothing more and nothing less than "the embodiment of the sporting Idea of fair
play." 12

When the barons of England extracted from their sovereign liege the reluctant promise that that Crown
would thenceforth not proceed against the life liberty or property of any of its subjects except by the lawful
judgment of his peers or the law of the land, they thereby won for themselves and their progeny that
splendid guaranty of fairness that is now the hallmark of the free society. The solemn vow that King John
made at Runnymede in 1215 has since then resounded through the ages, as a ringing reminder to all
rulers, benevolent or base, that every person, when confronted by the stern visage of the law, is entitled
to have his say in a fair and open hearing of his cause.

The closed mind has no place in the open society. It is part of the sporting Idea of fair play to hear "the
other side" before an opinion is formed or a decision is made by those who sit in judgment. Obviously,
one side is only one-half of the question; the other half must also be considered if an impartial verdict is to
be reached based on an informed appreciation of the issues in contention. It is indispensable that the two
sides complement each other, as unto the bow the arrow, in leading to the correct ruling after examination
of the problem not from one or the other perspective only but in its totality. A judgment based on less that
this full appraisal, on the pretext that a hearing is unnecessary or useless, is tainted with the vice of bias
or intolerance or ignorance, or worst of all, in repressive regimes, the insolence of power.

The minimum requirements of due process are notice and hearing 13 which, generally speaking, may not
be dispensed with because they are intended as a safeguard against official arbitrariness. It is a gratifying
commentary on our judicial system that the jurisprudence of this country is rich with applications of this
guaranty as proof of our fealty to the rule of law and the ancient rudiments of fair play. We have
consistently declared that every person, faced by the awesome power of the State, is entitled to "the law
of the land," which Daniel Webster described almost two hundred years ago in the famous Dartmouth
College Case, 14 as "the law which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and renders
judgment only after trial." It has to be so if the rights of every person are to be secured beyond the reach
of officials who, out of mistaken zeal or plain arrogance, would degrade the due process clause into a
worn and empty catchword.

This is not to say that notice and hearing are imperative in every case for, to be sure, there are a number
of admitted exceptions. The conclusive presumption, for example, bars the admission of contrary
evidence as long as such presumption is based on human experience or there is a rational connection
between the fact proved and the fact ultimately presumed therefrom. 15 There are instances when the
need for expeditions action will justify omission of these requisites, as in the summary abatement of a
nuisance per se, like a mad dog on the loose, which may be killed on sight because of the immediate
danger it poses to the safety and lives of the people. Pornographic materials, contaminated meat and
narcotic drugs are inherently pernicious and may be summarily destroyed. The passport of a person
sought for a criminal offense may be cancelled without hearing, to compel his return to the country he has
fled. 16Filthy restaurants may be summarily padlocked in the interest of the public health and bawdy
houses to protect the public morals. 17 In such instances, previous judicial hearing may be omitted
without violation of due process in view of the nature of the property involved or the urgency of the need
to protect the general welfare from a clear and present danger.

The protection of the general welfare is the particular function of the police power which both restraints
and is restrained by due process. The police power is simply defined as the power inherent in the State to
regulate liberty and property for the promotion of the general welfare. 18 By reason of its function, it
extends to all the great public needs and is described as the most pervasive, the least limitable and the
most demanding of the three inherent powers of the State, far outpacing taxation and eminent domain.
The individual, as a member of society, is hemmed in by the police power, which affects him even before
he is born and follows him still after he is dead from the womb to beyond the tomb in practically
everything he does or owns. Its reach is virtually limitless. It is a ubiquitous and often unwelcome
intrusion. Even so, as long as the activity or the property has some relevance to the public welfare, its
regulation under the police power is not only proper but necessary. And the justification is found in the
venerable Latin maxims, Salus populi est suprema lex and Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas, which call
for the subordination of individual interests to the benefit of the greater number.

It is this power that is now invoked by the government to justify Executive Order No. 626-A, amending the
basic rule in Executive Order No. 626, prohibiting the slaughter of carabaos except under certain
conditions. The original measure was issued for the reason, as expressed in one of its Whereases, that
"present conditions demand that the carabaos and the buffaloes be conserved for the benefit of the small
farmers who rely on them for energy needs." We affirm at the outset the need for such a measure. In the
face of the worsening energy crisis and the increased dependence of our farms on these traditional
beasts of burden, the government would have been remiss, indeed, if it had not taken steps to protect and
preserve them.

A similar prohibition was challenged in United States v. Toribio, 19 where a law regulating the registration,
branding and slaughter of large cattle was claimed to be a deprivation of property without due process of
law. The defendant had been convicted thereunder for having slaughtered his own carabao without the
required permit, and he appealed to the Supreme Court. The conviction was affirmed. The law was
sustained as a valid police measure to prevent the indiscriminate killing of carabaos, which were then
badly needed by farmers. An epidemic had stricken many of these animals and the reduction of their
number had resulted in an acute decline in agricultural output, which in turn had caused an incipient
famine. Furthermore, because of the scarcity of the animals and the consequent increase in their price,
cattle-rustling had spread alarmingly, necessitating more effective measures for the registration and
branding of these animals. The Court held that the questioned statute was a valid exercise of the police
power and declared in part as follows:

To justify the State in thus interposing its authority in behalf of the public, it must appear,
first, that the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular
class, require such interference; and second, that the means are reasonably necessary
for the accomplishment of the purpose, and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. ...

From what has been said, we think it is clear that the enactment of the provisions of the
statute under consideration was required by "the interests of the public generally, as
distinguished from those of a particular class" and that the prohibition of the slaughter of
carabaos for human consumption, so long as these animals are fit for agricultural work or
draft purposes was a "reasonably necessary" limitation on private ownership, to protect
the community from the loss of the services of such animals by their slaughter by
improvident owners, tempted either by greed of momentary gain, or by a desire to enjoy
the luxury of animal food, even when by so doing the productive power of the community
may be measurably and dangerously affected.

In the light of the tests mentioned above, we hold with the Toribio Case that the carabao, as the poor
man's tractor, so to speak, has a direct relevance to the public welfare and so is a lawful subject of
Executive Order No. 626. The method chosen in the basic measure is also reasonably necessary for the
purpose sought to be achieved and not unduly oppressive upon individuals, again following the above-
cited doctrine. There is no doubt that by banning the slaughter of these animals except where they are at
least seven years old if male and eleven years old if female upon issuance of the necessary permit, the
executive order will be conserving those still fit for farm work or breeding and preventing their improvident
depletion.

But while conceding that the amendatory measure has the same lawful subject as the original executive
order, we cannot say with equal certainty that it complies with the second requirement, viz., that there be
a lawful method. We note that to strengthen the original measure, Executive Order No. 626-A imposes an
absolute ban not on theslaughter of the carabaos but on their movement, providing that "no carabao
regardless of age, sex, physical condition or purpose (sic) and no carabeef shall be transported from one
province to another." The object of the prohibition escapes us. The reasonable connection between the
means employed and the purpose sought to be achieved by the questioned measure is missing

We do not see how the prohibition of the inter-provincial transport of carabaos can prevent their
indiscriminate slaughter, considering that they can be killed anywhere, with no less difficulty in one
province than in another. Obviously, retaining the carabaos in one province will not prevent their slaughter
there, any more than moving them to another province will make it easier to kill them there. As for the
carabeef, the prohibition is made to apply to it as otherwise, so says executive order, it could be easily
circumvented by simply killing the animal. Perhaps so. However, if the movement of the live animals for
the purpose of preventing their slaughter cannot be prohibited, it should follow that there is no reason
either to prohibit their transfer as, not to be flippant dead meat.

Even if a reasonable relation between the means and the end were to be assumed, we would still have to
reckon with the sanction that the measure applies for violation of the prohibition. The penalty is outright
confiscation of the carabao or carabeef being transported, to be meted out by the executive authorities,
usually the police only. In the Toribio Case, the statute was sustained because the penalty prescribed was
fine and imprisonment, to be imposed by the court after trial and conviction of the accused. Under the
challenged measure, significantly, no such trial is prescribed, and the property being transported is
immediately impounded by the police and declared, by the measure itself, as forfeited to the government.

In the instant case, the carabaos were arbitrarily confiscated by the police station commander, were
returned to the petitioner only after he had filed a complaint for recovery and given a supersedeas bond of
P12,000.00, which was ordered confiscated upon his failure to produce the carabaos when ordere d by
the trial court. The executive order defined the prohibition, convicted the petitioner and immediately
imposed punishment, which was carried out forthright. The measure struck at once and pounced upon the
petitioner without giving him a chance to be heard, thus denying him the centuries-old guaranty of
elementary fair play.

It has already been remarked that there are occasions when notice and hearing may be validly dispensed
with notwithstanding the usual requirement for these minimum guarantees of due process. It is also
conceded that summary action may be validly taken in administrative proceedings as procedural due
process is not necessarily judicial only. 20 In the exceptional cases accepted, however. there is a
justification for the omission of the right to a previous hearing, to wit, the immediacy of the problem sought
to be corrected and the urgency of the need to correct it.

In the case before us, there was no such pressure of time or action calling for the petitioner's peremptory
treatment. The properties involved were not even inimical per se as to require their instant destruction.
There certainly was no reason why the offense prohibited by the executive order should not have been
proved first in a court of justice, with the accused being accorded all the rights safeguarded to him under
the Constitution. Considering that, as we held in Pesigan v. Angeles, 21 Executive Order No. 626-A is
penal in nature, the violation thereof should have been pronounced not by the police only but by a court of
justice, which alone would have had the authority to impose the prescribed penalty, and only after trial
and conviction of the accused.

We also mark, on top of all this, the questionable manner of the disposition of the confiscated property as
prescribed in the questioned executive order. It is there authorized that the seized property shall "be
distributed to charitable institutions and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the National Meat
Inspection Commissionmay see fit, in the case of carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as
the Director of Animal Industrymay see fit, in the case of carabaos." (Emphasis supplied.) The
phrase "may see fit" is an extremely generous and dangerous condition, if condition it is. It is laden with
perilous opportunities for partiality and abuse, and even corruption. One searches in vain for the usual
standard and the reasonable guidelines, or better still, the limitations that the said officers must observe
when they make their distribution. There is none. Their options are apparently boundless. Who shall be
the fortunate beneficiaries of their generosity and by what criteria shall they be chosen? Only the officers
named can supply the answer, they and they alone may choose the grantee as they see fit, and in their
own exclusive discretion. Definitely, there is here a "roving commission," a wide and sweeping authority
that is not "canalized within banks that keep it from overflowing," in short, a clearly profligate and
therefore invalid delegation of legislative powers.

To sum up then, we find that the challenged measure is an invalid exercise of the police power because
the method employed to conserve the carabaos is not reasonably necessary to the purpose of the law
and, worse, is unduly oppressive. Due process is violated because the owner of the property confiscated
is denied the right to be heard in his defense and is immediately condemned and punished. The
conferment on the administrative authorities of the power to adjudge the guilt of the supposed offender is
a clear encroachment on judicial functions and militates against the doctrine of separation of powers.
There is, finally, also an invalid delegation of legislative powers to the officers mentioned therein who are
granted unlimited discretion in the distribution of the properties arbitrarily taken. For these reasons, we
hereby declare Executive Order No. 626-A unconstitutional.

We agree with the respondent court, however, that the police station commander who confiscated the
petitioner's carabaos is not liable in damages for enforcing the executive order in accordance with its
mandate. The law was at that time presumptively valid, and it was his obligation, as a member of the
police, to enforce it. It would have been impertinent of him, being a mere subordinate of the President, to
declare the executive order unconstitutional and, on his own responsibility alone, refuse to execute it.
Even the trial court, in fact, and the Court of Appeals itself did not feel they had the competence, for all
their superior authority, to question the order we now annul.

The Court notes that if the petitioner had not seen fit to assert and protect his rights as he saw them, this
case would never have reached us and the taking of his property under the challenged measure would
have become afait accompli despite its invalidity. We commend him for his spirit. Without the present
challenge, the matter would have ended in that pump boat in Masbate and another violation of the
Constitution, for all its obviousness, would have been perpetrated, allowed without protest, and soon
forgotten in the limbo of relinquished rights.

The strength of democracy lies not in the rights it guarantees but in the courage of the people to invoke
them whenever they are ignored or violated. Rights are but weapons on the wall if, like expensive
tapestry, all they do is embellish and impress. Rights, as weapons, must be a promise of protection. They
become truly meaningful, and fulfill the role assigned to them in the free society, if they are kept bright and
sharp with use by those who are not afraid to assert them.
WHEREFORE, Executive Order No. 626-A is hereby declared unconstitutional. Except as affirmed above,
the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The supersedeas bond is cancelled and the amount
thereof is ordered restored to the petitioner. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN G.R. No. 162070


REFORM, represented by SECRETARY
JOSE MARI B. PONCE (OIC), Present:
Petitioner, Davide, C.J.,
Puno,
Panganiban,
Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago,
Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Carpio,
- versus - Austria-Martinez,
Corona,
Carpio Morales,
Callejo, Sr.,
Azcuna,
Tinga,
Chico-Nazario and
Garcia, JJ.
DELIA T. , ELLA T.
SUTTON-SOLIMAN and Promulgated:
HARRY T. SUTTON,
Respondents. October 19, 2005
x-----------------------------------x

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

This is a petition for review filed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of the Decision and

Resolution of the Court of Appeals, dated September 19, 2003 and February 4, 2004, respectively, which

declared DAR Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 9, series of 1993, null and void for being violative of the

Constitution.

The case at bar involves a land in Aroroy, Masbate, inherited by respondents which has been devoted

exclusively to cow and calf breeding. On October 26, 1987, pursuant to the then existing agrarian reform
program of the government, respondents made a voluntary offer to sell (VOS)[1] their landholdings to

petitioner DAR to avail of certain incentives under the law.

On June 10, 1988, a new agrarian law, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6657, also known as the

Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) of 1988, took effect. It included in its coverage farms used

for raising livestock, poultry and swine.

On December 4, 1990, in an en banc decision in the case of Luz Farms v. Secretary of DAR,

[2]
this Court ruled that lands devoted to livestock and poultry-raising are not included in the definition of

agricultural land. Hence, we declared as unconstitutional certain provisions of the CARL insofar as they

included livestock farms in the coverage of agrarian reform.

In view of the Luz Farms ruling, respondents filed with petitioner DAR a formal request to

withdraw their VOS as their landholding was devoted exclusively to cattle-raising and thus exempted from

the coverage of the CARL.[3]

On December 21, 1992, the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer of Aroroy, Masbate, inspected

respondents land and found that it was devoted solely to cattle-raising and breeding. He recommended to

the DAR Secretary that it be exempted from the coverage of the CARL.

On April 27, 1993, respondents reiterated to petitioner DAR the withdrawal of their VOS and

requested the return of the supporting papers they submitted in connection therewith.[4] Petitioner ignored

their request.

On December 27, 1993, DAR issued A.O. No. 9, series of 1993, [5] which provided that only

portions of private agricultural lands used for the raising of livestock, poultry and swine as of June 15,

1988 shall be excluded from the coverage of the CARL. In determining the area of land to be excluded,

the A.O. fixed the following retention limits, viz: 1:1 animal-land ratio (i.e., 1 hectare of land per 1 head of

animal shall be retained by the landowner), and a ratio of 1.7815 hectares for livestock infrastructure for

every 21 heads of cattle shall likewise be excluded from the operations of the CARL.
On February 4, 1994, respondents wrote the DAR Secretary and advised him to consider as final and

irrevocable the withdrawal of their VOS as, under the Luz Farms doctrine, their entire landholding is

exempted from the CARL.[6]

On September 14, 1995, then DAR Secretary Ernesto D. Garilao issued an Order [7]partially granting the

application of respondents for exemption from the coverage of CARL. Applying the retention limits

outlined in the DAR A.O. No. 9, petitioner exempted 1,209 hectares of respondents land for grazing

purposes, and a maximum of 102.5635 hectares for infrastructure. Petitioner ordered the rest of

respondents landholding to be segregated and placed under Compulsory Acquisition.

Respondents moved for reconsideration. They contend that their entire landholding should be

exempted as it is devoted exclusively to cattle-raising. Their motion was denied.[8] They filed a notice of

appeal[9] with the Office of the President assailing: (1) the reasonableness and validity of DAR A.O. No. 9,

s. 1993, which provided for a ratio between land and livestock in determining the land area qualified for

exclusion from the CARL, and (2) the constitutionality of DAR A.O. No. 9, s. 1993, in view of the Luz

Farms case which declared cattle-raising lands excluded from the coverage of agrarian reform.

On October 9, 2001, the Office of the President affirmed the impugned Order of petitioner DAR.[10] It ruled

that DAR A.O. No. 9, s. 1993, does not run counter to the Luz Farms case as the A.O. provided the

guidelines to determine whether a certain parcel of land is being used for cattle-raising. However, the

issue on the constitutionality of the assailed A.O. was left for the determination of the courts as

the sole arbiters of such issue.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the respondents. It declared DAR A.O. No. 9, s. 1993,

void for being contrary to the intent of the 1987 Constitutional Commission to exclude livestock farms from

the land reform program of the government. The dispositive portion reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, DAR Administrative Order No. 09, Series of 1993 is
hereby DECLARED null and void. The assailed order of the Office of the President dated
09 October 2001 in so far as it affirmed the Department of Agrarian Reforms ruling that
petitioners landholding is covered by the agrarian reform program of the government
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.[11]
Hence, this petition.

The main issue in the case at bar is the constitutionality of DAR A.O. No. 9, series of 1993, which

prescribes a maximum retention limit for owners of lands devoted to livestock raising.

Invoking its rule-making power under Section 49 of the CARL, petitioner submits that it issued DAR A.O.

No. 9 to limit the area of livestock farm that may be retained by a landowner pursuant to its mandate to

place all public and private agricultural lands under the coverage of agrarian reform. Petitioner also

contends that the A.O. seeks to remedy reports that some unscrupulous landowners have converted their

agricultural farms to livestock farms in order to evade their coverage in the agrarian reform program.

