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POC: Administrator, PVAO BY COMMAND OF GENERAL VISAYA[2]

EN BANC [ GR No. 225973, Nov 08, 2016 ]


Dissatisfied with the foregoing issuance, the following were filed by petitioners:

SATURNINO C. OCAMPO v. REAR ADMIRAL ERNESTO C. ENRIQUEZ +DECISION 1. Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition[3] filed by Saturnino Ocampo and several others,[4] in
their capacities as human rights advocates or human rights violations victims as defined under
Section 3 (c) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10368 (Human Rights Victims Reparation and
Recognition Act of 2013).
PERALTA, J.: In law, as much as in life, there is need to find closure. Issues that have
lingered and festered for so long and which unnecessarily divide the people and slow the 2. Petition for Certiorari-in-Intervention[5] filed by Rene A.V. Saguisag, Sr. and his son,[6] as
path to the future have to be interred. To move on is not to forget the past. It is to focus on members of the Bar and human rights lawyers, and his grandchild.[7]
the present and the future, leaving behind what is better left for history to ultimately
decide. The Court finds guidance from the Constitution and the applicable laws, and in the 3. Petition for Prohibition[8] filed by Representative Edcel C. Lagman, in his personal capacity, as
absence of clear prohibition against the exercise of discretion entrusted to the political member of the House of Representatives and as Honorary Chairperson of Families of Victims of
branches of the Government, the Court must not overextend its readings of what may only Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), a duly-registered corporation and organization of victims and
be seen as providing tenuous connection to the issue before it. families of enforced disappearance, mostly during the martial law regime of the former President
Marcos, and several others,[9] in their official capacities as duly-elected Congressmen of the
Facts: During the campaign period for the 2016 Presidential Election, then candidate Rodrigo R. House of Representatives of the Philippines.
Duterte (Duterte) publicly announced that he would allow the burial of former President Ferdinand
E. Marcos (Marcos) at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (LNMB). He won the May 9, 2016 election, 4. Petition for Prohibition[10] filed by Loretta Ann Pargas-Rosales, former Chairperson of the
garnering 16,601,997 votes. At noon of June 30, 2016, he formally assumed his office at the Rizal Commission on Human Rights, and several others,[11] suing as victims of State-sanctioned
Hall in the Malacañan Palace. human rights violations during the martial law regime of Marcos.

On August 7, 2016, public respondent Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana issued 5. Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition[12] filed by Heherson T. Alvarez, former Senator of the
a Memorandum to the public respondent Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Republic of the Philippines, who fought to oust the dictatorship of Marcos, and several others,[13]
(AFP), General Ricardo R. Visaya, regarding the interment of Marcos at the LNMB, to wit: as concerned Filipino citizens and taxpayers.

6. Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition[14] filed by Zaira Patricia B. Baniaga and several
Subject: Interment of the late Former President Ferdinand Marcos at LNMB others,[15] as concerned Filipino citizens and taxpayers.

Reference: Verbal Order of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 11, 2016. 7. Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition[16] filed by Algamar A. Latiph, former Chairperson of the
Regional Human Rights Commission, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, by himself and
In compliance to (sic) the verbal order of the President to implement his election campaign on behalf of the Moro[17] who are victims of human rights during the martial law regime of Marcos.
promise to have the remains of the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos be interred at the
Libingan ng mga Bayani, kindly undertake all the necessary planning and preparations to 8. Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition[18] filed by Leila M. De Lima as member of the Senate of
facilitate the coordination of all agencies concerned specially the provisions for ceremonial and the Republic of the Philippines, public official and concerned citizen.
security requirements. Coordinate closely with the Marcos family regarding the date of interment
and the transport of the late former President's remains from Ilocos Norte to the LNMB.
Issues: Procedural: 1. Whether President Duterte's determination to have the remains of Marcos
The overall OPR for this activity will [be] the PVAO since the LNMB is under its supervision and interred at the LNMB poses a justiciable controversy.
administration. PVAO shall designate the focal person for this activity who shall be the overall
overseer of the event. 2. Whether petitioners have locus standi to file the instant petitions.

Submit your Implementing Plan to my office as soon as possible.[1] 3. Whether petitioners violated the doctrines of exhaustion of administrative remedies and
hierarchy of courts.

On August 9, 2016, respondent AFP Rear Admiral Ernesto C. Enriquez issued the following
directives to the Philippine Army (PA) Commanding General: Substantive: 1. Whether the respondents Secretary of National Defense and AFP Rear Admiral
committed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, when they
issued the assailed memorandum and directive in compliance with the verbal order of President
Pursuant to paragraph 2b, SOP Number 8, GHQ, AFP dated 14 July 1992, provide services, Duterte to implement his election campaign promise to have the remains of Marcos interred at the
honors and other courtesies for the late Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos as indicated: LNMB.
His remains lie in state at Ilocos Norte
2. Whether the Issuance and implementation of the assailed memorandum and directive violate
the Constitution, domestic and international laws, particularly:
Interment will take place at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Ft. Bonifacio, Taguig City. Date:
TBAL.
(a) Sections 2, 11, 13, 23, 26, 27 and 28 of Article II, Section 1 of Article III, Section 17 of Article
Provide all necessary military honors accorded for a President
VII, Section 1 of Article XI, Section 3(2) of Article XIV, and Section 26 of Article XVIII of the 1987
Constitution; The Court agrees with the OSG that President Duterte's decision to have the remains of Marcos
interred at the LNMB involves a political question that is not a justiciable controversy. In the
(b) R.A. No. 289; exercise of his powers under the Constitution and the Executive Order (E.O.) No. 292 (otherwise
known as the Administrative Code of 1987) to allow the interment of Marcos at the LNMB, which
(c) R.A. No. 10368; is a land of the public domain devoted for national military cemetery and military shrine purposes,
President Duterte decided a question of policy based on his wisdom that it shall promote national
(d) AFP Regulation G 161-375 dated September 11, 2000; healing and forgiveness. There being no taint of grave abuse in the exercise of such discretion,
as discussed below, President Duterte's decision on that political question is outside the ambit of
(e) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; judicial review.

(f) The "Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Locus standi: Defined as a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question,[27]
Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International locus standi requires that a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy
Humanitarian Law" of the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly; and as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which
the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.[28] Unless a person has
(g) The "Updated Set of Principles for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining an injury as a result of an act complained of,
to Combat Impunity" of the U.N. Economic and Social Council; such proper party has no standing.[29] Petitioners, who filed their respective petitions for
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, in their capacities as citizens, human rights violations
3. Whether historical facts, laws enacted to recover ill-gotten wealth from the Marcoses and their victims, legislators, members of the Bar and taxpayers, have no legal standing to file such
cronies, and the pronouncements of the Court on the Marcos regime have nullified his entitlement petitions because they failed to show that they have suffered or will suffer direct and personal
as a soldier and former President to interment at the LNMB. injury as a result of the interment of Marcos at the LNMB.

4. Whether the Marcos family is deemed to have waived the burial of the remains of former Taxpayers have been allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally
President Marcos at the LNMB after they entered into an agreement with the Government of the disbursed or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that public funds
Republic of the Philippines as to the conditions and procedures by which his remains shall be are wasted through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.[30] In this case, what is
brought back to and interred in the Philippines. essentially being assailed is the wisdom behind the decision of the President to proceed with the
interment of Marcos at the LNMB. As taxpayers, petitioners merely claim illegal disbursement of
public funds, without showing that Marcos is disqualified to be interred at the LNMB by either
Opinion: The petitions must be dismissed. Procedural Grounds
express or implied provision of the Constitution, the laws or jurisprudence.

justiciable controversy: It is well settled that no question involving the constitutionality or validity Petitioners Saguisag, et al.,[31] as members of the Bar, are required to allege any direct or
of a law or governmental act may be heard and decided by the Court unless the following potential injury which the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, as an institution, or its members may
requisites for judicial inquiry are present: (a) there must be an actual case or controversy calling suffer as a consequence of the act complained of.[32] Suffice it to state that the averments in their
for the exercise of judicial power; (b) the person challenging the act must have the standing to petition-in-intervention failed to disclose such injury, and that their interest in this case is too
question the validity of the subject act or issuance; (c) the question of constitutionality must be general and shared by other groups, such that their duty to uphold the rule of law, without more, is
raised at the earliest opportunity; and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of inadequate to clothe them with requisite legal standing.[33]
the case.[19] In this case, the absence of the first two requisites, which are the most essential,
renders the discussion of the last two superfluous.[20] As concerned citizens, petitioners are also required to substantiate that the issues raised are of
transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of paramount public
An "actual case or controversy" is one which involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of interest.[34] In cases involving such issues, the imminence and clarity of the threat to
opposite legal claims, susceptible of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical or fundamental constitutional rights outweigh the necessity for prudence.[35] In Marcos v.
abstract difference or dispute.[21] There must be a contrariety of legal rights that can be Manglapus,[36] the majority opinion observed that the subject controversy was of grave national
interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and jurisprudence.[22] Related to the importance, and that the Court's decision would have a profound effect on the political, economic,
requisite of an actual case or controversy is the requisite of "ripeness," which means that and other aspects of national life. The ponencia explained that the case was in a class by itself,
something had then been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come unique and could not create precedent because it involved a dictator forced out of office and into
into the picture, and the petitioner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country and who,
to itself as a result of the challenged action.[23] Moreover, the limitation on the power of judicial within the short space of three years (from 1986), sought to return to the Philippines to die.
review to actual cases and controversies carries the assurance that the courts will not intrude into
areas committed to the other branches of government.[24] Those areas pertain to questions At this point in time, the interment of Marcos at a cemetery originally established as a national
which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in military cemetery and declared a national shrine would have no profound effect on the political,
regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive economic, and other aspects of our national life considering that more than twenty-seven (27)
branch of the government.[25] As they are concerned with questions of policy and issues years since his death and thirty (30) years after his ouster have already passed. Significantly,
dependent upon the wisdom, not legality of a particular measure,[26] political questions used to petitioners failed to demonstrate a clear and imminent threat to their fundamental constitutional
be beyond the ambit of judicial review. However, the scope of the political question doctrine has rights.
been limited by Section 1 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution when it vested in the judiciary the
power to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or As human rights violations victims during the Martial Law regime, some of petitioners decry
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. re-traumatization, historical revisionism, and disregard of their state recognition as heroes.
Petitioners' argument is founded on the wrong premise that the LNMB is the National Pantheon
intended by law to perpetuate the memory of all Presidents, national heroes and patriots. The Petitioners argue that the burial of Marcos at the LNMB should not be allowed because it has the
history of the LNMB, as will be discussed further, reveals its nature and purpose as a national effect of not just rewriting history as to the Filipino people's act of revolting against an
military cemetery and national shrine, under the administration of the AFP. authoritarian ruler but also condoning the abuses committed during the Martial Law, thereby
violating the letter and spirit of the 1987 Constitution, which is a "post-dictatorship charter" and a
Apart from being concerned citizens and taxpayers, petitioners Senator De Lima, and "human rights constitution." For them, the ratification of the Constitution serves as a clear
Congressman Lagman, et al.[37] come before the Court as legislators suing to defend the condemnation of Marcos' alleged "heroism." To support their case, petitioners invoke Sections
Constitution and to protect appropriated public funds from being used unlawfully. In the absence 2,[47] 11,[48] 13,[49] 23,[50] 26,[51] 27[52] and 28[53] of Article II, Sec. 17 of Art. VII,[54] Sec. 3(2)
of a clear showing of any direct injury to their person or the institution to which they belong, their of Art. XIV,[55] Sec. 1 of Art. XI,[56] and Sec. 26 of Art. XVIII[57] of the Constitution.
standing as members of the Congress cannot be upheld.[38] They do not specifically claim that
the official actions complained of, i.e., the memorandum of the Secretary of National Defense and There is no merit to the contention.
the directive of the AFP Chief of Staff regarding the interment of Marcos at the LNMB, encroach
on their prerogatives as legislators.[39] As the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) logically reasoned out, while the Constitution is a
product of our collective history as a people, its entirety should not be interpreted as providing
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies: Petitioners violated the doctrines of exhaustion of guiding principles to just about anything remotely related to the Martial Law period such as the
administrative remedies and hierarchy of courts. Under the doctrine of exhaustion of proposed Marcos burial at the LNMB.
administrative remedies, before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the court, one
should have availed first of all the means of administrative processes available.[40] If resort to a Tañada v. Angara[58] already ruled that the provisions in Article II of the Constitution are not
remedy within the administrative machinery can still be made by giving the administrative officer self-executing. Thus:
concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction, then such
remedy should be exhausted first before the court's judicial power can be sought.[41] For reasons
By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a "declaration of principles and state policies." The
of comity and convenience, courts of justice shy away from a dispute until the system of
counterpart of this article in the 1935 Constitution is called the "basic political creed of the nation"
administrative redress has been completed and complied with, so as to give the administrative
by Dean Vicente Sinco. These principles in Article II are not intended to be self- executing
agency concerned every opportunity to correct its error and dispose of the case.[42] While there
principles ready for enforcement through the courts. They are used by the judiciary as aids or as
are exceptions[43] to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, petitioners failed to
guides in the exercise of its power of judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of
prove the presence of any of those exceptions.
laws. As held in the leading case of Kilosbayan, Incorporated vs. Morato, the principles and state
policies enumerated in Article II x x x are not "self-executing provisions, the disregard of which
Contrary to their claim of lack of plain, speedy, adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law,
can give rise to a cause of action in the courts. They do not embody judicially enforceable
petitioners should be faulted for failing to seek reconsideration of the assailed memorandum and
constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation."
directive before the Secretary of National Defense. The Secretary of National Defense should be
given opportunity to correct himself, if warranted, considering that AFP Regulations G 161-375
In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor that broad constitutional principles need legislative
was issued upon his order. Questions on the implementation and interpretation thereof demand
enactments to implement them.
the exercise of sound administrative discretion, requiring the special knowledge, experience and
services of his office to determine technical and intricate matters of fact. If petitioners would still
The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement of broad constitutional
be dissatisfied with the decision of the Secretary, they could elevate the matter before the Office
principles are sourced from basic considerations of due process and the lack of judicial authority
of the President which has control and supervision over the Department of National Defense
to wade "into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy making."[59]
(DND).[44]

Hierarchy of Courts: In the same vein, while direct resort to the Court through petitions for the In the same vein, Sec. 1 of Art. XI of the Constitution is not a self--executing provision considering
extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus are allowed under exceptional that a law should be passed by the Congress to clearly define and effectuate the principle
cases,[45] which are lacking in this case, petitioners cannot simply brush aside the doctrine of embodied therein. As a matter of fact, pursuant thereto, Congress enacted R.A. No. 6713 ("Code
hierarchy of courts that requires such petitions to be filed first with the proper Regional Trial Court of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees"), R.A. No. 6770 ("The
(RTC). The RTC is not just a trier of facts, but can also resolve questions of law in the exercise of Ombudsman Act of 1989"), R.A. No. 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder),
its original and concurrent jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, and and Republic Act No. 9485 ("Anti--Red Tape Act of 2007"). To complement these statutes, the
has the power to issue restraining order and injunction when proven necessary. Executive Branch has issued various orders, memoranda, and instructions relative to the norms
of behavior/code of conduct/ethical standards of officials and employees; workflow charts/public
In fine, the petitions at bar should be dismissed on procedural grounds alone. Even if We decide transactions; rules and policies on gifts and benefits; whistle blowing and reporting; and client
the case based on the merits, the petitions should still be denied. feedback program.

Substantive Grounds: There is grave abuse of discretion when an act is (1) done contrary to the Petitioners' reliance on Sec. 3(2) of Art. XIV and Sec. 26 of Art. XVIII of the Constitution is also
Constitution, the law or jurisprudence or (2) executed whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily, out of misplaced. Sec. 3(2) of Art. XIV refers to the constitutional duty of educational institutions in
malice, ill will or personal bias.[46] None is present in this case. teaching the values of patriotism and nationalism and respect for human rights, while Sec. 26 of
Art. XVIII is a transitory provision on sequestration or freeze orders in relation to the recovery of
Marcos' ill-gotten wealth. Clearly, with respect to these provisions, there is no direct or indirect
prohibition to Marcos' interment at the LNMB.
The President's decision to bury Marcos at the LNMB is in accordance with the
Constitution, the law or jurisprudence The second sentence of Sec. 17 of Art. VII pertaining to the duty of the President to "ensure that
the laws be faithfully executed," which is identical to Sec. 1, Title I, Book III of the Administrative would be violative of public policy as it will put into question the validity of the burial of each and
Code of 1987,[60] is likewise not violated by public respondents. Being the Chief Executive, the every mortal remains resting therein, and infringe upon the principle of separation of powers
President represents the government as a whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the since the allocation of plots at the LNMB is based on the grant of authority to the President under
officials and employees of his or her department.[61] Under the Faithful Execution Clause, the existing laws and regulations. Also, the Court shares the view of the OSG that the proposed
President has the power to take "necessary and proper steps" to carry into execution the law.[62] interment is not equivalent to the consecration of Marcos' mortal remains. The act in itself does
The mandate is self-executory by virtue of its being inherently executive in nature and is not confer upon him the status of a "hero." Despite its name, which is actually a misnomer, the
intimately related to the other executive functions.[63] It is best construed as an imposed purpose of the LNMB, both from legal and historical perspectives, has neither been to confer to
obligation, not a separate grant of power.[64] The provision simply underscores the rule of law the people buried there the title of "hero" nor to require that only those interred therein should be
and, corollarily, the cardinal principle that the President is not above the laws but is obliged to treated as a "hero." Lastly, petitioners' repeated reference to a "hero's burial" and "state honors,"
obey and execute them.[65] without showing proof as to what kind of burial or honors that will be accorded to the remains of
Marcos, is speculative until the specifics of the interment have been finalized by public
Consistent with President Duterte's mandate under Sec. 17, Art. VII of the Constitution, the burial respondents.
of Marcos at the LNMB does not contravene R.A. No. 289, R.A. No. 10368, and the international
human rights laws cited by petitioners. B. On R.A. No. 10368

A. On R.A. No. 289 For petitioners, R.A. No. 10368 modified AFP Regulations G 161-375 by implicitly disqualifying
For the perpetuation of their memory and for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and Marcos' burial at the LNMB because the legislature, which is a co-equal branch of the
of generations still unborn, R.A. No. 289 authorized the construction of a National Pantheon as government, has statutorily declared his tyranny as a deposed dictator and has recognized the
the burial place of the mortal remains of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and heroism and sacrifices of the Human Rights Violations Victims (HRVVs)[71] under his regime.
patriots.[67] It also provided for the creation of a Board on National Pantheon to implement the They insist that the intended act of public respondents damages and makes mockery of the
law.[68] mandatory teaching of Martial Law atrocities and of the lives and sacrifices of its victims. They
contend that "reparation" under R.A. No. 10368 is non-judicial in nature but a political action of
On May 12, 1953, President Elpidio R. Quirino approved the site of the National Pantheon at East the State through the Legislative and Executive branches by providing administrative relief for the
Avenue, Quezon City.[69] On December 23, 1953, he issued Proclamation No. 431 to formally compensation, recognition, and memorialization of human rights victims.
"withdraw from sale or settlement and reserve as a site for the construction of the National
Pantheon a certain parcel of land located in Quezon City." However, on July 5, 1954, President We beg to disagree.
Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 42 revoking Proclamation Nos. 422 and 431, both series of
1953, and reserving the parcels of land embraced therein for national park purposes to be known Certainly, R.A. No. 10368 recognizes the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims
as Quezon Memorial Park. of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance, and other gross human
rights violations committed from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986. To restore their honor
It is asserted that Sec. 1 of R.A. No 289 provides for the legal standard by which a person's and dignity, the State acknowledges its moral and legal obligation[72] to provide reparation to
mortal remains may be interred at the LNMB, and that AFP Regulations G 161-375 merely said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages
implements the law and should not violate its spirit and intent. Petitioners claim that it is known, they experienced.
both here and abroad, that Marcos' acts and deed - the gross human rights violations, the
massive corruption and plunder of government coffers, and his military record that is fraught with In restoring the rights and upholding the dignity of HRVVs, which is part of the right to an effective
myths, factual inconsistencies, and lies - are neither worthy of perpetuation in our memory nor remedy, R.A. No. 10368 entitles them to monetary and non-monetary reparation. Any HRVV
serve as a source of inspiration and emulation of the present and future generations. They qualified under the law[73] shall receive a monetary reparation, which is tax-free and without
maintain that public respondents are not members of the Board on National Pantheon, which is prejudice to the receipt of any other sum from any other person or entity in any case involving
authorized by the law to cause the burial at the LNMB of the deceased Presidents of the human rights violations.[74]Anent the non-monetary reparation, the Department of Health (DOH),
Philippines, national heroes, and patriots. the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Education
(DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills
Petitioners are mistaken. Both in their pleadings and during the oral arguments, they miserably Development Authority (TESDA), and such other government agencies are required to render the
failed to provide legal and historical bases as to their supposition that the LNMB and the National necessary services for the HRVVs and/or their families, as may be determined by the Human
Pantheon are one and the same. This is not at all unexpected because the LNMB is distinct and Rights Victims' Claims Board (Board) pursuant to the provisions of the law.[75]
separate from the burial place envisioned in R.A. No 289. The parcel of land subject matter of
President Quirino's Proclamation No. 431, which was later on revoked by President Magsaysay's Additionally, R.A. No. 10368 requires the recognition of the violations committed against the
Proclamation No. 42, is different from that covered by Marcos' Proclamation No. 208. The HRVVs, regardless of whether they opt to seek reparation or not. This is manifested by enshrining
National Pantheon does not exist at present. To date, the Congress has deemed it wise not to their names in the Roll of Human Rights Violations Victims (Roll) prepared by the Board.[76] The
appropriate any funds for its construction or the creation of the Board on National Pantheon. This Roll may be displayed in government agencies designated by the HRVV Memorial Commission
is indicative of the legislative will not to pursue, at the moment, the establishment of a singular (Commission).[77] Also, a Memorial/Museum/Library shall be established and a compendium of
interment place for the mortal remains of all Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes, and their sacrifices shall be prepared and may be readily viewed and accessed in the internet.[78]
patriots. Perhaps, the Manila North Cemetery, the Manila South Cemetery, and other equally The Commission is created primarily for the establishment, restoration, preservation and
distinguished private cemeteries already serve the noble purpose but without cost to the limited conservation of the Memorial/Museum/ Library/Compendium.[79]
funds of the government.
To memorialize[80] the HRVVs, the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 10368
Even if the Court treats R.A. No. 289 as relevant to the issue, still, petitioners' allegations must fail. further mandates that: (1) the database prepared by the Board derived from the processing of
To apply the standard that the LNMB is reserved only for the "decent and the brave" or "hero" claims shall be turned over to the Commission for archival purposes, and made accessible for the
promotion of human rights to all government agencies and instrumentalities in order to prevent norms[.][Emphasis supplied]
recurrence of similar abuses, encourage continuing reforms and contribute to ending impunity;[81]
(2) the lessons learned from Martial Law atrocities and the lives and sacrifices of HRVVs shall be
included in the basic and higher education curricula, as well as in continuing adult learning, The Philippines is more than compliant with its international obligations. When the Filipinos
prioritizing those most prone to commit human rights violations;[82] and (3) the Commission shall regained their democratic institutions after the successful People Power Revolution that
publish only those stories of HRVVs who have given prior informed consent.[83] culminated on February 25, 1986, the three branches of the government have done their fair
share to respect, protect and fulfill the country's human rights obligations, to wit:
This Court cannot subscribe to petitioners' logic that the beneficial provisions of R.A. No. 10368
are not exclusive as it includes the prohibition on Marcos' burial at the LNMB. It would be undue The 1987 Constitution contains provisions that promote and protect human rights and social
to extend the law beyond what it actually contemplates. With its victim-oriented perspective, our justice.
legislators could have easily inserted a provision specifically proscribing Marcos' interment at the
LNMB as a "reparation" for the HRVVs, but they did not. As it is, the law is silent and should As to judicial remedies, aside from the writs of habeas corpus, amparo,[89] and habeas data,[90]
remain to be so. This Court cannot read into the law what is simply not there. It is irregular, if not the Supreme Court promulgated on March 1, 2007 Administrative Order No. 25-2007,[91] which
unconstitutional, for Us to presume the legislative will by supplying material details into the law. provides rules on cases involving extra-judicial killings of political ideologists and members of the
That would be tantamount to judicial legislation. media. The provision of the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the prevention of the victim's
re-traumatization applies in the course of legal and administrative procedures designed to
Considering the foregoing, the enforcement of the HRVVs' rights under R.A. No 10368 will surely provide justice and reparation.[92]
not be impaired by the interment of Marcos at the LNMB. As opined by the OSG, the assailed act
has no causal connection and legal relation to the law. The subject memorandum and directive of On the part of the Executive Branch, it issued a number of administrative and executive orders.
public respondents do not and cannot interfere with the statutory powers and functions of the Notable of which are the following:
Board and the Commission. More importantly, the HRVVs' entitlements to the benefits provided
for by R.A. No 10368 and other domestic laws are not curtailed. It must be emphasized that R.A. A.O. No. 370 dated December 10, 1997 (Creating the Inter--Agency Coordinating Committee on Human Rights)
E.O. No. 118 dated July 5, 1999 (Providing for the Creation of a National Committee on the Culture of Peace)
No. 10368 does not amend or repeal, whether express or implied, the provisions of the B.E.O. No. 134 dated July 31, 1999 (Declaring August 12, 1999 and Every 12th Day of August Thereafter as International Humanitarian Law Day)
Administrative Code or AFP Regulations G 161-375: C.E.O. No. 404 dated January 24, 2005 (Creating the Government of the Republic of the Philippines Monitoring Committee [GRP-MC] on Human
Rights and International Humanitarian Law)
A.O. No. 157 dated August 21, 2006 (Creating an Independent Commission to Address Media and Activist Killings)
A.O. No. 163 dated December 8, 2006 (Strengthening and Increasing the Membership of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, and
It is a well-settled rule of statutory construction that repeals by implication are not favored. In Expanding Further the Functions of Said Committee)[93]
A.O. No. 181 dated July 3, 2007 (Directing the Cooperation and Coordination Between the National Prosecution Service and Other Concerned
order to effect a repeal by implication, the later statute must be so irreconcilably inconsistent and Agencies of Government for the Successful Investigation and Prosecution of Political and Media Killings)
A.O. No. 197 dated September 25, 2007 (DND and AFP Coordination with PHRC Sub-committee on Killings and Disappearances)
repugnant with the existing law that they cannot be made to reconcile and stand together. The A.O. No. 211 dated November 26, 2007 (Creating a Task Force Against Political Violence)
clearest case possible must be made before the inference of implied repeal may be drawn, for A.O. No. 249 dated December 10, 2008 (Further Strengthening Government Policies, Plans, and Programs for the Effective Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights on the Occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
inconsistency is never presumed. There must be a showing of repugnance clear and convincing E.O. No. 847 dated November 23, 2009 (Creating the Church-Police-Military-Liaison Committee to Formulate and Implement a Comprehensive
in character. The language used in the later statute must be such as to render it irreconcilable Program to Establish Strong Partnership Between the State and the Church on Matters Concerning Peace and Order and Human Rights)
A.O. No. 35 dated November 22, 2012 (Creating the Inter--Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other
with what had been formerly enacted. An inconsistency that falls short of that standard does not Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons)
A.O. No. 1 dated October 11, 2016 (Creating the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of
suffice. x x x[84] the Media)

