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ALFREDO M. DE LEON vs. HON. BENHAMIN B.

ESGUERRA (153 SCRA 602) Case Digest

Facts:

In 1982, Alfredo M. De Leon was elected as Baranggay Captain along with the other petitioners as Barangay Councilmen of
Baranggay Dolores, Taytay, Rizal. On February 9, 1987, he received a Memorandum antedated December 1, 1986, signed on
February 8, 1987 by OIC Gov. Benhamin B. Esguerra designating Florentino Magno as new Barangay Captain. A separate
Memorandum with the same dates was also issued by Hon. Esguerra replacing the Barangay Councilmen. De Leon along with
the other petitioners filed a petition to declare the subject Memorandum null and void and prevent the respondents from
taking over their positions in the Barangay. The petitioners maintained that OIC Gov. Esguerra no longer have the authority to
replace them under the 1987 Constitution and that they shall serve a term of six (6) years in pursuant to Section 3 of the
Barangay Election Act of 1982.

Issue:

Was the designation of the new Barangay Officials valid?

Ruling:

The effectivity of the Memorandum should be based on the date when it was signed, February 8, 1987. By that time, the 1987
Constitution was already in effect, thus superseding all previous constitution as provided in Section 27 of its Transitory
Provisions. Respondent OIC Governor could no longer rely on Section 2, Article III of the Provisional Constitution to designate
respondents to the elective positions occupied by petitioners.

Barangay Election Act of 1982 should still govern since it is not inconsistent with the 1987 Constitution.

Wherefore, the designation by the OIC Governor of new Barangay Officials was declared NO LEGAL FORCE AND EFFECT and the
Writ for Prohibition is GRANTED enjoining respondents perpetually from ouster/take-over of petitioners position subject of this
petition.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC
G.R. No. 78059 August 31, 1987

ALFREDO M. DE LEON, ANGEL S. SALAMAT, MARIO C. STA. ANA, JOSE C. TOLENTINO, ROGELIO J. DE LA ROSA and JOSE M.
RESURRECCION, petitioners,
vs.
HON. BENJAMIN B. ESGUERRA, in his capacity as OIC Governor of the Province of Rizal, HON. ROMEO C. DE LEON, in his
capacity as OIC Mayor of the Municipality of Taytay, Rizal, FLORENTINO G. MAGNO, REMIGIO M. TIGAS, RICARDO Z.
LACANIENTA, TEODORO V. MEDINA, ROSENDO S. PAZ, and TERESITA L. TOLENTINO, respondents.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:

An original action for Prohibition instituted by petitioners seeking to enjoin respondents from replacing them from their
respective positions as Barangay Captain and Barangay Councilmen of Barangay Dolores, Municipality of Taytay, Province of
Rizal.

As required by the Court, respondents submitted their Comment on the Petition, and petitioner's their Reply to respondents'
Comment.

In the Barangay elections held on May 17, 1982, petitioner Alfredo M. De Leon was elected Barangay Captain and the other
petitioners Angel S. Salamat, Mario C. Sta. Ana, Jose C. Tolentino, Rogelio J. de la Rosa and Jose M. Resurreccion, as Barangay
Councilmen of Barangay Dolores, Taytay, Rizal under Batas Pambansa Blg. 222, otherwise known as the Barangay Election Act of
1982.

On February 9, 1987, petitioner Alfredo M, de Leon received a Memorandum antedated December 1, 1986 but signed by
respondent OIC Governor Benjamin Esguerra on February 8, 1987 designating respondent Florentino G. Magno as Barangay
Captain of Barangay Dolores, Taytay, Rizal. The designation made by the OIC Governor was "by authority of the Minister of Local
Government."

Also on February 8, 1987, respondent OIC Governor signed a Memorandum, antedated December 1, 1986 designating
respondents Remigio M. Tigas, Ricardo Z. Lacanienta Teodoro V. Medina, Roberto S. Paz and Teresita L. Tolentino as members of
the Barangay Council of the same Barangay and Municipality.

That the Memoranda had been antedated is evidenced by the Affidavit of respondent OIC Governor, the pertinent portions of
which read:

xxx xxx xxx

That I am the OIC Governor of Rizal having been appointed as such on March 20, 1986;

That as being OIC Governor of the Province of Rizal and in the performance of my duties thereof, I among
others, have signed as I did sign the unnumbered memorandum ordering the replacement of all the
barangay officials of all the barangay(s) in the Municipality of Taytay, Rizal;

That the above cited memorandum dated December 1, 1986 was signed by me personally on February
8,1987;

That said memorandum was further deciminated (sic) to all concerned the following day, February 9. 1987.

FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NONE.

Pasig, Metro Manila, March 23, 1987.


Before us now, petitioners pray that the subject Memoranda of February 8, 1987 be declared null and void and that respondents
be prohibited from taking over their positions of Barangay Captain and Barangay Councilmen, respectively. Petitioners maintain
that pursuant to Section 3 of the Barangay Election Act of 1982 (BP Blg. 222), their terms of office "shall be six (6) years which
shall commence on June 7, 1982 and shall continue until their successors shall have elected and shall have qualified," or up to
June 7, 1988. It is also their position that with the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, respondent OIC Governor no longer has
the authority to replace them and to designate their successors.

On the other hand, respondents rely on Section 2, Article III of the Provisional Constitution, promulgated on March 25, 1986,
which provided:

SECTION 2. All elective and appointive officials and employees under the 1973 Constitution shall continue in
office until otherwise provided by proclamation or executive order or upon the designation or appointment
and qualification of their successors, if such appointment is made within a period of one year from February
25,1986.

By reason of the foregoing provision, respondents contend that the terms of office of elective and appointive officials were
abolished and that petitioners continued in office by virtue of the aforequoted provision and not because their term of six years
had not yet expired; and that the provision in the Barangay Election Act fixing the term of office of Barangay officials to six (6)
years must be deemed to have been repealed for being inconsistent with the aforequoted provision of the Provisional
Constitution.

Examining the said provision, there should be no question that petitioners, as elective officials under the 1973 Constitution, may
continue in office but should vacate their positions upon the occurrence of any of the events mentioned. 1

Since the promulgation of the Provisional Constitution, there has been no proclamation or executive order terminating the term
of elective Barangay officials. Thus, the issue for resolution is whether or not the designation of respondents to replace
petitioners was validly made during the one-year period which ended on February 25, 1987.

Considering the candid Affidavit of respondent OIC Governor, we hold that February 8, 1977, should be considered as the
effective date of replacement and not December 1,1986 to which it was ante dated, in keeping with the dictates of justice.

But while February 8, 1987 is ostensibly still within the one-year deadline, the aforequoted provision in the Provisional
Constitution must be deemed to have been overtaken by Section 27, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution reading.

SECTION 27. This Constitution shall take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes
cast in a plebiscite held for the purpose and shall supersede all previous Constitutions.

The 1987 Constitution was ratified in a plebiscite on February 2, 1987. By that date, therefore, the Provisional Constitution must
be deemed to have been superseded. Having become inoperative, respondent OIC Governor could no longer rely on Section 2,
Article III, thereof to designate respondents to the elective positions occupied by petitioners.

Petitioners must now be held to have acquired security of tenure specially considering that the Barangay Election Act of 1982
declares it "a policy of the State to guarantee and promote the autonomy of the barangays to ensure their fullest development
as self-reliant communities. 2 Similarly, the 1987 Constitution ensures the autonomy of local governments and of political
subdivisions of which the barangays form a part, 3 and limits the President's power to "general supervision" over local
governments. 4 Relevantly, Section 8, Article X of the same 1987 Constitution further provides in part:

Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by
law, shall be three years ...

Until the term of office of barangay officials has been determined by law, therefore, the term of office of six (6) years provided
for in the Barangay Election Act of 1982 5 should still govern.
Contrary to the stand of respondents, we find nothing inconsistent between the term of six (6) years for elective Barangay
officials and the 1987 Constitution, and the same should, therefore, be considered as still operative, pursuant to Section 3,
Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution, reading:

Sec. 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations letters of instructions, and other executive
issuances not inconsistent, with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or
revoked.

WHEREFORE, (1) The Memoranda issued by respondent OIC Governor on February 8, 1987 designating respondents as the
Barangay Captain and Barangay Councilmen, respectively, of Barangay Dolores, Taytay, Rizal, are both declared to be of no legal
force and effect; and (2) the Writ of Prohibition is granted enjoining respondents perpetually from proceeding with the
ouster/take-over of petitioners' positions subject of this Petition. Without costs.

SO ORDERED.

Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, CJ., concurring:

The main issue resolved in the judgment at bar is whether the 1987 Constitution took effect on February 2, 1987, the date that
the plebiscite for its ratification was held or whether it took effect on February 11, 1987, the date its ratification was proclaimed
per Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the Philippines, Corazon C. Aquino.

The Court's decision, with the lone dissent of Mr. Justice Sarmiento, holds that by virtue of the provision of Article XVIII, Section
27 of the 1987 Constitution that it "shall take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a
plebiscite held for the purpose," the 1987 Constitution took effect on February 2, 1987, the date of its ratification in the
plebiscite held on that same date.

The thrust of the dissent is that the Constitution should be deemed to "take effect on the date its ratification shall have been
ascertained and not at the time the people cast their votes to approve or reject it." This view was actually proposed at the
Constitutional Commission deliberations, but was withdrawn by its proponent in the face of the "overwhelming" contrary view
that the Constitution "will be effective on the very day of the plebiscite."

The record of the proceedings and debates of the Constitutional Commission fully supports the Court's judgment. It shows that
the clear, unequivocal and express intent of the Constitutional Conunission in unanimously approving (by thirty-five votes in
favor and none against) the aforequoted Section 27 of Transitory Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution was that "the act of
ratification is the act of voting by the people. So that is the date of the ratification" and that "the canvass thereafter [of the
votes] is merely the mathematical confirmation of what was done during the date of the plebiscite and the proclamation of the
President is merely the official confirmatory declaration of an act which was actually done by the Filipino people in adopting the
Constitution when they cast their votes on the date of the plebiscite."

The record of the deliberations and the voting is reproduced hereinbelow: 1

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, may we now put to a vote the original formulation of the committee
as indicated in Section 12, unless there are other commissioners who would like to present amendments.
MR. DAVIDE. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is recognized.

MR. DAVIDE. May I propose the following amendments.

On line 2, delete the words "its ratification" and in lieu thereof insert the following-. "THE PROCLAMATION
BY THE PRESIDENT THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED." And on the last line, after "constitutions," add the
following: "AND THEIR AMENDMENTS."

MR. MAAMBONG. Just a moment, Madam President. If Commissioner Davide is going to propose an
additional sentence, the committee would suggest that we take up first his amendment to the first sentence
as originally formulated. We are now ready to comment on that proposed amendment.

The proposed amendment would be to delete the words "its ratification and in lieu thereof insert the words
"THE PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED." And the second amendment would
be: After the word "constitutions," add the words" AND THEIR AMENDMENTS,"

The committee accepts the first proposed amendment. However, we regret that we cannot accept the
second proposed amendment after the word "constitutions" because the committee feels that when we talk
of all previous Constitutions, necessarily it includes "AND THEIR AMENDMENTS."

MR. DAVIDE. With that explanation, l will not insist on the second. But, Madam President, may I request that
I be allowed to read the second amendment so the Commission would be able to appreciate the change in
the first.

MR. MAAMBONG. Yes, Madam President, we can now do that.

MR. DAVIDE. The second sentence will read: "THE PROCLAMATION SHALL BE MADE WITHIN FIVE DAYS
FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF THE CANVASS BY THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS OF THE RESULTS OF
SUCH PLEBISCITE."

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, after conferring with our chairman, the committee feels that the
second proposed amendment in the form of a new sentence would not be exactly necessary and the
committee feels that it would be too much for us to impose a time frame on the President to make the
proclamation. As we would recall, Madam President, in the approved Article on the Executive, there is a
provision which says that the President shall make certain that all laws shall be faithfully complied. When we
approve this first sentence, and it says that there will be a proclamation by the President that the
Constitution has been ratified, the President will naturally comply with the law in accordance with the
provisions in the Article on the Executive which we have cited. It would be too much to impose on the
President a time frame within which she will make that declaration. It would be assumed that the President
would immediately do that after the results shall have been canvassed by the COMELEC.

Therefore, the committee regrets that it cannot accept the second sentence which the Gentleman is
proposing, Madam President.

MR. DAVIDE. I am prepared to withdraw the same on the assumption that there will be an immediate
proclamation of the results by the President.

MR. MAAMBONG. With that understanding, Madam President.

MR. DAVIDE. I will not insist on the second sentence.

FR. BERNAS. Madam President.


THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Bernas is recognized.

FR. BERNAS. I would ask the committee to reconsider its acceptance of the amendment which makes the
effectivity of the new Constitution dependent upon the proclamation of the President. The effectivity of the
Constitution should commence on the date of the ratification, not on the date of the proclamation of the
President. What is confusing, I think, is what happened in 1976 when the amendments of 1976 were
ratified. In that particular case, the reason the amendments of 1976 were effective upon the proclamation of
the President was that the draft presented to the people said that the amendment will be effective upon the
proclamation made by the President. I have a suspicion that was put in there precisely to give the President
some kind of leeway on whether to announce the ratification or not. Therefore, we should not make this
dependent on the action of the President since this will be a manifestation of the act of the people to be
done under the supervision of the COMELEC and it should be the COMELEC who should make the
announcement that, in fact, the votes show that the Constitution was ratified and there should be no need
to wait for any proclamation on the part of the President.

MR. MAAMBONG. Would the Gentleman answer a few clarificatory questions?

FR. BERNAS. Willingly, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. The Gentleman will agree that a date has to be fixed as to exactly when the Constitution
is supposed to be ratified.

FR. BERNAS. I would say that the ratification of the Constitution is on the date the votes were supposed to
have been cast.

MR. MAAMBONG. Let us go to the mechanics of the whole thing, Madam President. We present the
Constitution to a plebiscite, the people exercise their right to vote, then the votes are canvassed by the
Commission on Elections. If we delete the suggested amendment which says: "THE PROCLAMATION BY THE
PRESIDENT THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED," what would be, in clear terms, the date when the Constitution is
supposed to be ratified or not ratified, as the case may be?

FR. BERNAS. The date would be the casting of the ballots. if the President were to say that the plebiscite
would be held, for instance, on January 19, 1987, then the date for the effectivity of the new Constitution
would be January 19, 1987.

MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, it would not depend on the actual issuance of the results by the
Commission on Elections which will be doing the canvass? That is immaterial Madam President

FR. BERNAS. It would not, Madam President, because "ratification" is the act of saying "yes" is done when
one casts his ballot.

MR. MAAMBONG. So it is the date of the plebiscite itself, Madam President?

FR. BERNAS. Yes, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. With that statement of Commissioner Bernas, we would like to know from the
proponent, Commissioner Davide, if he is insisting on his amendment.

MR. DAVIDE. Madam President, I am insisting on the amendment because I cannot subscribe to the view of
Commissioner Bernas, that the date of the ratification is reckoned from the date of the casting of the ballots.
That cannot be the date of reckoning because it is a plebiscite all over the country. We do not split the
moment of casting by each of the voters. Actually and technically speaking, it would be all right if it would
be upon the announcement of the results of the canvass conducted by the COMELEC or the results of the
plebiscite held all over the country. But it is necessary that there be a body which will make the formal
announcement of the results of the plebiscite. So it is either the President or the COMELEC itself upon the
completion of the canvass of the results of the plebiscite, and I opted for the President.

xxx xxx xxx

MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Nolledo is recognized.

MR. NOLLEDO. Thank you, Madam President. I beg to disagree with Commissioner Davide. I support the
stand of Commissioner Bernas because it is really the date of the casting of the "yes" votes that is the date
of the ratification of the Constitution The announcement merely confirms the ratification even if the results
are released two or three days after. I think it is a fundamental principle in political law, even in civil law,
because an announcement is a mere confirmation The act of ratification is the act of voting by the
people. So that is the date of the ratification. If there should be any need for presidential proclamation, that
proclamation will merely confirm the act of ratification.

Thank you, Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Does Commissioner Regalado want to contribute?

MR. REGALADO. Madam President, I was precisely going to state the same support for Commissioner
Bernas, because the canvass thereafter is merely the mathematical confirmation of what was done during
the date of the plebiscite and the proclamation of the President is merely the official confirmatory
declaration of an act which was actually done by the Filipino people in adopting the Constitution when they
cast their votes on the date of the plebiscite.

MR. LERUM. Madam President, may I be recognized.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Lerum is recognized.

MR. LERUM. I am in favor of the Davide amendment because we have to fix a date for the effectivity of the
Constitution. Suppose the announcement is delayed by, say, 10 days or a month, what happens to the
obligations and rights that accrue upon the approval of the Constitution? So I think we must have a definite
date. I am, therefore, in favor of the Davide amendment.

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Maambong is recognized.

MR. MAAMBONG. With the theory of the Commissioner, would there be a necessity for the Commission on
Elections to declare the results of the canvass?

FR. BERNAS. There would be because it is the Commission on Elections which makes the official
announcement of the results.

MR. MAAMBONG. My next question which is the final one is: After the Commision on Elections has declared
the results of the canvass, will there be a necessity for the President to make a proclamation of the results of
the canvass as submitted by the Commission on Elections?

FR. BERNAS. I would say there would be no necessity, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, the President may or may not make the proclamation whether the
Constitution has been ratified or not.
FR. BERNAS. I would say that the proclamation made by the President would be immaterial because under
the law, the administration of all election laws is under an independent Commission on Elections. It is the
Commission on Elections which announces the results.

MR. MAAMBONG. But nevertheless, the President may make the proclamation.

FR. BERNAS. Yes, the President may. And if what he says contradicts what the Commission on Elections says,
it would have no effect. I would only add that when we say that the date of effectivity is on the day of the
casting of the votes, what we mean is that the Constitution takes effect on every single minute and every
single second of that day, because the Civil Code says a day has 24 hours.So that even if the votes are cast in
the morning, the Constitution is really effective from the previous midnight.

So that when we adopted the new rule on citizenship, the children of Filipino mothers or anybody born on
the date of effectivity of the 1973 Constitution, which is January 17, 1973, are natural-born citizens, no
matter what time of day or night.

MR. MAAMBONG. Could we, therefore, safely say that whatever date is the publication of the results of the
canvass by the COMELEC retroacts to the date of the plebiscite?

FR. BERNAS. Yes, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. I thank the Commissioner.

MR. GUINGONA. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Guingona is recognized.

MR. GUINGONA. Mention was made about the need for having a definite date. I think it is precisely the
proposal of Commissioner Bernas which speaks of the date (of ratification that would have a definite date,
because there would be no definite date if we depend upon the canvassing by the COMELEC.

Thank you,

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Concepcion is recognized.

MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Madam President.

Whoever makes the announcement as to the result of the plebiscite, be it the COMELEC or the President,
would announce that a majority of the votes cast on a given date was in favor of the Constitution. And that
is the date when the Constitution takes effect, apart from the fact that the provision on the drafting or
amendment of the Constitution provides that a constitution becomes effective upon ratification by a
majority of the votes cast, although I would not say from the very beginning of the date of election because
as of that time it is impossible to determine whether there is a majority. At the end of the day of election or
plebiscite, the determination is made as of that time-the majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite held on
such and such a date. So that is the time when the new Constitution will be considered ratified and,
therefore, effective.

THE PRESIDENT. May we now hear Vice-President Padilla.

MR. PADILLA. Madam President, I am against the proposed amendment of Commissioner Davide and I
support the view of Commissioner Bernas and the others because the ratification of the Constitution is on
the date the people, by a majority vote, have cast their votes in favor of the Constitution. Even in civil law, if
there is a contract, say, between an agent and a third person and that contract is confirmed or ratified by the
principal, the validity does not begin on the date of ratification but it retroacts from the date the contract
was executed.

Therefore, the date of the Constitution as ratified should retroact to the date that the people have cast their
affirmative votes in favor of the Constitution.

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Maambong is recognized

MR. MAAMBONG. We will now ask once more Commissioner Davide if he is insisting on his amendment

MR. DAVIDE. In view of the explanation and overwhelming tyranny of the opinion that it will be effective on
the very day of the plebiscite, I am withdrawing my amendment on the assumption that any of the following
bodies the Office of the President or the COMELEC will make the formal announcement of the results.

MR. RAMA. Madam President, we are now ready to vote on the original provision as stated by the
committee.

MR. MAAMBONG. The committee will read again the formulation indicated in the original committee report
as Section 12.

This Constitution shall take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a
plebiscite called for the purpose and shall supersede all previous Constitutions.

We ask for a vote, Madam President.

VOTING

THE PRESIDENT. As many as are in favor, please raise their hand. (Several Members raised their hands.)

As many as are against, please raise their hand. (No Member raised his hand.)

The results show 35 votes in favor and none against; Section 12 is approved. 2

The Court next holds as a consequence of its declaration at bar that the Constitution took effect on the date of its ratification in
the plebiscite held on February 2, 1987, that: (1) the Provisional Constitution promulgated on March 25, 1986 must be deemed
to have been superseded by the 1987 Constitution on the same date February 2, 1987 and (2) by and after said date, February
2, 1987, absent any saying clause to the contrary in the Transitory Article of the Constitution, respondent OIC Governor could no
longer exercise the power to replace petitioners in their positions as Barangay Captain and Councilmen. Hence, the attempted
replacement of petitioners by respondent OIC Governor's designation on February 8, 1987 of their successors could no longer
produce any legal force and effect. While the Provisional Constitution provided for a one-year period expiring on March 25, 1987
within which the power of replacement could be exercised, this period was shortened by the ratification and effectivity on
February 2, 1987 of the Constitution. Had the intention of the framers of the Constitution been otherwise, they would have so
provided for in the Transitory Article, as indeed they provided for multifarious transitory provisions in twenty six sections of
Article XVIII, e.g. extension of the six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice-President to noon of June 30, 1992 for
purposes of synchronization of elections, the continued exercise of legislative powers by the incumbent President until the
convening of the first Congress, etc.

A final note of clarification, as to the statement in the dissent that "the appointments of some seven Court of Appeals Justices,
71 provincial fiscals and 55 city fiscals reported extended (by) the President on February 2, 1987 . . . could be open to serious
questions," in view of the provisions of Sections 8 (1) and 9, Article VIII of the Constitution which require prior endorsement
thereof by the Judicial and Bar Council created under the Constitution. It should be stated for the record that the reported date
of the appointments, February 2, 1987, is incorrect. The official records of the Court show that the appointments of the seven
Court of Appeals Justices were transmitted to this Court on February 1, 1987 and they were all appointed on or before January
31, 1987. 3 (Similarly, the records of the Department of Justice likewise show that the appointment papers of the last batch of
provincial and city fiscals signed by the President in completion of the reorganization of the prosecution service were made on
January 31, 1987 and transmitted to the Department on February 1, 1987.) It is also a matter of record that since February 2,
1987, no appointments to the Judiciary have been extended by the President, pending the constitution of the Judicial and Bar
Council, indicating that the Chief Executive has likewise considered February 2, 1987 as the effective date of the Constitution, as
now expressly declared by the Court.

CRUZ, J., concurring.

In her quiet and restrained manner, Justice Herrera is able to prove her point with more telling effect than the tones of thunder.
She has written another persuasive opinion, and I am delighted to concur. I note that it in effect affirms my dissents in the De la
Serna, Zamora, Duquing and Bayas cases, where I submitted that the local OICs may no longer be summarily replaced, having
acquired security of tenure under the new Constitution. Our difference is that whereas I would make that right commence on
February 25, 1987, after the deadline set by the Freedom Constitution, Justice Herrera would opt for February 2, 1987, when
the new Constitution was ratified. I yield to that better view and agree with her ponencia completely.

SARMIENTO, J., Dissenting.

With due respect to the majority I register this dissent.

While I agree that the one-year deadline prescribed by Section 2, Article III of the Provisional Constitution with respect to the
tenure of government functionaries, as follows:

SECTION 2. All elective and appointive officials and employees under the 1973 Constitution shall continue in
office until otherwise provided by proclamation or executive order or upon the designation or appointment
and qualification of their successors, if such appointment is made within a period of one year from February
25, 1986.

was cut short by the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, I entertain serious doubts whether or not that cut-off period began on
February 2, 1987, the date of the plebiscite held to approve the new Charter. To my mind the 1987 constitution took effect on
February 11, 1987, the date the same was proclaimed ratified pursuant to Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the
Philippines, and not February 2, 1987, plebiscite day.

I rely, first and foremost, on the language of the 1987 Charter itself, thus:

Sec. 27. This Constitution shag take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in
a plebiscite held for the purpose and shall supersede all previous Constitutions.

It is my reading of this provision that the Constitution takes effect on the date its ratification shall have been ascertained, and
not at the time the people cast their votes to approve or reject it. For it cannot be logically said that Constitution was ratified
during such a plebiscite, when the will of the people as of that time, had not, and could not have been, vet determined.

Other than that, pragmatic considerations compel me to take the view.

I have no doubt that between February 2, and February 11, 1987 the government performed acts that would have been valid
under the Provisional Constitution but would otherwise have been void under the 1987 Charter. I recall, in particular, the
appointments of some seven Court of Appeals Justices, 71 provincial fiscals, and 55 city fiscals the President reportedly
extended on February 2, 1987. 1 Under Sections 8 (1) and 9, Article VIII, of the l987 Constitution, as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 8. (I)A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court composed
of the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress
as ex oficio Members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the
Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector.

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 9. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President
from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy, Such
appointments need no confirmation.

xxx xxx xxx

such appointments could be open to serious questions.

Since 1973, moreover, we have invariably reckoned the effectivity of the Constitution as well as the amendments thereto from
the date it is proclaimed ratified.

In Magtoto v. Manguera, 2 we held that the 1973 Constitution became in force and effect on January 17, 1973, the date
Proclamation No. 1102, "Announcing the Ratification by the Filipino People of the Constitution Proposed by the 1971
Constitutional Convention," was issued, although Mr. Justice, now Chief Justice, Teehankee would push its effectivity date
further to April 17, 1973, the date our decision in Javellana v. Executive Secretary, 3 became final. And this was so
notwithstanding Section 16, Article XVII, of the 1973 Constitution, thus:

SEC. 16. This Constitution shall take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in
a plebiscite called for the purpose and, except as herein provided, shall supersede the Constitution of
nineteen-hundred and thirty- five and all amendments thereto.

On October 27, 1976, then President Marcos promulgated Proclamation no. 1595, proclaiming the ratification of the 1976
amendments submitted in the plebiscite of October 16- 17, 1976. The Proclamation states, inter alia, that.

By virtue-of the powers vested in me by law, I hereby proclaim all the amendments embodied in this certificate as duly ratified
by the Filipino people in the referendum- plebiscite held Oct. 16-17, 1976 and are therefore effective and in full force and effect
as of this date.

It shall be noted that under Amendment No. 9 of the said 1976 amendments.

These amendments shall take effect after the incumbent President shall have proclaimed that they have
been ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the referendum-plebiscite.

On April 1, 1980, the then Chief Executive issued Proclamation no. 1959, "Proclaiming the Ratification by the Filipino People of
the Amendments of Section 7, Article X of the Constitution" (lengthening the terms of office of judges and justices). The
Proclamation provides:

[t]he above-quoted amendment has been duly ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite held,
together with the election for local officials, on January 30, 1980, and that said amendment is hereby
declared to take effect immediately.

It shall be noted that under Resolution No. 21, dated December 18, 1979, the proposed amendment shall take effect on the
date the incumbent President/Prime Minister shall proclaim its ratification.

On April 7, 1981, Proclamation No. 2077 was issued "Proclaiming the Ratification in the Plebiscite of April 7, 1981 of the
Amendments to the Constitution Embodied in Batas Pambansa Blg. 122 and Declaring Them Therefore Effective and in Full
Force and Effect." The Proclamation, in declaring the said amendments duly approved, further declared them "[e]ffective and in
full force and in effect as of the date of this Proclamation," It shall be noted, in this connection, that under Resolutions Nos. I
and 2 of the Batasang Pambansa, Third Regular Session, Sitting as a Constituent Assembly, which parented these amendments,
the same:

. . .shall become valid as part of the Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast in a
plebiscite to be held pursuant to Section 2, Article XVI of the Constitution.

On the other hand, Batas Pambansa Blg. 122, "An Act to Submit to the Filipino People, for Ratification or Rejection, the
Amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines, Proposed by the Batasang Pambansa, Sitting as a Constituent Assembly, in its
Resolutions Numbered Three, Two, and One, and to Appropriate Funds Therefore," provides, as follows:

SEC. 7. The Commission on Elections, sitting en banc, shad canvass and proclaim the result of the plebiscite
using the certificates submitted to it, duly authenticated and certified by the Board of Canvassers of each
province or city.

We have, finally, Proclamation No. 2332, "Proclaiming the Ratification in the Plebiscite of January 27, 1984, of the Amendments
to the Constitution Embodied in Batasang Pambansa Resolutions Nos. 104, 105, 110, 111, 112 and 113." It states that the
amendments:

....are therefore effective and in full force and effect as of the date of this Proclamation.

It carries out Resolution no. 104 itself (as well as Resolutions Nos. 110 and 112 and Section 9, Batas Blg. 643), which states, that:

The proposed amendments shall take effect on the date the President of the Philippines shall proclaim that
they have been ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite held for the purpose, but not later
than three months from the approval of the amendments.

albeit Resolutions Nos. 105, 111, and 113 provide, that:

These amendments shall be valid as a part of the Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast
in an election/plebiscite at which it is submitted to the people for their ratification pursuant to Section 2 of
Article XVI of the Constitution, as amended.

That a Constitution or amendments thereto take effect upon proclamation of their ratification and not at the time of the
plebiscite is a view that is not peculiar to the Marcos era.

The Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) in Joint Session on the March 11, 1947 plebiscite called pursuant to Republic Act
No. 73 and the Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) adopted on September 18, 1946, was adopted on April 9,1947. The
April 9, 1947 Resolution makes no mention of a retroactive application.

Accordingly, when the incumbent President (Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino) proclaimed on February 11, 1987, at Malacanang Palace:

... that the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines adopted by the Constitutional Commission of
1986, including the Ordinance appended thereto, has been duly ratified by the Filipino people and is
therefore effective and in full force and effect. 4

the 1987 Constitution, in point of fact, came into force and effect, I hold that it took effect at no other time.

I submit that our ruling in Ponsica v. Ignalaga 5 in which we declared, in passing, that the new Charter was ratified on February
2, 1987, does not in any way weaken this dissent. As I stated, the remark was said in passing-we did not resolve the case on
account of a categorical holding that the 1987 Constitution came to life on February 2, 1987. In any event, if we did, I now call
for its re-examination.

I am therefore of the opinion, consistent with the views expressed above, that the challenged dismissals done on February 8,
1987 were valid, the 1987 Constitution not being then as yet in force.
Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, CJ., concurring:

The main issue resolved in the judgment at bar is whether the 1987 Constitution took effect on February 2, 1987, the date that
the plebiscite for its ratification was held or whether it took effect on February 11, 1987, the date its ratification was proclaimed
per Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the Philippines, Corazon C. Aquino.

The Court's decision, with the lone dissent of Mr. Justice Sarmiento, holds that by virtue of the provision of Article XVIII, Section
27 of the 1987 Constitution that it "shall take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a
plebiscite held for the purpose," the 1987 Constitution took effect on February 2, 1987, the date of its ratification in the
plebiscite held on that same date.

The thrust of the dissent is that the Constitution should be deemed to "take effect on the date its ratification shall have been
ascertained and not at the time the people cast their votes to approve or reject it." This view was actually proposed at the
Constitutional Commission deliberations, but was withdrawn by its proponent in the face of the "overwhelming" contrary view
that the Constitution "will be effective on the very day of the plebiscite."

The record of the proceedings and debates of the Constitutional Commission fully supports the Court's judgment. It shows that
the clear, unequivocal and express intent of the Constitutional Conunission in unanimously approving (by thirty-five votes in
favor and none against) the aforequoted Section 27 of Transitory Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution was that "the act of
ratification is the act of voting by the people. So that is the date of the ratification" and that "the canvass thereafter [of the
votes] is merely the mathematical confirmation of what was done during the date of the plebiscite and the proclamation of the
President is merely the official confirmatory declaration of an act which was actually done by the Filipino people in adopting the
Constitution when they cast their votes on the date of the plebiscite."

The record of the deliberations and the voting is reproduced hereinbelow: 1

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, may we now put to a vote the original formulation of the committee
as indicated in Section 12, unless there are other commissioners who would like to present amendments.

MR. DAVIDE. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is recognized.

MR. DAVIDE. May I propose the following amendments.

On line 2, delete the words "its ratification" and in lieu thereof insert the following-. "THE PROCLAMATION
BY THE PRESIDENT THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED." And on the last line, after "constitutions," add the
following: "AND THEIR AMENDMENTS."

MR. MAAMBONG. Just a moment, Madam President. If Commissioner Davide is going to propose an
additional sentence, the committee would suggest that we take up first his amendment to the first sentence
as originally formulated. We are now ready to comment on that proposed amendment.

The proposed amendment would be to delete the words "its ratification and in lieu thereof insert the words
"THE PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED." And the second amendment would
be: After the word "constitutions," add the words" AND THEIR AMENDMENTS,"
The committee accepts the first proposed amendment. However, we regret that we cannot accept the
second proposed amendment after the word "constitutions" because the committee feels that when we talk
of all previous Constitutions, necessarily it includes "AND THEIR AMENDMENTS."

MR. DAVIDE. With that explanation, l will not insist on the second. But, Madam President, may I request that
I be allowed to read the second amendment so the Commission would be able to appreciate the change in
the first.

MR. MAAMBONG. Yes, Madam President, we can now do that.

MR. DAVIDE. The second sentence will read: "THE PROCLAMATION SHALL BE MADE WITHIN FIVE DAYS
FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF THE CANVASS BY THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS OF THE RESULTS OF
SUCH PLEBISCITE."

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, after conferring with our chairman, the committee feels that the
second proposed amendment in the form of a new sentence would not be exactly necessary and the
committee feels that it would be too much for us to impose a time frame on the President to make the
proclamation. As we would recall, Madam President, in the approved Article on the Executive, there is a
provision which says that the President shall make certain that all laws shall be faithfully complied. When we
approve this first sentence, and it says that there will be a proclamation by the President that the
Constitution has been ratified, the President will naturally comply with the law in accordance with the
provisions in the Article on the Executive which we have cited. It would be too much to impose on the
President a time frame within which she will make that declaration. It would be assumed that the President
would immediately do that after the results shall have been canvassed by the COMELEC.

Therefore, the committee regrets that it cannot accept the second sentence which the Gentleman is
proposing, Madam President.

MR. DAVIDE. I am prepared to withdraw the same on the assumption that there will be an immediate
proclamation of the results by the President.

MR. MAAMBONG. With that understanding, Madam President.

MR. DAVIDE. I will not insist on the second sentence.

FR. BERNAS. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Bernas is recognized.

FR. BERNAS. I would ask the committee to reconsider its acceptance of the amendment which makes the
effectivity of the new Constitution dependent upon the proclamation of the President. The effectivity of the
Constitution should commence on the date of the ratification, not on the date of the proclamation of the
President. What is confusing, I think, is what happened in 1976 when the amendments of 1976 were
ratified. In that particular case, the reason the amendments of 1976 were effective upon the proclamation of
the President was that the draft presented to the people said that the amendment will be effective upon the
proclamation made by the President. I have a suspicion that was put in there precisely to give the President
some kind of leeway on whether to announce the ratification or not. Therefore, we should not make this
dependent on the action of the President since this will be a manifestation of the act of the people to be
done under the supervision of the COMELEC and it should be the COMELEC who should make the
announcement that, in fact, the votes show that the Constitution was ratified and there should be no need
to wait for any proclamation on the part of the President.

MR. MAAMBONG. Would the Gentleman answer a few clarificatory questions?

FR. BERNAS. Willingly, Madam President.


MR. MAAMBONG. The Gentleman will agree that a date has to be fixed as to exactly when the Constitution
is supposed to be ratified.

FR. BERNAS. I would say that the ratification of the Constitution is on the date the votes were supposed to
have been cast.

MR. MAAMBONG. Let us go to the mechanics of the whole thing, Madam President. We present the
Constitution to a plebiscite, the people exercise their right to vote, then the votes are canvassed by the
Commission on Elections. If we delete the suggested amendment which says: "THE PROCLAMATION BY THE
PRESIDENT THAT IT HAS BEEN RATIFIED," what would be, in clear terms, the date when the Constitution is
supposed to be ratified or not ratified, as the case may be?

FR. BERNAS. The date would be the casting of the ballots. if the President were to say that the plebiscite
would be held, for instance, on January 19, 1987, then the date for the effectivity of the new Constitution
would be January 19, 1987.

MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, it would not depend on the actual issuance of the results by the
Commission on Elections which will be doing the canvass? That is immaterial Madam President

FR. BERNAS. It would not, Madam President, because "ratification" is the act of saying "yes" is done when
one casts his ballot.

MR. MAAMBONG. So it is the date of the plebiscite itself, Madam President?

FR. BERNAS. Yes, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. With that statement of Commissioner Bernas, we would like to know from the
proponent, Commissioner Davide, if he is insisting on his amendment.

MR. DAVIDE. Madam President, I am insisting on the amendment because I cannot subscribe to the view of
Commissioner Bernas, that the date of the ratification is reckoned from the date of the casting of the ballots.
That cannot be the date of reckoning because it is a plebiscite all over the country. We do not split the
moment of casting by each of the voters. Actually and technically speaking, it would be all right if it would
be upon the announcement of the results of the canvass conducted by the COMELEC or the results of the
plebiscite held all over the country. But it is necessary that there be a body which will make the formal
announcement of the results of the plebiscite. So it is either the President or the COMELEC itself upon the
completion of the canvass of the results of the plebiscite, and I opted for the President.

xxx xxx xxx

MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Nolledo is recognized.

MR. NOLLEDO. Thank you, Madam President. I beg to disagree with Commissioner Davide. I support the
stand of Commissioner Bernas because it is really the date of the casting of the "yes" votes that is the date
of the ratification of the Constitution The announcement merely confirms the ratification even if the results
are released two or three days after. I think it is a fundamental principle in political law, even in civil law,
because an announcement is a mere confirmation The act of ratification is the act of voting by the
people. So that is the date of the ratification. If there should be any need for presidential proclamation, that
proclamation will merely confirm the act of ratification.

Thank you, Madam President.


THE PRESIDENT. Does Commissioner Regalado want to contribute?

MR. REGALADO. Madam President, I was precisely going to state the same support for Commissioner
Bernas, because the canvass thereafter is merely the mathematical confirmation of what was done during
the date of the plebiscite and the proclamation of the President is merely the official confirmatory
declaration of an act which was actually done by the Filipino people in adopting the Constitution when they
cast their votes on the date of the plebiscite.

MR. LERUM. Madam President, may I be recognized.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Lerum is recognized.

MR. LERUM. I am in favor of the Davide amendment because we have to fix a date for the effectivity of the
Constitution. Suppose the announcement is delayed by, say, 10 days or a month, what happens to the
obligations and rights that accrue upon the approval of the Constitution? So I think we must have a definite
date. I am, therefore, in favor of the Davide amendment.

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Maambong is recognized.

MR. MAAMBONG. With the theory of the Commissioner, would there be a necessity for the Commission on
Elections to declare the results of the canvass?

FR. BERNAS. There would be because it is the Commission on Elections which makes the official
announcement of the results.

MR. MAAMBONG. My next question which is the final one is: After the Commision on Elections has declared
the results of the canvass, will there be a necessity for the President to make a proclamation of the results of
the canvass as submitted by the Commission on Elections?

FR. BERNAS. I would say there would be no necessity, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, the President may or may not make the proclamation whether the
Constitution has been ratified or not.

FR. BERNAS. I would say that the proclamation made by the President would be immaterial because under
the law, the administration of all election laws is under an independent Commission on Elections. It is the
Commission on Elections which announces the results.

MR. MAAMBONG. But nevertheless, the President may make the proclamation.

FR. BERNAS. Yes, the President may. And if what he says contradicts what the Commission on Elections says,
it would have no effect. I would only add that when we say that the date of effectivity is on the day of the
casting of the votes, what we mean is that the Constitution takes effect on every single minute and every
single second of that day, because the Civil Code says a day has 24 hours.

So that even if the votes are cast in the morning, the Constitution is really effective from the previous
midnight. So that when we adopted the new rule on citizenship, the children of Filipino mothers or anybody
born on the date of effectivity of the 1973 Constitution, which is January 17, 1973, are natural-born citizens,
no matter what time of day or night.

MR. MAAMBONG. Could we, therefore, safely say that whatever date is the publication of the results of the
canvass by the COMELEC retroacts to the date of the plebiscite?
FR. BERNAS. Yes, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. I thank the Commissioner.

MR. GUINGONA. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Guingona is recognized.

MR. GUINGONA. Mention was made about the need for having a definite date. I think it is precisely the
proposal of Commissioner Bernas which speaks of the date (of ratification that would have a definite date,
because there would be no definite date if we depend upon the canvassing by the COMELEC.

Thank you,

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Concepcion is recognized.

MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Madam President.

Whoever makes the announcement as to the result of the plebiscite, be it the COMELEC or the President,
would announce that a majority of the votes cast on a given date was in favor of the Constitution. And that
is the date when the Constitution takes effect, apart from the fact that the provision on the drafting or
amendment of the Constitution provides that a constitution becomes effective upon ratification by a
majority of the votes cast, although I would not say from the very beginning of the date of election because
as of that time it is impossible to determine whether there is a majority. At the end of the day of election or
plebiscite, the determination is made as of that time-the majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite held on
such and such a date. So that is the time when the new Constitution will be considered ratified and,
therefore, effective.

THE PRESIDENT. May we now hear Vice-President Padilla.

MR. PADILLA. Madam President, I am against the proposed amendment of Commissioner Davide and I
support the view of Commissioner Bernas and the others because the ratification of the Constitution is on
the date the people, by a majority vote, have cast their votes in favor of the Constitution. Even in civil law, if
there is a contract, say, between an agent and a third person and that contract is confirmed or ratified by the
principal, the validity does not begin on the date of ratification but it retroacts from the date the contract
was executed.

Therefore, the date of the Constitution as ratified should retroact to the date that the people have cast their
affirmative votes in favor of the Constitution.