Petitioners arguments fail to impress.

Administrative agencies are endowed with powers legislative in nature, i.e., the power to make rules

and regulations. They have been granted by Congress with the authority to issue rules to regulate the

implementation of a law entrusted to them. Delegated rule-making has become a practical necessity in

modern governance due to the increasing complexity and variety of public functions. However, while

administrative rules and regulations have the force and effect of law, they are not immune from judicial

review.[12] They may be properly challenged before the courts to ensure that they do not violate the

Constitution and no grave abuse of administrative discretion is committed by the administrative body

concerned.

The fundamental rule in administrative law is that, to be valid, administrative rules and

regulations must be issued by authority of a law and must not contravene the provisions of the

Constitution.[13] The rule-making power of an administrative agency may not be used to abridge the

authority given to it by Congress or by the Constitution. Nor can it be used to enlarge the power of the

administrative agency beyond the scope intended. Constitutional and statutory provisions control

with respect to what rules and regulations may be promulgated by administrative agencies and

the scope of their regulations.[14]


In the case at bar, we find that the impugned A.O. is invalid as it contravenes the Constitution.

The A.O. sought to regulate livestock farms by including them in the coverage of agrarian reform and

prescribing a maximum retention limit for their ownership. However, the deliberations of the 1987

Constitutional Commission show a clear intent to exclude, inter alia, all lands exclusively devoted

to livestock, swine and poultry- raising. The Court clarified in the Luz Farms casethat livestock, swine

and poultry-raising are industrial activities and do not fall within the definition of agriculture or agricultural

activity. The raising of livestock, swine and poultry is different from crop or tree farming. It is an industrial,

not an agricultural, activity. A great portion of the investment in this enterprise is in the form of industrial

fixed assets, such as: animal housing structures and facilities, drainage, waterers and blowers, feedmill

with grinders, mixers, conveyors, exhausts and generators, extensive warehousing facilities for feeds and

other supplies, anti-pollution equipment like bio-gas and digester plants augmented by lagoons and

concrete ponds, deepwells, elevated water tanks, pumphouses, sprayers, and other technological

appurtenances.[15]

Clearly, petitioner DAR has no power to regulate livestock farms which have been exempted

by the Constitution from the coverage of agrarian reform.It has exceeded its power in issuing the

assailed A.O.

The subsequent case of Natalia Realty, Inc. v. DAR [16] reiterated our ruling in the Luz

Farms case. In Natalia Realty, the Court held that industrial, commercial and residential lands are not

covered by the CARL.[17] We stressed anew that while Section 4 of R.A. No. 6657 provides that the

CARL shall cover all public and private agricultural lands, the term agricultural land does not

include lands classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial. Thus, in Natalia

Realty, even portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision, which are arable yet still undeveloped, could not

be considered as agricultural lands subject to agrarian reform as these lots were already classified as

residential lands.
A similar logical deduction should be followed in the case at bar. Lands devoted to raising of livestock,

poultry and swine have been classified as industrial, not agricultural, lands and thus exempt from agrarian

reform. Petitioner DAR argues that, in issuing the impugned A.O., it was seeking to address the reports it

has received that some unscrupulous landowners have been converting their agricultural lands to

livestock farms to avoid their coverage by the agrarian reform. Again, we find neither merit nor logic in this

contention. The undesirable scenario which petitioner seeks to prevent with the issuance of the

A.O. clearly does not apply in this case. Respondents family acquired their landholdings as early as

1948. They have long been in the business of breeding cattle in Masbate which is popularly known as the

cattle-breeding capital of the Philippines. [18] Petitioner DAR does not dispute this fact. Indeed, there is no

evidence on record that respondents have just recently engaged in or converted to the business of

breeding cattle after the enactment of the CARL that may lead one to suspect that respondents intended

to evade its coverage. It must be stressed that what the CARL prohibits is the conversion of agricultural

lands for non-agricultural purposes after the effectivity of the CARL. There has been no change of

business interest in the case of respondents.

Moreover, it is a fundamental rule of statutory construction that the reenactment of a statute by

Congress without substantial change is an implied legislative approval and adoption of the previous law .

On the other hand, by making a new law, Congress seeks to supersede an earlier one.[19] In the case at

bar, after the passage of the 1988 CARL, Congress enacted R.A. No. 7881 [20] which amended certain

provisions of the CARL. Specifically, the new law changed the definition of the terms agricultural

activity and commercial farming by dropping from its coverage lands that are devoted to

commercial livestock, poultry and swine-raising.[21] With this significant modification, Congress

clearly sought to align the provisions of our agrarian laws with the intent of the 1987

Constitutional Commission to exclude livestock farms from the coverage of agrarian reform.

In sum, it is doctrinal that rules of administrative bodies must be in harmony with the provisions of

the Constitution. They cannot amend or extend the Constitution. To be valid, they must conform to and be

consistent with the Constitution. In case of conflict between an administrative order and the provisions of
the Constitution, the latter prevails. [22] The assailed A.O. of petitioner DAR was properly stricken down as

unconstitutional as it enlarges the coverage of agrarian reform beyond the scope intended by the 1987

Constitution.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DISMISSED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the

Court of Appeals, dated September 19, 2003 and February 4, 2004, respectively, are AFFIRMED. No

pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 102782 December 11, 1991

THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, RODOLFO A. MALAPIRA, STEPHEN A. MONSANTO, DAN R.


CALDERON, and GRANDY N. TRIESTE, petitioners
vs.
THE METROPOLITAN MANILA AUTHORITY and the MUNICIPALITY OF
MANDALUYONG, respondents.

CRUZ, J.:p

In Metropolitan Traffic Command, West Traffic District vs. Hon. Arsenio M. Gonong, G.R. No. 91023,
promulgated on July 13, 1990, 1 the Court held that the confiscation of the license plates of motor
vehicles for traffic violations was not among the sanctions that could be imposed by the Metro Manila
Commission under PD 1605 and was permitted only under the conditions laid dowm by LOI 43 in the
case of stalled vehicles obstructing the public streets. It was there also observed that even the
confiscation of driver's licenses for traffic violation ns was not directly prescribed by the decree nor was it
allowed by the decree to be imposed by the Commission. No motion for reconsideration of that decision
was submitted. The judgment became final and executory on August 6, 1990, and it was duly entered in
the Book of Entries of Judgments on July 13, 1990.

Subsequently, the following developments transpired:

In a letter dated October 17, 1990, Rodolfo A. Malapira complained to the Court that when he was
stopped for an alleged traffic violation, his driver's license was confiscated by Traffic Enforcer Angel de los
Reyes in Quezon City.

On December 18,1990, the Caloocan-Manila Drivers and Operators Association sent a letter to the Court
asking who should enforce the decision in the above-mentioned case, whether they could seek damages
for confiscation of their driver's licenses, and where they should file their complaints.
Another letter was received by the Court on February 14, 1991, from Stephen L. Monsanto, complaining
against the confiscation of his driver's license by Traffic Enforcer A.D. Martinez for an alleged traffic
violation in Mandaluyong.

This was followed by a letter-complaint filed on March 7, 1991, from Dan R. Calderon, a lawyer, also for
confiscation of his driver's license by Pat. R.J. Tano-an of the Makati Police Force.

Still another complaint was received by the Court dated April 29, 1991, this time from Grandy N. Trieste,
another lawyer, who also protested the removal of his front license plate by E. Ramos of the Metropolitan
Manila Authority-Traffic Operations Center and the confiscation of his driver's license by Pat. A.V.
Emmanuel of the Metropolitan Police Command-Western Police District.

Required to submit a Comment on the complaint against him, Allan D. Martinez invoked Ordinance No. 7,
Series of 1988, of Mandaluyong, authorizing the confiscation of driver's licenses and the removal of
license plates of motor vehicles for traffic violations.

For his part, A.V. Emmanuel said he confiscated Trieste's driver's license pursuant to a memorandum
dated February 27, 1991, from the District Commander of the Western Traffic District of the Philippine
National Police, authorizing such sanction under certain conditions.

Director General Cesar P. Nazareno of the Philippine National Police assured the Court in his own
Comment that his office had never authorized the removal of the license plates of illegally parked vehicles
and that he had in fact directed full compliance with the above-mentioned decision in a memorandum,
copy of which he attached, entitled Removal of Motor Vehicle License Plates and dated February 28,
1991.

Pat. R.J. Tano-an, on the other hand, argued that the Gonong decision prohibited only the removal of
license plates and not the confiscation of driver's licenses.

On May 24, 1990, the Metropolitan Manila Authority issued Ordinance No. 11, Series of 1991, authorizing
itself "to detach the license plate/tow and impound attended/ unattended/ abandoned motor vehicles
illegally parked or obstructing the flow of traffic in Metro Manila."

On July 2, 1991, the Court issued the following resolution:

The attention ofthe Court has been called to the enactment by the Metropolitan Manila
Authority of Ordinance No. 11, Series of 1991, providing inter alia that:

Section 2. Authority to Detach Plate/Tow and Impound. The Metropolitan


Manila Authority, thru the Traffic Operatiom Center, is authorized to
detach the license plate/tow and impound
attended/unattended/abandoned motor vehicles illegally parked or
obstructing the flow of traffic in Metro Manila.

The provision appears to be in conflict with the decision of the Court in the case at bar
(as reported in 187 SCRA 432), where it was held that the license plates of motor
vehicles may not be detached except only under the conditions prescribed in LOI 43.
Additionally, the Court has received several complaints against the confiscation by police
authorities of driver's licenses for alleged traffic violations, which sanction is, according to
the said decision, not among those that may be imposed under PD 1605.
To clarify these matters for the proper guidance of law-enforcement officers and
motorists, the Court resolved to require the Metropolitan Manila Authority and the Solicitor
General to submit, within ten (10) days from notice hereof, separate COMMENTS on
such sanctions in light of the said decision.

In its Comment, the Metropolitan Manila Authority defended the said ordinance on the ground that it was
adopted pursuant to the powers conferred upon it by EO 392. It particularly cited Section 2 thereof vesting
in the Council (its governing body) the responsibility among others of:

1. Formulation of policies on the delivery of basic


services requiring coordination or consolidation for the
Authority; and

2. Promulgation of resolutions and other issuances of


metropolitan wide application, approval of a code of
basic services requiring coordination, and exercise of its
rule-making powers. (Emphasis supplied)

The Authority argued that there was no conflict between the decision and the ordinance because the latter
was meant to supplement and not supplant the latter. It stressed that the decision itself said that the
confiscation of license plates was invalid in the absence of a valid law or ordinance, which was why
Ordinance No. 11 was enacted. The Authority also pointed out that the ordinance could not be attacked
collaterally but only in a direct action challenging its validity.

For his part, the Solicitor General expressed the view that the ordinance was null and void because it
represented an invalid exercise of a delegated legislative power. The flaw in the measure was that it
violated existing law, specifically PD 1605, which does not permit, and so impliedly prohibits, the removal
of license plates and the confiscation of driver's licenses for traffic violations in Metropolitan Manila. He
made no mention, however, of the alleged impropriety of examining the said ordinance in the absence of
a formal challenge to its validity.

On October 24, 1991, the Office of the Solicitor General submitted a motion for the early resolution of the
questioned sanctions, to remove once and for all the uncertainty of their vahdity. A similar motion was filed
by the Metropolitan Manila Authority, which reiterated its contention that the incidents in question should
be dismissed because there was no actual case or controversy before the Court.

The Metropolitan Manila Authority is correct in invoking the doctrine that the validity of a law or act can be
challenged only in a direct action and not collaterally. That is indeed the settled principle. However, that
rule is not inflexible and may be relaxed by the Court under exceptional circumstances, such as those in
the present controversy.

The Solicitor General notes that the practices complained of have created a great deal of confusion
among motorists about the state of the law on the questioned sanctions. More importantly, he maintains
that these sanctions are illegal, being violative of law and the Gonong decision, and should therefore be
stopped. We also note the disturbing report that one policeman who confiscated a driver's license
dismissed the Gonong decision as "wrong" and said the police would not stop their "habit" unless they
received orders "from the top." Regrettably, not one of the complainants has filed a formal challenge to
the ordinances, including Monsanto and Trieste, who are lawyers and could have been more assertive of
their rights.
Given these considerations, the Court feels it must address the problem squarely presented to it and
decide it as categorically rather than dismiss the complaints on the basis of the technical objection raised
and thus, through its inaction, allow them to fester.

The step we now take is not without legal authority or judicial precedent. Unquestionably, the Court has
the power to suspend procedural rules in the exercise of its inherent power, as expressly recognized in
the Constitution, to promulgate rules concerning "pleading, practice and procedure in all courts." 2 In
proper cases, procedural rules may be relaxed or suspended in the interest of substantial justice, which
otherwise may be miscarried because of a rigid and formalistic adherence to such rules.

The Court has taken this step in a number of such cases, notably Araneta vs. Dinglasan, 3 where Justice
Tuason justified the deviation on the ground that "the transcendental importance to the public of these
cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of
procedure."

We have made similar rulings in other cases, thus:

Be it remembered that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the
attainment ofjustice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities
that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, must always be avoided.
(Aznar III vs. Bernad, G.R. No. 81190, May 9, 1988, 161 SCRA 276.) Time and again, this
Court has suspended its own rules and excepted a particular case from their operation
whenever the higher interests of justice so require. In the instant petition, we forego a
lengthy disquisition of the proper procedure that should have been taken by the parties
involved and proceed directly to the merits of the case. (Piczon vs. Court of Appeals, 190
SCRA 31).

Three of the cases were consolidated for argument and the other two were argued
separately on other dates. Inasmuch as all of them present the same fundamental
question which, in our view, is decisive, they will be disposed of jointly. For the same
reason we will pass up the objection to the personality or sufficiency of interest of the
petitioners in case G.R. No. L-3054 and case G.R. No. L-3056 and the question whether
prohibition lies in cases G.R. Nos. L-2044 and L2756. No practical benefit can be gained
from a discussion of these procedural matters, since the decision in the cases wherein
the petitioners'cause of action or the propriety of the procedure followed is not in dispute,
will be controlling authority on the others. Above all, the transcendental importance to the
public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing
aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure. (Avelino vs. Cuenco, G.R. No. L-2821 cited
in Araneta vs. Dinglasan, 84 Phil. 368.)

Accordingly, the Court will consider the motion to resolve filed by the Solicitor General a petition for
prohibition against the enforcement of Ordinance No. 11, Series of 1991, of the Metropohtan Manila
Authority, and Ordinance No. 7, Series of 1988, of the Municipality of Mandaluyong. Stephen A.
Monsanto, Rodolfo A. Malapira, Dan R. Calderon, and Grandy N. Trieste are considered co-petitioners
and the Metropolitan Manila Authority and the Municipality of Mandaluyong are hereby impleaded as
respondents. This petition is docketed as G.R. No. 102782. The comments already submitted are duly
noted and shall be taken into account by the Court in the resolution of the substantive issues raised.

It is stressed that this action is not intended to disparage procedural rules, which the Court has
recognized often enough as necessary to the orderly administration of justice. If we are relaxing them in
this particular case, it is because of the failure of the proper parties to file the appropriate proceeding
against the acts complained of, and the necessity of resolving, in the interest of the public, the important
substantive issues raised.

Now to the merits.

The Metro Manila Authority sustains Ordinance No. 11, Series of 1991, under the specific authority
conferred upon it by EO 392, while Ordinance No. 7, Series of 1988, is justified on the basis of the
General Welfare Clause embodied in the Local Government Code. 4 It is not disputed that both measures
were enacted to promote the comfort and convenience of the public and to alleviate the worsening traffic
problems in Metropolitan Manila due in large part to violations of traffic rules.

The Court holds that there is a valid delegation of legislative power to promulgate such measures, it
appearing that the requisites of such delegation are present. These requisites are. 1) the completeness of
the statute making the delegation; and 2) the presence of a sufficient standard. 5

Under the first requirement, the statute must leave the legislature complete in all its terms and provisions
such that all the delegate will have to do when the statute reaches it is to implement it. What only can be
delegated is not the discretion to determine what the law shall be but the discretion to determine how the
law shall be enforced. This has been done in the case at bar.

As a second requirement, the enforcement may be effected only in accordance with a sufficient standard,
the function of which is to map out the boundaries of the delegate's authority and thus "prevent the
delegation from running riot." This requirement has also been met. It is settled that the "convenience and
welfare" of the public, particularly the motorists and passengers in the case at bar, is an acceptable
sufficient standard to delimit the delegate's authority. 6

But the problem before us is not the validity of the delegation of legislative power. The question we must
resolve is the validity of the exercise of such delegated power.

The measures in question are enactments of local governments acting only as agents of the national
legislature. Necessarily, the acts of these agents must reflect and conform to the will of their principal. To
test the validity of such acts in the specific case now before us, we apply the particular requisites of a
valid ordinance as laid down by the accepted principles governing municipal corporations.