C. On International Human Rights Laws Finally, the Congress passed the following laws affecting human rights: Republic Act No.
7438 (An Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or Under
Petitioners argue that the burial of Marcos at the LNMB will violate the rights of the HRVVs to Custodia/Investigation as well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating
"full" and "effective" reparation, which is provided under the International Covenant on Civil and Officers and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof)
Political Rights (ICCPR),[85] the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and
Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious
Violations of International Humanitarian Law[86] adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on Republic Act No. 8371 (The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act of 1997)
December 16, 2005, and the Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Republic Act No. 9201 (National Human Rights Consciousness Week Act of 2002)
Republic Act No. 9208 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003)
Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity[87] dated February 8, 2005 by the U.N. Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004)
Economic and Social Council. Republic Act No. 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006)
Republic Act No. 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007)
Republic Act No. 9710 (The Magna Carta of Women)
Republic Act No. 9745 (Anti-Torture Act of 2009) Republic Act No. 9851 (Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law,
We do not think so. The ICCPR,[88] as well as the U.N. principles on reparation and to combat Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity)
impunity, call for the enactment of legislative measures, establishment of national programmes, Republic Act No. 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010)
Republic Act No. 10168 (The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012)
and provision for administrative and judicial recourse, in accordance with the country's Republic Act No. 10353 (Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012)
constitutional processes, that are necessary to give effect to human rights embodied in treaties, Republic Act No. 10364 (Expanded Anti-Trafficking In Persons Act of 2012)
Republic Act No. 10368 (Human Rights Victims Reparation And Recognition Act of 2013)
covenants and other international laws. The U.N. principles on reparation expressly states: Republic Act No. 10530 (The Red Cross and Other Emblems Act of 2013)

Emphasizing that the Basic Principles and Guidelines contained herein do not entail new Contrary to petitioners' postulation, our nation's history will not be instantly revised by a single
international or domestic legal obligations but identify mechanisms, modalities, procedures and resolve of President Duterte, acting through the public respondents, to bury Marcos at the LNMB.
methods for the implementation of existing legal obligations under international human rights law Whether petitioners admit it or not, the lessons of Martial Law are already engraved, albeit in
and international humanitarian law which are complementary though different as to their varying degrees, in the hearts and minds of the present generation of Filipinos. As to the unborn,
it must be said that the preservation and popularization of our history is not the sole responsibility As one of the cultural agencies attached to the NCAA,[119] the NHCP manages, maintains and
of the Chief Executive; it is a joint and collective endeavor of every freedom-loving citizen of this administers national shrines, monuments, historical sites, edifices and landmarks of significant
country. historico-cultural value.[120] In particular, the NHCP Board has the power to approve the
declaration of historic structures and sites, such as national shrines, monuments, landmarks and
Notably, complementing the statutory powers and functions of the Human Rights Victims' Claims heritage houses and to determine the manner of their identification, maintenance, restoration,
Board and the HRVV Memorial Commission in the memorialization of HRVVs, the National conservation, preservation and protection.[121]
Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), formerly known as the National Historical
Institute (NHI),[94] is mandated to act as the primary government agency responsible for history Excluded, however, from the jurisdiction of the NHCP are the military memorials and battle
and is authorized to determine all factual matters relating to official Philippine history.[95] Among monuments declared as national shrines, which have been under the administration,
others, it is tasked to: (a) conduct and support all kinds of research relating to Philippine national maintenance and development of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) of the DND.
and local history; (b) develop educational materials in various media, implement historical Among the military shrines are: Mt. Samat National Shrine in Pilar, Bataan;[122] Kiangan War
educational activities for the popularization of Philippine history, and disseminate, information Memorial Shrine in Linda, Kiangan, Ifugao;[123] Capas National Shrine in Capas, Tarlac;[124]
regarding Philippine historical events, dates, places and personages; and (c) actively engage in Ricarte National Shrine in Malasin, Batac, Ilocos Norte;[125] Balantang Memorial Cemetery
the settlement or resolution of controversies or issues relative to historical personages, places, National Shrine in Jaro, Iloilo;[126] Balete Pass National Shrine in Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya;[127]
dates and events.[96] Under R.A. Nos. 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009)[97] and USAFIP, NL Military Shrine and Park in Bessang Pass, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur;[128] and the
10086 (Strengthening Peoples' Nationalism Through Philippine History Act),[98] the declared LNMB in Taguig City, Metro Manila.[129]
State policy is to conserve, develop, promote, and popularize the nation's historical and cultural
heritage and resources.[99] Towards this end, means shall be provided to strengthen people's B. The Libingan Ng Mga Bayani
nationalism, love of country, respect for its heroes and pride for the people's accomplishments by
reinforcing the importance of Philippine national and local history in daily life with the end in view At the end of World War II, the entire nation was left mourning for the death of thousands of
of raising social consciousness.[100] Utmost priority shall be given not only with the research on Filipinos. Several places served as grounds for the war dead, such as the Republic Memorial
history but also its popularization.[101] Cemetery, the Bataan Memorial Cemetery, and other places throughout the country. The
Republic Memorial Cemetery, in particular, was established in May 1947 as a fitting tribute and
final resting place of Filipino military personnel who died in World War II.
The President's decision to bury Marcos at the LNMB is not done whimsically, capriciously
or arbitrarily, out of malice, ill will or personal bias
On October 23, 1954, President Ramon D. Magsaysay, Sr. issued E.O. No. 77, which ordered
"the remains of the war dead interred at the Bataan Memorial Cemetery, Bataan Province, and at
other places in the Philippines, be transferred to, and reinterred at, the Republic Memorial
Petitioners contend that the interment of Marcos at the LNMB will desecrate it as a sacred and Cemetery at Fort Wm Mckinley, Rizal Province" so as to minimize the expenses for the
hallowed place and a revered national shrine where the mortal remains of our country's great maintenance and upkeep, and to make the remains accessible to the widows, parents, children,
men and women are interred for the inspiration and emulation of the present generation and relatives, and friends.
generations to come. They erred.
On October 27, 1954, President Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 86, which changed the
A. National Shrines name of Republic Memorial Cemetery to Libingan Ng Mga Bayani to symbolize "the cause for
which our soldiers have died" and to "truly express the nations esteem and reverence for her war
As one of the cultural properties of the Philippines, national historical shrines (or historical shrines) dead."[130]
refer to sites or structures hallowed and revered for their history or association as declared by the
NHCP.[102] The national shrines created by law and presidential issuance include, among others: On July 12, 1957, President Carlos P. Garcia issued Proclamation No. 423, which reserved for
Fort Santiago (Dambana ng Kalayaan) in Manila;[103] all battlefield areas in Corregidor and military purposes, under the administration of the AFP Chief of Staff, the land where LNMB is
Bataan;[104] the site of First Mass in the Philippines in Magallanes, Limasawa, Leyte;[105] located. The LNMB was part of a military reservation site then known as Fort Wm McKinley (now
Aguinaldo Shrine or Freedom Shrine in Kawit, Cavite;[106] Fort San Antonio Abad National known as Fort Andres Bonifacio).
Shrine in Malate, Manila;[107] Tirad Pass National Shrine in Ilocos Sur;[108] Ricarte Shrine[109]
and Aglipay Shrine[110] in Batac, Ilocos Norte; Liberty Shrine in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu;[111] "Red On May 28, 1967, Marcos issued Proclamation No. 208, which excluded the LNMB from the Fort
Beach" or the landing point of General Douglas MacArthur and the liberating forces in Baras, Bonifacio military reservation and reserved the LNMB for national shrine purposes under the
Palo, Leyte;[112] Dapitan City as a National Shrine City in Zamboanga Del Norte;[113]General administration of the National Shrines Commission (NSC) under the DND.
Leandro Locsin Fullon National Shrine in Hamtic, Antique;[114] and Mabini Shrine in Polytechnic
University of the Philippines - Mabini Campus, Sta. Mesa, Manila.[115] As sites of the birth, exile, On September 24, 1972, Marcos, in the exercise of his powers as the AFP Commander-in-Chief,
imprisonment, detention or death of great and eminent leaders of the nation, it is the policy of the and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, and General Order No. 1
Government to hold and keep the national shrines as sacred and hallowed place.[116] P.O. No. dated September 22, 1972, as amended, issued Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1 which
105[117]strictly prohibits and punishes by imprisonment and/or fine the desecration of national reorganized the Executive Branch of the National Government through the adoption of the
shrines by disturbing their peace and serenity through digging, excavating, defacing, causing Integrated Reorganization Plan (IRP). Section 7, Article XV, Chapter I, Part XII thereof abolished
unnecessary noise, and committing unbecoming acts within their premises. R.A. No. 10066 also the NSC and its functions together with applicable appropriations, records, equipment, property
makes it punishable to intentionally modify, alter, or destroy the original features of, or undertake and such personnel as may be necessary were transferred to the NHI under the Department of
construction or real estate development in any national shrine, monument, landmark and other Education (DEC). The NHI was responsible for promoting and preserving the Philippine cultural
historic edifices and structures, declared, classified, and marked by the NHCP as such, without heritage by undertaking, inter alia, studies on Philippine history and national heroes and
the prior written permission from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA).[118] maintaining national shrines and monuments.[131]
Pending the organization of the DEC, the functions relative to the administration, maintenance refused to be cowed into submission and carried on the fight for freedom against an enemy with
and development of national shrines tentatively integrated into the PVAO in July 1973. vastly superior arms and under almost insurmountable odds. Their hardship and sufferings, as
well as their defeats and victories, are enshrined in this memorial.[134]
On January 26, 1977, President Marcos issued P.D. No. 1076. Section 7, Article XV, Chapter I,
Part XII of the IRP was repealed on the grounds that "the administration, maintenance and
Contrary to the dissent, P.D. No. 105[135] does not apply to the LNMB. Despite the fact that P.D.
development of national shrines consisting of military memorials or battle monuments can be
No. 208 predated P.D. No. 105,[136] the LNMB was not expressly included in the national shrines
more effectively accomplished if they are removed from the [DEC] and transferred to the [DND]
enumerated in the latter.[137] The proposition that the LNMB is implicitly covered in the catchall
by reason of the latter s greater capabilities and resources" and that "the functions of the [DND]
phrase "and others which may be proclaimed in the future as National Shrines" is erroneous
are more closely related and relevant to the charter or significance of said national shrines."
because:
Henceforth, the PVAO through the Military Shrines Service (MSS), which was created to perform
the functions of the abolished NSC - would administer, maintain and develop military memorials
(1) As stated, Marcos issued P.D. No. 208 prior to P.D. No. 105.
and battle monuments proclaimed as national shrines.
(2) Following the canon of statutory construction known as ejusdem generis,[138] the LNMB is
On July 25, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued the Administrative Code. The Code
not a site "of the birth, exile, imprisonment, detention or death of great and eminent leaders of the
retains PVAO under the supervision and control of the Secretary of National Defense.[132]
nation." What P.D. No. 105 contemplates are the following national shrines: Fort Santiago
Among others, PVAO shall administer, develop and maintain military shrines.[133] With the
("Dambana ng Kalayaan"), all battlefield areas in Corregidor and Bataan, the site of First Mass in
approval of PVAO Rationalization Plan on June 29, 2010, pursuant to E.O. No. 366 dated
the Philippines, Aguinaldo Shrine or Freedom Shrine, Fort San Antonio Abad National Shrine,
October 4, 2004, MSS was renamed to Veterans Memorial and Historical Division, under the
Tirad Pass National Shrine, Ricarte Shrine, Aglipay Shrine, Liberty Shrine, "Red Beach" or the
supervision and control of PVAO, which is presently tasked with the management and
landing point of General Douglas MacArthur and the liberating forces, Dapitan City, General
development of military shrines and the perpetuation of the heroic deeds of our nation's veterans.
Leandro Locsin Fullon National Shrine, and Mabini Shrine. Excluded are the military memorials
and battle monuments declared as national shrines under the PVAO, such as: Mt. Samat National
As a national military shrine, the main features, structures, and facilities of the LNMB are as
Shrine, Kiangan War Memorial Shrine, Capas National Shrine, Ricarte National Shrine,
follows:
Balantang Memorial Cemetery National Shrine, Balete Pass National Shrine; USAFIP, NL Military
Shrine and Park, and the LNMB.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers - The main structure constructed at the center of the cemetery
where wreath laying ceremonies are held when Philippine government officials and foreign (3) Since its establishment, the LNMB has been a military shrine under the jurisdiction of the
dignitaries visit the LNMB. The following inscription is found on the tomb: "Here lies a Filipino PVAO. While P.D. No. 1 dated September 24, 1972 transferred the administration, maintenance
soldier whose name is known only to God." Behind the tomb are three marble pillars representing and development of national shrines to the NHI under the DEC, it never actually materialized.
the three main island groups of the Philippines - Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Buried here were Pending the organization of the DEC, its functions relative to national shrines were tentatively
the remains of 39,000 Filipino soldiers who were originally buried in Camp O'Donnell integrated into the PVAO in July 1973. Eventually, on January 26, 1977, Marcos issued P.D. No.
Concentration Camp and Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila. 1076. The PVAO, through the MSS, was tasked to administer, maintain, and develop military
Heroes Memorial Gate - A structure shaped in the form of a large concrete tripod with a stairway memorials and battle monuments proclaimed as national shrines. The reasons being that "the
leading to an upper view deck and a metal sculpture at the center. This is the first imposing administration, maintenance and development of national shrines consisting of military memorials
structure one sees upon entering the grounds of the cemetery complex. or battle monuments can be more effectively accomplished if they are removed from the [DEC]
Black Stone Walls - Erected on opposite sides of the main entrance road leading to the Tomb of and transferred to the [DND] by reason of the latter's greater capabilities and resources" and that
the Unknown Soldiers and just near the Heroes Memorial are two 12-foot high black stone walls "the functions of the [DND] are more closely related and relevant to the charter or significance of
which bear the words, "I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I do know the glory of his death." said national shrines."
that General Douglas MacArthur made during his sentimental journey to the Philippines in 1961.
The foregoing interpretation is neither narrow and myopic nor downright error. Instead, it is
consistent with the letter and intent of P.D. No. 105.
Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Pylon - Inaugurated on April 5, 1977 by
Assuming that P.D. No. 105 is applicable, the descriptive words "sacred and hallowed" refer to
Secretary Renato S. De Villa in memory of the defenders of Bataan and Corregidor during World
the LNMB as a place and not to each and every mortal remains interred therein. Hence, the burial
War II. This monument is dedicated as an eternal acknowledgment of their valor and sacrifice in
of Marcos at the LNMB does not diminish said cemetery as a revered and respected ground.
defense of the Philippines.
Neither does it negate the presumed individual or collective "heroism" of the men and women
Korean Memorial Pylon - A towering monument honoring the 112 Filipino officers and men who,
buried or will be buried therein. The "nations esteem and reverence for her war dead," as
as members of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK), perished during the
originally contemplated by President Magsaysay in issuing Proclamation No. 86, still stands
Korean War.
unaffected. That being said, the interment of Marcos, therefore, does not constitute a violation of
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pylon - Dedicated to the members of the Philippine contingents
the physical, historical, and cultural integrity of the LNMB as a national military shrine.
and Philippine civic action groups to Vietnam (PHILCON--V and PHILCAG-V) who served as
medical, dental, engineering construction, community and psychological workers, and security
At this juncture, reference should be made to Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington), which is
complement. They offered tremendous sacrifices as they alleviated human suffering in
identical to the LNMB in terms of its prominence in the U.S. It is not amiss to point that our armed
war-ravaged Vietnam from 1964-1971. Inscribed on the memorial pylon are the words: "To build
forces have been patterned after the U.S. and that its military code produced a salutary effect in
and not to destroy, to bring the Vietnamese people happiness and not sorrow, to develop goodwill
the Philippines' military justice system.[139] Hence, relevant military rules, regulations, and
and not hatred."
practices of the U.S. have persuasive, if not the same, effect in this jurisdiction.
Philippine World War II Guerillas Pylon - Erected by the Veterans Federation of the Philippines
as a testimony to the indomitable spirit and bravery of the Filipino guerillas of World War II who
As one of the U.S. Army national military cemeteries,[140] the Arlington is under the jurisdiction of and activated, as of said date, the Graves Registration Platoon as a unit of the Philippine Army.
the Department of the Army.[141] The Secretary of the U.S. Army has the responsibility to
develop, operate, manage, administer, oversee, and fund the Army national military cemeteries in On February 2, 1960, the AFP Chief of Staff, by order of the Secretary of National Defense,
a manner and to standards that fully honor the service and sacrifices of the deceased members issued AFP Regulations G 161-371 (Administrative and Special Staff Services, Grave
of the armed forces buried or inurned therein, and shall prescribe such regulations and policies as Registration Service), which provided that the following may be interred in the LNMB: (a) World
may be necessary to administer the cemeteries.[142] In addition, the Secretary of the U.S. Army War II dead of the AFP and recognized guerillas; (b) Current dead of the AFP; (c) Retired military
is empowered to appoint an advisory committee, which shall make periodic reports and personnel of the AFP; (d) Remains of former members of the AFP who died while in the active
recommendations as well as advise the Secretary with respect to the administration of the service and in the Retired List of the AFP now interred at different cemeteries and other places
cemetery, the erection of memorials at the cemetery, and master planning for the cemetery.[143] throughout the Philippines or the Secretary of National Defense; and (e) Others upon approval of
the Congress of the Philippines, the President of the Philippines or the Secretary of National
Similar to the Philippines, the U.S. national cemeteries are established as national shrines in Defense. The regulation also stated that the AFP Quartermaster General will be responsible for,
tribute to the gallant dead who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.[144] The areas are among other matters, the efficient operation of the Graves Registration Service; the interment,
protected, managed and administered as suitable and dignified burial grounds and as significant disinterment and reinterment of the dead mentioned above; and preservation of military
cultural resources.[145] As such, the authorization of activities that take place therein is limited to cemeteries, national cemeteries, and memorials.
those that are consistent with applicable legislation and that are compatible with maintaining their
solemn commemorative and historic character.[146] On July 31, 1973, the AFP Chief of Staff, by order of the Secretary of National Defense, issued
AFP Regulations G 161-372 (Administration and Operation of AFP Graves Registration
The LNMB is considered as a national shrine for military memorials. The PVAO, which is Installations), which superseded AFP Regulations G 161-371. It provided that the following may
empowered to administer, develop, and maintain military shrines, is under the supervision and be interred in the LNMB: (a) Deceased Veterans of the Philippine Revolution of 1896/World War I;
control of the DND. The DND, in turn, is under the Office of the President. (b) Deceased World War II members of the AFP and recognized guerillas; (c) Deceased military
personnel of the AFP who died while in the active duty; (d) Deceased retired military personnel of
The presidential power of control over the Executive Branch of Government is a self-executing the AFP; (e) Deceased military personnel of the AFP interred at different cemeteries and other
provision of the Constitution and does not require statutory implementation, nor may its exercise places outside the LNMB; and (f) Such remains of persons as the Commander-in-Chief of the
be limited, much less withdrawn, by the legislature.[147] This is why President Duterte is not AFP may direct. The remains of the following were not allowed to be interred in the LNMB: (a)
bound by the alleged 1992 Agreement[148] between former President Ramos and the Marcos The spouse of an active, or retired, deceased military personnel, recognized guerillas who
family to have the remains of Marcos interred in Batac, Ilocos Norte. As the incumbent President, himself/herself is not a military personnel; and (b) AFP personnel who were retireable but
he is free to amend, revoke or rescind political agreements entered into by his predecessors, and separated/reverted/discharged for cause, or joined and aided the enemy of the Republic of the
to determine policies which he considers, based on informed judgment and presumed wisdom, Philippines, or were convicted of capital or other criminal offenses, involving moral turpitude. The
will be most effective in carrying out his mandate. regulation also stated that the Quartermaster General shall be responsible for, among other
matters, the efficient operation of the AFP graves registration installations; the interment,
Moreover, under the Administrative Code, the President has the power to reserve for public use disinterment and reinterment of deceased military personnel mentioned above; and the
and for specific public purposes any of the lands of the public domain and that the reserved land preservation of military cemeteries, proper marking and official recording of graves therein.
shall remain subject to the specific public purpose indicated until otherwise provided by law or
proclamation.[149] At present, there is no law or executive issuance specifically excluding the On April 9, 1986, AFP Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos, by order of National Defense Minister, issued
land in which the LNMB is located from the use it was originally intended by the past Presidents. AFP Regulations G 161-373 (Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani), which
The allotment of a cemetery plot at the LNMB for Marcos as a former President and superseded AFP Regulations G 161-372. It enumerated a list of deceased person who may be
Commander-in-Chief,[150] a legislator,[151] a Secretary of National Defense,[152] a military interred at the LNMB, namely: (a) Medal of Valor Awardees; (b) Presidents or
personnel,[153] a veteran,[154] and a Medal of Valor awardee,[155] whether recognizing his Commanders-in-Chief, AFP; (c) Ministers of National Defense; (d) Chiefs of Staff, AFP; (e)
contributions or simply his status as such, satisfies the public use requirement. The disbursement General/Flag Officers of the AFP; (f) Active and retired military personnel of the AFP; (g) Veterans
of public funds to cover the expenses incidental to the burial is granted to compensate him for of Philippine Revolution of 1896, WWI, WWII and recognized guerillas; and (h) Government
valuable public services rendered.[156] Likewise, President Duterte's determination to have Dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artist and other deceased persons whose interment or
Marcos' remains interred at the LNMB was inspired by his desire for national healing and reinterment has been approved by the Commander-in-Chief, Batasang Pambansaor the Minister
reconciliation. Presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty prevails over of National Defense. The regulation also stated that the Quartermaster General shall be
petitioners' highly disputed factual allegation that, in the guise of exercising a presidential responsible for the allocation of specific section/areas for the said deceased persons, while the
prerogative, the Chief Executive is actually motivated by utang na loob (debt of gratitude) and Commanding Officer of the Quartermaster Graves Registration Company shall be charged with
bayad utang (payback) to the Marcoses. As the purpose is not self-evident, petitioners have the the preparation of grave sites, supervision of burials at LNMB and the registration of graves.
burden of proof to establish the factual basis of their claim. They failed. Even so, this Court
cannot take cognizance of factual issues since We are not a trier of facts. On March 27, 1998, the AFP Chief of Staff, by order of the Secretary of National Defense, issued
AFP Regulations G 161-374 (Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani), which
C. AFP Regulations on the LNMB superseded AFP Regulations G 161-373. It provided that the following may be interred in the
LNMB: (a) Medal of Valor Awardees; (b) Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief, AFP; (c)
A review of the regulations issued by the AFP Chief of Staff as to who may and may not be Secretaries of National Defense; (d) Chiefs of Staff, AFP; (e) General/Flag Officers of the AFP; (f)
interred at the LNMB underscores the nature and purpose of the LNMB as an active military Active and retired military personnel of the AFP; (g) Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1890,
cemetery/grave site. WWI, WWII and recognized guerillas; (h) Government Dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists
and other deceased persons whose interment or reinterment has been approved by the
On May 13, 1947, the Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army, by the direction of the President and Commander-in-Chief, Congress or Secretary of National Defense; and (i) Former Presidents,
by order of the Secretary of National Defense, issued General Orders No. 111, which constituted Secretaries of Defense, CSAFP, Generals/Flag Officers, Dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists,
widows of former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense and Chief of Staff. The remains of the regular course of business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive
the following were not allowed to be interred in the LNMB: (a) Personnel who were dishonorably presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive. (Emphasis ours, citation omitted.)[157]
separated/reverted/discharged from the service; and (b) Authorized personnel who were
convicted by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude. Like AFP Regulations G
161-373, it stated that the Quartermaster General shall be responsible for the allocation of It has been held that an administrative regulation adopted pursuant to law has the force and effect
specific section/areas for the deceased persons, whereas the Commanding Officer of the of law and, until set aside, is binding upon executive and administrative agencies, including the
Quartermaster Graves Registration Unit shall be charged with the preparation of grave sites, President as the chief executor of laws.
supervision of burials, and the registration of graves. 1. Qualification under the AFP Regulations