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Maambong is recognized

MR. MAAMBONG. We will now ask once more Commissioner Davide if he is insisting on his amendment

MR. DAVIDE. In view of the explanation and overwhelming tyranny of the opinion that it will be effective on
the very day of the plebiscite, I am withdrawing my amendment on the assumption that any of the following
bodies the Office of the President or the COMELEC will make the formal announcement of the results.

MR. RAMA. Madam President, we are now ready to vote on the original provision as stated by the
committee.
MR. MAAMBONG. The committee will read again the formulation indicated in the original committee report
as Section 12.

This Constitution shall take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a
plebiscite called for the purpose and shall supersede all previous Constitutions.

We ask for a vote, Madam President.

VOTING

THE PRESIDENT. As many as are in favor, please raise their hand. (Several Members raised their hands.)

As many as are against, please raise their hand. (No Member raised his hand.)

The results show 35 votes in favor and none against; Section 12 is approved. 2

The Court next holds as a consequence of its declaration at bar that the Constitution took effect on the date of its ratification in
the plebiscite held on February 2, 1987, that: (1) the Provisional Constitution promulgated on March 25, 1986 must be deemed
to have been superseded by the 1987 Constitution on the same date February 2, 1987 and (2) by and after said date, February
2, 1987, absent any saying clause to the contrary in the Transitory Article of the Constitution, respondent OIC Governor could no
longer exercise the power to replace petitioners in their positions as Barangay Captain and Councilmen. Hence, the attempted
replacement of petitioners by respondent OIC Governor's designation on February 8, 1987 of their successors could no longer
produce any legal force and effect. While the Provisional Constitution provided for a one-year period expiring on March 25, 1987
within which the power of replacement could be exercised, this period was shortened by the ratification and effectivity on
February 2, 1987 of the Constitution. Had the intention of the framers of the Constitution been otherwise, they would have so
provided for in the Transitory Article, as indeed they provided for multifarious transitory provisions in twenty six sections of
Article XVIII, e.g. extension of the six-year term of the incumbent President and Vice-President to noon of June 30, 1992 for
purposes of synchronization of elections, the continued exercise of legislative powers by the incumbent President until the
convening of the first Congress, etc.

A final note of clarification, as to the statement in the dissent that "the appointments of some seven Court of Appeals Justices,
71 provincial fiscals and 55 city fiscals reported extended (by) the President on February 2, 1987 . . . could be open to serious
questions," in view of the provisions of Sections 8 (1) and 9, Article VIII of the Constitution which require prior endorsement
thereof by the Judicial and Bar Council created under the Constitution. It should be stated for the record that the reported date
of the appointments, February 2, 1987, is incorrect. The official records of the Court show that the appointments of the seven
Court of Appeals Justices were transmitted to this Court on February 1, 1987 and they were all appointed on or before January
31, 1987. 3 (Similarly, the records of the Department of Justice likewise show that the appointment papers of the last batch of
provincial and city fiscals signed by the President in completion of the reorganization of the prosecution service were made on
January 31, 1987 and transmitted to the Department on February 1, 1987.) It is also a matter of record that since February 2,
1987, no appointments to the Judiciary have been extended by the President, pending the constitution of the Judicial and Bar
Council, indicating that the Chief Executive has likewise considered February 2, 1987 as the effective date of the Constitution, as
now expressly declared by the Court.

CRUZ, J., concurring.

In her quiet and restrained manner, Justice Herrera is able to prove her point with more telling effect than the tones of thunder.
She has written another persuasive opinion, and I am delighted to concur. I note that it in effect affirms my dissents in the De la
Serna, Zamora, Duquing and Bayas cases, where I submitted that the local OICs may no longer be summarily replaced, having
acquired security of tenure under the new Constitution. Our difference is that whereas I would make that right commence on
February 25, 1987, after the deadline set by the Freedom Constitution, Justice Herrera would opt for February 2, 1987, when
the new Constitution was ratified. I yield to that better view and agree with her ponencia completely.

SARMIENTO, J., Dissenting.

With due respect to the majority I register this dissent.


While I agree that the one-year deadline prescribed by Section 2, Article III of the Provisional Constitution with respect to the
tenure of government functionaries, as follows:

SECTION 2. All elective and appointive officials and employees under the 1973 Constitution shall continue in
office until otherwise provided by proclamation or executive order or upon the designation or appointment
and qualification of their successors, if such appointment is made within a period of one year from February
25, 1986.

was cut short by the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, I entertain serious doubts whether or not that cut-off period began on
February 2, 1987, the date of the plebiscite held to approve the new Charter. To my mind the 1987 constitution took effect on
February 11, 1987, the date the same was proclaimed ratified pursuant to Proclamation No. 58 of the President of the
Philippines, and not February 2, 1987, plebiscite day.

I rely, first and foremost, on the language of the 1987 Charter itself, thus:

Sec. 27. This Constitution shag take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in
a plebiscite held for the purpose and shall supersede all previous Constitutions.

It is my reading of this provision that the Constitution takes effect on the date its ratification shall have been ascertained, and
not at the time the people cast their votes to approve or reject it. For it cannot be logically said that Constitution was ratified
during such a plebiscite, when the will of the people as of that time, had not, and could not have been, vet determined.

Other than that, pragmatic considerations compel me to take the view.

I have no doubt that between February 2, and February 11, 1987 the government performed acts that would have been valid
under the Provisional Constitution but would otherwise have been void under the 1987 Charter. I recall, in particular, the
appointments of some seven Court of Appeals Justices, 71 provincial fiscals, and 55 city fiscals the President reportedly
extended on February 2, 1987. 1 Under Sections 8 (1) and 9, Article VIII, of the l987 Constitution, as follows:

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 8. (I)A Judicial and Bar Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court composed
of the Chief Justice as ex officio Chairman, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of the Congress
as ex oficio Members, a representative of the Integrated Bar, a professor of law, a retired Member of the
Supreme Court, and a representative of the private sector.

xxx xxx xxx

2Sec. 9. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President
from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy, Such
appointments need no confirmation.

xxx xxx xxx

such appointments could be open to serious questions.

Since 1973, moreover, we have invariably reckoned the effectivity of the Constitution as well as the amendments thereto from
the date it is proclaimed ratified.

In Magtoto v. Manguera, 2 we held that the 1973 Constitution became in force and effect on January 17, 1973, the date
Proclamation No. 1102, "Announcing the Ratification by the Filipino People of the Constitution Proposed by the 1971
Constitutional Convention," was issued, although Mr. Justice, now Chief Justice, Teehankee would push its effectivity date
further to April 17, 1973, the date our decision in Javellana v. Executive Secretary, 3 became final. And this was so
notwithstanding Section 16, Article XVII, of the 1973 Constitution, thus:
SEC. 16. This Constitution shall take effect immediately upon its ratification by a majority of the votes cast in
a plebiscite called for the purpose and, except as herein provided, shall supersede the Constitution of
nineteen-hundred and thirty- five and all amendments thereto.

On October 27, 1976, then President Marcos promulgated Proclamation no. 1595, proclaiming the ratification of the 1976
amendments submitted in the plebiscite of October 16- 17, 1976. The Proclamation states, inter alia, that.

By virtue-of the powers vested in me by law, I hereby proclaim all the amendments embodied in this certificate as duly ratified
by the Filipino people in the referendum plebiscite held Oct. 16-17, 1976 and are therefore effective and in full force and
effect as of this date.

It shall be noted that under Amendment No. 9 of the said 1976 amendments.

These amendments shall take effect after the incumbent President shall have proclaimed that they have
been ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the referendum-plebiscite.

On April 1, 1980, the then Chief Executive issued Proclamation no. 1959, "Proclaiming the Ratification by the Filipino People of
the Amendments of Section 7, Article X of the Constitution" (lengthening the terms of office of judges and justices). The
Proclamation provides:

[t]he above-quoted amendment has been duly ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite held,
together with the election for local officials, on January 30, 1980, and that said amendment is hereby
declared to take effect immediately.

It shall be noted that under Resolution No. 21, dated December 18, 1979, the proposed amendment shall take effect on the
date the incumbent President/Prime Minister shall proclaim its ratification.

On April 7, 1981, Proclamation No. 2077 was issued "Proclaiming the Ratification in the Plebiscite of April 7, 1981 of the
Amendments to the Constitution Embodied in Batas Pambansa Blg. 122 and Declaring Them Therefore Effective and in Full
Force and Effect." The Proclamation, in declaring the said amendments duly approved, further declared them "[e]ffective and in
full force and in effect as of the date of this Proclamation," It shall be noted, in this connection, that under Resolutions Nos. I
and 2 of the Batasang Pambansa, Third Regular Session, Sitting as a Constituent Assembly, which parented these amendments,
the same:

... shall become valid as part of the Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast in a
plebiscite to be held pursuant to Section 2, Article XVI of the Constitution.

On the other hand, Batas Pambansa Blg. 122, "An Act to Submit to the Filipino People, for Ratification or Rejection, the
Amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines, Proposed by the Batasang Pambansa, Sitting as a Constituent Assembly, in its
Resolutions Numbered Three, Two, and One, and to Appropriate Funds Therefore," provides, as follows:

SEC. 7. The Commission on Elections, sitting en banc, shad canvass and proclaim the result of the plebiscite
using the certificates submitted to it, duly authenticated and certified by the Board of Canvassers of each
province or city.

We have, finally, Proclamation No. 2332, "Proclaiming the Ratification in the Plebiscite of January 27, 1984, of the Amendments
to the Constitution Embodied in Batasang Pambansa Resolutions Nos. 104, 105, 110, 111, 112 and 113." It states that the
amendments:

....are therefore effective and in full force and effect as of the date of this Proclamation.

It carries out Resolution no. 104 itself (as well as Resolutions Nos. 110 and 112 and Section 9, Batas Blg. 643), which states, that:
The proposed amendments shall take effect on the date the President of the Philippines shall proclaim that
they have been ratified by a majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite held for the purpose, but not later
than three months from the approval of the amendments.

albeit Resolutions Nos. 105, 111, and 113 provide, that:

These amendments shall be valid as a part of the Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast in an
election/plebiscite at which it is submitted to the people for their ratification pursuant to Section 2 of Article XVI of the
Constitution, as amended.

That a Constitution or amendments thereto take effect upon proclamation of their ratification and not at the time of the
plebiscite is a view that is not peculiar to the Marcos era.

The Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) in Joint Session on the March 11, 1947 plebiscite called pursuant to Republic Act
No. 73 and the Resolution of Both Houses (of Congress) adopted on September 18, 1946, was adopted on April 9,1947. The
April 9, 1947 Resolution makes no mention of a retroactive application. Accordingly, when the incumbent President (Mrs.
Corazon C. Aquino) proclaimed on February 11, 1987, at Malacanang Palace:

... that the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines adopted by the Constitutional Commission of
1986, including the Ordinance appended thereto, has been duly ratified by the Filipino people and is
therefore effective and in full force and effect. 4

the 1987 Constitution, in point of fact, came into force and effect, I hold that it took effect at no other time.

I submit that our ruling in Ponsica v. Ignalaga 5 in which we declared, in passing, that the new Charter was ratified on February
2, 1987, does not in any way weaken this dissent. As I stated, the remark was said in passing-we did not resolve the case on
account of a categorical holding that the 1987 Constitution came to life on February 2, 1987. In any event, if we did, I now call
for its re-examination.

I am therefore of the opinion, consistent with the views expressed above, that the challenged dismissals done on February 8,
1987 were valid, the 1987 Constitution not being then as yet in force.

Footnotes

1 Topacio, Jr. vs. Pimentel G.R. No. 73770, April 10, 1986.

2 Section 2, BP Blg. 222.

3 Article 11, Section 25 and Article X, Sections 1, 2, 14, among others.

4 Article X, Section 4.

5 Section 3, BP Blg. 222.

Teehankee, C.J., concurring:

1 Volume Five, Record of the Constitutional Commission Proceedings and Debates, pages 620-623; emphasis
supplied.

2 The entire draft Constitution was approved on October 12, 1986 forty forty-five votes in favor and two
against.
3 The seven Court of Appeals Justices referred to are Justices Alfredo L. Benipayo, Minerva G. Reyes,
Magdangal B. Elma, Cecilio PE, Jesus Elbinias, Nicolas Lapena Jr. and Justo P. Torres, Jr., and their
appointments bear various dates from January 9, 1987 to January 31, 1987.

Sarmiento, J., dissenting:

1 Manila Bulletin, Feb. 3, 1987, p. 1, cols. 6-7 Philippine Daily Inquirer, Feb. 3,1987, p. 1, cot 1; Malaya, Feb.
3, 1987, p. 1, col. 1.

2 Nos. 3720102 March 3, 1975, 63 SCRA 4 (1975).

3 Nos. L-36142, March 31, 1973, 50 SCRA 30 (1973).

4 Proclamation No. 58 (1987).

5 G.R. No. 72301.

NITAFAN VS CIR

Posted by kaye lee on 10:16 PM

G.R. No. 78780 July 23 1987 [Salaries of the members of Judiciary, Tax Exemption]

FACTS:

Nitafan and some others, duly qualified and appointed judges of the RTC, NCR, all with stations in Manila, seek to prohibit
and/or perpetually enjoin the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Financial Officer of the Supreme Court, from making
any deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries.

They submit that "any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers constitutes a decrease or
diminution of their salaries, contrary to the provision of Section 10, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution mandating that during
their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased," even as it is anathema to the Ideal of an independent judiciary
envisioned in and by said Constitution."

ISSUE: Whether or not members of the Judiciary are exempt from income taxes.

HELD:

No. The salaries of members of the Judiciary are subject to the general income tax applied to all taxpayers. Although such intent
was somehow and inadvertently not clearly set forth in the final text of the 1987 Constitution, the deliberations of the1986
Constitutional Commission negate the contention that the intent of the framers is to revert to the original concept of non-
diminution of salaries of judicial officers. Justices and judges are not only the citizens whose income has been reduced in
accepting service in government and yet subject to income tax. Such is true also of Cabinet members and all other employees.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 78780 July 23, 1987

DAVID G. NITAFAN, WENCESLAO M. POLO, and MAXIMO A. SAVELLANO, JR., petitioners,


vs.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE and THE FINANCIAL OFFICER, SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

RESOLUTION

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:

Petitioners, the duly appointed and qualified Judges presiding over Branches 52, 19 and 53, respectively, of the Regional Trial
Court, National Capital Judicial Region, all with stations in Manila, seek to prohibit and/or perpetually enjoin respondents, the
Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Financial Officer of the Supreme Court, from making any deduction of withholding
taxes from their salaries.

In a nutshell, they submit that "any tax withheld from their emoluments or compensation as judicial officers constitutes a
decrease or diminution of their salaries, contrary to the provision of Section 10, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution mandating
that "(d)uring their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased," even as it is anathema to the Ideal of an
independent judiciary envisioned in and by said Constitution."

It may be pointed out that, early on, the Court had dealt with the matter administratively in response to representations that
the Court direct its Finance Officer to discontinue the withholding of taxes from salaries of members of the Bench. Thus, on June
4, 1987, the Court en banc had reaffirmed the Chief Justice's directive as follows:
RE: Question of exemption from income taxation. The Court REAFFIRMED the Chief Justice's previous and standing
directive to the Fiscal Management and Budget Office of this Court to continue with the deduction of the withholding
taxes from the salaries of the Justices of the Supreme Court as well as from the salaries of all other members of the
judiciary.

That should have resolved the question. However, with the filing of this petition, the Court has deemed it best to settle the legal
issue raised through this judicial pronouncement. As will be shown hereinafter, the clear intent of the Constitutional
Commission was to delete the proposed express grant of exemption from payment of income tax to members of the Judiciary,
so as to "give substance to equality among the three branches of Government" in the words of Commissioner Rigos. In the
course of the deliberations, it was further expressly made clear, specially with regard to Commissioner Joaquin F. Bernas'
accepted amendment to the amendment of Commissioner Rigos, that the salaries of members of the Judiciary would be subject
to the general income tax applied to all taxpayers.

This intent was somehow and inadvertently not clearly set forth in the final text of the Constitution as approved and ratified in
February, 1987 (infra, pp. 7-8). Although the intent may have been obscured by the failure to include in the General Provisions a
proscription against exemption of any public officer or employee, including constitutional officers, from payment of income tax,
the Court since then has authorized the continuation of the deduction of the withholding tax from the salaries of the members
of the Supreme Court, as well as from the salaries of all other members of the Judiciary. The Court hereby makes of record that
it had then discarded the ruling in Perfecto vs. Meer and Endencia vs. David, infra, that declared the salaries of members of the
Judiciary exempt from payment of the income tax and considered such payment as a diminution of their salaries during their
continuance in office. The Court hereby reiterates that the salaries of Justices and Judges are properly subject to a general
income tax law applicable to all income earners and that the payment of such income tax by Justices and Judges does not fall
within the constitutional protection against decrease of their salaries during their continuance in office.

A comparison of the Constitutional provisions involved is called for. The 1935 Constitution provided:

... (The members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior courts) shall receive such compensation as may be
fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office ... 1 (Emphasis supplied).

Under the 1973 Constitution, the same provision read:

The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme court, and of judges of inferior courts shall
be fixed by law, which shall not be decreased during their continuance in office. ... 2 (Emphasis ours).

And in respect of income tax exemption, another provision in the same 1973 Constitution specifically stipulated:

No salary or any form of emolument of any public officer or employee, including constitutional officers, shall be
exempt from payment of income tax. 3

The provision in the 1987 Constitution, which petitioners rely on, reads:

The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and of judges of lower courts shall
be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. 4(Emphasis supplied).

The 1987 Constitution does not contain a provision similar to Section 6, Article XV of the 1973 Constitution, for which reason,
petitioners claim that the intent of the framers is to revert to the original concept of "non-diminution "of salaries of judicial
officers.

The deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission relevant to Section 10, Article VIII, negate such contention.

The draft proposal of Section 10, Article VIII, of the 1987 Constitution read:

Section 13. The salary of the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and of judges of the lower
courts shall be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be diminished nor subjected to
income tax. Until the National Assembly shall provide otherwise, the Chief Justice shall receive an annual salary of
_____________ and each Associate Justice ______________ pesos. 5(Emphasis ours)

During the debates on the draft Article (Committee Report No. 18), two Commissioners presented their objections to the
provision on tax exemption, thus:

MS. AQUINO. Finally, on the matter of exemption from tax of the salary of justices, does this not violate the principle
of the uniformity of taxation and the principle of equal protection of the law? After all, tax is levied not on the salary
but on the combined income, such that when the judge receives a salary and it is comingled with the other income,
we tax the income, not the salary. Why do we have to give special privileges to the salary of justices?

MR. CONCEPCION. It is the independence of the judiciary. We prohibit the increase or decrease of their salary during
their term. This is an indirect way of decreasing their salary and affecting the independence of the judges.

MS. AQUINO. I appreciate that to be in the nature of a clause to respect tenure, but the special privilege on taxation
might, in effect, be a violation of the principle of uniformity in taxation and the equal protection clause. 6

xxx xxx xxx

MR. OPLE. x x x

Of course, we share deeply the concern expressed by the sponsor, Commissioner Roberto Concepcion, for whom we
have the highest respect, to surround the Supreme Court and the judicial system as a whole with the whole armor of
defense against the executive and legislative invasion of their independence. But in so doing, some of the citizens
outside, especially the humble government employees, might say that in trying to erect a bastion of justice, we might
end up with the fortress of privileges, an island of extra territoriality under the Republic of the Philippines, because a
good number of powers and rights accorded to the Judiciary here may not be enjoyed in the remotest degree by other
employees of the government.

An example is the exception from income tax, which is a kind of economic immunity, which is, of course, denied to the
entire executive department and the legislative. 7

And during the period of amendments on the draft Article, on July 14, 1986, Commissioner Cirilo A. Rigos proposed that the
term "diminished" be changed to "decreased" and that the words "nor subjected to income tax" be deleted so as to "give
substance to equality among the three branches in the government.

Commissioner Florenz D. Regalado, on behalf of the Committee on the Judiciary, defended the original draft and referred to the
ruling of this Court in Perfecto vs. Meer 8 that "the independence of the judges is of far greater importance than any revenue
that could come from taxing their salaries." Commissioner Rigos then moved that the matter be put to a vote. Commissioner
Joaquin G. Bernas stood up "in support of an amendment to the amendment with the request for a modification of the
amendment," as follows:

FR. BERNAS. Yes. I am going to propose an amendment to the amendment saying that it is not enough to drop the
phrase "shall not be subjected to income tax," because if that is all that the Gentleman will do, then he will just fall
back on the decision in Perfecto vs. Meer and in Dencia vs. David [should be Endencia and Jugo vs. David, etc., 93 Phil.
696[ which excludes them from income tax, but rather I would propose that the statement will read: "During their
continuance in office, their salary shall not be diminished BUT MAY BE SUBJECT TO GENERAL INCOME TAX."IN support
of this position, I would say that the argument seems to be that the justice and judges should not be subjected to
income tax because they already gave up the income from their practice. That is true also of Cabinet members and all
other employees. And I know right now, for instance, there are many people who have accepted employment in the
government involving a reduction of income and yet are still subject to income tax. So, they are not the only citizens
whose income is reduced by accepting service in government.

Commissioner Rigos accepted the proposed amendment to the amendment. Commissioner Rustico F. de los Reyes, Jr. then
moved for a suspension of the session. Upon resumption, Commissioner Bernas announced:
During the suspension, we came to an understanding with the original proponent, Commissioner Rigos, that his
amendment on page 6,. line 4 would read: "During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be
DECREASED."But this is on the understanding that there will be a provision in the Constitution similar to Section 6 of
Article XV, the General Provisions of the 1973 Constitution, which says:

No salary or any form of emolument of any public officer or employee, including constitutional officers, shall
be exempt from payment of income tax.

So, we put a period (.) after "DECREASED" on the understanding that the salary of justices is subject to tax.

When queried about the specific Article in the General Provisions on non-exemption from tax of salaries of public officers,
Commissioner Bernas replied:

FR BERNAS. Yes, I do not know if such an article will be found in the General Provisions. But at any rate, when we put a
period (.) after "DECREASED," it is on the understanding that the doctrine in Perfecto vs. Meer and Dencia vs. David
will not apply anymore.

The amendment to the original draft, as discussed and understood, was finally approved without objection.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Bengzon). The understanding, therefore, is that there will be a provision under the
Article on General Provisions. Could Commissioner Rosario Braid kindly take note that the salaries of officials of the
government including constitutional officers shall not be exempt from income tax? The amendment proposed herein
and accepted by the Committee now reads as follows: "During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be
DECREASED"; and the phrase "nor subjected to income tax" is deleted. 9

The debates, interpellations and opinions expressed regarding the constitutional provision in question until it was finally
approved by the Commission disclosed that the true intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting it, was to make
the salaries of members of the Judiciary taxable. The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental
principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be
given effect.10 The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the purpose
of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. 11 it may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying
the Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers. 121avvphi1

Besides, construing Section 10, Articles VIII, of the 1987 Constitution, which, for clarity, is again reproduced hereunder:

The salary of the Chief Justice and of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and of judges of lower courts shall
be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased. (Emphasis supplied).

it is plain that the Constitution authorizes Congress to pass a law fixing another rate of compensation of Justices and Judges but
such rate must be higher than that which they are receiving at the time of enactment, or if lower, it would be applicable only to
those appointed after its approval. It would be a strained construction to read into the provision an exemption from taxation in
the light of the discussion in the Constitutional Commission.

With the foregoing interpretation, and as stated heretofore, the ruling that "the imposition of income tax upon the salary of
judges is a dimunition thereof, and so violates the Constitution" in Perfecto vs. Meer,13 as affirmed inEndencia vs. David 14 must
be declared discarded. The framers of the fundamental law, as the alter ego of the people, have expressed in clear and
unmistakable terms the meaning and import of Section 10, Article VIII, of the 1987 Constitution that they have adopted

Stated otherwise, we accord due respect to the intent of the people, through the discussions and deliberations of their
representatives, in the spirit that all citizens should bear their aliquot part of the cost of maintaining the government and should
share the burden of general income taxation equitably.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for Prohibition is hereby dismissed.


Teehankee, C.J., Fernan, Narvasa, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ., concur.
Yap, J., is on leave.

Footnotes

1
Section 9,Articie VIII.

2
Section 10, Article X.

3
Section 6, Article XV, General Provisions.

4
Section 10, Article VIII.

5
Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. I, p. 433.

6
Record of the Constitutional Commission, p. 460.

7
Ibid., at page 467,

8
85 Phil. 552 (1950).

9
Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p. 506.

10
Gold Creek Mining Co. vs. Rodriguez, 66 Phil. 259 (1938).

11
J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. vs. Land Tenure Administration, No. L-21064, February 18, 1970, 31 SCRA 413.

12
Tanada, Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1, p. 21.

13
85 Phil. 552 (1950).

14
93 Phil. 696 (1953).

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 79543. October 16, 1996]

JOSE D. FILOTEO, JR., petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J.:

A person under investigation for the commission of an offense is constitutionally guaranteed certain rights. One of the
most cherished of these is the right to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his choice. The 1987
Constitution, unlike its predecessors, expressly covenants that such guarantee cannot be waived except in writing and in the
presence of counsel. In the present case, petitioner claims that such proscription against an uncounselled waiver of the right to
counsel is applicable to him retroactively, even though his custodial investigation took place in 1983 -- long before the effectivity
of the new Constitution. He also alleges that his arrest was illegal, that his extrajudicial confession was extracted through
torture, and that the prosecutions evidence was insufficient to convict him. Finally, though not raised by petitioner, the question
of what crime -- brigandage or robbery -- was committed is likewise motu propio addressed by the Court in this Decision.

Challenged in the instant amended petition is the Decision [1] of respondent Sandiganbayan[2] in Criminal Case No. 8496
promulgated on June 19, 1987 convicting petitioner of brigandage, and the Resolution [3] promulgated on July 27, 1987 denying
his motion for reconsideration.

The Facts

Petitioner Jose D. Filoteo, Jr. was a police investigator of the Western Police District in Metro Manila, an old hand at
dealing with suspected criminals. A recipient of various awards and commendations attesting to his competence and
performance as a police officer, he could not therefore imagine that one day he would be sitting on the other side of the
investigation table as the suspected mastermind of the armed hijacking of a postal delivery van.

Along with his co-accused Martin Mateo, Jr. y Mijares, PC/Sgt. Bernardo Relator, Jr. y Retino, CIC Ed Saguindel y Pabinguit,
Ex-PC/Sgt. Danilo Miravalles y Marcelo and civilians Ricardo Perez, Reynaldo Frias, Raul Mendoza, Angel Liwanag, Severino
Castro and Gerardo Escalada, petitioner Filoteo was charged in the following Information: [4]

That on or about the 3rd day of May, 1982, in the municipality of Meycauyan, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, two of whom were armed with guns, conspiring, confederating together
and helping one another, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously with intent of gain and by means of violence,
threat and intimidation, stop the Postal Delivery Truck of the Bureau of Postal while it was travelling along the MacArthur
Highway of said municipality, at the point of their guns, and then take, rob and carry away with them the following, to wit:

1) Postal Delivery Truck

2) Social Security System Medicare Checks and Vouchers

3) Social Security System Pension Checks and Vouchers

4) Treasury Warrants

5) Several Mail Matters from abroad

in the total amount of P253,728.29 more or less, belonging to US Government Pensionados, SSS Pensionados, SSS Medicare
Beneficiaries and Private Individuals from Bulacan, Pampanga,Bataan, Zambales and Olongapo City, to the damage and
prejudice of the owners in the aforementioned amount.

Contrary to law.

On separate dates, accused Filoteo, Mateo, Saguindel, Relator and Miravalles, assisted by their respective counsel,
pleaded not guilty. Their co-accused Perez, Frias, Mendoza, Liwanag, Castro and Escalada were never arrested and remained at
large. Accused Mateo escaped from police custody and was tried in absentia in accordance with Article IV, Section 19 of the
1973 Constitution. Accused Saguindel and Relator failed to appear during the trial on February 21, 1985 and on March 31, 1986,
respectively, and were thus ordered arrested but remained at large since then. Like in the case of Mateo, proceedings against
them were held in absentia.[5] Only Filoteo filed this petition, after the respondent Court rendered its assailed Decision and
Resolution.

Before trial commenced and upon the instance of the prosecution for a stipulation of facts, the defense admitted the
following:[6]

The existence of the bound record of Criminal Case No. 50737-B-82, consisting of 343 pages from the Bulacan CFI (Exhibit A); in
1982 or thereabouts, accused Bernardo Relator was a PC Sergeant at Camp Bagond Diwa, Bicutan, Metro Manila; as such PC
Sergeant, accused Relator was issued a service revolver, Smith & Wesson Revolver, 32 (sic), with Serial No. 11707 (Exhibit B) and
holster (Exhibit B-1) with six (6) live ammo (Exhibit B-2); in 1982 or thereabouts, accused Eddie Saguindel was a PC Constable
First Class; on May 30, 1982, accused Saguindel, together with accused Relator and Danilo Miravalles, a former PC Sergeant, was
invited for investigation in connection with the hijacking of a delivery van by the elements of the Special Operations Group, PC,
and the three availed of their right to remain silent and to have counsel of their choice, as shown by their Joint Affidavit (Exhibit
A-20); and the existence of the sworn statement executed by accused Martin Mateo (Exhibit A-11) as well as the Certification
dated May 30, 1982, subject to the qualification that said document was made under duress.

The prosecution sought to prove its case with the testimonies of Bernardo Bautista, Rodolfo Miranda, Capt. Rosendo
Ferrer, M/Sgt. Noel Alcazar and Capt. Samuel Pagdilao, Jr. 6-a and the submission of Exhibits A to K. In their defense, accused
Filoteo and Miravalles presented their respective testimonies plus those of Gary Gallardo and Manolo Almogera. Filoteo also
submitted his Exhibits 1-14-Filoteo, but Miravalles filed no written evidence. Thereafter, the prosecution proffered rebuttal
evidence and rested with the admission of Exhibits A-16-a, A-31 and L.

Evidence for the Prosecution

At about 6:30 in the morning of May 3, 1982, Bureau of Post mail van no. MVD 02 left San Fernando, Pampanga to pick up
and deliver mail matters to and from Manila. On board the vehicle were Nerito Miranda, the driver, and two couriers named
Bernardo Bautista and Eminiano Tagudar who were seated beside the driver. They arrived at around9:40 that morning at
the Airmail Distribution Center of the Manila International Airport where they were issued waybills[7] for the sacks of mail they
collected. They then proceeded to the Central Post Office where they likewise gathered mail matters including 737 check
letters[8] sent by the United States Embassy. All the mail matters were placed inside the delivery van, and its door padlocked.

As they had to deliver mail matters to several towns of Bulacan, they took the MacArthur Highway on the return trip to
Pampanga. When they reached Kalvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan at about 4:30 in the afternoon, an old blue Mercedes Benz
sedan[9] overtook their van and cut across its path. The car had five (5) passengers -- three seated in front and two at the
back. The cars driver and the passenger beside him were in white shirts; the third man in front and the person immediately
behind him were both clad in fatigue uniforms, while the fifth man in the back had on a long-sleeved shirt. [10]

Two of the car passengers aimed an armalite and a hand gun at driver Nerito Miranda as someone uttered, Are you not
going to stop this truck?[11] Frightened, Miranda pulled over and stopped the vans engine. Alighting from the car, the armed
group identified themselves as policemen. [12] They ordered the postal employees to disembark from the van. As he stepped out
of the van, Miranda took the ignition key with him, but when threatened, he surrendered it to one of the car passengers. [13] The
three postal employees were then ordered to board the Benz.

As he was about to enter the car, Bautista looked back and saw one of the malefactors, who turned out to be Reynaldo
Frias, going up the van. Inside the car, the three delivery employees were ordered to lower their heads. They sat between two of
their captors at the back of the car while two others were in front. Later, Nerito Miranda asked permission to straighten up as he
was feeling dizzy for lack of air. As he stretched, he caught a glimpse of the pimply face of the man to his left. He also recognized
the driver who had glanced back. These men turned out to be Angel Liwanag and Reynaldo Frias, respectively. [14]

As the car started moving, Bautista complained about feeling densely confined. He was allowed to raise his head but with
eyes closed. However, he sneaked a look and recognized the driver of the car as Raul Mendoza and the fellow beside him who
poked a balisong at him as Angel Liwanag. The man in uniform on the front seat was Eddie Saguindel. Earlier, as he was about to
enter the car, Bautista looked back and recognized Frias. [15] These incidents yielded the pieces of information critical to the
subsequent identification of Mendoza, Liwanag, Saguindel and Frias in the line-up of suspects at Camp Crame later on.

The car seemed to move around in circles. When it finally came to a stop, the captured men discovered that they were
along Kaimito Road in Kalookan City. They were made to remove their pants and shoes and then told to run towards the shrubs
with their heads lowered. Upon realizing that the hijackers had left, they put on their pants and reported the incident to the
Kalookan Police Station.

The Security and Intelligence Unit of the Bureau of Posts recovered the postal van at the corner of Malindang and Angelo
Streets, La Loma, Quezon City on May 4, 1982.Discovered missing were several mail matters, [16] including checks and warrants,
along with the vans battery, tools and fuel.[17]

In a letter-request dated May 6, 1982 to then Col. Ramon Montao, then Postmaster General Roilo S. Golez sought the
assistance of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Philippine Constabulary in the investigation of the hijacking incident.
[18]
Responding to the request, the SOG, which was tasked to detect, investigate and neutralize criminal syndicates in Metro
Manila and adjacent provinces, organized two investigative teams. One group was led by Capt. Rosendo Ferrer and the other by
1st Lt. Samuel Pagdilao.Initially, they conducted a massive intelligence build-up to monitor the drop points where the stolen
checks could be sold or negotiated.

On May 28, 1982, the SOG received a tip from a civilian informer that two persons were looking for buyers of stolen
checks. Capt. Ferrer requested the informer to arrange a meeting with them. The meeting materialized at about 9:00 P.M. of
May 29, 1982 at the Bughaw Restaurant in Cubao, Quezon City. With cash on hand, Capt. Ferrer posed as the buyer. The
informer introduced him to Rey Frias and Rafael Alcantara. Frias in turn showed Capt. Ferrer a sample Social Security System
(SSS) pension check and told him that the bulk of the checks were in the possession of their companions in Obrero, Tondo,
Manila. After some negotiations, they agreed to proceed to Tondo. Then as they boarded a car, Capt. Ferrer introduced himself
and his companions as lawmen investigating the hijacking incident. Shocked and distressed, Frias calmed down only when
assured that his penalty would be mitigated should he cooperate with the authorities. Frias thus volunteered to help crack the
case and lead the SOG team to Ricardo Perez and Raul Mendoza.

Capt. Ferrer instructed Lt. Pagdilao, his assistant operations officer who was in another car during the mission, to
accompany Frias to Obrero, Tondo while he escorted Alcantara to their headquarters at Camp Crame. On the way to the
headquarters, Alcantara denied participation in the hijacking although he admitted living with Martin Mateo who allegedly was
in possession of several checks. Alcantara was turned over to the investigation section of the SOG for further questioning.

Meanwhile, Lt. Pagdilaos group was able to corner Ricardo Perez in his house in Tondo. Confronted with the hijacking
incident, Perez admitted participation therein and expressed disappointment over his inability to dispose of the checks even
after a month from the hijacking. He surrendered the checks in his possession to Lt. Pagdilao. [19]

An hour and a half later, Capt. Ferrer received information over their two-way radio that Ricardo Perez and Raul Mendoza
were in Lt. Pagdilaos custody. Capt. Ferrer ordered that, instead of returning to headquarters, Lt. Pagdilao and his companions
should meet him in Quirino, Novaliches to apprehend Martin Mateo. They met at the designated place and proceeded to Gulod,
Novaliches arriving there at about 10:30 P.M. of May 29, 1982.

Walking atop a ricefield dike to the house of Mateo, they noticed two men heading in their direction. Perez identified
them as Martin Mateo and Angel Liwanag. The latter threw something into the ricefield which, when retrieved, turned out to be
bundles of checks wrapped in cellophane inside a plastic bag. [20] As the two were about to board the SOG teams's car, Mateo
said, Sir, kung baga sa basketball, talo na kami. Ibibigay ko yong para sa panalo. Marami pa akong tseke doon sa bahay ko, sir,
kunin na natin para di na natin babalikan. [21] Capt. Ferrer accompanied Mateo to his house where they retrieved several other
checks in another plastic bag.

On the way to the SOG headquarters in Camp Crame, Mateo and Liwanag admitted participation in the postal hijacking. At
a confrontation with Perez and Mendoza, all four of them pointed to petitioner, Jose D. Filoteo, Jr., as the mastermind of the
crime.

Consequently, Capt. Ferrer directed Lt. Pagdilao to accompany Mateo to the house of petitioner in Tondo, Manila. The
lawmen found petitioner at home. Upon being invited to Camp Crame to shed light on his participation in the hijacking,
petitioner was dumbfounded (parang nagulat). Pursuant to standard operating procedure in arrests, petitioner was informed of
his constitutional rights,[22] whereupon they proceeded to Camp Crame. However, the group, including petitioner, returned to
the latters place to recover the loot. It was in the neighborhood, not in petitioners house, where the authorities located the
checks.[23]

The authorities confronted Filoteo about his participation in the hijacking, telling him that Frias, Mendoza and Perez had
earlier volunteered the information that petitioner furnished the Benz used in the hijacking. Thereupon, Filoteo admitted
involvement in the crime and pointed to three other soldiers, namely, Eddie Saguindel, Bernardo Relator and Jack Miravalles
(who turned out to be a discharged soldier), as his confederates. At 1:45 in the afternoon of May 30, 1982, petitioner executed a
sworn statement in Tagalog before M/Sgt. Arsenio C. Carlos and Sgt. Romeo P. Espero which, quoted in full, reads as follows:

BABALA: -- Nais kong ipaalam sa iyo, Patrolman Filoteo, na ang dahilan ng pagsisiyasat na ito ay tungkol sa isang kasong
Robbery-in-Band/Hi-Jacking na naganap noong ika-3 ng Mayo 1982 doon sa Meycauyan, Bulacan, mga bandang alas-4:00 ng
hapon, humigit-kumulang, kung saang maraming tsekeng US, tseke ng BIR at iba pang mga personal na tseke ang nabawi mula
sa iyo.Nais ko ring ibigay sa iyo ang babala alinsunod sa mga isinasaad ng Section 20, Article IV ng Bagong Saligang Batas ng
Republika ng Pilipinas, kagaya ng mga sumusunod:

a. Na ikaw ay may karapatang tumahimik;


b. Na ikaw ay may karapatang kumuha ng isang abugadong sarili mong pili upang may magpapayo sa iyo habang ikaw ay
sinisiyasat;

c. Na ikaw ay may karapatang huwag sumagot sa mga katanungang maaring makasira sa iyo sa dahilang anumang iyong isalaysay
ay maaaring gamitin pabor or laban sa iyo sa kinauukulang hukuman;

d. Na ikaw ay walang maibabayad sa isang abugado, ako mismo ang makipag-ugnayan sa CLAO-IBP upang ikaw ay magkaroon ng
isang abugadong walang bayad.

1. TANONG:- Ang mga bagay-bagay bang akin nang naipaliwanag sa iyo ay iyong lubos na naiintindihan at
nauunawaan?

SAGOT:- Opo.

2. T:- Handa mo bang lagdaan ang ilalim ng katanungan at sagot na ito bilang katibayan na iyo ngang naiintindihan
ang iyong mga karapatan at gayun na rin sa dahilan ng pagsisiyasat na ito, at ikaw din ay nakahanda ngang
magbigay ng isang malaya at kusang-loob na salaysay, sumagot sa mga katanungan at sumusumpang lahat ng
iyong isasalaysay ay pawang mga katotohanan lamang?

S:- Opo, pipirma ako Ser.

(Sgd.)
JOSE D. FILOTEO
(Affiant)

MGA SAKSI:

(Sgd.) (Sgd.)
ROMEO P. ESPERO THERESA L. TOLENTINO
Ssg., PC C1C WAC (PC)"

3. T:- Maari bang sabihin mong muli ang iyong buong pangalan, edad at iba pang bagay-bagay na maaring
mapagkakikilalanan sa iyo?

S:- Jose Filoteo y Diendo, 30-anyos, may asawa, isang Patrolman ng Western Police District, Metropolitan Police
Force na kasalukuyang nakatalaga sa General Assignment Section, Investigation Division ng naturang Distrito
ng Pulisya at kasalukuyang nakatira sa No. 810 Cabesas St., Dagupan, Tondo, Manila.

4. T:- Kailan ka pa na-appoint sa service bilang isang Kabatas?

S:- Noon pong October 1978, hindi ko maalaala ang exactong petsa, noong ako ay mapasok sa serbisyo.

5. T:- Kailan ka pa naman na-assign sa GAS, WPD, MPF?

S:- Noon lamang pong January 1982.

6. T:- Patrolman Filoteo, ikaw ba ay tubong saang bayan, lungsod or lalawigan?

S:- Pagkakaalam ko sa tatay ko ay Bulacan samantalang ang aking ina naman ay Bisaya, pero ako ay ipinanganak na
sa Maynila noon July 17, 1951.

7. T:- Ano naman ang natapos mong kurso sa pag-aaral?

S:- Undergraduate ako ng BS Criminology sa PCCr, dahil hindi ko natapos ang second semester ng 4 th year ko.

8. T:- Ano naman ang iyong specific designation sa GAS, ID, WPD-MPF?

S:- Sa Follow-Up Unit ako.

9. T:- At bilang miyembro ng follow-up unit ng GAS, ano naman ang iyong mga specific duties?

S:- Kami po ang magsasagawa ng follow-up kung may mga at large sa mga suspects namin sa mga kasong hawak ng
investigation.
10. T:- Noong ika-3 ng Mayo 1982, mga bandang alas-4:00 ng hapon humigit kumulang, saan ka naroroon at ano ang
iyong ginagawa?

S:- Nasa Plaza Lawton ho kami, eh, at inaantay na namin iyong hinayjack namin na Philippine Mail delivery van.