According to Elliot, a municipal ordinance, to be valid: 1) must not contravene the Constitution or any
statute; 2) must not be unfair or oppressive; 3) must not be partial or discriminatory; 4) must not prohibit
but may regulate trade; 5) must not be unreasonable; and 6) must be general and consistent with public
policy. 7

A careful study of the Gonong decision will show that the measures under consideration do not pass the
first criterion because they do not conform to existing law. The pertinent law is PD 1605. PD 1605 does
not allow either the removal of license plates or the confiscation of driver's licenses for traffic violations
committed in Metropolitan Manila. There is nothing in the following provisions of the decree authorizing
the Metropolitan Manila Commission (and now the Metropolitan Manila Authority) to impose such
sanctions:

Section 1. The Metropolitan Manila Commission shall have the power to impose fines
and otherwise discipline drivers and operators of motor vehicles for violations of traffic
laws, ordinances, rules and regulations in Metropolitan Manila in such amounts and
under such penalties as are herein prescribed. For this purpose, the powers of the Land
Transportation Commission and the Board of Transportation under existing laws over
such violations and punishment thereof are hereby transferred to the Metropolitan Manila
Commission. When the proper penalty to be imposed is suspension or revocation of
driver's license or certificate of public convenience, the Metropolitan Manila Commission
or its representatives shall suspend or revoke such license or certificate. The suspended
or revoked driver's license or the report of suspension or revocation of the certificate of
public convenience shall be sent to the Land Transportation Commission or the Board of
Transportation, as the case may be, for their records update.

xxx xxx xxx

Section 3.` Violations of traffic laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, committed within a
twelve-month period, reckoned from the date of birth of the licensee, shall subject the
violator to graduated fines as follows: P10.00 for the first offense, P20.00 for the and
offense, P50.00 for the third offense, a one-year suspension of driver's license for the
fourth offense, and a revocation of the driver's license for the fifth offense: Provided, That
the Metropolitan Manila Commission may impose higher penalties as it may deem proper
for violations of its ordinances prohibiting or regulating the use of certain public roads,
streets and thoroughfares in Metropolitan Manila.

xxx xxx xxx

Section 5. In case of traffic violations, the driver's license shall not be confiscated but the
erring driver shall be immediately issued a traffic citation ticket prescribed by the
Metropolitan Manila Commission which shall state the violation committed, the amount of
fine imposed for the violation and an advice that he can make payment to the city or
municipal treasurer where the violation was committed or to the Philippine National Bank
or Philippine Veterans Bank or their branches within seven days from the date of
issuance of the citation ticket.

If the offender fails to pay the fine imposed within the period herein prescribed, the
Metropolitan Manila Commission or the law-enforcement agency concerned shall
endorse the case to the proper fiscal for appropriate proceedings preparatory to the filing
of the case with the competent traffic court, city or municipal court.

If at the time a driver renews his driver's license and records show that he has an unpaid
fine, his driver's license shall not be renewed until he has paid the fine and corresponding
surcharges.

xxx xxx xxx

Section 8. Insofar as the Metropolitan Manila area is concerned, all laws, decrees,
orders, ordinances, rules and regulations, or parts thereof inconsistent herewith are
hereby repealed or modified accordingly. (Emphasis supplied).

In fact, the above provisions prohibit the imposition of such sanctions in Metropolitan Manila. The
Commission was allowed to "impose fines and otherwise discipline" traffic violators only "in such amounts
and under such penalties as are herein prescribed," that is, by the decree itself. Nowhere is the removal
of license plates directly imposed by the decree or at least allowed by it to be imposed by the
Commission. Notably, Section 5 thereof expressly provides that "in case of traffic violations, the driver's
license shall not be confiscated." These restrictions are applicable to the Metropolitan Manila Authority
and all other local political subdivisions comprising Metropolitan Manila, including the Municipality of
Mandaluyong.

The requirement that the municipal enactment must not violate existing law explains itself. Local political
subdivisions are able to legislate only by virtue of a valid delegation of legislative power from the national
legislature (except only that the power to create their own sources of revenue and to levy taxes is
conferred by the Constitution itself). 8 They are mere agents vested with what is called the power of
subordinate legislation. As delegates of the Congress, the local government unit cannot contravene but
must obey at all times the will of their principal. In the case before us, the enactments in question, which
are merely local in origin, cannot prevail against the decree, which has the force and effect of a statute.

The self-serving language of Section 2 of the challenged ordinance is worth noting. Curiously, it is the
measure itself, which was enacted by the Metropolitan Manila Authority, that authorizes the Metropolitan
Manila Authority to impose the questioned sanction.

In Villacorta vs, Bemardo, 9 the Court nullified an ordinance enacted by the Municipal Board of Dagupan
City for being violative of the Land Registration Act. The decision held in part:

In declaring the said ordinance null and void, the court a quo declared:

From the above-recited requirements, there is no showing that would


justify the enactment of the questioned ordinance. Section 1 of said
ordinance clearly conflicts with Section 44 of Act 496, because the latter
law does not require subdivision plans to be submitted to the City
Engineer before the same is submitted for approval to and verification by
the General Land Registration Office or by the Director of Lands as
provided for in Section 58 of said Act. Section 2 of the same ordinance
also contravenes the provisions of Section 44 of Act 496, the latter being
silent on a service fee of P0.03 per square meter of every lot subject of
such subdivision application; Section 3 of the ordinance in question also
conflicts with Section 44 of Act 496, because the latter law does not
mention of a certification to be made by the City Engineer before the
Register of Deeds allows registration of the subdivision plan; and the last
section of said ordinance impose a penalty for its violation, which Section
44 of Act 496 does not impose. In other words, Ordinance 22 of the City
of Dagupan imposes upon a subdivision owner additional conditions.

xxx xxx xxx

The Court takes note of the laudable purpose of the ordinance in bringing
to a halt the surreptitious registration of lands belonging to the
government. But as already intimated above, the powers of the board in
enacting such a laudable ordinance cannot be held valid when it shall
impede the exercise of rights granted in a general law and/or make a
general law subordinated to a local ordinance.

We affirm.

To sustain the ordinance would be to open the floodgates to other ordinances amending
and so violating national laws in the guise of implementing them. Thus, ordinances could
be passed imposing additional requirements for the issuance of marriage licenses, to
prevent bigamy; the registration of vehicles, to minimize carnapping; the execution of
contracts, to forestall fraud; the validation of parts, to deter imposture; the exercise of
freedom of speech, to reduce disorder; and so on. The list is endless, but the means,
even if the end be valid, would be ultra vires.

The measures in question do not merely add to the requirement of PD 1605 but, worse, impose sanctions
the decree does not allow and in fact actually prohibits. In so doing, the ordinances disregard and violate
and in effect partially repeal the law.

We here emphasize the ruling in the Gonong case that PD 1605 applies only to the Metropolitan Manila
area. It is an exception to the general authority conferred by R.A. No. 413 on the Commissioner of Land
Transportation to punish violations of traffic rules elsewhere in the country with the sanction therein
prescribed, including those here questioned.

The Court agrees that the challenged ordinances were enacted with the best of motives and shares the
concern of the rest of the public for the effective reduction of traffic problems in Metropolitan Manila
through the imposition and enforcement of more deterrent penalties upon traffic violators. At the same
time, it must also reiterate the public misgivings over the abuses that may attend the enforcement of such
sanction in eluding the illicit practices described in detail in the Gonong decision. At any rate, the fact is
that there is no statutory authority for and indeed there is a statutory prohibition against the
imposition of such penalties in the Metropolitan Manila area. Hence, regardless of their merits, they
cannot be impose by the challenged enactments by virtue only of the delegated legislative powers.

It is for Congress to determine, in the exercise of its own discretion, whether or not to impose such
sanctions, either directly through a statute or by simply delegating authority to this effect to the local
governments in Metropolitan Manila. Without such action, PD 1605 remains effective and continues
prohibit the confiscation of license plates of motor vehicles (except under the conditions prescribed in LOI
43) and of driver licenses as well for traffic violations in Metropolitan Manila.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:

(1) declaring Ordinance No.11, Seriesof l991,of theMetropolitan Manila Authority and Ordinance No. 7,
Series of 1988 of the Municipality of Mandaluyong, NULL and VOID; and

(2) enjoining all law enforcement authorities in Metropolitan Manila from removing the license plates of
motor vehicles (except when authorized under LOI 43) and confiscating driver licenses for traffic
violations within the said area.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 92174 December 10, 1993

BOIE-TAKEDA CHEMICALS, INC., petitioner,


vs.

HON. DIONISIO DE LA SERNA, Acting Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment,
respondent.

G.R. No. L-102552 December 10, 1993


PHILIPPINE FUJI XEROX CORP., petitioner,
vs.

CRESENCIANO B. TRAJANO, Undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, and


PHILIPPINE FUJI XEROX EMPLOYEES UNION, respondents.

Herrera, Laurel, De los Reyes, Roxas & Teehankee for Boie-Takeda Chemicals, Inc. and Phil Xerox Corp.

The Solicitor General for public respondents.

NARVASA, C.J.:

What items or items of employee remuneration should go into the computation of thirteenth month pay is
the basic issue presented in these consolidated petitions. Otherwise stated, the question is whether or not
the respondent labor officials in computing said benefit, committed "grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack of jurisdiction," by giving effect to Section 5 of the Revised Guidelines on the implementation of the
Thirteenth Month Pay (Presidential Decree No. 851) promulgated by then Secretary of Labor and
Employment, Hon. Franklin Drilon, and overruling petitioner's contention that said provision constituted a
usurpation of legislative power because not justified by or within the authority of the law sought to be
implemented besides being violative of the equal protection of the law clause of the Constitution.

Resolution of the issue entails, first, a review of the pertinent provisions of the laws and implementing
regulations.

Sections 1 and 2 of Presidential Decree No. 851, the Thirteenth Month Pay Law, read as follows:

Sec 1. All employees are hereby required to pay all their employees receiving basic
salary of not more than P1,000.00 a month, regardless of the nature of the employment,
a 13th month pay not later than December 24 of every year.

Sec. 2. Employers already paying their employees a 13th month pay or its equivalent are
not covered by this Decree.

The Rules and Regulations Implementing P.D. 851 promulgated by then Labor Minister Blas Ople on
December 22, 1975 contained the following relevant provisions relative to the concept of "thirteenth
month pay" and the employers exempted from giving it, to wit:

Sec. 2. Definition of certain terms. . . .

a) "Thirteenth month pay" shall mean one twelfth (1/12) of the basic salary of an
employee within a calendar year;

b) "Basic Salary" shall include all remunerations or earnings paid by an employer to an


employee for services rendered but may not include cost of living allowances granted
pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 525 or Letter of Instructions No. 174, profit sharing
payments, and all allowances and monetary benefits which are not considered or
integrated as part of the regular or basic salary of the employee at the time of the
promulgation of the Decree on December 16, 1975.

Sec. 3. Employers covered. . . . (The law applies) to all employers except to:
xxx xxx xxx

c) Employers already paying their employers a 13-month pay or more in calendar year or
is equivalent at the time of this issuance;

xxx xxx xxx

e) Employers of those who are paid on purely commission, boundary, or task basis, and
those who are paid a fixed amount for performing a specific work, irrespective of the time
consumed in the performance thereof, except where the workers are paid on piece-rate
basis in which case the employer shall be covered by this issuance insofar as such
workers are concerned.

xxx xxx xxx

The term "its equivalent" as used in paragraph (c) shall include Christmas bonus, mid-
year bonus, profit-sharing payments and other cash bonuses amounting to not less than
1/12th of the basic salary but shall not include cash and stock dividends, cost of living
allowances and all other allowances regularly enjoyed by the employee, as well as non-
monetary benefits. Where an employer pays less than 1/12th of the employee's basic
salary, the employer shall pay the difference.

Supplementary Rules and Regulations implementing P.D. 851 were subsequently issued by Minister Ople
which inter alia set out items of compensation not included in the computation of the 13th month pay, viz.:

Sec. 4. Overtime pay, earnings and other remunerations which are not part of the basic
salary shall not be included in the computation of the 13th month pay.

On August 13, 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated Memorandum Order No. 28, which
contained a single provision modifying Presidential Decree No. 851 by removing the salary ceiling of
P1,000.00 a month set by the latter, as follows:

Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 851 is hereby modified to the extent that all
employers are hereby required to pay all their rank-and-file employees a 13th month pay
not later than December 24, of every year.

Slightly more than a year later, on November 16, 1987, Revised Guidelines on the Implementation of the
13th Month Pay Law were promulgated by then Labor Secretary Franklin Drilon which, among other
things, defined with particularity what remunerative items were and were not embraced in the concept of
13th month pay, and specifically dealt with employees who are paid a fixed or guaranteed wage plus
commission. The relevant provisions read:

4. Amount and payment of 13th Month Pay.

xxx xxx xxx

The basic salary of an employee for the purpose of computing the 13th month pay shall
include all remunerations or earnings paid by the employer for services rendered but
does not include allowances and monetary benefits which are not considered or
integrated as part of the regular or basic salary, such as the cash equivalent of unused
vacation and sick leave credits, overtime, premium, night differential and holiday pay, and
cost-of-living allowances. However, these salary-related benefits should be included as
part of the basic salary in the computation of the 13th month pay if by individual or
collective agreement, company practice or policy, the same are treated as part of the
basic salary of the employees.

xxx xxx xxx

5. 13th Month Pay for Certain Types of Employees.

(a) Employees Paid by Results. Employees who are paid on piece work basis are by
law entitled to the 13th month pay.

Employees who are paid a fixed or guaranteed wage plus commission are also entitled to
the mandated 13th month pay based on their total earnings during the calendar year, i.e.,
on both their fixed or guaranteed wage and commission.

This was the state of the law when the controversies at bar arose out of the following antecedents:

(RE G.R. No. 92174) A routine inspection was conducted on May 2, 1989 in the premises of petitioner
Boie-Takeda Chemicals, Inc. by Labor
and Development Officer Reynaldo B. Ramos under Inspection Authority
No. 4-209-89. Finding that Boie-Takeda had not been including the commissions earned by its medical
representatives in the computation of their 13th month pay, Ramos served a Notice of Inspection
Results 1 on Boie-Takeda through its president, Mr. Benito Araneta, requiring Boie-Takeda within ten (10)
calendar days from notice to effect restitution or correction of "the underpayment of 13th month pay for
the year(s) 1986, 1987 and 1988 of Med Rep (Revised Guidelines on the Implementation of 13th month
pay # 5) in the total amount of P558,810.89."

Boie-Takeda wrote the Labor Department contesting the Notice of Inspection Results, and expressing the
view "that the commission paid to our medical representatives are not to be included in the computation
of the 13th month pay . . . (since the) law and its implementing rules speak of REGULAR or BASIC salary
and therefore exclude all other remunerations which are not part of the REGULAR salary." It pointed out
that, "if no sales is (sic) made under the effort of a particular representative, there is no commission
during the period when no sale was transacted, so that commissions are not and cannot be legally
defined as regular in nature. 2

Regional Director Luna C. Piezas directed Boie-Takeda to appear before his Office on June 9 and 16,
1989. On the appointed dates, however, and despite due notice, no one appeared for Boie-Takeda, and
the matter had perforce to be resolved on the basis of the evidence at hand. On July 24, 1989, Director
Piezas issued an Order 3directing Boie-Takeda:

. . . to pay . . . (its) medical representatives and its managers the total amount of FIVE
HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY SIX AND FORTY
SEVEN CENTAVOS (P565,746.47) representing underpayment of thirteenth (13th)
month pay for the years 1986, 1987, 1988, inclusive, pursuant to the . . . revised
guidelines within ten (10) days from receipt of this Order.

A motion for reconsideration 4 was seasonably filed by Boie-Takeda under date of August 3, 1989. Treated
as an appeal, it was resolved on
January 17, 1990 by then Acting Labor Secretary Dionisio de la Serna, who affirmed the July 24, 1989
Order with modification that the sales commissions earned by Boie-Takeda's medical representatives
before August 13, 1989, the effectivity date of Memorandum Order No. 28 and its Implementing
Guidelines, shall be excluded in the computation of their 13th month pay. 5

Hence the petition docketed as G.R. No. 92174.

(RE G.R. No. 102552) A similar Routine Inspection was conducted in the premises of Philippine Fuji
Xerox Corp. on September 7, 1989 pursuant to Routine Inspection Authority No. NCR-LSED-RI-494-89.
In his Notice of Inspection Results, 6 addressed to the Manager, Mr. Nicolas O. Katigbak, Senior Labor
and Employment Officer Nicanor M. Torres noted the following violation committed by Philippine Fuji
Xerox Corp., to wit:

Underpayment of 13th month pay of 62 employees, more or less pursuant to Revised


Guidelines on the Implementation of the 13th month pay law for the period covering
1986, 1987 and 1988.

Philippine Fuji Xerox was requested to effect rectification and/or restitution of the noted violation within
five (5) working days from notice.

No action having been taken thereon by Philippine Fuji Xerox,


Mr. Eduardo G. Gonzales, President of the Philxerox Employee Union, wrote then Labor Secretary
Franklin Drilon requesting a follow-up of the inspection findings. Messrs. Nicolas and Gonzales were
summoned to appear before Labor Employment and Development Officer Mario F. Santos, NCR Office,
Department of Labor for a conciliation conference. When no amicable settlement was reached, the parties
were required to file their position papers.

Subsequently, Regional Director Luna C. Piezas issued an Order dated August 23, 1990, 7 disposing as
follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Respondent PHILIPPINE FUJI XEROX is hereby


ordered to restitute to its salesmen the portion of the 13th month pay which arose out of
the non-implementation of the said revised guidelines, ten (10) days from receipt hereof,
otherwise,
MR. NICANOR TORRES, the SR. LABOR EMPLOYMENT OFFICER is hereby Ordered
to proceed to the premises of the Respondent for the purpose of computing the said
deficiency (sic) should respondent fail to heed his Order.

Philippine Fuji Xerox appealed the aforequoted Order to the Office of the Secretary of Labor. In an Order
dated October 120, 1991, Undersecretary Cresenciano B. Trajano denied the appeal for lack of merit.
Hence, the petition in G.R. No. 102552, which was ordered consolidated with G.R. No. 92174 as involving
the same issue.

In their almost identically-worded petitioner, petitioners, through common counsel, attribute grave abuse
of discretion to respondent labor officials
Hon. Dionisio dela Serna and Undersecretary Cresenciano B. Trajano in issuing the questioned Orders of
January 17, 1990 and October 10, 1991, respectively. They maintain that under P.D. 851, the 13th month
pay is based solely on basic salary. As defined by the law itself and clarified by the implementing and
Supplementary Rules as well as by the Supreme Court in a long line of decisions, remunerations which
do not form part of the basic or regular salary of an employee, such as commissions, should not be
considered in the computation of the 13th month pay. This being the case, the Revised Guidelines on the
Implementation of the 13th Month Pay Law issued by then Secretary Drilon providing for the inclusion of
commissions in the 13th month pay, were issued in excess of the statutory authority conferred by P.D.
851. According to petitioners, this conclusion becomes even more evident when considered in light of the
opinion rendered by Labor Secretary Drilon himself in "In Re: Labor Dispute at the Philippine Long
Distance Telephone Company" which affirmed the contemporaneous interpretation by then Secretary
Ople that commissions are excluded from the basic salary. Petitioners further contend that assuming that
Secretary Drilon did not exceed the statutory authority conferred by P.D. 851, still the Revised Guidelines
are null and void as they violate the equal protection of the law clause.