Finally, on September 11, 2000, the AFP Chief of Staff, by the order of the Secretary of National AFP Regulations G 161-375 should not be stricken down in the absence of clear and
Defense, issued AFP Regulations G 161-375 (Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the Libingan Ng unmistakable showing that it has been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
Mga Bayani), which superseded AFP Regulations G 161-374. The regulation stated that the Chief excess of jurisdiction. Neither could it be considered ultra vires for purportedly providing
of Staff shall be responsible for the issuance of interment directive for all active military personnel incomplete, whimsical, and capricious standards for qualification for burial at the LNMB.
for interment, authorized personnel (such as those former members of the AFP who laterally
entered or joined the Philippine Coast Guard [PCG] and the Philippine National Police [PNP]), To compare, We again refer to the U.S. Army regulations on Arlington. In the U.S., the Secretary
and retirees, veterans and reservists enumerated therein. The Quartermaster General is tasked of the Army, with the approval of the Secretary of Defense, determines eligibility for interment or
to exercise over-all supervision in the implementation of the regulation and the Commander inurnment in the Army national military cemeteries.[159] Effective October 26, 2016, the rule[160]
ASCOM, PA through the Commanding Officer of Grave Services Unit is charged with the is as follows:
registration of the deceased/graves, the allocation of specific section/area at the LNMB for
interment of deceased, the preparation of grave sites, and the supervision of burials. Only those who qualify as a primarily eligible person or a derivatively eligible person are eligible
for interment in Arlington National Cemetery, unless otherwise prohibited as provided for in §§
Under AFP Regulations G 161-375, the following are eligible for interment at the LNMB: (a) Medal 553.19[161]-553.20,[162] provided that the last period of active duty of the service member or
of Valor Awardees; (b) Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief, AFP; (c) Secretaries of National veteran ended with an honorable discharge.
Defense; (d) Chiefs of Staff, AFP; (e) General/Flag Officers of the AFP; (f) Active and retired
military personnel of the AFP to include active draftees and trainees who died in line of duty, (a) Primarily eligible persons. The following are primarily eligible persons for purposes of
active reservists and CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) who died in combat operations or combat interment:
related activities; (g) Former members of the AFP who laterally entered or joined the PCG and the
PNP; (h) Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1890, WWI, WWII and recognized guerillas; (i) (1) Any service member who dies on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (except those service
Government Dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists and other deceased persons whose members serving on active duty for training only), if the General Courts Martial Convening
interment or reinterment has been approved by the Commander-in-Chief, Congress or the Authority grants a certificate of honorable service.
Secretary of National Defense; and G) Former Presidents, Secretaries of Defense, Dignitaries,
Statesmen, National Artists, widows of Former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense and (2) Any veteran retired from a Reserve component who served a period of active duty (other than
Chief of Staff. Similar to AFP Regulations G 161-374, the following are not qualified to be interred for training), is carried on the official retired list, and is entitled to receive military retired pay.
in the LNMB: (a) Personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the
service; and (b) Authorized personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense (3) Any veteran retired from active military service and entitled to receive military retired pay.
involving moral turpitude.
(4) Any veteran who received an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces prior to October 1,
In the absence of any executive issuance or law to the contrary, the AFP Regulations G 161-375 1949, who was discharged for a permanent physical disability, who served on active duty (other
remains to be the sole authority in determining who are entitled and disqualified to be interred at than for training), and who would have been eligible for retirement under the provisions of 10
the LNMB. Interestingly, even if they were empowered to do so, former Presidents Corazon C. U.S.C. 1201 had the statute been in effect on the date of separation.
Aquino and Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, who were themselves aggrieved at the Martial Law,
did not revise the rules by expressly prohibiting the burial of Marcos at the LNMB. The validity of (5) Any veteran awarded one of the following decorations:
AFP Regulations G 161-375 must, therefor, be sustained for having been issued by the AFP
Chief of Staff acting under the direction of the Secretary of National Defense, who is the alter ego (i) Medal of Honor;[163]
of the President. (ii) Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross, or Navy Cross;

(iii) Distinguished Service Medal;


x x x In Joson v. Torres, we explained the concept of the alter ego principle or the doctrine of (iv) Silver Star; or
qualified political agency and its limit in this wise: (v) Purple Heart.

Under this doctrine, which recognizes the establishment of a single executive, all executive and (6) Any veteran who served on active duty (other than active duty for training) and who held any
administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Department, the heads of the various of the following positions:
executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief Executive, and, except in cases
where the Chief Executive is required by the Constitution or law to act in person or the (i) President or Vice President of the United States;
exigencies of the situation demand that he act personally, the multifarious executive and (ii) Elected member of the U.S. Congress;
administrative functions of the Chief Executive are performed by and through the executive
(iii) Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States or Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States;
departments, and the acts of the Secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in
(iv) A position listed, at the time the person held the position, in 5 U.S.C. 5312[164] or 5313[165] (Levels I and II of the Executive Schedule); or
(v) Chief of Mission of a Category 4, 5, or post if the Department of State classified that post as a Category 4, 5, or 5+ post during the person's tenure as
therein. As stated, the purpose of the LNMB, both from the legal and historical perspectives, has
Chief of Mission. neither been to confer to the people buried there the title of "hero" nor to require that only those
interred therein should be treated as a "hero." In fact, the privilege of internment at the LNMB has
(7) Any former prisoner of war who, while a prisoner of war, served honorably in the active military been loosen up through the years. Since 1986, the list of eligible includes not only those who
service, and who died on or after November 30, 1993. rendered active military service or military-related activities but also non-military personnel who
were recognized for their significant contributions to the Philippine society (such as government
(b) Derivatively eligible persons. The following individuals are derivatively eligible persons for dignitaries, statesmen, national artists, and other deceased persons whose interment or
purposes of interment who may be interred if space is available in the gravesite of the primarily reinterment has been approved by the Commander-in-Chief, Congress or Secretary of National
eligible person: Defense). In 1998, the widows of former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense and Chief of
Staff were added to the list. Whether or not the extension of burial privilege to civilians is
(1) The spouse of a primarily eligible person who is or will be interred in Arlington National unwarranted and should be restricted in order to be consistent with the original purpose of the
Cemetery. A former spouse of a primarily eligible person is not eligible for interment in Arlington LNMB is immaterial and irrelevant to the issue at bar since it is indubitable that Marcos had
National Cemetery under this paragraph. rendered significant active military service and military-related activities.

(2) The spouse of an active duty service member or an eligible veteran, who was: Petitioners did not dispute that Marcos was a former President and Commander-in-Chief, a
legislator, a Secretary of National Defense, a military personnel, a veteran, and a Medal of Valor
(i) Lost or buried at sea, temporarily interred overseas due to action by the Government, or officially determined to be missing in action;
awardee. For his alleged human rights abuses and corrupt practices, we may disregard Marcos
(ii) Buried in a U.S. military cemetery maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission; or as a President and Commander-in-Chief, but we cannot deny him the right to be acknowledged
(iii) Interred in Arlington National Cemetery as part of a group burial (the derivatively eligible spouse may not be buried in the group burial gravesite). based on the other positions he held or the awards he received. In this sense, We agree with the
proposition that Marcos should be viewed and judged in his totality as a person. While he was not
(3) The parents of a minor child or a permanently dependent adult child, whose remains were all good, he was not pure evil either. Certainly, just a human who erred like us.
interred in Arlington National Cemetery based on the eligibility of a parent at the time of the child's
death, unless eligibility of the non-service connected parent is lost through divorce from the Our laws give high regard to Marcos as a Medal of Valor awardee and a veteran. R.A. No.
primarily eligible parent. 9049[171] declares the policy of the State "to consistently honor its military heroes in order to
strengthen the patriotic spirit and nationalist consciousness of the military."[172] For the
(4) An honorably discharged veteran who does not qualify as a primarily eligible person, if the "supreme self--sacrifice and distinctive acts of heroism and gallantry,"[173] a Medal of Valor
veteran will be buried in the same gravesite as an already interred primarily eligible person who is awardee or his/her dependents/heirs/beneficiaries are entitled to the following social services and
a close relative, where the interment meets the following conditions: financial rewards:
(i) The veteran is without minor or unmarried adult dependent children;

(ii) The veteran will not occupy space reserved for the spouse, a minor child, or a permanently dependent adult child;
Tax-exempt lifetime monthly gratuity of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), which is separate
and distinct from any salary or pension that the awardee currently receives or will receive from
(iii) All other close relatives of the primarily eligible person concur with the interment of the veteran with the primarily eligible person by signing a notarized
statement;
the government of the Philippines;[174]
Precedence in employment in government agencies or government-owned or controlled
(iv) The veteran's spouse waives any entitlement to interment in Arlington National Cemetery, where such entitlement might be based on the veteran's
interment in Arlington National Cemetery. The Executive Director may set aside the spouse's waiver, provided space is available in the same gravesite, and corporation, if the job qualifications or requirements are met;
all close relatives of the primarily eligible person concur; Priority in the approval of the awardee's housing application under existing housing programs of
(v) Any cost of moving, recasketing, or revaulting the remains will be paid from private funds. the government;
Priority in the acquisition of public lands under the Public Land Act and preferential right in the
lease of pasture lands and exploitation of natural resources;
There is a separate list of eligible with respect to the inurnment of cremated remains in the Privilege of obtaining loans in an aggregate amount not exceeding Five Hundred Thousand
Columbarium,[166] interment of cremated remains in the Unmarked Area,[167] and group Pesos (P500,000.00) from government-owned or controlled financial institutions without having to
burial.[168] As a national military cemetery, eligibility standards for interment, inurnment, or put up any collateral or constitute any pledge or mortgage to secure the payment of the loan;
memorialization in Arlington are based on honorable military service.[169] Exceptions to the Twenty (20%) percent discount from all establishments relative to utilization of transportation
eligibility standards for new graves, which are rarely granted, are for those persons who have services, hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants, recreation and sport centers and
made significant contributions that directly and substantially benefited the U.S. purchase of medicine anywhere in the country;
military.[170] Twenty (20%) percent discount on admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and
concert halls, circuses, carnivals and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement;
Judging from the foregoing, it is glaring that the U.S. Army regulations on Arlington and the AFP Free medical and dental services and consultation in hospital and clinics anywhere in the country;
Regulations G 161-375 on the LNMB, as a general rule, recognize and reward the military Exemption from the payment of tuition and matriculation fees in public or private schools,
services or military related activities of the deceased. Compared with the latter, however, the universities, colleges and other educational institutions in any pre-school, baccalaureate or post-
former is actually less generous in granting the privilege of interment since only the spouse or graduate courses such as or including course leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD),
parent, under certain conditions, may be allowed "if space is available in the gravesite of the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or allied and similar courses;
primarily eligible person." and
If interested and qualified, a quota is given to join the cadet corps of the Philippine Military
It is not contrary to the "well-established custom," as the dissent described it, to argue that the Academy or otherwise priority for direct commission, call to active duty (CAD) and/or enlistment in
word "bayani" in the LNMB has become a misnomer since while a symbolism of heroism may regular force of the AFP.
attach to the LNMB as a national shrine for military memorial, the same does not automatically
attach to its feature as a military cemetery and to those who were already laid or will be laid
On the other hand, in recognizing their patriotic services in times of war and peace for the cause protected rights of others, in particular the right of an accused person to benefit from applicable
of freedom and democracy; for the attainment of national unity, independence, and standards of due process.
socioeconomic advancement; and for the maintenance of peace and order,[175] R.A. No. 6948,
as amended,[176] grants our veterans[177] and their dependents or survivors with pension (old
age, disability, total administrative disability, and death) and non-pension (burial, education, PRINCIPLE 9. GUARANTEES FOR PERSONS IMPLICATED
hospitalization, and medical care and treatment) benefits as well as provisions from the local
governments. Under the law, the benefits may be withheld if the Commission on Human Rights
certifies to the AFP General Headquarters that the veteran has been found guilty by final Before a commission identifies perpetrators in its report, the individuals concerned shall be
judgment of a gross human rights violation while in the service, but this factor shall not be entitled to the following guarantees:
considered taken against his next of kin.[178]
(a) The commission must try to corroborate information implicating individuals before they are
2. Disqualification under the AFP Regulations named publicly;

Aside from being eligible for burial at the LNMB, Marcos possessed none of the disqualifications (b) The individuals implicated shall be afforded an opportunity to provide a statement setting forth
stated in AFP Regulations G 161-375. He was neither convicted by final judgment of the offense their version of the facts either at a hearing convened by the commission while conducting its
involving moral turpitude nor dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from active military investigation or through submission of a document equivalent to a right of reply for inclusion in the
service. commission's file.

Petitioners, however, protest that a narrow interpretation of the AFP regulations disregards
historical context and the rule on statutory construction. They urge the Court to construe statutes To note, in the U.S., a person found to have committed a Federal or State capital crime (i.e., a
not literally but according to their spirit and reason. crime which a sentence of imprisonment for life or death penalty may be imposed) but who has
not been convicted by reason of not being available for trial due to death or flight to avoid
It is argued that Marcos committed offenses involving moral turpitude for his gross human rights prosecution, may be ineligible for interment, inurnment, or memorialization in an Army national
violations, massive graft and corruption, and dubious military records, as found by foreign and military cemetery. Nevertheless, such ineligibility must still observe the procedures specified in §
local courts as well as administrative agencies. By going into exile, he deliberately evaded liability 553.21.[180]
for his actions. And by allowing death to overtake him, he inevitably escaped the prospect of
facing accountability for his crimes. They also contend that his removal in the 1986 popular The various cases cited by petitiOners, which were decided with finality by courts here and
uprising is a clear sign of his discharge from the AFP. The People Power Revolution was the abroad, have no bearing in this case since they are merely civil in nature; hence, cannot and do
direct exercise of the Filipinos' power to overthrow an illegitimate and oppressive regime. As a not establish moral turpitude.
sovereign act, it necessarily includes the power to adjudge him as dishonorably discharged from
the AFP. Also, the equal protection clause is not violated. Generally, there is no property right to safeguard
because even if one is eligible to be buried at the LNMB, such fact would only give him or her the
Furthermore, according to petitioners, to limit the application of the disqualifying provisions of privilege to be interred therein. Unless there is a favorable recommendation from the
AFP Regulations G 161-375 only to soldiers would be unfair (since, unlike Presidents, soldiers Commander--in-Chief, the Congress or the Secretary of National Defense, no right can be said to
have an additional cause for disqualification) and lead to absurd results (because soldiers who have ripen. Until then, such inchoate right is not legally demandable and enforceable.
were dishonorably discharged would be disqualified for acts that are less atrocious than that
committed by Marcos). Also, the AFP regulations would place Marcos in the same class as the Assuming that there is a property right to protect, the requisites of equal protection clause are not
other Philippine Presidents when in fact he is a class of his own, sui generis. The other met.[181] In this case, there is a real and substantial distinction between a military personnel and
Presidents were never removed by People Power Revolution and were never subject of laws a former President. The conditions of dishonorable discharge under the Articles of War[182]
declaring them to have committed human rights violations. Thus, the intended burial would be an attach only to the members of the military. There is also no substantial distinction between
act of similarly treating persons who are differently situated. Marcos and the three Philippine Presidents buried at the LNMB (Presidents Quirino, Garcia, and
Macapagal). All of them were not convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. In addition, the
Despite all these ostensibly persuasive arguments, the fact remains that Marcos was not classification between a military personnel and a former President is germane to the purposes of
convicted by final judgment of any offense involving moral turpitude. No less than the 1987 Proclamation No. 208 and P.D. No. 1076. While the LNMB is a national shrine for military
Constitution mandates that a person shall not be held to answer for a criminal offense without due memorials, it is also an active military cemetery that recognizes the status or position held by
process of law and that, "[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presum innocent until the persons interred therein.
the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and Likewise, Marcos was honorably discharged from military service. PVAO expressly recognized
public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the him as a retired veteran pursuant to R.A. No. 6948, as amended. Petitioners have not shown that
attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf."[179] Even the U.N. he was dishonorably discharged from military service under AFP Circular 17, Series of 1987
principles on reparation and to combat impunity cited by petitioners unequivocally guarantee the (Administrative Discharge Prior to Expiration of Term of Enlistment) for violating Articles 94, 95
rights of the accused, providing that: and 97 of the Articles of War.[183] The NHCP study[184] is incomplete with respect to his entire
military career as it failed to cite and include the official records of the AFP.
XIII. Rights of others With respect to the phrase "[p]ersonnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged
from the service," the same should be viewed in light of the definition provided by AFP
27. Nothing in this document is to be construed as derogating from internationally or nationally Regulations G 161-375 to the term "active service" which is "[s]ervice rendered by a military
person as a Commissioned Officer, enlisted man/woman, probationary officer, trainee or draftee
in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and service rendered by him/her as a civilian official or
employee in the Philippine Government prior to the date of his/her separation or retirement from
the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for which military and/or civilian service he/she shall have
received pay from the Philippine Government, and/or such others as may be hereafter be
prescribed by law as active service (PD 1638, as amended)."[185] To my mind, the word "service"
should be construed as that rendered by a military person in the AFP, including civil service, from Effects of Declaration of Unconstitutionality
the time of his/her commission, enlistment, probation, training or drafting, up to the date of his/her
separation or retirement from the AFP. Civil service after honorable separation and retirement
G.R. No. 176951 November 18, 2008
from the AFP is outside the context of "service" under AFP Regulations G 161-375.

Hence, it cannot be conveniently claimed that Marcos' ouster from the presidency during the LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES (LCP) represented by LCP National President JERRY P. TREÑAS,
EDSA Revolution is tantamount to his dishonorable separation, reversion or discharge from the CITY OF ILOILO represented by MAYOR JERRY P. TREÑAS, CITY OF CALBAYOG represented by MAYOR MEL
SENEN S. SARMIENTO, and JERRY P. TREÑAS in his personal capacity as taxpayer, petitioners,
military service. The fact that the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the AFP under the vs.
1987 Constitution only enshrines the principle of supremacy of civilian authority over the military. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; MUNICIPALITY OF BAYBAY, PROVINCE OF LEYTE; MUNICIPALITY OF BOGO,
Not being a military person who may be prosecuted before the court martial, the President can PROVINCE OF CEBU; MUNICIPALITY OF CATBALOGAN, PROVINCE OF WESTERN SAMAR; MUNICIPALITY OF
hardly be deemed "dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service" as TANDAG, PROVINCE OF SURIGAO DEL SUR; MUNICIPALITY OF BORONGAN, PROVINCE OF EASTERN
SAMAR; and MUNICIPALITY OF TAYABAS, PROVINCE OF QUEZON, respondents.
contemplated by AFP Regulations G 161-375. Dishonorable discharge through a successful CITY OF TARLAC, CITY OF SANTIAGO, CITY OF IRIGA, CITY OF LIGAO, CITY OF LEGAZPI, CITY OF TAGAYTAY,
revolution is an extra-constitutional and direct sovereign act of the people which is beyond the CITY OF SURIGAO, CITY OF BAYAWAN, CITY OF SILAY, CITY OF GENERAL SANTOS, CITY OF ZAMBOANGA,
ambit of judicial review, let alone a mere administrative regulation. CITY OF GINGOOG, CITY OF CAUAYAN, CITY OF PAGADIAN, CITY OF SAN CARLOS, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO,
CITY OF TACURONG, CITY OF TANGUB, CITY OF OROQUIETA, CITY OF URDANETA, CITY OF VICTORIAS, CITY
OF CALAPAN, CITY OF HIMAMAYLAN, CITY OF BATANGAS, CITY OF BAIS, CITY OF CADIZ, and CITY OF
It is undeniable that former President Marcos was forced out of office by the people through the
TAGUM, petitioners-in-intervention.
so-called EDSA Revolution. Said political act of the people should not be automatically given a
particular legal meaning other than its obvious consequence- that of ousting him as president. To
do otherwise would lead the Court to the treacherous and perilous path of having to make x-----------------------------x
choices from multifarious inferences or theories arising from the various acts of the people. It is
not the function of the Court, for instance, to divine the exact implications or significance of the G.R. No. 177499 November 18, 2008
number of votes obtained in elections, or the message from the number of participants in public
assemblies. If the Court is not to fall into the pitfalls of getting embroiled in political and oftentimes
LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES (LCP) represented by LCP National President JERRY P. TREÑAS,
emotional, if not acrimonious, debates, it must remain steadfast in abiding by its recognized CITY OF ILOILO represented by MAYOR JERRY P. TREÑAS, CITY OF CALBAYOG represented by MAYOR MEL
guiding stars - clear constitutional and legal rules - not by the uncertain, ambiguous and SENEN S. SARMIENTO, and JERRY P. TREÑAS in his personal capacity as taxpayer, petitioners,
confusing messages from the actions of the people. vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; MUNICIPALITY OF LAMITAN, PROVINCE OF BASILAN; MUNICIPALITY OF
TABUK, PROVINCE OF KALINGA; MUNICIPALITY OF BAYUGAN, PROVINCE OF AGUSAN DEL SUR;
Conclusion: In sum, there is no clear constitutional or legal basis to hold that there was a grave MUNICIPALITY OF BATAC, PROVINCE OF ILOCOS NORTE; MUNICIPALITY OF MATI, PROVINCE OF DAVAO
ORIENTAL; and MUNICIPALITY OF GUIHULNGAN, PROVINCE OF NEGROS ORIENTAL, respondents.
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction which would justify the Court to CITY OF TARLAC, CITY OF SANTIAGO, CITY OF IRIGA, CITY OF LIGAO, CITY OF LEGAZPI, CITY OF TAGAYTAY,
interpose its authority to check and override an act entrusted to the judgment of another branch. CITY OF SURIGAO, CITY OF BAYAWAN, CITY OF SILAY, CITY OF GENERAL SANTOS, CITY OF ZAMBOANGA,
Truly, the President's discretion is not totally unfettered. "Discretion is not a free-spirited stallion CITY OF GINGOOG, CITY OF CAUAYAN, CITY OF PAGADIAN, CITY OF SAN CARLOS, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO,
that runs and roams wherever it pleases but is reined in to keep it from straying. In its classic CITY OF TACURONG, CITY OF TANGUB, CITY OF OROQUIETA, CITY OF URDANETA, CITY OF VICTORIAS, CITY
formulation, 'discretion is not unconfined and vagrant' but 'canalized within banks that keep it from OF CALAPAN, CITY OF HIMAMAYLAN, CITY OF BATANGAS, CITY OF BAIS, CITY OF CADIZ, and CITY OF
TAGUM, petitioners-in-intervention.
overflowing.'"[186] At bar, President Duterte, through the public respondents, acted within the
bounds of the law and jurisprudence. Notwithstanding the call of human rights advocates, the
Court must uphold what is legal and just. And that is not to deny Marcos of his rightful place at the x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --x
LNMB. For even the Framers of our Constitution intend that full respect for human rights is
available at any stage of a person's development, from the time he or she becomes a person to G.R. No. 178056 November 18, 2008
the time he or she leaves this earth.[187]
LEAGUE OF CITIES OF THE PHILIPPINES (LCP) represented by LCP National President JERRY P. TREÑAS,
There are certain things that are better left for history - not this Court - to adjudge. The Court CITY OF ILOILO represented by MAYOR JERRY P. TREÑAS, CITY OF CALBAYOG represented by MAYOR MEL
could only do so much in accordance with the clearly established rules and principles. Beyond SENEN S. SARMIENTO, and JERRY P. TREÑAS in his personal capacity as taxpayer, petitioners
that, it is ultimately for the people themselves, as the sovereign, to decide, a task that may require vs.
the better perspective that the passage of time provides. In the meantime, the country must COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; MUNICIPALITY OF CABADBARAN, PROVINCE OF AGUSAN DEL NORTE;
MUNICIPALITY OF CARCAR, PROVINCE OF CEBU; and MUNICIPALITY OF EL SALVADOR, MISAMIS ORIENTAL,
mov'e on and let this issue rest. respondents.
CITY OF TARLAC, CITY OF SANTIAGO, CITY OF IRIGA, CITY OF LIGAO, CITY OF LEGAZPI, CITY OF TAGAYTAY,
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petitions are DISMISSED. Necessarily, the CITY OF SURIGAO, CITY OF BAYAWAN, CITY OF SILAY, CITY OF GENERAL SANTOS, CITY OF ZAMBOANGA,
Status Quo Ante Order is hereby LIFTED. CITY OF GINGOOG, CITY OF CAUAYAN, CITY OF PAGADIAN, CITY OF SAN CARLOS, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO,
CITY OF TACURONG, CITY OF TANGUB, CITY OF OROQUIETA, CITY OF URDANETA, CITY OF VICTORIAS, CITY
OF CALAPAN, CITY OF HIMAMAYLAN, CITY OF BATANGAS, CITY OF BAIS, CITY OF CADIZ, and CITY OF
TAGUM, petitioners-in-intervention.
D E C I S I O N CARPIO, J.: 2. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate the equal protection clause.