11. T:- Wika moy kami, sinu-sino ang tinutukoy mong mga kasamahan?

S:- Si Carding Perez, ho; si Junior ho (Affiant pointed to Martin Mateo, Jr. who was seated in the investigation room
and asked the name and was duly answered: Martin Mateo, Jr.); si Rey Frias; Raul Mendoza; Angelo Liwanag at
ang mga taga LRP ng PC Brigade na sina Sgt. Ed Saguindel, Sgt. Dan Miravales at isa pang Sergeant na ang alam
ko lang sa kanya ay JUN ang tawag namin. Walo (8) (corrected and initialled by affiant to read as SIYAM [9])
kaming lahat doon noon at ang mga gamit naman naming kotse noon ay ang kotse ng kumpare kong si Rudy
Miranda na isang Mercedes Benz na may plakang NMJ-659 kung saang ang driver namin noon ay si Raul
Mendoza (corrected and initialled by affiant to read as AKO) at ang mga kasama naman naming sakay ay sina
Angelo Liwanag, Sgt. Ed Saguindel at Sgt. Jun na parehong taga-LRP (affiant added and initialled this additional
fact: AT RAUL MENDOZA). Ang isang kotse namang gamit namin ay pag-aari daw ng pinsan ni Carding Perez na
kanya na rin mismong minamaneho na isang Lancer na dirty-white ang kulay at ang mga sakay naman ni
Carding Perez ay sina Junior Mateo, Rey Frias at Sgt. Dan Miravalles ng LRP rin. Pero may kasama pa kaming
contact ni Carding Perez na taga-loob ng Post Office na sina Alias NINOY na isang dispatcher at Alias JERRY,
dahil ang mastermind dito sa trabahong ito ay si Carding PEREZ at kami naman ng mga sundalong taga-LRP ay
kanila lamang inimporta upang umeskort sa kanila sa pag-hijack ng delivery van.

12. T:- Anong oras naman noong umalis ang delivery van ng Post Office patungong norte?

S:- Kung hindi ako nagkakamali ay nasa pagitan na noon ng alas-4:00 hanggang alas-5:00 ng hapon.

13. T:- Isalaysay mo nga ng buong-buo kung ano ang mga naganap noong hapon na iyon?

S:- Noon pong lumakad na ang delivery van ng Central Post Office, sinundan na namin, una ang van, sumunod ang
Lancer at huli ang Mercedes Benz namin. Pagdating namin sa Malinta, Valenzuela Metro Manila ay nagpalit
kami ng puwesto sa pagsunod, van naman ngayon, sunod ang Mercedes Benz at huli na ang Lancer. Noong
makapasok na kami ng boundary ng Meycauyan, Bulacan ay kumuha na kami ng tiyempo at noon
makatiyempo kami ay kinat namin ang delivery van. Tumigil naman ito at bumaba kaagad sina Sgt. Ed
Saguindel at Sgt. Jun ng LRP dahil sila noon ang may hawak ng kanilang Armalite Rifle pero may service pa
silang maiksing baril. Pinababa nila ang tatlong maydala ng delivery van at pinasakay sa Mercedes Benz,
habang nakatutok ang kanilang mga baril sa kanila. Ako naman ay bumaba na sa aming kotse at sumakay ng
delivery van at ako na mismo ang nagmaneho at sinamahan naman ako nina Junior Mateo at si Rey Frias, tatlo
(3) rin kaming pumalit sa puwesto noong tatlong (3) taga-Post Office na maydala ng delivery van. Nag-Utturn
(sic) kami ngayon at ibinalik na namin sa Manila ang van. Iyong Mercedes Benz na minamaneho pa rin ni Raul
Mendoza ay dumeretso pa norte samantalang ang Lancer naman ay nag-U-turn din at sumunod sa
amin. Noong makarating na kami sa Malinta, Valenzuela, Metro Manila ay inunahan na kami ng Lancer at iyon
na nga, parang follow the leader na dahil siya na noon ang aming guide.

14. T:- Ipagpatuloy mo ang iyong pagsasalaysay?

S:- Dumeretso kami ngayon sa may Obrero, sa bahay mismo nina Carding Perez, at noong nakarating ng kami roon ay
iniyatras ko na ang van sa kanilang garahe at doon ay ibinaba namin lahat ang mga duffle bag, hindi ko na po
alam kung ilan lahat iyon, na siyang laman ng delivery van at pagkatapos ay umalis kaming muli ng mga
kasama ko rin sa van papuntang Quezon City kung saan namin inabandon ang delivery van. Sa Retiro ho yata
iyong lugar na iyon, kung hindi ako nagkakamali.

15. T:- Ano ang mga sumunod na nangyari?

S:- Sumakay kami ngayon ng taksi at bumalik na kami kina Carding Perez sa may bahay nila sa Obrero, Tondo, Manila
at inabutan na namin sila na nagkakarga na noong mga duffle bag sa (sic), madilim na ho noon, sa isang
kotseng mamula-mula o orange na Camaro at isa pang Mercedes Benz na brown, dahil ang Lancer ay isinoli na
raw nila sa may-ari. Dinala nila ngayon ang mga duffle bag sa Bocaue, Bulacan, iyon kasi ang usapan namin
noon dahil sumilip lamang ako noon at kasama ko si Carding Perez, kami naman ngayon ay pumunta sa bahay
nina Rudy Miranda sa San Marcelino, Malate, Manila na sakay ng isang Toyota Corona na brown na si Carding
Perez ang nagmaneho. Pagdating namin doon sa kina Rudy Miranda ay naroon na rin noon ang Mercedes Benz
na ginamit namin, pero wala na ang crew ng delivery van dahil ibinaba at iniwanan daw nila sa Caloocan
City. Ang naroroon na lamang noon ay sina Angelo Liwanag, si Raul Mendoza, si Sgt. Ed Saguindel at si Sgt. Jun
na parehong taga-LRP. Naiwan na noon ang Mercedes Benz namin doon kina Rudy Miranda at iniwan na rin
ang susi doon sa kamag-anak, dahil hindi nila alam ang trabahong ito. Sumakay na iyong apat naming kasama
sa Toyota Corona na sakay namin at inihatid namin sina Sgt. Saguindel at Sgt. Jun doon sa tinitirhan nitong
huling nabanggit na sundalo doon sa malapit sa Del Pan Bridge sa may Recto Avenue sa San Nicolas yata iyon
sa Manila. Kami naman ngayong apat, sina Carding Perez, Angelo Liwanag at si Raul Mendoza ay tumuloy na sa
Bocaue, Bulacan. Dumaan kami sa North Diversion Road at paglabas namin sa exit papuntang Bocaue, Bulacan
ay hindi na kalayuan doon, hindi ko alam ang lugar pero alam kong puntahan. Bahay daw yata ng kamag-anak
ni Carding Perez iyon pero hindi ko alam ang pangalan. Naroon na ngayon ang buong tropa, maliban sa mga
dalawang sundalong naihatid na namin sa may Manila, at may mga nadagdag pang ibang mukha pero hindi ko
ito mga kakilala. Si JACK o Sgt. Dan Miravalles ay naroon din noon. Kumain kami, pagkatapos ay nagbukasan na
ng mga duffle bag. Iyon na nga,nakita na namin ang mga tsekeng ito, (Affiant pointed to the checks he
voluntarily surrendered) at aming inihiwalay ngayon sa mga sulat na naroon na sinunog lahat pagkatapos doon
sa bahay ni Junior Mateo sa Novaliches. Di magdamag ngayon ang trabaho namin, kinabukasan ay kanya-
kanyang uwian na, pagkatapos ay pahinga. Kinabukasan muli, gabi, inilipat na namin doon sa bahay ni Junior
Mateo ang mga tsekeng ito (Affiant again referred to said checks). Isinakay namin noon sa isang cargo truck na
pag-aari din daw nina Carding. Iyong mga tsekeng iyan ngayon ay nakalagay noon doon sa isang sikretong
compartment sa gitna ng truck, doon ba sa may chassis. Sikretong compartment iyon, na mahirap mahalata.

16. T: Ikaw ba naman ay mayroong dalang baril noon at kung ganoon, sabihin mo nga kung anong uring baril iyon?

S:- Wala po akong baril, Ser.

17. T:- Paano naman napunta ang mga tsekeng ito (the checks recovered from the Affiant was referred to) sa iyo?

S:- E, di ganoon na nga ho, habang tumatagal ay umiinit ang situwasyon sa aming grupo, dahil iyong partehan sana
namin ay puro pangako ang nangyari. Kaya napagpasiyahan namin na hatiin na lamang iyong mga tseke upang
walang onsehan sa amin. Ito ngayon ay parte namin nina Sgt. Ed Saguindel, Sgt. Dan Miravalles Alias JACK at ni
Sgt. Jun, dahil noong una ay doon muna sa amin ito nakatago (The checks recovered from the Affiant was
referred to). Pero habang tumatagal ay umiinit at nalaman namin pati na may alarma na, kayat inilipat namin
doon sa may Raxa Bago sa may likod ng Alhambra Cigar & Cigarette Factory sa Tondo, Manila at akin munang
ipinatago sa isang kumare ko doon, pansamantala, pero hindi alam nitong kumare ko ang laman noon dahil
mahigpit kong ipinagbilin na huwag nilang bubuksan. Doon na rin namin kinuha iyon noong isurender ko ang
mga tsekeng ito kagabi, at hanggang sa kinuha na namin ang supot na ito (the checks placed in a plastic bag
was again referred to) ay wala pa rin kamalay-malay ang kumare ko.

18. T:- Iyong sinasabi mong mga kontak nina Carding Perez sa Central Post Office, mga kakilala mo rin ba ang mga
ito?

S:- Iyong araw na lamang na iyon ko sila nakita, dahil maghapon ko noon silang nakikita, itong si Alias NINOY lamang
ang dispatcher, dahil palabas-labas siya noon at nakikipag-usap kina Carding Perez, Raul Mendoza at saka si
Rey Frias. Makikilala ko itong si Alias NINOY kung makita ko siyang muli.

19. T:- Sino naman ang kumontak sa iyo upang sumama sa trabahong ito?

S:- Si Junior Mateo po, ipinakilala niya ako kina Carding at sa buong tropa na namin.

20. T:- Pansamantala ay wala na muna akong itatanong pa sa iyo, mayroon ka bang nais na idagdag, bawasin o
palitan kaya sa salaysay na ito?

S:- Wala na po.

21. T:- Handa mo bang lagdaan ang iyong salaysay na ito bilang patotoo sa katotohanan nito nang hindi ka pinilit,
sinaktan or pinangakuan kaya ng anuman upang lumagda lamang?

S:- Opo.

WAKAS NG SALAYSAY: . . . . . /ac

(Sgd.)
JOSE D. FILOTEO

MGA SAKSI SA LAGDA:


(Sgd.)
SSG ROMEO P. ESPERO PC

(Sgd.)
CIC THERESA TOLENTINO WAC (PC)[24]

Petitioner executed two other documents on the same day, May 30, 1982. One was a certification stating that he
voluntarily surrendered voluminous assorted US checks and vouchers, that because of the large number of pieces of checks, he
affixed his signature upon the middle portion of the back of each check to serve as identification in the future, prior to the
completion of its proper inventory and listing conducted by elements of SOG in his presence, and that he guided the elements
of SOG to the residence of Rodolfo C. Miranda, the owner of the sky-blue Mercedes Benz car which was surrendered to the SOG
Headquarters.[25] The other document was a sworn statement wherein petitioner attested to his waiver of the provisions of
Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code and the following facts: (a) that he was apprised of his constitutional rights under Section
20, Article IV of the (1973) Constitution, that he understood all his rights thereunder, and that the investigators offered him
counsel from the CLAO-IBP but he refused to avail of the privilege; (b) that he was arrested by SOG men in his house at around
11:00 p.m. of May 29, 1982 sa dahilang ako ay kasangkot sa pagnanakaw ng mga US Treasury Warrants, SSS Pension Checks
and Vouchers at SSS Medicare Checks and Vouchers mula sa delivery van ng Philippine Mail; (c) that the SOG men confiscated
from him numerous checks and a Mercedes Benz 200 colored sky-blue, and (d) that he was not hurt or maltreated nor was
anything taken from him which was not duly receipted for. [26]

As certified to by petitioner (in the above described document), he led the SOG operatives to the house of Rodolfo
Miranda on Singalong where the latter admitted that petitioner was his friend. He denied, however, having knowledge that his
car was used in the hijacking until the authorities came to his house. According to Miranda, he was made to believe that his car
would be used for surveillance purposes because petitioners jeep was not available. The car was not returned until the evening
following that when it was borrowed. [27] After the trip to Mirandas house, petitioner informed the investigators that some more
checks could be recovered from his kumare. Said checks were retrieved and turned over to headquarters along with the car
surrendered by Miranda who later executed a sworn statement dated May 31, 1992 at the SOG. [28]

Upon learning of the whereabouts of Miravalles, Eddie Saguindel and Bernardo Relator, the team of Capt. Ferrer
proceeded to Taguig, Metro Manila in the afternoon of May 30, 1982. They met Miravalles along the way to his house. Informed
by Capt. Ferrer that six of his companions were already under custody and that they implicated him as one of their
confederates, Miravalles reacted by saying, Sir, ang hihina kasi ng mga loob niyan, eh.[29]

Capt. Ferrer later asked Miravalles to bring him to Eddie Saguindel. At the barracks of the Long Range Patrol in Bicutan,
Metro Manila, Saguindel voluntarily accepted the invitation to proceed to the SOG headquarters, after Miravalles initially
informed him of the facts obtained during the investigation. Saguindel was heard saying, Hindi na kami interesado, sir, sa mga
tsekeng iyan kasi isang buwan na hindi pa nabebenta. [30] With Miravalles and Saguindel, Capt. Ferrer and his team moved on to
Binondo, Manila to look for Bernardo Relator. When they found him at home, Relator excused himself, went upstairs, returned
with a .32 caliber revolver with six bullets [31] and said, Sir, ito yong baril na nagamit. [32] The three suspects were brought to Camp
Crame for further investigation. Thereafter, Capt. Ferrer submitted an after-operations report about their mission and executed
jointly with Lt. Pagdilao on affidavit on the same matter. [33]

Aside from petitioner, Liwanag, Mateo and Perez executed sworn statements. [34] Prior to doing so, they waived their right
to counsel. Liwanag and Mateo admitted their participation and implicated petitioner in the crime. Perez, on the other hand,
denied having driven a Lancer car in the hijacking and stated that he was implicated in the crime only because in one drinking
spree with petitioner, Mateo and one alias Buro during that month of May, they had a heated altercation. Like petitioner,
Liwanag and Mendoza certified that they voluntarily surrendered vouchers and checks which were part of their loot in the
hijacking; they also executed waivers under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. For his part, Relator executed a certification
to the effect that he voluntarily surrendered his .32 caliber Smith & Wesson service revolver used in the commission of the
crime. In spite of the fact that his father-in-law was a lawyer, petitioner did not manifest that he needed the assistance of
counsel. During the taking of his statement, petitioner was visited by Jimmy Victorino and another comrade from the General
Assignment Section of the WPD.

For their part, Relator, Saguindel and Miravalles executed a joint affidavit [35] manifesting their option to avail of their right
to remain silent until such time as they would have retained a counsel of their choice. Frias and Mendoza executed a similar
joint affidavit.[36] Severino Castro, the postal employee implicated, also chose to remain silent as he wanted to testify in
court. However, he linked to the crime a certain Gerardo Escalada, a former clerk of the Central Post Office and son of a director
of the Bureau of Posts in Region I.[37]

On May 31, 1982, then Postmaster General Golez summoned postal employees Miranda, Bautista and Tagudar and
directed them to proceed to Camp Crame. At the office of the SOG, they were told to go over some pictures for identification of
the culprits. The three recognized and pointed to the suspects in a line-up. Tagudar identified Saguindel and Liwanag.[38] Miranda
pointed at Frias and Liwanag[39] while Bautista identified Frias, Mendoza and Liwanag .[40] Petitioner himself, when told to identify
his alleged cohorts, pointed to Severino Castro as their contact at the post office. [41] Five of the suspects who were not identified
in the line-up were however implicated by Liwanag, Mateo and petitioner.

SOG Chief Investigator Jorge C. Mercado filed a complaint for robbery-in-band (hijacking) before the Municipal Court of
Meycauyan, Bulacan against petitioner and ten (10) others, namely, Mateo, Saguindel, Relator, Miravalles, Perez, Frias,
Mendoza, Liwanag, Castro and Escalada (Criminal Case No. 7885). [42]

On August 8, 1983, the Information previously referred to and aforequoted was filed with the Sandiganbayan and
docketed as Criminal Case No. 8496.

On September 20, 1983, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Romeo M. Escareal issued orders for the arrest of the
accused[43] and fixed bail at P13,000.00 each. Saguindel and Relator filed a motion to quash the Information asserting that under
the Articles of War and Section 1 of P.D. 1850, they should be tried by a court martial. [44] The Sandiganbayan denied the motion
on January 3, 1984[45] on the ground that courts martial could no longer exercise jurisdiction over them by virtue of their
separation from military service.

Evidence for the Defense

Testifying in his own defense, petitioner alleged that as a patrolman since August 21, 1978 assigned to the Investigation
Division or the Detective Bureau of the WPD to which the General Assignment Section belonged, he was the recipient of several
awards and recognitions starting with ranking fifth in the Final Order of Merit in the basic course for police officers. [46] He also
claimed to have received a loyalty medal for meritorious service above the call of duty [47] and several commendations[48] for the
distinguished performance of his duties. On that fateful date of May 3, 1982, he was a member of the Special Task Force Unit
covering the tourist belt area.

Of the ten other accused in this case, petitioner admitted knowing only Martin Mateo whose name appeared in the initial
follow-up operation he allegedly participated in regarding a P250,000 qualified theft case on May 16, 1980 at the Shemberg
Marketing Corporation.[49] Although a suspect, Mateo was not charged in the information subsequently filed in that
case. Sometime in March 1981, Mateo visited petitioner at the police headquarters seeking assistance in his bid to lead a new
life. Considering Mateos familiarity with underworld characters, petitioner readily made him an informer who was paid from
time to time out of the police intelligence fund. Mateo proved to be an effective informer. In fact, he allegedly supplied vital
information on the identities and whereabouts of suspects in robbery cases at the La Elegancia Jewelry Store, at the Likha
Antique and Crafts,[50] and in an alleged racket in Aranque Market in Manila involving jewelries.

As such informer, Mateo became accustomed to borrowing petitioners owner-type jeep whenever he was given an
assignment. In one instance however, petitioner saw Mateo using his jeep with some male companions. Because Mateo denied
the occurrence of the incident, petitioner from then on refused to lend his jeep to Mateo. Instead, Mateo was given an
allowance to cover his travelling expenses.

About a month prior to May 3, 1982, petitioner met Mateo and requested the latter to give him a good project as he was
working for his transfer to the Metrocom Intelligence Security Group (MISG). On May 2, 1982, Mateo urged petitioner to lend
him his jeep in order that he could follow-up a bank robbery case. That same evening, petitioner approached his kumpare,
accused Rodolfo Miranda, to borrow the latters old Mercedes Benz since, if the jeep was used, Mateo could be identified as an
informer. Petitioner left his jeep with Miranda and went around boasting of the Mercedes Benz. [51]

Mateo took the Benz in the morning of May 3, 1982. Petitioner advised him to return the car between the hours of two
and three in the afternoon at the Lakan Beer House at the corner of Rizal Avenue and Zurbaran Streets in Sta. Cruz, Manila
where petitioner was to meet his friend Manolo Almoguera who would be celebrating his birthday there.Petitioner met
Almoguera and company at around 3:30 in the afternoon. He waited for Mateo until shortly before 5:00 in the afternoon when
he was constrained to leave without seeing Mateo because he had to attend a mandatory regular troop formation at 5:00 P.M.
at the police headquarters. From there, petitioner proceeded to his area of responsibility in the tourist belt. He returned to the
beer house at about 6:00 in the evening hoping to find Mateo and the automobile. A little before 8:00 oclock, someone
informed him that Mateo had finally arrived. Petitioner went out and scolded Mateo for being late; the latter apologized and
said that his surveillance bore good results.Petitioner then returned the car to Miranda, through the latters cousin.

At around 11:00 in the evening of May 29, 1982, Mateo, escorted by a group of military men, went to petitioners house at
810 Cabezas St., Tondo, Manila. The group refused to give any reason for their visit but arrested him. Wearing only short pants,
petitioner was made to board a car where he was handcuffed. The men asked him about the Benz and the identities of his
companions in an alleged hijacking incident. Petitioner admitted having knowledge of the exact location of the car but denied
participation in the crime. Nobody apprised him of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to be assisted by counsel. [52]

Petitioner was then instructed to accompany Lt. Pagdilao to the residence of Miranda to get the Benz. They were on board
two cars. When petitioner noticed that they were not heading for Mirandas place, he clutched the hand of Lt. Pagdilao, pleading
for pity and thinking that he was about to be salvaged. Lt. Pagdilao however informed him that they would be dropping by
petitioners house first per the investigators information that more checks could be recovered thereat. A warrantless search was
then allegedly conducted in petitioners house but nothing was found. Suddenly, someone from the other car came out of a
nearby house owned by Mateo and reported that they had recovered some checks. Thereafter, they proceeded to the house of
Miranda who was also invited for questioning. The latter surrendered his Benz to the group.

At the SOG headquarters in Camp Crame, petitioner repeatedly coaxed to admit participation in the hijacking. As he
vehemently denied the accusation against him, someone blindfolded him from behind, led him outside and loaded him in a
car. He was taken to an unidentified place and made to lie flat on his back. An object was tied to his small finger to electrocute
him. While a wet handkerchief was stuffed in his mouth, someone mounted his chest and applied the water cure ( tinutubig)
through his nose.Because these ordeals were simultaneously carried out, petitioner felt unbearable pain. He sought permission
to get in touch with his father-in-law, Atty. Felix Rosacia, but his request was denied. They urged him to cooperate otherwise
something terrible would happen to him.

Meanwhile, petitioners wife reported to the WPD General Assignment Section her husbands forcible abduction by armed
men whom she mistook for CIS agents. A check with the CIS yielded negative results. Thereafter, Lt. Reynaldo Dator went to the
SOG where he was informed that petitioner was being investigated but no details were given thereon pending clearance with
superior officers.[53] Consequently, a newspaper carried an item on the SOGs refusal to allow petitioners co-police officers to see
him in his detention cell.[54]

Among his comrades, only Jimmy Victorino, formerly of the WPD who was transferred to the SOG, was able to visit
him. Petitioner revealed to Victorino the maltreatment done him but the latter expressed helplessness about it. In fact,
Victorino advised him to just cooperate so that the SOG would not incriminate him (para hindi ka pag-initan dito).[55] The advice
came after petitioner was warned that he, like Pat. Serrano of the WPD, would be liquidated by the SOG, [56] should he refused to
cooperate. Later, Mateo came to petitioners cell and confided that he had been similarly maltreated and forced to implicate
petitioner.

After Mateo left, a prepared statement was shown and read to petitioner. Because its contents were false, petitioner
refused to sign it. Placing his arm around petitioner, a certain Capt. Lagman told petitioner that he thought they had an
understanding already. Petitioner later discovered that Lagman was not member of the military but an agent of the SOG, and a
member of the Contreras gang. Petitioner was therefore constrained to sign the statement because of his excruciating
experience (hirap na hirap). He however admitted having read the document before affiixing his signature thereto and initialing
the corrections therein. The waiver under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code and the certification he executed were allegedly
also obtained by duress. Although he picked out one Severino Castro in a police line-up, he did not even know Castro. He
implicated Castro because he was threatened by a certain Boy Zapanta.

Petitioner filed a complaint for grave coercion and maltreatment against Lt. Rosendo Ferrer and several John Does. On
August 4, 1982, Asst. City Fiscal Emelita H. Garayblas recommended its dismissal for petitioners failure to appear despite
subpoenas and to answer clarificatory questions as well as to authenticate his statement. [57]However, petitioner swore that he
never received the subpoenas.

Petitioners alibi was supported by Manolo Almoguera whose birthday on May 3, 1995 was the reason for the celebration
at the Lakan Beer House. While his baptismal certificate indicated that he was born on May 4, 1956, [58] a joint affidavit[59] also
attested that his birth date was actually May 3, 1956. Gary Gallardo, the owner of the beer house, corroborated Almogueras
testimony as to petitioners alleged presence during the birthday celebration.

The Respondent Courts Decision

On June 18, 1987, the Sandiganbayan rendered the herein questioned 51-page Decision, the dispositive portion of which
reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Jose Filoteo, Jr. y Diendo, Martin Mateo, Jr. y Mijares, Bernardo
Relator, Jr. y Retino and Eddie Saguindel y Pabinguit GUILTY as co-principals beyond reasonable doubt of the violation of Section
2 (e), in relation to Section 3 (b) of Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery
Law of 1974 and hereby sentences each of said accused to suffer the indeterminate penalty ranging from TWELVE (12) YEARS
and ONE (1) DAY as minimum, to THIRTEEN (13) YEARS, ONE (1) MONTH and ELEVEN (11) DAYS as maximum, both of reclusion
temporal, and to pay their proportionate share of the costs of the action. Accused Danilo Miravalles y Marcelo is hereby
acquitted, with costs de oficio, for insufficiency of evidence.

No civil indemnity is hereby awarded due to the complete dearth of any proof as to the actual damages suffered by the Bureau
of Posts or the owners of the pilfered mail matters, and it further appearing that the mail van which was hijacked had been
recovered, as well as most of the checks and warrants which were surrendered by some of the accused, without prejudice to
the institution of the proper civil action to recover damages should proof thereof be available.

Consequently, it is hereby ordered that Exhibits B, B-1 and B-2, which are the .32 Cal. Revolver, Smith and Wesson, Serial No.
11707, its holster and six (6) live ammunition respectively, which were surrendered by accused Relator, and Exhibits J, J-1 to J-5,
consisting of 187, 222, 215, 197, 194 and 22 pieces, respectively, of Social Security System and Medicare checks and vouchers,
be returned to the Firearm and Explosive Unit (FEU), PC, Camp Crame, Quezon City and the Social Security System, respectively,
upon proper receipts.

Let copies of this decision be furnished the Postmaster-General, Central Post Office, Liwasang Bonifacio, Metro Manila and the
Commanding General and Chief, PC-INP, Camp Crame, Quezon City for their information and guidance with respect to the other
accused who are still at-large.

SO ORDERED.

Petitioners motion for reconsideration of said Decision was denied by the Sandiganbayan in its challenged Resolution of
July 27, 1987. Hence, the instant alternative petition for certiorari and/or review on certiorari charging the Sandiganbayan with
having gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and with reversible error in arriving at said
Decision.

The Issues

The amended petition raises the following:

Assignments of Error
and / or
Excess of Jurisdiction / Grave Abuse of Discretion

xxxxxxxxx

First

The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction when it made its determination
of the alleged guilt of petitioner on the basis of mere preponderance of evidence and not proof beyond reasonable doubt.

Second

The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that petitioners
having borrowed the Mercedes Benz car utilized by the other accused in the hijacking of the mail van idubitably established his
direct participation and/or indispensable cooperation in the said hijacking, the same being in gross disregard of basic Rules of
Law.

Third
The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that the voluminous
SSS Medicare and Pension Checks were confiscated from and surrendered by petitioner and three of the other accused and in
finding the testimonies and investigation reports relative thereto, credible and unrefuted, said findings being, insofar as
petitioner is concerned, absolutely without any basis in the evidence and in fact contrary to the prosecutions only evidence that
has some measure of competency and admissibility.

Fourth

The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion in finding that dorsal portions of the checks and warrants allegedly
taken from petitioner were signed by him to indicate his admission of accountability therefor and that his signatures thereon
confirm the confiscation from and/or surrender by him of said checks, said findings being absolutely without any support in the
evidence.

Fifth

The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in admitting and considering
against petitioner his alleged extra judical confession, despite petitioners uncontradicted testimony and documentary proof that
he was made to give or sign the same through torture, maltreatment, physical compulsion, threats and intimidation and without
the presence and assistance of counsel, his request for which was refused, in gross violation of Constitutional Provisions and the
prevailing jurisprudence.

Sixth

The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that petitioners
participation in the hijacking of the mail van is indubitably established by the manner by which the SOG operatives succeeded in
ferreting out the members of the hijacking syndicate one by one through patient sleuthing and in finding that they did so
without resorting to extra-legal measures and that no evidence having been adduced to show that they were actuated by
improper motives to testify falsely against the herein accused, then their testimonies should be accorded full credence.

Seventh

The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that even setting
aside the inter-locking confessional statements of Filoteo, Mateo and Liwanag, x x x substantial and sufficient evidence exist
which indubitably prove the guilt of Filoteo (Petitioner).

Eight

Insofar as petitioner is concerned, the respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its
jurisdiction in finding that accused Filoteos (petitioners) and Mateos [alleged] unexplained possession of the stolen checks
raised the presumption that they were responsible for the robbery in question, petitioners alleged possession not being borne
out but disputed by the prosecutions own evidence.

Ninth

The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that accused Filoteos
denials and alibi cannot be entertained for being quite weak and implausible. The truth of the matter being that they should
have been sustained since petitioner was not identified by the direct victims-eyewitnesses as among those who participated in
or were present at the hijack and none of the checks and treasury warrants were found in his possession or retrieved from him.

Tenth

The respondent court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in finding that the participation
of petitioner in the criminal conspiracy has been proven beyond reasonable doubt by the evidence of record and that said
evidence not only confirms the conspiracy between [him and the other accused] as easily discernible from their conduct before,
during and after the commission of the offense; but also their participation therein as co-principals by direct participation
and/or indispensable cooperation.

Eleventh

The respondent Court erred and gravely abused its discretion as well as exceeded its jurisdiction in cavalierly rejecting, through
the use of pejorative words, and without stating the legal basis of such rejection, the various vital factual points raised by
petitioner, in gross violation of the express mandate of the 1987 Constitution.

The Court believes that the above errors may be condensed into four:

(1) Are the written statements, particularly the extra-judicial confession executed by the accused without the
presence of his lawyer, admissible in evidence against him?

(2) Were said statements obtained through torture, duress, maltreatment and intimidation and therefore illegal and
inadmissible?

(3) Was petitioners warrantless arrest valid and proper?

(4) Is the evidence of the prosecution sufficient to find the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt?

The Courts Ruling

Preliminary Issue: Rule 45 or Rule 65?

Before ruling on the foregoing issues, it is necessary to dwell on the procedural aspects of the case. Petitioner, a segurista,
opted to file an (amended) alternative petition forcertiorari under Rule 65 and for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court. We however hold that the instant petition must be considered as one for review on certiorari under Rule
45. In Jariol, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan,[60] this Court clearly ruled:

Presidential Decree No. 1486, as amended by P.D. No. 1606, which created the Sandiganbayan, specified that decisions and final
orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be subject to review on certiorari by this Court in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court. And Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court provides, in Section 2, that only questions of law may be raised in the Petition
for Review and these must be distinctly set forth. Thus, in principle, findings of fact of the Sandiganbayan are not to be reviewed
by this Court in a petition for review on certiorari. There are, of course, certain exceptions to this general principle. Here,
reading petitioners Petition for Review and Memorandum in the most favorable possible light, petitioner may be seen to be in
effect asserting that the Sandiganbayan misapprehended certain (f)acts in arriving at its factual conclusions.

As amended by Republic Act No. 7975, Section 7 of P.D. No. 1606 expressly provides that (d)ecisions and final orders of
the Sandiganbayan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari raising pure questions of law in
accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. However, in exceptional cases, this Court has taken cognizance of questions of
fact in order to resolve legal issues, as where there was palpable error or grave misapprehension of facts by the lower
court. Criminal cases elevated by convicted public officials from the Sandiganbayan deserve the same thorough treatment by
this Court as criminal cases involving ordinary citizens simply because the constitutional presumption of innocence must be
overcome by proof beyond reasonable doubt. In all criminal cases, a persons life and liberty are at stake. [61]

As a petition for review under Rule 45 is the available remedy, a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 would not
prosper. Basic it is that certiorari is invocable only where there is no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy. For waffling on
procedural matters, petitioner could have lost this battle through a summary dismissal of his alternative petition.But in view of
the importance of the issues raised, the Court decided to take cognizance of the matter.

First Issue: Uncounselled Waiver


On the merits of the petition, we find that the pivotal issue here is the admissibility of petitioners extrajudicial confession
which lays out in detail his complicity in the crime.Petitioner contends that respondent Court erred in admitting his extrajudicial
confession notwithstanding uncontradicted testimony and documentary proof that he was made to sign the same through
torture, maltreatment, physical compulsion, threats and intimidation and without the presence and assistance of counsel. He
also claims that in executing the extrajudicial confession, he was denied the right to counsel in the same way that his waiver of
the said right was likewise without the benefit of counsel. Petitioner therefore questions the respondent Courts admission in
evidence of his extrajudicial confession on the strength of cases [62] upholding the admissibility of extrajudicial confessions
notwithstanding the absence of counsel especially where the statements are replete with details and circumstances which are
indicative of voluntariness. We shall first tackle the issue of his uncounselled waiver of his right to counsel.

The pertinent provision of Article IV, Section 20 of the 1973 Constitution reads as follows:

No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense
shall have the right to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed of such rights. No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or
any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section shall
be inadmissible in evidence.

In comparison, the relevant rights of an accused under Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution are, inter alia, as
follows:

(1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain
silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of
counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against
him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.

(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this section as well as compensation to and rehabilitation
of victims of torture or similar practices and their families.(underscoring supplied. Obviously, the 1973 Constitution did not
contain the right against an uncounselled waiver of the right to counsel which is provided under paragraph 1, Section 12, Article
III of the 1987 Constitution, above underscored.)

In the landmark case of Magtoto vs. Manguera,[63] the Court categorically held that the aforequoted provisions of the
1973 Constitution (which were not included in the 1935 Charter) must be prospectively applied. This Court said:

We hold that this specific portion of this constitutional mandate has and should be given a prospective and not a retrospective
effect. Consequently, a confession obtained from a person under investigation for the commission of an offense, who has not
been informed of his right (to silence and) to counsel, is inadmissible in evidence if the same had been obtained after the
effectivity of the New Constitution on January 17, 1973. Conversely, such confession is admissible in evidence against the
accused, if the same had been obtained before the effectivity of the New Constitution, even if presented after January 17, 1973,
and even if he had not been informed of his right to counsel, since no law gave the accused the right to be so informed before
that date.

By parity of reasoning, the specific provision of the 1987 Constitution requiring that a waiver by an accused of his right to
counsel during custodial investigation must be made with the assistance of counsel may not be applied retroactively or in cases
where the extrajudicial confession was made prior to the effectivity of said Constitution.Accordingly, waivers of the right to
counsel during custodial investigation without the benefit of counsel during the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution should, by
such argumentation, be admissible. Although a number of cases held that extrajudicial confessions made while the 1973
Constitution was in force and effect, should have been made with the assistance of counsel, [64] the definitive ruling was
enunciated only on April 26, 1983 when this Court, through Morales, Jr., vs. Enrile,[65] issued the guidelines to be observed by
law enforcers during custodial investigation. The court specifically ruled that (t)he right to counsel may be waived but the waiver
shall not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel. [66] Thereafter, in People vs. Luvendino,[67] the Court through Mr.
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano vigorously taught:
x x x. The doctrine that an uncounseled waiver of the right to counsel is not to be given legal effect was initially a judge-made
one and was first announced on 26 April 1983 in Morales vs. Enrileand reiterated on 20 March 1985 in People vs. Galit. x x x.

While the Morales-Galit doctrine eventually became part of Section 12(1) of the 1987 Constitution, that doctrine affords no
comfort to appellant Luvendino for the requirements and restrictions outlined in Morales and Galit have no retroactive effect
and do not reach waivers made prior to 26 April 1983 the date of promulgation of Morales.

Pursuant to the above doctrine, petitioner may not claim the benefits of the Morales and Galit rulings because he
executed his extrajudicial confession and his waiver to the right to counsel on May 30, 1982, or before April 26, 1983. The
prospective application of judge-made laws was underscored in Co vs. Court of Appeals[68] where the Court ruled thru Chief
Justice Andres R. Narvasa that in accordance with Article 8 of the Civil Code which provides that (j)udicial decisions applying or
interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines, and Article 4 of the same Code
which states that (l)aws shall have no retroactive effect unless the contrary is provided, the principle of prospectivity of statutes,
original or amendatory, shall apply to judicial decisions, which, although in themselves are not laws, are nevertheless evidence
of what the law means.[69]

Petitioners contention that Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution should be given retroactive effect for being
favorable to him as an accused, cannot be sustained.While Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code provides that (p)enal laws shall
have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony who is not a habitual criminal, what is being
construed here is a constitutional provision specifically contained in the Bill of Rights which is obviously not a penal statute. A
bill of rights is a declaration and enumeration of the individual rights and privileges which the Constitution is designed to protect
against violations by the government, or by individuals or groups of individual. It is a charter of liberties for the individual and a
limitation upon the power of the state.[70] Penal laws, on the other hand, strictly and properly are those imposing punishment
for an offense committed against the state which the executive of the state has the power to pardon. In other words, a penal
law denotes punishment imposed and enforced by the state for a crime or offense against its law. [71]

Hence, petitioners vigorous reliance on People vs. Sison[72] to make his extrajudicial confession inadmissible is
misplaced. In that case, the extrajudicial confession was executed on May 19, 1983, clearly after the promulgation of Morales on
April 26, 1983.

The admissibility of petitioners uncounselled waiver of the right to counsel notwithstanding, the Court has still to
determine whether such waiver was made voluntarily and intelligently. [73] The waiver must also be categorical and definitive,
[74]
and must rest on clear evidence.[75]

In his affidavit of May 30, 1982 waiving the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, [76] petitioner stated that:

x x x matapos akong mapagpaliwanagan ng mga imbestigador ng Special Operations Group, PC/INP Central Anti-Organized
Crime Task Force, Camp Crame, Quezon City ng aking mga karapatan alinsunod sa mga isinasaad ng Section 20, Article IV ng
Bagong Saligang Batas ng Republika ng Pilipinas ay malaya at kusang-loob na nagsasalaysay ng mga sumusunod kahit na
walang abugadong magpapayo sa akin sa pagsasagawa nito sa dahilang alam at nauunawaan ko ang aking ginagawa at wala
naman akong isasalaysay kung hindi mga katotohanan lamang, bagamat ako ay inalok ng mga imbestigador na ikuha ng isang
abugadong walang bayad mula sa CLAO-IBP na akin namang tinanggihan:

x x x x x x x x x;

Na ako ay hindi sinaktan o minaltrato gayunding walang kinuha mula sa akin na hindi niresibohan;

x x x x x x x x x.

Sgt. Arsenio Carlos, investigating officer, testified that he apprised petitioner of his right to counsel even in waiving the
same right[77] but petitioner did not even inform him that his father-in-law was a lawyer. Although allowed to talk for thirty
minutes with Jimmy Victorino, who was his comrade at the WPD General Assignment Section, [78] still, petitioner did not invoke
his right to counsel.

It should be emphasized that petitioner could not have been ignorant of his rights as an accused. He was a fourth year
criminology student and a topnotch student in the police basic course. [79] Having been in the police force since 1978, with stints
at the investigation division or the detective bureau, he knew the tactics used by investigators to incriminate criminal suspects.
[80]
in other words, he was knowledgeable on the matter of extrajudicial confessions.
The Second Issue: Confession Extracted Through Torture?

Petitioners claim that he was tortured into signing the confession appears incredible, or at least susceptible to serious
doubts. The allegation of torture was negated by the medical report [81] showing no evidence of physical injuries upon his
person. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, there is no reason to maltreat him in particular when the record shows
that the investigating team respected the right of the other suspects to remain silent. When he was presented before Judge
Mariano Mendieta of the municipal court in Meycauayan, petitioner even waived his right to present evidence [82] instead of
impugning his confession on account of the torture allegedly inflicted upon him. If indeed he had been tortured, he would have
revived the case he filed against his alleged torturers upon learning of its dismissal.

Furthermore, an examination of his signatures in the different documents on record bearing the same discloses an
evenness of lines and strokes in his penmanship which is markedly consistent in his certification, extrajudicial confession and
waiver of detention. Human experience has proven that the lines and strokes of a persons handwriting reflect his disposition at
a certain given time. In the present case, no handwriting expert is needed to declare that petitioners signatures were written
voluntarily and not under compulsion of fear immediately after he had been subjected to maltreatment. In view of the
foregoing, his extrajudicial confession is presumed to have been voluntarily made, in the absence of conclusive evidence
showing that petitioners consent in executing the same had been vitiated. [83]

Besides, the question of whether petitioner was indeed subjected to torture or maltreatment is a factual question
addressed primarily to trial courts, the findings of which are binding on this Court whose function, as afore-discussed, is
principally to review only of questions of law. Moreover, we have pored over the assailed Decision and we are satisfied that
respondent Court performed its duty in evaluating the evidence. More on this later.

The Third Issue: Illegal Arrest?

Petitioner questions the manner of his arrest, stating that the arresting officers invited him without a warrant of arrest and
brought him to Camp Crame where he was allegedly subjected to torture almost a month after the commission of the crime.
[84]
Petitioners claim is belatedly made. He should have questioned the validity of his arrest before he entered his plea in the trial
court. On this point, this Court explained in People vs. Lopez, Jr.:[85]

Finally, it is much too late for appellant to raise the question of his arrest without a warrant. When accused-appellant was
arrested and a case was filed against him, he pleaded not guilty upon arraignment, participated in the trial and presented his
evidence. Appellant is thus estopped from questioning the legality of his arrest. It is well-settled that any objection involving a
warrant of arrest or procedure in the acquisition by the court of jurisdiction over the person of an accused must be made before
he enters his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived. Besides, this issue is being raised for the first time by
appellant. He did not move for the quashal of the information before the trial court on this ground. Consequently, any
irregularity attendant to his arrest, if any, was cured when he voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the trial court
by entering a plea of not guilty and by participating in the trial. Moreover, the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause
for setting aside a valid judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after trial free from error.

The only move petitioner made in regard to his arrest was to file a complaint for grave coercion, grave threat &
maltreatment which was docketed as I.S. No. 82-12684 before the Fiscals Office of Quezon City. [86] The complaint was an
offshoot of his alleged maltreatment in the hands of the SOG upon his arrest. However, as stated above, he did not lift a finger
to revive it upon its dismissal.