Respondents through the Office of the Solicitor General question the propriety of petitioners' attack on the
constitutionality of the Revised Guidelines in a petition for certiorari which, they contend, should be
confined purely to the correction of errors and/or defects of jurisdiction, including matters of grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and not extend to a collateral attack on the validity
and/or constitutionality of a law or statute. They aver that the petitions do not advance any cogent reason
or state any valid ground to sustain the allegation of grave abuse of discretion, and that at any rate, P.D.
No. 851, otherwise known as the 13th Month Pay Law has already been amended by Memorandum
Order No. 28 issued by President Corazon C. Aquino on August 13, 1986 so that commissions are now
imputed into the computation of the 13th Month Pay. They add that the Revised Guidelines issued by then
Labor Secretary Drilon merely clarified a gray area occasioned by the silence of the law as to the nature
of commissions; and worked no violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution, said
Guidelines being based on reasonable classification. Respondents point to the case of Songco
vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 183 SCRA 610, wherein the Court declared that Article 97(f) of
the Labor Code is explicit that commission is included in the definition of the term "wage".

We rule for the petitioners.

Contrary to respondents' contention, Memorandum Order No. 28 did not repeal, supersede or abrogate
P.D. 851. As may be gleaned from the language of the Memorandum Order No. 28, it merely "modified"
Section 1 of the decree by removing the P1,000.00 salary ceiling. The concept of 13th Month Pay as
envisioned, defined and implemented under P.D. 851 remained unaltered, and while entitlement to said
benefit was no longer limited to employees receiving a monthly basic salary of not more than P1,000.00,
said benefit was, and still is, to be computed on the basic salary of the employee-recipient as provided
under P.D. 851. Thus, the interpretation given to the term "basic salary" as defined in P.D. 851 applies
equally to "basic salary" under Memorandum Order No. 28.

In the case of San Miguel Corp. vs. Inciong, 103 SCRA 139, this Court delineated the coverage of the
term "basic salary" as used in P.D. 851. We said at some length:

Under Presidential Decree 851 and its implementing rules, the basic salary of an
employee is used as the basis in the determination of his 13th month pay. Any
compensations or remunerations which are deemed not part of the basic pay is excluded
as basis in the computation of the mandatory bonus.

Under the Rules and Regulations implementing Presidential Decree 851, the following
compensations are deemed not part of the basic salary:

a) Cost-of-living allowances granted pursuant to Presidential Decree 525


and Letter of Instructions No. 174;

b) Profit-sharing payments;
c) All allowances and monetary benefits which are not considered or
integrated as part of the regular basic salary of the employee at the time
of the promulgation of the Decree on December 16, 1975.

Under a later set of Supplementary Rules and Regulations Implementing Presidential


Decree 851 Presidential Decree 851 issued by then Labor Secretary Blas Ople, overtime
pay, earnings and other remunerations are excluded as part of the basic salary and in the
computation of the 13th month pay.

The exclusion of the cost-of-living allowances under Presidential Decree 525 and Letter
of Instructions No. 174, and profit-sharing payments indicate the intention to strip basic
salary of other payments which are properly considered as "fringe" benefits. Likewise, the
catch-all exclusionary phrase "all allowances and monetary benefits which are not
considered or integrated as part of the basic salary" shows also the intention to strip
basic salary of any and all additions which may be in the form of allowances or "fringe"
benefits.

Moreover, the Supplementary Rules and Regulations Implementing Presidential Decree


851 is even more emphatic in declaring that earnings and other remunerations which are
not part of the basic salary shall not be included in the computation of the 13th-month
pay.

While doubt may have been created by the prior Rules and Regulations Implementing
Presidential Decree 851 which defines basic salary to include all remunerations or
earnings paid by an employer to an employee, this cloud is dissipated in the later and
more controlling Supplementary Rules and Regulations which categorically exclude from
the definitions of basic salary earnings and other remunerations paid by an employer to
an employee. A cursory perusal of the two sets of Rules indicates that what has hitherto
been the subject of a broad inclusion is now a subject of broad exclusion. The
Supplementary Rules and Regulations cure the seeming tendency of the former rules to
include all remunerations and earnings within the definition of basic salary.

The all embracing phrase "earnings and other remunerations" which are deemed not part
of the basic salary includes within its meaning payments for sick, vacation, or maternity
leaves, premium for works performed on rest days and special holidays, pays for regular
holidays and night differentials. As such they are deemed not part of the basic salary and
shall not be considered in the computation of the 13th-month pay. If they were not
excluded, it is hard to find any "earnings and other remunerations" expressly excluded in
the computation of the 13th month pay. Then the exclusionary provision would prove to
be idle and with no purpose.

This conclusion finds strong support under the Labor Code of the Philippines. To cite a
few provisions:

Art. 87. Overtime Work. Work may be performed beyond eight (8) hours a day provided
that the employee is paid for the overtime work, additional compensation equivalent to his
regular wage plus at least twenty-five (25%) percent thereof.

It is clear that overtime pay is an additional compensation other than and added to the
regular wage or basic salary, for reason of which such is categorically excluded from the
definition of basic salary under the Supplementary Rules and Regulations Implementing
Presidential Decree 851.

In Article 93 of the same Code, paragraph

c) work performed on any special holiday shall be paid an additional compensation of at


least thirty percent (30%) of the regular wage of the employee.

It is likewise clear the premiums for special holiday which is at least 30% of the regular
wage is an additional pay other than and added to the regular wage or basic salary. For
similar reason, it shall not be considered in the computation of the 13th month pay.

Quite obvious from the foregoing is that the term "basic salary" is to be understood in its common,
generally-accepted meaning, i.e., as a rate of pay for a standard work period exclusive of such additional
payments as bonuses and overtime. 8 This is how the term was also understood in the case of Pless
v. Franks, 308 S.W. 2nd. 402, 403, 202 Tenn. 630, which held that in statutes providing that pension
should not less than 50 percent of "basic salary" at the time of retirement, the quoted words meant the
salary that an employee (e.g., a policeman) was receiving at the time he retired without taking into
consideration any extra compensation to which he might be entitled for extra work. 9

In remunerative schemes consisting of a fixed or guaranteed wage plus commission, the fixed or
guaranteed wage is patently the "basic salary" for this is what the employee receives for a standard work
period. Commissions are given for extra efforts exerted in consummating sales or other related
transactions. They are, as such, additional pay, which this Court has made clear do not form part of the
"basic salary."

Respondents would do well to distinguish this case from Songco vs. National Labor Relations
Commission, supra, upon which they rely so heavily. What was involved therein was the term "salary"
without the restrictive adjective "basic". Thus, in said case, we construed the term in its generic sense to
refer to all types of "direct remunerations for services rendered," including commissions. In the same
case, we also took judicial notice of the fact "that some salesmen do not receive any basic salary but
depend on commissions and allowances or commissions alone, although an employer-employee
relationship exists," which statement is quite significant in that it speaks of a "basic salary" apart and
distinct from "commissions" and "allowances". Instead of supporting respondents' stand, it would appear
that Songco itself recognizes that commissions are not part of "basic salary."

In including commissions in the computation of the 13th month pay, the second paragraph of Section 5(a)
of the Revised Guidelines on the Implementation of the 13th Month Pay Law unduly expanded the
concept of "basic salary" as defined in P.D. 851. It is a fundamental rule that implementing rules cannot
add to or detract from the provisions of the law it is designed to implement. Administrative regulations
adopted under legislative authority by a particular department must be in harmony with the provisions of
the law they are intended to carry into effect. They cannot widen its scope. An administrative agency
cannot amend an act of Congress. 10

Having reached this conclusion, we deem it unnecessary to discuss the other issues raised in these
petitions.

WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are hereby GRANTED. The second paragraph of Section 5 (a)
of the Revised Guidelines on the Implementation of the 13th Month Pay Law issued on November 126,
1987 by then Labor Secretary Franklin M. Drilon is declared null and void as being violative of the law
said Guidelines were issued to implement, hence issued with grave abuse of discretion correctible by the
writ of prohibition and certiorari. The assailed Orders of January 17, 1990 and October 10, 1991 based
thereon are SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 124873. July 14, 1999]

UNITED BF HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, and HOME INSURANCE AND GUARANTY


CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. BF HOMES, INC., respondents.

DECISION

PARDO, J.

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the decision[1] and resolution[2] of the Court of
Appeals granting respondent BFHIs petition for prohibition, and ordering Atty. Roberto C. Abrajano,
hearing officer of the Home Insurance and Guaranty Corporation, to refrain from hearing HIGC CASE NO.
HOA-95-027 and to dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction.

The antecedent facts are as follows:

Petitioner United BF Homeowners Association, Inc. (UBFHAI) is the umbrella organization and sole
representative of all homeowners in the BF Homes Paraaque Subdivision, a seven hundred sixty five
(765) hectare subdivision located in the south of Manila. Respondent BF Homes, Inc. (BFHI) is the owner-
developer of the said subdivision, which first opened in 1968. [3]

In 1988, because of financial difficulties, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) placed
respondent BFHI under receivership to undergo a ten-year (10) rehabilitation program, and appointed
Atty. Florencio B. Orendain receiver. The program was composed of two stages: (1) payment of
obligations to external creditors; and (2) payment of obligations to Banco Filipino. [4]

When Atty. Florencio B. Orendain took over management of respondent BFHI in 1988, several things
were not in order in the subdivision.[5] Preliminary to the rehabilitation, Atty. Orendain entered into an
agreement with the two major homeowners associations, the BF Paraaque Homeowners Association, Inc.
(BFPHAI) and the Confederation of BF Homeowners Association, Inc. (CBFHAI), for the creation of a
single, representative homeowners association and the setting up of an integrated security program that
would cover the eight (8) entry and exit points to and from the subdivision. On December 20, 1988, this
tripartite agreement was reduced into a memorandum of agreement, and amended on March 1989.

Pursuant to these agreements, on May 18, 1989, petitioner UBFHAI was created and registered with
the Home Insurance and Guaranty Corporation (HIGC), [6] and recognized as the sole representative of all
the homeowners association inside the subdivision.

Respondent BFHI, through its receiver, turned over to petitioner UBFHAI the administration and
operation of the subdivisions clubhouse at #37 Pilar Banzon Street, [7] and a strip of open space in Concha
Cruz Garden Row,[8] on June 23, 1989 and May, 1993, respectively.

On November 7, 1994, the first receiver was relieved and a new committee of receivers, composed
of respondent BFHIs eleven (11) members of the board of directors was appointed. [9]
On April 7, 1995, based on BFHIs title to the main roads, the newly appointed committee of receivers
sent a letter to the different homeowners association in the subdivision informing them that as a basic
requirement for BFHIs rehabilitation, respondent BFHI would be responsible for the security of the
subdivision in order to centralize it and abate the continuing proliferation of squatters. [10]

On the same day, petitioner UBFHAI filed with the HIGC a petition for mandamus with preliminary
injunction against respondent BFHI.[11] In substance, petitioner UBFHAI alleged that the committee of
receivers illegally revoked their security agreement with the previous receiver.They complained that even
prior to said date, the new committee of receivers committed the following acts: (1) deferred petitioner
UBFHAIs purchase of additional pumps; (2) terminated the collection agreement for the community
assessment forged by the petitioner UBFHAI with the first receiver; (3) terminated the administration and
maintenance of the Concha Cruz Garden Row; (4) sent a letter to petitioner UBFHAI stating that it
recognized BFPHAI[12] only, and that the subdivisions clubhouse was to be administered by it only; and (5)
took over the administration of security in the main avenues in the subdivision.

On April 11, 1995, the HIGC issued ex parte a temporary restraining order. Particularly, respondent
BFHI was enjoined from:

taking over the Clubhouse located at 37 Pilar Banzon St., BF Homes Paraaque, Metro Manila, taking over
security in all the entry and exit points and main avenues of BF Homes Paraaque Subdivision, impeding
or preventing the execution and sale at auction of the properties of BF Paraaque Homeowners
Association, Inc., in HIGC HOA-90-138 and otherwise repudiating or invalidating any contract or
agreement of petitioner with the former receiver/BFHI concerning funding or delivery of community
services to the homeowners represented by the latter.[13]

On April 24, 1995, without filing an answer to petitioner UBFHAIs petition with the HIGC, respondent
BFHI filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for prohibition for the issuance of preliminary injunction and
temporary restraining order, to enjoin HIGC from proceeding with the case. [14]

On May 2, 1995, the HIGC issued an order deferring the resolution of petitioner UBFHAIs application
for preliminary injunction, until such time that respondent BFHIs application for prohibition with the
appellate court has been resolved. When the twenty-day (20) effectivity of the temporary restraining order
had lapsed, the HIGC ordered the parties to maintain the status quo.[15]

Meanwhile, on November 27, 1995, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision [16] granting
respondent BFHIs petition for prohibition, as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED, prohibiting the public respondent
Roberto C. Abrajano from proceeding with the hearing of HIGC CASE NO. HOA-95-027. Consequently,
the public respondent is hereby ordered to DISMISS HIGC CASE NO. HOA-95-027 for lack of jurisdiction.

SO ORDERED.[17]

On April 24, 1996, the appellate court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. [18]

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.

Petitioner UBFHAI raises two issues: (1) whether or not the Rules of procedure promulgated by the
HIGC, specifically Section 1(b), Rule II of the Rules of Procedure in the Settlement of Homeowners
Disputes is valid; (2) whether or not the acts committed by the respondent constitute an attack on
petitioners corporate existence.[19] Corollary to these, petitioner questions the appellate courts jurisdiction
over the subject case.

Originally, administrative supervision over homeowners associations was vested by law with the
Securities and Exchange Commission. On May 3, 1979, pursuant to Executive Order 535, [20]this function
was delegated to the Home Insurance and Guaranty Corporation (HIGC). [21] Section 2 of Executive Order
535 provides:

2. In addition to the powers and functions vested under the Home Financing Act, the Corporation, shall
have among others, the following additional powers;

(a) To require submission of and register articles of incorporation of homeowners associations and issue
certificates of incorporation/registration, upon compliance by the registering associations with the duly
promulgated rules and regulations thereon; maintain a registry thereof; and exercise all the powers,
authorities and responsibilities that are vested on the Securities and Exchange Commission with respect
to homeowners association, the provision of Act 1459, as amended by P. D. 902-A, to the contrary
notwithstanding;

By virtue of this amendatory law, the HIGC not only assumed the regulatory and adjudicative
functions of the SEC over homeowners associations, but also the original and exclusive jurisdiction to
hear and decide cases involving:

(b) Controversies arising out of intra-corporate or partnership relations, between and among stockholders,
members or associates; between any or all of them and the corporation, partnership or association of
which they are stockholders, members or associates respectively; and between such corporation,
partnership or association and the state insofar as it concerns their individual franchise or right to exist as
such entity.[22]

On December 21, 1989, the HIGC adopted its rules of procedure in the hearing of homeowners
disputes. Section 1(b), Rule II enumerated the types of disputes over which the HIGC has jurisdiction, and
these include:

Section 1. Types of Disputes- The HIGC or any person, officer, body, board, or committee duly designated
or created by it shall have jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving the following:

xxx

(b) Controversies arising out of intra-corporate relations between and among members of the association,
between any and/or all of them and the association of which they are members, and insofar as it concerns
its right to exist as a corporate entity, between the association and the state/general public or other
entity. [emphasis supplied]

Therefore, in relation to Section 5 (b), Presidential Decree 902-A, the HIGCs jurisdiction over
homeowners disputes is limited to controversies that arise out of the following intra-corporate
relations: (1) between and among members of the association; (2) between any or all of them and the
association of which they are members or associates; and (3) between such association and the
state, insofar as it concerns their individual franchise or right to exist as such entity. (Emphasis supplied.)

Though it would seem that Section 1(b), Rule II of the HIGCs revised rules of procedure is just a
reproduction of Section 5 (b), Presidential Decree 902-A, the rules deviated from the provisions of the
latter. If the provisions of the law would be followed to the letter, the third type of dispute over which the
HIGC has jurisdiction should be limited only to a dispute between the state and the association, insofar as
it concerns the associations franchise or corporate existence. However, under the HIGCs revised rules of
procedure, the phrase general public or other entity[23] was added.

It was on this third type of dispute, as provided in Section 1 (b), Rule II of the HIGCs revised rules of
procedure that petitioner UBFHAI anchors its claim that the HIGC has original and exclusive jurisdiction
over the case. In the comment filed by the HIGC with the appellate court, it maintained that it has original
and exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute pursuant to the power and authority granted it in the revised
rules of procedure. Respondent BFHI disputes this, contending that the rules of procedure relied upon by
petitioner are not valid implementation of Executive Order No. 535, as amended, in relation to Presidential
Decree 902-A.

The question now is whether HIGC, in promulgating the above-mentioned rules of procedure, went
beyond the authority delegated to it and unduly expanded the provisions of the delegating law.In relation
to this, the question is whether or not the revised rules of procedure are valid.