The Case: These are consolidated petitions for prohibition1 with prayer for the issuance of a writ The Ruling of the Court: We grant the petitions.
of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order filed by the League of Cities of the
Philippines, City of Iloilo, City of Calbayog, and Jerry P. Treñas2 assailing the constitutionality of
The Cityhood Laws violate Sections 6 and 10, Article X of the Constitution, and are thus
the subject Cityhood Laws and enjoining the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and
unconstitutional.
respondent municipalities from conducting plebiscites pursuant to the Cityhood Laws.

First, applying the P100 million income requirement in RA 9009 to the present case is a
The Facts: During the 11th Congress,3 Congress enacted into law 33 bills converting 33
prospective, not a retroactive application, because RA 9009 took effect in 2001 while the cityhood
municipalities into cities. However, Congress did not act on bills converting 24 other municipalities
bills became law more than five years later.
into cities.

Second, the Constitution requires that Congress shall prescribe all the criteria for the creation of a
During the 12th Congress,4 Congress enacted into law Republic Act No. 9009 (RA 9009),5 which
city in the Local Government Code and not in any other law, including the Cityhood Laws.
took effect on 30 June 2001. RA 9009 amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code by
increasing the annual income requirement for conversion of a municipality into a city from P20
million to P100 million. The rationale for the amendment was to restrain, in the words of Senator Third, the Cityhood Laws violate Section 6, Article X of the Constitution because they prevent a
Aquilino Pimentel, "the mad rush" of municipalities to convert into cities solely to secure a larger fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units.
share in the Internal Revenue Allotment despite the fact that they are incapable of fiscal
independence.6
Fourth, the criteria prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA
9009, for converting a municipality into a city are clear, plain and unambiguous, needing no resort
After the effectivity of RA 9009, the House of Representatives of the 12th Congress7 adopted to any statutory construction.
Joint Resolution No. 29,8 which sought to exempt from the P100 million income requirement in
RA 9009 the 24 municipalities whose cityhood bills were not approved in the 11th Congress.
However, the 12thCongress ended without the Senate approving Joint Resolution No. 29. Fifth, the intent of members of the 11th Congress to exempt certain municipalities from the
coverage of RA 9009 remained an intent and was never written into Section 450 of the Local
Government Code.
During the 13th Congress,9 the House of Representatives re-adopted Joint Resolution No. 29 as
Joint Resolution No. 1 and forwarded it to the Senate for approval. However, the Senate again
Sixth, the deliberations of the 11th or 12th Congress on unapproved bills or resolutions are not
failed to approve the Joint Resolution. Following the advice of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, 16
municipalities filed, through their respective sponsors, individual cityhood bills. The 16 cityhood extrinsic aids in interpreting a law passed in the 13th Congress.
bills contained a common provision exempting all the 16 municipalities from the P100 million
income requirement in RA 9009. Seventh, even if the exemption in the Cityhood Laws were written in Section 450 of the Local
Government Code, the exemption would still be unconstitutional for violation of the equal
On 22 December 2006, the House of Representatives approved the cityhood bills. The Senate protection clause.: Preliminary Matters
also approved the cityhood bills in February 2007, except that of Naga, Cebu which was passed
on 7 June 2007. The cityhood bills lapsed into law (Cityhood Laws10) on various dates from March Prohibition is the proper action for testing the constitutionality of laws administered by the
to July 2007 without the President's signature.11 COMELEC,14 like the Cityhood Laws, which direct the COMELEC to hold plebiscites in
implementation of the Cityhood Laws. Petitioner League of Cities of the Philippines has legal
The Cityhood Laws direct the COMELEC to hold plebiscites to determine whether the voters in standing because Section 499 of the Local Government Code tasks the League with the "primary
each respondent municipality approve of the conversion of their municipality into a city. purpose of ventilating, articulating and crystallizing issues affecting city government
administration and securing, through proper and legal means, solutions thereto."15
Petitioners-in-intervention,16 which are existing cities, have legal standing because their Internal
Petitioners filed the present petitions to declare the Cityhood Laws unconstitutional for violation of Revenue Allotment will be reduced if the Cityhood Laws are declared constitutional. Mayor Jerry
Section 10, Article X of the Constitution, as well as for violation of the equal protection P. Treñas has legal standing because as Mayor of Iloilo City and as a taxpayer he has sufficient
clause.12Petitioners also lament that the wholesale conversion of municipalities into cities will interest to prevent the unlawful expenditure of public funds, like the release of more Internal
reduce the share of existing cities in the Internal Revenue Allotment because more cities will Revenue Allotment to political units than what the law allows.
share the same amount of internal revenue set aside for all cities under Section 285 of the Local
Government Code.13
Applying RA 9009 is a Prospective Application of the Law: RA 9009 became effective on 30
June 2001 during the 11th Congress. This law specifically amended Section 450 of the Local
The Issues: The petitions raise the following fundamental issues: Government Code, which now provides:

1. Whether the Cityhood Laws violate Section 10, Article X of the Constitution; and Section 450. Requisites for Creation. – (a) A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be
converted into a component city if it has a locally generated average annual income, as
certified by the Department of Finance, of at least One hundred million pesos
(P100,000,000.00) for the last two (2) consecutive years based on 2000 constant application because RA 9009, an earlier law to the Cityhood Laws, is not being applied
prices, and if it has either of the following requisites: retroactively but prospectively.

(i) a contiguous territory of at least one hundred (100) square kilometers, as certified Congress Must Prescribe in the Local Government Code All Criteria
by the Land Management Bureau; or
Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution provides:
(ii) a population of not less than one hundred fifty thousand (150,000) inhabitants, as
certified by the National Statistics Office.
No province, city, municipality, or barangay shall be created, divided, merged, abolished or
its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in
The creation thereof shall not reduce the land area, population and income of the original the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a
unit or units at the time of said creation to less than the minimum requirements prescribed plebiscite in the political units directly affected. (Emphasis supplied)
herein.
The Constitution is clear. The creation of local government units must follow the criteria
(b) The territorial jurisdiction of a newly-created city shall be properly identified by metes established in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. There is only one Local
and bounds. The requirement on land area shall not apply where the city proposed to be Government Code.18 The Constitution requires Congress to stipulate in the Local Government
created is composed of one (1) or more islands. The territory need not be contiguous if it Code all the criteria necessary for the creation of a city, including the conversion of a municipality
comprises two (2) or more islands. into a city. Congress cannot write such criteria in any other law, like the Cityhood Laws.

(c) The average annual income shall include the income accruing to the general fund, The criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code govern exclusively the creation of a city.
exclusive of special funds, transfers, and non-recurring income. (Emphasis supplied) No other law, not even the charter of the city, can govern such creation. The clear intent of the
Constitution is to insure that the creation of cities and other political units must follow the same
uniform, non-discriminatory criteria found solely in the Local Government Code. Any
Thus, RA 9009 increased the income requirement for conversion of a municipality into a city from
derogation or deviation from the criteria prescribed in the Local Government Code violates
P20 million to P100 million. Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA 9009,
Section 10, Article X of the Constitution.
does not provide any exemption from the increased income requirement.

RA 9009 amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code to increase the income
Prior to the enactment of RA 9009, a total of 57 municipalities had cityhood bills pending in
requirement from P20 million to P100 million for the creation of a city. This took effect on 30
Congress. Thirty-three cityhood bills became law before the enactment of RA 9009. Congress
June 2001. Hence, from that moment the Local Government Code required that any
did not act on 24 cityhood bills during the 11th Congress.
municipality desiring to become a city must satisfy the P100 million income requirement.
Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA 9009, does not contain any
During the 12th Congress, the House of Representatives adopted Joint Resolution No. 29, exemption from this income requirement.
exempting from the income requirement of P100 million in RA 9009 the 24 municipalities whose
cityhood bills were not acted upon during the 11th Congress. This Resolution reached the Senate.
In enacting RA 9009, Congress did not grant any exemption to respondent municipalities, even
However, the 12th Congress adjourned without the Senate approving Joint Resolution No.
though their cityhood bills were pending in Congress when Congress passed RA 9009. The
29.
Cityhood Laws, all enacted after the effectivity of RA 9009, explicitly exempt respondent
municipalities from the increased income requirement in Section 450 of the Local Government
During the 13th Congress, 16 of the 24 municipalities mentioned in the unapproved Joint Code, as amended by RA 9009. Such exemption clearly violates Section 10, Article X of the
Resolution No. 29 filed between November and December of 2006, through their respective Constitution and is thus patently unconstitutional. To be valid, such exemption must be
sponsors in Congress, individual cityhood bills containing a common provision, as follows: written in the Local Government Code and not in any other law, including the Cityhood
Laws.
Exemption from Republic Act No. 9009. - The City of x x x shall be exempted from the
income requirement prescribed under Republic Act No. 9009. Cityhood Laws Violate Section 6, Article X of the Constitution

This common provision exempted each of the 16 municipalities from the income Uniform and non-discriminatory criteria as prescribed in the Local Government Code are
requirement of P100 million prescribed in Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as essential to implement a fair and equitable distribution of national taxes to all local government
amended by RA 9009. These cityhood bills lapsed into law on various dates from March to July units. Section 6, Article X of the Constitution provides:
2007 after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo failed to sign them.
Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes
Indisputably, Congress passed the Cityhood Laws long after the effectivity of RA 9009. RA 9009 which shall be automatically released to them. (Emphasis supplied)
became effective on 30 June 2001 or during the 11th Congress. The 13th Congress passed
in December 2006 the cityhood bills which became law only in 2007. Thus, respondent
If the criteria in creating local government units are not uniform and discriminatory, there can be
municipalities cannot invoke the principle of non-retroactivity of laws.17 This basic rule has no
no fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units. cannot create a private corporation through a special law or charter.

A city with an annual income of only P20 million, all other criteria being equal, should not receive Deliberations of the 11th Congress on Unapproved Bills Inapplicable
the same share in national taxes as a city with an annual income of P100 million or more. The
criteria of land area, population and income, as prescribed in Section 450 of the Local
Congress is not a continuing body.22 The unapproved cityhood bills filed during the 11th
Government Code, must be strictly followed because such criteria, prescribed by law, are
Congress became mere scraps of paper upon the adjournment of the 11th Congress. All the
material in determining the "just share" of local government units in national taxes. Since the
hearings and deliberations conducted during the 11th Congress on unapproved bills also became
Cityhood Laws do not follow the income criterion in Section 450 of the Local Government Code,
worthless upon the adjournment of the 11th Congress. These hearings and deliberations
they prevent the fair and just distribution of the Internal Revenue Allotment in violation of Section
cannot be used to interpret bills enacted into law in the 13th or subsequent Congresses.
6, Article X of the Constitution.

The members and officers of each Congress are different. All unapproved bills filed in one
Section 450 of the Local Government Code is Clear,
Congress become functus officio upon adjournment of that Congress and must be re-filed anew
Plain and Unambiguous
in order to be taken up in the next Congress. When their respective authors re-filed the cityhood
bills in 2006 during the 13th Congress, the bills had to start from square one again, going through
There can be no resort to extrinsic aids – like deliberations of Congress – if the language of the the legislative mill just like bills taken up for the first time, from the filing to the approval. Section
law is plain, clear and unambiguous. Courts determine the intent of the law from the literal 123, Rule XLIV of the Rules of the Senate, on Unfinished Business, provides:
language of the law, within the law's four corners.19 If the language of the law is plain, clear and
unambiguous, courts simply apply the law according to its express terms. If a literal application of
Sec. 123. All pending matters and proceedings shall terminate upon the expiration of
the law results in absurdity, impossibility or injustice, then courts may resort to extrinsic aids of
one (1) Congress, but may be taken by the succeeding Congress as if presented for the
statutory construction like the legislative history of the law.20
first time. (Emphasis supplied)

Congress, in enacting RA 9009 to amend Section 450 of the Local Government Code, did not
Similarly, Section 78 of the Rules of the House of Representatives, on Unfinished Business,
provide any exemption from the increased income requirement, not even to respondent
states: Section 78. Calendar of Business. The Calendar of Business shall consist of the following:
municipalities whose cityhood bills were then pending when Congress passed RA 9009. Section
a. Unfinished Business. This is business being considered by the House at the time of its last
450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA 9009, contains no exemption whatsoever.
adjournment. Its consideration shall be resumed until it is disposed of. The Unfinished Business
Since the law is clear, plain and unambiguous that any municipality desiring to convert into a city
at the end of a session shall be resumed at the commencement of the next session as if no
must meet the increased income requirement, there is no reason to go beyond the letter of the
adjournment has taken place. At the end of the term of a Congress, all Unfinished Business
law in applying Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA 9009.
are deemed terminated. (Emphasis supplied)

The 11th Congress' Intent was not Written into the Local Government Code
Thus, the deliberations during the 11th Congress on the unapproved cityhood bills, as well as the
deliberations during the 12th and 13th Congresses on the unapproved resolution exempting from
True, members of Congress discussed exempting respondent municipalities from RA 9009, as RA 9009 certain municipalities, have no legal significance. They do not qualify as extrinsic aids in
shown by the various deliberations on the matter during the 11th Congress. However, Congress construing laws passed by subsequent Congresses.
did not write this intended exemption into law. Congress could have easily included such
exemption in RA 9009 but Congress did not. This is fatal to the cause of respondent
Applicability of Equal Protection Clause
municipalities because such exemption must appear in RA 9009 as an amendment to Section
450 of the Local Government Code. The Constitution requires that the criteria for the conversion
of a municipality into a city, including any exemption from such criteria, must all be written in the If Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA 9009, contained an exemption
Local Government Code. Congress cannot prescribe such criteria or exemption from such criteria to the P100 million annual income requirement, the criteria for such exemption could be
in any other law. In short, Congress cannot create a city through a law that does not comply scrutinized for possible violation of the equal protection clause. Thus, the criteria for the
with the criteria or exemption found in the Local Government Code. exemption, if found in the Local Government Code, could be assailed on the ground of absence
of a valid classification. However, Section 450 of the Local Government Code, as amended by RA
9009, does not contain any exemption. The exemption is contained in the Cityhood Laws, which
Section 10 of Article X is similar to Section 16, Article XII of the Constitution prohibiting Congress
are unconstitutional because such exemption must be prescribed in the Local Government Code
from creating private corporations except by a general law. Section 16 of Article XII provides:
as mandated in Section 10, Article X of the Constitution.

The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the formation,
Even if the exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws were written in Section 450 of the Local
organization, or regulation of private corporations. Government-owned or controlled
Government Code, as amended by RA 9009, such exemption would still be unconstitutional for
corporations may be created or established by special charters in the interest of the
violation of the equal protection clause. The exemption provision merely states, "Exemption
common good and subject to the test of economic viability. (Emphasis supplied)
from Republic Act No. 9009 ─ The City of x x x shall be exempted from the income
requirement prescribed under Republic Act No. 9009." This one sentence exemption
Thus, Congress must prescribe all the criteria for the "formation, organization, or regulation" of provision contains no classification standards or guidelines differentiating the exempted
private corporations in a general law applicable to all without discrimination.21 Congress municipalities from those that are not exempted.
Even if we take into account the deliberations in the 11th Congress that municipalities with monopoly; or that it was aimed at any abuse, cognizable by law, in the milk business. In the
pending cityhood bills should be exempt from the P100 million income requirement, there is still absence of any such showing, we have no right to conjure up possible situations which might
no valid classification to satisfy the equal protection clause. The exemption will be based solely justify the discrimination. The classification is arbitrary and unreasonable and denies the
on the fact that the 16 municipalities had cityhood bills pending in the 11th Congress when appellant the equal protection of the law. (Emphasis supplied)
RA 9009 was enacted. This is not a valid classification between those entitled and those not
entitled to exemption from the P100 million income requirement.
In the same vein, the exemption provision in the Cityhood Laws gives the 16 municipalities a
unique advantage based on an arbitrary date − the filing of their cityhood bills before the end of
To be valid, the classification in the present case must be based on substantial distinctions, the 11thCongress - as against all other municipalities that want to convert into cities after the
rationally related to a legitimate government objective which is the purpose of the law,23 not effectivity of RA 9009.
limited to existing conditions only, and applicable to all similarly situated. Thus, this Court has
ruled:
Furthermore, limiting the exemption only to the 16 municipalities violates the requirement that the
classification must apply to all similarly situated. Municipalities with the same income as the 16
The equal protection clause of the 1987 Constitution permits a valid classification under the following conditions: respondent municipalities cannot convert into cities, while the 16 respondent municipalities can.
Clearly, as worded the exemption provision found in the Cityhood Laws, even if it were written in
1. The classification must rest on substantial distinctions; 2. The classification must be germane to the purpose Section 450 of the Local Government Code, would still be unconstitutional for violation of the
of the law; 3. The classification must not be limited to existing conditions only; and4. The classification must equal protection clause.
apply equally to all members of the same class.24

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petitions and declare UNCONSTITUTIONAL the Cityhood Laws,
There is no substantial distinction between municipalities with pending cityhood bills in the namely: Republic Act Nos. 9389, 9390, 9391, 9392, 9393, 9394, 9398, 9404, 9405, 9407, 9408,
11thCongress and municipalities that did not have pending bills. The mere pendency of a cityhood 9409, 9434, 9435, 9436, and 9491.
bill in the 11th Congress is not a material difference to distinguish one municipality from another
for the purpose of the income requirement. The pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress
does not affect or determine the level of income of a municipality. Municipalities with pending G.R. No. 209287 February 3, 2015
cityhood bills in the 11th Congress might even have lower annual income than municipalities that
did not have pending cityhood bills. In short, the classification criterion − mere pendency of a MARIA CAROLINA P. ARAULLO, CHAIRPERSON, BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN; JUDY M. TAGUIWALO,
cityhood bill in the 11th Congress − is not rationally related to the purpose of the law which is to PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES DILIMAN, CO-CHAIRPERSON, PAGBABAGO; HENRI KAHN,
prevent fiscally non-viable municipalities from converting into cities. CONCERNED CITIZENS MOVEMENT; REP. LUZ ILAGAN, GABRIELA WOMEN'S PARTY REPRESENTATIVE; REP.
TERRY L. RIDON, KABATAAN PARTYLIST REPRESENTATIVE; REP. CARLOS ISAGANI ZARATE, BAYAN MUNA
PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVE; RENATO M. REYES, JR., SECRETARY GENERAL OF BAYAN; MANUEL K.
Municipalities that did not have pending cityhood bills were not informed that a pending cityhood DAYRIT, CHAIRMAN, ANG KAPATIRAN PARTY; VENCER MARI E. CRISOSTOMO, CHAIRPERSON, ANAKBAYAN;
VICTOR VILLANUEVA, CONVENOR, YOUTH ACT NOW, Petitioners,
bill in the 11th Congress would be a condition for exemption from the increased P100 million vs.
income requirement. Had they been informed, many municipalities would have caused the filing BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES; PAQUITO N. OCHOA,
of their own cityhood bills. These municipalities, even if they have bigger annual income than the JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; AND FLORENCIO B. ABAD, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET
16 respondent municipalities, cannot now convert into cities if their income is less than P100 AND MANAGEMENT, Respondents.
million.
G.R. No. 209135

The fact of pendency of a cityhood bill in the 11th Congress limits the exemption to a specific
condition existing at the time of passage of RA 9009. That specific condition will never happen AUGUSTO L. SYJUCO JR., Ph.D., Petitioner,
again. This violates the requirement that a valid classification must not be limited to existing vs.
FLORENCIO B. ABAD, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE SECRETARY OF DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND
conditions only. This requirement is illustrated in Mayflower Farms, Inc. v. Ten Eyck,25 where the MANAGEMENT; AND HON. FRANKLIN MAGTUNAO DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE SENATE PRESIDENT
challenged law allowed milk dealers engaged in business prior to a fixed date to sell at a price OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
lower than that allowed to newcomers in the same business. In Mayflower, the U.S. Supreme
Court held:
G.R. No. 209136

We are referred to a host of decisions to the effect that a regulatory law may be prospective in MANUELITO R. LUNA, Petitioner,
operation and may except from its sweep those presently engaged in the calling or activity to vs.
which it is directed. Examples are statutes licensing physicians and dentists, which apply only to SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET
those entering the profession subsequent to the passage of the act and exempt those then in AND MANAGEMENT; AND EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO OCHOA, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ALTER
EGO OF THE PRESIDENT, Respondents.
practice, or zoning laws which exempt existing buildings, or laws forbidding slaughterhouses
within certain areas, but excepting existing establishments. The challenged provision is unlike
such laws, since, on its face, it is not a regulation of a business or an activity in the G.R. No. 209155
interest of, or for the protection of, the public, but an attempt to give an economic
advantage to those engaged in a given business at an arbitrary date as against all those ATTY. JOSE MALVAR VILLEGAS, JR. Petitioner
who enter the industry after that date. The appellees do not intimate that the classification vs.
bears any relation to the public health or welfare generally; that the provision will discourage THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.; AND THE SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND
MANAGEMENT FLORENCIO B. ABAD, Respondents. Before the Court are the Motion for Reconsideration2 filed by the respondents, and the Motion for
Partial Reconsideration3 filed by the petitioners in G.R. No. 209442.
G.R. No. 209164
In their Motion for Reconsideration, the respondents assail the decision4 promulgated on July 1
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), REPRESENTED BY DEAN FROILAN M. BACUNGAN, 2014 upon the following procedural and substantive errors, viz:
BENJAMIN E. DIOKNO AND LEONOR M. BRIONES, Petitioners,
vs.
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT AND/OR HON. FLORENCIO B. ABAD, Respondents. PROCEDURAL