The Fourth Issue: Sufficiency of the Prosecutions Evidence

Contrary to petitioners claim, his culpability has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. He borrowed a car to use in the
hijacking knowing fully well that his owner-type jeep would give away his identity. He could not be identified by the postal
employees in the postal van simply because after overtaking said vehicle and forcing its driver to pull over, he gave up driving
the Mercedes Benz where the postal employees were made to ride, and commandeered the van. That the checks were not
found in his own home is of no moment. Before the arrest and upon learning that the authorities had begun to nail down the
identities of the malefactors, he had entrusted them to his kumare. It was petitioner himself who led the team of Lt. Pagdilao
back to his place after he had admitted to Sgt. Arsenio Carlos that his share of the checks were in the possession of
his kumare in the neighborhood.[87]

In view of these facts, it is beyond dispute that petitioner was a direct participant in the commission of the crime. His alibi
has been correctly considered by the Sandiganbayan to be weak and implausible. The distance between Kalvario, Meycauayan,
Bulacan and downtown Manila where petitioner claimed to have been at the crucial time was between fifteen (15) to twenty
(20) kilometers, which, through first-class roads, could be negotiated during that time in approximately thirty (30) minutes. It
could not therefore have been physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity when the crime
was committed.[88]

Having already ruled on the admissibility of petitioners confession, this Court holds that the full force of the totality of the
prosecutions evidence proves his guilt well beyond reasonable doubt. Weighing heavily against the defense is the well-settled
doctrine that findings of facts of the trial courts -- in this case, the Sandiganbayan itself -- particularly in the assessment of the
credibility of witnesses, is binding upon this Court, absent any arbitrariness, abuse or palpable error.

x x x It is well-settled that this Court will not interfere with the judgment of the trial court in passing on the credibility of the
witnesses, unless there appears in the record some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been overlooked or
the significance of which has been misapprehended or misinterpreted. The reason for this is that the trial court is in a better
position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of
testifying during the trial.[89]

The doctrine is firmly settled that the trial courts conclusion on issues of credibility is accorded with highest respect by the
appellate courts (People vs. Dominguez, 217 SCRA 170). Appellate courts will generally respect the findings of trial courts on the
credibility of witnesses since trial courts are in a better position to weigh conflicting testimonies. They heard the witnesses
themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying. x x x.[90]

So overwhelming is the prosecutions evidence that respondent Court opined that even without the inter-locking
confessions of Filoteo, Mateo and Liwanag the remaining evidence would still be sufficient for conviction. [91] Said the respondent
tribunal:

However, even setting aside the inter-locking confessional statements of Filoteo, Mateo and Liwanag, we are of the considered
opinion that substantial and sufficient evidence exist which indubitably prove the guilt of Filoteo, Relator, Mateo and Saguindel
who had submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of this Court. As above-stated, Filoteo was responsible for securing the use of
the Mercedes Benz car used by the co-conspirators in the hi-jacking. Together with Mateo, Liwanag and Mendoza, he
surrendered voluminous assorted checks which were part of the loot.Relator admitted that his service firearm was used by him
in the hi-jacking, which firearm was identified by prosecution witnesses Miranda and Bautista. Saguindel was identified in line-
ups at the SOG office as the suspect clad in fatigue uniform and carrying an Armalite rifle by prosecution witnesses Tagudar and
Bautista. All three (3) accused, namely, Mateo, Relator and Saguindel also jumped bail during the trial and did not offer any
evidence to refute the evidence presented by the prosecution against them. Such flight to evade prosecution constitutes an
implied admission of guilt.

Moreover, accused Filoteos and Mateos unexplained possession of the stolen checks raises the presumption that they were
responsible for the robbery in question. It is a rule established by an abundance of jurisprudence that when stolen property is
found in the possession of one, not the owner, without a satisfactory explanation of his possession, he will be presumed the
thief. This rule is in accordance with the disputable presumption that a person found in possession of a thing taken in the doing
of a recent wrongful act is the taker and doer of the whole act. In the instant case, said accused has not given such satisfactory
explanation, much more so when their possession had been positively established by the testimonies of prosecution witnesses
Capt. Ferrer and Sgt. Carlos and by accuseds own signatures at the back of said checks.

Furthermore, accused Filoteos denials and alibi cannot be entertained for being quite weak and implausible. His claim that he
merely borrowed the Mercedes Benz car from Rodolfo Miranda to help out his co-accused Mateo, who had been utilized by the
police as an informer and was following up tips in certain unsolved cases, appears to be incredible and fantastic. He also claimed
that he could not have participated in the hi-jack because after giving the car to Mateo in the morning of May 2, 1982, he
waited at the corner of Zurbaran St. and Avenida Rizal between 2-3:00 oclock p.m. of the same day and then went to the WPD
headquarters to attend the police formation at around 5:00 oclock p.m. when Mateo failed to show up. Thereafter, he tried to
show through his witnesses Gary Gallardo and Manolo Almogera that he was with them between 3:00 oclock to 4:45 oclock
p.m., then from 6:00 oclock to 8:30 oclock p.m. and, finally, from 10:45 oclock p.m. to 11:00 oclock of the same date. It was
through said witnesses that he tried to establish his whereabouts between 4:30 oclock to 7:30 oclock p.m. of May 2, 1982, the
period from the time the mail van was hi-jacked up to when postal employees Bautista, Miranda and Tagudar were brought to
Caloocan City and freed by their captors. Such alibi, however, fails to show that it was physically impossible for him to be present
at the scene of the hi-jacking. We take judicial notice that the distance between the crime scene and downtown Manila is some
15-20 kilometers and negotiable over first-class roads in some thirty (30) minutes.

We are likewise convinced that there is sufficient evidence of conspiracy as convincing as the evidence of the participation
of each of the accused. As ratiocinated in the assailed Decision:[92]

The participation of accused Filoteo, Mateo, Relator and Saguindel in the criminal conspiracy have (sic) been proved beyond
reasonable doubt by the evidence on record and which evidence not only confirms the existence of the conspiracy between
them as easily discernible from their conduct before, during and after the commission of the offense, but also their participation
therein as co-principals by direct participation and/or indispensable cooperation. Their concerted efforts were performed with
closeness and coordination indicating their common purpose. Hence, there being collective criminal responsibility, the act of
one is the act of all, and each of the participants are responsible for what the others did in all the stages of execution of the
offense.

Final Question: Brigandage or Robbery?

The Court believes that, though not raised as an issue and though not argued by the parties in their pleadings, the
question of which law was violated by the accused should be discussed and passed upon. In fact, petitioner should have brought
up such question as it may benefit him with a reduced penalty.

The respondent Court convicted the accused of brigandage punishable under Presidential Decree No. 532. [93]

Justifying the above disposition, the assailed Decision ratiocinates:

Accused herein are charged with the violation of Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-
Highway Robbery Law of 1974. Under said decree, with respect to the highway robbery aspect, the offense is committed on a
Philippine Highway which under Section 2 (c) thereof has been defined as any road, street, passage, highway and bridges or any
part thereof, or railway or railroad within the Philippines, used by persons or vehicles, or locomotives or trains for the
movement or circulation of persons or transportation of goods, articles or property or both, while under Section 2 (e) thereof
Highway Robbery/Brigandage has been defined as the the seizure of any person for ransom, extortion or other unlawful
purposes or the taking away of property of another by means of violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon
things or other unlawful means, committed by any person on any Philippine Highway.(Underscoring supplied)

The offense described in the information and established by the evidence presented by the prosecution properly falls within the
ambit of the aforesaid special law. Therein, it was conclusively proven that a postal van containing mail matters, including checks
and warrants, was hi-jacked along the national highway in Bulacan by the accused, with the attendant use of force, violence and
intimidation against the three (3) postal employees who were occupants thereof, resulting in the unlawful taking and
asportation of the entire van and its contents consisting of mail matters. Also the evidence further showed that the crime was
committed by the accused who were PC soldiers, policeman (sic) and private individuals in conspiracy with their co-accused
Castro and Escalada who were postal employees and who participated in the planning of the crime. Accordingly, all the essential
requisites to constitute a consummated offense under the law in point are present.(Underscoring in the original text.)

Obviously, the Court a quo labored under the belief that because the taking or robbery was perpetrated on a national
highway (McArthur Highway), ergo, Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery
Law of 1974, must have been the statute violated. Such reasoning has already been debunked by this Court in the case
of People vs. Isabelo Puno,[94] where it was ruled in unmistakable language that it takes more than the situs of the robbery to
bring it within the ambit of PD 532. Said the Court through Mr. Justice Florenz D. Regalado:

The following salient distinctions between brigandage and robbery are succinctly explained in a treatise on the subject and are
of continuing validity:
The main object of the Brigandage Law is to prevent the formation of bands of robbers. The heart of the offense consists in the
formation of a band by more than three armed persons for the purpose indicated in art. 306. Such formation is sufficient to
constitute a violation of art. 306. It would not be necessary to show, in a prosecution under it, that a member or members of
the band actually committed robbery or kidnapping or any other purpose attainable by violent means. The crime is proven
when the organization and purpose of the band are shown to be such as are contemplated by art. 306. On the other hand, if
robbery is committed by a band, whose members were not primarily organized for the purpose of committing robbery or
kidnapping, etc., the crime would not be brigandage, but only robbery. Simply because robbery was committed by a band of
more than three armed persons, it would not follow that it was committed by a band of brigands. In the Spanish text of art. 306,
it is required that the band sala a los campos para dedicarse a robar. (Italics ours.)

In fine, the purpose of brigandage, is inter alia, indiscriminate highway robbery. If the purpose is only a particular robbery, the
crime is only robbery, or robbery in band if there are at least four armed participants. The martial law legislator, in creating and
promulgating Presidential Decree No. 532 for the objectives announced therein, could not have been unaware of that
distinction and is presumed to have adopted the same, there being no indication to the contrary. This conclusion is buttressed
by the rule on contemporaneous construction, since it is one drawn from the time when and the circumstances under which the
decree to be construed originated. Contemporaneous exposition or construction is the best and strongest in the law.

Further, that Presidential Decree No. 532 punishes as highway robbery or brigandage only acts of robbery perpetrated by
outlaws indiscriminately against any person or persons on Philippine highways as defined therein, and not acts of robbery
committed against only a predetermined or particular victim, is evident from the preambular clauses thereof, to wit:

WHEREAS, reports from law-enforcement agencies reveal that lawless are still committing acts of depredation upon the persons
and properties of innocent and defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place to another, thereby disturbing the peace,
order and tranquility of the nation and stunting the economic and social progress of the people:

WHEREAS, such acts of depredations constitute x x x highway robbery/brigandage which are among the highest forms of
lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries:

WHEREAS, it is imperative that said lawless elements be discouraged from perpetrating such acts of depredations by imposing
heavy penalty on the offenders, with the end in view ofeliminating all obstacles to the economic, social, educational and
community progress of the people; (Emphasis supplied.)

Indeed, it is hard to conceive of how a single act of robbery against a particular person chosen by the accused as their specific
victim could be considered as committed on the innocent and defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place to another,
and which single act of depredation would be capable of stunting the economic and social progress of the people as to be
considered among the highest forms of lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries, and would accordingly
constitute an obstacle to the economic, social, educational and community progress of the people, such that said isolated act
would constitute the highway robbery or brigandage contemplated and punished is said decree. This would be an exaggeration
bordering on the ridiculous.

From the above, it is clear that a finding of brigandage or highway robbery involves not just the locus of the crime or the
fact that more than three (3) persons perpetrated it.It is essential to prove that the outlaws were purposely organized not just
for one act of robbery but for several indiscriminate commissions thereof. In the present case, there had been no evidence
presented that the accused were a band of outlaws organized for the purpose of depredation upon the persons and properties
of innocent and defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place to another. What was duly proven in the present case is one
isolated hijacking of a postal van. There was also no evidence of any previous attempts at similar robberies by the accused to
show the indiscriminate commission thereof. [95]

Upon the other hand, the Information did not specifically mention P.D. 532. [96] The facts alleged therein and proven by the
evidence constitute the offense of robbery defined in Art. 293 in relation to Art. 295 and punished by Art. 294, par. 5, all of the
Revised Penal Code.[97] From the facts, it was duly proven that:

* personal property (treasury warrants, checks, mail, van, tools, etc.)

* belonging to another were


* unlawfully taken by the accused

* with intent to gain (animo lucrandi)

* with intimidation against three persons (Art. 293)

* in an uninhabited place, or

* by an band, or

* by attacking a moving motor vehicle

* on a highway; and

* the intimidation was made with the use of firearms (Art. 295)

Hence, the offender shall be punished by the maximum period of the penalty provided under paragraph 5 of Art. 294,
which is, prision correctional in its maximum period toprision mayor in its medium period.

Effectively, the penalty imposed by the Court a quo should be lightened. However, such lighter penalty shall benefit only
herein petitioner and not his co-accused who did not contest or appeal the Sandiganbayans Decision.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, but the first paragraph of the dispositive portion of the assailed Decision is
partially MODIFIED to read as follows:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Jose Filoteo, Jr. y Diendo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as co-
principal in the crime of robbery as defined in Arts. 293 and 295 and penalized under Art. 294, paragraph 5, of the Revised Penal
Code Code IMPOSING on him an indeterminate sentence of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correctional, as
minimum, to ten (10) years of prision mayor as maximum, and to pay his proportionate share of the costs of the action.

All other parts of the disposition are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Francisco, and Torres, Jr.,
JJ., concur.
Mendoza, J., No part, being on official business abroad when this case was deliberated.
Hermosisima, Jr., J., No part, signatory to the appealed judgment.

[1]
Rollo, pp. 17-67.
[2]
Second Division, composed of J. Romeo M. Escareal, ponente, and JJ. Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr. and Augusto M. Amores,
concurring.
[3]
Rollo, pp. 69-70.
[4]
Sandiganbayan Decision, pp. 2-3; rollo, pp. 18-19.
[5]
Sandiganbayan Decision, pp. 3-4; rollo, pp. 19-20.
[6]
Sandiganbayan Decision, p. 5; rollo p. 21.
6-a
At the time of the incident, Pagdilao was a lieutenant, but when he testified at the trial, he had already been promoted to
captain.
[7]
Exhs. E, E-1 and E-2.
[8]
Exhs. E-3.
[9]
Exhs. G, G-1, G-2 and G-3.
[10]
TSN, June 21, 1984, p. 19.
[11]
TSN, August 29, 1985, p. 13.
[12]
TSN, June 21, 1984, p. 19.
[13]
TSN, August 29, 1985, p. 13.
[14]
TSN, August 29, 1985, p. 20.
[15]
TSN, June 21, 1984, p. 22.
[16]
Exhs. G to G-3.
[17]
Exhs. D to D-4.
[18]
Exh. A-3.
[19]
TSN, July 30, 1986, p. 30.
[20]
Exh. A-29-a.
[21]
TSN, August 6, 1984, p. 12.
[22]
TSN, July 30, 1986, p. 36.
[23]
Ibid., pp. 33 & 35.
[24]
Exh. A-16.
[25]
Exh. A-17.
[26]
Exh. A-18.
[27]
TSN, June 22, 1984, pp. 18-19.
[28]
Exh. A-9-a.
[29]
TSN, August 6, 1984, p. 15.
[30]
TSN, August 6, 1984, p. 16.
[31]
Exhs. B, B-1 and B-2.
[32]
TSN, August 6, 1984, p. 17.
[33]
Exh. A-10.
[34]
Exhs. A-12. A-11 and A-24a.
[35]
Exh. A-20.
[36]
Exh. A-22.
[37]
Exh. A-19.
[38]
Exhs. A-5b & A-5c.
[39]
Exhs. A-4b & A-4c.
[40]
Exhs. A-6b, A-6c & A-6d.
[41]
Exh. A-27a.
[42]
Record, Vol. I, p. 1.
[43]
Sandiganbayan Records, Vol. I, pp. 11-12.
[44]
Ibid., pp. 29-39.
[45]
Ibid., pp. 71-77.
[46]
Exh. 11-A for Filoteo.
[47]
Exh. 11-B for Filoteo.
[48]
Exhs. 11-C, 11-D, 11-E, 11-F & 11-G for Filoteo.
[49]
Exhs. 1, 1-A, 1-B, 1-D, 1-F & 1-G for Filoteo.
[50]
Exh. 4 for Filoteo.
[51]
TSN, September 11, 1986, p. 29.

G.R. No. 79543.


October 16, 1996

JOSE D. FILOTEO, JR., petitioner,


vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

Facts:

Petitioner Jose D. Filoteo, Jr. was a police investigator of the Western Police District in Metro Manila, an old hand at
dealing with suspected criminals. A recipient of various awards and commendations attesting to his competence and
performance as a police officer, he could not therefore imagine that one day he would be sitting on the other side of the
investigation table as the suspected mastermind of the armed hijacking of a postal delivery van. Filoteo admitted involvement in
the crime and pointed to three other soldiers, namely ,Eddie Saguindel, Bernardo Relator and Jack Miravalles (who turned out
to be adischarged soldier), as his confederates. At 1:45 in the afternoon of May 30, 1982,petitioner executed a sworn statement
in Tagalog before M/Sgt. Arsenio C. Carlos and Sgt. Romeo P. Espero. Peitioner however sought later that his confession be
inadmissible evidence, saying that the law should favour him as an accused.

Issue:
Whether or not Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution shall be given a retroactive effect and petitioners
extrajudicial confession be held as inadmissible evidence.

RULING:
No, since what he did was not a penal offense. Under the penal law, a person guilty of felony who is not a habitual
criminal may be given favour by the law.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 83896 February 22, 1991

CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, petitioner,


vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, respondent.
G.R. No. 83815 February 22, 1991

ANTI-GRAFT LEAGUE OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. and CRISPIN T. REYES, petitioners,


vs.
PHILIP ELLA C. JUICO, as Secretary of Agrarian Reform; CARLOS DOMINGUEZ, as Secretary of Agriculture; LOURDES
QUISUMBING, as Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports; FULGENCIO FACTORAN, JR., as Secretary of Environment and
Natural Resources; VICENTE V. JAYME, as Secretary of Finance; SEDFREY ORDOEZ, as Secretary of Justice; FRANKLIN N.
DRILON, as Secretary of Labor and Employment; LUIS SANTOS, as Secretary of Local Government; FIDEL V. RAMOS, as
Secretary of National Defense; TEODORO F. BENIGNO, as Press Secretary; JUANITO FERRER, as Secretary of Public Works and
Highways; ANTONIO ARRIZABAL, as Secretary of Science and Technology; JOSE CONCEPCION, as Secretary of Trade and
Industry; JOSE ANTONIO GONZALEZ, as Secretary of Tourism; ALFREDO R.A. BENGZON, as Secretary of Health; REINERIO D.
REYES, as Secretary of Transportation and Communication; GUILLERMO CARAGUE, as Commissioner of the Budget; and
SOLITA MONSOD, as Head of the National Economic Development Authority, respondents.

Ignacio P. Lacsina, Luis R. Mauricio, Antonio R. Quintos and Juan T. David for petitioners in 83896.
Antonio P. Coronel for petitioners in 83815.

FERNAN, C.J.:p

These two (2) petitions were consolidated per resolution dated August 9, 1988 1 and are being resolved jointly as both seek a
declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 284 issued by President Corazon C. Aquino on July 25, 1987. The
pertinent provisions of the assailed Executive Order are:

Sec. 1. Even if allowed by law or by the ordinary functions of his position, a member of the Cabinet, undersecretary or
assistant secretary or other appointive officials of the Executive Department may, in addition to his primary position,
hold not more than two positions in the government and government corporations and receive the corresponding
compensation therefor; Provided, that this limitation shall not apply to ad hoc bodies or committees, or to boards,
councils or bodies of which the President is the Chairman.

Sec. 2. If a member of the cabinet, undersecretary or assistant secretary or other appointive official of the Executive
Department holds more positions than what is allowed in Section 1 hereof, they (sic) must relinquish the excess
position in favor of the subordinate official who is next in rank, but in no case shall any official hold more than two
positions other than his primary position.

Sec. 3. In order to fully protect the interest of the government in government-owned or controlled corporations, at
least one-third (1/3) of the members of the boards of such corporation should either be a secretary, or
undersecretary, or assistant secretary.

Petitioners maintain that this Executive Order which, in effect, allows members of the Cabinet, their undersecretaries and
assistant secretaries to hold other government offices or positions in addition to their primary positions, albeit subject to the
limitation therein imposed, runs counter to Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, 2 which provides as follows:

Sec. 13. The President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless
otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not,
during said tenure, directly or indirectly practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially
interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision,
agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They
shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.

It is alleged that the above-quoted Section 13, Article VII prohibits public respondents, as members of the Cabinet, along with
the other public officials enumerated in the list attached to the petitions as Annex "C" in G.R. No.
83815 3 and as Annex "B" in G.R. No. 83896 4 from holding any other office or employment during their tenure. In addition to
seeking a declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 284, petitioner Anti-Graft League of the Philippines
further seeks in G.R. No. 83815 the issuance of the extraordinary writs of prohibition andmandamus, as well as a temporary
restraining order directing public respondents therein to cease and desist from holding, in addition to their primary positions,
dual or multiple positions other than those authorized by the 1987 Constitution and from receiving any salaries, allowances, per
diems and other forms of privileges and the like appurtenant to their questioned positions, and compelling public respondents
to return, reimburse or refund any and all amounts or benefits that they may have received from such positions.

Specifically, petitioner Anti-Graft League of the Philippines charges that notwithstanding the aforequoted "absolute and self-
executing" provision of the 1987 Constitution, then Secretary of Justice Sedfrey Ordoez, construing Section 13, Article VII in
relation to Section 7, par. (2), Article IX-B, rendered on July 23, 1987 Opinion No. 73, series of 1987, 5 declaring that Cabinet
members, their deputies (undersecretaries) and assistant secretaries may hold other public office, including membership in the
boards of government corporations: (a) when directly provided for in the Constitution as in the case of the Secretary of Justice
who is made an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council under Section 8, paragraph 1, Article VIII; or (b) if allowed by
law; or (c) if allowed by the primary functions of their respective positions; and that on the basis of this Opinion, the President
of the Philippines, on July 25, 1987 or two (2) days before Congress convened on July 27, 1987: promulgated Executive Order
No. 284. 6

Petitioner Anti-Graft League of the Philippines objects to both DOJ Opinion No. 73 and Executive Order No. 284 as they allegedly
"lumped together" Section 13, Article VII and the general provision in another article, Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB. This
"strained linkage" between the two provisions, each addressed to a distinct and separate group of public officers one, the
President and her official family, and the other, public servants in general allegedly "abolished the clearly separate, higher,
exclusive, and mandatory constitutional rank assigned to the prohibition against multiple jobs for the President, the Vice-
President, the members of the Cabinet, and their deputies and subalterns, who are the leaders of government expected to lead
by example." 7 Article IX-B, Section 7, par. (2) 8 provides:

Sec. 7. . . . . .

Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other
office or employment in the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-
owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.

The Solicitor General counters that Department of Justice DOJ Opinion No. 73, series of 1987, as further elucidated and clarified
by DOJ Opinion No. 129, series of 1987 9 and DOJ Opinion No. 155, series of 1988, 10 being the first official construction and
interpretation by the Secretary of Justice of Section 13, Article VII and par. (2) of Section 7, Article I-XB of the Constitution,
involving the same subject of appointments or designations of an appointive executive official to positions other than his
primary position, is "reasonably valid and constitutionally firm," and that Executive Order No. 284, promulgated pursuant to DOJ
Opinion No. 73, series of 1987 is consequently constitutional. It is worth noting that DOJ Opinion No. 129, series of 1987 and
DOJ Opinion No. 155, series of 1988 construed the limitation imposed by E.O. No. 284 as not applying to ex-officio positions or
to positions which, although not so designated as ex-officio are allowed by the primary functions of the public official, but only
to the holding of multiple positions which are not related to or necessarily included in the position of the public official
concerned (disparate positions).

In sum, the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 284 is being challenged by petitioners on the principal submission that it
adds exceptions to Section 13, Article VII other than those provided in the Constitution. According to petitioners, by virtue of
the phrase "unless otherwise provided in this Constitution," the only exceptions against holding any other office or employment
in Government are those provided in the Constitution, namely: (1) The Vice-President may be appointed as a Member of the
Cabinet under Section 3, par. (2), Article VII thereof; and (2) the Secretary of Justice is an ex-officio member of the Judicial and
Bar Council by virtue of Section 8 (1), Article VIII.

Petitioners further argue that the exception to the prohibition in Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB on the Civil Service Commission
applies to officers and employees of the Civil Service in general and that said exceptions do not apply and cannot be extended to
Section 13, Article VII which applies specifically to the President, Vice-President, Members of the Cabinet and their deputies or
assistants.

There is no dispute that the prohibition against the President, Vice-President, the members of the Cabinet and their deputies or
assistants from holding dual or multiple positions in the Government admits of certain exceptions. The disagreement between
petitioners and public respondents lies on the constitutional basis of the exception. Petitioners insist that because of the phrase
"unless otherwise provided in this Constitution" used in Section 13 of Article VII, the exception must be expressly provided in
the Constitution, as in the case of the Vice-President being allowed to become a Member of the Cabinet under the second
paragraph of Section 3, Article VII or the Secretary of Justice being designated an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar
Council under Article VIII, Sec. 8 (1). Public respondents, on the other hand, maintain that the phrase "unless otherwise
provided in the Constitution" in Section 13, Article VII makes reference to Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB insofar as the
appointive officials mentioned therein are concerned.

The threshold question therefore is: does the prohibition in Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution insofar as Cabinet
members, their deputies or assistants are concerned admit of the broad exceptions made for appointive officials in general
under Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB which, for easy reference is quoted anew, thus: "Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the
primary functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the Government or any
subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporation or their subsidiaries."

We rule in the negative.

A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the intention underlying the provision under consideration. Thus, it has
been held that the Court in construing a Constitution should bear in mind the object sought to be accomplished by its adoption,
and the evils, if any, sought to be prevented or remedied. A doubtful provision will be examined in the light of the history of the
times, and the condition and circumstances under which the Constitution was framed. The object is to ascertain the reason
which induced the framers of the Constitution to enact the particular provision and the purpose sought to be accomplished
thereby, in order to construe the whole as to make the words consonant to that reason and calculated to effect that purpose. 11

The practice of designating members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants as members of the governing bodies or
boards of various government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations,
became prevalent during the time legislative powers in this country were exercised by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos
pursuant to his martial law authority. There was a proliferation of newly-created agencies, instrumentalities and government-
owned and controlled corporations created by presidential decrees and other modes of presidential issuances where Cabinet
members, their deputies or assistants were designated to head or sit as members of the board with the corresponding salaries,
emoluments, per diems, allowances and other perquisites of office. Most of these instrumentalities have remained up to the
present time.

This practice of holding multiple offices or positions in the government soon led to abuses by unscrupulous public officials who
took advantage of this scheme for purposes of self-enrichment. In fact, the holding of multiple offices in government was
strongly denounced on the floor of the Batasang Pambansa. 12 This condemnation came in reaction to the published report of
the Commission on Audit, entitled "1983 Summary Annual Audit Report on: Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations,
Self-Governing Boards and Commissions" which carried as its Figure No. 4 a "Roaster of Membership in Governing Boards of
Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations as of December 31, 1983."

Particularly odious and revolting to the people's sense of propriety and morality in government service were the data contained
therein that Roberto V. Ongpin was a member of the governing boards of twenty-nine (29) governmental agencies,
instrumentalities and corporations; Imelda R. Marcos of twenty-three (23); Cesar E.A. Virata of twenty-two (22); Arturo R. Tanco,
Jr. of fifteen (15); Jesus S. Hipolito and Geronimo Z. Velasco, of fourteen each (14); Cesar C. Zalamea of thirteen (13); Ruben B.
Ancheta and Jose A. Roo of twelve (12) each; Manuel P. Alba, Gilberto O. Teodoro, and Edgardo Tordesillas of eleven (11) each;
and Lilia Bautista and Teodoro Q. Pea of ten (10) each. 13

The blatant betrayal of public trust evolved into one of the serious causes of discontent with the Marcos regime. It was
therefore quite inevitable and in consonance with the overwhelming sentiment of the people that the 1986 Constitutional
Commission, convened as it was after the people successfully unseated former President Marcos, should draft into its proposed
Constitution the provisions under consideration which are envisioned to remedy, if not correct, the evils that flow from the
holding of multiple governmental offices and employment. In fact, as keenly observed by Mr. Justice Isagani A. Cruz during the
deliberations in these cases, one of the strongest selling points of the 1987 Constitution during the campaign for its ratification
was the assurance given by its proponents that the scandalous practice of Cabinet members holding multiple positions in the
government and collecting unconscionably excessive compensation therefrom would be discontinued.
But what is indeed significant is the fact that although Section 7, Article I-XB already contains a blanket prohibition against the
holding of multiple offices or employment in the government subsuming both elective and appointive public officials, the
Constitutional Commission should see it fit to formulate another provision, Sec. 13, Article VII, specifically prohibiting the
President, Vice-President, members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants from holding any other office or employment
during their tenure, unless otherwise provided in the Constitution itself.

Evidently, from this move as well as in the different phraseologies of the constitutional provisions in question, the intent of the
framers of the Constitution was to impose a stricter prohibition on the President and his official family in so far as holding other
offices or employment in the government or elsewhere is concerned.

Moreover, such intent is underscored by a comparison of Section 13, Article VII with other provisions of the Constitution on the
disqualifications of certain public officials or employees from holding other offices or employment. Under Section 13, Article VI,
"(N)o Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the Government . . .".
Under Section 5(4), Article XVI, "(N)o member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed in any
capacity to a civilian position in the Government,including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their
subsidiaries." Even Section 7 (2), Article IX-B, relied upon by respondents provides "(U)nless otherwise allowed by law or by the
primary functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the Government."

It is quite notable that in all these provisions on disqualifications to hold other office or employment, the prohibition pertains to
an office or employment in the government and government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. In striking
contrast is the wording of Section 13, Article VII which states that "(T)he President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet,
and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment
during their tenure." In the latter provision, the disqualification is absolute, not being qualified by the phrase "in the
Government." The prohibition imposed on the President and his official family is therefore all-embracing and covers both public
and private office or employment.

Going further into Section 13, Article VII, the second sentence provides: "They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly,
practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or
special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned
or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries." These sweeping, all-embracing prohibitions imposed on the President and his
official family, which prohibitions are not similarly imposed on other public officials or employees such as the Members of
Congress, members of the civil service in general and members of the armed forces, are proof of the intent of the 1987
Constitution to treat the President and his official family as a class by itself and to impose upon said class stricter prohibitions.

Such intent of the 1986 Constitutional Commission to be stricter with the President and his official family was also succinctly
articulated by Commissioner Vicente Foz after Commissioner Regalado Maambong noted during the floor deliberations and
debate that there was no symmetry between the Civil Service prohibitions, originally found in the General Provisions and the
anticipated report on the Executive Department. Commissioner Foz Commented, "We actually have to be stricter with the
President and the members of the Cabinet because they exercise more powers and, therefore, more cheeks and restraints on
them are called for because there is more possibility of abuse in their case." 14

Thus, while all other appointive officials in the civil service are allowed to hold other office or employment in the government
during their tenure when such is allowed by law or by the primary functions of their positions, members of the Cabinet, their
deputies and assistants may do so only when expressly authorized by the Constitution itself. In other words, Section 7, Article I-
XB is meant to lay down the general rule applicable to all elective and appointive public officials and employees, while Section
13, Article VII is meant to be the exception applicable only to the President, the Vice- President, Members of the Cabinet, their
deputies and assistants.

This being the case, the qualifying phrase "unless otherwise provided in this Constitution" in Section 13, Article VII cannot
possibly refer to the broad exceptions provided under Section 7, Article I-XB of the 1987 Constitution. To construe said
qualifying phrase as respondents would have us do, would render nugatory and meaningless the manifest intent and purpose of
the framers of the Constitution to impose a stricter prohibition on the President, Vice-President, Members of the Cabinet, their
deputies and assistants with respect to holding other offices or employment in the government during their tenure.
Respondents' interpretation that Section 13 of Article VII admits of the exceptions found in Section 7, par. (2) of Article IX-B
would obliterate the distinction so carefully set by the framers of the Constitution as to when the high-ranking officials of the
Executive Branch from the President to Assistant Secretary, on the one hand, and the generality of civil servants from the rank
immediately below Assistant Secretary downwards, on the other, may hold any other office or position in the government
during their tenure.

Moreover, respondents' reading of the provisions in question would render certain parts of the Constitution inoperative. This
observation applies particularly to the Vice-President who, under Section 13 of Article VII is allowed to hold other office or
employment when so authorized by the Constitution, but who as an elective public official under Sec. 7, par. (1) of Article I-XB is
absolutely ineligible "for appointment or designation in any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure." Surely, to
say that the phrase "unless otherwise provided in this Constitution" found in Section 13, Article VII has reference to Section 7,
par. (1) of Article I-XB would render meaningless the specific provisions of the Constitution authorizing the Vice-President to
become a member of the Cabinet,15 and to act as President without relinquishing the Vice-Presidency where the President shall
not nave been chosen or fails to qualify.16 Such absurd consequence can be avoided only by interpreting the two provisions
under consideration as one, i.e., Section 7, par. (1) of Article I-XB providing the general rule and the other, i.e., Section 13, Article
VII as constituting the exception thereto. In the same manner must Section 7, par. (2) of Article I-XB be construed vis-a-
vis Section 13, Article VII.

It is a well-established rule in Constitutional construction that no one provision of the Constitution is to be separated from all
the others, to be considered alone, but that all the provisions bearing upon a particular subject are to be brought into view and
to be so interpreted as to effectuate the great purposes of the instrument. 17 Sections bearing on a particular subject should be
considered and interpreted together as to effectuate the whole purpose of the Constitution 18 and one section is not to be
allowed to defeat another, if by any reasonable construction, the two can be made to stand together. 19

In other words, the court must harmonize them, if practicable, and must lean in favor of a construction which will render every
word operative, rather than one which may make the words idle and nugatory. 20

Since the evident purpose of the framers of the 1987 Constitution is to impose a stricter prohibition on the President, Vice-
President, members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants with respect to holding multiple offices or employment in the
government during their tenure, the exception to this prohibition must be read with equal severity. On its face, the language of
Section 13, Article VII is prohibitory so that it must be understood as intended to be a positive and unequivocal negation of the
privilege of holding multiple government offices or employment. Verily, wherever the language used in the constitution is
prohibitory, it is to be understood as intended to be a positive and unequivocal negation. 21 The phrase "unless otherwise
provided in this Constitution" must be given a literal interpretation to refer only to those particular instances cited in the
Constitution itself, to wit: the Vice-President being appointed as a member of the Cabinet under Section 3, par. (2), Article VII; or
acting as President in those instances provided under Section 7, pars. (2) and (3), Article VII; and, the Secretary of Justice
being ex-officiomember of the Judicial and Bar Council by virtue of Section 8 (1), Article VIII.

The prohibition against holding dual or multiple offices or employment under Section 13, Article VII of the Constitution must
not, however, be construed as applying to posts occupied by the Executive officials specified therein without additional
compensation in an ex-officio capacity as provided by law and as required 22 by the primary functions of said officials' office. The
reason is that these posts do no comprise "any other office" within the contemplation of the constitutional prohibition but are
properly an imposition of additional duties and functions on said officials. 23 To characterize these posts otherwise would lead to
absurd consequences, among which are: The President of the Philippines cannot chair the National Security Council reorganized
under Executive Order No. 115 (December 24, 1986). Neither can the Vice-President, the Executive Secretary, and the
Secretaries of National Defense, Justice, Labor and Employment and Local Government sit in this Council, which would then
have no reason to exist for lack of a chairperson and members. The respective undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, would
also be prohibited.

The Secretary of Labor and Employment cannot chair the Board of Trustees of the National Manpower and Youth Council
(NMYC) or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), both of which are attached to his department for policy
coordination and guidance. Neither can his Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries chair these agencies.

The Secretaries of Finance and Budget cannot sit in the Monetary Board. 24 Neither can their respective undersecretaries and
assistant secretaries. The Central Bank Governor would then be assisted by lower ranking employees in providing policy
direction in the areas of money, banking and credit.25
Indeed, the framers of our Constitution could not have intended such absurd consequences. A Constitution, viewed as a
continuously operative charter of government, is not to be interpreted as demanding the impossible or the impracticable; and
unreasonable or absurd consequences, if possible, should be avoided. 26

To reiterate, the prohibition under Section 13, Article VII is not to be interpreted as covering positions held without additional
compensation in ex-officio capacities as provided by law and as required by the primary functions of the concerned official's
office. The term ex-officio means "from office; by virtue of office." It refers to an "authority derived from official character
merely, not expressly conferred upon the individual character, but rather annexed to the official position." Ex-officio likewise
denotes an "act done in an official character, or as a consequence of office, and without any other appointment or authority
than that conferred by the office." 27 An ex-officio member of a board is one who is a member by virtue of his title to a certain
office, and without further warrant or appointment. 28 To illustrate, by express provision of law, the Secretary of Transportation
and Communications is the ex-officioChairman of the Board of the Philippine Ports Authority, 29 and the Light Rail Transit
Authority. 30

The Court had occasion to explain the meaning of an ex-officio position in Rafael vs. Embroidery and Apparel Control and
Inspection Board,31 thus: "An examination of section 2 of the questioned statute (R.A. 3137) reveals that for the chairman and
members of the Board to qualify they need only be designated by the respective department heads. With the exception of the
representative from the private sector, they sit ex-officio. In order to be designated they must already be holding positions in the
offices mentioned in the law. Thus, for instance, one who does not hold a previous appointment in the Bureau of Customs,
cannot, under the act, be designated a representative from that office. The same is true with respect to the representatives
from the other offices. No new appointments are necessary. This is as it should be, because the representatives so
designated merely perform duties in the Board in addition to those already performed under their original appointments." 32

The term "primary" used to describe "functions" refers to the order of importance and thus means chief or principal function.
The term is not restricted to the singular but may refer to the plural. 33 The additional duties must not only be closely related to,
but must be required by the official's primary functions. Examples of designations to positions by virtue of one's primary
functions are the Secretaries of Finance and Budget sitting as members of the Monetary Board, and the Secretary of
Transportation and Communications acting as Chairman of the Maritime Industry Authority 34 and the Civil Aeronautics Board.

If the functions required to be performed are merely incidental, remotely related, inconsistent, incompatible, or otherwise alien
to the primary function of a cabinet official, such additional functions would fall under the purview of "any other office"
prohibited by the Constitution. An example would be the Press Undersecretary sitting as a member of the Board of the
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. The same rule applies to such positions which confer on the cabinet official
management functions and/or monetary compensation, such as but not limited to chairmanships or directorships in
government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.

Mandating additional duties and functions to the President, Vice-President, Cabinet Members, their deputies or assistants
which are not inconsistent with those already prescribed by their offices or appointments by virtue of their special knowledge,
expertise and skill in their respective executive offices is a practice long-recognized in many jurisdictions. It is a practice justified
by the demands of efficiency, policy direction, continuity and coordination among the different offices in the Executive Branch in
the discharge of its multifarious tasks of executing and implementing laws affecting national interest and general welfare and
delivering basic services to the people. It is consistent with the power vested on the President and his alter egos, the Cabinet
members, to have control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices and to ensure that the laws are faithfully
executed. 35 Without these additional duties and functions being assigned to the President and his official family to sit in the
governing bodies or boards of governmental agencies or instrumentalities in an ex-officio capacity as provided by law and as
required by their primary functions, they would be supervision, thereby deprived of the means for control and resulting in an
unwieldy and confused bureaucracy.

It bears repeating though that in order that such additional duties or functions may not transgress the prohibition embodied in
Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, such additional duties or functions must be required by the primary functions of
the official concerned, who is to perform the same in an ex-officio capacity as provided by law, without receiving any additional
compensation therefor.

The ex-officio position being actually and in legal contemplation part of the principal office, it follows that the official concerned
has no right to receive additional compensation for his services in the said position. The reason is that these services are already
paid for and covered by the compensation attached to his principal office. It should be obvious that if, say, the Secretary of
Finance attends a meeting of the Monetary Board as an ex-officio member thereof, he is actually and in legal contemplation
performing the primary function of his principal office in defining policy in monetary and banking matters, which come under
the jurisdiction of his department. For such attendance, therefore, he is not entitled to collect any extra compensation, whether
it be in the form of a per them or an honorarium or an allowance, or some other such euphemism. By whatever name it is
designated, such additional compensation is prohibited by the Constitution.

It is interesting to note that during the floor deliberations on the proposal of Commissioner Christian Monsod to add to Section
7, par. (2), Article IX-B, originally found as Section 3 of the General Provisions, the exception "unless required by the functions of
his position," 36 express reference to certain high-ranking appointive public officials like members of the Cabinet were
made. 37 Responding to a query of Commissioner Blas Ople, Commissioner Monsod pointed out that there are instances when
although not required by current law, membership of certain high-ranking executive officials in other offices and corporations is
necessary by reason of said officials' primary functions. The example given by Commissioner Monsod was the Minister of Trade
and Industry. 38

While this exchange between Commissioners Monsod and Ople may be used as authority for saying that additional functions
and duties flowing from the primary functions of the official may be imposed upon him without offending the constitutional
prohibition under consideration, it cannot, however, be taken as authority for saying that this exception is by virtue of Section 7,
par. (2) of Article I-XB. This colloquy between the two Commissioners took place in the plenary session of September 27, 1986.
Under consideration then was Section 3 of Committee Resolution No. 531 which was the proposed article on General
Provisions. 39 At that time, the article on the Civil Service Commission had been approved on third reading on July 22,
1986, 40 while the article on the Executive Department, containing the more specific prohibition in Section 13, had also been
earlier approved on third reading on August 26, 1986. 41 It was only after the draft Constitution had undergone reformatting and
"styling" by the Committee on Style that said Section 3 of the General Provisions became Section 7, par. (2) of Article IX-B and
reworded "Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position. . . ."

What was clearly being discussed then were general principles which would serve as constitutional guidelines in the absence of
specific constitutional provisions on the matter. What was primarily at issue and approved on that occasion was the adoption of
the qualified and delimited phrase "primary functions" as the basis of an exception to the general rule covering all appointive
public officials. Had the Constitutional Commission intended to dilute the specific prohibition in said Section 13 of Article VII, it
could have re-worded said Section 13 to conform to the wider exceptions provided in then Section 3 of the proposed general
Provisions, later placed as Section 7, par. (2) of Article IX-B on the Civil Service Commission.

That this exception would in the final analysis apply also to the President and his official family is by reason of the legal
principles governing additional functions and duties of public officials rather than by virtue of Section 7, par. 2, Article IX-B At
any rate, we have made it clear that only the additional functions and duties "required," as opposed to "allowed," by the
primary functions may be considered as not constituting "any other office."