As early as 1970, in the case of Teoxon vs. Members of the Board of Administrators (PVA),[24]we
ruled that the power to promulgate rules in the implementation of a statute is necessarily limited to what is
provided for in the legislative enactment. Its terms must be followed for an administrative agency cannot
amend an Act of Congress.[25] The rule-making power must be confined to details for regulating the mode
or proceedings to carry into effect the law as it has been enacted, and it cannot be extended to amend or
expand the statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute. [26] If a discrepancy
occurs between the basic law and an implementing rule or regulation, it is the former that prevails. [27]

In the present case, the HIGC went beyond the authority provided by the law when it promulgated
the revised rules of procedure. There was a clear attempt to unduly expand the provisions of Presidential
Decree 902-A. As provided in the law, insofar as the associations franchise or corporate existence is
involved, it is only the State, not the general public or other entity that could question this . The appellate
court correctly held that: The inclusion of the phrase GENERAL PUBLIC OR OTHER ENTITY is a matter
which HIGC cannot legally do x x x.[28]The rule-making power of a public administrative body is a
delegated legislative power, which it may not use either to abridge the authority given it by Congress or
the Constitution or to enlarge its power beyond the scope intended. Constitutional and statutory
provisions control what rules and regulations may be promulgated by such a body, as well as with respect
to what fields are subject to regulation by it. It may not make rules and regulations which are inconsistent
with the provisions of the Constitution or a statute, particularly the statute it is administering or which
created it, or which are in derogation of, or defeat, the purpose of a statute. [29]

Moreover, where the legislature has delegated to an executive or administrative officers and boards
authority to promulgate rules to carry out an express legislative purpose, the rules of administrative
officers and boards, which have the effect of extending, or which conflict with the authority-granting
statute, do not represent a valid exercise of the rule-making power but constitute an attempt by an
administrative body to legislate. [30] A statutory grant of powers should not be extended by implication
beyond what may be necessary for their just and reasonable execution. [31]It is axiomatic that a rule or
regulation must bear upon, and be consistent with, the provisions of the enabling statute if such rule or
regulation is to be valid.[32]

Thus, we hold that Rule II, Section 1(b) of HIGCs Revised Rules of Procedure in the Hearing of
Homeowners Disputes is void, without ruling on the validity of the rest of the rules.
Neither can the HIGC claim original and exclusive jurisdiction over the petition for mandamusunder
the two other types of disputes enumerated in Presidential Decree 902-A and in the revised rules. The
dispute is not one involving the members of the homeowners association nor it is one between any and/or
all of the members and the associations of which they are members. The parties are the homeowners
association and the owner-developer, acting at the same time as the corporations committee of receivers.

To reiterate, the HIGC exercises a very limited jurisdiction over homeowners disputes. The law
confined this authority to controversies that arise out of the following intra-corporate relations:(1) between
and among members of the association; (2) between any and/or all of them and the association of which
they are members; and (3) insofar as it concerns its right to exist as a corporate entity, between the
association and the state. None of the parties to the litigation can enlarge or diminish it or dictate when it
shall attach or when it shall be removed.[33]

Jurisdiction is defined as the power and authority of a court to hear, try and decide a
case.Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by the Constitution or by law. Nothing can change
the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter. That power is a matter of legislative enactment which
none by the legislature may change.[34]

In light of the foregoing, we do not see the need to discuss the second issue. Whether or not the acts
committed or threatened to be committed by the respondent against the petitioner would constitute an
attack on the latters corporate existence would be immaterial. The HIGC has no jurisdiction to hear and
resolve the dispute.

Having dispensed with the question of jurisdiction, there is no need for the HIGC to proceed with the
hearing of HIGC-HOA 95-027. It would just be an exercise in futility since it has no jurisdiction.

Furthermore, it was apparent that the board of directors of respondent BFHI, acting as the committee
of receivers, was only trying to find ways and means to rehabilitate the corporation so that it can pay off
its creditors. The revocation of the security agreements and the removal of administration and
maintenance of certain property that are still under the name of respondent BFHI, were acts done in
pursuance of the rehabilitation program. All the security agreements and undertakings were contractual in
nature, which respondent BFHI, acting as a committee of receivers and being the successor of the former
receiver, could very well alter or modify.

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari, for lack of merit.The decision
and resolution appealed from in CA-G. R. SP. NO. 37072 are AFFIRMED.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 77372 April 29, 1988

LUPO L. LUPANGCO, RAYMOND S. MANGKAL, NORMAN A. MESINA, ALEXANDER R. REGUYAL,


JOCELYN P. CATAPANG, ENRICO V. REGALADO, JEROME O. ARCEGA, ERNESTOC. BLAS, JR.,
ELPEDIO M. ALMAZAN, KARL CAESAR R. RIMANDO, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION, respondent.

Balgos & Perez Law Offices for petitioners.


The Solicitor General for respondents.

GANCAYCO, J.:

Is the Regional Trial Court of the same category as the Professional Regulation Commission so that it
cannot pass upon the validity of the administrative acts of the latter? Can this Commission lawfully
prohibit the examiness from attending review classes, receiving handout materials, tips, or the like three
(3) days before the date of the examination? Theses are the issues presented to the court by this petition
for certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals promulagated on January 13, 1987, in CA-
G.R. SP No. 10598, * declaring null and void the other dated Ocober 21, 1986 issued by the Regional
Trial Court of Manila, Branch 32 in Civil Case No. 86-37950 entitled " Lupo L. Lupangco, et al. vs.
Professional Regulation Commission."

The records shows the following undisputed facts:

On or about October 6, 1986, herein respondent Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) issued
Resolution No. 105 as parts of its "Additional Instructions to Examiness," to all those applying for
admission to take the licensure examinations in accountancy. The resolution embodied the following
pertinent provisions:

No examinee shall attend any review class, briefing, conference or the like conducted by,
or shall receive any hand-out, review material, or any tip from any school, college or
university, or any review center or the like or any reviewer, lecturer, instructor official or
employee of any of the aforementioned or similars institutions during the three days
immediately proceeding every examination day including examination day.

Any examinee violating this instruction shall be subject to the sanctions prescribed by
Sec. 8, Art. III of the Rules and Regulations of the Commission. 1

On October 16, 1986, herein petitioners, all reviewees preparing to take the licensure examinations in
accountancy schedule on October 25 and November 2 of the same year, filed on their own behalf of all
others similarly situated like them, with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XXXII, a complaint for
injuction with a prayer with the issuance of a writ of a preliminary injunction against respondent PRC to
restrain the latter from enforcing the above-mentioned resolution and to declare the same unconstitution.

Respondent PRC filed a motion to dismiss on October 21, 1987 on the ground that the lower court had no
jurisdiction to review and to enjoin the enforcement of its resolution. In an Order of October 21, 1987, the
lower court declared that it had jurisdiction to try the case and enjoined the respondent commission from
enforcing and giving effect to Resolution No. 105 which it found to be unconstitutional.

Not satisfied therewith, respondent PRC, on November 10, 1986, filed with the Court of Appeals a petition
for the nullification of the above Order of the lower court. Said petiton was granted in the Decision of the
Court of Appeals promulagated on January 13, 1987, to wit:

WHEREFORE, finding the petition meritorious the same is hereby GRANTED and the
other dated October 21, 1986 issued by respondent court is declared null and void. The
respondent court is further directed to dismiss with prejudice Civil Case No. 86-37950 for
want of jurisdiction over the subject matter thereof. No cost in this instance.
SO ORDERED. 2

Hence, this petition.

The Court of Appeals, in deciding that the Regional Trial Court of Manila had no jurisdiction to entertain
the case and to enjoin the enforcement of the Resolution No. 105, stated as its basis its conclusion that
the Professional Regulation Commission and the Regional Trial Court are co-equal bodies. Thus it held

That the petitioner Professional Regulatory Commission is at least a co-equal body with
the Regional Trial Court is beyond question, and co-equal bodies have no power to
control each other or interfere with each other's acts. 3

To strenghten its position, the Court of Appeals relied heavily on National Electrification Administration vs.
Mendoza, 4 which cites Pineda vs. Lantin 5 and Philippine Pacific Fishing, Inc. vs. Luna, 6 where this Court
held that a Court of First Instance cannot interfere with the orders of the Securities and Exchange
Commission, the two being co-equal bodies.

After a close scrutiny of the facts and the record of this case,

We rule in favor of the petitioner.

The cases cited by respondent court are not in point. It is glaringly apparent that the reason why this
Court ruled that the Court of First Instance could not interfere with the orders of the Securities and
Exchange Commission was that this was so provided for by the law. In Pineda vs. Lantin, We explained
that whenever a party is aggrieved by or disagree with an order or ruling of the Securities and Exchange
Commission, he cannot seek relief from courts of general jurisdiction since under the Rules of Court and
Commonwealth Act No. 83, as amended by Republic Act No. 635, creating and setting forth the powers
and functions of the old Securities and Exchange Commission, his remedy is to go the Supreme Court on
a petition for review. Likewise, in Philippine Pacific Fishing Co., Inc. vs. Luna, it was stressed that if an
order of the Securities and Exchange Commission is erroneous, the appropriate remedy take is first,
within the Commission itself, then, to the Supreme Court as mandated in Presidential Decree No. 902-A,
the law creating the new Securities and Exchange Commission. Nowhere in the said cases was it held
that a Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction over all other government agencies. On the contrary, the
ruling was specifically limited to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The respondent court erred when it place the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Professional
Regulation Commsision in the same category. As alraedy mentioned, with respect to the Securities and
Exchange Commission, the laws cited explicitly provide with the procedure that need be taken when one
is aggrieved by its order or ruling. Upon the other hand, there is no law providing for the next course of
action for a party who wants to question a ruling or order of the Professional Regulation Commission.
Unlike Commonwealth Act No. 83 and Presidential Decree No. 902-A, there is no provision in Presidential
Decree No. 223, creating the Professional Regulation Commission, that orders or resolutions of the
Commission are appealable either to the Court of Appeals or to theSupreme Court. Consequently, Civil
Case No. 86-37950, which was filed in order to enjoin the enforcement of a resolution of the respondent
Professional Regulation Commission alleged to be unconstitutional, should fall within the general
jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance, now the Regional Trial Court. 7

What is clear from Presidential Decree No. 223 is that the Professional Regulation Commission is
attached to the Office of the President for general direction and coordination. 8 Well settled in our
jurisprudence is the view that even acts of the Office of the President may be reviewed by the Court of
First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court). In Medalla vs. Sayo, 9 this rule was thoroughly propounded
on, to wit:

In so far as jurisdiction of the Court below to review by certiorari decisions and/or


resolutions of the Civil Service Commission and of the residential Executive Asssistant is
concerned, there should be no question but that the power of judicial review should be
upheld. The following rulings buttress this conclusion:

The objection to a judicial review of a Presidential act arises from a


failure to recognize the most important principle in our system of
government, i.e., the separation of powers into three co-equal
departments, the executives, the legislative and the judicial, each
supreme within its own assigned powers and duties. When a presidential
act is challenged before the courts of justice, it is not to be implied
therefrom that the Executive is being made subject and subordinate to
the courts. The legality of his acts are under judicial review, not because
the Executive is inferior to the courts, but because the law is above the
Chief Executive himself, and the courts seek only to interpret, apply or
implement it (the law). A judicial review of the President's decision on a
case of an employee decided by the Civil Service Board of Appeals
should be viewed in this light and the bringing of the case to the Courts
should be governed by the same principles as govern the jucucial review
of all administrative acts of all administrative officers. 10

Republic vs. Presiding Judge, CFI of Lanao del Norte, Br. II, 11 is another case in point. Here, "the
Executive Office"' of the Department of Education and Culture issued Memorandum Order No. 93 under
the authority of then Secretary of Education Juan Manuel. As in this case, a complaint for injunction was
filed with the Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte because, allegedly, the enforcement of the circular
would impair some contracts already entered into by public school teachers. It was the contention of
petitioner therein that "the Court of First Instance is not empowered to amend, reverse and modify what is
otherwise the clear and explicit provision of the memorandum circular issued by the Executive Office
which has the force and effect of law." In resolving the issue, We held:

... We definitely state that respondent Court lawfully acquired jurisdiction in Civil Case No.
II-240 (8) because the plaintiff therein asked the lower court for relief, in the form of
injunction, in defense of a legal right (freedom to enter into contracts) . . . . .

Hence there is a clear infringement of private respondent's constitutional right to enter


into agreements not contrary to law, which might run the risk of being violated by the
threatened implementation of Executive Office Memorandum Circular No. 93, dated
February 5, 1968, which prohibits, with certain exceptions, cashiers and disbursing
officers from honoring special powers of attorney executed by the payee employees. The
respondent Court is not only right but duty bound to take cognizance of cases of this
nature wherein a constitutional and statutory right is allegedly infringed by the
administrative action of a government office. Courts of first Instance have original
jurisdiction over all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is not capable of
pecuniary estimation (Sec. 44, Republic Act 296, as amended). 12 (Emphasis supplied.)

In San Miguel Corporation vs. Avelino, 13 We ruled that a judge of the Court of First Instance has the
authority to decide on the validity of a city tax ordinance even after its validity had been contested before
the Secretary of Justice and an opinion thereon had been rendered.
In view of the foregoing, We find no cogent reason why Resolution No. 105, issued by the respondent
Professional Regulation Commission, should be exempted from the general jurisdiction of the Regional
Trial Court.

Respondent PRC, on the other hand, contends that under Section 9, paragraph 3 of B.P. Blg. 129, it is the
Court of Appeals which has jurisdiction over the case. The said law provides:

SEC. 9. Jurisdiction. The Intermediate Appellate Court shall exercise:

xxx xxx xxx

(3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders,
or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards
or commissions, except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court in accordance with the Constitution, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph
(1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of
the Judiciary Act of 1948.

The contention is devoid of merit.

In order to invoke the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals as provided for in Section 9,
paragraph 3 of B.P. Blg. 129, there has to be a final order or ruling which resulted from proceedings
wherein the administrative body involved exercised its quasi-judicial functions. In Black's Law
Dictionary, quasi-judicial is defined as a term applied to the action, discretion, etc., of public administrative
officers or bodies required to investigate facts, or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, and draw
conclusions from them, as a basis for their official action, and to exercise discretion of a judicial nature. To
expound thereon, quasi-judicial adjudication would mean a determination of rights, privileges and duties
resulting in a decision or order which applies to a specific situation . 14 This does not cover rules and
regulations of general applicability issued by the administrative body to implement its purely
administrative policies and functions like Resolution No. 105 which was adopted by the respondent PRC
as a measure to preserve the integrity of licensure examinations.

The above rule was adhered to in Filipinas Engineering and Machine Shop vs. Ferrer. 15 In this case, the
issue presented was whether or not the Court of First Instance had jurisdiction over a case involving an
order of the Commission on Elections awarding a contract to a private party which originated from an
invitation to bid. The said issue came about because under the laws then in force, final awards,
judgments, decisions or orders of the Commission on Elections fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court by way of certiorari. Hence, it has been consistently held that "it is the Supreme Court, not
the Court of First Instance, which has exclusive jurisdiction to review on certiorari final decisions, orders,
or rulings of the Commission on Elections relative to the conduct of elections and the enforcement of
election laws." 16

As to whether or not the Court of First Instance had jurisdiction in saidcase, We said:

We are however, far from convinced that an order of the COMELEC awarding a contract
to a private party, as a result of its choice among various proposals submitted in response
to its invitation to bid comes within the purview of a "final order" which is exclusively and
directly appealable to this court on certiorari. What is contemplated by the term "final
orders, rulings and decisions, of the COMELEC reviewable by certiorari by the Supreme
Court as provided by law are those rendered in actions or proceedings before the
COMELEC and taken cognizance of by the said body in the exercise of its adjudicatory
or quasi-judicial powers. (Emphasis supplied.)

xxx xxx xxx

We agree with petitioner's contention that the order of the Commission granting the
award to a bidder is not an order rendered in a legal controversy before it wherein the
parties filed their respective pleadings and presented evidence after which the
questioned order was issued; and that this order of the commission was issued pursuant
to its authority to enter into contracts in relation to election purposes. In short, the
COMELEC resolution awarding the contract in favor of Acme was not issued pursuant to
its quasi-judicial functions but merely as an incident of its inherent administrative
functions over the conduct of elections, and hence, the said resolution may not be
deemed as a "final order reviewable by certiorari by the Supreme Court. Being non-
judicial in character, no contempt order may be imposed by the COMELEC from said
order, and no direct and exclusive appeal by certiorari to this Tribunal lie from such order.
Any question arising from said order may be well taken in an ordinary civil action before
the trial courts. (Emphasis supplied.) 17

One other case that should be mentioned in this regard is Salud vs. Central Bank of the
Philippines. 18 Here, petitioner Central Bank, like respondent in this case, argued that under Section 9,
paragraph 3 of B.P. Blg. 129, orders of the Monetary Board are appealable only to the Intermediate
Appellate Court. Thus:

The Central Bank and its Liquidator also postulate, for the very first time, that the
Monetary Board is among the "quasi-judicial ... boards" whose judgments are within the
exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the IAC; hence, it is only said Court, "to the exclusion of
the Regional Trial Courts," that may review the Monetary Board's resolutions. 19

Anent the posture of the Central Bank, We made the following pronouncement:

The contention is utterly devoid of merit. The IAC has no appellate jurisdiction over
resolution or orders of the Monetary Board. No law prescribes any mode of appeal from
the Monetary Board to the IAC. 20

In view of the foregoing, We hold that the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction to entertain Civil Case No.
86-37950 and enjoin the respondent PRC from enforcing its resolution.

Although We have finally settled the issue of jurisdiction, We find it imperative to decide once and for all
the validity of Resolution No. 105 so as to provide the much awaited relief to those who are and will be
affected by it.

Of course, We realize that the questioned resolution was adopted for a commendable purpose which is
"to preserve the integrity and purity of the licensure examinations." However, its good aim cannot be a
cloak to conceal its constitutional infirmities. On its face, it can be readily seen that it is unreasonable in
that an examinee cannot even attend any review class, briefing, conference or the like, or receive any
hand-out, review material, or any tip from any school, collge or university, or any review center or the like
or any reviewer, lecturer, instructor, official or employee of any of the aforementioned or similar
institutions . ... 21
The unreasonableness is more obvious in that one who is caught committing the prohibited acts even
without any ill motives will be barred from taking future examinations conducted by the respondent PRC.
Furthermore, it is inconceivable how the Commission can manage to have a watchful eye on each and
every examinee during the three days before the examination period.