G.R. No. 209260 I. WITHOUT AN ACTUAL CASE OR CONTROVERSY, ALLEGATIONS OF GRAVE ABUSE
OF DISCRETION ON THE PART OF ANY INSTRUMENTALITY OF THE GOVERNMENT
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), Petitioner, CANNOT CONFER ON THIS HONORABLE COURT THE POWER TO DETERMINE THE
vs. CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE DAP AND NBC NO. 541
SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT II. PETITIONERS’ ACTIONS DO NOT PRESENT AN ACTUAL CASE OR CONTROVERSY
(DBM),Respondent.
AND THEREFORE THIS HONORABLE COURT DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION
III. PETITIONERS HAVE NEITHER BEEN INJURED NOR THREATENED WITH INJURY AS A
G.R. No. 209442 RESULT OF THE OPERATION OF THE DAP AND THEREFORE SHOULD HAVE BEEN
HELD TO HAVE NO STANDING TO BRING THESE SUITS FOR CERTIORARI AND
GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA; BISHOP REUBEN M. ABANTE AND REV. JOSE L. PROHIBITION
GONZALEZ,Petitioners, IV. NOR CAN PETITIONERS’ STANDING BE SUSTAINED ON THE GROUND THAT THEY
vs. ARE BRINGING THESE SUITS AS CITIZENS AND AS TAXPAYERS
PRESIDENT BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY SENATE
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON; THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER
V. THE DECISION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IS NOT BASED ON A CONSIDERATION
FELICIANO BELMONTE, JR.; THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE, REPRESENTED BY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO OF THE ACTUAL APPLICATIONS OF THE DAP IN 116 CASES BUT SOLELY ON AN
N. OCHOA, JR.; THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY ABSTRACT CONSIDERATION OF NBC NO. 5415
FLORENCIO ABAD; THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY CESAR V. PURISIMA;
AND THE BUREAU OF TREASURY, REPRESENTED BY ROSALIA V. DE LEON, Respondents.
SUBSTANTIVE
G.R. No. 209517
A. THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT PROPERLY INTERPRETED "SAVINGS" UNDER THE
CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF THE GAA
(COURAGE), REPRESENTED BY ITS 1ST VICE PRESIDENT, SANTIAGO DASMARINAS, JR.; ROSALINDA B. ALL DAP APPLICATIONS HAVE APPROPRIATION COVER
NARTATES, FOR HERSELF AND AS NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE CONSOLIDATED UNION OF EMPLOYEES C. THE PRESIDENT HAS AUTHORITY TO TRANSFER SAVINGS TO OTHER
NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY (CUE-NHA); MANUEL BACLAGON, FOR HIMSELF AND AS PRESIDENT OF DEPARTMENTS PURSUANT TO HIS CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS
THE SOCIAL WELFARE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL
WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRAL OFFICE (SWEAP-DSWD CO); ANTONIA PASCUAL, FOR HERSELF D. THE 2011, 2012 AND 2013 GAAS ONLY REQUIRE THAT REVENUE COLLECTIONS
AND AS NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION FROM EACH SOURCE OF REVENUE ENUMERATED IN THE BUDGET PROPOSAL
(DAREA); ALBERT MAGALANG, FOR HIMSELF AND AS PRESIDENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND MUST EXCEED THE CORRESPONDING REVENUE TARGET
MANAGEMENT BUREAU EMPLOYEES UNION (EMBEU); AND MARCIAL ARABA, FOR HIMSELF AND AS E. THE OPERATIVE FACT DOCTRINE WAS WRONGLY APPLIED6
PRESIDENT OF THE KAPISANAN PARA SA KAGALINGAN NG MGA KAW ANI NG MMDA (KKK-MMDA),
Petitioners,
vs BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES; PAQUITO OCHOA, The respondents maintain that the issues in these consolidated cases were mischaracterized and
JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; AND HON. FLORENCIO B. ABAD, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, Respondents. unnecessarily constitutionalized; that the Court’s interpretation of savings can be overturned by
legislation considering that savings is defined in the General Appropriations Act (GAA), hence
making savings a statutory issue;7 that the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased
G.R. No. 209569 appropriations constitute savings and may be used for augmentation;8 and that the Court should
apply legally recognized norms and principles, most especially the presumption of good faith, in
VOLUNTEERS AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION (V ACC), REPRESENTED BY DANTE L. JIMENEZ,Petitioner, resolving their motion.9
vs. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, AND FLORENCIO B. ABAD, SECRETARY OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, Respondents.
On their part, the petitioners in G.R. No. 209442 pray for the partial reconsideration of the
decision on the ground that the Court thereby:
RESOLUTION

FAILED TO DECLARE AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ILLEGAL ALL MONEYS UNDER THE


BERSAMIN, J.: DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM (DAP) USED FOR ALLEGED AUGMENTATION
OF APPROPRIATION ITEMS THAT DID NOT HAVE ACTUAL DEFICIENCIES10
The Constitution must ever remain supreme. All must bow to the mandate of this law. Expediency
must not be allowed to sap its strength nor greed for power debase its rectitude.1 They submit that augmentation of items beyond the maximum amounts recommended by the
President for the programs, activities and projects (PAPs) contained in the budget submitted to The resolution of the petitions thus demanded the exercise by the Court of its aforedescribed
Congress should be declared unconstitutional. power of judicial review as mandated by the Constitution.

Ruling of the Court: We deny the motion for reconsideration of the petitioners in G.R. No. 209442, 2. Strict construction on the accumulation and utilization of savings
and partially grant the motion for reconsideration of the respondents.
The decision of the Court has underscored that the exercise of the power to augment shall be
The procedural challenges raised by the respondents, being a mere rehash of their earlier strictly construed by virtue of its being an exception to the general rule that the funding of PAPs
arguments herein, are dismissed for being already passed upon in the assailed decision. shall be limited to the amount fixed by Congress for the purpose.14 Necessarily, savings, their
utilization and their management will also be strictly construed against expanding the scope of
the power to augment.15 Such a strict interpretation is essential in order to keep the Executive
As to the substantive challenges, the Court discerns that the grounds are also reiterations of the
and other budget implementors within the limits of their prerogatives during budget execution,
arguments that were already thoroughly discussed and passed upon in the assailed decision.
and to prevent them from unduly transgressing Congress’ power of the purse.16 Hence,
However, certain declarations in our July 1, 2014 Decision are modified in order to clarify certain
regardless of the perceived beneficial purposes of the DAP, and regardless of whether the DAP is
matters and dispel further uncertainty.
viewed as an effective tool of stimulating the national economy, the acts and practices under the
DAP and the relevant provisions of NBC No. 541 cited in the Decision should remain illegal and
1. The Court’s power of judicial review unconstitutional as long as the funds used to finance the projects mentioned therein are sourced
from savings that deviated from the relevant provisions of the GAA, as well as the limitation on
the power to augment under Section 25(5), Article VI of the Constitution. In a society governed by
The respondents argue that the Executive has not violated the GAA because savings as a
laws, even the best intentions must come within the parameters defined and set by the
conceptis an ordinary species of interpretation that calls for legislative, instead of judicial, Constitution and the law. Laudable purposes must be carried out through legal methods.17
determination.11

Respondents contend, however, that withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased


This argument cannot stand. The consolidated petitions distinctly raised the question of the appropriations under the DAP are savings that may be used for augmentation, and that the
constitutionality of the acts and practices under the DAP, particularly their non-conformity with withdrawal of unobligated allotments were made pursuant to Section 38 Chapter 5, Book VI of the
Section 25(5), Article VI of the Constitution and the principles of separation of power and equal
Administrative Code;18 that Section 38 and Section 39, Chapter 5, Book VI of the Administrative
protection. Hence, the matter is still entirely within the Court’s competence, and its determination Code are consistent with Section 25(5), Article VI of the Constitution, which, taken together,
does not pertain to Congress to the exclusion of the Court. Indeed, the interpretation of the GAA constitute "a framework for which economic managers of the nation may pull various levers in the
and its definition of savings is a foremost judicial function. This is because the power of judicial
form of authorization from Congress to efficiently steer the economy towards the specific and
review vested in the Court is exclusive. As clarified in Endencia and Jugo v. David:12 general purposes of the GAA;"19 and that the President’s augmentation of deficient items is in
accordance with the standing authority issued by Congress through Section 39.
Under our system of constitutional government, the Legislative department is assigned the power
to make and enact laws. The Executive department is charged with the execution of carrying out Section 25(5), Article VI of the Constitution states:
of the provisions of said laws. But the interpretation and application of said laws belong
exclusively to the Judicial department. And this authority to interpret and apply the laws extends
to the Constitution. Before the courts can determine whether a law is constitutional or not, it will Section 25. 5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the
have to interpret and ascertain the meaning not only of said law, but also of the pertinent portion President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief
of the Constitution in order to decide whether there is a conflict between the two, because if there Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be
is, then the law will have to give way and has to be declared invalid and unconstitutional. authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from
savings in other items of their respective appropriations.
We have already said that the Legislature under our form of government is assigned the task and
the power to make and enact laws, but not to interpret them. This is more true with regard to the Section 38 and Section 39, Chapter 5, Book VI of the Administrative Code provide:
interpretation of the basic law, the Constitution, which is not within the sphere of the Legislative
department. If the Legislature may declare what a law means, or what a specific portion of the
Section 38. Suspension of Expenditure of Appropriations. - Except as otherwise provided in the
Constitution means, especially after the courts have in actual case ascertain its meaning by
General Appropriations Act and whenever in his judgment the public interest so requires, the
interpretation and applied it in a decision, this would surely cause confusion and instability in
President, upon notice to the head of office concerned, is authorized to suspend or otherwise
judicial processes and court decisions. Under such a system, a final court determination of a case
stop further expenditure of funds allotted for any agency, or any other expenditure authorized in
based on a judicial interpretation of the law of the Constitution may be undermined or even
the General Appropriations Act, except for personal services appropriations used for permanent
annulled by a subsequent and different interpretation of the law or of the Constitution by the
officials and employees.
Legislative department. That would be neither wise nor desirable, besides being clearly violative
of the fundamental, principles of our constitutional system of government, particularly those
governing the separation of powers.13 Section 39. Authority to Use Savings in Appropriations to Cover Deficits.—Except as otherwise
provided in the General Appropriations Act, any savings in the regular appropriations authorized
in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, office or agency,
The respondents cannot also ignore the glaring fact that the petitions primarily and significantly
may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular
alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Executive in the implementation of the DAP.
appropriations: Provided, that the creation of new positions or increase of salaries shall not be
allowed to be funded from budgetary savings except when specifically authorized by law: PAPs that were not determined to be deficient, are still constitutionally infirm and invalid.
Provided, further, that whenever authorized positions are transferred from one program or project
to another within the same department, office or agency, the corresponding amounts
At this point, it is likewise important to underscore that the reversion to the General Fund of
appropriated for personal services are also deemed transferred, without, however increasing the
unexpended balances of appropriations – savings included – pursuant to Section 28 Chapter IV,
total outlay for personal services of the department, office or agency concerned. (Bold
Book VI of the Administrative Code22 does not apply to the Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group
underscoring supplied for emphasis)
(CFAG), which include the Judiciary, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit,
Commission on Elections, Commission on Human Rights, and the Office of the Ombudsman. The
In the Decision, we said that: Unobligated allotments, on the other hand, were encompassed by reason for this is that the fiscal autonomy enjoyed by the CFAG – contemplates a guarantee of
the first part of the definition of "savings" in the GAA, that is, as "portions or balances of any full flexibility to allocate and utilize their resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs
programmed appropriation in this Act free from any obligation or encumbrance." But the first part require. It recognizes the power and authority to levy, assess and collect fees, fix rates of
of the definition was further qualified by the three enumerated instances of when savings would compensation not exceeding the highest rates authorized by law for compensation and pay plans
be realized. As such, unobligated allotments could not be indiscriminately declared as savings of the government and allocate and disburse such sums as may be provided by law or prescribed
without first determining whether any of the three instances existed. This signified that the DBM’s by them in the course of the discharge of their functions.
withdrawal of unobligated allotments had disregarded the definition of savings under the GAAs.
Fiscal autonomy means freedom from outside control. If the Supreme Court says it needs 100
The respondents rely on Section 38, Chapter 5, Book VI of the Administrative Code of 1987 to typewriters but DBM rules we need only 10 typewriters and sends its recommendations to
justify the withdrawal of unobligated allotments. But the provision authorized only the suspension Congress without even informing us, the autonomy given by the Constitution becomes an empty
or stoppage of further expenditures, not the withdrawal of unobligated allotments, to wit: and illusory platitude.

Moreover, the DBM did not suspend or stop further expenditures in accordance with Section 38, The Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman must have the
supra, but instead transferred the funds to other PAPs.20 independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of their constitutional duties. The imposition
of restrictions and constraints on the manner the independent constitutional offices allocate and
utilize the funds appropriated for their operations is anathema to fiscal autonomy and violative not
We now clarify. Section 38 refers to the authority of the President "to suspend or otherwise stop
only of the express mandate of the Constitution but especially as regards the Supreme Court, of
further expenditure of funds allotted for any agency, or any other expenditure authorized in the
the independence and separation of powers upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional
General Appropriations Act." When the President suspends or stops expenditure of funds,
system is based. x x x23
savings are not automatically generated until it has been established that such funds or
appropriations are free from any obligation or encumbrance, and that the work, activity or
purpose for which the appropriation is authorized has been completed, discontinued or On the other hand, Section 39 is evidently in conflict with the plain text of Section 25(5), Article VI
abandoned. of the Constitution because it allows the President to approve the use of any savings in the
regular appropriations authorized in the GAA for programs and projects of any department, office
or agency to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations. As such, Section 39
It is necessary to reiterate that under Section 5.7 of NBC No. 541, the withdrawn unobligated
violates the mandate of Section 25(5) because the latter expressly limits the authority of the
allotments may be:
President to augment an item in the GAA to only those in his own Department out of the savings
in other items of his own Department’s appropriations. Accordingly, Section 39 cannot serve as a
5.7.1 Reissued for the original programs and projects of the agencies/OUs concerned, from which the allotments were withdrawn; valid authority to justify cross-border transfers under the DAP. Augmentations under the DAP
which are made by the Executive within its department shall, however, remain valid so long as the
5.7.2 Realigned to cover additional funding for other existing programs and projects of the agency/OU; or requisites under Section 25(5) are complied with.

5.7.3 Used to augment existing programs and projects of any agency and to fund priority programs and projects not considered in the 2012 budget but
expected to be started or implemented during the current year. In this connection, the respondents must always be reminded that the Constitution is the basic
law to which all laws must conform. No act that conflicts with the Constitution can be valid.24 In
Mutuc v. Commission on Elections,25therefore, we have emphasized the importance of
Although the withdrawal of unobligated allotments may have effectively resulted in the recognizing and bowing to the supremacy of the Constitution: The concept of the Constitution as
suspension or stoppage of expenditures through the issuance of negative Special Allotment the fundamental law, setting forth the criterion for the validity of any public act whether proceeding
Release Orders (SARO), the reissuance of withdrawn allotments to the original programs and from the highest official or the lowest functionary, is a postulate of our system of government.
projects is a clear indication that the program or project from which the allotments were withdrawn That is to manifest fealty to the rule of law, with priority accorded to that which occupies the
has not been discontinued or abandoned. Consequently, as we have pointed out in the Decision, topmost rung in the legal hierarchy. The three departments of government in the discharge of the
"the purpose for which the withdrawn funds had been appropriated was not yet fulfilled, or did not functions with which it is [sic] entrusted have no choice but to yield obedience to its commands.
yet cease to exist, rendering the declaration of the funds as savings impossible."21 In this regard, Whatever limits it imposes must be observed. Congress in the enactment of statutes must ever
the withdrawal and transfer of unobligated allotments remain unconstitutional. But then, whether be on guard lest the restrictions on its authority, whether substantive or formal, be transcended.
the withdrawn allotments have actually been reissued to their original programs or projects is a The Presidency in the execution of the laws cannot ignore or disregard what it ordains. In its task
factual matter determinable by the proper tribunal. of applying the law to the facts as found in deciding cases, the judiciary is called upon to maintain
inviolate what is decreed by the fundamental law. Even its power of judicial review to pass upon
Also, withdrawals of unobligated allotments pursuant to NBC No. 541 which shortened the the validity of the acts of the coordinate branches in the course of adjudication is a logical
availability of appropriations for MOOE and capital outlays, and those which were transferred to corollary of this basic principle that the Constitution is paramount. It overrides any governmental
measure that fails to live up to its mandates. Thereby there is a recognition of its being the appropriations of money" and notonly "general provisions" which provide for parameters of
supreme law. appropriation.

Also, in Biraogo v. Philippine Truth Commission of 2010,26 we have reminded that: – The role of Further, it is significant to point out that an item of appropriation must be an item characterized by
the Constitution cannot be overlooked. It is through the Constitution that the fundamental powers singular correspondence – meaning an allocation of a specified singular amount for a specified
of government are established, limited and defined, and by which these powers are distributed singular purpose, otherwise known as a "line-item." This treatment not only allows the item to be
among the several departments. The Constitution is the basic and paramount law to which all consistent with its definition as a "specific appropriation of money" but also ensures that the
other laws must conform and to which all persons, including the highest officials of the land, must President may discernibly veto the same. Based on the foregoing formulation, the existing
defer. Constitutional doctrines must remain steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time. It Calamity Fund, Contingent Fund and the Intelligence Fund, being appropriations which state a
cannot be simply made to sway and accommodate the call of situations and much more tailor specified amount for a specific purpose, would then be considered as "line-item" appropriations
itself to the whims and caprices of government and the people who run it.27 which are rightfully subject to item veto. Likewise, it must be observed that an appropriation may
be validly apportioned into component percentages or values; however, it is crucial that each
percentage or value must be allocated for its own corresponding purpose for such component to
3. The power to augment cannot be used to fund non-existent provisions in the GAA
be considered as a proper line-item. Moreover, as Justice Carpio correctly pointed out, a valid
appropriation may even have several related purposes that are by accounting and budgeting
The respondents posit that the Court has erroneously invalidated all the DAP-funded projects by practice considered as one purpose, e.g., MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses),
overlooking the difference between an item and an allotment class, and by concluding that they in which case the related purposes shall be deemed sufficiently specific for the exercise of the
do not have appropriation cover; and that such error may induce Congress and the Executive President‘s item veto power. Finally, special purpose funds and discretionary funds would equally
(through the DBM) to ensure that all items should have at least ₱1 funding in order to allow square with the constitutional mechanism of item-veto for as long as they follow the rule on
augmentation by the President.28 singular correspondence as herein discussed. x x x (Emphasis supplied)33

At the outset, we allay the respondents’ apprehension regarding the validity of the DAP funded Accordingly, the item referred to by Section 25(5) of the Constitution is the last and indivisible
projects. It is to be emphatically indicated that the Decision did not declare the en masse purpose of a program in the appropriation law, which is distinct from the expense category or
invalidation of the 116 DAP-funded projects. To be sure, the Court recognized the encouraging allotment class. There is no specificity, indeed, either in the Constitution or in the relevant GAAs
effects of the DAP on the country’s economy,29 and acknowledged its laudable purposes, most that the object of augmentation should be the expense category or allotment class. In the same
especially those directed towards infrastructure development and efficient delivery of basic social vein, the President cannot exercise his veto power over an expense category; he may only veto
services.30 It bears repeating that the DAP is a policy instrument that the Executive, by its own the item to which that expense category belongs to.
prerogative, may utilize to spur economic growth and development.
Further, in Nazareth v. Villar,34 we clarified that there must be an existing item, project or activity,
Nonetheless, the Decision did find doubtful those projects that appeared to have no appropriation purpose or object of expenditure with an appropriation to which savings may be transferred for
cover under the relevant GAAs on the basis that: (1) the DAP funded projects that originally did the purpose of augmentation. Accordingly, so long as there is an item in the GAA for which
not contain any appropriation for some of the expense categories (personnel, MOOE and capital Congress had set aside a specified amount of public fund, savings may be transferred thereto for
outlay); and (2) the appropriation code and the particulars appearing in the SARO did not augmentation purposes. This interpretation is consistent not only with the Constitution and the
correspond with the program specified in the GAA. The respondents assert, however, that there is GAAs, but also with the degree of flexibility allowed to the Executive during budget execution in
no constitutional requirement for Congress to create allotment classes within an item. What is responding to unforeseeable contingencies.
required is for Congress to create items to comply with the line-item veto of the President.31 After
a careful reexamination of existing laws and jurisprudence, we find merit in the respondents’
Nonetheless, this modified interpretation does not take away the cave at that only DAP projects
argument. Indeed, Section 25(5) of the 1987 Constitution mentions of the term item that may be
found in the appropriate GAAs may be the subject of augmentation by legally accumulated
the object of augmentation by the President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the
savings. Whether or not the 116 DAP-funded projects had appropriation cover and were validly
Chief Justice, and the heads of the Constitutional Commissions. In Belgica v. Ochoa,32 we said
augmented require factual determination that is not within the scope of the present consolidated
that an item that is the distinct and several part of the appropriation bill, in line with the item-veto
petitions under Rule 65.
power of the President, must contain "specific appropriations of money" and not be only general
provisions, thus:
4. Cross-border transfers are constitutionally impermissible
For the President to exercise his item-veto power, it necessarily follows that there exists a proper
"item" which may be the object of the veto. An item, as defined in the field of appropriations, The respondents assail the pronouncement of unconstitutionality of cross-border transfers made
pertains to "the particulars, the details, the distinct and severable parts of the appropriation or of by the President. They submit that Section 25(5), Article VI of the Constitution prohibits only the
the bill." In the case of Bengzon v. Secretary of Justice of the Philippine Islands, the US Supreme transfer of appropriation, not savings. They relate that cross-border transfers have been the
Court characterized an item of appropriation as follows: practice in the past, being consistent with the President’s role as the Chief Executive.35

An item of an appropriation bill obviously means an item which, in itself, is a specific appropriation In view of the clarity of the text of Section 25(5), however, the Court stands by its pronouncement,
of money, not some general provision of law which happens to be put into an appropriation bill. and will not brook any strained interpretations.
(Emphases supplied) On this premise, it may be concluded that an appropriation bill, to ensure
that the President may be able to exercise his power of item veto, must contain "specific
5. Unprogrammed funds may only be released upon proof that the total revenues exceeded the
target unprogrammed fund may take place even prior to the end of the fiscal year.42