While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention in order to
arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution, resort thereto may be had only when other guides fail 42 as said
proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is clear.1wphi1Debates in the
constitutional convention "are of value as showing the views of the individual members, and as indicating the reasons for their
votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk, much less of the mass of our fellow citizens
whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental law. We think it safer to construe the constitution from
what appears upon its face." 43 The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people
adopting it than in the framers's understanding thereof. 44

It being clear, as it was in fact one of its best selling points, that the 1987 Constitution seeks to prohibit the President, Vice-
President, members of the Cabinet, their deputies or assistants from holding during their tenure multiple offices or employment
in the government, except in those cases specified in the Constitution itself and as above clarified with respect to posts held
without additional compensation in an ex-officio capacity as provided by law and as required by the primary functions of their
office, the citation of Cabinet members (then called Ministers) as examples during the debate and deliberation on the general
rule laid down for all appointive officials should be considered as mere personal opinions which cannot override the
constitution's manifest intent and the people' understanding thereof.

In the light of the construction given to Section 13, Article VII in relation to Section 7, par. (2), Article IX-B of the 1987
Constitution, Executive Order No. 284 dated July 23, 1987 is unconstitutional. Ostensibly restricting the number of positions that
Cabinet members, undersecretaries or assistant secretaries may hold in addition to their primary position to not more than two
(2) positions in the government and government corporations, Executive Order No. 284 actually allows them to hold multiple
offices or employment in direct contravention of the express mandate of Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution
prohibiting them from doing so, unless otherwise provided in the 1987 Constitution itself.

The Court is alerted by respondents to the impractical consequences that will result from a strict application of the prohibition
mandated under Section 13, Article VII on the operations of the Government, considering that Cabinet members would be
stripped of their offices held in an ex-officio capacity, by reason of their primary positions or by virtue of legislation. As earlier
clarified in this decision, ex-officio posts held by the executive official concerned without additional compensation as provided
by law and as required by the primary functions of his office do not fall under the definition of "any other office" within the
contemplation of the constitutional prohibition. With respect to other offices or employment held by virtue of legislation,
including chairmanships or directorships in government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, suffice it to say
that the feared impractical consequences are more apparent than real. Being head of an executive department is no mean job.
It is more than a full-time job, requiring full attention, specialized knowledge, skills and expertise. If maximum benefits are to be
derived from a department head's ability and expertise, he should be allowed to attend to his duties and responsibilities
without the distraction of other governmental offices or employment. He should be precluded from dissipating his efforts,
attention and energy among too many positions of responsibility, which may result in haphazardness and inefficiency. Surely the
advantages to be derived from this concentration of attention, knowledge and expertise, particularly at this stage of our national
and economic development, far outweigh the benefits, if any, that may be gained from a department head spreading himself
too thin and taking in more than what he can handle.

Finding Executive Order No. 284 to be constitutionally infirm, the court hereby orders respondents Secretary of Environment
and Natural Resources Fulgencio Factoran, Jr., Secretary of Local Government 45 Luis Santos, Secretary of National Defense Fidel
V. Ramos, Secretary of Health Alfredo R.A. Bengzon and Secretary of the Budget Guillermo Carague to immediately relinquish
their other offices or employment, as herein defined, in the government, including government-owned or controlled
corporations and their subsidiaries. With respect to the other named respondents, the petitions have become moot and
academic as they are no longer occupying the positions complained of.

During their tenure in the questioned positions, respondents may be considered de facto officers and as such entitled to
emoluments for actual services rendered. 46 It has been held that "in cases where there is no de jure,officer, a de facto officer,
who, in good faith has had possession of the office and has discharged the duties pertaining thereto, is legally entitled to the
emoluments of the office, and may in an appropriate action recover the salary, fees and other compensations attached to the
office. This doctrine is, undoubtedly, supported on equitable grounds since it seems unjust that the public should benefit by the
services of an officer de facto and then be freed from all liability to pay any one for such services. 47 Any per diem, allowances or
other emoluments received by the respondents by virtue of actual services rendered in the questioned positions may therefore
be retained by them.

WHEREFORE, subject to the qualification above-stated, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 284 is hereby declared
null and void and is accordingly set aside.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr.,
JJ., concur.
Sarmiento and Grio-Aquino, JJ., took no part.

Footnotes

1
P. 71, Rollo in G.R. No. 83815 and p. 28, Rollo in G.R. No. 83896.

2
Emphasis supplied.

3
pp. 29-30, Rollo.

4
pp. 10-21, Rollo.
5
Annex "A", Petition, G.R. No. 83815, pp. 21-24, Rollo.

6
Thereby, petitioner alleges, eliciting adverse published commentaries from CONCOM Commissioners Fr. Joaquin G.
Bernas, S. J. and Regalado E. Maambong, Congressman Rodolfo Albano of Isabela, and retired Supreme Court Justice
Felix Q. Antonio, Annexes "D", "E" and "F", Petition, G.R. No. 83815, pp. 40-64, Rollo. CONCOM Vice-President
Ambrosio B. Padilla, in a published article cited in the annexes, also commented on EO 284.

7
p. 11, Rollo in G.R. No. 83815.

8
Emphasis supplied.

9
Annex "I", Comment, G.R. No. 83896, pp. 62-67, Rollo.

10
Annex "2", Ibid., pp. 68-71, Rollo.

11
Maxwell vs. Dow, 176 U.S. 581, 20 Sup. Ct. 448, 44 L. Ed. 597.

12
R.B. No. 95, Monday, March 11, 1985, Record of the Batasan, Volume IV, pp. 835-836.

13
pp. 11-14.

14
Record of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, Vol. 1, p. 553.

15
Sec. 3, Ibid.

16
Sec. 7, Article VII.

17
Old Wayne Mut. Life Asso. vs. McDonough, 204 U.S. 8, 51 L Ed 345, 27 S Ct 236; Wallace vs. Payne, 197 Cal 539, 241
P. 879.

18
Grantz vs. Grauman (Ky) 320 SW 2d 364; Runyon vs. Smith, 308 Ky 73, 212 SW 2d 521.

19
People vs. Wright, 6 Col. 92.

20
Thomas M. Colley, A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations, Vol. I, p. 128, citing Attorney-General vs. Detroit and
Erin Plank Road Co., 2 Mich. 114; People vs. Burns, 5 Mich. 114 ; District Township vs. Dubuque, 7 Iowa 262.

21
Varney vs. Justice, 86 Ky 596; 6 S.W. 457; Hunt vs. State, 22 Tex. App. 396, 3 S.W. 233.

22
As opposed to the term "allowed" used in Section 7, par. (2), Article IX-B of the Constitution, which is permissive.
"Required" suggests an imposition, a

CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION


vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

FACTS:
The two petitions in this case sought to declareunconstitutional Executive Order No. 284 issued by President CorazonC. Aquino. The assailed law provides that:
Sec. 1. Even if allowed by law or by theordinary functions of his position, a member of the Cabinet, undersecretary or
assistant secretary or other appointive officials of theExecutive Department may, in addition to his primary position,
hold not more than two positions in the government and government corporations and receive the
correspondingcompensation therefor;
Provided, that thislimitation shall not apply to ad hoc bodies or committees, or to boards, councils or bodies of which the
President is the Chairman.
The petitioners alleged that the cited provision of EO 284contravenes the provision of Sec. 13, Article VII which declares:
T
he President, Vice-President, theMembers of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants shall not,
u
nless otherwise provided inthis Constit
u
tion
, hold any other office or employment during their tenure.
T
hey shall not,during said tenure, directly or indirectly practiceany other profession, participate in any business,or be financially
interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency,
or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.
T
hey shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.
The petitioners maintained that the phrase "unless otherwiseprovided in this Constitution" used in Section 13 of Article VII meantthat the exception must be
expressly provided in the Constitution.Public respondents, on the other hand, maintain that thephrase "unless otherwise provided in the Constitution" in Section
13,Article VII makes reference to Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB insofar asthe appointive officials mentioned therein are concerned. Theprovision relied upon by
the respondents provides:Sec. 7. . . . . .
U
nless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no appointiveofficial shall hold any other office or
employment in the government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or
controlled corporations or their subsidiaries
.
ISSUE No. 1 :

Does the prohibition in Section 13, Article VII of the1987 Constitution insofar as Cabinet members, their deputies orassistants are concerned admit
of the broad exceptions made forappointive officials in general under Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB?No.
T
he intent of the framers of the Constitution was to impose astricter prohibition on the President and his official family in so far
asholding other offices or employment in the government or elsewhere isconcerned.
Although Section 7, Article I-XB already contains a blanketprohibition against the holding of multiple offices or employment inthe government subsuming both
elective and appointive publicofficials, the Constitutional Commission should see it fit to formulateanother provision, Sec. 13, Article VII, specifically prohibiting
thePresident, Vice-President, members of the Cabinet, their deputies andassistants from holding any other office or employment during theirtenure, unless
otherwise provided in the Constitution itself. While allother appointive officials in the civil service are allowed to hold otheroffice or employment in the
government during their tenure whensuch is allowed by law or by the primary functions of their positions,members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants
may do so onlywhen expressly authorized by the Constitution itself. In other words,Section 7, Article I-XB is meant to lay down the general rule applicableto all
elective and appointive public officials and employees, whileSection 13, Article VII is meant to be the exception applicable only to the President, the Vice-
President, Members of the Cabinet, theirdeputies and assistants.The phrase "unless otherwise provided in this Constitution"must be given a literal interpretation
to refer only to those particularinstances cited in the Constitution itself, to wit: the Vice-Presidentbeing appointed as a member of the Cabinet under Section 3,
par. (2),Article VII; or acting as President in those instances provided underSection 7, pars. (2) and (3), Article VII; and, the Secretary of Justicebeing

ex-officio
member of the Judicial and Bar Council by virtue of Section 8 (1), Article VIII.
ISSUE No. 2: Does the prohibition apply to positions held in ex officiocapacity?
The prohibition against holding dual or multiple offices oremployment under Section 13, Article VII of the Constitution must not,however, be construed as
applying to posts occupied by the Executiveofficials specified therein without additional compensation in an
ex-officio
capacity as provided by law and as
required
by the primaryfunctions of said officials' office. The reason is that these posts do nocomprise "any other office" within the contemplation of theconstitutional
prohibition but are properly an imposition of additionalduties and functions on said officials. The term
ex-officio
means "fromoffice; by virtue of office."
Ex-officio
likewise denotes an "act done inan official character, or as a consequence of office, and without anyother appointment or authority than that conferred by the
office." Theadditional duties must not only be closely related to, but must berequired by the official's primary functions. If the functions required tobe performed
are merely incidental, remotely related, inconsistent,incompatible, or otherwise alien to the primary function of a cabinetofficial, such additional functions would
fall under the purview of "anyother office" prohibited by the Constitution.
ISSUE No. 3: Can the respondents be obliged to reimburse theperquisites they have received from the offices they have
heldpursuant to EO 284?
During their tenure in the questioned positions, respondentsmay be considered
de facto
officers and as such entitled toemoluments for actual services rendered. It has been held that "incases where there is no
de jure
officer, a
de facto
officer, who, in goodfaith has had possession of the office and has discharged the dutiespertaining thereto, is legally entitled to the emoluments of the office,and
may in an appropriate action recover the salary, fees and othercompensations attached to the office. Any per diem, allowances orother emoluments received by
the respondents by virtue of actualservices rendered in the questioned positions may therefore beretained by them.Overall, Executive Order No. 284 is
unconstitutional as itactually allows a member of the cabinet, undersecretary or assistantsecretary or other appointive officials of the Executive Department
tohold multiple offices or employment in direct contravention of theexpress mandate of Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitutionprohibiting them from
doing so, unless otherwise provided in the 1987Constitution itself.

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 134577. November 18, 1998]

SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO and SEN. FRANCISCO S. TATAD, petitioners,


vs. SEN. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. and SEN. MARCELO B.
FERNAN, respondents.

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the three great branches of
government has exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in matters falling within its own
constitutionally allocated sphere.
Constitutional respect and a becoming regard for the sovereign acts of a coequal branch
prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the Senate. Where no provision of
the Constitution or the laws or even the Rules of the Senate is clearly shown to have been
violated, disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate
officials for acts done within their competence and authority. This Court will be neither a tyrant
nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in upholding the rule and majesty of
the law.

The Case
On July 31, 1998, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Francisco S. Tatad instituted an
original petition for quo warranto under Rule 66, Section 5, Rules of Court, seeking the ouster of
Senator Teofisto T. Guingona Jr. as minority leader of the Senate and the declaration of Senator
Tatad as the rightful minority leader.
On August 4, 1998, the Court, upon receipt of the Petition, required the respondents and
the solicitor general to file COMMENT thereon within a non-extendible period of fifteen (15)
days from notice. On August 25, 1998, both respondents and the solicitor general submitted
their respective Comments. In compliance with a Resolution of the Court dated September 1,
1998, petitioners filed their Consolidated Reply on September 23, 1998. Noting said pleading,
this Court gave due course to the petition and deemed the controversy submitted for decision,
without need of memoranda, on September 29, 1998.
In the regular course, the regional trial courts and this Court have concurrent
jurisdiction[1] to hear and decide petitions for quo warranto (as well as certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus), and a basic deference to the hierarchy of courts impels a filing of such
petitions in the lower tribunals.[2] However, for special and important reasons or for exceptional
and compelling circumstances, as in the present case, this Court has allowed exceptions to this
doctrine.[3] In fact, original petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and quo
warranto assailing acts of legislative officers like the Senate President [4] and the Speaker of the
House[5] have been recognized as exceptions to this rule.

The Facts

The Senate of the Philippines, with Sen. John Henry R. Osmea as presiding officer, convened on
July 27, 1998 for the first regular session of the eleventh Congress. At the time, in terms of party
affiliation, the composition of the Senate was as follows: [6]

10 members -Laban ng Masang Pilipino (LAMP)

7 members - Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats-United Muslim


Democrats of the Philippines (Lakas-NUCD-UMDP)

1 member - Liberal Party (LP)

1 member - Aksyon Demokrasya

1 member - Peoples Reform Party (PRP)

1 member - Gabay Bayan

2 members - Independent
----------

23 - total number of senators[7] (The last six members are all classified by petitioners as
independent.)

On the agenda for the day was the election of officers. Nominated by Sen. Blas F. Ople to
the position of Senate President was Sen. Marcelo B. Fernan. Sen. Francisco S. Tatad was also
nominated to the same position by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago. By a vote of 20 to 2,
[8]
Senator Fernan was declared the duly elected President of the Senate.
The following were likewise elected: Senator Ople as president pro tempore, and Sen.
Franklin M. Drilon as majority leader.
Senator Tatad thereafter manifested that, with the agreement of Senator Santiago,
allegedly the only other member of the minority, he was assuming the position of minority
leader. He explained that those who
had voted for Senator Fernan comprised the majority, while only those who had voted for him,
the losing nominee, belonged to the minority.
During the discussion on who should constitute the Senate minority, Sen. Juan M. Flavier
manifested that the senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party -- numbering seven (7)
and, thus, also a minority -- had chosen Senator Guingona as the minority leader. No consensus
on the matter was arrived at. The following session day, the debate on the
question continued, with Senators Santiago and Tatad delivering privilege speeches. On the
third session day, the Senate met in caucus, but still failed to resolve the issue.
On July 30, 1998, the majority leader informed the body that he was in receipt of a letter
signed by the seven Lakas-NUCD-UMDP senators, [9] stating that they had elected Senator
Guingona as the minority leader. By virtue thereof, the Senate President formally recognized
Senator Guingona as the minority leader of the Senate.
The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before this Court the subject petition
for quo warranto, alleging in the main that Senator Guingona had been usurping, unlawfully
holding and exercising the position of Senate minority leader, a position that, according to
them, rightfully belonged to Senator Tatad.

Issues

From the parties pleadings, the Court formulated the following issues for resolution:

1. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the petition?

2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?


3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the
position of Senate minority leader?

4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in recognizing


Respondent Guingona as the minority leader?

The Courts Ruling

After a close perusal of the pleadings [10] and a careful deliberation on the
arguments, pro and con, the Court finds that no constitutional or legal infirmity or grave abuse
of discretion attended the recognition of and the assumption into office by Respondent
Guingona as the Senate minority leader.

First Issue: The Courts Jurisdiction

Petitioners principally invoke Avelino v. Cuenco[11] in arguing that this Court has jurisdiction
to settle the issue of who is the lawful Senate minority leader. They submit that the definitions
of majority and minority involve an interpretation of the Constitution, specifically Section 16 (1),
Article VI thereof, stating that [t]he Senate shall elect its President and the House of
Representatives its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its respective Members.
Respondents and the solicitor general, in their separate Comments, contend in common
that the issue of who is the lawful Senate minority leader is an internal matter pertaining
exclusively to the domain of the legislature, over which the Court cannot exercise jurisdiction
without transgressing the principle of separation of powers. Allegedly, no constitutional issue is
involved, as the fundamental law does not provide for the office of a minority leader in the
Senate. The legislature alone has the full discretion to provide for such office and, in that event,
to determine the procedure of selecting its occupant.
Respondents also maintain that Avelino cannot apply, because there exists no question
involving an interpretation or application of the Constitution, the laws or even the Rules of the
Senate; neither are there peculiar circumstances impelling the Court to assume jurisdiction over
the petition. The solicitor general adds that there is not even any legislative practice to support
the petitioners theory that a senator who votes for the winning Senate President is precluded
from becoming the minority leader.
To resolve the issue of jurisdiction, this Court carefully reviewed and deliberated on the
various important cases involving this very important and basic question, which it has ruled
upon in the past.
The early case Avelino v. Cuenco cautiously tackled the scope of the Courts power of judicial
review; that is, questions involving an interpretation or application of a provision of the
Constitution or the law, including the rules of either house of Congress. Within this scope falls
the jurisdiction of the Court over questions on the validity of legislative or executive acts that
are political in nature, whenever the tribunal finds constitutionally imposed limits on powers or
functions conferred upon political bodies.[12]
In the aforementioned case, the Court initially declined to resolve the question of who was
the rightful Senate President, since it was deemed a political controversy falling exclusively
within the domain of the Senate. Upon a motion for reconsideration, however, the Court
ultimately assumed jurisdiction (1) in the light of subsequent events which justify its
intervention; and (2) because the resolution of the issue hinged on the interpretation of the
constitutional provision on the presence of a quorum to hold a session [13] and therein elect a
Senate President.
Justice Feria elucidated in his Concurring Opinion: [I] concur with
the majority that this Court has jurisdiction over cases like the present x x x so as to establish in
this country the judicial supremacy, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, to see that no
one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, not only in justiceable
but political questions as well.[14]
Justice Perfecto, also concurring, said in part:

Indeed there is no denying that the situation, as obtaining in the upper chamber of
Congress, is highly explosive. It had echoed in the House of Representatives. It has
already involved the President of the Philippines. The situation has created a
veritable national crisis, and it is apparent that solution cannot be expected from any
quarter other than this Supreme Court, upon which the hopes of the people for an
effective settlement are pinned.[15]

x x x This case raises vital constitutional questions which no one can settle or decide if
this Court should refuse to decide them.[16]

x x x The constitutional question of quorum should not be left unanswered. [17]

In Taada v. Cuenco,[18] this Court endeavored to define political question. And we said that it
refers to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their
sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the
legislative or executive branch of the government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon
thewisdom, not [the] legality, of a particular measure.[19]
The Court ruled that the validity of the selection of members of the Senate Electoral
Tribunal by the senators was not a political question. The choice of these members did not
depend on the Senates full discretionary authority, but was subject to mandatory constitutional
limitations.[20] Thus, the Court held that not only was it clearly within its jurisdiction to pass upon
the validity of the selection proceedings, but it was also its duty to consider and determine the
issue.
In another landmark case, Lansang v. Garcia,[21] Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion wrote that
the Court had authority to and should inquire into the existence of the factual bases required by
the Constitution for the suspension of the privilege of the writ [of habeas corpus]. This ruling
was made in spite of the previous pronouncements in Barcelon v. Baker[22] and Montenegro v.
Castaeda[23] that the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen requiring suspension
(of the privilege x x x) belongs to the President and his decision is final and conclusive upon the
courts and upon all other persons. But the Chief Justice cautioned: the function of the Court is
merely to check -- not to supplant --- the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he
has gonebeyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power
vested in him or to determine the wisdom of his act.
The eminent Chief Justice aptly explained later in Javellana v. Executive Secretary:[24]

The reason why the issue under consideration and other issues of similar character
are justiciable, not political, is plain and simple. One of the principal bases of the
non-justiciability of so-called political questions is the principle of separation of
powers -- characteristic of the presidential system of government -- the functions of
which are classified or divided, by reason of their nature, into three (3) categories,
namely, 1) those involving the making of laws, which are allocated to the legislative
department; 2) those concerning mainly with the enforcement of such laws and of
judicial decisions applying and/or interpreting the same, which belong to the
executive department; and 3) those dealing with the settlement of disputes,
controversies or conflicts involving rights, duties or prerogatives that are legally
demandable and enforceable, which are apportioned to courts of justice. Within its
own sphere -- but only within such sphere each department is supreme and
independent of the others, and each is devoid of authority not only to encroach upon
the powers or field of action assigned to any of the other departments, but also to
inquire into or pass upon the advisability or wisdom of the acts performed, measures
taken or decisions made by the other departments -- provided that such acts,
measures or decision are within the area allocated thereto by the Constitution."

Accordingly, when the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to


limitations, the issue of whether or not the prescribed qualifications or conditions
have been met, or the limitations respected is justiciable or non-political, the crux of
the problem being one of legality or validity of the contested act, not its
wisdom. Otherwise, said qualifications, conditions or limitations -- particularly those
prescribed by the Constitution -- would be set at naught. What is more, the judicial
inquiry into such issue and the settlement thereof are the main functions of the
courts of justice under the presidential form of government adopted in our 1935
Constitution, and the system of checks and balances, one of its basic predicates. As a
consequence, we have neither the authority nor the discretion to decline passing
upon said issue, but are under the ineluctable obligation -- made particularly more
exacting and peremptory by our oath, as members of the highest Court of the land,
to support and defend the Constitution -- to settle it. This explains why, in Miller v.
Johnson [92 Ky. 589, 18 SW 522, 523], it was held that courts have a duty, rather than
apower, to determine whether another branch of the government has kept within
constitutional limits.

Unlike our previous constitutions, the 1987 Constitution is explicit in defining the scope of
judicial power. The present Constitution now fortifies the authority of the courts to determine in
an appropriate action the validity of the acts of the political departments. It speaks of judicial
prerogative in terms of duty, viz.:

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.[25]

This express definition has resulted in clearer and more resolute pronouncements of the
Court. Daza v. Singson,[26] Coseteng v. Mitra Jr.[27] and Guingona Jr. v. Gonzales[28] similarly
resolved issues assailing the acts of the leaders of both houses of Congress in apportioning
among political parties the seats to which each chamber was entitled in the Commission on
Appointments. The Court held that the issue was justiciable, even if the question were political
in nature, since it involved the legality, not the wisdom, of the manner of filling the Commission
on Appointments as prescribed by [Section 18, Article VI of] the Constitution.
The same question of jurisdiction was raised in Taada v. Angara,[29] wherein the petitioners
sought to nullify the Senates concurrence in the ratification of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) Agreement. The Court ruled: Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously
alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of
the judiciary to settle the dispute. The Court en banc unanimously stressed that in taking
jurisdiction over petitions questioning an act of the political departments of government, it will
not review the wisdom, merits or propriety of such action, and will strike it down only on either
of two grounds: (1) unconstitutionality or illegality and (2) grave abuse of discretion.
Earlier in Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives [30] (HRET), the Court
refused to reverse a decision of the HRET, in the absence of a showing that said tribunal had
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The Court ruled that full
authority had been conferred upon the electoral tribunals of the House of Representatives and
of the Senate as sole judges of all contests relating to
the election, the returns, and the qualifications of their respective members. Such jurisdiction is
original and exclusive.[31] The Court may inquire into a decision or resolution of said tribunals
only if such decision or resolution was rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with
grave abuse of discretion.[32]
Recently, the Court, in Arroyo v. De Venecia,[33] was asked to reexamine the enrolled bill
doctrine and to look beyond the certification of the Speaker of the House of Representatives
that the bill, which was later enacted as Republic Act 8240, was properly approved by the
legislative body. Petitioners claimed that certain procedural rules of the House had been
breached in the passage of the bill. They averred further that a violation of the constitutionally
mandated House rules was a violation of the Constitution itself.
The Court, however, dismissed the petition, because the matter complained of concerned
the internal procedures of the House, with which the Court had no concern. It enucleated:[34]

It would be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for


this Court either to set aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks the
House has disregarded its own rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the
political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial forum when petitioners can find their
remedy in that department itself. The Court has not been invested with a roving
commission to inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of legislative skullduggery. It
would be acting in excess of its power and would itself be guilty of grave abuse of
discretion were it to do so. x x x In the absence of anything to the contrary, the Court
must assume that Congress or any House thereof acted in the good faith belief that
its conduct was permitted by its rules, and deference rather than disrespect is due
the judgment of that body.

In the instant controversy, the petitioners -- one of whom is Senator Santiago, a well-known
constitutionalist -- try to hew closely to these jurisprudential parameters. They claim that
Section 16 (1), Article VI of the Constitution, has not been observed in the selection of the
Senate minority leader. They also invoke the Courts expanded judicial power to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of respondents.
Dissenting in part, Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza submits that the Court has no jurisdiction
over the petition. Well-settled is the doctrine, however, that jurisdiction over the subject matter
of a case is determined by the allegations of the complaint or petition, regardless of whether
the plaintiff or petitioner is entitled to the relief asserted. [35] In light of the aforesaid allegations
of petitioners, it is clear that this Court has jurisdiction over the petition. It is well within the
power and jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether indeed the Senate or its officials
committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused their discretion in the exercise of
their functions and prerogatives.

Second Issue: Violation of the Constitution


Having assumed jurisdiction over the petition, we now go to the next crucial question: In
recognizing Respondent Guingona as the Senate minority leader, did the Senate or its officials,
particularly Senate President Fernan, violate the Constitution or the laws?
Petitioners answer the above question in the affirmative. They contend that the
constitutional provision requiring the election of the Senate President by majority vote of all its
members carries with it a judicial duty to determine the concepts of majority and minority, as
well as who may elect a minority leader. They argue that majority in the aforequoted
constitutional provision refers to that group of senators who (1) voted for the winning Senate
President and (2) accepted committee chairmanships. Accordingly, those who voted for the
losing nominee and accepted no such chairmanships comprise the minority, to whom the right
to determine the minority leader belongs. As a result, petitioners assert, Respondent Guingona
cannot be the legitimate minority leader, since he voted for Respondent Fernan as Senate
President. Furthermore, the members of the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP cannot choose the minority
leader, because they did not belong to the minority, having voted for Fernan and accepted
committee chairmanships.
We believe, however, that the interpretation proposed by petitioners finds no clear support
from the Constitution, the laws, the Rules of the Senate or even from practices of the Upper
House.
The term majority has been judicially defined a number of times. When referring to a
certain number out of a total or aggregate, it simply means the number greater than half or
more than half of any total. [36] The plain and unambiguous words of the subject constitutional
clause simply mean that the Senate President must obtain the votes of more than one half
of all the senators.Not by any construal does it thereby delineate who comprise the majority,
much less the minority, in the said body. And there is no showing that the framers of our
Constitution had in mind other than the usual meanings of these terms.
In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected
by a number constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it does not provide
that the members who will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the minority, who could
thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, no law or regulation states that the defeated candidate
shall automatically become the minority leader.
The Comment[37] of Respondent Guingona furnishes some relevant precedents, which were
not contested in petitioners Reply. During the eighth Congress, which was the first to convene
after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, the nomination of Sen. Jovito R. Salonga as
Senate President was seconded by a member of the minority, then Sen. Joseph E. Estrada.
[38]
During the ninth regular session, when Sen. Edgardo J. Angara assumed the Senate
presidency in 1993, a consensus was reached to assign committee chairmanships to all senators,
including those belonging to the minority.[39] This practice continued during the tenth Congress,
where even the minority leader was allowed to chair a committee. [40] History would also show
that the majority in either house of Congress has referred to the political party to which the
most number of lawmakers belonged, while the minority normally referred to a party with a
lesser number of members.
Let us go back to the definitions of the terms majority and minority. Majority may also refer
to the group, party, or faction with the larger number of votes, [41] not necessarily more than one
half. This is sometimes referred to as plurality. In contrast, minority is a group, party, or faction
with a smaller number of votes or adherents than the majority. [42] Between two unequal parts or
numbers comprising a whole or totality, the greater number would obviously be the majority,
while the lesser would be the minority. But where there are more than two unequal groupings,
it is not as easy to say which is the minority entitled to select the leader representing all the
minorities. In a government with a multi-party system such as in the Philippines (as pointed out by
petitioners themselves), there could be several minority parties, one of which has to be
identified by the Comelec as the dominant minority party for purposes of the general
elections. In the prevailing composition of the present Senate, members either belong to
different political parties or are independent. No constitutional or statutory provision prescribe
which of the many minority groups or the independents or a combination thereof has the right
to select the minority leader.
While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate President and a House
Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers in both
chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that [e]ach House shall choose such other
officers as it may deem necessary. [43] To our mind, the method of choosing who will be such
other officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the
aforequoted constitutional provision. Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the
Senate itself, not by this Court.
In this regard, the Constitution vests in each house of Congress the power to determine the
rules of its proceedings.[44] Pursuant thereto, the Senate formulated and adopted a set of rules
to govern its internal affairs.[45] Pertinent to the instant case are Rules I and II thereof, which
provide:

Rule I

ELECTIVE OFFICERS

SECTION 1. The Senate shall elect, in the manner hereinafter provided, a President, a
President Pro Tempore, a Secretary, and a Sergeant-at-Arms.

These officers shall take their oath of office before entering into the discharge of their
duties.

Rule II

ELECTION OF OFFICERS
SEC. 2. The officers of the Senate shall be elected by the majority vote of all its
Members. Should there be more than one candidate for the same office, a nominal
vote shall be taken; otherwise, the elections shall be by viva voce or by resolution.

Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and minority
leaders. Neither is there an open clause providing specifically for such offices and prescribing
the manner of creating them or of choosing the holders thereof. At any rate, such offices, by
tradition and long practice, are actually extant. But, in the absence of constitutional or statutory
guidelines or specific rules, this Court is devoid of any basis upon which to determine the
legality of the acts of the Senate relative thereto. On grounds of respect for the basic concept of
separation of powers, courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of the legislature; it is not
within the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work. [46] Paraphrasing the words of
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, this Court is of the opinion that where no specific, operable
norms and standards are shown to exist, then the legislature must be given a real and effective
opportunity to fashion and promulgate as well as to implement them, before the courts may
intervene.[47]
Needless to state, legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of
permanence and obligatoriness during their effectivity. In fact, they are subject to revocation,
modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them.[48] Being merely matters of
procedure, their observance are of no concern to the courts, for said rules may be waived or
disregarded by the legislative body[49] at will, upon the concurrence of a majority.
In view of the foregoing, Congress verily has the power and prerogative to provide for such
officers as it may deem. And it is certainly within its own jurisdiction and discretion to prescribe
the parameters for the exercise of this prerogative. This Court has no authority to interfere and
unilaterally intrude into that exclusive realm, without running afoul of constitutional
principles that it is bound to protect and uphold -- the very duty that justifies the Courts
being. Constitutional respect and a becoming regard for the sovereign acts of a coequal
branch prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the Senate. To repeat,
this Court will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in
upholding the rule and majesty of the law.
To accede, then, to the interpretation of petitioners would practically amount to judicial
legislation, a clear breach of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. If for this
argument alone, the petition would easily fail.
While no provision of the Constitution or the laws or the rules and even the practice of the
Senate was violated, and while the judiciary is without power to decide matters over which full
discretionary authority has been lodged in the legislative department, this Court may still
inquire whether an act of Congress or its officials has been made with grave abuse of discretion.
[50]
This is the plain implication of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, which expressly
confers upon the judiciary the power and the duty not only to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, but likewise 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.
Explaining the above-quoted clause, former Chief Justice Concepcion, who was a member
of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, said in part: [51]

xxx the powers of government are generally considered divided into three
branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is supreme within
its own sphere and independent of the others. Because of that supremacy[, the]
power to determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in courts of justice.

Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and
offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the judiciary
is the final arbiter on the question whether or not a branch of government or any of
its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, or so
capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of
jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass
judgment on matters of this nature.

This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the courts
cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by claiming that
such matters constitute a political question.

With this paradigm, we now examine the two other issues challenging the actions, first, of
Respondent Guingona and, second, of Respondent Fernan.

Third Issue: Usurpation of Office

Usurpation generally refers to unauthorized arbitrary assumption and exercise of


power[52] by one without color of title or who is not entitled by law thereto. [53] A quo
warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy to determine the right or title to the contested
public office and to oust the holder from its enjoyment. [54] The action may be brought by the
solicitor general or a public prosecutor [55] or any person claiming to be entitled to the public
office or position usurped or unlawfully held or exercised by another. [56] The action shall be
brought against the person who allegedly usurped, intruded into or is unlawfully holding or
exercising such office.[57]
In order for a quo warranto proceeding to be successful, the person suing must show that
he or she has a clear right to the contested office or to use or exercise the functions of the office
allegedly usurped or unlawfully held by the respondent. [58] In this case, petitioners present no
sufficient proof of a clear and indubitable franchise to the office of the Senate minority leader.
As discussed earlier, the specific norms or standards that may be used in determining who
may lawfully occupy the disputed position has not been laid down by the Constitution, the
statutes, or the Senate itself in which the power has been vested. Absent any clear-cut
guideline, in no way can it be said that illegality or irregularity tainted Respondent Guingonas
assumption and exercise of the powers of the office of Senate minority leader. Furthermore, no
grave abuse of discretion has been shown to characterize any of his specific acts as minority
leader.

Fourth Issue: Fernans Recognition of Guingona

The all-embracing and plenary power and duty of the Court 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 is restricted only by the definition and
confines of the term grave abuse of discretion.

By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious or whimsical exercise of


judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal
to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of
passion and hostility.[59]

By the above standard, we hold that Respondent Fernan did not gravely abuse his
discretion as Senate President in recognizing Respondent Guingona as the minority leader. Let
us recall that the latter belongs to one of the minority parties in the Senate, the Lakas-NUCD-
UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the members of this party that he be the minority leader, he
was recognized as such by the Senate President. Such formal recognition by Respondent Fernan
came only after at least two Senate sessions and a caucus, wherein both sides were liberally
allowed to articulate their standpoints.
Under these circumstances, we believe that the Senate President cannot be accused of
capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment or of an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason
of passion or hostility. Where no provision of the Constitution, the laws or even the rules of
the Senate has been clearly shown to have been violated, disregarded or overlooked, grave
abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials for acts done within their
competence and authority.
WHEREFORE, for the above reasons, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa CJ., Davide, Jr., Melo, Puno, Martinez, Quisumbing, and Pardo JJ., concur.
Romero, J., Please see Separate Opinion.
Bellosillo, J., No part. Did not take part in deliberation.
Vitug, J., Please see Separate Opinion.
Kapunan. J., concur with Justice Mendoza, see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Mendoza, J., Please see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Purisima, J., concur and dissent with the opinion of Justice Mendoza.

[1]
21 (1), BP 129; 5 (1), Art. VIII, Constitution.
[2]
See Manalo v. Gloria, 236 SCRA 130, 138-139, September 1, 1994; citing People v. Cuaresma, 172 SCRA 415, 423-
24, April 18, 1989, and Defensor-Santiago v. Vasquez, 217 SCRA 633, 651-652, January 27, 1993.
[3]
Uy v. Contreras, 237 SCRA 167, September 26, 1994; Vergara Sr. v. Suelto, 156 SCRA 753, December 21, 1987.
[4]
Avelino v. Cuenco, 83 Phil 17 (1949); Guingona, Jr. v. Gonzales, 214 SCRA 789, October 20, 1992.
[5]
Arroyo vs. De Venecia, 277 SCRA 268, August 14, 1997.
[6]
The solicitor general, in his Comment dated August 21, 1998, attributed to the 23 members of the Senate the
following party affiliations:
Senate President Marcelo B. Fernan - Laban ng Masang Pilipino
(LAMP)
Sen. Raul S. Roco - Aksyon Demokratiko
Sen. Ramon B. Magsaysay, Jr. - Lakas-National Union of
Christian Democrats-
United Muslim Democrats
of the Philippines (Lakas-
NUCD-UMDP)
Sen. Franklin M. Drilon - LAMP
Sen. Juan M. Flavier - Lakas-NUCD-UMDP
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago - Peoples Reform Party
(PRP)
Sen. Sergio R. Osmea III - Liberal Party (LP)
Sen. Francisco S. Tatad - PRP
Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan - LP (Independent)
Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile - LP (Independent)
Sen. Anna Dominique M.L. Coseteng - LAMP
Sen. Loren Legarda-Leviste - Lakas-NUCD-UMDP
Sen. Renato L. Cayetano - Lakas-NUCD-UMDP
Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III - LAMP
Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. - LAMP
Sen. Robert Z. Barbers - Lakas-NUCD-UMDP
Sen. Rodolfo G. Biazon - LAMP
Sen. Blas F. Ople - LAMP
Sen. John Henry R. Osmea - LAMP
Sen. Robert S. Jaworski - LAMP
Sen. Ramon B. Revilla - Lakas-NUCD-UMDP
Sen. Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. - Lakas-NUCD-UMDP
Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta - LAMP
(Rollo, pp. 63-64. See also Comment of Respondent Guingona, Jr., rollo, p. 41.)
[7]
One position was vacant, because of the election of the incumbent, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as the Vice
President of the Philippines.
[8]
Senator Fernan abstained from voting. (Petition, p. 4; rollo, p. 6. Comment of the solicitor general, p. 2; rollo, p.
63.)
[9]
Senators Robert Z. Barbers, Renato L. Cayetano; Juan M. Flavier, Teofisto T. Guingona Jr., Loren Legarda-Leviste,
Ramon B. Magsaysay Jr., and Ramon B. Revilla.
[10]
The Petition was signed by both petitioners; the Comment of Senate President Fernan, by Senator Fernan
himself and Attys. Mary Jane L. Zantua and Lani Grace R. Songco; the Comment of Senator Guingona, by Atty.
Ricardo G. Nepomuceno Jr.; the Comment of the OSG, by Sol. Gen. Ricardo P. Galvez, Asst. Sol. Gen. Carlos N.
Ortega and Associate Solicitor Rico Sebastian D. Liwanag; while the Consolidated Reply, by Sen. Miriam Defensor
Santiago.
[11]
83 Phil 17 (1949).
[12]
Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary, Vol. II, 1988 ed., p. 282.
[13]
10 (2), Art. VI of the 1935 Constitution, reads:
(2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day
to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner and under such penalties as such
House may provide.
[14]
Supra, p. 72.
[15]
At p. 76.
[16]
At p. 78.
[17]
At p. 79.
[18]
103 Phil 1051, 1068 (1957), per Concepcion, J.
[19]
Ibid., p. 1067, citing 16 CJS 413.
[20]
11, Art. VI of the 1935 Constitution.
[21]
42 SCRA 448, December 11, 1971.
[22]
5 Phil 87 (1905).
[23]
91 Phil 882 (1952).
[24]
50 SCRA 30, 84, 87, March 31, 1973.
[25]
Art. VIII, 1, par. 2.
[26]
180 SCRA 496, December 21, 1989, per Cruz, J.
[27]
187 SCRA 377, July 12, 1990, per Grio-Aquino, J.
[28]
214 SCRA 789, October 20, 1992, per Campos Jr., J.
[29]
272 SCRA 18, 47, May 2, 1997, per Panganiban, J.
[30]
199 SCRA 692, July 30, 1991, per Gutierrez Jr., J.
[31]
Citing Lazatin v. HRET, 168 SCRA 391, 1988.
[32]
Citing Robles v. HRET, 181 SCRA 780, 1990.
[33]
277 SCRA 268, August 14, 1997, per Mendoza, J.
[34]
At p. 299.
[35]
Alleje v. Court of Appeals, 240 SCRA 495, January 25, 1995; Sarmiento v. Court of Appeals, 250 SCRA 108,
November 16, 1995; Times Broadcasting Network v. Court of Appeals, 274 SCRA 366, June 19, 1997; Chico v. Court
of Appeals, GR No. 122704, January 5, 1998.
[36]
Perez v. De la Cruz, 27 SCRA 587, 603 (1969), citing Websters International Dictionary, Unabridged; Concurring
Opinion of J. Perfecto in Avelino v. Cuenco, supra, p. 80. See also Petition, rollo, p. 12, citing Blacks Law Dictionary,
6th ed., 1990.
[37]
P. 15; rollo, p. 55.
[38]
Citing Record of the Senate, 8th Congress, Vol. I, No. 14, p. 9.
[39]
Citing Record of the Senate, 9th Congress, Vol. III, No. 47-A, pp. 88-94.
[40]
Then Minority Leader Ernesto C. Maceda chaired the Committees on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of
Codes and Laws; and on Foreign Relations. Senator Honasan chaired the Committees on Agrarian Reform; on
Peace, Unification and Reconciliation; and on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement. Senator Coseteng was
the chair of the Committees on Civil Service and Government Reorganization; and on Labor, Employment and
Human Resources. (See footnote 40 of Respondent Guingonas Comment, supra.)
[41]
Websters New World Dictionary, 2nd college ed., 1972.
[42]
Ibid.
[43]
16 (1), second par., Art. VI of the Constitution.
[44]
16 (3), Art. VI of the Constitution.
[45]
Rules of the Senate (see Appendix A, Guide to the Senate by Reginald M. Pastrana and Demaree J.B. Raval).
[46]
New York Public Interest Research Group, Inc. v. Steingut, 353 NE2d 558.
[47]
Concurring Opinion in Oposa v. Factoran Jr., 224 SCRA 792, 818, July 30, 1993.
[48]
Osmea Jr. v. Pendatun, 109 Phil 863, 870-871 (1960), citing 76 CJS 870. See also Arroyo v. De Venecia, supra.
[49]
Ibid. See also Enrique M. Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines Annotated, 1977, pp. 188-189.
[50]
Ledesma v. Court of Appeals, 278 SCRA 656, 681, September 5, 1997.
[51]
I RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 436.
[52]
91 CJS 551, citing State ex rel Danielson v. Village of Mound, 48 NW2d 855, 863.
[53]
67 CJS 317, citing Wheat v. Smith, 7 SW 161.
[54]
Lota v. Court of Appeals, 2 SCRA 715, 718, June 30, 1961.
[55]
2, Rule 66, Rules of Court.
[56]
5, ibid. See also Municipality of San Narciso, Quezon v. Mendez Sr., 239 SCRA 11, 18, December 6,1994;
Tarrosa v. Singson, 232 SCRA 553, 557, May 25, 1994.
In this regard, the Court notes that Petitioner Santiago has no standing to bring the instant petition for quo
warranto, for she does not claim to be rightfully entitled to the position of Senate minority leader. We have ruled in
the past:
Nothing is better settled than that a petitioner, in a quo warranto proceeding to try title to a public office, must be
able to show that he is entitled to said office. Absent such an element, the petition must be dismissed. This is a
principle that goes back to Acosta v. Flor [5 Phil 18, 22], a 1905 decision. There, the doctrine has been laid down
that: No individual can bring a civil action relating to usurpation of a public office without averring that he has a
right to the same; and at any stage of the proceedings, if it be shown that such individual has no right, the action
may be dismissed because there is no legal ground upon which it may proceed when the fundamental basis of such
action is destroyed. This has been the exacting rule, since then, followed with stricter firmness in Cuyegkeng v. Cruz
[108 Phil 1147], where this Court held that one who does not claim to be entitled to the office allegedly usurped or
unlawfully held or exercised by another, but who merely asserts a right to be appointed thereto, cannot question
the latters title to the same by quo warranto. In other words, one whose claim is predicated solely upon a more or
less remote possibility, that he may be the recipient of the appointment, has no cause of action against the office
holder. (Garcia v. Perez, 99 SCRA 628, 633-34, September 11, 1980, per De Castro, J.)
However, any question on standing has been rendered moot by the inclusion of Petitioner Tatad, who
claims to have the right to the contested office.
[57]
1, Rule 66, Rules of Court. In relation to this rule, Respondent Fernan claims that he is not a proper party to the
case, because he did not usurp nor is he unlawfully holding or exercising the office of minority leader. While the
action commenced by petitioners was denominated a quo warranto petition under Rule 66, the Court notes that
among the principal averments made was that Respondent Fernan committed grave abuse of discretion in
recognizing Respondent Guingona as the Senate minority leader. Such averment brings the petition within the
purview of a certiorari proceeding under Rule 65. A basic principle in remedial law states that it is not the title given
by the parties to the action which determines its nature, but the averments made in the pleadings. The case may,
thus, be treated as a joint certiorari and quo warranto action and, as such, Respondent Fernan is a proper, if not
necessary, party thereto.
[58]
Batario Jr. v. Parentela Jr., 9 SCRA 601, November 29, 1963; Caraon-Medina v. Quizon, 18 SCRA 562, October 29,
1966.
[59]
Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Court of Appeals, 257 SCRA 200, 209, June 4, 1996, per Kapunan, J.; citing
Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. Confesor, 231 SCRA 41, March 10, 1994, and other cases. See also Imutan v. Court of
Appeals, 102 SCRA 286, 292, January 27, 1981.