It is an aixiom in administrative law that administrative authorities should not act arbitrarily and
capriciously in the issuance of rules and regulations. To be valid, such rules and regulations must be
reasonable and fairly adapted to the end in view. If shown to bear no reasonable relation to the purposes
for which they are authorized to be issued, then they must be held to be invalid. 22

Resolution No. 105 is not only unreasonable and arbitrary, it also infringes on the examinees' right to
liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. Respondent PRC has no authority to dictate on the reviewees as
to how they should prepare themselves for the licensure examinations. They cannot be restrained from
taking all the lawful steps needed to assure the fulfillment of their ambition to become public accountants.
They have every right to make use of their faculties in attaining success in their endeavors. They should
be allowed to enjoy their freedom to acquire useful knowledge that will promote their personal growth. As
defined in a decision of the United States Supreme Court:

The term "liberty" means more than mere freedom from physical restraint or the bounds
of a prison. It means freedom to go where one may choose and to act in such a manner
not inconsistent with the equal rights of others, as his judgment may dictate for the
promotion of his happiness, to pursue such callings and vocations as may be most
suitable to develop his capacities, and giv to them their highest enjoyment. 23

Another evident objection to Resolution No. 105 is that it violates the academic freedom of the schools
concerned. Respondent PRC cannot interfere with the conduct of review that review schools and centers
believe would best enable their enrolees to meet the standards required before becoming a full fledged
public accountant. Unless the means or methods of instruction are clearly found to be inefficient,
impractical, or riddled with corruption, review schools and centers may not be stopped from helping out
their students. At this juncture, We call attention to Our pronouncement in Garcia vs. The Faculty
Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology, 24 regarding academic freedom to wit:

... It would follow then that the school or college itself is possessed of such a right. It
decides for itself its aims and objectives and how best to attain them. It is free from
outside coercion or interference save possibly when the overriding public welfare calls for
some restraint. It has a wide sphere of autonomy certainly extending to the choice of
students. This constitutional provision is not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a
grudging fashion.

Needless to say, the enforcement of Resolution No. 105 is not a guarantee that the alleged leakages in
the licensure examinations will be eradicated or at least minimized. Making the examinees suffer by
depriving them of legitimate means of review or preparation on those last three precious days-when they
should be refreshing themselves with all that they have learned in the review classes and preparing their
mental and psychological make-up for the examination day itself-would be like uprooting the tree to get
ride of a rotten branch. What is needed to be done by the respondent is to find out the source of such
leakages and stop it right there. If corrupt officials or personnel should be terminated from their loss, then
so be it. Fixers or swindlers should be flushed out. Strict guidelines to be observed by examiners should
be set up and if violations are committed, then licenses should be suspended or revoked. These are all
within the powers of the respondent commission as provided for in Presidential Decree No. 223. But by all
means the right and freedom of the examinees to avail of all legitimate means to prepare for the
examinations should not be curtailed.
In the light of the above, We hereby REVERSE and SET ASIDE, the decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 10591 and another judgment is hereby rendered declaring Resolution No. 105 null and
void and of no force and effect for being unconstitutional. This decision is immediately executory. No
costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-6791 March 29, 1954

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
QUE PO LAY, defendant-appellant.

Prudencio de Guzman for appellant.


First Assistant Solicitor General Ruperto Kapunan, Jr., and Solicitor Lauro G. Marquez for appellee.

MONTEMAYOR, J.:

Que Po Lay is appealing from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, finding him guilty of
violating Central Bank Circular No. 20 in connection with section 34 of Republic Act No. 265, and
sentencing him to suffer six months imprisonment, to pay a fine of P1,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in
case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.

The charge was that the appellant who was in possession of foreign exchange consisting of U.S. dollars,
U.S. checks and U.S. money orders amounting to about $7,000 failed to sell the same to the Central
Bank through its agents within one day following the receipt of such foreign exchange as required by
Circular No. 20. the appeal is based on the claim that said circular No. 20 was not published in the Official
Gazette prior to the act or omission imputed to the appellant, and that consequently, said circular had no
force and effect. It is contended that Commonwealth Act. No., 638 and Act 2930 both require said circular
to be published in the Official Gazette, it being an order or notice of general applicability. The Solicitor
General answering this contention says that Commonwealth Act. No. 638 and 2930 do not require the
publication in the Official Gazette of said circular issued for the implementation of a law in order to have
force and effect.

We agree with the Solicitor General that the laws in question do not require the publication of the
circulars, regulations and notices therein mentioned in order to become binding and effective. All that said
two laws provide is that laws, resolutions, decisions of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, notices
and documents required by law to be of no force and effect. In other words, said two Acts merely
enumerate and make a list of what should be published in the Official Gazette, presumably, for the
guidance of the different branches of the Government issuing same, and of the Bureau of Printing.

However, section 11 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that statutes passed by Congress shall,
in the absence of special provision, take effect at the beginning of the fifteenth day after the completion of
the publication of the statute in the Official Gazette. Article 2 of the new Civil Code (Republic Act No. 386)
equally provides that laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in
the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. It is true that Circular No. 20 of the Central Bank is
not a statute or law but being issued for the implementation of the law authorizing its issuance, it has the
force and effect of law according to settled jurisprudence. (See U.S. vs. Tupasi Molina, 29 Phil., 119 and
authorities cited therein.) Moreover, as a rule, circulars and regulations especially like the Circular No. 20
of the Central Bank in question which prescribes a penalty for its violation should be published before
becoming effective, this, on the general principle and theory that before the public is bound by its
contents, especially its penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the
people officially and specifically informed of said contents and its penalties.

Our Old Civil code, ( Spanish Civil Code of 1889) has a similar provision about the effectivity of laws,
(Article 1 thereof), namely, that laws shall be binding twenty days after their promulgation, and that their
promulgation shall be understood as made on the day of the termination of the publication of the laws in
the Gazette. Manresa, commenting on this article is of the opinion that the word "laws" include regulations
and circulars issued in accordance with the same. He says:

El Tribunal Supremo, ha interpretado el articulo 1. del codigo Civil en Sentencia de 22 de Junio


de 1910, en el sentido de que bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien
los Reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordenes dictadas de
conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad. Tambien el poder ejecutivo
lo ha venido entendiendo asi, como lo prueba el hecho de que muchas de sus disposiciones
contienen la advertencia de que empiezan a regir el mismo dia de su publicacion en la Gaceta,
advertencia que seria perfectamente inutil si no fuera de aplicacion al caso el articulo 1.o del
Codigo Civil. (Manresa, Codigo Civil Espaol, Vol. I. p. 52).

In the present case, although circular No. 20 of the Central Bank was issued in the year 1949, it was not
published until November 1951, that is, about 3 months after appellant's conviction of its violation. It is
clear that said circular, particularly its penal provision, did not have any legal effect and bound no one until
its publication in the Official Gazzette or after November 1951. In other words, appellant could not be held
liable for its violation, for it was not binding at the time he was found to have failed to sell the foreign
exchange in his possession thereof.

But the Solicitor General also contends that this question of non-publication of the Circular is being raised
for the first time on appeal in this Court, which cannot be done by appellant. Ordinarily, one may raise on
appeal any question of law or fact that has been raised in the court below and which is within the issues
made by the parties in their pleadings. (Section 19, Rule 48 of the Rules of Court). But the question of
non-publication is fundamental and decisive. If as a matter of fact Circular No. 20 had not been published
as required by law before its violation, then in the eyes of the law there was no such circular to be violated
and consequently appellant committed no violation of the circular or committed any offense, and the trial
court may be said to have had no jurisdiction. This question may be raised at any stage of the proceeding
whether or not raised in the court below.

In view of the foregoing, we reverse the decision appealed from and acquit the appellant, with costs de
oficio.

G.R. No. L-63915 December 29, 1986

LORENZO M. TA;ADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR


BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. (MABINI), petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON. JOAQUIN
VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President, MELQUIADES P. DE LA
CRUZ, ETC., ET AL., respondents.

RESOLUTION
CRUZ, J.:

Due process was invoked by the petitioners in demanding the disclosure of a number of presidential
decrees which they claimed had not been published as required by law. The government argued that
while publication was necessary as a rule, it was not so when it was "otherwise provided," as when the
decrees themselves declared that they were to become effective immediately upon their approval. In the
decision of this case on April 24, 1985, the Court affirmed the necessity for the publication of some of
these decrees, declaring in the dispositive portion as follows:

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all
unpublished presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so published,
they shall have no binding force and effect.

The petitioners are now before us again, this time to move for reconsideration/clarification of that
decision. 1Specifically, they ask the following questions:

1. What is meant by "law of public nature" or "general applicability"?

2. Must a distinction be made between laws of general applicability and laws which are not?

3. What is meant by "publication"?

4. Where is the publication to be made?

5. When is the publication to be made?

Resolving their own doubts, the petitioners suggest that there should be no distinction between laws of
general applicability and those which are not; that publication means complete publication; and that the
publication must be made forthwith in the Official Gazette. 2

In the Comment 3 required of the then Solicitor General, he claimed first that the motion was a request for
an advisory opinion and should therefore be dismissed, and, on the merits, that the clause "unless it is
otherwise provided" in Article 2 of the Civil Code meant that the publication required therein was not
always imperative; that publication, when necessary, did not have to be made in the Official Gazette; and
that in any case the subject decision was concurred in only by three justices and consequently not
binding. This elicited a Reply 4 refuting these arguments. Came next the February Revolution and the
Court required the new Solicitor General to file a Rejoinder in view of the supervening events, under Rule
3, Section 18, of the Rules of Court. Responding, he submitted that issuances intended only for the
internal administration of a government agency or for particular persons did not have to be 'Published;
that publication when necessary must be in full and in the Official Gazette; and that, however, the decision
under reconsideration was not binding because it was not supported by eight members of this Court. 5

The subject of contention is Article 2 of the Civil Code providing as follows:

ART. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in
the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take effect one year after
such publication.
After a careful study of this provision and of the arguments of the parties, both on the original petition and
on the instant motion, we have come to the conclusion and so hold, that the clause "unless it is otherwise
provided" refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself, which cannot in
any event be omitted. This clause does not mean that the legislature may make the law effective
immediately upon approval, or on any other date, without its previous publication.

Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion provide that the usual
fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended. An example, as pointed out by the present Chief
Justice in his separate concurrence in the original decision, 6 is the Civil Code which did not become
effective after fifteen days from its publication in the Official Gazette but "one year after such publication."
The general rule did not apply because it was "otherwise provided. "

It is not correct to say that under the disputed clause publication may be dispensed with altogether. The
reason. is that such omission would offend due process insofar as it would deny the public knowledge of
the laws that are supposed to govern the legislature could validly provide that a law e effective
immediately upon its approval notwithstanding the lack of publication (or after an unreasonably short
period after publication), it is not unlikely that persons not aware of it would be prejudiced as a result and
they would be so not because of a failure to comply with but simply because they did not know of its
existence, Significantly, this is not true only of penal laws as is commonly supposed. One can think of
many non-penal measures, like a law on prescription, which must also be communicated to the persons
they may affect before they can begin to operate.

We note at this point the conclusive presumption that every person knows the law, which of course
presupposes that the law has been published if the presumption is to have any legal justification at all. It
is no less important to remember that Section 6 of the Bill of Rights recognizes "the right of the people to
information on matters of public concern," and this certainly applies to, among others, and indeed
especially, the legislative enactments of the government.

The term "laws" should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application, for strictly speaking
all laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that do not apply to them directly. An
example is a law granting citizenship to a particular individual, like a relative of President Marcos who was
decreed instant naturalization. It surely cannot be said that such a law does not affect the public although
it unquestionably does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law is a matter of public
interest which any member of the body politic may question in the political forums or, if he is a proper
party, even in the courts of justice. In fact, a law without any bearing on the public would be invalid as an
intrusion of privacy or as class legislation or as an ultra vires act of the legislature. To be valid, the law
must invariably affect the public interest even if it might be directly applicable only to one individual, or
some of the people only, and t to the public as a whole.

We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published
as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different
effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.

Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the President in the
exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly delegated by the legislature or, at present,
directly conferred by the Constitution. administrative rules and regulations must a also be published if
their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.

Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the personnel of the
administrative agency and not the public, need not be published. Neither is publication required of the so-
called letters of instructions issued by administrative superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be
followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties.

Accordingly, even the charter of a city must be published notwithstanding that it applies to only a portion
of the national territory and directly affects only the inhabitants of that place. All presidential decrees must
be published, including even, say, those naming a public place after a favored individual or exempting him
from certain prohibitions or requirements. The circulars issued by the Monetary Board must be published
if they are meant not merely to interpret but to "fill in the details" of the Central Bank Act which that body is
supposed to enforce.

However, no publication is required of the instructions issued by, say, the Minister of Social Welfare on the
case studies to be made in petitions for adoption or the rules laid down by the head of a government
agency on the assignments or workload of his personnel or the wearing of office uniforms. Parenthetically,
municipal ordinances are not covered by this rule but by the Local Government Code.

We agree that publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is to inform the
public of the contents of the laws. As correctly pointed out by the petitioners, the mere mention of the
number of the presidential decree, the title of such decree, its whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary
Tuvera"), the supposed date of effectivity, and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot satisfy
the publication requirement. This is not even substantial compliance. This was the manner, incidentally, in
which the General Appropriations Act for FY 1975, a presidential decree undeniably of general
applicability and interest, was "published" by the Marcos administration. 7 The evident purpose was to
withhold rather than disclose information on this vital law.

Coming now to the original decision, it is true that only four justices were categorically for publication in
the Official Gazette 8 and that six others felt that publication could be made elsewhere as long as the
people were sufficiently informed. 9 One reserved his vote 10 and another merely acknowledged the need
for due publication without indicating where it should be made. 11 It is therefore necessary for the present
membership of this Court to arrive at a clear consensus on this matter and to lay down a binding decision
supported by the necessary vote.

There is much to be said of the view that the publication need not be made in the Official Gazette,
considering its erratic releases and limited readership. Undoubtedly, newspapers of general circulation
could better perform the function of communicating, the laws to the people as such periodicals are more
easily available, have a wider readership, and come out regularly. The trouble, though, is that this kind of
publication is not the one required or authorized by existing law. As far as we know, no amendment has
been made of Article 2 of the Civil Code. The Solicitor General has not pointed to such a law, and we
have no information that it exists. If it does, it obviously has not yet been published.

At any rate, this Court is not called upon to rule upon the wisdom of a law or to repeal or modify it if we
find it impractical. That is not our function. That function belongs to the legislature. Our task is merely to
interpret and apply the law as conceived and approved by the political departments of the government in
accordance with the prescribed procedure. Consequently, we have no choice but to pronounce that under
Article 2 of the Civil Code, the publication of laws must be made in the Official Gazett and not elsewhere,
as a requirement for their effectivity after fifteen days from such publication or after a different period
provided by the legislature.

We also hold that the publication must be made forthwith or at least as soon as possible, to give effect to
the law pursuant to the said Article 2. There is that possibility, of course, although not suggested by the
parties that a law could be rendered unenforceable by a mere refusal of the executive, for whatever
reason, to cause its publication as required. This is a matter, however, that we do not need to examine at
this time.

Finally, the claim of the former Solicitor General that the instant motion is a request for an advisory
opinion is untenable, to say the least, and deserves no further comment.

The days of the secret laws and the unpublished decrees are over. This is once again an open society,
with all the acts of the government subject to public scrutiny and available always to public cognizance.
This has to be so if our country is to remain democratic, with sovereignty residing in the people and all
government authority emanating from them.

Although they have delegated the power of legislation, they retain the authority to review the work of their
delegates and to ratify or reject it according to their lights, through their freedom of expression and their
right of suffrage. This they cannot do if the acts of the legislature are concealed.

Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the shadows with their
dark, deep secrets. Mysterious pronouncements and rumored rules cannot be recognized as binding
unless their existence and contents are confirmed by a valid publication intended to make full disclosure
and give proper notice to the people. The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that cannot feint parry or
cut unless the naked blade is drawn.

WHEREFORE, it is hereby declared that all laws as above defined shall immediately upon their approval,
or as soon thereafter as possible, be published in full in the Official Gazette, to become effective only after
fifteen days from their publication, or on another date specified by the legislature, in accordance with
Article 2 of the Civil Code.

SO ORDERED.

Teehankee, C.J., Feria, Yap, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Alampay, Gutierrez, Jr., and Paras, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-32166 October 18, 1977

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
HON. MAXIMO A. MACEREN CFI, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, JOSE BUENAVENTURA, GODOFREDO
REYES, BENJAMIN REYES, NAZARIO AQUINO and CARLO DEL ROSARIO, accused-appellees.

Office of the Solicitor General for appellant.

Rustics F. de los Reyes, Jr. for appellees.

AQUINO, J.:t.hqw

This is a case involving the validity of a 1967 regulation, penalizing electro fishing in fresh water fisheries,
promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Commissioner of Fisheries
under the old Fisheries Law and the law creating the Fisheries Commission.
On March 7, 1969 Jose Buenaventura, Godofredo Reyes, Benjamin Reyes, Nazario Aquino and Carlito
del Rosario were charged by a Constabulary investigator in the municipal court of Sta. Cruz, Laguna with
having violated Fisheries Administrative Order No. 84-1.

It was alleged in the complaint that the five accused in the morning of March 1, 1969 resorted to electro
fishing in the waters of Barrio San Pablo Norte, Sta. Cruz by "using their own motor banca, equipped with
motor; with a generator colored green with attached dynamo colored gray or somewhat white; and
electrocuting device locally known as sensored with a somewhat webbed copper wire on the tip or other
end of a bamboo pole with electric wire attachment which was attached to the dynamo direct and with the
use of these devices or equipments catches fish thru electric current, which destroy any aquatic animals
within its cuffed reach, to the detriment and prejudice of the populace" (Criminal Case No. 5429).