Based on the 2011, 2012 and 2013 GAAs, the respondents contend that each source of revenue In fact, the eleventh special provision for unprogrammed funds in the 2011 GAA requires the DBM
in the budget proposal must exceed the respective target to authorize release of unprogrammed to submit quarterly reports stating the details of the use and releases from the unprogrammed
funds. Accordingly, the Court’s ruling thereon nullified the intention of the authors of the funds, viz:
unprogrammed fund, and renders useless the special provisions in the relevant GAAs.36
11. Reportorial Requirement. The DBM shall submit to the House Committee on Appropriations
The respondents’ contentions are without merit. and the Senate Committee on Finance separate quarterly reports stating the releases from the
Unprogrammed Fund, the amounts released and purposes thereof, and the recipient
departments, bureaus, agencies or offices, GOCCs and GFIs, including the authority under which
To recall, the respondents justified the use of unprogrammed funds by submitting certifications
the funds are released under Special Provision No. 1 of the Unprogrammed Fund.
from the Bureau of Treasury and the Department of Finance (DOF) regarding the dividends
derived from the shares of stock held by the Government in government-owned and controlled
corporations.37 In the decision, the Court has held that the requirement under the relevant GAAs Similar provisions are contained in the 2012 and 2013 GAAs.43
should be construed in light of the purpose for which the unprogrammed funds were denominated
as "standby appropriations." Hence, revenue targets should be considered as a whole, not
However, the Court’s construction of the provision on unprogrammed funds is a statutory, not a
individually; otherwise, we would be dealing with artificial revenue surpluses. We have even
constitutional, interpretation of an ambiguous phrase. Thus, the construction should be given
cautioned that the release of unprogrammed funds based on the respondents’ position could be
prospective effect.44
unsound fiscal management for disregarding the budget plan and fostering budget deficits,
contrary to the Government’s surplus budget policy.38
6. The presumption of good faith stands despite the obiter pronouncement. The remaining
concern involves the application of the operative fact doctrine. The respondents decry the
While we maintain the position that aggregate revenue collection must first exceed aggregate
misapplication of the operative fact doctrine, stating:
revenue target as a pre-requisite to the use of unprogrammed funds, we clarify the respondents’
notion that the release of unprogrammed funds may only occur at the end of the fiscal year.
110. The doctrine of operative fact has nothing to do with the potential liability of persons who
acted pursuant to a then-constitutional statute, order, or practice. They are presumed to have
There must be consistent monitoring as a component of the budget accountability phase of every
acted in good faith and the court cannot load the dice, so to speak, by disabling possible
agency’s performance in terms of the agency’s budget utilization as provided in Book VI, Chapter
defenses in potential suits against so-called "authors, proponents and implementors." The mere
6, Section 51 and Section 52 of the Administrative Code of 1987,which state:
nullification are still deemed valid on the theory that judicial nullification is a contingent or
unforeseen event.
SECTION 51. Evaluation of Agency Performance.—The President, through the Secretary shall
evaluate on a continuing basis the quantitative and qualitative measures of agency performance
111. The cases before us are about the statutory and constitutional interpretations of so-called
as reflected in the units of work measurement and other indicators of agency performance,
acts and practices under a government program, DAP. These are not civil, administrative, or
including the standard and actual costs per unit of work.
criminal actions against the public officials responsible for DAP, and any statement about bad
faith may be unfairly and maliciously exploited for political ends. At the same time, any negation
SECTION 52. Budget Monitoring and Information System.—The Secretary of Budget shall of the presumption of good faith, which is the unfortunate implication of paragraphs 3 and 4 of
determine accounting and other items of information, financial or otherwise, needed to monitor page 90 of the Decision, violates the constitutional presumption of innocence, and is inconsistent
budget performance and to assess effectiveness of agencies’ operations and shall prescribe the with the Honorable Court’s recognition that "the implementation of the DAP yielded undeniably
forms, schedule of submission, and other components of reporting systems, including the positive results that enhanced the economic welfare of the country."
maintenance of subsidiary and other records which will enable agencies to accomplish and
submit said information requirements: Provided, that the Commission on Audit shall, in
112. The policy behind the operative fact doctrine is consistent with the idea that regardless of the
coordination with the Secretary of Budget, issue rules and regulations that may be applicable
nullification of certain acts and practices under the DAP and/or NBC No. 541, it does not operate
when the reporting requirements affect accounting functions of agencies: Provided, further, that
to impute bad faith to authors, proponents and implementors who continue to enjoy the
the applicable rules and regulations shall be issued by the Commission on Audit within a period of
presumption of innocence and regularity in the performance of official functions and duties. Good
thirty (30) days after the Department of Budget and Management prescribes the reporting
faith is presumed, whereas bad faith requires the existence of facts. To hold otherwise would
requirements.
send a chilling effect to all public officers whether of minimal or significant discretion, the result of
which would be a dangerous paralysis of bureaucratic activity.45 (Emphasis supplied)
Pursuant to the foregoing, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the
Commission on Audit (COA) require agencies under various joint circulars to submit budget and
In the speech he delivered on July 14, 2014, President Aquino III also expressed the view that in
financial accountability reports (BFAR) on a regular basis,39 one of which is the Quarterly Report
applying the doctrine of operative fact, the Court has already presumed the absence of good faith
of Income or Quarterly Report of Revenue and Other Receipts.40 On the other hand, as Justice
on the part of the authors, proponents and implementors of the DAP, so that they would have to
Carpio points out in his Separate Opinion, the Development Budget Coordination Committee
prove good faith during trial.46
(DBCC) sets quarterly revenue targets for aspecific fiscal year.41 Since information on both actual
revenue collections and targets are made available every quarter, or at such time as the DBM
may prescribe, actual revenue surplus may be determined accordingly and eleases from the Hence, in their Motion for Reconsideration, the respondents now urge that the Court should
extend the presumption of good faith in favor of the President and his officials who co-authored, overcoming any number of these presumptions, and a cause of action can certainly be geared
proposed or implemented the DAP.47 towards such effect. The very purpose of trial is to allow a party to present evidence to overcome
the disputable presumptions involved. Otherwise, if trial is deemed irrelevant or unnecessary,
owing to the perceived indisputability of the presumptions, the judicial exercise would be
The paragraphs 3 and 4 of page 90 of the Decision alluded to by the respondents read:
relegated to a mere ascertainment of what presumptions apply in a given case, nothing more.
Nonetheless, as Justice Brion has pointed out during the deliberations, the doctrine of operative
Consequently, the entire Rules of Court is rendered as excess verbiage, save perhaps for the
fact does not always apply, and is not always the consequence of every declaration of
provisions laying down the legal presumptions.
constitutional invalidity. It can be invoked only in situations where the nullification of the effects of
what used to be a valid law would result in inequity and injustice; but where no such result would
ensue, the general rule that an unconstitutional law is totally ineffective should apply. Relevantly, the authors, proponents and implementors of the DAP, being public officers, further
enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their functions. This presumption is
necessary because they are clothed with some part of the sovereignty of the State, and because
In that context, as Justice Brion has clarified, the doctrine of operative fact can apply only to the
they act in the interest of the public as required by law.55 However, the presumption may be
PAPs that can no longer be undone, and whose beneficiaries relied in good faith on the validity of
disputed.56
the DAP, but cannot apply to the authors, proponents and implementors of the DAP, unless there
are concrete findings of good faith in their favor by the proper tribunals determining their criminal,
civil, administrative and other liabilities.48 (Bold underscoring is supplied) At any rate, the Court has agreed during its deliberations to extend to the proponents and
implementors of the DAP the benefit of the doctrine of operative fact. This is because they had
nothing to do at all with the adoption of the invalid acts and practices.
The quoted text of paragraphs 3 and 4 shows that the Court has neither thrown out the
presumption of good faith nor imputed bad faith to the authors, proponents and implementors of
the DAP. The contrary is true, because the Court has still presumed their good faith by pointing 7. The PAPs under the DAP remain effective under the operative fact doctrine
out that "the doctrine of operative fact xxx cannot apply to the authors, proponents and
implementors of the DAP, unless there are concrete findings of good faith in their favor by the
As a general rule, the nullification of an unconstitutional law or act carries with it the illegality of its
proper tribunals determining their criminal, civil, administrative and other liabilities." Note that the
effects. However, in cases where nullification of the effects will result in inequity and injustice, the
proper tribunals can make "concrete findings of good faith in their favor" only after a full hearing of
operative fact doctrine may apply.57In so ruling, the Court has essentially recognized the impact
all the parties in any given case, and such a hearing can begin to proceed only after according all
on the beneficiaries and the country as a whole if its ruling would pave the way for the nullification
the presumptions, particularly that of good faith, by initially requiring the complainants, plaintiffs or
of the ₱144.378 Billions58 worth of infrastructure projects, social and economic services funded
accusers to first establish their complaints or charges before the respondent authors, proponents
through the DAP. Bearing in mind the disastrous impact of nullifying these projects by virtue alone
and implementors of the DAP.
of the invalidation of certain acts and practices under the DAP, the Court has upheld the efficacy
of such DAP-funded projects by applying the operative fact doctrine. For this reason, we cannot
It is equally important to stress that the ascertainment of good faith, or the lack of it, and the sustain the Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the petitioners in G.R. No. 209442.
determination of whether or not due diligence and prudence were exercised, are questions of
fact.49 The want of good faith is thus better determined by tribunals other than this Court, which
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, and SUBJECT TO THE FOREGOING CLARIFICATIONS, the
is not a trier of facts.50
Court PARTIALLY GRANTS the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the respondents, and
DENIES the Motion for Partial Reconsideration filed by the petitioners in G.R. No. 209442 for lack
For sure, the Court cannot jettison the presumption of good faith in this or in any other of merit.
case.1âwphi1 The presumption is a matter of law. It has had a long history. Indeed, good faith has
long been established as a legal principle even in the heydays of the Roman Empire.51In Soriano
ACCORDINGLY, the dispositive portion of the Decision promulgated on July 1, 2014 is hereby
v. Marcelo,52 citing Collantes v. Marcelo,53 the Court emphasizes the necessity of the presumption
MODIFIED as follows:
of good faith, thus: Well-settled is the rule that good faith is always presumed and the Chapter on
Human Relations of the Civil Code directs every person, inter alia, to observe good faith which
springs from the fountain of good conscience. Specifically, a public officer is presumed to have WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS the petitions for certiorari and prohibition; and
acted in good faith in the performance of his duties. Mistakes committed by a public officer are not DECLARES the following acts and practices under the Disbursement Acceleration Program,
actionable absent any clear showing that they were motivated by malice or gross negligence National Budget Circular No. 541 and related executive issuances UNCONSTITUTIONAL for
amounting to bad faith. "Bad faith" does not simply connote bad moral judgment or negligence. being in violation of Section 25(5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the doctrine of
There must be some dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong, separation of powers, namely:
a breach of a sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill will. It partakes of the nature of fraud.
It contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or some motive of
self-interest or ill will for ulterior purposes. (a) The withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies, and the
declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as
savings prior to the end of the fiscal year without complying with the statutory definition of
The law also requires that the public officer’s action caused undue injury to any party, including savings contained in the General Appropriations Acts; and
the government, or gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the
discharge of his functions. x x x The Court has further explained in Philippine Agila Satellite, Inc. v.
(b) The cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the
Trinidad-Lichauco: 54 We do not doubt the existence of the presumptions of "good faith" or
"regular performance of official duty", yet these presumptions are disputable and may be appropriations of other offices outside the Executive.
contradicted and overcome by other evidence. Many civil actions are oriented towards
The Court further DECLARES VOID the use of unprogrammed funds despite the absence of a be allowed to intervene, (c) the standard laid down in the Constitution, as adopted under
certification by the National Treasurer that the revenue collections exceeded the revenue targets Republic Act No. 10354, as to what constitutes allowable contraceptives shall be strictly
for non-compliance with the conditions provided in the relevant General Appropriations Acts. followed, that is, those which do not harm or destroy the life of the unborn from
conception/fertilization, (d) in weighing the evidence, all reasonable doubts shall be
resolved in favor of the protection and preservation of the right to life of the unborn from
conception/fertilization, and (e) the other requirements of administrative due process, as
summarized in Ang Tibay v. CIR, shall be complied with.

2. DIRECTS the Department of Health in coordination with other concerned agencies to


formulate the rules and regulations or guidelines which will govern the purchase and
distribution/ dispensation of the products or supplies under Section 9 of Republic Act No.
10354 covered by the certification from the Food and Drug Administration that said product
G.R. No. 217872
and supply is made available on the condition that it will not be used as an abortifacient
subject to the following minimum due process requirements: (a) publication, notice and
ALLIANCE FOR THE FAMILY FOUNDATION, PHILIPPINES, INC. (ALFI) and ATTY. MARIA CONCEPCION S. hearing, and (b) interested parties shall be allowed to intervene. The rules and regulations
NOCHE, in her own behalf and as President of ALFI, JOSE S. SANDEJAS, ROSIE B. LUISTRO, ELENITA S.A. or guidelines shall provide sufficient detail as to the manner by which said product and
SANDEJAS, EMILY R. LAWS, EILEEN Z. ARANETA, SALV ACION C. MONTEIRO, MARIETTA C. GORREZ,
ROLANDO M. BAUTISTA, RUBEN T. UMALI, and MILDRED C. CASTOR , Petitioners
supply shall be strictly regulated in order that they will not be used as an abortifacient and in
vs. order to sufficiently safeguard the right to life of the unborn.
HON. JANETTE L. GARIN, Secretary-Designate of the Department of Health; NICOLAS B.LUTERO III, Assistant
Secretary of Health, Officer-in-Charge, Food and Drug Administration; and MARIA LOURDES C. SANTIAGO,
Officer in-Charge, Center for Drug Regulation and Research, Respondents 3. DIRECTS the Department of Health to generate the complete and correct list of the
government's reproductive health programs and services under Republic Act No. 10354
G.R. No. 221866
which will serve as the template for the complete and correct information standard and,
hence, the duty to inform under Section 23(a)(l) of Republic Act No. 10354. The
Department of Health is DIRECTED to distribute copies of this template to all health care
MARIA CONCEPCION S. NOCHE, in her own behalf and as counsel of Petitioners, JOSE S. SANDEJAS, ROSIE service providers covered by Republic Act No. 10354.
B. LUISTRO, ELENITA S.A. SANDEJAS, EMILY R. LAWS EILEEN Z. ARANETA, SALVACION C. MONTEIRO
MARIETTA C. GORREZ, ROLANDO M. BAUTISTA, RUBEN T. UMALI, and MILDRED C. CASTOR,Petitioners
vs. The respondents are hereby also ordered to amend the Implementing Rules and Regulations to
HON. JANETTE L. GARIN, Secretary-Designate of the Department of Health; NICOLAS B. LUTERO III, Assistant
Secretary of Health; NICOLAS B. LUTERO III, Assistant Secretary of Health, Officer-in-Charge, Food and Drug conform to the rulings and guidelines in G.R. No. 204819 and related cases.
Administration; and MARIA LOURDES C. SANTIAGO, Officer-in-Charge, Center for Drug Regulation and
Research, Respondents.
The above foregoing directives notwithstanding, within 30 days from receipt of this disposition,
the Food and Drugs Administration should commence to conduct the necessary hearing guided
RESOLUTION by the cardinal rights of the parties laid down in CIR v. Ang Tibay.

MENDOZA, J.: Subject of this resolution is the Omnibus Motion1 filed by the respondents, thru Pending the resolution of the controversy, the motion to lift the Temporary Restraining Order is
the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), seeking partial reconsideration of the August 24, 2016 DENIED. With respect to the contempt petition, docketed as G.R No. 221866, it is hereby
Decision (Decision),2 where the Court resolved the: [1] Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition, DENIED for lack of concrete basis.
Mandamus with Prayer for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary
Prohibitory and Mandatory Injunction (G.R. No. 217872); and the [2] Petition for Contempt of
Court (G.R. No. 221866), in the following manner: Arguments of the Respondents

WHEREFORE, the case docketed as G.R No. 217872 is hereby REMANDED to the Food and Part 1: Due Process need not be complied with as the questioned acts of the Food and Drug
Drugs Administration which is hereby ordered to observe the basic requirements of due process Administration (FDA) were in the exercise of its Regulatory Powers
by conducting a hearing, and allowing the petitioners to be heard, on the re-certified, procured
and administered contraceptive drugs and devices, including Implanon and lmplanon NXT, and to In the subject Omnibus Motion, the respondents argued that their actions should be sustained,
determine whether they are abortifacients or non-abortifacients. even if the petitioners were not afforded notice and hearing, because the contested acts of
registering, re-certifying, procuring, and administering contraceptive drugs and devices were all
Pursuant to the expanded jurisdiction of this Court and its power to issue rules for the protection done in the exercise of its regulatory power.4 They contended that considering that the issuance
and enforcement of constitutional rights, the Court hereby: of the certificate of product registration (CPR) by the FDA under Section 7.04, Rule5 of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10354 (RH-IRR) did not involve
the adjudication of the parties' opposing rights and liabilities through an adversarial proceeding,
1. DIRECTS the Food and Drug Administration to formulate the rules of procedure in the the due process requirements of notice and hearing need not be complied with.6
screening, evaluation and approval of all contraceptive drugs and devices that will be used
under Republic Act No. 10354. The rules of procedure shall contain the following minimum
requirements of due process: (a) publication, notice and hearing, (b) interested parties shall Stated differently, the respondents assert that as long as the act of the FDA is exercised pursuant
to its regulatory power, it need not comply with the due process requirements of notice and rights and liabilities of the parties, the proper exercise of quasi-judicial power requires the
hearing. concurrence of two elements: one, jurisdiction which must be acquired by the administrative body
and two, the observance of the requirements of due process, that is, the right to notice and
hearing.22
Corollary to this, the respondents wanted the Court to consider that the FDA had delineated its
functions among different persons and bodies in its organization. Thus, they asked the Court to
make a distinction between the "quasi-judicial powers" exercised by the Director-General of On the argument that the certification proceedings were conducted by the FDA in the exercise of
the FDA under Section 2(b)7 of Article 3, Book I of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) its "regulatory powers" and, therefore, beyond judicial review, the Court holds that it has the
of R.A. No. 9711,8 and the "regulatory/administrative powers"exercised by the FDA under power to review all acts and decisions where there is a commission of grave abuse of discretion.
Section 2(c )(1) 9 of the same. For the respondents, the distinction given in the above-cited No less than the Constitution decrees that the Court must exercise its duty to ensure that no
provisions was all but proof that the issuance of CPR did not require notice and hearing. grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction is committed by any branch
or instrumentality of the Government. Such is committed when there is a violation of the
constitutional mandate that "no person is deprived of life, liberty, and property without due
After detailing the process by which the FDA's Center for Drug Regulation and Research (CDRR)
process of law." The Court's power cannot be curtailed by the FDA's invocation of its regulatory
examined and tested the contraceptives for non-abortifacience, 10 the respondents stressed that
power.
the Decision wreaked havoc on the organizational structure of the FDA, whose myriad of
functions had been carefully delineated in the IRR of R.A. No. 9711. 11 The respondents, thus,
prayed for the lifting of the Temporary Restraining Order (TR0). 12 In so arguing, the respondents cited Atty. Carlo L. Cruz in his book, Philippine Administrative Law.

Part 2: The requirements of due process need not be complied with as the elements of Lest there be any inaccuracy, the relevant portions of the book cited by the respondents are
procedural due process laid down in Ang Tibay v. CIR are not applicable hereby quoted as follows:

The respondents further claimed in their omnibus motion that the requirements of due process B. The Quasi-Judicial Power
need not be complied with because the standards of procedural due process laid down in Ang
Tibay v. CIR 13 were inapplicable considering that: a) substantial evidence could not be used as a
2. Determinative Powers
measure in determining whether a contraceptive drug or device was abortifacient; 14 b) the courts
had neither jurisdiction nor competence to review the findings of the FDA on the non-abortifacient
character of contraceptive drugs or devices; 15 c) the FDA was not bound by the rules of To better enable the administrative body to exercise its quasi judicial authority, it is also vested
admissibility and presentation of evidence under the Rules of Court; 16 and d) the findings of the with what is known as determinative powers and functions.
FDA could not be subject of the rule on res judicata and stare-decisis. 17
Professor Freund classifies them generally into the enabling powers and the directing powers.
The respondents then insisted that Implanon and Implanon NXT were not abortifacients and The latter includes the dispensing, the examining, and the summary powers.
lamented that the continued injunction of the Court had hampered the efforts of the FDA to
provide for the reproductive health needs of Filipino women. For the respondents, to require them
to afford the parties like the petitioners an opportunity to question their findings would cause The enabling vowers are those that permit the doing of an act which the law undertakes to
regulate and which would be unlawful with government approval. The most common
inordinate delay in the distribution of the subject contraceptive drugs and devices which would
have a dire impact on the effective implementation of the RH Law. example is the issuance of licenses to engage in a particular business or occupation, like the
operation of a liquor store or restaurant. x x x. 23 [Emphases and underscoring supplied]

The Court's Ruling : After an assiduous assessment of the arguments of the parties, the Court
denies the Omnibus Motion, but deems that a clarification on some points is in order. From the above, two things are apparent: one, the "enabling powers" cover "regulatory powers"
as defined by the respondents; and two, they refer to a subcategory of a quasi-judicial power
which, as explained in the Decision, requires the compliance with the twin requirements of notice
Judicial Review: The powers of an administrative body are classified into two fundamental and hearing. Nowhere from the above-quoted texts can it be inferred that the exercise of
powers: quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial. Quasi-legislative power, otherwise known as the "regulatory power" places an administrative agency beyond the reach of judicial review. When
power of subordinate legislation, has been defined as the authority delegated by the lawmaking there is grave abuse of discretion, such as denying a party of his constitutional right to due
body to the administrative body to adopt rules and regulations intended to carry out the provisions process, the Court can come in and exercise its power of judicial review. It can review the
of law and implement legislative policy. 18 "[A] legislative rule is in the nature of subordinate challenged acts, whether exercised by the FDA in its ministerial, quasi-judicial or regulatory power.
legislation, designed to implement a primary legislation by providing the details thereof." 19 The In the past, the Court exercised its power of judicial review over acts and decisions of agencies
exercise by the administrative body of its quasi-legislative power through the promulgation of exercising their regulatory powers, such as DPWH, 24 TRB, 25 NEA, 26and the SEC,27 among
regulations of general application does not, as a rule, require notice and hearing. The only others. In Diocese of Bacolod v. Commission on Elections,28 the Court properly exercised its
exception being where the Legislature itself requires it and mandates that the regulation shall be power of judicial review over a Comelec resolution issued in the exercise of its regulatory power.
based on certain facts as determined at an appropriate investigation.20
Clearly, the argument of the FDA is flawed.
Quasi-judicial power, on the other hand, is known as the power of the administrative agency to
determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply, in accordance with the
standards laid down by the law itself.21 As it involves the exercise of discretion in determining the Petitioners were Denied their Right to Due Process
Due process of law has two aspects: substantive and procedural. In order that a particular act Step 4. Conduct a preliminary review of the following:
may not be impugned as violative of the due process clause, there must be compliance with both
the substantive and the procedural requirements thereof. 29 Substantive due process refers to the
a. general physiology of female reproductive system, including hormones involved, female
intrinsic validity of a law that interferes with the rights of a person to his property.30 Procedural due
reproductive cycle, and conditions of the female reproductive system during pregnancy.
process, on the other hand, means compliance with the procedures or steps, even periods,
prescribed by the statute, in conformity with the standard of fair play and without arbitrariness on
the part of those who are called upon to administer it.31 b. classification of hormonal contraceptives;

The undisputed fact is that the petitioners were deprived of their constitutional right to due c. regulatory status of the products in benchmark countries; and
process of law.
d. mechanism of action of hormonal contraceptives based on reputable journals,
As expounded by the Court, what it found to be primarily deplorable is the failure of the meta-analyses, systemic reviews, evaluation of regulatory authorities in other countries,
respondents to act upon, much less address, the various oppositions filed by the petitioners textbooks, among others.
against the product registration, recertification, procurement, and distribution of the questioned
contraceptive drugs and devices. Instead of addressing the petitioners' assertion that the
Step 5. Issue a notice to all concerned MAHs, requiring them to submit scientific evidence
questioned contraceptive drugs and devices fell within the definition of an "abortifacient" under
Section 4(a) of the RH Law because of their "secondary mechanism of action which induces that their product is non-abortifacient, as defined in the RH Law and Imbong.
abortion or destruction of the fetus inside the mother's womb or the prevention of the fertilized
ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb,"32 the respondents chose to ignore them Step 6. Post a list of contraceptive products which were applied for re-certification for
and proceeded with the registration, recertification, procurement, and distribution of several public comments in the FDA website.
contraceptive drugs and devices.
Step 7. Evaluate contraceptive products for re-certification.
A cursory reading of the subject Omnibus Motion shows that the respondents proffer no cogent
explanation as to why they did not act on the petitioners' opposition. As stated by the Court in the
Decision, rather than provide concrete action to meet the petitioners' opposition, the respondents A. Part I (Review of Chemistry, Manufacture and Controls)
simply relied on their challenge questioning the propriety of the subject petition on technical and
procedural grounds. 33 The Court, thus, finds the subject motion to be simply a rehash of the 1. Unit Dose and Finished Product Formulation
earlier arguments presented before, with the respondents still harping on the peculiarity of the
FDA's functions to exempt it from compliance with the constitutional mandate that "no person
shall be deprived oflife, liberty and property without due process of law." 2. Technical Finished Product Specifications

The law and the rules demand compliance with due process requirements 3. Certificate of Analysis

A reading of the various provisions, cited by the respondents in support of their assertion that due B. Part II (Evaluation of Whether the Contraceptive Product is Abortifacient)
process need not be complied with in the approval of contraceptive drugs or devices, all the more
reinforces the Court's conclusion that the FDA did fail to afford the petitioners a genuine 1. Evaluation of the scientific evidence submitted by the applicant and the public.
opportunity to be heard.
2. Review and evaluation of extraneous evidence, e.g., scientific journals, meta-analyses,
As outlined by the respondents themselves, the steps by which the FDA approves contraceptive etc.
drugs or devices, demand compliance with the requirements of due process viz:
Step 8. Assess and review the documentary requirements submitted by the applicant. Technical
Step 1. Identify contraceptive products in the database. Create another database containing the reviewers considered scientific evidence such as meta-analyses, systemic reviews, national and
following details of contraceptive products: generic name, dosage strength and form, brand name clinical practice guidelines and recommendations of international medical organizations
(if any), registration number, manufacturer, MAH, and the period of validity of the CPR. submitted by the companies, organizations and individuals, to be part of the review.34 [Emphases
and Underlining supplied]
Step 2. Identify contraceptive products which are classified as essential medicines in the
Philippine Drug Formulary. The Court notes that the above-outlined procedure is deficient insofar as it only allows public
comments to cases of re-certification. It fails to allow the public to comment in cases where a
Step 3. Retrieve the contraceptive product's file and the CPR duplicate of all registered reproductive drug or device is being subject to the certification process for the first time. This is
contraceptive products. Create a database of the contraceptive product's history, including its clearly in contravention of the mandate of the Court in lmbong that the IRR should be
initial, renewal, amendment, and/or variation applications. amended to conform to it.
More importantly, the Court notes that Step 5 requires the FDA to issue a notice to all concerned duties:
MAHs and require them to submit scientific evidence that their product is non-abortifacient; and
that Step 6 requires the posting of the list of contraceptive products which were applied for
"(a) To administer the effective implementation of this Act and of the rules and regulations issued
re-certification for public comments in the FDA website.
pursuant to the same;

If an opposition or adverse comment is filed on the ground that the drug or devise has
"(b) To assume primary jurisdiction in the collection of samples of health products;
abortifacient features or violative of the RH Law, based on the pronouncements of the Court in
Im bong or any other law or rule, the FDA is duty-bound to take into account and consider the
basis of the opposition. "(c) To analyze and inspect health products in connection with the implementation of this Act;