G.R. No. 134577, Nov. 18, 1998

o While the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected by a
number constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it does not provide that the
members who will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the minority, who could thereby
elect the minority leader. No law or regulation states that the defeated candidate shall
automatically become the minority leader.
o Constitution silent on the manner of selecting officers in Congress other than Senate
President and House Speaker
o Separation of powers: Courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of legislature
o Legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, are matters of procedure and are subject to
revocation, modification and waiver by the body adopting them

FACTS:

During the election of officers in the Senate, Sen. Marcelo Fernan and Sen. Tatad were both
nominated to the position of Senate President. By a vote of 20 to 2, Sen. Fernan was declared
the duly elected Senate President. Thereafter, Sen. Tatad manifested that, with the agreement
of Sen. Santiago, allegedly the only other member of the minority, he was assuming position of
minority leader. He explained that those who had voted for Sen. Fernan comprised the
majority, while only those who had voted for him, the losing nominee, belonged to the
minority. However, senators belonging to the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party number 7 and, thus,
also a minority had chosen Sen. Guingona as the minority leader. Thus, Petitioners filed this
case for quo warranto.

ISSUE:

o Whether or not there was an actual violation of the Constitution in the selection of
respondent as Senate minority leader
o Whether or not courts have the power to intervene in matters of legislative procedure

RULING:

The petition fails.

The meaning of majority vis-a-vis minority

The term majority has been judicially defined a number of times. When referring to a certain
number out of a total or aggregate, it simply means the number greater than half or more than
half of any total. The plain and unambiguous words of the subject constitutional clause simply
mean that the Senate President must obtain the votes of more than one half of all the senators.
Not by any construal does it thereby delineate who comprise the majority, much less the
minority, in the said body. And there is no showing that the framers of our Constitution had in
mind other than the usual meanings of these terms.

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

xxx

Majority may also refer to the group, party, or faction with the larger number of votes, not
necessarily more than one half. This is sometimes referred to as plurality. In contrast, minority is
a group, party, or faction with a smaller number of votes or adherents than the majority.
Between two unequal parts or numbers comprising a whole or totality, the greater number
would obviously be the majority, while the lesser would be the minority. But where there are
more than two unequal groupings, it is not as easy to say which is the minority entitled to select
the leader representing all the minorities. In a government with a multi-party system such as in
the Philippines (as pointed out by petitioners themselves), there could be several minority
parties, one of which has to be identified by the Comelec as the dominant minority party for
purposes of the general elections. In the prevailing composition of the present Senate,
members either belong to different political parties or are independent. No constitutional or
statutory provision prescribe which of the many minority groups or the independents or a
combination thereof has the right to select the minority leader.

Constitution silent on the manner of selecting officers in Congress other than Senate President
and House Speaker

While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of electing a Senate President and a House
Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers in both
chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that [e]ach House shall choose such other
officers as it may deem necessary. To our mind, the method of choosing who will be such other
officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted
constitutional provision. Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by
this Court.

In this regard, the Constitution vests in each house of Congress the power to determine the
rules of its proceedings. xxx
Separation of powers: Courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of legislature

Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and minority
leaders. Neither is there an open clause providing specifically for such offices and prescribing
the manner of creating them or of choosing the holders thereof. At any rate, such offices, by
tradition and long practice, are actually extant. But, in the absence of constitutional or statutory
guidelines or specific rules, this Court is devoid of any basis upon which to determine the
legality of the acts of the Senate relative thereto. On grounds of respect for the basic concept of
separation of powers, courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of the legislature; it is not
within the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work. Paraphrasing the words of
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, this Court is of the opinion that where no specific, operable
norms and standards are shown to exist, then the legislature must be given a real and effective
opportunity to fashion and promulgate as well as to implement them, before the courts may
intervene.

Legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, are matters of procedure and are subject to revocation,
modification and waiver by the body adopting them

Needless to state, legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of
permanence and obligatoriness during their effectivity. In fact, they are subject to revocation,
modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them. Being merely matters of
procedure, their observance are of no concern to the courts, for said rules may be waived or
disregarded by the legislative body at will, upon the concurrence of a majority.

In view of the foregoing, Congress verily has the power and prerogative to provide for such
officers as it may deem. And it is certainly within its own jurisdiction and discretion to prescribe
the parameters for the exercise of this prerogative. This Court has no authority to interfere and
unilaterally intrude into that exclusive realm, without running afoul of constitutional principles
that it is bound to protect and uphold -- the very duty that justifies the Courts being.
Constitutional respect and a becoming regard for the sovereign acts of a coequal branch
prevents this Court from prying into the internal workings of the Senate. To repeat, this Court
will be neither a tyrant nor a wimp; rather, it will remain steadfast and judicious in upholding
the rule and majesty of the law.

To accede, then, to the interpretation of petitioners would practically amount to judicial


legislation, a clear breach of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. If for this
argument alone, the petition would easily fail.
SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO and SEN. FRANCISCO S. TATAD vs.
SEN. TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR. and SEN. MARCELO B. FERNAN, G.R.
No. 134577, November 18, 1998 Case Digest
FACTS:

On July 27, 1998, the Senate of the Philippines convened for the first regular session of the 11th Congress. On the
agenda for the day was the election of officers. Senator Francisco S. Tatad and Senator Marcelo B. Fernan were
nominated for the position of Senate President. By a vote of 20 to 2, Senator Fernan was duly elected President of
the Senate.

Thereafter, Senator Tatad manifested, with the agreement of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, he was assuming
the position of minority leader. He explained that those who had voted for Senator Fernan comprised the majority
while those who voted for him, belonged to the minority. During the discussion, Senator Juan M. Flavier also
manifested that the senators belonging to the LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP -- numbering 7, and, thus, also a minority -- had
chosen Senator Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. as minority leader. No consensus was arrived at during the following days
of session.

On July 30, 1998, the majority leader, informed the body that he received a letter from the 7 members of the
LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP, stating that they had elected Senator Guingona as minority leader. The Senated President
then recognized Senator Guingona as minority leader of the Senate.

The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before the Supreme Court a petition for quo warranto alleging
that Senator Guingona has been usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of Senate minorit leader, a
position that, according to them, rightfully belongs to Senator Tatad.

ISSUES:
1. Does the Supreme Court have jurisdiction over the petition?
2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?
3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding and exercising the position of Senate minority
leader?
4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in recognizing Respondent Guingona as the
minority leader?
RULING:

First Issue: Court's Jurisdiction

In the instant controversy, the petitioners claim that Section 16 (1), Article VI of the Constitution has not been
observed in the selection of the Senate minority leader. They also invoke the Courts judicial power to determine
whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
of respondents.
The Court took jurisdiction over the petition stating that It is well within the power and jurisdiction of the Court to
inquire whether indeed the Senate or its officials committed a violation of the Constitution or gravely abused their
discretion in the exercise of their functions and prerogatives.

Second Issue: Violation of the Constitution

Petitioners claim that there was a violation of the Constitution when the Senate President recognized Senator
Guingona as minority leader.

The Court, however, did not find any violation since all that the Charter says is that "[e]ach House shall choose such
other officers as it may deem necessary." The court held that, the method of choosing who will be such other
officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional
provision. Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by this Court.

Notably, Rules I and II of the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and minority
leaders. Neither is there an open clause providing specifically for such offices and prescribing the manner of
creating them or of choosing the holders thereof. However, such offices, by tradition and long practice, are actually
extant. But, in the absence of constitutional or statutory guidelines or specific rules, this Court is devoid of any
basis upon which to determine the legality of the acts of the Senate relative thereto. On grounds of respect for the
basic concept of separation of powers, courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of the legislature.

Third Issue: Usurpation of Office

For a quo warranto prosper, the person suing must show that he or she has a clear right to the contested office or
to use or exercise the functions of the office allegedly usurped or unlawfully held by the respondent. In this case,
petitioners present no sufficient proof of a clear and indubitable franchise to the office of the Senate minority
leader. The specific norms or standards that may be used in determining who may lawfully occupy the disputed
position has not been laid down by the Constitution, the statutes, or the Senate itself in which the power has been
vested. Without any clear-cut guideline, in no way can it be said that illegality or irregularity tainted Respondent
Guingonas assumption and exercise of the powers of the office of Senate minority leader. Furthermore, no grave
abuse of discretion has been shown to characterize any of his specific acts as minority leader.

Fourth Issue: Fernan's Recognition of Guingona

Supreme Court held that Respondent Fernan did not gravely abuse his discretion as Senate President in recognizing
Respondent Guingona as the minority leader. The latter belongs to one of the minority parties in the Senate, the
Lakas-NUCD-UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the members of this party that he be the minority leader, he was
recognized as such by the Senate President. Such formal recognition by Respondent Fernan came only after at
least two Senate sessions and a caucus, wherein both sides were liberally allowed to articulate their standpoints.

Under these circumstances, the Court believed that the Senate President cannot be accused of capricious or
whimsical exercise of judgment or of an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. Where
no provision of the Constitution, the laws or even the rules of the Senate has been clearly shown to have been
violated, disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials for acts done
within their competence and authority.

The Petition is DISMISSED.


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 97710 September 26, 1991

DR. EMIGDIO A. BONDOC, petitioner,


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

Estelito P. Mendoza, Romulo C. Felixmera and Horacio S.J. Apostol for petitioner.

Nicanor S. Bautista for respondent Marciano M. Pineda.

Benedicto R. Palacol for respondent M.M. Palacol.

GRIO-AQUIO, J.:p

This case involves a question of power. May the House of Representatives, at the request of the
dominant political party therein, change that party's representation in the House Electoral Tribunal to
thwart the promulgation of a decision freely reached by the tribunal in an election contest pending
therein? May the Supreme Court review and annul that action of the House?

Even the Supreme Court of the United States over a century ago, in Marbury vs. Madison, 2 L. ed.
60 (1803), had hesitated to embark upon a legal investigation of the acts of the other two branches
of the Government, finding it "peculiarly irksome as well as delicate" because it could be considered
by some as "an attempt to intrude" into the affairs of the other two and to intermeddle with their
prerogatives.

In the past, the Supreme Court, as head of the third and weakest branch of our Government, was all
too willing to avoid a political confrontation with the other two branches by burying its head ostrich-
like in the sands of the "political question" doctrine, the accepted meaning of which is that 'where the
matter involved is left to a decision by the people acting in their sovereign capacity or to the sole
determination by either or both the legislative or executive branch of the government, it is beyond
judicial cognizance. Thus it was that in suits where the party proceeded against was either the
President or Congress, or any of its branches for that matter, the courts refused to act." (Aquino vs.
Ponce Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 196.)

In time, however, the duty of the courts to look into the constitutionality and validity of legislative or
executive action, especially when private rights are affected came to be recognized. As we pointed
out in the celebrated Aquino case, a showing that plenary power is granted either department of
government may not be an obstacle to judicial inquiry, for the improvident exercise or the abuse
thereof may give rise to a justiciable controversy. Since "a constitutional grant of authority is not
usually unrestricted, limitations being provided for as to what may be done and how it is to be
accomplished, necessarily then, it becomes the responsibility of the courts to ascertain whether the
two coordinate branches have adhered to the mandate of the fundamental law. The question thus
posed is judicial rather than political. The duty remains to assure that the supremacy of the
Constitution is upheld" (Aquino vs. Ponce Enrile, 59 SCRA 183, 196).

That duty is a part of the judicial power vested in the courts by an express grant under Section 1,
Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines which defines judicial power as
both authority and duty of the courts 'to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of
the Government."

The power and duty of the courts to nullify in appropriate cases, the actions of the executive and
legislative branches of the Government, does not mean that the courts are superior to the President
and the Legislature. It does mean though that the judiciary may not shirk "the irksome task" of
inquiring into the constitutionality and legality of legislative or executive action when a justiciable
controversy is brought before the courts by someone who has been aggrieved or prejudiced by such
action, as in this case. It is

a plain exercise of the judicial power, that power vested in courts to enable them to
administer justice according to law. ... It is simply a necessary concomitant of the
power to hear and dispose of a case or controversy properly before the court, to the
determination of which must be brought the test and measure of the law. (Vera vs.
Avelino, 77 Phil. 192, 203.)

In the local and congressional elections held on May 11, 1987, Marciano M. Pineda of the Laban ng
Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and Dr. Emigdio A. Bondoc of the Nacionalista Party (NP) were rival
candidates for the position of Representative for the Fourth District of the province of Pampanga.
Each received the following votes in the canvass made by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of
Pampanga:

Marciano M. Pineda.................... 31,700 votes

Emigdio A. Bondoc..................... 28,400 votes

Difference...................................... 3,300 votes

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

AMEURFINA M. HERRERA Chairman


Associate Justice

Supreme Court

ISAGANI A. CRUZ Member

Associate Justice

Supreme Court

FLORENTINO P. FELICIANO Member

Associate Justice

Supreme Court

HONORATO Y. AQUINO Member

Congressman

1st District

Benguet LDP

DAVID A. PONCE DE LEON Member


Congressman

1st District Palawan

LDP

SIMEON E. GARCIA, JR. Member

Congressman

2nd District Nueva Ecija

LDP

JUANITO G. CAMASURA, JR. Member

Congressman

1st District Davao del Sur

LDP

JOSE E. CALINGASAN Member


Congressman

4th District Batangas

LDP

ANTONIO H. CERILLES Member

Congressman

2nd District Zamboanga del Sur

(formerly GAD, now NP)

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

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

The reexamination and re-appreciation of the ballots resulted in increasing Bondoc's lead over
Pineda to 107 votes. Congressman Camasura voted with the Supreme Court Justices and
Congressman Cerilles to proclaim Bondoc the winner of the contest.

Moved by candor and honesty, Congressman Camasura revealed on March 4, 1991, to his 'Chief,"
Congressman Jose S. Cojuangco, Jr., LDP Secretary General, not only the final tally in the Bondoc
case but also that he voted for Bondoc "consistent with truth and justice and self- respect," and to
honor a "gentlemen's agreement" among the members of the HRET that they would "abide by the
result of the appreciation of the contested ballot 1 Congressman Camasura's revelation stirred a
hornets' nest in the LDP which went into a flurry of plotting appropriate moves to neutralize the pro-
Bondoc majority in the Tribunal.

On March 5, 1991, the HRET issued a Notice of Promulgation of Decision on March 14, 1991 at 2:30
P.M. in HRET Case No. 25. A copy of the notice was received by Bondoc's counsel on March 6,
1991.

On March 13, 1991, the eve of the promulgation of the Bondoc decision, Congressman Cojuangco
informed Congressman Camasura by letter 2 that on February 28, 1991 yet, the LDP Davao del Sur
Chapter at Digos, Davao del Sur, by Resolution No. 03-91 had already expelled him and Congressman
Benjamin Bautista from the LDP for having allegedly helped to organize the Partido Pilipino of Eduardo
"Danding" Cojuangco, and for allegedly having invited LDP members in Davao del Sur to join said political
party; and that as those acts are "not only inimical uncalled for, unethical and immoral, but also a
complete betrayal to (sic) the cause and objectives, and loyalty to LDP," in a meeting on March 12, 1991,
the LDP Executive Committee unanimously confirmed the expulsions. 3

At the same time, Congressman Cojuangco notified Speaker Ramon V. Mitra about the ouster of the
two congressmen from the LDP, and asked the House of Representatives, through the Speaker, to
take note of it 'especially in matters where party membership is a prerequisite. 4

At 9:45 in the morning of March 4, 1991, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mme. Justice Armeurfina M.
Herrera, received the following letter dated March 13, 1991, from the Office of the Secretary General
of the House of Representatives, informing the Tribunal that on the basis of the letter from the LDP,
the House of Representatives, during its plenary session on March 13, 1991, decided to withdraw
the nomination and rescind the election of Congressman Camasura, Jr. to the House of Electoral
Tribunal. The letter reads as follows:

13 March 1991

Honorable Justice Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera Chairman

House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal Constitution Hills Quezon City

Dear Honorable Justice Melencio-Herrera:

I have the honor to notify the House of Electoral Tribunal of the decision of the House
of Representatives during its plenary session on 13 March 1991, to withdraw the
nomination and to rescind the election of the Honorable Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. to
the House Electoral Tribunal on the basis of an LDP communication which is self-
explanatory and copies of which are hereto attached.

Thank you.

For the Secretary-General

(SGD.) Josefina D. Azarcon Officer-in-charge Operations Department (p. 10, Rollo.)

Justices Herrera, Cruz, and Feliciano promptly apprised the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of
the Supreme Court in writing, of this "distressing development' and asked to be relieved from their
assignments in the HRET because
By the above action (of the House) the promulgation of the decision of the Tribunal in
the electoral protest entitled "Bondoc v. Pineda" (HRET Case No. 25), previously
scheduled for 14 March 1991, is sought to be aborted (See the Consolidated Bank
and Trust Corporation v. Hon. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 73777-78
promulgated 12 September 1990). Even if there were no legal impediment to its
promulgation, the decision which was reached on a 5 to 4 vote may now be
confidently expected to be overturned on a motion for reconsideration by the party-
litigant which would have been defeated.

The decision in Bondoc v. Pineda was ready as early as October 1990 with a margin
of 23 votes in favor of protestant Bondoc. Because some members of the Tribunal
requested re-appreciation of some ballots, the finalization of the decision had to be
deferred by at least 4 months.

With the re-appreciation completed, the decision, now with a margin of 107 votes in
favor of protestant Bondoc, and concurred in by Justices Ameurfina A. Melencio-
Herrera, Isagani A. Cruz and Florentino P. Feliciano, and Congressmen Juanita G.
Camasura and Antonio H. Cerilles, is set for promulgation on 14 March 1991, with
Congressmen Honorato Y. Aquino, David A. Ponce de Leon Simeon E. Garcia, Jr.
and Jose E. Calingasan, dissenting.

Congressman Casamura's vote in the Bondoc v. Pineda case was, in our view, a
conscience vote, for which he earned the respect of the Tribunal but also the loss of
the confidence of the leader of his party.

Under the above circumstances an untenable situation has come about. It is


extremely difficult to continue with membership in the Tribunal and for the Tribunal to
preserve it. 8 integrity and credibility as a constitutional body charged with a judicial
task. It is clear to us that the unseating of an incumbent member of Congress is
being prevented at all costs. We believe that the Tribunal should not be hampered in
the performance of its constitutional function by factors which have nothing to do with
the merits of the cases before it.

In this connection, our own experience teaches that the provision for proportional
representation in the Tribunal found in Article VI, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution,
should be amended to provide instead for a return to the composition mandated in
the 1935 Constitution, that is: three (3) members chosen by the House or Senate
upon nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three (3) of the
party having the second largest number of votes: and a judicial component consisting
of three (3) justices from the Supreme Court. Thereby, no party or coalition of parties
can dominate the legislative component in the Tribunal.

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

We suggest that there should also be a provision in the Constitution that upon
designation to membership in the Electoral Tribunal, those so designated should
divest themselves of affiliation with their respective political parties, to insure their
independence and objectivity as they sit in Tribunal deliberations.

There are only three (3) remaining cases for decision by the Tribunal. Bondoc should
have been promulgated today, 14 March 1991. Cabrera v. Apacible (HRET Case No.
21) is scheduled for promulgation on 31 March 1991 and Lucman v.
Dimaporo (HRET Case No. 45), after the Holy Week recess.

But political factors are blocking the accomplishment of the constitutionally mandated
task of the Tribunal well ahead of the completion of the present congressional term.

Under these circumstances, we are compelled to ask to be relieved from the


chairmanship and membership in the Tribunal.

xxx xxx xxx

At the open session of the HRET in the afternoon of the same day, the Tribunal issued Resolution
No. 91-0018 cancelling the promulgation of the decision in HRET Case No. 25. The resolution reads:

In view of the formal notice the Tribunal has received at 9:45 tills morning from the
House of Representatives that at its plenary session held on March 13, 1991, it had
voted to withdraw the nomination and rescind the election of Congressman
Camasura to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal,' the Tribunal Resolved
to cancel the promulgation of its Decision in Bondoc vs. Pineda (HRET Case No. 25)
scheduled for this afternoon. This is because, without Congressman Camasura's
vote, the decision lacks the concurrence of five members as required by Section 24
of the Rules of the Tribunal and, therefore, cannot be validly promulgated.

The Tribunal noted that the three (3) Justices-members of the Supreme Court, being
of the opinion that this development undermines the independence of the Tribunal
and derails the orderly adjudication of electoral cases, they have asked the Chief
Justice, in a letter of even date, for their relief from membership in the Tribunal.

The Tribunal further Noted that Congressman Cerilles also manifested his intention
to resign as a member of the Tribunal.

The Tribunal further Noted that Congressmen Aquino, Ponce de Leon, Garcia, Jr.,
and Calingasan also manifested a similar intention. (p. 37, Rollo.)

On March 19, 1991, this Court, after deliberating on the request for relief of Justices Herrera, Cruz
and Feliciano, resolved to direct them to return to their duties in the Tribunal. The Court observed
that:

... in view of the sensitive constitutional functions of the Electoral Tribunals as the
'sole judge' of all contests relationship to the election, returns and qualifications of the
members of Congress, all members of these bodies are appropriately guided only by
purely legal considerations in the decision of the cases before them and that in the
contemplation of the Constitution the members-legislators, thereof, upon assumption
of their duties therein, sit in the Tribunal no longer as representatives of their
respective political parties but as impartial judges. The view was also submitted that,
to further bolster the independence of the Tribunals, the term of office of every
member thereof should be considered co-extensive with the corresponding
legislative term and may not be legally terminated except only by death, resignation,
permanent disability, or removal for valid cause, not including political disloyalty.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved: a) to DECLINE the request of justices Herrera,


Cruz, and Feliciano to be relieved from their membership in the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal and instead to DIRECT them to resume their
duties therein: b) to EXPRESS its concern over the intrusion of non-judicial factors in
the proceedings of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, which performs
functions purely judicial in character despite the inclusion of legislators in its
membership; and c) to NOTE the view that the term of all the members of the
Electoral Tribunals, including those from the legislature, is co-extensive with the
corresponding legislative term and cannot be terminated at will but only for valid legal
cause, and to REQUIRE the Justices-members of the Tribunal to submit the issue to
the said Tribunal in the first instance.

Paras J. filed this separate concurring opinion: 'I concur, but I wish to add that Rep.
Camasura should be allowed to cast his original vote in favor of protestant Bondoc,
otherwise a political and judicial travesty will take place.' Melencio-Herrera, Cruz and
Feliciano, JJ., took no part. Gancayco, J., is on leave.

On March 21, 1991, a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus was filed by Dr. Emigdio A.
Bondoc against Representatives Marciano M. Pineda, Magdaleno M. Palacol, Juanita G. Camasura,
Jr., or any other representative who may be appointed Vice Representative Juanita G. Camasura,
Jr., and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, praying this Court to:

1. Annul the decision of the House of Representatives of March 13, 1991, 'to
withdraw the nomination and to rescind the nomination of Representative Juanita G.
Camasura, Jr. to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal;"

2. Issue a wilt of prohibition restraining respondent Palacol or whomsoever may be


designated in place of respondent Camasura from assuming, occupying and
discharging functions as a member of the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal;

3. Issue a writ of mandamus ordering respondent Camasura to immediately


reassume and discharge his functions as a member of the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal; and

4. Grant such other relief as may be just and equitable.

Upon receipt of the petition, the Court, without giving it due course, required the respondents to
comment 5 on the petition within ten days from notice and to enjoin the HRET 'from reorganizing and
allowing participation in its proceedings of Honorable Magdaleno M. Palacol or whoever is designated to
replace Honorable Juanita G. Camasura in said House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, until the
issue of the withdrawal of the nomination and rescission of the election of said Congressman Camasura
as member of the HRET by the House of Representatives is resolved by this Court, or until otherwise
ordered by the Court." (p. 39, Rollo.)

Congressman Juanito G. Camasura, Jr. did not oppose the petition.


Congressman Marciano M. Pineda's plea for the dismissal of the petition is centered on Congress'
being the sole authority that nominates and elects from its members. Upon recommendation by the
political parties therein, those who are to sit in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (and
in the Commission on Appointments as well), hence, it allegedly has the sole power to remove any
of them whenever the ratio in the representation of the political parties in the House or Senate is
materially changed on account of death, incapacity, removal or expulsion from the political
party; 6 that a Tribunal member's term of office is not co-extensive with his legislative term, 7 for if a
member of the Tribunal who changes his party affiliation is not removed from the Tribunal, the
constitutional provision mandating representation based on political affiliation would be completely
nullified; 8 and that the expulsion of Congressman Camasura from the LDP, is "purely a party affair" of the
LDP 9 and the decision to rescind his membership in the House Electoral Tribunal is the sole prerogative
of the House-of-Representative Representatives, hence, it is a purely political question beyond the reach
of judicial review. 10

In his comment, respondent Congressman Magdaleno M. Palacol alleged that the petitioner has no
cause of action against him because he has not yet been nominated by the LDP for membership in
the HRET. 11 Moreover, the petition failed to implead the House of Representatives as an indispensable
party for it was the House, not the HRET that withdrew and rescinded Congressman Camasura's
membership in the HRET. 12

The Solicitor General, as counsel for the Tribunal, argued in a similar vein; that the inclusion of the
HETH as a party respondent is erroneous because the petition states no cause of action against the
Tribunal. The petitioner does not question any act or order of the HRET in violation of his rights.
What he assails is the act of the House of Representatives of withdrawing the nomination, and
rescinding the election, of Congressman Juanita nito Camasura as a member of the HRET. 13

Replying to the Solicitor General's Manifestation, the petitioner argued that while the Tribunal indeed
had nothing to do with the assailed decision of the House of Representatives, it acknowledged that
decision by cancelling the promulgation of its decision in HRET Case No. 25 to his (Bondoc's)
prejudice. 14 Hence, although the Tribunal may not be an indispensable party, it is a necessary party to
the suit, to assure that complete relief is accorded to the petitioner for "in the ultimate, the Tribunal would
have to acknowledge, give recognition, and implement the Supreme Court's decision as to whether the
relief of respondent Congressman Camasura from the Office of the Electoral Tribunal is valid." 15

In his reply to Congressman Palacol's Comment, the petitioner explained that Congressman Palacol
was impleaded as one of the respondents in this case because after the House of Representatives
had announced the termination of Congressman Camasura's membership in the HETH several
newspapers of general circulation reported that the House of Representatives would nominate and
elect Congressman Palacol to take Congressman Camasura's seat in the Tribunal. 16

Now, is the House of Representatives empowered by the Constitution to do that, i.e., to interfere with
the disposition of an election contest in the House Electoral Tribunal through the ruse of
"reorganizing" the representation in the tribunal of the majority party?

Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution supplies the answer to that question. It provides:

Section 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an
Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election,
returns and qualifications of their respective members, Each Electoral Tribunal shall
be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme
Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members
of the Senate or House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be
chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the
parties or organizations registered under the party list system represented therein.
The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.

Section 17 reechoes Section 11, Article VI of the 1935 Constitution, except the provision on the
representation of the main political parties in the tribunal which is now based
on proportional representation from all the political parties, instead of equal representation of three
members from each of the first and second largest political aggrupations in the Legislature. The
1935 constitutional provision reads as follows:

Sec. 11. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall have an Electoral
Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns,
and qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be
composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court
to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the
Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be
chosen by each House, three upon nomination of the party having the largest
number of votes and three of the party having the second largest member of votes
therein. The senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman. (1 935
Constitution of the Philippines.)

Under the above provision, the Justices held the deciding votes, aid it was impossible for any
political party to control the voting in the tribunal.

The 1973 Constitution did not provide for an electoral tribunal in the Batasang Pambansa.

The use of the word "sole" in both Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and Section 11 of the 1935
Constitution underscores the exclusive jurisdiction of the House Electoral Tribunal as judge of
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the House of
Representatives (Robles vs. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 86647, February
5, 1990). The tribunal was created to function as a nonpartisan court although two-thirds of its
members are politicians. It is a non-political body in a sea of politicians. What this Court had earlier
said about the Electoral Commission applies as well to the electoral tribunals of the Senate and
House of Representatives:

The purpose of the constitutional convention creating the Electoral Commission was
to provide an independent and impartial tribunal for the determination of contests to
legislative office, devoid of partisan consideration, and to transfer to that tribunal all
the powers previously exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested
elections of its members.

The power granted to the electoral Commission to judge contests relating to the
election and qualification of members of the National Assembly is intended to be as
complete and unimpaired as if it had remained in the legislature.

The Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House were created by the
Constitution as special tribunals to be the sole judge of all contests relating to
election returns and qualifications of members of the legislative houses, and, as
such, are independent bodies which must be permitted to select their own
employees, and to supervise and control them, without any legislative interference.
(Suanes vs. Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil. 818.)
To be able to exercise exclusive jurisdiction, the House Electoral Tribunal must be independent. Its
jurisdiction to hear and decide congressional election contests is not to be shared by it with the
Legislature nor with the Courts.

The Electoral Commission is a body separate from and independent of the


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

xxx xxx xxx

The Electoral Commission, a constitutional organ created for the specific purpose of
determining contests relating to election returns and qualifications of members of the
National Assembly may not be interfered with by the judiciary when and while acting
within the limits of its authority, but the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the
Electoral Commission for the purpose of determining the character, scope and extent
of the constitutional grant to the commission as sole judge of all contests relating to
the election and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly. (Angara vs.
Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139.)

The independence of the electoral tribunal was preserved undiminished in the 1987 Constitution as
the following exchanges on the subject between Commissioners Maambong and Azcuna in the 1986
Constitutional Commission, attest:

MR. MAAMBONG. Thank you.

My questions will be very basic so we can go as fast as we can. In


the case of the electoral tribunal, either of the House or of the
Senate, is it correct to say that these tribunals are constitutional
creations? I will distinguish these with the case of the Tanodbayan
and the Sandiganbayan which are created by mandate of the
Constitution but they are not constitutional creations. Is that a good
distinction?

MR. AZCUNA. That is an excellent statement.

MR. MAAMBONG. Could we, therefore, say that either the Senate
Electoral Tribunal or the House Electoral Tribunal is a constitutional
body.?

MR. AZCUNA. It is, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. If it is a constitutional body, is it then subject to


constitutional restrictions?

MR. AZCUNA It would be subject to constitutional restrictions


intended for that body.

MR. MAAMBONG. I see. But I want to find out if the ruling in the case
of Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil. 192, will still be applicable to the present
bodies we are creating since it ruled that the electoral tribunals are
not separate departments of the government. Would that ruling still
be valid?

MR. AZCUNA. Yes, they are not separate departments because the
separate departments are the legislative, the executive and the
judiciary; but they are constitutional bodies.

MR. MAAMBONG. Although they are not separate departments of


government, I would like to know again if the ruling in Angara vs.
Electoral Commission, 53 Phil. 139, would still be applicable to the
present bodies we are deciding on, when the Supreme court said that
these electoral tribunals are independent from Congress, devoid of
partisan influence or consideration and, therefore, Congress has no
power to regulate proceedings of these electoral tribunals.

MR. AZCUNA. I think that is correct. They are independent although


they are not a separate branch of government.

MR. MAAMBONG. There is a statement that in all parliaments of the


world, the invariable rule is to leave unto themselves the
determination of controversies with respect to the election and
qualifications of their members, and precisely they have this
Committee on Privileges which takes care of this particular
controversy.

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


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

MR. AZCUNA. To the extent that the electoral tribunals are


independent, but the Gentleman will notice that the wordings say:
'The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an
Electoral Tribunal. 'It is still the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the
House Electoral Tribunal. So, technically, it is the tribunal of the
House and tribunal of the Senate although they are independent.

MR. MAAMBONG. But both of them, as we have agreed on, are


independent from both bodies?

MR. AZCUNA. That is correct.

MR. MAAMBONG. This is the bottom line of my question. How can


we say that these bodies are independent when we still have six
politicians sitting in both tribunals?

MR. AZCUNA. Politicians can be independent, Madam President.

MR. MAAMBONG. Madam President, when we discussed a portion


of this in the Committee on the Executive, there was a comment by
Chief Justice Concepcion-Commissioner Concepcion-that there
seems to be some incongruity in these electoral tribunals, considering
that politicians still sit in the tribunals in spite of the fact that in the
ruling in the case of Sanidad vs. Vera, Senate Electoral tribunal Case
No. 1, they are supposed to act in accordance with law and justice
with complete detachment from an political considerations. That is
why I am asking now for the record how we could achieve such
detachment when there are six politicians sitting there.

MR. AZCUNA. The same reason that the Gentleman, while chosen
on behalf of the opposition, has, with sterling competence, shown
independence in the proceedings of this Commission. I think we can
also trust that the members of the tribunals will be independent. (pp.
111-112, Journal, Tuesday, July 22, 1986, Emphasis supplied.)

Resolution of the House of Representatives violates the independence of the HRET.

The independence of the House Electoral Tribunal so zealously guarded by the framers of our
Constitution, would, however, by a myth and its proceedings a farce if the House of Representatives,
or the majority party therein, may shuffle and manipulate the political (as distinguished from the
judicial) component of the electoral tribunal, to serve the interests of the party in power.

The resolution of the House of Representatives removing Congressman Camasura from the House
Electoral Tribunal for disloyalty to the LDP, because he cast his vote in favor of the Nacionalista
Party's candidate, Bondoc, is a clear impairment of the constitutional prerogative of the House
Electoral Tribunal to be the sole judge of the election contest between Pineda and Bondoc.

To sanction such interference by the House of Representatives in the work of the House Electoral
Tribunal would reduce the tribunal to a mere tool for the aggrandizement of the party in power (LDP)
which the three justices of the Supreme Court and the lone NP member would be powerless to stop.
A minority party candidate may as well abandon all hope at the threshold of the tribunal.

Disloyalty to party is not a valid cause for termination of membership in the HRET.

As judges, the members of the tribunal must be non-partisan. They must discharge their functions
with complete detachment, impartiality, and independence even independence from the political
party to which they belong. Hence, "disloyalty to party" and "breach of party discipline," are not valid
grounds for the expulsion of a member of the tribunal. In expelling Congressman Camasura from the
HRET for having cast a conscience vote" in favor of Bondoc, based strictly on the result of the
examination and appreciation of the ballots and the recount of the votes by the tribunal, the House of
Representatives committed a grave abuse of discretion, an injustice, and a violation of the
Constitution. Its resolution of expulsion against Congressman Camasura is, therefore, null and void.

Expulsion of Congressman Camasura violates his right to security of tenure.

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

There is nothing to the argument of respondent Pineda that members of the House Electoral
Tribunal are not entitled to security of tenure because, as a matter of fact, two Supreme Court
Justices in the Tribunal were changed before the end of the congressional term, namely: Chief
Justice Marcelo B. Fernan who, upon his elevation to the office of Chief Justice, was replaced by
Justice Florentino P. Feliciano, and the latter, who was temporarily replaced by Justice Emilio A.
Gancayco, when he (J. Feliciano) took a leave of absence to deliver a lecture in Yale University. It
should be stressed, however, that those changes in the judicial composition to the HRET had no
political implications at all unlike the present attempt to remove Congressman Camasura. No
coercion was applied on Chief Justice Fernan to resign from the tribunal, nor on Justice Feliciano to
go on a leave of absence. They acted on their own free will, for valid reasons, and with no covert
design to derail the disposition of a pending case in the HRET.

The case of Congressman Camasura is different. He was expelled from, and by, the LDP to punish
him for "party disloyalty" after he had revealed to the Secretary-General of the party how he voted in
the Bondoc case. The purpose of the expulsion of Congressman Camasura was to nullify his vote in
the Bondoc case so that the HRET's decision may not be promulgated, and so that the way could be
cleared for the LDP to nominate a replacement for Congressman Camasura in the Tribunal. That
stratagem of the LDP and the House of Representatives is clearly aimed to substitute Congressman
Camasura's vote and, in effect, to change the judgment of the HRET in the Bondoc case.

The judicial power of this Court has been invoked by Bondoc for the protection of his rights against
the strong arm of the majority party in the House of Representatives. The Court cannot be deaf to his
plea for relief, nor indifferent to his charge that the House of Representatives had acted with grave
abuse of discretion in removing Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal. He calls
upon the Court, as guardian of the Constitution, to exercise its judicial power and discharge its duty
to protect his rights as the party aggrieved by the action of the House. The Court must perform
its duty under the Constitution "even when the violator be the highest official of the land or the
Government itself" (Concurring opinion of J. Antonio Barredo in Aquino vs. Ponce-Enrile, 59 SCRA
183, 207).

Since the expulsion of Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal by the House of
Representatives was not for a lawful and valid cause, but to unjustly interfere with the tribunal's
disposition of the Bondoc case and to deprive Bondoc of the fruits of the Tribunal's decision in his
favor, the action of the House of Representatives is clearly violative of the constitutional mandate
(Sec. 17, Art. VI, 1987 Constitution) which created the House Electoral Tribunal to be the "sole
judge" of the election contest between Pineda and Bondoc. We, therefore, declare null and void the
resolution dated March 13, 1991 of the House of Representatives withdrawing the nomination, and
rescinding the election, of Congressman Camasura as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal.
The petitioner, Dr. Emigdio Bondoc, is entitled to the reliefs he prays for in this case.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus is granted. The decision of the
House of Representatives withdrawing the nomination and rescinding the election of Congressman
Juanita G. Camasura, Jr. as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal is hereby declared null and
void ab initio for being violative of the Constitution, and Congressman Juanita G. Camasura, Jr. is
ordered reinstated to his position as a member of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
The HRET Resolution No. 91-0018 dated March 14, 1991, cancelling the promulgation of the
decision in HRET Case No. 25 ("Dr. Emigdio Bondoc vs. Marciano A. Pineda") is also set aside.
Considering the unconscionable delay incurred in the promulgation of that decision to the prejudice
of the speedy resolution of electoral cases, the Court, in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction, and in
the interest of justice, hereby declares the said decision DULY PROMULGATED, effective upon
service of copies thereof on the parties, to be done immediately by the Tribunal. Costs against
respondent Marciano A. Pineda.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, Paras, Bidin, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.

Gutierrez, Jr., J., concurs as certified to by the Chief Justice.

Fernan, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Cruz and Feliciano, JJ., took no part.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

Can the Supreme Court review and annul an act of the House of Representatives, assuming that
said act were politically motivated, but well within the constitutional parameters of its authority?

The majority would postulate that the Court is empowered to do so on the strength of the second
paragraph, Section 1 of Art. VIII of the 1987 Constitution which reads:

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.

The majority would even go as far as annul the action of the House of Representatives in
withdrawing and rescinding its nomination to the House Electoral Tribunal of Congressman Juanito
J. Camasura, Jr. and order Camasura's reinstatement to said Tribunal. I regret I cannot join the
majority's posture which, I believe, is violative of the almost sacramental doctrine of separation of
powers enshrined in the Constitution. It is for this reason that I register my dissent.