Upon motion of the accused, the municipal court quashed the complaint. The prosecution appealed. The
Court of First Instance of Laguna affirmed the order of dismissal (Civil Case No. SC-36). The case is now
before this Court on appeal by the prosecution under Republic Act No. 5440.

The lower court held that electro fishing cannot be penalize because electric current is not an obnoxious
or poisonous substance as contemplated in section I I of the Fisheries Law and that it is not a substance
at all but a form of energy conducted or transmitted by substances. The lower court further held that,
since the law does not clearly prohibit electro fishing, the executive and judicial departments cannot
consider it unlawful.

As legal background, it should be stated that section 11 of the Fisheries Law prohibits "the use of any
obnoxious or poisonous substance" in fishing.

Section 76 of the same law punishes any person who uses an obnoxious or poisonous substance in
fishing with a fine of not more than five hundred pesos nor more than five thousand, and by imprisonment
for not less than six months nor more than five years.

It is noteworthy that the Fisheries Law does not expressly punish .electro fishing." Notwithstanding the
silence of the law, the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, upon the recommendation of the
Commissioner of Fisheries, promulgated Fisheries Administrative Order No. 84 (62 O.G. 1224),
prohibiting electro fishing in all Philippine waters. The order is quoted below: +.wph!1

SUBJECT: PROHIBITING ELECTRO FISHING IN ALL WATERS +.wph!1

OF THE PHILIPPINES.

Pursuant to Section 4 of Act No. 4003, as amended, and Section 4 of R.A. No. 3512, the following rules
and regulations regarding the prohibition of electro fishing in all waters of the Philippines are promulgated
for the information and guidance of all concerned.+.wph!1

SECTION 1. Definition. Words and terms used in this Order 11 construed as


follows:

(a) Philippine waters or territorial waters of the Philippines' includes all waters of the
Philippine Archipelago, as defined in the t between the United States and Spain, dated
respectively the tenth of December, eighteen hundred ninety eight and the seventh of
November, nineteen hundred. For the purpose of this order, rivers, lakes and other
bodies of fresh waters are included.
(b) Electro Fishing. Electro fishing is the catching of fish with the use of electric
current. The equipment used are of many electrical devices which may be battery or
generator-operated and from and available source of electric current.

(c) 'Persons' includes firm, corporation, association, agent or employee.

(d) 'Fish' includes other aquatic products.

SEC. 2. Prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in electro fishing
or to catch fish by the use of electric current in any portion of the Philippine waters except
for research, educational and scientific purposes which must be covered by a permit
issued by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources which shall be carried at all
times.

SEC. 3. Penalty. Any violation of the provisions of this Administrative Order shall
subject the offender to a fine of not exceeding five hundred pesos (P500.00) or
imprisonment of not extending six (6) months or both at the discretion of the Court.

SEC. 4. Repealing Provisions. All administrative orders or parts thereof inconsistent


with the provisions of this Administrative Order are hereby revoked.

SEC. 5. Effectivity. This Administrative Order shall take effect six (60) days after its
publication in the Office Gazette.

On June 28, 1967 the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, upon the recommendation of the
Fisheries Commission, issued Fisheries Administrative Order No. 84-1, amending section 2 of
Administrative Order No. 84, by restricting the ban against electro fishing to fresh water fisheries (63 O.G.
9963).

Thus, the phrase "in any portion of the Philippine waters" found in section 2, was changed by the
amendatory order to read as follows: "in fresh water fisheries in the Philippines, such as rivers, lakes,
swamps, dams, irrigation canals and other bodies of fresh water."

The Court of First Instance and the prosecution (p. 11 of brief) assumed that electro fishing is punishable
under section 83 of the Fisheries Law (not under section 76 thereof), which provides that any other
violation of that law "or of any rules and regulations promulgated thereunder shall subject the offender to
a fine of not more than two hundred pesos (P200), or in t for not more than six months, or both, in the
discretion of the court."

That assumption is incorrect because 3 of the aforequoted Administrative Order No. 84 imposes a fm of
not exceeding P500 on a person engaged in electro fishing, which amount the 83. It seems that the
Department of Fisheries prescribed their own penalty for swift fishing which penalty is less than the
severe penalty imposed in section 76 and which is not Identified to the at penalty imposed in section 83.

Had Administrative Order No. 84 adopted the fighter penalty prescribed in on 83, then the crime of electro
fishing would be within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the inferior court (Sec. 44 [f], Judiciary Law;
People vs. Ragasi, L-28663, September 22,

We have discussed this pre point, not raised in the briefs, because it is obvious that the crime of electro
fishing which is punishable with a sum up to P500, falls within the concurrent original jurisdiction of the
inferior courts and the Court of First instance (People vs. Nazareno, L-40037, April 30, 1976, 70 SCRA
531 and the cases cited therein).

And since the instant case was filed in the municipal court of Sta. Cruz, Laguna, a provincial capital, the
order of d rendered by that municipal court was directly appealable to the Court, not to the Court of First
Instance of Laguna (Sec. 45 and last par. of section 87 of the Judiciary Law; Esperat vs. Avila, L-25992,
June 30, 1967, 20 SCRA 596).

It results that the Court of First Instance of Laguna had no appellate jurisdiction over the case. Its order
affirming the municipal court's order of dismissal is void for lack of motion. This appeal shall be treated as
a direct appeal from the municipal court to this Court. (See People vs. Del Rosario, 97 Phil. 67).

In this appeal, the prosecution argues that Administrative Orders Nos. 84 and 84-1 were not issued under
section 11 of the Fisheries Law which, as indicated above, punishes fishing by means of an obnoxious or
poisonous substance. This contention is not well-taken because, as already stated, the Penal provision of
Administrative Order No. 84 implies that electro fishing is penalized as a form of fishing by means of an
obnoxious or poisonous substance under section 11.

The prosecution cites as the legal sanctions for the prohibition against electro fishing in fresh water
fisheries (1) the rule-making power of the Department Secretary under section 4 of the Fisheries Law; (2)
the function of the Commissioner of Fisheries to enforce the provisions of the Fisheries Law and the
regulations Promulgated thereunder and to execute the rules and regulations consistent with the purpose
for the creation of the Fisheries Commission and for the development of fisheries (Sec. 4[c] and [h]
Republic Act No. 3512; (3) the declared national policy to encourage, Promote and conserve our fishing
resources (Sec. 1, Republic Act No. 3512), and (4) section 83 of the Fisheries Law which provides that
"any other violation of" the Fisheries Law or of any rules and regulations promulgated thereunder "shall
subject the offender to a fine of not more than two hundred pesos, or imprisonment for not more than six
months, or both, in the discretion of the court."

As already pointed out above, the prosecution's reference to section 83 is out of place because the
penalty for electro fishing under Administrative order No. 84 is not the same as the penalty fixed in section
83.

We are of the opinion that the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Commissioner of
Fisheries exceeded their authority in issuing Fisheries Administrative Orders Nos. 84 and 84-1 and that
those orders are not warranted under the Fisheries Commission, Republic Act No. 3512.

The reason is that the Fisheries Law does not expressly prohibit electro fishing. As electro fishing is not
banned under that law, the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Commissioner of
Fisheries are powerless to penalize it. In other words, Administrative Orders Nos. 84 and 84-1, in
penalizing electro fishing, are devoid of any legal basis.

Had the lawmaking body intended to punish electro fishing, a penal provision to that effect could have
been easily embodied in the old Fisheries Law.

That law punishes (1) the use of obnoxious or poisonous substance, or explosive in fishing; (2) unlawful
fishing in deepsea fisheries; (3) unlawful taking of marine molusca, (4) illegal taking of sponges; (5) failure
of licensed fishermen to report the kind and quantity of fish caught, and (6) other violations.

Nowhere in that law is electro fishing specifically punished. Administrative Order No. 84, in punishing
electro fishing, does not contemplate that such an offense fails within the category of "other violations"
because, as already shown, the penalty for electro fishing is the penalty next lower to the penalty for
fishing with the use of obnoxious or poisonous substances, fixed in section 76, and is not the same as the
penalty for "other violations" of the law and regulations fixed in section 83 of the Fisheries Law.

The lawmaking body cannot delegate to an executive official the power to declare what acts should
constitute an offense. It can authorize the issuance of regulations and the imposition of the penalty
provided for in the law itself. (People vs. Exconde 101 Phil. 11 25, citing 11 Am. Jur. 965 on p. 11 32).

Originally, Administrative Order No. 84 punished electro fishing in all waters. Later, the ban against electro
fishing was confined to fresh water fisheries. The amendment created the impression that electro fishing
is not condemnable per se. It could be tolerated in marine waters. That circumstances strengthens the
view that the old law does not eschew all forms of electro fishing.

However, at present, there is no more doubt that electro fishing is punishable under the Fisheries Law
and that it cannot be penalized merely by executive revolution because Presidential Decree No. 704,
which is a revision and consolidation of all laws and decrees affecting fishing and fisheries and which was
promulgated on May 16, 1975 (71 O.G. 4269), expressly punishes electro fishing in fresh water and salt
water areas.

That decree provides: +.wph!1

SEC. 33. Illegal fishing, dealing in illegally caught fish or fishery/aquatic products. It
shall he unlawful for any person to catch, take or gather or cause to be caught, taken or
gathered fish or fishery/aquatic products in Philippine waters with the use of explosives,
obnoxious or poisonous substance, or by the use of electricity as defined in paragraphs
(1), (m) and (d), respectively, of Section 3 hereof: ...

The decree Act No. 4003, as amended, Republic Acts Nos. 428, 3048, 3512 and 3586, Presidential
Decrees Nos. 43, 534 and 553, and all , Acts, Executive Orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof
inconsistent with it (Sec. 49, P. D. No. 704).

The inclusion in that decree of provisions defining and penalizing electro fishing is a clear recognition of
the deficiency or silence on that point of the old Fisheries Law. It is an admission that a mere executive
regulation is not legally adequate to penalize electro fishing.

Note that the definition of electro fishing, which is found in section 1 (c) of Fisheries Administrative Order
No. 84 and which is not provided for the old Fisheries Law, is now found in section 3(d) of the decree.
Note further that the decree penalty electro fishing by "imprisonment from two (2) to four (4) years", a
punishment which is more severe than the penalty of a time of not excluding P500 or imprisonment of not
more than six months or both fixed in section 3 of Fisheries Administrative Order No. 84.

An examination of the rule-making power of executive officials and administrative agencies and, in
particular, of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (now Secretary of Natural Resources)
under the Fisheries Law sustains the view that he ex his authority in penalizing electro fishing by means
of an administrative order.

Administrative agent are clothed with rule-making powers because the lawmaking body finds it
impracticable, if not impossible, to anticipate and provide for the multifarious and complex situations that
may be encountered in enforcing the law. All that is required is that the regulation should be germane to
the defects and purposes of the law and that it should conform to the standards that the law prescribes
(People vs. Exconde 101 Phil. 1125; Director of Forestry vs. Mu;oz, L-24796, June 28, 1968, 23 SCRA
1183, 1198; Geukeko vs. Araneta, 102 Phil. 706, 712).

The lawmaking body cannot possibly provide for all the details in the enforcement of a particular statute
(U.S. vs. Tupasi Molina, 29 Phil. 119, 125, citing U.S. vs. Grimaud 220 U.S. 506; Interprovincial Autobus
Co., Inc. vs. Coll. of Internal Revenue, 98 Phil. 290, 295-6).

The grant of the rule-making power to administrative agencies is a relaxation of the principle of separation
of powers and is an exception to the nondeleption of legislative, powers. Administrative regulations or
"subordinate legislation calculated to promote the public interest are necessary because of "the growing
complexity of modem life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulations, and the
increased difficulty of administering the law" Calalang vs. Williams, 70 Phil. 726; People vs. Rosenthal
and Osme;a, 68 Phil. 328).

Administrative regulations adopted under legislative authority by a particular department must be in


harmony with the provisions of the law, and should be for the sole purpose of carrying into effect its
general provisions. By such regulations, of course, the law itself cannot be extended. (U.S. vs. Tupasi
Molina, supra). An administrative agency cannot amend an act of Congress (Santos vs. Estenzo, 109
Phil. 419, 422; Teoxon vs. Members of the d of Administrators, L-25619, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA 585;
Manuel vs. General Auditing Office, L-28952, December 29, 1971, 42 SCRA 660; Deluao vs. Casteel, L-
21906, August 29, 1969, 29 SCRA 350).

The rule-making power must be confined to details for regulating the mode or proceeding to carry into
effect the law as it his been enacted. The power cannot be extended to amending or expanding the
statutory requirements or to embrace matters not covered by the statute. Rules that subvert the statute
cannot be sanctioned. (University of Santo Tomas vs. Board of Tax A 93 Phil. 376, 382, citing 12 C.J. 845-
46. As to invalid regulations, see of Internal Revenue vs. Villaflor 69 Phil. 319, Wise & Co. vs. Meer, 78
Phil. 655, 676; Del March vs. Phil. Veterans Administrative, L-27299, June 27, 1973, 51 SCRA 340, 349).

There is no question that the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources has rule-making powers.
Section 4 of the Fisheries law provides that the Secretary "shall from time to time issue instructions,
orders, and regulations consistent" with that law, "as may be and proper to carry into effect the provisions
thereof." That power is now vested in the Secretary of Natural Resources by on 7 of the Revised
Fisheries law, Presidential December No. 704.

Section 4(h) of Republic Act No. 3512 empower the Co of Fisheries "to prepare and execute upon the
approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, forms instructions, rules and regulations
consistent with the purpose" of that enactment "and for the development of fisheries."

Section 79(B) of the Revised Administrative Code provides that "the Department Head shall have the
power to promulgate, whenever he may see fit do so, all rules, regulates, orders, memorandums, and
other instructions, not contrary to law, to regulate the proper working and harmonious and efficient
administration of each and all of the offices and dependencies of his Department, and for the strict
enforcement and proper execution of the laws relative to matters under the jurisdiction of said
Department; but none of said rules or orders shall prescribe penalties for the violation thereof, except as
expressly authorized by law."

Administrative regulations issued by a Department Head in conformity with law have the force of law
(Valerie vs. Secretary of culture and Natural Resources, 117 Phil. 729, 733; Antique Sawmills, Inc. vs.
Zayco, L- 20051, May 30, 1966, 17 SCRA 316). As he exercises the rule-making power by delegation of
the lawmaking body, it is a requisite that he should not transcend the bound demarcated by the statute for
the exercise of that power; otherwise, he would be improperly exercising legislative power in his own right
and not as a surrogate of the lawmaking body.

Article 7 of the Civil Code embodies the basic principle that administrative or executive acts, orders and
regulations shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution."

As noted by Justice Fernando, "except for constitutional officials who can trace their competence to act to
the fundamental law itself, a public office must be in the statute relied upon a grant of power before he
can exercise it." "department zeal may not be permitted to outrun the authority conferred by statute."
(Radio Communications of the Philippines, Inc. vs. Santiago, L-29236, August 21, 1974, 58 SCRA 493,
496-8).

"Rules and regulations when promulgated in pursuance of the procedure or authority conferred upon the
administrative agency by law, partake of the nature of a statute, and compliance therewith may be
enforced by a penal sanction provided in the law. This is so because statutes are usually couched in
general terms, after expressing the policy, purposes, objectives, remedies and sanctions intended by the
legislature. The details and the manner of carrying out the law are oftentimes left to the administrative
agency entrusted with its enforcement. In this sense, it has been said that rules and regulations are the
product of a delegated power to create new or additional legal provisions that have the effect of law." The
rule or regulation should be within the scope of the statutory authority granted by the legislature to the
administrative agency. (Davis, Administrative Law, p. 194, 197, cited in Victories Milling Co., Inc. vs.
Social Security Commission, 114 Phil. 555, 558).

In case of discrepancy between the basic law and a rule or regulation issued to implement said law, the
basic law prevails because said rule or regulation cannot go beyond the terms and provisions of the basic
law (People vs. Lim, 108 Phil. 1091).

This Court in its decision in the Lim case, supra, promulgated on July 26, 1960, called the attention of
technical men in the executive departments, who draft rules and regulations, to the importance and
necessity of closely following the legal provisions which they intend to implement so as to avoid any
possible misunderstanding or confusion.

The rule is that the violation of a regulation prescribed by an executive officer of the government in
conformity with and based upon a statute authorizing such regulation constitutes an offense and renders
the offender liable to punishment in accordance with the provisions of the law (U.S. vs. Tupasi Molina, 29
Phil. 119, 124).

In other words, a violation or infringement of a rule or regulation validly issued can constitute a crime
punishable as provided in the authorizing statute and by virtue of the latter (People vs. Exconde 101 Phil.
1125, 1132).

It has been held that "to declare what shall constitute a crime and how it shall be punished is a power
vested exclusively in the legislature, and it may not be delegated to any other body or agency" (1 Am. Jur.
2nd, sec. 127, p. 938; Texas Co. vs. Montgomery, 73 F. Supp. 527).

In the instant case the regulation penalizing electro fishing is not strictly in accordance with the Fisheries
Law, under which the regulation was issued, because the law itself does not expressly punish electro
fishing.
The instant case is similar to People vs. Santos, 63 Phil. 300. The Santos case involves section 28 of
Fish and Game Administrative Order No. 2 issued by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources
pursuant to the aforementioned section 4 of the Fisheries Law.

Section 28 contains the proviso that a fishing boat not licensed under the Fisheries Law and under the
said administrative order may fish within three kilometers of the shoreline of islands and reservations over
which jurisdiction is exercised by naval and military reservations authorities of the United States only upon
receiving written permission therefor, which permission may be granted by the Secretary upon
recommendation of the military or naval authorities concerned. A violation of the proviso may be
proceeded against under section 45 of the Federal Penal Code.

Augusto A. Santos was prosecuted under that provision in the Court of First Instance of Cavite for having
caused his two fishing boats to fish, loiter and anchor without permission from the Secretary within three
kilometers from the shoreline of Corrigidor Island.