To conclude that product registration, recertification, procurement, and distribution of the "(d) To establish analytical data to serve as basis for the preparation of health products standards,
questioned contraceptive drugs and devices by the FDA in the exercise of its regulatory power and to recommend standards of identity, purity, safety, efficacy, quality and fill of container;
need not comply with the requirements of due process would render the issuance of notices to
concerned MAHs and the posting of a list of contraceptives for public comment a meaningless
exercise. Concerned MAHs and the public in general will be deprived of any significant "(e) To issue certificates of compliance with technical requirements to serve as basis for the
issuance of appropriate authorization and spot-check for compliance with regulations regarding
participation if what they will submit will not be considered.
operation of manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors, wholesalers, drug outlets, and
other establishments and facilities of health products, as determined by the FDA;
Section 7.04, Rule 7 of the IRR of the RH Law (RH-IRR),35 relied upon by the respondents in
support of their claims, expressly allows the consideration of conflicting evidence, such as
that supplied by the petitioners in support of their opposition to the approval of certain "xxx
contraceptive drugs and devices. In fact, the said provision mandates that the FDA utilize the
"best evidence available" to ensure that no bortifacient is approved as a family planning drug or "(h) To conduct appropriate tests on all applicable health products prior to the issuance of
device. It bears mentioning that the same provision even allows an independent evidence review appropriate authorizations to ensure safety, efficacy, purity, and quality;
group (ERG) to ensure that evidence for or against the certification of a contraceptive drug or
device is duly considered.
"(i) To require all manufacturers, traders, distributors, importers, exporters, wholesalers, retailers,
consumers, and non-consumer users of health products to report to the FDA any incident that
Structure of the FDA reasonably indicates that said product has caused or contributed to the death, serious illness or
serious injury to a consumer, a patient, or any person;
As earlier mentioned, the respondents argue that the Decision "wreaked havoc on the
organizational structure of the FDA, whose myriad of functions have been carefully delineated "G) To issue cease and desist orders motu propio or upon verified com plaint for health products,
under R.A. No. 9711 IRR."36 Citing Section 7.04, Rule 7 of the RH-IRR, the FDA insists that the whether or not registered with the FDA Provided, That for registered health products, the cease
function it exercises in certifying family planning supplies is in the exercise of its regulatory and desist order is valid for thirty (30) days and may be extended for sixty (60) days only after due
power, which cannot be the subject of judicial review, and that it is the Director-General of the process has been observed;
FDA who exercises quasi-judicial powers, citing Section 2(b) of Article 3, Book I of the
RH-IRR.37
"(k) After due process, to order the ban, recall, and/or withdrawal of any health product found to
have caused the death, serious illness or serious injury to a consumer or patient, or is found to be
The FDA wants the Court to consider that, as a body, it has a distinct and separate personality imminently injurious, unsafe, dangerous, or grossly deceptive, and to require all concerned to
from the Director-General, who exercises quasi-judicial power. The Court cannot accommodate implement the risk management plan which is a requirement for the issuance of the appropriate
the position of the respondents. Section 6(a) of R.A. No. 3720, as amended by Section 7 of R.A. authorization;
No. 9711,38 provides that "(a) The FDA shall be headed by a director-general with the rank of
undersecretary, xxx." How can the head be separated from the body?
"(l) To strengthen the post market surveillance system in monitoring health products as defined in
this Act and incidents of adverse events involving such products;
For the record, Section 4 of R.A. No. 3720, as amended by Section 5 of R.A. No. 9711, also
recognizes compliance with the requirements of due process, although the proceedings are not
adversarial. Thus: "(m) To develop and issue standards and appropriate authorizations that would cover
establishments, facilities and health products;

Section 5. Section 4 of Republic Act No. 3720, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as
follows: "(n) To conduct, supervise, monitor and audit research studies on health and safety issues of
health products undertaken by entities duly approved by the FDA;

"SEC. 4. To carry out the provisions of this Act, there is hereby created an office to be called the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the Department of Health (DOH). Said Administration "(o) To prescribe standards, guidelines, and regulations with respect to information,
shall be under the Office of the Secretary and shall have the following functions, powers and advertisements and other marketing instruments and promotion, sponsorship, and other
marketing activities about the health products as covered in this Act;
"(p) To maintain bonded warehouses and/or establish the same, whenever necessary or should be allowed to be questioned and those who oppose the same must be given a genuine
appropriate, as determined by the director-general for confiscated goods in strategic areas of the opportunity to be heard in their stance. After all, under Section 4(k) of R.A. No. 3720, as amended
country especially at major ports of entry; and by R.A. No. 9711, the FDA is mandated to order the ban, recall and/ or withdrawal of any health
product found to have caused death, serious illness or serious injury to a consumer or patient, or
found to be imminently injurious, unsafe, dangerous, or grossly deceptive, after due process.
"(q) To exercise such other powers and perform such other functions as may be necessary to
carry out its duties and responsibilities under this Act. [Emphases supplied]
Due to the failure of the respondents to observe and comply with the basic requirements of due
process, the Court is of the view that the certifications/re-certifications and the distribution of the
The Cardinal Rights of Parties in
questioned contraceptive drugs by the respondents should be struck down as violative of the
Administrative Proceedings as
constitutional right to due process.
laid down in Ang Tibay v. CIR

Verily, it is a cardinal precept that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, the
In Ang Tibay v. CJR,39 the Court laid down the cardinal rights of parties in administrative
courts are ousted from their jurisdiction. The violation of a party's right to due process raises a
proceedings, as follows:
serious jurisdictional issue which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the denial
of the fundamental right to due process is apparent, a decision rendered in disregard of that right
1) The right to a hearing, which includes the right to present one's case and submit evidence in is void for lack of jurisdiction. This rule is equally true in quasi-judicial and administrative
support thereof; proceedings, for the constitutional guarantee that no man shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
property without due process is unqualified by the type of proceedings (whether judicial or
administrative) where he stands to lose the same.41
2) The tribunal must consider the evidence presented;

The Court stands by that finding and, accordingly, reiterates its order of remand of the case to the
3) The decision must have something to support itself;
FDA.

4) The evidence must be substantial; Procedure in the FDA; No Trial-Type Hearing

5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained The Court is of the view that the FDA need not conduct a trial-type hearing. Indeed, due process
in the record and disclosed to the parties affected; does not require the conduct of a trial-type hearing to satisfy its requirements. All that the
Constitution requires is that the FDA afford the people their right to due process of law and decide
6) The tribunal or body or any of its judges must act on its or his own independent consideration on the applications submitted by MAHs after affording the oppositors like the petitioners a
of the law and facts of the controversy and not simply accept the views of a subordinate in genuine opportunity to present their science-based evidence. As earlier pointed out, this the FDA
arriving at a decision; and failed to do. It simply ignored the opposition of the petitioners. In the case of Perez, et al. v.
Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company, et al., 42 it was stated that:
7) The board or body should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner
that the parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reason for the A formal trial-type hearing is not even essential to due process. It is enough that the parties are
decision rendered. 40 given a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy and to
present supporting evidence on which a fair decision can be based.
In the Decision, the Court found that the FDA certified, procured and administered contraceptive
drugs and devices, without the observance of the basic tenets of due process, that is, without In the fairly recent case of Vivo v. Pagcor,43 the Court explained:
notice and without public hearing. It appeared that, other than the notice inviting stakeholders to
apply for certification/recertification of their reproductive health products, there was no showing
The observance of fairness in the conduct of any investigation is at the very heart of procedural
that the respondents considered the opposition of the petitioners. Thus, the Court wrote: due process. The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied to administrative
proceedings, this means a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain one's side, or an opportunity
Rather than provide concrete evidence to meet the petitioners' opposition, the respondents to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. Administrative due process
simply relied on their challenge questioning the propriety of the subject petition on technical and cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense, for in the former a
procedural grounds. The Court notes that even the letters submitted by the petitioners to the FDA formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary, and technical rules of procedure are not
and the DOH seeking information on the actions taken by the agencies regarding their opposition strictly applied. Ledesma v. Court of Appeals elaborates on the well-established meaning of due
were left unanswered as if they did not exist at all. The mere fact that the RH Law was declared process in administrative proceedings in this wise:
as not unconstitutional does not permit the respondents to run roughshod over the constitutional
rights, substantive and procedural, of the petitioners.
x x x Due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always and in all situations require a
trial-type proceeding. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him
Indeed, although the law tasks the FDA as the primary agency to determine whether a and given an opportunity to explain or defend himself. In administrative proceedings, the filing of
contraceptive drug or certain device has no abortifacient effects, its findings and conclusion charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations
against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. The essence of due process is Sec. 32. The orders, rulings or decisions of the FDA shall be appealable to the Secretary of
simply to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one's Health. - An appeal shall be deemed perfected upon filing of the notice of appeal and posting of
side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. [Emphasis the corresponding appeal bond.
supplied; citations omitted]
An appeal shall not stay the decision appealed from unless an order from the Secretary of Health
Best Evidence Available is issued to stay the execution thereof.

Section 5, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides: Sec. 9. Appeals. - Decisions of the Secretary (DENR, DA, DOH or DOST) may be appealed to
the Office of the President. Recourse to the courts shall be allowed after exhaustion of all
administrative remedies.
Section 5. In all cases filed before administrative or quasi-judicialbodies, a fact may be
deemed established if it is supported by substantialevidence, or the amount of relevant
evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. In view thereof, the Court should modify that part of the Decision which allows direct appeal of the
FDA decision to the Court of Appeals.1âwphi1 As stated in the said decision, the FDA decision
need not be appealed to the Secretary of Health because she herself is a party herein.
As applied to certification proceedings at the FDA, "substantial evidence" refers to the best
Considering that the Executive
scientific evidence available,44 "including but not limited to: meta analyses, systematic reviews,
national clinical practice guidelines where available, and recommendations of international
medical organizations," needed to support a conclusion whether a contraceptive drug or device is Secretary is not a party herein, the appeal should be to the OP as provided in Section 9.
an abortifacient or not. The FDA need not be bound or limited by the evidence adduced by the
parties, but it can conduct its own search for related scientific data. It can also consult other
On the Prayer to Lift the TRO
technical scientific experts known in their fields. It is also not bound by the principle of stare
decisis or res judicata, but may update itself and cancel certifications motu proprio when new
contrary scientific findings become available or there arise manifest risks which have not been The respondents lament that the assailed decision undermines the functions of the FDA as the
earlier predicted. specialized agency tasked to determine whether a contraceptive drug or device is safe, effective
and non-abortifacient. They also claim that the assailed decision requiring notice and hearing
would unduly delay the issuance of CPR thereby affecting public access to State-funded
On the Competence of the Court
contraceptives. Finally, in a veritable attempt to sow panic, the respondents claim that the TRO
to review the Findings of the FDA
issued by the Court would result in "a nationwide stockout of family planning supplies in
accredited public health facilities and the commercial market. "45
The fact that any appeal to the courts will involve scientific matters will neither place the actions of
the respondents beyond the need to comply with the requirements of Ang Tibay nor place the
On this score, it should be clarified that the Decision simply enjoined the respondents from
actions of the FDA in certification proceedings beyond judicial review.
registering, recertifying, procuring, and administering only those contraceptive drugs and devices
which were the subjects of the petitioners' opposition, specifically Implanon and Implanon NXT. It
It should be pointed out that nowhere in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, are the courts never meant to enjoin the processing of the entire gamut of family planning supplies that have
ousted of their jurisdiction whenever the issues involve questions of scientific nature. A court is been declared as unquestionably non-abortifacient. Moreover, the injunction issued by the Court
not considered incompetent either in reviewing the findings of the FDA simply because it will be was only subject to the condition that the respondents afford the petitioners a genuine opportunity
weighing the scientific evidence presented by both the FDA and its oppositors in determining to their right to due process.
whether the contraceptive drug or device has complied with the requirements of the law.
As the Decision explained, the Court cannot lift the TRO prior to the summary hearing to be
Although the FDA is not strictly bound by the technical rules on evidence, as stated in the Rules conducted by the FDA. To do so would render the summary hearing an exercise in futility.
of Court, or it cannot be bound by the principle of stare decisis or res judicata, it is not excused Specifically, the respondents would want the Court to consider their argument that Implanon and
from complying with the requirements of due process. To reiterate for emphasis, due process Implanon NXT have no abortifacient effects. According to them, "the FDA tested these devices for
does not require that the FDA conduct trial-type hearing to satisfy its requirements. All that the safety, efficacy, purity, quality, and non-abortiveness prior to the issuance of certificates of
Constitution requires is that the FDA afford the people their right to due process of law and decide registration and recertification, and after the promulgation of Imbong." 46 The Court, however,
on the applications submitted by the MAHs after affording the oppositors, like the petitioners, a cannot make such determination or pronouncement at this time. To grant its prayer to lift the
genuine opportunity to present their sciencebased evidence. TRO would be premature and presumptuous. Any declaration by the Court at this time would
have no basis because the FDA, which has the mandate and expertise on the matter, has to first
resolve the controversy pending before its office.
The Appellate Procedure;
Appeal to the Office of the President
This Court also explained in the Decision that the issuance of the TRO did not mean that the FDA
should stop fulfilling its mandate to test, analyze, scrutinize, and inspect other drugs and devices.
Incidentally, Section 32 of R.A. No. 3720 and Section 9 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 247 provide
Thus:
that any decision by the FDA would then be appealable to the Secretary of Health, whose
decision, in tum, may be appealed to the Office of the President (OP). Thus:
Nothing in this resolution, however, should be construed as restraining or stopping the FDA from
carrying on its mandate and duty to test, analyze, scrutinize, and inspect drugs and devices.
What are being enjoined are the grant of certifications/re-certifications of contraceptive drugs
without affording the petitioners due process, and the distribution and administration of the
questioned contraceptive drugs and devices including Implanon and Implanon NXT until they are
determined to be safe and non-abortifacient.47

On Delay

The respondents claim that this judicial review of the administrative decision of the FDA in
certifying and recertifying drugs has caused much delay in the distribution of the subject drugs
with a dire impact on the effective implementation of the RH Law.

Stare Decisis and Jurisprudence


In this regard, the respondents have only themselves to blame. Instead of complying with the
orders of the Court as stated in the Decision to conduct a summary hearing, the respondents
have returned to this Court, asking the Court to reconsider the said decision claiming that it has G.R. No. 147097 June 5, 2009
wreaked havoc on the organizational structure of the FDA.
CARMELO F. LAZATIN, MARINO A. MORALES, TEODORO L. DAVID and ANGELITO A.
Had the FDA immediately conducted a summary hearing, by this time it would have finished it PELAYO, Petitioner,
and resolved the opposition of the petitioners.1âwphi1 Note that there was already a finding by vs. HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO as OMBUDSMAN, and SANDIGANBAYAN, THIRD DIVISION,
the FDA, which was its basis in registering, certifying and recertifying the questioned drugs and Respondents.
devices. The pharmaceutical companies or the MAHs need not present the same evidence it
earlier adduced to convince the FDA unless they want to present additional evidence to fortify
PERALTA, J.:
their positions. The only entities that would present evidence would be the petitioners to make
their point by proving with relevant scientific evidence that the contraceptives have abortifacient
effects. Thereafter, the FDA can resolve the controversy. This resolves the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, praying that the
Ombudsman's disapproval of the Office of the Special Prosecutor's (OSP) Resolution1 dated
September 18, 2000, recommending dismissal of the criminal cases filed against herein
Indeed, in addition to guaranteeing that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty and property
petitioners, be reversed and set aside.
without due process of law,48 the Constitution commands that "all persons shall have the right to a
speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative bodies."49
The antecedent facts are as follows.
WHEREFORE, the August 24, 2016 Decision is MODIFIED. Accordingly, the Food and Drug
Administration is ordered to consider the oppositions filed by the petitioners with respect to the On July 22, 1998, the Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau of the Office of the Ombudsman filed
listed drugs, including Implanon and Implanon NXT, based on the standards of the Reproductive a Complaint-Affidavit docketed as OMB-0-98-1500, charging herein petitioners with Illegal Use of
Health Law, as construed in lmbong v. Ochoa, and to decide the case within sixty (60) days from Public Funds as defined and penalized under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code and violation
the date it will be deemed submitted for resolution. of Section 3, paragraphs (a) and (e) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, as amended.

After compliance with due process and upon promulgation of the decision of the Food and Drug The complaint alleged that there were irregularities in the use by then Congressman Carmello F.
Administration, the Temporary Restraining Order would be deemed lifted if the questioned drugs Lazatin of his Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) for the calendar year 1996, i.e., he was
and devices are found not abortifacients. both proponent and implementer of the projects funded from his CDF; he signed vouchers and
supporting papers pertinent to the disbursement as Disbursing Officer; and he received, as
claimant, eighteen (18) checks amounting to ₱4,868,277.08. Thus, petitioner Lazatin, with the
After the final resolution by the Food and Drug Administration, any appeal should be to the Office
help of petitioners Marino A. Morales, Angelito A. Pelayo and Teodoro L. David, was allegedly
of the President pursuant to Section 9 of E.O. No. 247.
able to convert his CDF into cash.

As ordered in the August 24, 2016 Decision, the Food and Drug Administration is directed to
A preliminary investigation was conducted and, thereafter, the Evaluation and Preliminary
amend the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 10354 so that it would be strictly
Investigation Bureau (EPIB) issued a Resolution2 dated May 29, 2000 recommending the filing
compliant with the mandates of the Court in lmbong v. Ochoa.
against herein petitioners of fourteen (14) counts each of Malversation of Public Funds and
violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019. Said Resolution was approved by the Ombudsman;
hence, twenty-eight (28) Informations docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 26087 to 26114 were filed
against herein petitioners before the Sandiganbayan.

Petitioner Lazatin and his co-petitioners then filed their respective Motions for
Reconsideration/Reinvestigation, which motions were granted by the Sandiganbayan (Third indeed present, the Commission [referring to the Constitutional Commission of 1986] did not
Division). The Sandiganbayan also ordered the prosecution to re-evaluate the cases against hesitate to recommend that the Legislature could, through statute, prescribe such other powers,
petitioners. functions, and duties to the Ombudsman. x x x As finally approved by the Commission after
several amendments, this is now embodied in paragraph 8, Section 13, Article XI (Accountability
of Public Officers) of the Constitution, which provides:
Subsequently, the OSP submitted to the Ombudsman its Resolution3 dated September 18, 2000.
It recommended the dismissal of the cases against petitioners for lack or insufficiency of
evidence. Sec.13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions, and duties:
Promulgate its rules and procedure and exercise such other functions or duties as may be
provided by law. Expounding on this power of Congress to prescribe other powers, functions, and
The Ombudsman, however, ordered the Office of the Legal Affairs (OLA) to review the OSP
duties to the Ombudsman, we quote Commissioners Colayco and Monsod during interpellation
Resolution. In a Memorandum4 dated October 24, 2000, the OLA recommended that the OSP
by Commissioner Rodrigo:
Resolution be disapproved and the OSP be directed to proceed with the trial of the cases against
petitioners. On October 27, 2000, the Ombudsman adopted the OLA Memorandum, thereby
MR. RODRIGO:
disapproving the OSP Resolution dated September 18, 2000 and ordering the aggressive
prosecution of the subject cases. The cases were then returned to the Sandiganbayan for Precisely, I am coming to that. The last of the enumerated functions of the Ombudsman is: "to exercise such powers or perform such functions or
duties as may be provided by law." So, the legislature may vest him with powers taken away from the Tanodbayan, may it not?
continuation of criminal proceedings.
MR. COLAYCO:

Yes.
Thus, petitioners filed the instant petition.
MR. MONSOD:

Yes.
Petitioners allege that:
MR. RODRIGO:

Madam President. Section 5 reads: "The Tanodbayan shall continue to function and exercise its powers as provided by law."
I. THE OMBUDSMAN ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION OR ACTED
WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF HIS JURISDICTION. MR. COLAYCO:
II. THE QUESTIONED RESOLUTION WAS BASED ON MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS, That is correct, because it is under P.D. No. 1630.
SPECULATIONS, SURMISES AND CONJECTURES.5
MR. RODRIGO:

So, if it is provided by law, it can be taken away by law, I suppose.


Amplifying their arguments, petitioners asseverate that the Ombudsman had no authority to
MR. COLAYCO:
overturn the OSP's Resolution dismissing the cases against petitioners because, under Section
13, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Ombudsman is clothed only with the power to watch, That is correct.

investigate and recommend the filing of proper cases against erring officials, but it was not MR. RODRIGO:
granted the power to prosecute. They point out that under the Constitution, the power to And precisely, Section 12(6) says that among the functions that can be performed by the Ombudsman are "such functions or duties as may be
prosecute belongs to the OSP (formerly the Tanodbayan), which was intended by the framers to provided by law." The sponsors admitted that the legislature later on might remove some powers from the Tanodbayan and transfer these to the
Ombudsman.
be a separate and distinct entity from the Office of the Ombudsman. Petitioners conclude that, as
provided by the Constitution, the OSP being a separate and distinct entity, the Ombudsman MR. COLAYCO:
should have no power and authority over the OSP. Thus, petitioners maintain that R.A. No. 6770 Madam President, that is correct.
(The Ombudsman Act of 1989), which made the OSP an organic component of the Office of the
MR. RODRIGO:
Ombudsman, should be struck down for being unconstitutional.
Madam President, what I am worried about is, if we create a constitutional body which has neither punitive nor prosecutory powers but only
persuasive powers, we might be raising the hopes of our people too much and then disappoint them.

Next, petitioners insist that they should be absolved from any liability because the checks were MR. MONSOD:
issued to petitioner Lazatin allegedly as reimbursement for the advances he made from his I agree with the Commissioner.
personal funds for expenses incurred to ensure the immediate implementation of projects that are
MR. RODRIGO:
badly needed by the Pinatubo victims.
Anyway, since we state that the powers of the Ombudsman can later on be implemented by the legislature, why not leave this to the legislature?