A fundamental principle in our constitutional system is that the powers of government are distributed
among three (3) great departments: legislative, executive and judicial. Each of these departments is
separate from, yet coordinate and co-equal with the others each one deriving its authority directly
from the fundamental law. 1 As Mr. Justice Moreland summarized, "the three departments are not only
coordinate, they are co-equal and co-important. While interdependent, in the sense that each is unable to
perform its functions fully and adequately without the other, they are nevertheless in many senses
independent of each other. That is to say, one department may not control or even interfere with another
in the exercise of its particular functions. 2 (Emphasis supplied)
The completeness of their separation and mutual independence does not, however, extend to the
point that those in authority in one department can ignore and treat the acts of those in authority in
the others, done pursuant to the authority vested in them, as nugatory and not binding in every other
department. 3 In other words, one department must not encroach upon nor interfere with acts done within
the constitutional competence of the other where full discretionary authority has been delegated by the
Constitution to said department. That department alone, to the exclusion of the others, has both right and
duty to exercise it free from any encroachment or interference of whomsoever. 4

This principle or doctrine of separation of powers is enforced by the judiciary through the exercise of
its power of judicial review and prudent refusal to assume jurisdiction over cases involving political
questions. 5

In the case at bar, one notes that the dispute emerged when the House of Representatives withdrew
and rended the nomination of Congressman Juanito J. Camasura, Jr. to the House Electoral
Tribunal. This act was, it seems, precipitated by a letter of Congressman Jose S. Cojuangco, Jr.
informing the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the expulsion of Congressman Juanito J.
Camasura, Jr. from the LDP for having allegedly helped to organize the Partido Pilipino of Mr.
Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and for allegedly having invited other LDP members to join the said political
party. As a result of this letter, the nomination of Camasura to the House Electoral Tribunal was
withdrawn at a plenary session of the House of Representatives and the House Electoral Tribunal
was informed of such action of the House.

Petitioner assails the propriety of said action of the House of Representatives as it is, he alleges, but
a employ to thwart the promulgation of a decision in the electoral protest lodged by him (petitioner
Bondoc) against Marciano M. Pineda, a member of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), and
which decision would be favorable to him (Bontoc). Petitioner contends that not only does the action
of the House of Representatives violate the independence of the House Electoral Tribunal but that it
also violates the security of tenure of Congressman Camasura, Jr. in said electoral tribunal.

Congressman (respondent) Pineda, on the other hand, submits that the House of Representatives
has the sole authority to nominate and select from among its members who are to sit in the House
Electoral Tribunal, upon recommendation of the political parties therein, hence, it also has the sole
power to remove any of them from the electoral tribunal whenever the ratio in the representation of
the political parties in the House is materially changed on account of death, incapacity, removal or
expulsion of a House member from a political party. A Tribunal member's term of office in said
electoral tribunal is not, Congressman Pineda argues, co-extensive with his legislative term. Were
that the fact, the constitutional provision mandating representation in the electoral tribunal based on
political affiliation may be completely nullified in the event that a member of the Tribunal changes
party affiliation.

As provided for in the Constitution, there are nine (9) members of the House Electoral Tribunal.
Three (3) of the members of the tribunal are Justices of the Supreme Court as designated by the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The remaining six (6) members come from the members of the
House chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or
organizations registered under the partylist system. 6 The House of Representatives has the power to
nominate the members of the House Electoral Tribunal (representing the House) provided, of course, that
the proportional representation of parties is maintained.

Can the House of Representatives withdraw the nomination extended to a member of the electoral
tribunal (representing the House of Representatives) after the majority party in the House has
expelled him from its ranks? I believe it can. The power to appoint or designate a member of the
House of Representatives to be a member of the House Electoral Tribunal must, to my mind,
necessarily include the power to remove said member. A withdrawal of the nomination of a member
of the Tribunal where such withdrawal will maintain the proportional representation of the political
parties, mandated by the Constitution, must be recognized and respected, no matter how politically
motivated it might be. Constitutional law, it is said, is concerned with power not with policy, wisdom
or expediency. 7The question that must be asked in testing the validity of such legislative act is, does the
House of Representatives have the power to do what it has done and not whether the House of
Representatives should have done what it has done.

Corollary to the above is, can the Judiciary question a legislative act done within the constitutional
authority to the legislature? I believe not, in the same way that, for instance, the House cannot
question the act of the Chief Justice, should he deem it proper to change the Justices who sit as
members of the House Electoral Tribunal. Matters such as who will be designated or nominated as
members of the electoral tribunal, how they should vote surely are matters that not merely
concern political action as far as members of the House are concerned, but are the very essence of
political action, if political life has any connotation at all. To open courts of justice to such political
controversies would have courts sit in judgment over the manifold disputes engendered by political
manuevers and skirmishes. This would drag the courts into the political arena which in the long run
could undermine and destroy their independence.

The judicial department, in my opinion, has no power to review even the most arbitrary and unfair
action of the legislative department, taken in the exercise of power committed exclusively to it by the
Constitution. 8 It is not within the province of this Court to supervise legislation or oversee legislative acts
as to keep them within the bounds of propriety, fairness and common sense. Such acts, like the one at
bar, are exclusively of legislative concern. 9 To hold otherwise would be to invalidate the principle of
separation of powers. As Judge Learned Hand so aptly observed, "one cannot find among the powers
granted to courts any authority to pass upon the validity of the decisions of another 'Department' as to the
scope of that 'Department's' powers. Indeed, it is to be understood that the three (3), Departments' were
separate and co-equal, each being, as it were, a Leibnizian monad, looking up to the Heaven of the
Electorate, but without any mutual dependence. What could be better evidence of complete dependence
than to subject the validity of the decision of one 'Department' as to its authority on a given occasion to
review and reversal by another? Such a doctrine makes supreme the Department that has the last word.
" 10 (Emphasis supplied)

The Court should not lose sight of the fact that "sometimes the division of power tacitly accepted by
society runs counter to its own Ideology and to the constitutional commandments. This may be
because the society is still unsure of what the best division of power would be and so temporarily
accepts the existing one, or because the society has vacated its decisionmaking function and special
interest groups have stepped in to fill the vacuum. In either case, the Court can neither validate a
clearly unconstitutional distribution, and thereby subject its role as guardian to claims of fraud, nor
invalidate a functioning system with an order which would be ignored. To do either would be to
sacrifice the popular prestige which is the Court's primarily source of power." 11

Even assuming that the act of the House of Representatives in withdrawing and rescinding the
nomination of Congressman Camasura, Jr. as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal is politically
motivated, precipitated as it is by the knowledge of how Camasura, Jr. is to vote in one of the
electoral protests before said Tribunal, this, to me, is not sufficient reason to invalidate said act of the
House of Representatives, since it is done within the limits of its constitutional power. Besides, what
other act of the House (or Senate) is there that is not politically motivated? After all, that branch of
government is a political branch and necessarily or pragmatically all of its acts are and will always be
politically motivated.

The environmental facts of this case do not, in my considered opinion, bring it within the Court's
power to strike down the legislative act in question, it is the people of this nation not this court
who should ultimately judge the act when they cast their ballots. The Court cannot arrogate unto
itself the power to institute what it perceives to be political reforms, for in the last analysis on which
all else depend, the vitality of a political system would be greatly weakened by reliance on the
judiciary for any and all political reforms and, in time, a complacent body politic will result. It is the
responsibility of the people and none other, to remain ever vigilant about their government to the end
that they can continue to live under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy. To leave this task to
the Court, would in the long run be inimical to and destructive of democratic government itself

ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition.

SARMIENTO, J., disssenting:

Like my distinguished colleague Justice Teodoro Padilla, I too am unable to agree with the majority. I
believe that the questions as Justice Padilla raised it can the Court annul an act of Congress,
revamping its House Electoral Tribunal? is a political question and a question in which the Court
can not intervene.

It is true that under the Charter, the jurisdiction of this Court includes the power to strike down
excesses of any agency of Government, but the Charter did not alter or discard the principle
principle of separation of powers.

Evidently, Congressman Camasura's ouster from the Tribunal was a result of political maneuvers
within the lower house. This Court, however, is above politics and Justices should be the last
persons to get involved in the "dirty" world of politics. If they do, they risk their independence.

Separate Opinions

PADILLA, J., dissenting:

Can the Supreme Court review and annul an act of the House of Representatives, assuming that
said act were politically motivated, but well within the constitutional parameters of its authority?

The majority would postulate that the Court is empowered to do so on the strength of the second
paragraph, Section 1 of Art. VIII of the 1987 Constitution which reads:

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.

The majority would even go as far as annul the action of the House of Representatives in
withdrawing and rescinding its nomination to the House Electoral Tribunal of Congressman Juanito
J. Camasura, Jr. and order Camasura's reinstatement to said Tribunal. I regret I cannot join the
majority's posture which, I believe, is violative of the almost sacramental doctrine of separation of
powers enshrined in the Constitution. It is for this reason that I register my dissent.
A fundamental principle in our constitutional system is that the powers of government are distributed
among three (3) great departments: legislative, executive and judicial. Each of these departments is
separate from, yet coordinate and co-equal with the others each one deriving its authority directly
from the fundamental law. 1 As Mr. Justice Moreland summarized, "the three departments are not only
coordinate, they are co-equal and co-important. While interdependent, in the sense that each is unable to
perform its functions fully and adequately without the other, they are nevertheless in many senses
independent of each other. That is to say, one department may not control or even interfere with another
in the exercise of its particular functions. 2 (Emphasis supplied)

The completeness of their separation and mutual independence does not, however, extend to the
point that those in authority in one department can ignore and treat the acts of those in authority in
the others, done pursuant to the authority vested in them, as nugatory and not binding in every other
department. 3 In other words, one department must not encroach upon nor interfere with acts done within
the constitutional competence of the other where full discretionary authority has been delegated by the
Constitution to said department. That department alone, to the exclusion of the others, has both right and
duty to exercise it free from any encroachment or interference of whomsoever. 4

This principle or doctrine of separation of powers is enforced by the judiciary through the exercise of
its power of judicial review and prudent refusal to assume jurisdiction over cases involving political
questions. 5

In the case at bar, one notes that the dispute emerged when the House of Representatives withdrew
and rended the nomination of Congressman Juanito J. Camasura, Jr. to the House Electoral
Tribunal. This act was, it seems, precipitated by a letter of Congressman Jose S. Cojuangco, Jr.
informing the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the expulsion of Congressman Juanito J.
Camasura, Jr. from the LDP for having allegedly helped to organize the Partido Pilipino of Mr.
Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and for allegedly having invited other LDP members to join the said political
party. As a result of this letter, the nomination of Camasura to the House Electoral Tribunal was
withdrawn at a plenary session of the House of Representatives and the House Electoral Tribunal
was informed of such action of the House.

Petitioner assails the propriety of said action of the House of Representatives as it is, he alleges, but
a employ to thwart the promulgation of a decision in the electoral protest lodged by him (petitioner
Bondoc) against Marciano M. Pineda, a member of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), and
which decision would be favorable to him (Bontoc). Petitioner contends that not only does the action
of the House of Representatives violate the independence of the House Electoral Tribunal but that it
also violates the security of tenure of Congressman Camasura, Jr. in said electoral tribunal.

Congressman (respondent) Pineda, on the other hand, submits that the House of Representatives
has the sole authority to nominate and select from among its members who are to sit in the House
Electoral Tribunal, upon recommendation of the political parties therein, hence, it also has the sole
power to remove any of them from the electoral tribunal whenever the ratio in the representation of
the political parties in the House is materially changed on account of death, incapacity, removal or
expulsion of a House member from a political party. A Tribunal member's term of office in said
electoral tribunal is not, Congressman Pineda argues, co-extensive with his legislative term. Were
that the fact, the constitutional provision mandating representation in the electoral tribunal based on
political affiliation may be completely nullified in the event that a member of the Tribunal changes
party affiliation.

As provided for in the Constitution, there are nine (9) members of the House Electoral Tribunal.
Three (3) of the members of the tribunal are Justices of the Supreme Court as designated by the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The remaining six (6) members come from the members of the
House chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or
organizations registered under the partylist system. 6 The House of Representatives has the power to
nominate the members of the House Electoral Tribunal (representing the House) provided, of course, that
the proportional representation of parties is maintained.

Can the House of Representatives withdraw the nomination extended to a member of the electoral
tribunal (representing the House of Representatives) after the majority party in the House has
expelled him from its ranks? I believe it can. The power to appoint or designate a member of the
House of Representatives to be a member of the House Electoral Tribunal must, to my mind,
necessarily include the power to remove said member. A withdrawal of the nomination of a member
of the Tribunal where such withdrawal will maintain the proportional representation of the political
parties, mandated by the Constitution, must be recognized and respected, no matter how politically
motivated it might be. Constitutional law, it is said, is concerned with power not with policy, wisdom
or expediency. 7The question that must be asked in testing the validity of such legislative act is, does the
House of Representatives have the power to do what it has done and not whether the House of
Representatives should have done what it has done.

Corollary to the above is, can the Judiciary question a legislative act done within the constitutional
authority to the legislature? I believe not, in the same way that, for instance, the House cannot
question the act of the Chief Justice, should he deem it proper to change the Justices who sit as
members of the House Electoral Tribunal. Matters such as who will be designated or nominated as
members of the electoral tribunal, how they should vote surely are matters that not merely
concern political action as far as members of the House are concerned, but are the very essence of
political action, if political life has any connotation at all. To open courts of justice to such political
controversies would have courts sit in judgment over the manifold disputes engendered by political
manuevers and skirmishes. This would drag the courts into the political arena which in the long run
could undermine and destroy their independence.

The judicial department, in my opinion, has no power to review even the most arbitrary and unfair
action of the legislative department, taken in the exercise of power committed exclusively to it by the
Constitution. 8 It is not within the province of this Court to supervise legislation or oversee legislative acts
as to keep them within the bounds of propriety, fairness and common sense. Such acts, like the one at
bar, are exclusively of legislative concern. 9 To hold otherwise would be to invalidate the principle of
separation of powers. As Judge Learned Hand so aptly observed, "one cannot find among the powers
granted to courts any authority to pass upon the validity of the decisions of another 'Department' as to the
scope of that 'Department's' powers. Indeed, it is to be understood that the three (3), Departments' were
separate and co-equal, each being, as it were, a Leibnizian monad, looking up to the Heaven of the
Electorate, but without any mutual dependence. What could be better evidence of complete dependence
than to subject the validity of the decision of one 'Department' as to its authority on a given occasion to
review and reversal by another? Such a doctrine makes supreme the Department that has the last word.
" 10 (Emphasis supplied)

The Court should not lose sight of the fact that "sometimes the division of power tacitly accepted by
society runs counter to its own Ideology and to the constitutional commandments. This may be
because the society is still unsure of what the best division of power would be and so temporarily
accepts the existing one, or because the society has vacated its decisionmaking function and special
interest groups have stepped in to fill the vacuum. In either case, the Court can neither validate a
clearly unconstitutional distribution, and thereby subject its role as guardian to claims of fraud, nor
invalidate a functioning system with an order which would be ignored. To do either would be to
sacrifice the popular prestige which is the Court's primarily source of power." 11

Even assuming that the act of the House of Representatives in withdrawing and rescinding the
nomination of Congressman Camasura, Jr. as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal is politically
motivated, precipitated as it is by the knowledge of how Camasura, Jr. is to vote in one of the
electoral protests before said Tribunal, this, to me, is not sufficient reason to invalidate said act of the
House of Representatives, since it is done within the limits of its constitutional power. Besides, what
other act of the House (or Senate) is there that is not politically motivated? After all, that branch of
government is a political branch and necessarily or pragmatically all of its acts are and will always be
politically motivated.

The environmental facts of this case do not, in my considered opinion, bring it within the Court's
power to strike down the legislative act in question, it is the people of this nation not this court
who should ultimately judge the act when they cast their ballots. The Court cannot arrogate unto
itself the power to institute what it perceives to be political reforms, for in the last analysis on which
all else depend, the vitality of a political system would be greatly weakened by reliance on the
judiciary for any and all political reforms and, in time, a complacent body politic will result. It is the
responsibility of the people and none other, to remain ever vigilant about their government to the end
that they can continue to live under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy. To leave this task to
the Court, would in the long run be inimical to and destructive of democratic government itself

ACCORDINGLY, I vote to DISMISS the petition.

SARMIENTO, J., disssenting:

Like my distinguished colleague Justice Teodoro Padilla, I too am unable to agree with the majority. I
believe that the questions as Justice Padilla raised it can the Court annul an act of Congress,
revamping its House Electoral Tribunal? is a political question and a question in which the Court
can not intervene.

It is true that under the Charter, the jurisdiction of this Court includes the power to strike down
excesses of any agency of Government, but the Charter did not alter or discard the principle
principle of separation of powers.

Evidently, Congressman Camasura's ouster from the Tribunal was a result of political maneuvers
within the lower house. This Court, however, is above politics and Justices should be the last
persons to get involved in the "dirty" world of politics. If they do, they risk their independence.

Footnotes

1 Annex B, p. 29, Rollo.

2 Annex D, p. 34, Rollo.

3 Resolution No. 03-91 p. 35, Rollo.

4 Annex D-2 p. 36, Rollo.

5 The comments of the respondents were later treated as their answer ers to the
petition to which the Court gave due course.

6 p. 53, Rollo.
7 p. 93, Rollo.

8 p. 94, Rollo.

9 p. 111, Rollo.

10 p. 99, Rollo.

11 p. 127, Rollo.

12 p. 130, Rollo.

Bondoc vs. Pineda G.R. No. 97710, September26, 1991Sunday, January 25, 2009 Posted by CoffeeholicWritesLabels:
Case Digests, Political LawFacts: In the elections held on May 11, 1987,Marciano Pineda of the LDP and Emigdio
Bondocof the NP were candidates for the position of Representative for the Fourth District of Pampanga. Pineda
was proclaimed winner.Bondoc filed a protest in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), whichis
composed of 9 members, 3 of whom are Justices of the SC and the remaining 6 aremembers of the House of
Representatives (5members belong to the LDP and 1 member isfrom the NP). Thereafter, a decision had
beenreached in which Bondoc won over Pineda.Congressman Camasura of the LDP voted withthe SC Justices and
Congressman Cerilles of theNP to proclaim Bondoc the winner of the contest.On the eve of the promulgation of the
Bondocdecision, Congressman Camasura received aletter informing him that he was already expelledfrom the LDP
for allegedly helping to organizethe Partido Pilipino of Eduardo Cojuangco and forallegedly inviting LDP members in
Davao Del Sur
to join said political party. On the day of thepromulgation of the decision, the Chairman of HRET received a letter informing the
Tribunalthat on the basis of the letter from the LDP, theHouse of Representatives decided to withdrawthe nomination and
rescind the election of Congressman Camasura to the HRET.Issue: Whether or not the House of Representatives, at the request
of the dominantpolitical party therein, may change that partysrepresentation in the HRET to thwart thepromulgation of a
decision freely reached by thetribunal in an election contest pending thereinHeld: The purpose of the constitutionalconvention
creating the Electoral Commissionwas to provide an independent and impartialtribunal for the determination of contests
tolegislative office, devoid of partisanconsideration.As judges, the members of the tribunal must benon-partisan. They must
discharge theirfunctions with complete detachment, impartialityand independence even independence from thepolitical party
to which they belong. Hence disloyalty to party and breach of party disciplineare not valid grounds for the expulsion of
amember of the tribunal. In expellingCongressman Camasura from the HRET forhaving cast a conscience vote in favor of
Bondoc, based strictly on the result of theexamination and appreciation of the ballots andthe recount of the votes by the
tribunal, theHouse of Representatives committed a graveabuse of discretion, an injustice and a violationof the Constitution. Its
resolution of expulsionagainst Congressman Camasura is, therefore,null and void.Another reason for the nullity of the
expulsionresolution of the House of Representatives is thatit violates Congressman Camasuras right tosecurity of tenure.
Members of the HRET, as sole judge of congressional election contests, areentitled to security of tenure just as members of the
Judiciary enjoy security of tenure under theConstitution. Therefore, membership in the HRETmay not be terminated except for a
just cause,such as, the expiration of the memberscongressional term of office, his death,permanent disability, resignation from
thepolitical party he represents in the tribunal,formal affiliation with another political party orremoval for other valid cause. A
member may

not be expelled by the House of Representativesfor party disloyalty, short of proof that he hasformally affiliated with another

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC
G.R. No. L-32432 September 11, 1970

MANUEL B. IMBONG, petitioner,


vs.
JAIME FERRER, as Chairman of the Comelec, LINO M. PATAJO and CESAR MILAFLOR, as
members thereof, respondents.

G.R. No. L-32443 September 11, 1970

IN THE MATTER OF A PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT REGARDING THE


VALIDITY OF R.A. No. 6132, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
ACT OF 1970. RAUL M. GONZALES,petitioner,
vs.
COMELEC, respondent.

Manuel B. Imbong in his own behalf.

Raul M. Gonzales in his own behalf.

Office of the Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Acting Assistant Solicitor General Ricardo L.
Pronove, Jr., and Solicitors Raul I. Goco, Bernardo P. Pardo, Rosalio A. de Leon, Vicente A. Torres
and Guillermo C. Nakar for respondents.

Lorenzo Taada, Arturo Tolentino, Jovito Salonga and Emmanuel Pelaez as amici curiae.

MAKASIAR, J.:

These two separate but related petitions for declaratory relief were filed pursuant to Sec. 19 of R.A.
No. 6132 by petitioners Manuel B. Imbong and Raul M. Gonzales, both members of the Bar,
taxpayers and interested in running as candidates for delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
Both impugn the constitutionality of R.A. No. 6132, claiming during the oral argument that it
prejudices their rights as such candidates. After the Solicitor General had filed answers in behalf the
respondents, hearings were held at which the petitioners and the amici curiae, namely Senator
Lorenzo Taada, Senator Arturo Tolentino, Senator Jovito Salonga, and Senator Emmanuel Pelaez
argued orally.

It will be recalled that on March 16, 1967, Congress, acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant to
Art. XV of the Constitution, passed Resolution No. 2 which among others called for a Constitutional
Convention to propose constitutional amendments to be composed of two delegates from each
representative district who shall have the same qualifications as those of Congressmen, to be
elected on the second Tuesday of November, 1970 in accordance with the Revised Election Code.

After the adoption of said Res. No. 2 in 1967 but before the November elections of that year,
Congress, acting as a legislative body, enacted Republic Act No. 4914 implementing the aforesaid
Resolution No. 2 and practically restating in toto the provisions of said Resolution No. 2.
On June 17, 1969, Congress, also acting as a Constituent Assembly, passed Resolution No. 4
amending the aforesaid Resolution No. 2 of March 16, 1967 by providing that the convention "shall
be composed of 320 delegates apportioned among the existing representative districts according to
the number of their respective inhabitants: Provided, that a representative district shall be entitled to
at least two delegates, who shall have the same qualifications as those required of members of the
House of Representatives," 1 "and that any other details relating to the specific apportionment of
delegates, election of delegates to, and the holding of, the Constitutional Convention shall be embodied in
an implementing legislation: Provided, that it shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this
Resolution." 2

On August 24, 1970, Congress, acting as a legislative body, enacted Republic Act No. 6132,
implementing Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4, and expressly repealing R.A. No.
4914. 3

Petitioner Raul M. Gonzales assails the validity of the entire law as well as the particular provisions
embodied in Sections 2, 4, 5, and par. 1 of 8(a). Petitioner Manuel B. Imbong impugns the
constitutionality of only par. I of Sec. 8(a) of said R.A. No. 6132 practically on the same grounds
advanced by petitioner Gonzales.

The validity of Sec. 4 of R.A. No. 6132, which considers, all public officers and employees, whether
elective or appointive, including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as officers
and employees of corporations or enterprises of the government, as resigned from the date of the
filing of their certificates of candidacy, was recently sustained by this Court, on the grounds, inter
alia, that the same is merely an application of and in consonance with the prohibition in Sec. 2 of Art.
XII of the Constitution and that it does not constitute a denial of due process or of the equal
protection of the law. Likewise, the constitutionality of paragraph 2 of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132 was
upheld. 4

II

Without first considering the validity of its specific provisions, we sustain the constitutionality of the
enactment of R.A. No. 6132 by Congress acting as a legislative body in the exercise of its broad law-
making authority, and not as a Constituent Assembly, because

1. Congress, when acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant to Art. XV of the


Constitution, has full and plenary authority to propose Constitutional amendments or
to call a convention for the purpose, by a three-fourths vote of each House in joint
session assembled but voting separately. Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4 calling for a
constitutional convention were passed by the required three-fourths vote.

2. The grant to Congress as a Constituent Assembly of such plenary authority to call


a constitutional convention includes, by virtue of the doctrine of necessary
implication, all other powers essential to the effective exercise of the principal power
granted, such as the power to fix the qualifications, number, apportionment, and
compensation of the delegates as well as appropriation of funds to meet the
expenses for the election of delegates and for the operation of the Constitutional
Convention itself, as well as all other implementing details indispensable to a fruitful
convention. Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4 already embody the above-mentioned details,
except the appropriation of funds.
3. While the authority to call a constitutional convention is vested by the present
Constitution solely and exclusively in Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly, the
power to enact the implementing details, which are now contained in Resolutions
Nos. 2 and 4 as well as in R.A. No. 6132, does not exclusively pertain to Congress
acting as a Constituent Assembly. Such implementing details are matters within the
competence of Congress in the exercise of its comprehensive legislative power,
which power encompasses all matters not expressly or by necessary implication
withdrawn or removed by the Constitution from the ambit of legislative action. And as
lone as such statutory details do not clash with any specific provision of the
constitution, they are valid.

4. Consequently, when Congress, acting as a Constituent Assembly, omits to provide


for such implementing details after calling a constitutional convention, Congress,
acting as a legislative body, can enact the necessary implementing legislation to fill in
the gaps, which authority is expressly recognized in Sec. 8 of Res No. 2 as amended
by Res. No. 4.

5. The fact that a bill providing for such implementing details may be vetoed by the
President is no argument against conceding such power in Congress as a legislative
body nor present any difficulty; for it is not irremediable as Congress can override the
Presidential veto or Congress can reconvene as a Constituent Assembly and adopt a
resolution prescribing the required implementing details.

III

Petitioner Raul M. Gonzales asserts that Sec. 2 on the apportionment of delegates is not in
accordance with proportional representation and therefore violates the Constitution and the intent of
the law itself, without pinpointing any specific provision of the Constitution with which it collides.

Unlike in the apportionment of representative districts, the Constitution does not expressly or
impliedly require such apportionment of delegates to the convention on the basis of population in
each congressional district. Congress, sitting as a Constituent Assembly, may constitutionally
allocate one delegate for, each congressional district or for each province, for reasons of economy
and to avoid having an unwieldy convention. If the framers of the present Constitution wanted the
apportionment of delegates to the convention to be based on the number of inhabitants in each
representative district, they would have done so in so many words as they did in relation to the
apportionment of the representative districts. 5

The apportionment provided for in Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 6132 cannot possibly conflict with its own intent
expressed therein; for it merely obeyed and implemented the intent of Congress acting as a
Constituent Assembly expressed in Sec. 1 of Res. No. 4, which provides that the 320 delegates
should be apportioned among the existing representative districts according to the number of their
respective inhabitants, but fixing a minimum of at least two delegates for a representative district.
The presumption is that the factual predicate, the latest available official population census, for such
apportionment was presented to Congress, which, accordingly employed a formula for the
necessary computation to effect the desired proportional representation.

The records of the proceedings on Senate Bill No. 77 sponsored by Senator Pelaez which is now
R.A. No. 6132, submitted to this Tribunal by the amici curiae, show that it based its apportionment of
the delegates on the 1970 official preliminary population census taken by the Bureau of Census and
Statistics from May 6 to June 30, 1976; and that Congress adopted the formula to effect a
reasonable apportionment of delegates. The Director of the Bureau of Census and Statistics himself,
in a letter to Senator Pelaez dated July 30, 1970, stated that "on the basis of the preliminary count of
the population, we have computed the distribution of delegates to the Constitutional Convention
based on Senate Bill 77 (p. 2 lines 5 to 32 and p. 3 line 12) which is a fair and an equitable method
of distributing the delegates pursuant to the provisions of the joint Resolution of both Houses No. 2,
as amended. Upon your request at the session of the Senate-House Conference Committee
meeting last night, we are submitting herewith the results of the computation on the basis of the
above-stated method."

Even if such latest census were a preliminary census, the same could still be a valid basis for such
apportionment. 6The fact that the lone and small congressional district of Batanes, may be over-
represented, because it is allotted two delegates by R.A. No. 6132 despite the fact that it has a population
very much less than several other congressional districts, each of which is also allotted only two
delegates, and therefore under-represented, vis-a-vis Batanes alone, does not vitiate the apportionment
as not effecting proportional representation. Absolute proportional apportionment is not required and is
not possible when based on the number of inhabitants, for the population census cannot be accurate nor
complete, dependent as it is on the diligence of the census takers, aggravated by the constant movement
of population, as well as daily death and birth. It is enough that the basis employed is reasonable and the
resulting apportionment is substantially proportional. Resolution No. 4 fixed a minimum of two delegates
for a congressional district.

While there may be other formulas for a reasonable apportionment considering the evidence
submitted to Congress by the Bureau of Census and Statistics, we are not prepared to rule that the
computation formula adopted by, Congress for proportional representation as, directed in Res. No. 4
is unreasonable and that the apportionment provided in R.A. No. 6132 does not constitute a
substantially proportional representation.

In the Macias case, relied on by petitioner Gonzales, the apportionment law, which was nullified as
unconstitutional, granted more representatives to a province with less population than the provinces
with more inhabitants. Such is not the case here, where under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 6132 Batanes is
allotted only two delegates, which number is equal to the number of delegates accorded other
provinces with more population. The present petitions therefore do not present facts which fit the
mould of the doctrine in the case of Macias et al. vs. Comelec, supra.

The impossibility of absolute proportional representation is recognized by the Constitution itself when
it directs that the apportionment of congressional districts among the various provinces shall be "as
nearly as may be according to their respective inhabitants, but each province shall have at least one
member" (Sec. 5, Art. VI, Phil. Const., emphasis supplied). The employment of the phrase "as nearly
as may be according to their respective inhabitants" emphasizes the fact that the human mind can
only approximate a reasonable apportionment but cannot effect an absolutely proportional
representation with mathematical precision or exactitude.

IV

Sec. 5 of R.A. 6132 is attacked on the ground that it is an undue deprivation of liberty without due
process of law and denies the equal protection of the laws. Said Sec. 5 disqualifies any elected
delegate from running "for any public office in any election" or from assuming "any appointive office
or position in any branch of the government government until after the final adjournment of the
Constitutional Convention."

That the citizen does not have any inherent nor natural right to a public office, is axiomatic under our
constitutional system. The State through its Constitution or legislative body, can create an office and
define the qualifications and disqualifications therefor as well as impose inhibitions on a public
officer. Consequently, only those with qualifications and who do not fall under any constitutional or
statutory inhibition can be validly elected or appointed to a public office. The obvious reason for the
questioned inhibition, is to immunize the delegates from the perverting influence of self-interest,
party interest or vested interest and to insure that he dedicates all his time to performing solely in the
interest of the nation his high and well nigh sacred function of formulating the supreme law of the
land, which may endure for generations and which cannot easily be changed like an ordinary statute.
With the disqualification embodied in Sec. 5, the delegate will not utilize his position as a bargaining
leverage for concessions in the form of an elective or appointive office as long as the convention has
not finally adjourned. The appointing authority may, by his appointing power, entice votes for his own
proposals. Not love for self, but love for country must always motivate his actuations as delegate;
otherwise the several provisions of the new Constitution may only satisfy individual or special
interests, subversive of the welfare of the general citizenry. It should be stressed that the
disqualification is not permanent but only temporary only to continue until the final adjournment of
the convention which may not extend beyond one year. The convention that framed the present
Constitution finished its task in approximately seven months from July 30, 1934 to February 8,
1935.

As admitted by petitioner Gonzales, this inhibition finds analogy in the constitutional provision
prohibiting a member of Congress, during the time for which he was elected, from being appointed to
any civil office which may have been created or the emolument whereof shall have been increased
while he was a member of the Congress. (Sec. 16, Art. VI, Phil. Constitution.)

As observed by the Solicitor General in his Answer, the overriding objective of the challenged
disqualification, temporary in nature, is to compel the elected delegates to serve in full their term as
such and to devote all their time to the convention, pursuant to their representation and commitment
to the people; otherwise, his seat in the convention will be vacant and his constituents will be
deprived of a voice in the convention. The inhibition is likewise "designed to prevent popular political
figures from controlling elections or positions. Also it is a brake on the appointing power, to curtail the
latter's desire to 'raid' the convention of "talents" or attempt to control the convention." (p. 10, Answer
in L-32443.)

Thus the challenged disqualification prescribed in Sec. 5 of R.A. No. 6132 is a valid limitation on the
right to public office pursuant to state police power as it is reasonable and not arbitrary.

The discrimination under Sec. 5 against delegates to the Constitutional Convention is likewise
constitutional; for it is based on a substantial distinction which makes for real differences, is germane
to the purposes of the law, and applies to all members of the same class. 7 The function of a delegate
is more far-reaching and its effect more enduring than that of any ordinary legislator or any other public
officer. A delegate shapes the fundamental law of the land which delineates the essential nature of the
government, its basic organization and powers, defines the liberties of the people, and controls all other
laws. Unlike ordinary statutes, constitutional amendments cannot be changed in one or two years. No
other public officer possesses such a power, not even the members of Congress unless they themselves,
propose constitutional amendments when acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant to Art. XV of the
Constitution. The classification, therefore, is neither whimsical nor repugnant to the sense of justice of the
community.

As heretofore intimated, the inhibition is relevant to the object of the law, which is to insure that the
proposed amendments are meaningful to the masses of our people and not designed for the
enhancement of selfishness, greed, corruption, or injustice.

Lastly, the disqualification applies to all the delegates to the convention who will be elected on the
second Tuesday of November, 1970.
V

Paragraph 1, Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132 is impugned by both petitioners as violative of the
constitutional guarantees of due process, equal protection of the laws, freedom of expressions,
freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

This Court ruled last year that the guarantees of due process, equal protection of the laws, peaceful
assembly, free expression, and the right of association are neither absolute nor illimitable rights; they
are always subject to the pervasive and dormant police power of the State and may be lawfully
abridged to serve appropriate and important public interests. 8

In said Gonzalez vs. Comelec case the Court applied the clear and present danger test to determine
whether a statute which trenches upon the aforesaid Constitutional guarantees, is a legitimate
exercise of police power. 9

Paragraph 1 of Sec. 8(a), R.A. No. 6132 prohibits:

1. any candidate for delegate to the convention

(a) from representing, or

(b) allowing himself to be represented as being a candidate of any


political party or any other organization; and

2. any political party, political group, political committee, civic, religious, professional
or other organizations or organized group of whatever nature from

(a) intervening in the nomination of any such candidate or in the filing


of his certificate, or

(b) from giving aid or support directly or indirectly, material or


otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election.

The ban against all political parties or organized groups of whatever nature contained in par. 1 of
Sec. 8(a), is confined to party or organization support or assistance, whether material, moral,
emotional or otherwise. The very Sec. 8(a) in its provisos permits the candidate to utilize in his
campaign the help of the members of his family within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or
affinity, and a campaign staff composed of not more than one for every ten precincts in his district. It
allows the full exercise of his freedom of expression and his right to peaceful assembly, because he
cannot be denied any permit to hold a public meeting on the pretext that the provision of said section
may or will be violated. The right of a member of any political party or association to support him or
oppose his opponent is preserved as long as such member acts individually. The very party or
organization to which he may belong or which may be in sympathy with his cause or program of
reforms, is guaranteed the right to disseminate information about, or to arouse public interest in, or
to advocate for constitutional reforms, programs, policies or constitutional proposals for
amendments.

It is therefore patent that the restriction contained in Sec. 8(a) is so narrow that the basic
constitutional rights themselves remain substantially intact and inviolate. And it is therefore a valid
infringement of the aforesaid constitutional guarantees invoked by petitioners.
In the aforesaid case of Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, this Court unanimously sustained the validity
of the limitation on the period for nomination of candidates in Sec. 50-A of R.A. No. 4880, thus:

The prohibition of too early nomination of candidates presents a question that is not
too formidable in character. According to the act: "It shall be unlawful for any political
party, political committee, or political group to nominate candidates for any elective
public office voted for at large earlier than one hundred and fifty days immediately
preceding an election, and for any other elective public office earlier than ninety days
immediately preceding an election.

The right of association is affected. Political parties have less freedom as to the time
during which they may nominate candidates; the curtailment is not such, however, as
to render meaningless such a basic right. Their scope of legitimate activities, save
this one, is not unduly narrowed. Neither is there infringement of their freedom to
assemble. They can do so, but not for such a purpose. We sustain its validity. We do
so unanimously. 10

In said Gonzales vs. Comelec case, this Court likewise held that the period for the conduct of an
election campaign or partisan political activity may be limited without offending the aforementioned
constitutional guarantees as the same is designed also to prevent a "clear and present danger of a
substantive evil, the debasement of the electoral process." 11

Even if the partisan activity consists of (a) forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees or
other group of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or
propaganda for or against a party or candidate; (b) holding political conventions, caucuses,
conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies for the purpose of soliciting votes
and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party; and (c)
giving, soliciting, or receiving contributions for election campaign either directly or indirectly, (Sec.
50-B, pars. (a), (b), and (c), R.A. 4880), the abridgment was still affirmed as constitutional by six
members of this Court, which could not "ignore ... the legislative declaration that its enactment was
in response to a serious substantive evil affecting the electoral process, not merely in danger of
happening, but actually in existence, and likely to continue unless curbed or remedied. To assert
otherwise would be to close one's eyes to the reality of the situation." 12;

Likewise, because four members dissented, this Court in said case of Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra,
failed to muster the required eight votes to declare as unconstitutional the limitation on the period for
(a) making speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the
election of any party or candidate for public office; (b) publishing or distributing campaign literature or
materials; and (e) directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or
propaganda for or against any candidate or party specified in Sec. 50-B, pars. (c), (d) & (e) of R.A.
4880. 13

The debasement of the electoral process as a substantive evil exists today and is one of the major
compelling interests that moved Congress into prescribing the total ban contained in par. 1 of Sec.
8(a) of R.A. No. 6132, to justify such ban. In the said Gonzales vs. Comelec case, this Court gave
"due recognition to the legislative concern to cleanse, and if possible, render spotless, the electoral
process," 14 impressed as it was by the explanation made by the author of R.A. No. 4880, Sen. Lorenzo
Taada, who appeared as amicus curiae, "that such provisions were deemed by the legislative body to be
part and parcel of the necessary and appropriate response not merely to a clear and present danger but
to the actual existence of a grave and substantive evil of excessive partisanship, dishonesty and
corruption as well as violence that of late has marred election campaigns and partisan political activities in
this country. He did invite our attention likewise to the well-settled doctrine that in the choice of remedies
for an admitted malady requiring governmental action, on the legislature primarily rests the responsibility.
Nor should the cure prescribed by it, unless clearly repugnant to fundamental rights, be ignored or
disregarded." 15

But aside from the clear and imminent danger of the debasement of the electoral process, as
conceded by Senator Pelaez, the basic motivation, according to Senate Majority Floor Leader
Senator Arturo Tolentino, the sponsor of the Puyat-Tolentino amendment embodied in par. 1 of Sec.
8(a) of R.A. No. 6132, is to assure the candidates equal protection of the laws by according them
equality of chances. 16 The primary purpose of the prohibition then is also to avert the clear and present
danger of another substantive evil, the denial of the equal protection of the laws. The candidates must
depend on their individual merits and not on the support of political parties or organizations. Senator
Tolentino and Senator Salonga emphasized that under this provision, the poor candidate has an even
chance as against the rich candidate. We are not prepared to disagree with them, because such a
conclusion, predicated as it is on empirical logic, finds support in our recent political history and
experience. Both Senators stressed that the independent candidate who wins in the election against a
candidate of the major political parties, is a rare phenomenon in this country and the victory of an
independent candidate mainly rests on his ability to match the resources, financial and otherwise, of the
political parties or organizations supporting his opponent. This position is further strengthened by the
principle that the guarantee of social justice under Sec. V, Art. II of the Constitution, includes the
guarantee of equal opportunity, equality of political rights, and equality before the law enunciated by Mr.
Justice Tuazon in the case Guido vs. Rural Progress Administration. 17

While it may be true that a party's support of a candidate is not wrong per se it is equally true that
Congress in the exercise of its broad law-making authority can declare certain acts as mala prohibita
when justified by the exigencies of the times. One such act is the party or organization support
proscribed in Sec. 8(a),which ban is a valid limitation on the freedom of association as well as
expression, for the reasons aforestated.

Senator Tolentino emphasized that "equality of chances may be better attained by banning all
organization support."18

The questioned par. 1 of Sec. 8 (a) likewise can easily pass the balancing-of-interest test. 19

In the apt words of the Solicitor General:

It is to be noted that right now the nation is on the threshold of rewriting its
Constitution in a hopeful endeavor to find a solution to the grave economic, social
and political problems besetting the country. Instead of directly proposing the
amendments Congress has chosen to call a Constitutional Convention which shall
have the task of fashioning a document that shall embody the aspirations and ideals
of the people. Because what is to be amended is the fundamental law of the land, it
is indispensable that the Constitutional Convention be composed of delegates truly
representative of the people's will. Public welfare demands that the delegates should
speak for the entire nation, and their voices be not those of a particular segment of
the citizenry, or of a particular class or group of people, be they religious, political,
civic or professional in character. Senator Pelaez, Chairman of the Senate
Committee on Codes and Constitutional Amendments, eloquently stated that "the
function of a constitution is not to represent anyone in interest or set of interests, not
to favor one group at the expense or disadvantage of the candidates but to
encompass all the interests that exist within our society and to blend them into one
harmonious and balanced whole. For the constitutional system means, not the
predominance of interests, but the harmonious balancing thereof."
So that the purpose for calling the Constitutional Convention will not be deflated or
frustrated, it is necessary that the delegatee thereto be independent, beholden to no
one but to God, country and conscience.

xxx xxx xxx

The evil therefore, which the law seeks to prevent lies in the election of delegates
who, because they have been chosen with the aid and resources of organizations,
cannot be expected to be sufficiently representative of the people. Such delegates
could very well be the spokesmen of narrow political, religious or economic interest
and not of the great majority of the people. 20

We likewise concur with the Solicitor General that the equal protection of the laws is not unduly
subverted in par. I of Sec. 8(a); because it does not create any hostile discrimination against any
party or group nor does it confer undue favor or privilege on an individual as heretofore stated. The
discrimination applies to all organizations, whether political parties or social, civic, religious, or
professional associations. The ban is germane to the objectives of the law, which are to avert the
debasement of the electoral process, and to attain real equality of chances among individual
candidates and thereby make real the guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

The political parties and the other organized groups have built-in advantages because of their
machinery and other facilities, which, the individual candidate who is without any organization
support, does not have. The fact that the other civic of religious organizations cannot have a
campaign machinery as efficient as that of a political party, does not vary the situation; because it
still has that much built-in advantage as against the individual candidate without similar support.
Moreover, these civic religious and professional organization may band together to support common
candidates, who advocates the reforms that these organizations champion and believe are
imperative. This is admitted by petitioner Gonzales thru the letter of Senator Ganzon dated August
17, 1970 attached to his petition as Annex "D", wherein the Senator stated that his own "Timawa"
group had agreed with the Liberal Party in Iloilo to support petitioner Gonzales and two others as
their candidates for the convention, which organized support is nullified by the questioned ban,
Senator Ganzon stressed that "without the group moving and working in joint collective effort" they
cannot "exercise effective control and supervision over our
leaders the Women's League, the area commanders, etc."; but with their joining with the LP's they
"could have presented a solid front with very bright chances of capturing all seats."