This Court held that the Fisheries Law does not prohibit boats not subject to license from fishing within
three kilometers of the shoreline of islands and reservations over which jurisdiction is exercised by naval
and military authorities of the United States, without permission from the Secretary of Agriculture and
Natural Resources upon recommendation of the military and naval authorities concerned.

As the said law does not penalize the act mentioned in section 28 of the administrative order, the
promulgation of that provision by the Secretary "is equivalent to legislating on the matter, a power which
has not been and cannot be delegated to him, it being expressly reserved" to the lawmaking body. "Such
an act constitutes not only an excess of the regulatory power conferred upon the Secretary but also an
exercise of a legislative power which he does not have, and therefore" the said provision "is null and void
and without effect". Hence, the charge against Santos was dismiss.

A penal statute is strictly construed. While an administrative agency has the right to make ranks and
regulations to carry into effect a law already enacted, that power should not be confused with the power to
enact a criminal statute. An administrative agency can have only the administrative or policing powers
expressly or by necessary implication conferred upon it. (Glustrom vs. State, 206 Ga. 734, 58 Second 2d
534; See 2 Am. Jr. 2nd 129-130).

Where the legislature has delegated to executive or administrative officers and boards authority to
promulgate rules to carry out an express legislative purpose, the rules of administrative officers and
boards, which have the effect of extending, or which conflict with the authority granting statute, do not
represent a valid precise of the rule-making power but constitute an attempt by an administrative body to
legislate (State vs. Miles, Wash. 2nd 322, 105 Pac. 2nd 51).

In a prosecution for a violation of an administrative order, it must clearly appear that the order is one
which falls within the scope of the authority conferred upon the administrative body, and the order will be
scrutinized with special care. (State vs. Miles supra).

The Miles case involved a statute which authorized the State Game Commission "to adopt, promulgate,
amend and/or repeal, and enforce reasonable rules and regulations governing and/or prohibiting
the taking of the various classes of game.

Under that statute, the Game Commission promulgated a rule that "it shall be unlawful to offer, pay or
receive any reward, prize or compensation for the hunting, pursuing, taking, killing or displaying of any
game animal, game bird or game fish or any part thereof."
Beryl S. Miles, the owner of a sporting goods store, regularly offered a ten-down cash prize to the person
displaying the largest deer in his store during the open for hunting such game animals. For that act, he
was charged with a violation of the rule Promulgated by the State Game Commission.

It was held that there was no statute penalizing the display of game. What the statute penalized was the
taking of game. If the lawmaking body desired to prohibit the display of game, it could have readily said
so. It was not lawful for the administrative board to extend or modify the statute. Hence, the indictment
against Miles was quashed. The Miles case is similar to this case.

WHEREFORE, the lower court's decision of June 9, 1970 is set aside for lack of appellate jurisdiction and
the order of dismissal rendered by the municipal court of Sta. Cruz, Laguna in Criminal Case No. 5429 is
affirmed. Costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-9876 December 8, 1914

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ADRIANO PANLILIO, defendant-appellant.

Pedro Abad Santos for appellant.


Office of the Solicitor General Corpus for appellee.

MORELAND, J.:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Pampanga convicting
the accused of a violation of the law relating to the quarantining of animals suffering from dangerous
communicable or contagious diseases and sentencing him to pay a fine of P40, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs of the trial.

The information charges: "That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1913, all of the carabaos belonging
to the above-named accused having been exposed to the dangerous and contagious disease known as
rinderpest, were, in accordance with an order of duly-authorized agent of the Director of Agriculture, duly
quarantined in a corral in the barrio of Masamat, municipality of Mexico, Province of Pampanga, P. I.; that,
on said place, the said accused, Adriano Panlilio, illegally and voluntarily and without being authorized so
to do, and while the quarantine against said carabaos was still in force, permitted and ordered said
carabaos to be taken from the corral in which they were then quarantined and conducted from one place
to another; that by virtue of said orders of the accused, his servants and agents took the said carabaos
from the said corral and drove them from one place to another for the purpose of working them."

The defendant demurred to this information on the ground that the acts complained of did not constitute a
crime. The demurrer was overruled and the defendant duly excepted and pleaded not guilty.

From the evidence introduced by the prosecution on the trial of the cause it appears that the defendant
was notified in writing on February 22, 1913, by a duly authorized agent of the Director of agriculture, that
all of his carabaos in the barrio of Masamat, municipality of Mexico, Pampanga Province, had been
exposed to the disease commonly known as rinderpest, and that said carabaos were accordingly
declared under quarantine, and were ordered kept in a corral designated by an agent of the Bureau of
Agriculture and were to remain there until released by further order of the Director of Agriculture.

It further appears from the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution that the defendant fully
understood that, according to the orders of the Bureau of Agriculture, he was not to remove the animals,
or to permit anyone else to remove them, from the quarantine in which they had been placed. In spite,
however, of all this, the carabaos were taken from the corral by the commands of the accused and driven
from place to place on his hacienda, and were used as work animals thereon in the same manner as if
they had not been quarantined.

The contention of the accused is that the facts alleged in the information and proved on the trial do not
constitute a violation of Act No. 1760 or any portion thereof.

We are forced to agree with this contention.1awphil.net

The original information against the accused charged a violation of section 6 of Act No. 1760 committed
by the accused in that he ordered and permitted his carabaos, which, at the time, were in quarantine, to
be taken from quarantine and moved from one place to another on his hacienda. An amended information
was filed. It failed, however, to specify that section of Act No. 1760 alleged to have been violated,
evidently leaving that to be ascertained by the court on the trial.

The only sections of Act No. 1760, which prohibit acts and pronounce them unlawful are 3, 4 and 5. This
case does not fall within any of them. Section 3 provides, in effect, that it shall be unlawful for any person,
firm, or corporation knowingly to ship or otherwise bring into the Philippine Islands any animal suffering
from, infected with, or dead of any dangerous communicable disease, or any of the effects pertaining to
such animal which are liable to introduce such disease into the Philippine Islands. Section 4 declares,
substantially, that it shall be unlawful for any reason, firm, or corporation knowingly to ship, drive or
otherwise take or transport from one island, province, municipality, township, or settlement to another any
domestic animal suffering from any dangerous communicable diseased or to expose such animal either
alive or dead on any public road or highway where it may come in contact with other domestic animals.
Section 5 provides that whenever the Secretary of the Interior shall declare that a dangerous
communicable animal disease prevails in any island, province, municipality, township, or settlement and
that there is danger of spreading such disease by shipping, driving or otherwise transporting or taking out
of such island, province, municipality, township, or settlement any class of domestic animal, it shall be
unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to ship, drive or otherwise remove the kind of animals so
specified from such locality except when accompanied by a certificate issued by authority of the Director
of Agriculture stating the number and the kind of animals to be shipped, driven, taken or transported, their
destination, manner in which they are authorized to be shipped, driven, taken, or transported, and their
brands and distinguishing marks.

A simple reading of these sections demonstrates clearly that the case at bar does not fall within any of
them. There is no question here of importation and there is no charge or proof that the animals in
question were suffering from a dangerous communicable disease or that the Secretary of the Interior had
made the declaration provided for in section 5 or that the accused had driven or taken said animals from
one island, province, municipality, township or settlement to another. It was alleged had been exposed to
a dangerous communicable disease and that they had been placed in a corral in quarantine on the
premises of the accused and that he, in violation of the quarantine, had taken them from the corral and
worked them upon the lands adjoining. They had not been in highway nor moved from one municipality or
settlement to another. They were left upon defendant's hacienda, where they were quarantined, and there
worked by the servants of the accused.
The Solicitor-General in his brief in this court admits that the sections referred to are not applicable to the
case at bar and also admits that section 7 of said Act is not applicable. This section provides: "Whenever
the Director of Agriculture shall order any animal placed in quarantine in accordance with the provisions of
this Act, the owner of such animal, or his agent, shall deliver it at the place designated for the quarantine
and shall provide it with proper food, water, and attendance. Should the owner or his agent fail to comply
with this requirement the Director of Agriculture may furnish supplies and attendance needed, and the
reasonable cost of such supplies and attendance shall be collectible from the owner or his agent."

We are in accord with the opinion expressed by the Solicitor-General with respect to this section, as we
are with his opinion as to sections 3, 4, and 5. the law nowhere makes it a penal offense to refuse to
comply with the provisions of section 7, nor is the section itself so phrased as to warrant the conclusion
that it was intended to be a penal section. The section provides the means by which the refusal of the
owner to comply therewith shall be overcome and the punishment, if we may call it punishment, which he
shall receive by reason of that refusal. It has none of the aspects of a penal provision or the form or
substance of such provision. It does not prohibit any act. It does not compel an act nor does it really
punish or impose a criminal penalty. The other sections of the law under which punishments may be
inflicted are so phrased as to make the prohibited act unlawful, and section 8 provides the punishment for
any act declared unlawful by the law.

The Solicitor-General suggests, but does not argue, that section 6 is applicable to the case at bar. Section
6 simply authorizes the Director of Agriculture to do certain things, among them, paragraph (c) "to require
that animals which are suffering from dangerous communicable diseases or have been exposed thereto
be placed in quarantine at such place and for such time as may be deemed by him necessary to prevent
the spread of the disease." Nowhere in the law, however, is the violation of the orders of the Bureau of
Agriculture prohibited or made unlawful, nor is there provided any punishment for a violation of such
orders. Section 8 provides that "any person violating any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon
conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment for not more
than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court, for each offense." A
violation of the orders of the Bureau of Agriculture, as authorized by paragraph (c), is not a violation of the
provision of the Act. The orders of the Bureau of Agriculture, while they may possibly be said to have the
force of law, are statutes and particularly not penal statutes, and a violation of such orders is not a penal
offense unless the statute itself somewhere makes a violation thereof unlawful and penalizes it. Nowhere
in Act No. 1760 is a violation of the orders of the Bureau of Agriculture made a penal offense, nor is such
violation punished in any way therein.

Finally, it is contended by the Government that if the offense stated in the information and proved upon
the trial does not constitute a violation of any of the provisions of Act No. 1760, it does constitute a
violation of article 581, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code. It provides:

A fine of not less than fifteen and not more than seventy pesetas and censure shall be imposed
upon: . . .

2. Any person who shall violate the regulations, ordinances, or proclamations issued with
reference to any epedemic disease among animals, the extermination of locusts, or any other
similar plague.1awphil.net

It alleged in the information and was proved on the trial that the Bureau of agriculture had ordered a
quarantine of the carabaos at the time and place mentioned; that the quarantine had been executed and
completed and the animals actually segregated and confined; that the accused, in violation of such
quarantine and of the orders of the Bureau of Agriculture, duly promulgated, broke the quarantine,
removed the animals and used them in the ordinary work of his plantation. We consider these acts a plain
violation of the article of the Penal Code as above quoted. The fact that the information in its preamble
charged a violation of act No. 1760 does not prevent us from finding the accused guilty of a violation of an
article of the Penal Code. The complaint opens as follows: "The undersigned accuses Adriano Panlilio of
a violation of Act No. 1760, committed as follows:" Then follows the body of the information already
quoted in this opinion. We would not permit an accused to be convicted under one Act when he is
charged with the violation of another, if the change from one statute to another involved a change of the
theory of the trial or required of the defendant a different defense or surprised him in any other way. The
allegations required under Act No. 1760 include those required under article 581. The accused could have
defended himself in no different manner if he had been expressly charged with a violation of article 581.

In the case of United States vs. Paua (6 Phil. Rep., 740), the information stating the facts upon which the
charge was founded terminated with his expression: "In violation of section 315 of Act No. 355 of the
Philippine Commission, in effect on the 6th of February, 1902."

In the resolution of this case the Supreme Court found that the facts set forth in the information and
proved on the trial did not constitute a violation of section 315 of Act No. 355 as alleged in the information,
but did constitute a violation of article 387 in connection with article 383 of the Penal Code, and
accordingly convicted the accused under those articles and sentenced him to the corresponding penalty.

In that case the court said: "The foregoing facts, duly established as they were by the testimony of
credible witnesses who heard and saw everything that occurred, show beyond peradventure of doubt that
the crime of attempted bribery, as defined in article 387, in connection with article 383 of the Penal Code,
has been committed, it being immaterial whether it is alleged in the complaint that section 315 of Act No.
355 of the Philippine Commission was violated by the defendant, as the same recites facts and
circumstances sufficient to constitute the crime of bribery as defined and punished in the aforesaid
articles of the Penal Code." (U. S. vs. Lim San, 17 Phil. Rep., 273; U.S. vs. Jeffrey, 15 Phil. Rep., 391; U.
S. vs. Guzman, 25 Phil. Rep., 22.)

The accused is accordingly convicted of a violation of article 581, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code, and is
sentenced to pay a fine of seventy pesetas (P14) and censure, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, and the costs of this appeal. So ordered.

PEOPLE V SANTOS

SECOND DIVISION

THE HONORABLE SECRETARY VINCENT S. G.R. No. 159149


PEREZ, in his capacity as the Secretary of the
Department of Energy, Present:
Petitioner,
QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson,
CARPIO,
CARPIO MORALES,
- versus -
TINGA, and
VELASCO, JR., JJ.

LPG REFILLERS ASSOCIATION OF THE


Promulgated:
PHILIPPINES, INC.,
Respondent.
August 28, 2007
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x

RESOLUTION

QUISUMBING, J.:

In its Motion for Reconsideration, [1] respondent LPG Refillers Association of the Philippines, Inc.
seeks the reversal of this Courts Decision [2] dated June 26, 2006, which upheld the validity of the assailed
Department of Energy (DOE) Circular No. 2000-06-10.

In assailing the validity of the Circular, respondent argues that:


I. Circular No. 2000-06-010 (the assailed Circular) listed prohibited acts and
punishable offenses which are brand-new or which were not provided for by B.P.
Blg. 33, as amended; and that B.P. Blg. 33 enumerated and specifically defined
the prohibited/punishable acts under the law and that the punishable offenses in
the assailed Circular are not included in the law.

II. The petitioner-appellant admitted that the assailed Circular listed prohibited
acts and punishable offenses which are brand-new or which were not provided
for by B.P. Blg. 33, as amended.

III. B.P. Blg. 33, as amended, is in the form of a penal statute that should be
construed strictly against the State.

IV. The assailed Circular not only prescribed penalties for acts not
prohibited/penalized under B.P. Blg. 33, as amended, but also prescribed
penalties exceeding the ceiling prescribed by B.P. Blg. 33, as amended.

V. The Honorable Court failed to consider that the imposition by the assailed
Circular of penalty on per cylinder basis made the imposable penalty under the
assailed Circular exceed the limits prescribed by B.P. Blg. 33, as amended.

VI. The Honorable Court failed to rule on the position of the respondent-appellee
that the amount of imposable fine prescribed under the assailed Circular is
excessive to the extent of being confiscatory and thus offends the Bill of Rights of
the 1987 Constitution.

VII. The noble and laudable aim of the Government to protect the general
consuming public against the nefarious practices of some [un]scrupulous
individuals in the LPG industry should be achieved through means in accord with
existing law.[3]

The assigned errors, being closely allied, will be discussed jointly.

On the first, second and third grounds, respondent argues that the Circular prohibited new acts
not specified in Batas Pambansa Bilang 33, as amended.Respondent insists that since B.P. Blg. 33, as
amended is a penal statute, it already criminalizes the specific acts involving petroleum
products. Respondent invokes the void for vagueness doctrine in assailing our decision, quoted in this
wise:

The Circular satisfies the first requirement. B.P. Blg. 33, as amended,
criminalizes illegal trading, adulteration, underfilling, hoarding, and overpricing of
petroleum products. Under this general description of what constitutes criminal acts
involving petroleum products, the Circular merely lists the various modes by
which the said criminal acts may be perpetrated, namely: no price display board, no
weighing scale, no tare weight or incorrect tare weight markings, no authorized LPG seal,
no trade name, unbranded LPG cylinders, no serial number, no distinguishing color, no
embossed identifying markings on cylinder, underfilling LPG cylinders, tampering LPG
cylinders, and unauthorized decanting of LPG cylinders [4] (Emphasis supplied.)

Respondent misconstrues our decision. A criminal statute is not rendered uncertain and void
because general terms are used therein. The lawmakers have no positive constitutional or statutory duty
to define each and every word in an enactment, as long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can be
gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in B.P. Blg. 33, as amended. [5] Thus,
respondents reliance on the void for vagueness doctrine is misplaced.

Demonstrably, the specific acts and omissions cited in the Circular are within the contemplation of
the B.P. Blg. 33, as amended. The DOE, in issuing the Circular, merely filled up the details and the
manner through which B.P. Blg. 33, as amended may be carried out. Nothing extraneous was provided in
the Circular that could result in its invalidity.

On the fourth, fifth and sixth grounds, respondent avers that the penalties imposed in the Circular
exceeded the ceiling prescribed by B.P. Blg. 33, as amended.Respondent contends that the Circular, in
providing penalties on a per cylinder basis, is no longer regulatory, but already confiscatory in nature.

Respondents position is untenable. The Circular is not confiscatory in providing penalties on a per
cylinder basis. Those penalties do not exceed the ceiling prescribed in Section 4 of B.P. Blg. 33, as
amended, which penalizes any person who commits any act [t]herein prohibited. Thus, violation on a per
cylinder basis falls within the phrase any act as mandated in Section 4. To provide the same penalty for
one who violates a prohibited act in B.P. Blg. 33, as amended, regardless of the number of cylinders
involved would result in an indiscriminate, oppressive and impractical operation of B.P. Blg. 33, as
amended. The equal protection clause demands that all persons subject to such legislation shall be
treated alike, under like circumstances and conditions, both in the privileges conferred and in the
liabilities imposed.

All other arguments of respondent having been passed upon in our June 26, 2006 Decision, we
uphold the validity of DOE Circular No. 2000-06-010 sought to implement B.P. Blg. 33, as amended.

WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration by respondent is hereby DENIED with definite
finality. No further pleadings will be entertained.
SO ORDERED.