The civic associations other than political parties cannot with reason insist that they should be
exempted from the ban; because then by such exemption they would be free to utilize the facilities of
the campaign machineries which they are denying to the political parties. Whenever all organization
engages in a political activity, as in this campaign for election of delegates to the Constitutional
Convention, to that extent it partakes of the nature of a political organization. This, despite the fact
that the Constitution and by laws of such civic, religious, or professional associations usually prohibit
the association from engaging in partisan political activity or supporting any candidate for an elective
office. Hence, they must likewise respect the ban.

The freedom of association also implies the liberty not to associate or join with others or join any
existing organization. A person may run independently on his own merits without need of catering to
a political party or any other association for support. And he, as much as the candidate whose
candidacy does not evoke sympathy from any political party or organized group, must be afforded
equal chances. As emphasized by Senators Tolentino and Salonga, this ban is to assure equal
chances to a candidate with talent and imbued with patriotism as well as nobility of purpose, so that
the country can utilize their services if elected.
Impressed as We are by the eloquent and masterly exposition of Senator Taada for the invalidation
of par. 1 of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132, demonstrating once again his deep concern for the
preservation of our civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights, We are not persuaded to entertain
the belief that the challenged ban transcends the limits of constitutional invasion of such cherished
immunities.

WHEREFORE, the prayers in both petitions are hereby denied and R.A. No. 6132 including Secs. 2,
4, 5, and 8(a), paragraph 1, thereof, cannot be declared unconstitutional. Without costs.

Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon and Castro, JJ., concur.

Makalintal, J., concurs in the result.

Teehankee, J., is on leave.

Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting:

The opinion of Justice Makasiar speaking for the Court, comprehensive in scope, persuasive in
character and lucid in expression, has much to recommend it. On the whole, I concur. I find difficulty,
however, in accepting the conclusion that there is no basis for the challenge hurled against the
validity of this provision: "No candidate for delegate to the Convention shall represent or allow
himself to be represented as being a candidate of any political party or any other organization, and
no political party, political group, political committee, civic, religious, professional, or other
organization or organized group of whatever nature shall intervene in the nomination of any such
candidate or in the filing of his certificate of candidacy or give aid or support directly or indirectly,
material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election: ..." 1 It is with regret then that I
dissent from that portion of the decision.

1. I find it difficult to reconcile the decision reached insofar as the aforesaid ban on political parties
and civic, professional and other organizations is concerned with the explicit provision that the
freedom to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be
abridged. 2 The right of an individual to join others of a like persuasion to pursue common objectives and
to engage in activities is embraced within if not actually encouraged by the regime of liberty ordained by
the Constitution. This particular freedom has an indigenous cast, its origin being traceable to the Malolos
Constitution.

In the United States, in the absence of an explicit provision of such character, it is the view of Justice
Douglas, in a 1963 article, that it is primarily the First Amendment of her Constitution, which
safeguards freedom of speech and of the press, of assembly and of petition "that provides
[associations] with the protection they need if they are to remain viable and continue to contribute to
our Free Society." 3 Such is indeed the case, for five years earlier the American Supreme Court had
already declared: "It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of
beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the "liberty" [embraced in] freedom of speech." 4

Not long after, in 1965, Justice Douglas as; spokesman for the American Supreme Court could
elaborate further on the scope of the right of association as including "the right to express one's
attitudes or philosophies by membership in a group or by affiliation with it or by other lawful means,
Association in that context is a form of expression of opinion; and while it is not extremely included in
the First Amendment its existence is necessary in making the express guarantees fully
meaningful." 5 Thus is further vitalized freedom of expression which, for Justice Laurel, is at once the
instrument" and the guarantee and the bright consummate flower of all liberty" 6 and, for Justice Cardozo,
"the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." 7

2. It is in the light of the above fundamental postulates that I find merit in the plea of petitioners to
annul the challenged provision. There is much to be said for the point emphatically stressed by
Senator Lorenzo M. Taada, as amicus curiae, to the effect that there is nothing unlawful in a
candidate for delegate to the Convention representing or allowing himself to be represented as such
of any political party or any other organization as well as of such political party, political group,
political committee, civic, religious, professional or other organization or organized group intervening
in his nomination, in the filing of his certificate of candidacy, or giving aid or support, directly or
indirectly, material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election as such delegate. I
find the conclusion inescapabe therefore, that what the constitutional provisions in question allow,
more specifically the right to form associations, is prohibited. The infirmity of the ban is thus apparent
on its face.

There is, to my mind, another avenue of approach that leads to the same conclusion. The final
proviso in the same section of the Act forbids any construction that would in any wise "impair or
abridge the freedom of civic, political, religious, professional, trade organizations or organized
groups of whatever nature to disseminate information about, or arouse public interest in, the
forthcoming Constitutional Convention, or to advocate constitutional reforms, programs, policies or
proposals for amendment of the present Constitution, and no prohibition contained herein shall limit
or curtail the right of their members, as long as they act individually, to support or oppose any
candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention." 8 It is regrettable that such an explicit
recognition of what cannot be forbidden consistently with the constitutional guarantees of freedom of
expression and freedom of association falls short of according full respect to what is thus commanded, by
the fundamental law, as they are precluded by the very same Act from giving aid or support precisely to
the very individuals who can carry out whatever constitutional reforms, programs, policies or proposals for
amendment they might advocate. As thus viewed, the conviction I entertain as to its lack of validity is
further strengthened and fortified.

3. It would be a different matter, of course, if there is a clear and present danger of a substantive evil
that would justify a limitation on such cherished freedoms. Reference has been made to Gonzales v.
Commission on Elections.9 As repression is permissible only when the danger of substantive evil is
present is explained by Justice Branders thus: ... the evil apprehended is to imminent that it may befall
before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood
and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech,
not enforced silence. For him the apprehended evil must be "relatively serious." For "[prohibition] of free
speech and assembly is a measure so stringent that it would be inappropriate as the means for averting a
relatively trivial harm to society." Justice Black would go further. He would require that the substantive evil
be "extremely serious." Only thus may there be a realization of the ideal envisioned by Cardozo: "There
shall be no compromise of the freedom to think one's thoughts and speak them, except at those extreme
borders where thought merges into action." It received its original formulation from Holmes. Thus: "The
question in every case is whether the words used in such circumstances are of such a nature as to create
a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to
prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree." " 10 The majority of the Court would find the existence of
a clear and present danger of debasing the electoral process. With due respect, I find myself unable to
share such a view.

The assumption would, appear to be that there is a clear and present danger of a grave substantive
evil of partisanship running riot unless political parties are thus restrained. There would be a sacrifice
then of the national interest involved. The Convention might not be able to live up to the high hopes
entertained for an improvement of the fundamental law. It would appear though that what prompted
such a ban is to assure that the present majority party would not continue to play its dominant role in
the political life of the nation. The thought is entertained that otherwise, we will not have a
Convention truly responsive to the needs of the hour and of the future insofar as they may be
anticipated.

To my mind, this is to lose sight of the fact that in the national elections of 1946, 1953, 1961 and
1965, the presidency was won by the opposition candidate. Moreover, in national elections for
senators alone, that of 1951, to mention only one instance, saw a complete sweep of the field by the
then minority party. It would be unjustifiable, so I am led to believe to assume that inevitably the
prevailing dominant political party would continue its ascendancy in the coming Convention.

Then, too, the result of the plebiscite in the two proposed amendments in 1967 indicate
unmistakably that the people can, if so minded, make their wishes prevail. There is thus no
assurance that the mere identification with party labels would automatically insure the success of a
candidacy. Even if it be assumed that to guard against the evils of party spirit carried to excess, such
a ban is called for, still no such danger is presented by allowing civil, professional or any other
organization or organized group of whatever nature to field its own candidates or give aid or support,
directly or indirectly material or otherwise, to anyone running for the Convention. From such a
source, no such misgivings or apprehension need arise. Nor it the fear that organizations could
hastily be assembled or put up to camouflage their true colors as satellites of the political parties be
valid. The electorate can see through such schemes and can emphatically register its reaction.
There is, moreover, the further safeguard that whatever work the Convention may propose is
ultimately subject to popular ratification.

For me then the danger of a substantive evil is neither clear nor present. What causes me grave
concern is that to guard against such undesirable eventuality, which may not even come to pass, a
flagrant disregard of what the Constitution ordains is minimized. A desirable end cannot be coerced
by unconstitutional means.

4. It is not easy to yield assent to the proposition that on a matter so essentially political as the
amendment or revision of an existing Constitution, political parties or political groups are to be
denied the opportunity of launching the candidacy of their choice. Well has it been said by Chief
Justice Hughes: "The greater the importance of safeguarding the community from incitements to the
overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve
inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain
the opportunity for free political discussion, to the end that government may be responsive to the will
of the people and that changes, if desired, may be obtained by peaceful means. Therein lies the
security of the Republic, the very foundation of constitutional government." 11 It is to carry this
essential process one step farther to recognize and to implement the right of every political party or group
to select the candidates who, by their election, could translate into actuality their hopes for the
fundamental law that the times demand. Moreover, is it not in keeping with the rights to intellectual
freedom so sedulously safeguarded by the Constitution to remove all obstacles to organized civic groups
making their influence felt in the task of constitution framing, the result of which has momentuous
implications for the nation? What is decisive of this aspect of the matter is not the character of the
association or organized group as such but the essentially political activity thus carried out.
This is not to deny the wide latitude as to the choice of means vested in Congress to attain a
desirable goal. Nor can it be successfully argued that the judiciary should display reluctance in
extending sympathy and understanding to such legislative determination. This is merely to stress
that however worthwhile the objective, the Constitution must still be paid deference. Moreover, it may
not be altogether unrealistic to consider the practical effects of the ban as thus worded as not lacking
in effectivity insofar as civic, religious, professional or other organizations or organized group is
concerned, but not necessarily so in the case of political party, political group or political committee.
There is the commendable admission by Senator Tolentino, appearing as amicus curiae, that the
political leaders of stature, in their individual capacity, could continue to assert their influence. It
could very well happen, then, in not a few cases, assuming the strength of political parties, that a
candidate thus favored is sure of emerging the victor. What is thus sought to be accomplished to
guard against the evil of party spirit prevailing could very well be doomed to futility. The high hopes
entertained by the articulate and vocal groups of young people, intellectuals and workers, may not
be realized. The result would be that this unorthodox and novel provision could assume the
character of a tease, an illusion like a munificent bequest in a pauper's will.

If such an appraisal is not unjustifiably tinged with pessimism, then, to my mind, a radical approach
to a problem possibly tainted with constitutional infirmity cannot hurdle the judicial test as to its
validity. It is one thing to encourage a fresh and untried solution to a problem of gravity when the
probability of its success may be assumed. It is an entirely different matter to cut down the exercise
of what otherwise are undeniable constitutional rights, when as in this case, the outcome might belie
expectations. Considering the well-settled principle that even though the governmental process be
legitimate and substantial, they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental
personal liberties, if the end can be narrowly achieved, I am far from being persuaded that to
preclude political parties or other groups or associations from lending aid and support to the
candidates of men in whom they can repose their trust is consistent with the constitutional rights of
freedom of association and freedom of expression. Here, the danger of overbreadth, so clear and
manifest as to be offensive to constitutional standards, magnified by the probability that the result
would be the failure and not success of the statutory scheme, cautions against the affixing of the
imprimatur of judicial approval to the challenged provision.

5. Necessarily then, from this mode of viewing the matter, it would follow that the holding of this
Court in Gonzales v. Comelec 12 does not compel the conclusion reached by the majority sustaining the
validity of this challenged provision. What survived the test of constitutional validity in that case, with the
Court unanimous in its opinion, is the prohibition for any political party, political committee or political
group to nominate candidates for any elective public office voted for at large earlier than 150 days
immediately preceding election and for any other public office earlier than 90 days immediately preceding
such election. 13 A corollary to the above limitation, the provision making it unlawful for any person,
whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any group or association of persons, whether or not a political
party or political committee, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during
the above periods successfully hurdled, the constitutional test, although the restrictions as to the making
of speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any
party or candidate for public office or the publishing or distributing of campaign literature or materials or
the solicitation or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party, directly
or indirectly, survived by the narrow margin of one vote, four members of this Court unable to discern any
constitutional infirmity as against the free speech guarantee, thus resulting in failing to muster the
necessary two-thirds majority for a declaration of invalidity. Insofar as election campaign or partisan
political activity would limit or restrict the formation, of organizations, associations, clubs, committees or
other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda
for or against a party or candidate or, the giving, soliciting, or receiving a contribution for election
campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly as well as the holding of political conventions, caucuses,
conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies, with a similar and in view, only five
members of this Court, a minority thereof voted, for their unconstitutionality. What emerges clearly, then,
is that definite acts short of preventing the political parties from the choice of their candidates and
thereafter working for them in effect were considered by this Court as not violative of the constitutional
freedoms of speech, of press, of assembly and of association.

The challenged provision in these two petitions, however, goes much farther. Political parties or any
other organization or organized group are precluded from selecting and supporting candidates for
delegates to the Constitutional Convention. To my mind, this is to enter a forbidden domain,
Congress trespassing on a field hitherto rightfully assumed to be within the sphere of liberty. Thus, I
am unable to conclude that our previous decision in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections which
already was indicative of the cautious and hesitant judicial approach to lending its approval to what
otherwise are invasions of vital constitutional safeguards to freedoms of belief, of expression, and of
association lends support to the decision reached by the majority insofar as this challenged provision
is concerned.

Hence my inability to subscribe in its entirety to the opinion of the Court. I am authorized to state that
the Chief Justice is in agreement with the views herein expressed.

Concepcion, C.J., Villamor and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

BARREDO, J., concurring and dissenting:

Without prejudice to a more extended opinion, I vote, in concurrence with the majority, to sustain the
validity of the provisions of Republic Act 6132 impugned by petitioners in these cases, except
Section 4 and the portion of Section 8(a) referring to political parties. As regards Section 4, I reiterate
my separate opinion in the cases of Subido and others. (G.R. Nos. L-32436 and L-32439) With
respect to Section 8(a), I hold that the considerations which take the restraint on the freedoms of
association, assembly and speech involved in the ban on political parties to nominate and support
their own candidates, reasonable and within the limits of the Constitution do not obtain when it
comes to civic or non-political organizations. As I see it, the said ban, insofar as civic or non-political
organizations are concerned, is a deceptive device to preserve the built-in advantages of political
parties while at the same time crippling completely the other kinds of associations. The only way to
accomplish the purported objective of the law of equalizing the forces that will campaign in behalf of
the candidates to the constitutional convention is to maintain said ban only as against political
parties, for after all, only the activities and manners of operation of these parties and/or some of their
members have made necessary the imposition thereof. Under the resulting set up embodied in the
provision in question, the individual candidates who have never had any political party connections
or very little of it would be at an obvious disadvantage unless they are allowed to seek and use the
aid of civic organizations. Neither the elaborate provisions of Republic Act 6132 regarding methods
of campaign nor its other provisions intended to minimize the participation of political parties in the
electorate processes of voting, counting of the votes and canvassing of the results can overcome the
advantages of candidates more or less connected with political parties, particularly the major and
established ones, as long as the right to form other associations and the right of these associations
to campaign for their candidates are denied considering particularly the shortness of the time that is
left between now and election day.

The issues involved in the coming elections are grave and fundamental ones that are bound to affect
the lives, rights and liberties of all the people of this country most effectively, pervasively and
permanently. The only insurance of the people against political parties which may be inclined
towards the Establishment and the status quo is to organize themselves to gain much needed
strength and effectivity. To deny them this right is to stifle the people's only opportunity for change.

It is axiomatic that issues, no matter how valid, if not related to particular candidates in an organized
way, similarly as in the use of platforms by political parties, cannot have any chance of support and
final adoption. Both men and issues are important, but unrelated to each other, each of them alone is
insignificant, and the only way to relate them is by organization. Precisely because the issues in this
election of candidates are of paramount importance second to none, it is imperative that all of the
freedoms enshrined in the constitution should have the ampliest recognition for those who are
minded to actively battle for them and any attempt to curtail them would endanger the very purposes
for which a new constitutional convention has been conceived.

Consistently with my separate opinion in the case of Gonzales and Cabigao vs. Comelec, G.R. No.
L-27833, April 18, 1969 and for the reasons therein stated, I maintain that the right of suffrage which
is the cornerstone of any democracy like ours is meaningless when the right to campaign in any
election therein is unreasonably and unnecessarily curtailed, restrained or hampered, as is being
done under the statute in dispute.

It is, of course, understood that this opinion is based on my considered view, contrary to that of the
majority, that as Section 8(a) stands and taking into account its genesis, the ban against political
parties is separable from that against other associations within the contemplation of Section 21 of
the Act which expressly refers to the separability of the application thereof to any "persons, groups or
circumstances."

I reserve my right to expand this explanation of my vote in the next few days.

# Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting:

The opinion of Justice Makasiar speaking for the Court, comprehensive in scope, persuasive in
character and lucid in expression, has much to recommend it. On the whole, I concur. I find difficulty,
however, in accepting the conclusion that there is no basis for the challenge hurled against the
validity of this provision: "No candidate for delegate to the Convention shall represent or allow
himself to be represented as being a candidate of any political party or any other organization, and
no political party, political group, political committee, civic, religious, professional, or other
organization or organized group of whatever nature shall intervene in the nomination of any such
candidate or in the filing of his certificate of candidacy or give aid or support directly or indirectly,
material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election: ..." 1 It is with regret then that I
dissent from that portion of the decision.

1. I find it difficult to reconcile the decision reached insofar as the aforesaid ban on political parties
and civic, professional and other organizations is concerned with the explicit provision that the
freedom to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be
abridged. 2 The right of an individual to join others of a like persuasion to pursue common objectives and
to engage in activities is embraced within if not actually encouraged by the regime of liberty ordained by
the Constitution. This particular freedom has an indigenous cast, its origin being traceable to the Malolos
Constitution.

In the United States, in the absence of an explicit provision of such character, it is the view of Justice
Douglas, in a 1963 article, that it is primarily the First Amendment of her Constitution, which
safeguards freedom of speech and of the press, of assembly and of petition "that provides
[associations] with the protection they need if they are to remain viable and continue to contribute to
our Free Society." 3 Such is indeed the case, for five years earlier the American Supreme Court had
already declared: "It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of
beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the "liberty" [embraced in] freedom of speech." 4

Not long after, in 1965, Justice Douglas as; spokesman for the American Supreme Court could
elaborate further on the scope of the right of association as including "the right to express one's
attitudes or philosophies by membership in a group or by affiliation with it or by other lawful means,
Association in that context is a form of expression of opinion; and while it is not extremely included in
the First Amendment its existence is necessary in making the express guarantees fully
meaningful." 5 Thus is further vitalized freedom of expression which, for Justice Laurel, is at once the
instrument" and the guarantee and the bright consummate flower of all liberty" 6 and, for Justice Cardozo,
"the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." 7

2. It is in the light of the above fundamental postulates that I find merit in the plea of petitioners to
annul the challenged provision. There is much to be said for the point emphatically stressed by
Senator Lorenzo M. Taada, as amicus curiae, to the effect that there is nothing unlawful in a
candidate for delegate to the Convention representing or allowing himself to be represented as such
of any political party or any other organization as well as of such political party, political group,
political committee, civic, religious, professional or other organization or organized group intervening
in his nomination, in the filing of his certificate of candidacy, or giving aid or support, directly or
indirectly, material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election as such delegate. I
find the conclusion inescapabe therefore, that what the constitutional provisions in question allow,
more specifically the right to form associations, is prohibited. The infirmity of the ban is thus apparent
on its face.

There is, to my mind, another avenue of approach that leads to the same conclusion. The final
proviso in the same section of the Act forbids any construction that would in any wise "impair or
abridge the freedom of civic, political, religious, professional, trade organizations or organized
groups of whatever nature to disseminate information about, or arouse public interest in, the
forthcoming Constitutional Convention, or to advocate constitutional reforms, programs, policies or
proposals for amendment of the present Constitution, and no prohibition contained herein shall limit
or curtail the right of their members, as long as they act individually, to support or oppose any
candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention." 8 It is regrettable that such an explicit
recognition of what cannot be forbidden consistently with the constitutional guarantees of freedom of
expression and freedom of association falls short of according full respect to what is thus commanded, by
the fundamental law, as they are precluded by the very same Act from giving aid or support precisely to
the very individuals who can carry out whatever constitutional reforms, programs, policies or proposals for
amendment they might advocate. As thus viewed, the conviction I entertain as to its lack of validity is
further strengthened and fortified.

3. It would be a different matter, of course, if there is a clear and present danger of a substantive evil
that would justify a limitation on such cherished freedoms. Reference has been made to Gonzales v.
Commission on Elections.9 As repression is permissible only when the danger of substantive evil is
present is explained by Justice Branders thus: ... the evil apprehended is to imminent that it may befall
before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood
and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech,
not enforced silence. For him the apprehended evil must be "relatively serious." For "[prohibition] of free
speech and assembly is a measure so stringent that it would be inappropriate as the means for averting a
relatively trivial harm to society." Justice Black would go further. He would require that the substantive evil
be "extremely serious." Only thus may there be a realization of the ideal envisioned by Cardozo: "There
shall be no compromise of the freedom to think one's thoughts and speak them, except at those extreme
borders where thought merges into action." It received its original formulation from Holmes. Thus: "The
question in every case is whether the words used in such circumstances are of such a nature as to create
a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to
prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree." " 10 The majority of the Court would find the existence of
a clear and present danger of debasing the electoral process. With due respect, I find myself unable to
share such a view.

The assumption would, appear to be that there is a clear and present danger of a grave substantive
evil of partisanship running riot unless political parties are thus restrained. There would be a sacrifice
then of the national interest involved. The Convention might not be able to live up to the high hopes
entertained for an improvement of the fundamental law. It would appear though that what prompted
such a ban is to assure that the present majority party would not continue to play its dominant role in
the political life of the nation. The thought is entertained that otherwise, we will not have a
Convention truly responsive to the needs of the hour and of the future insofar as they may be
anticipated.

To my mind, this is to lose sight of the fact that in the national elections of 1946, 1953, 1961 and
1965, the presidency was won by the opposition candidate. Moreover, in national elections for
senators alone, that of 1951, to mention only one instance, saw a complete sweep of the field by the
then minority party. It would be unjustifiable, so I am led to believe to assume that inevitably the
prevailing dominant political party would continue its ascendancy in the coming Convention.

Then, too, the result of the plebiscite in the two proposed amendments in 1967 indicate
unmistakably that the people can, if so minded, make their wishes prevail. There is thus no
assurance that the mere identification with party labels would automatically insure the success of a
candidacy. Even if it be assumed that to guard against the evils of party spirit carried to excess, such
a ban is called for, still no such danger is presented by allowing civil, professional or any other
organization or organized group of whatever nature to field its own candidates or give aid or support,
directly or indirectly material or otherwise, to anyone running for the Convention. From such a
source, no such misgivings or apprehension need arise. Nor it the fear that organizations could
hastily be assembled or put up to camouflage their true colors as satellites of the political parties be
valid. The electorate can see through such schemes and can emphatically register its reaction.
There is, moreover, the further safeguard that whatever work the Convention may propose is
ultimately subject to popular ratification.

For me then the danger of a substantive evil is neither clear nor present. What causes me grave
concern is that to guard against such undesirable eventuality, which may not even come to pass, a
flagrant disregard of what the Constitution ordains is minimized. A desirable end cannot be coerced
by unconstitutional means.

4. It is not easy to yield assent to the proposition that on a matter so essentially political as the
amendment or revision of an existing Constitution, political parties or political groups are to be
denied the opportunity of launching the candidacy of their choice. Well has it been said by Chief
Justice Hughes: "The greater the importance of safeguarding the community from incitements to the
overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve
inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain
the opportunity for free political discussion, to the end that government may be responsive to the will
of the people and that changes, if desired, may be obtained by peaceful means. Therein lies the
security of the Republic, the very foundation of constitutional government." 11 It is to carry this
essential process one step farther to recognize and to implement the right of every political party or group
to select the candidates who, by their election, could translate into actuality their hopes for the
fundamental law that the times demand. Moreover, is it not in keeping with the rights to intellectual
freedom so sedulously safeguarded by the Constitution to remove all obstacles to organized civic groups
making their influence felt in the task of constitution framing, the result of which has momentuous
implications for the nation? What is decisive of this aspect of the matter is not the character of the
association or organized group as such but the essentially political activity thus carried out.

This is not to deny the wide latitude as to the choice of means vested in Congress to attain a
desirable goal. Nor can it be successfully argued that the judiciary should display reluctance in
extending sympathy and understanding to such legislative determination. This is merely to stress
that however worthwhile the objective, the Constitution must still be paid deference. Moreover, it may
not be altogether unrealistic to consider the practical effects of the ban as thus worded as not lacking
in effectivity insofar as civic, religious, professional or other organizations or organized group is
concerned, but not necessarily so in the case of political party, political group or political committee.
There is the commendable admission by Senator Tolentino, appearing as amicus curiae, that the
political leaders of stature, in their individual capacity, could continue to assert their influence. It
could very well happen, then, in not a few cases, assuming the strength of political parties, that a
candidate thus favored is sure of emerging the victor. What is thus sought to be accomplished to
guard against the evil of party spirit prevailing could very well be doomed to futility. The high hopes
entertained by the articulate and vocal groups of young people, intellectuals and workers, may not
be realized. The result would be that this unorthodox and novel provision could assume the
character of a tease, an illusion like a munificent bequest in a pauper's will.

If such an appraisal is not unjustifiably tinged with pessimism, then, to my mind, a radical approach
to a problem possibly tainted with constitutional infirmity cannot hurdle the judicial test as to its
validity. It is one thing to encourage a fresh and untried solution to a problem of gravity when the
probability of its success may be assumed. It is an entirely different matter to cut down the exercise
of what otherwise are undeniable constitutional rights, when as in this case, the outcome might belie
expectations. Considering the well-settled principle that even though the governmental process be
legitimate and substantial, they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental
personal liberties, if the end can be narrowly achieved, I am far from being persuaded that to
preclude political parties or other groups or associations from lending aid and support to the
candidates of men in whom they can repose their trust is consistent with the constitutional rights of
freedom of association and freedom of expression. Here, the danger of overbreadth, so clear and
manifest as to be offensive to constitutional standards, magnified by the probability that the result
would be the failure and not success of the statutory scheme, cautions against the affixing of the
imprimatur of judicial approval to the challenged provision.

5. Necessarily then, from this mode of viewing the matter, it would follow that the holding of this
Court in Gonzales v. Comelec 12 does not compel the conclusion reached by the majority sustaining the
validity of this challenged provision. What survived the test of constitutional validity in that case, with the
Court unanimous in its opinion, is the prohibition for any political party, political committee or political
group to nominate candidates for any elective public office voted for at large earlier than 150 days
immediately preceding election and for any other public office earlier than 90 days immediately preceding
such election. 13 A corollary to the above limitation, the provision making it unlawful for any person,
whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any group or association of persons, whether or not a political
party or political committee, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during
the above periods successfully hurdled, the constitutional test, although the restrictions as to the making
of speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any
party or candidate for public office or the publishing or distributing of campaign literature or materials or
the solicitation or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party, directly
or indirectly, survived by the narrow margin of one vote, four members of this Court unable to discern any
constitutional infirmity as against the free speech guarantee, thus resulting in failing to muster the
necessary two-thirds majority for a declaration of invalidity. Insofar as election campaign or partisan
political activity would limit or restrict the formation, of organizations, associations, clubs, committees or
other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda
for or against a party or candidate or, the giving, soliciting, or receiving a contribution for election
campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly as well as the holding of political conventions, caucuses,
conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies, with a similar and in view, only five
members of this Court, a minority thereof voted, for their unconstitutionality. What emerges clearly, then,
is that definite acts short of preventing the political parties from the choice of their candidates and
thereafter working for them in effect were considered by this Court as not violative of the constitutional
freedoms of speech, of press, of assembly and of association.

The challenged provision in these two petitions, however, goes much farther. Political parties or any
other organization or organized group are precluded from selecting and supporting candidates for
delegates to the Constitutional Convention. To my mind, this is to enter a forbidden domain,
Congress trespassing on a field hitherto rightfully assumed to be within the sphere of liberty. Thus, I
am unable to conclude that our previous decision in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections which
already was indicative of the cautious and hesitant judicial approach to lending its approval to what
otherwise are invasions of vital constitutional safeguards to freedoms of belief, of expression, and of
association lends support to the decision reached by the majority insofar as this challenged provision
is concerned.

Hence my inability to subscribe in its entirety to the opinion of the Court. I am authorized to state that
the Chief Justice is in agreement with the views herein expressed.

Concepcion, C.J., Villamor and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

BARREDO, J., concurring and dissenting:

Without prejudice to a more extended opinion, I vote, in concurrence with the majority, to sustain the
validity of the provisions of Republic Act 6132 impugned by petitioners in these cases, except
Section 4 and the portion of Section 8(a) referring to political parties. As regards Section 4, I reiterate
my separate opinion in the cases of Subido and others. (G.R. Nos. L-32436 and L-32439) With
respect to Section 8(a), I hold that the considerations which take the restraint on the freedoms of
association, assembly and speech involved in the ban on political parties to nominate and support
their own candidates, reasonable and within the limits of the Constitution do not obtain when it
comes to civic or non-political organizations. As I see it, the said ban, insofar as civic or non-political
organizations are concerned, is a deceptive device to preserve the built-in advantages of political
parties while at the same time crippling completely the other kinds of associations. The only way to
accomplish the purported objective of the law of equalizing the forces that will campaign in behalf of
the candidates to the constitutional convention is to maintain said ban only as against political
parties, for after all, only the activities and manners of operation of these parties and/or some of their
members have made necessary the imposition thereof. Under the resulting set up embodied in the
provision in question, the individual candidates who have never had any political party connections
or very little of it would be at an obvious disadvantage unless they are allowed to seek and use the
aid of civic organizations. Neither the elaborate provisions of Republic Act 6132 regarding methods
of campaign nor its other provisions intended to minimize the participation of political parties in the
electorate processes of voting, counting of the votes and canvassing of the results can overcome the
advantages of candidates more or less connected with political parties, particularly the major and
established ones, as long as the right to form other associations and the right of these associations
to campaign for their candidates are denied considering particularly the shortness of the time that is
left between now and election day.

The issues involved in the coming elections are grave and fundamental ones that are bound to affect
the lives, rights and liberties of all the people of this country most effectively, pervasively and
permanently. The only insurance of the people against political parties which may be inclined
towards the Establishment and the status quo is to organize themselves to gain much needed
strength and effectivity. To deny them this right is to stifle the people's only opportunity for change.
It is axiomatic that issues, no matter how valid, if not related to particular candidates in an organized
way, similarly as in the use of platforms by political parties, cannot have any chance of support and
final adoption. Both men and issues are important, but unrelated to each other, each of them alone is
insignificant, and the only way to relate them is by organization. Precisely because the issues in this
election of candidates are of paramount importance second to none, it is imperative that all of the
freedoms enshrined in the constitution should have the ampliest recognition for those who are
minded to actively battle for them and any attempt to curtail them would endanger the very purposes
for which a new constitutional convention has been conceived.

Consistently with my separate opinion in the case of Gonzales and Cabigao vs. Comelec, G.R. No.
L-27833, April 18, 1969 and for the reasons therein stated, I maintain that the right of suffrage which
is the cornerstone of any democracy like ours is meaningless when the right to campaign in any
election therein is unreasonably and unnecessarily curtailed, restrained or hampered, as is being
done under the statute in dispute.

It is, of course, understood that this opinion is based on my considered view, contrary to that of the
majority, that as Section 8(a) stands and taking into account its genesis, the ban against political
parties is separable from that against other associations within the contemplation of Section 21 of
the Act which expressly refers to the separability of the application thereof to any "persons, groups or
circumstances."

I reserve my right to expand this explanation of my vote in the next few days.

# Footnotes

1 Sec. 1 of Res. No. 4.

2 Sec. 3, Res. No. 4.

3 Sec. 22, R.A. No. 6132.

4 Abelardo Subido vs. Comelec, in re validity of Sec. 4 and Sec. 8(a) par. 2, R.A.
6132, G.R. No. L-32436, and In the matter of the petition for declaratory relief re
validity and constitutionality of Sec. 4, R.A. 6132, Hon. Guardson Lood, Judge, CFI,
Pasig, Rizal et al., petitioners, G.R. No. L-32439, Sept. 9, 1970.

5 Sec. 5, Art. VI, Constitution.

6 Macias et al. vs. Comelec, G. R. No. L-18684, Sept. 14, 1961..

7 People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56; People vs. Solon, G.R. No. L-14864, Nov. 23, 1960.

8 See Gonzales vs. Comelec, L-27833, April 18, 1969; Vol. 27, SCRA, p. 835, 858 et
seq.; Justice Douglas in Elfbrandt v. Russel, 384 US 11, 18-19, 1966.

9 27 SCRA, pp. 860-861.

10 27 SCRA, p. 865.

11 27 SCRA, p. 869.
12 27 SCRA, pp. 864-865, 868.

13 27 SCRA, pp. 869-870.

14 27 SCRA, p. 873.

15 27 SCRA, p. 872.

16 See his sponsorship speech of July 20, 1970.

17 84 Phil. 847, 852.

18 See his sponsorship speech on July 20, 1970.

19 See Justice Castro's separate opinion in Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, 27 SCRA,
pp. 898-899 citing American Communications Association vs. Douds, 339 U.S. 383,
94 L. Ed., 925, 9437.

20 Pp. 4-5, 12, Answer in L-32432.

FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting:

1 Sec. 8(a), Republic Act No. 6132 (1970).

2 The Constitution provides: "The right to form associations or societies for purposes
not contrary to law shall not be abridged." Art. III, Sec. 1, par. 6.

3 Douglas, The Right of Association, 63 Col. Law Rev. 13

Imbong v. COMELEC

7/17/2014 1 Comment

Constitutional Law. Political Law. Constitutional Convention 1971.

IMBONG VS COMELEC

G.R. No. L-32432; G.R. No. L-32443; September 11, 1970

Ponente: Makasiar, J.

FACTS:

Manuel Imbong and Raul Gonzales, filing separate cases and both interested in running as candidates for delegates to the
Constitutional Convention, question the constitutionality of R.A. No. 6132, claiming that it prejudices their rights as such
candidates. On March 16, 1967, the Congress, acting as a Constituent Assembly, passed Res. No. 2 which called for a
Constitutional Convention which shall have two delegates from each representative district. On June 17, 1969, the Congress
passed Resolution No. 4 amending Resolution No. 2 by providing that the convention shall be composed of 320 delegates with
at least two delegates from each representative district. On August 24, 1970, the Congress, acting as a legislative body, enacted
R.A. 6132, implementing Res Nos. 2 and 4 and expressly repealing R.A 4914 which previously implemented Res. No. 2. Gonzales
assails the validity of Sections 2, 4, 5, and par. 1 of 8(a), and the entire law, while Imbong questions the constitutionality of par. 1
of Sec. 8(a) of said R.A. 6132.

ISSUES:

1. Does the Congress have the right to call for a constitutional convention and set the parameters of such convention?

2. Are the provisions of R.A. 6132 constitutional?

HELD:

1. The Congress has authority to call a constitutional convention as the constituent assembly. The Congress also has the
authority to enact implementing details, contained in Res. Nos. 2 and 4 and R.A. 6132, since such details are within the
competence of the Congress in exercise of its legislative power.

2. The provisions are constitutional. Sec. 4 of R.A. 6132 is merely in application with Sec. 2 of Art. XII of the Constitution and
does not constitute a denial of due process or equal protection of the law. Sec. 2 also merely obeyed the intent of the Congress
in Res. Nos. 2 and 4 regarding the apportionment of delegates. The challenged disqualification of an elected delegate from
running for any public office in Sec. 5 is a valid limitation as it is reasonable and not arbitrary. Lastly, par. 1 of Sec. 8(a) which is
both contested by the petitioners is still valid as the restriction contained in the section is so narrow that basic constitutional
rights remain substantially intact and inviolate thus the limitation is a valid infringement of the constitutional guarantees
invoked by the petitioners.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-32476 October 20, 1970

SIMEON G. DEL ROSARIO, petitioner,


vs.
UBALDO CARBONELL, JAIME N. FERRER, LINO PATAJO and CESAR
MILAFLOR, respondents.

Simeon G. del Rosario in his own behalf.

Office of the Solicitor General for respondents.

MAKASIAR, J.:.
This petition for declaratory relief was filed pursuant to Sec. 19 of R.A. No. 6132 by petitioner
Simeon G. del Rosario against the National Treasurer as well as the Chairman and members of the
Commission on Elections, praying that the entire R.A. No. 6132 be declared unconstitutional.

The Solicitor General filed his answer to the petition in behalf of respondents.

The petition does not contain sufficient averments as to the particular right of the petitioner that may
be affected by any provision of the law. Assuming as true his
allegation which respondents specifically deny that he is a temporary staff writer of the Weekly
Nation Magazine, a permanent international Research Officer of the Southeast Asia Treaty
Organization since October 5, 1957 and as such is on home leave and awaiting recall and re-
instatement to his post in Bangkok, Thailand by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the same does
not indicate that he is a prospective candidate or is a member of any political party or any civic,
religious, professional, or labor organization whose rights may be impaired by Sec. 6(A), par. 5 and
Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132, which he challenges as oppressive.

Because he assails the appropriation of twenty-nine million pesos in Sec. 21 of the law as simply a
waste of public funds, because there is no time limit for the duration of the Constitutional
Convention, which may dissipate its time in pointless discussion without reaching any consensus or
conclusion and thus degenerate into a "Debating Club, Unlimited," his interest as a taxpayer on this
score to contest the validity of the law may be sustained.

1. The charge of petitioner that Congress abdicated its power as a constituent body to propose
amendments in favor of the Constitutional Convention, is refuted by Art. XV of the Constitution which
authorizes Congress sitting as a Constituent Assembly either to propose amendments or to call a
convention for the purpose. The choice of either alternative is solely committed to Congress, which
cannot be inquired into nor interfered with by this Tribunal, the same being purely a political
question.1

2. Likewise, whether there is necessity for amending the Constitution is also addressed to the wise
judgment of Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly, against which the Court cannot pit its own
judgment.

3. And whether the Constitutional Convention will only propose amendments to the Constitution or
entirely overhaul the present Constitution and propose an entirely new Constitution based on an
ideology foreign to the democratic system, is of no moment; because the same will be submitted to
the people for ratification. Once ratified by the sovereign people, there can be no debate about the
validity of the new Constitution.

4. The fact that the present Constitution may be revised and replaced with a new one by the
Constitutional Convention called in Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4, respectively, of 1967 and 1969,
because under Sec. 6(A) par. 5, of the law, a candidate may include a concise statement of his
principal constitutional reforms, programs or policies, is no argument against the validity of the law
because "amendment" includes the "revision" or total overhaul of the entire Constitution. At any rate,
whether the Constitution is merely amended in part or revised or totally changed would become
immaterial the moment the same is ratified by the sovereign people.

5. This Court, in a decision dated September 11, 1970 in the cases of Imbong vs. Ferrer, et
al. and Gonzales vs. Ferrer, et al., G.R. Nos. L-32432 and L-32443, held that neither R.A. No. 6132
nor its Sections 2, 5 and 8(a), paragraph one, can he declared unconstitutional.
6. This Court also sustained the validity of Sec 4 and the second paragraph of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No.
6132 in a decision dated September 3, 1970. 2

7. Petitioner impugns the constitutionality of the title of R.A. No. 6132 as embracing more than one
subject and is therefore violative of paragraph 1, Sec. 21 of Art. VI of the Constitution, simply
because it failed to include the phrase "TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
OF THE PHILIPPINES."

The title of the law reads "An Act Implementing Resolution of Both Houses Numbered Two as
Amended by Resolution of Both Houses Numbered Four of the Congress of the Philippines Calling
for a Constitutional Convention, Providing for Proportional Representation Therein and Other Details
Relating to the Election of Delegates to and the Holding of the Constitutional Convention, Repealing
for the Purpose Republic Act Four Thousand Nine Hundred Fourteen, and for Other Purposes."

It is patent from the aforequoted title that the inclusion of the phrase "To propose amendments to the
Constitution of the Philippines" is superfluous and therefore unnecessary; because the very title
expressly states that the act implements Resolutions of Both Houses Nos. 2 and 4, respectively of
1967 and 1969, and both Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4 likewise categorically state in their titles that the
Constitutional Convention called for therein is "to propose amendments to the Constitution of the
Philippines," which phrase is reiterated in Sec. 1 of both Resolutions.

Moreover, the power to propose amendments to the Constitution is implicit in the call for the
convention itself, whose raison d'etre is to revise the present Constitution. Consequently, there is no
fraud or surprise that is perpetrated by the questioned title on the legislature and the public, which is
sought to be avoided by the constitutional requirement that only one subject shall be embraced in
the bill which shall be expressed in the title thereof.

Furthermore, it is not required that the title of the bill be an index to the body of the act or be
comprehensive in matters of detail. It is enough that it fairly indicates the general subject and
reasonably covers all the provisions of the act so as not to mislead Congress or the people. 3 All the
details provided for in R.A. No. 6132 are germane to and are comprehended by its title.

WHEREFORE, the prayer in the petition is hereby denied and R.A. No. 6132 is not unconstitutional.
Without costs.

Reyes, J.B.L., Actg. C.J., Dizon, Makalintal and Castro, JJ., concur.

Zaldivar, J., reserves his vote.

Fernando J., concurs and dissents in accordance with his separate opinion in Imbong v. Comelec, L-
32432 and Gonzalez v. Comelec, L-32443.