The Court finds the petition unmeritorious. Petitioners' attack against the constitutionality of R.A. MR. MONSOD: (reacting to statements of Commissioner Blas Ople):

No. 6770 is stale. It has long been settled that the provisions of R.A. No. 6770 granting the Office
of the Ombudsman prosecutorial powers and placing the OSP under said office have no With respect to the argument that he is a toothless animal, we would like to say that we are
constitutional infirmity. The issue of whether said provisions of R.A. No. 6770 violated the promoting the concept in its form at the present, but we are also saying that he can exercise such
Constitution had been fully dissected as far back as 1995 in Acop v. Office of the Ombudsman.6 powers and functions as may be provided by law in accordance with the direction of the thinking
of Commissioner Rodrigo. We do not think that at this time we should prescribe this, but we leave
Therein, the Court held that giving prosecutorial powers to the Ombudsman is in accordance with it up to Congress at some future time if it feels that it may need to designate what powers the
the Constitution as paragraph 8, Section 13, Article XI provides that the Ombudsman shall Ombudsman need in order that he be more effective.1awphi1 This is not foreclosed.
"exercise such other functions or duties as may be provided by law." Elucidating on this matter,
the Court stated: While the intention to withhold prosecutorial powers from the Ombudsman was So, this is a reversible disability, unlike that of a eunuch; it is not an irreversible disability.7
The constitutionality of Section 3 of R.A. No. 6770, which subsumed the OSP under the Office of followed in subsequent cases by all courts in the land. The doctrine of stare decisis is based on
the Ombudsman, was likewise upheld by the Court in Acop. It was explained, thus: the principle that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should be deemed
settled and closed to further argument.141avvphi1
x x x the petitioners conclude that the inclusion of the Office of the Special Prosecutor as among
the offices under the Office of the Ombudsman in Section 3 of R.A. No. 6770 ("An Act Providing In Chinese Young Men's Christian Association of the Philippine Islands v. Remington Steel
for the Functional and Structural Organization of the Office of the Ombudsman and for Other Corporation,15 the Court expounded on the importance of the foregoing doctrine, stating that:
Purposes") is unconstitutional and void.
The doctrine of stare decisis is one of policy grounded on the necessity for securing certainty and
The contention is not impressed with merit. Section 7 of Article XI expressly provides that the then stability of judicial decisions, thus:
existing Tanodbayan, to be henceforth known as the Office of the Special Prosecutor, "shall
continue to function and exercise its powers as now or hereafter may be provided by law, except
Time and again, the court has held that it is a very desirable and necessary judicial practice
those conferred on the Office of the Ombudsman created under this Constitution." The
that when a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will
underscored phrase evidently refers to the Tanodbayan's powers under P.D. No. 1630 or
adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases in which the facts are substantially the
subsequent amendatory legislation. It follows then that Congress may remove any of the
same. Stare decisis et non quieta movere. Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is settled.
Tanodbayan's/Special Prosecutor's powers under P.D. No. 1630 or grant it other powers, except
Stare decisis simply means that for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case
those powers conferred by the Constitution on the Office of the Ombudsman.
should be applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though
the parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of justice that, absent any
Pursuing the present line of reasoning, when one considers that by express mandate of powerful countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. Thus, where
paragraph 8, Section 13, Article XI of the Constitution, the Ombudsman may "exercise such other the same questions relating to the same event have been put forward by the parties similarly
powers or perform functions or duties as may be provided by law," it is indubitable then that situated as in a previous case litigated and decided by a competent court, the rule of stare
Congress has the power to place the Office of the Special Prosecutor under the Office of the decisis is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issue.16
Ombudsman. In the same vein, Congress may remove some of the powers granted to the
Tanodbayan by P.D. No. 1630 and transfer them to the Ombudsman; or grant the Office of the
The doctrine has assumed such value in our judicial system that the Court has ruled that
Special Prosecutor such other powers and functions and duties as Congress may deem fit and
"[a]bandonment thereof must be based only on strong and compelling reasons, otherwise,
wise. This Congress did through the passage of R.A. No. 6770.8
the becoming virtue of predictability which is expected from this Court would be immeasurably
affected and the public's confidence in the stability of the solemn pronouncements diminished."17
The foregoing ruling of the Court has been reiterated in Camanag v. Guerrero.9 More recently, in Verily, only upon showing that circumstances attendant in a particular case override the great
Office of the Ombudsman v. Valera,10 the Court, basing its ratio decidendi on its ruling in Acop benefits derived by our judicial system from the doctrine of stare decisis, can the courts be
and Camanag, declared that the OSP is "merely a component of the Office of the Ombudsman justified in setting aside the same.
and may only act under the supervision and control, and upon authority of the Ombudsman" and
ruled that under R.A. No. 6770, the power to preventively suspend is lodged only with the
In this case, petitioners have not shown any strong, compelling reason to convince the Court that
Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman.11 The Court's ruling in Acop that the authority of the
the doctrine of stare decisis should not be applied to this case. They have not successfully
Ombudsman to prosecute based on R.A. No. 6770 was authorized by the Constitution was also
demonstrated how or why it would be grave abuse of discretion for the Ombudsman, who has
made the foundation for the decision in Perez v. Sandiganbayan,12 where it was held that the
been validly conferred by law with the power of control and supervision over the OSP, to
power to prosecute carries with it the power to authorize the filing of informations, which power
disapprove or overturn any resolution issued by the latter.
had not been delegated to the OSP. It is, therefore, beyond cavil that under the Constitution,
Congress was not proscribed from legislating the grant of additional powers to the Ombudsman
or placing the OSP under the Office of the Ombudsman. The second issue advanced by petitioners is that the Ombudsman's disapproval of the OSP
Resolution recommending dismissal of the cases is based on misapprehension of facts,
speculations, surmises and conjectures. The question is really whether the Ombudsman correctly
Petitioners now assert that the Court's ruling on the constitutionality of the provisions of R.A. No.
ruled that there was enough evidence to support a finding of probable cause. That issue, however,
6770 should be revisited and the principle of stare decisis set aside. Again, this contention
pertains to a mere error of judgment. It must be stressed that certiorari is a remedy meant to
deserves scant consideration.
correct only errors of jurisdiction, not errors of judgment. This has been emphasized in First
Corporation v. Former Sixth Division of the Court of Appeals,18 to wit:
The doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere (to adhere to precedents and not to unsettle
things which are established) is embodied in Article 8 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which
It is a fundamental aphorism in law that a review of facts and evidence is not the province of the
provides, thus:
extraordinary remedy of certiorari, which is extra ordinem - beyond the ambit of appeal. In
certiorari proceedings, judicial review does not go as far as to examine and assess the
ART. 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of evidence of the parties and to weigh the probative value thereof. It does not include an
the legal system of the Philippines. inquiry as to the correctness of the evaluation of evidence. Any error committed in the
evaluation of evidence is merely an error of judgment that cannot be remedied by
certiorari. An error of judgment is one which the court may commit in the exercise of its
It was further explained in Fermin v. People13 as follows: The doctrine of stare decisis enjoins
jurisdiction. An error of jurisdiction is one where the act complained of was issued by the court
adherence to judicial precedents. It requires courts in a country to follow the rule established
without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, which is tantamount to lack
in a decision of the Supreme Court thereof. That decision becomes a judicial precedent to be
or in excess of jurisdiction and which error is correctible only by the extraordinary writ of certiorari. CA-G.R. CV No. 59903. The appellate court, in its assailed decision and resolution, affirmed the
Certiorari will not be issued to cure errors of the trial court in its appreciation of the January 9, 1998 Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 23, Cebu City, declaring the
evidence of the parties, or its conclusions anchored on the said findings and its marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void ab initio pursuant to Article 36 of the
conclusions of law. It is not for this Court to re-examine conflicting evidence, re-evaluate Family Code.4
the credibility of the witnesses or substitute the findings of fact of the court a quo.19
The facts follow.
Evidently, the issue of whether the evidence indeed supports a finding of probable cause would
necessitate an examination and re-evaluation of the evidence upon which the Ombudsman
Petitioner Benjamin Ting (Benjamin) and respondent Carmen Velez-Ting (Carmen) first met in
based its disapproval of the OSP Resolution. Hence, the Petition for Certiorari should not be
1972 while they were classmates in medical school.5 They fell in love, and they were wed on July
given due course.
26, 1975 in Cebu City when respondent was already pregnant with their first child.

Likewise noteworthy is the holding of the Court in Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on
At first, they resided at Benjamin’s family home in Maguikay, Mandaue City.6 When their second
Behest Loans v. Desierto,20 imparting the value of the Ombudsman's independence, stating thus:
child was born, the couple decided to move to Carmen’s family home in Cebu City.7 In September
1975, Benjamin passed the medical board examinations8 and thereafter proceeded to take a
Under Sections 12 and 13, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution and RA 6770 (The Ombudsman Act residency program to become a surgeon but shifted to anesthesiology after two years. By 1979,
of 1989), the Ombudsman has the power to investigate and prosecute any act or omission of a Benjamin completed the preceptorship program for the said field9 and, in 1980, he began working
public officer or employee when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or for Velez Hospital, owned by Carmen’s family, as member of its active staff,10 while Carmen
inefficient. It has been the consistent ruling of the Court not to interfere with the worked as the hospital’s Treasurer.11
Ombudsman's exercise of his investigatory and prosecutory powers as long as his rulings
are supported by substantial evidence. Envisioned as the champion of the people and
The couple begot six (6) children, namely Dennis, born on December 9, 1975; James Louis, born
preserver of the integrity of public service, he has wide latitude in exercising his powers and
on August 25, 1977; Agnes Irene, born on April 5, 1981; Charles Laurence, born on July 21, 1986;
is free from intervention from the three branches of government. This is to ensure that his
Myles Vincent, born on July 19, 1988; and Marie Corinne, born on June 16, 1991.12
Office is insulated from any outside pressure and improper influence.21

On October 21, 1993, after being married for more than 18 years to petitioner and while their
Indeed, for the Court to overturn the Ombudsman's finding of probable cause, it is imperative for
youngest child was only two years old, Carmen filed a verified petition before the RTC of Cebu
petitioners to clearly prove that said public official acted with grave abuse of discretion. In
City praying for the declaration of nullity of their marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code.
Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Desierto,22 the Court elaborated on what
She claimed that Benjamin suffered from psychological incapacity even at the time of the
constitutes such abuse, to wit:
celebration of their marriage, which, however, only became manifest thereafter. 13

Grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment tantamount to
In her complaint, Carmen stated that prior to their marriage, she was already aware that Benjamin
lack of jurisdiction. The Ombudsman's exercise of power must have been done in an arbitrary or
used to drink and gamble occasionally with his friends.14 But after they were married, petitioner
despotic manner which must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty
continued to drink regularly and would go home at about midnight or sometimes in the wee hours
or a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. x x x23
of the morning drunk and violent. He would confront and insult respondent, physically assault her
and force her to have sex with him. There were also instances when Benjamin used his gun and
In this case, petitioners failed to demonstrate that the Ombudsman acted in a manner described shot the gate of their house.15 Because of his drinking habit, Benjamin’s job as anesthesiologist
above. Clearly, the Ombudsman was acting in accordance with R.A. No. 6770 and properly was affected to the point that he often had to refuse to answer the call of his fellow doctors and to
exercised its power of control and supervision over the OSP when it disapproved the Resolution pass the task to other anesthesiologists. Some surgeons even stopped calling him for his
dated September 18, 2000. services because they perceived petitioner to be unreliable. Respondent tried to talk to her
husband about the latter’s drinking problem, but Benjamin refused to acknowledge the same.16
It should also be noted that the petition does not question any order or action of the
Sandiganbayan Third Division; hence, it should not have been included as a respondent in this Carmen also complained that petitioner deliberately refused to give financial support to their
petition. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. No costs. family and would even get angry at her whenever she asked for money for their children. Instead
of providing support, Benjamin would spend his money on drinking and gambling and would even
buy expensive equipment for his hobby.17 He rarely stayed home18 and even neglected his
G.R. No. 166562 March 31, 2009
obligation to his children.19

BENJAMIN G. TING, Petitioner, vs. CARMEN M. VELEZ-TING, Respondent.


Aside from this, Benjamin also engaged in compulsive gambling.20 He would gamble two or three
times a week and would borrow from his friends, brothers, or from loan sharks whenever he had
NACHURA, J.: no money. Sometimes, Benjamin would pawn his wife’s own jewelry to finance his gambling.21
There was also an instance when the spouses had to sell their family car and even a portion of
the lot Benjamin inherited from his father just to be able to pay off his gambling debts.22 Benjamin
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the November 17, 2003
only stopped going to the casinos in 1986 after he was banned therefrom for having caused
Amended Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA), and its December 13, 2004 Resolution2 in trouble, an act which he said he purposely committed so that he would be banned from the
gambling establishments.23 petitioner and respondent null and void. The RTC gave credence to Dr. Oñate’s findings and the
admissions made by Benjamin in the course of his deposition, and found him to be
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. Specifically,
In sum, Carmen’s allegations of Benjamin’s psychological incapacity consisted of the following
the trial court found Benjamin an excessive drinker, a compulsive gambler, someone who prefers
manifestations:
his extra-curricular activities to his family, and a person with violent tendencies, which character
traits find root in a personality defect existing even before his marriage to Carmen. The decretal
1. Benjamin’s alcoholism, which adversely affected his family relationship and his portion of the decision reads:
profession;
WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the marriage
2. Benjamin’s violent nature brought about by his excessive and regular drinking; between plaintiff and defendant null and void ab initio pursuant to Art. 36 of the Family Code. x x x
SO ORDERED.37
3. His compulsive gambling habit, as a result of which Benjamin found it necessary to sell
the family car twice and the property he inherited from his father in order to pay off his debts, Aggrieved, petitioner appealed to the CA. On October 19, 2000, the CA rendered a Decision38
because he no longer had money to pay the same; and reversing the trial court’s ruling. It faulted the trial court’s finding, stating that no proof was
adduced to support the conclusion that Benjamin was psychologically incapacitated at the time
he married Carmen since Dr. Oñate’s conclusion was based only on theories and not on
4. Benjamin’s irresponsibility and immaturity as shown by his failure and refusal to give established fact,39 contrary to the guidelines set forth in Santos v. Court of Appeals40and in Rep.
regular financial support to his family.24 of the Phils. v. Court of Appeals and Molina.41

In his answer, Benjamin denied being psychologically incapacitated. He maintained that he is a Because of this, Carmen filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the Molina guidelines
respectable person, as his peers would confirm. He said that he is an active member of social should not be applied to this case since the Molina decision was promulgated only on February
and athletic clubs and would drink and gamble only for social reasons and for leisure. He also
13, 1997, or more than five years after she had filed her petition with the RTC.42 She claimed that
denied being a violent person, except when provoked by circumstances.25 As for his alleged the Molina ruling could not be made to apply retroactively, as it would run counter to the principle
failure to support his family financially, Benjamin claimed that it was Carmen herself who would of stare decisis. Initially, the CA denied the motion for reconsideration for having been filed
collect his professional fees from Velez Hospital when he was still serving there as practicing
beyond the prescribed period. Respondent thereafter filed a manifestation explaining compliance
anesthesiologist.26 In his testimony, Benjamin also insisted that he gave his family financial with the prescriptive period but the same was likewise denied for lack of merit. Undaunted,
support within his means whenever he could and would only get angry at respondent for lavishly respondent filed a petition for certiorari43 with this Court. In a Resolution44 dated March 5, 2003,
spending his hard-earned money on unnecessary things.27 He also pointed out that it was he who
this Court granted the petition and directed the CA to resolve Carmen’s motion for
often comforted and took care of their children, while Carmen played mahjong with her friends reconsideration.45 On review, the CA decided to reconsider its previous ruling. Thus, on
twice a week.28 November 17, 2003, it issued an Amended Decision46 reversing its first ruling and sustaining the
trial court’s decision.47
During the trial, Carmen’s testimony regarding Benjamin’s drinking and gambling habits and
violent behavior was corroborated by Susana Wasawas, who served as nanny to the spouses’ A motion for reconsideration was filed, this time by Benjamin, but the same was denied by the CA
children from 1987 to 1992.29 Wasawas stated that she personally witnessed instances when
in its December 13, 2004 Resolution.48
Benjamin maltreated Carmen even in front of their children.30

Hence, this petition.


Carmen also presented as witness Dr. Pureza Trinidad-Oñate, a psychiatrist.31 Instead of the
usual personal interview, however, Dr. Oñate’s evaluation of Benjamin was limited to the
transcript of stenographic notes taken during Benjamin’s deposition because the latter had For our resolution are the following issues:
already gone to work as an anesthesiologist in a hospital in South Africa. After reading the
transcript of stenographic notes, Dr. Oñate concluded that Benjamin’s compulsive drinking,
I. Whether the CA violated the rule on stare decisis when it refused to follow the guidelines
compulsive gambling and physical abuse of respondent are clear indications that petitioner
set forth under the Santos and Molina cases;
suffers from a personality disorder.32

II. Whether the CA correctly ruled that the requirement of proof of psychological incapacity
To refute Dr. Oñate’s opinion, petitioner presented Dr. Renato D. Obra, a psychiatrist and a
for the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code
consultant at the Department of Psychiatry in Don Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, as his
has been liberalized; and
expert witness.33 Dr. Obra evaluated Benjamin’s psychological behavior based on the transcript
of stenographic notes, as well as the psychiatric evaluation report prepared by Dr. A.J.L. Pentz, a
psychiatrist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and his (Dr. Obra’s) interview with III. Whether the CA’s decision declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent
Benjamin’s brothers.34 Contrary to Dr. Oñate’s findings, Dr. Obra observed that there is nothing null and void [is] in accordance with law and jurisprudence.
wrong with petitioner’s personality, considering the latter’s good relationship with his fellow
doctors and his good track record as anesthesiologist.35
We find merit in the petition.

On January 9, 1998, the lower court rendered its Decision36 declaring the marriage between
I. On the issue of stare decisis. that should be as clear as if the judicial gloss had been drafted by the Congress itself." This
stance reflects both respect for Congress' role and the need to preserve the courts' limited
resources.
The principle of stare decisis enjoins adherence by lower courts to doctrinal rules established by
this Court in its final decisions. It is based on the principle that once a question of law has been
examined and decided, it should be deemed settled and closed to further argument.49 Basically, it In general, courts follow the stare decisis rule for an ensemble of reasons, viz.: (1) it legitimizes
is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issues,50necessary for two simple reasons: economy judicial institutions; (2) it promotes judicial economy; and, (3) it allows for predictability.
and stability. In our jurisdiction, the principle is entrenched in Article 8 of the Civil Code.51 Contrariwise, courts refuse to be bound by the stare decisis rule where (1) its application
perpetuates illegitimate and unconstitutional holdings; (2) it cannot accommodate changing social
and political understandings; (3) it leaves the power to overturn bad constitutional law solely in
This doctrine of adherence to precedents or stare decisis was applied by the English courts and
the hands of Congress; and, (4) activist judges can dictate the policy for future courts while
was later adopted by the United States. Associate Justice (now Chief Justice) Reynato S. Puno’s
judges that respect stare decisis are stuck agreeing with them.
discussion on the historical development of this legal principle in his dissenting opinion in
Lambino v. Commission on Elections52 is enlightening:
In its 200-year history, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to follow the stare decisis rule and
reversed its decisions in 192 cases. The most famous of these reversals is Brown v. Board of
The latin phrase stare decisis et non quieta movere means "stand by the thing and do not disturb
Education which junked Plessy v. Ferguson's "separate but equal doctrine." Plessy upheld as
the calm." The doctrine started with the English Courts. Blackstone observed that at the
constitutional a state law requirement that races be segregated on public transportation. In Brown,
beginning of the 18th century, "it is an established rule to abide by former precedents where the
the U.S. Supreme Court, unanimously held that "separate . . . is inherently unequal." Thus, by
same points come again in litigation." As the rule evolved, early limits to its application were
freeing itself from the shackles of stare decisis, the U.S. Supreme Court freed the colored
recognized: (1) it would not be followed if it were "plainly unreasonable"; (2) where courts of equal
Americans from the chains of inequality. In the Philippine setting, this Court has likewise refused
authority developed conflicting decisions; and, (3) the binding force of the decision was the
to be straitjacketed by the stare decisis rule in order to promote public welfare. In La Bugal-B'laan
"actual principle or principles necessary for the decision; not the words or reasoning used to
Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos, we reversed our original ruling that certain provisions of the
reach the decision."
Mining Law are unconstitutional. Similarly, in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, we overturned our
first ruling and held, on motion for reconsideration, that a private respondent is bereft of the right
The doctrine migrated to the United States. It was recognized by the framers of the U.S. to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process.
Constitution. According to Hamilton, "strict rules and precedents" are necessary to prevent
"arbitrary discretion in the courts." Madison agreed but stressed that "x x x once the precedent
An examination of decisions on stare decisis in major countries will show that courts are agreed
ventures into the realm of altering or repealing the law, it should be rejected." Prof. Consovoy well
on the factors that should be considered before overturning prior rulings. These are workability,
noted that Hamilton and Madison "disagree about the countervailing policy considerations that
reliance, intervening developments in the law and changes in fact. In addition, courts put in the
would allow a judge to abandon a precedent." He added that their ideas "reveal a deep internal
balance the following determinants: closeness of the voting, age of the prior decision and its
conflict between the concreteness required by the rule of law and the flexibility demanded in error
merits.
correction. It is this internal conflict that the Supreme Court has attempted to deal with for over
two centuries."
The leading case in deciding whether a court should follow the stare decisis rule in constitutional
litigations is Planned Parenthood v. Casey. It established a 4-pronged test. The court should (1)
Indeed, two centuries of American case law will confirm Prof. Consovoy's observation although
determine whether the rule has proved to be intolerable simply in defying practical workability; (2)
stare decisis developed its own life in the United States. Two strains of stare decisis have been
consider whether the rule is subject to a kind of reliance that would lend a special hardship to the
isolated by legal scholars. The first, known as vertical stare decisis deals with the duty of lower
consequences of overruling and add inequity to the cost of repudiation; (3) determine whether
courts to apply the decisions of the higher courts to cases involving the same facts. The second,
related principles of law have so far developed as to have the old rule no more than a remnant of
known as horizontal stare decisis requires that high courts must follow its own precedents. Prof.
an abandoned doctrine; and, (4) find out whether facts have so changed or come to be seen
Consovoy correctly observes that vertical stare decisis has been viewed as an obligation, while
differently, as to have robbed the old rule of significant application or justification.53
horizontal stare decisis, has been viewed as a policy, imposing choice but not a command.
Indeed, stare decisis is not one of the precepts set in stone in our Constitution.
To be forthright, respondent’s argument that the doctrinal guidelines prescribed in Santos and
Molina should not be applied retroactively for being contrary to the principle of stare decisis is no
It is also instructive to distinguish the two kinds of horizontal stare decisis — constitutional stare
longer new. The same argument was also raised but was struck down in Pesca v. Pesca,54 and
decisis and statutory stare decisis. Constitutional stare decisis involves judicial interpretations of
again in Antonio v. Reyes.55 In these cases, we explained that the interpretation or construction of
the Constitution while statutory stare decisis involves interpretations of statutes. The distinction is
a law by courts constitutes a part of the law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a
important for courts enjoy more flexibility in refusing to apply stare decisis in constitutional
prior ruling of this Court is overruled, and a different view is adopted, that the new doctrine may
litigations. Justice Brandeis' view on the binding effect of the doctrine in constitutional litigations
have to be applied prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have
still holds sway today. In soothing prose, Brandeis stated: "Stare decisis is not . . . a universal and
acted in good faith, in accordance therewith under the familiar rule of "lex prospicit, non respicit."
inexorable command. The rule of stare decisis is not inflexible. Whether it shall be followed or
departed from, is a question entirely within the discretion of the court, which is again called upon
to consider a question once decided." In the same vein, the venerable Justice Frankfurter opined: II. On liberalizing the required proof for the declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36.
"the ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said
about it." In contrast, the application of stare decisis on judicial interpretation of statutes is more
Now, petitioner wants to know if we have abandoned the Molina doctrine.
inflexible. As Justice Stevens explains: "after a statute has been construed, either by this Court or
by a consistent course of decision by other federal judges and agencies, it acquires a meaning
We have not. appellate court’s rulings declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void
ab initio.
In Edward Kenneth Ngo Te v. Rowena Ong Gutierrez Yu-Te,56 we declared that, in hindsight, it
may have been inappropriate for the Court to impose a rigid set of rules, as the one in Molina, in The intendment of the law has been to confine the application of Article 36 to the most serious
resolving all cases of psychological incapacity. We said that instead of serving as a guideline, cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give
Molina unintentionally became a straightjacket, forcing all cases involving psychological meaning and significance to the marriage.61 The psychological illness that must have afflicted a
incapacity to fit into and be bound by it, which is not only contrary to the intention of the law but party at the inception of the marriage should be a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive
unrealistic as well because, with respect to psychological incapacity, no case can be considered one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she is about to
as on "all fours" with another.57 assume.621avvphi1.zw+

By the very nature of cases involving the application of Article 36, it is logical and understandable In this case, respondent failed to prove that petitioner’s "defects" were present at the time of the
to give weight to the expert opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological celebration of their marriage. She merely cited that prior to their marriage, she already knew that
temperament of parties in order to determine the root cause, juridical antecedence, gravity and petitioner would occasionally drink and gamble with his friends; but such statement, by itself, is
incurability of the psychological incapacity. However, such opinions, while highly advisable, are insufficient to prove any pre-existing psychological defect on the part of her husband. Neither did
not conditions sine qua non in granting petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage.58 At best, the evidence adduced prove such "defects" to be incurable.
courts must treat such opinions as decisive but not indispensable evidence in determining the
merits of a given case. In fact, if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding
The evaluation of the two psychiatrists should have been the decisive evidence in determining
of psychological incapacity, then actual medical or psychological examination of the person
whether to declare the marriage between the parties null and void. Sadly, however, we are not
concerned need not be resorted to.59The trial court, as in any other given case presented before it,
convinced that the opinions provided by these experts strengthened respondent’s allegation of
must always base its decision not solely on the expert opinions furnished by the parties but also
psychological incapacity. The two experts provided diametrically contradicting psychological
on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of the proceedings.
evaluations: Dr. Oñate testified that petitioner’s behavior is a positive indication of a personality
disorder,63 while Dr. Obra maintained that there is nothing wrong with petitioner’s personality.
It was for this reason that we found it necessary to emphasize in Ngo Te that each case involving Moreover, there appears to be greater weight in Dr. Obra’s opinion because, aside from analyzing
the application of Article 36 must be treated distinctly and judged not on the basis of a priori the transcript of Benjamin’s deposition similar to what Dr. Oñate did, Dr. Obra also took into
assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own attendant facts. Courts consideration the psychological evaluation report furnished by another psychiatrist in South Africa
should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, the findings of who personally examined Benjamin, as well as his (Dr. Obra’s) personal interview with
experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals. Benjamin’s brothers.64 Logically, therefore, the balance tilts in favor of Dr. Obra’s findings.

Far from abandoning Molina, we simply suggested the relaxation of the stringent requirements Lest it be misunderstood, we are not condoning petitioner’s drinking and gambling problems, or
set forth therein, cognizant of the explanation given by the Committee on the Revision of the his violent outbursts against his wife. There is no valid excuse to justify such a behavior.
Rules on the rationale of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Petitioner must remember that he owes love, respect, and fidelity to his spouse as much as the
Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC), viz.: latter owes the same to him. Unfortunately, this court finds respondent’s testimony, as well as the
totality of evidence presented by the respondent, to be too inadequate to declare him
psychologically unfit pursuant to Article 36.
To require the petitioner to allege in the petition the particular root cause of the psychological
incapacity and to attach thereto the verified written report of an accredited psychologist or
psychiatrist have proved to be too expensive for the parties. They adversely affect access to It should be remembered that the presumption is always in favor of the validity of marriage.
justice o poor litigants. It is also a fact that there are provinces where these experts are not Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio.65 In this case, the presumption has not been amply rebutted
available. Thus, the Committee deemed it necessary to relax this stringent requirement and must, perforce, prevail.
enunciated in the Molina Case. The need for the examination of a party or parties by a
psychiatrist or clinical psychologist and the presentation of psychiatric experts shall now be
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The
determined by the court during the pre-trial conference.60
November 17, 2003 Amended Decision and the December 13, 2004 Resolution of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 59903 are accordingly REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
But where, as in this case, the parties had the full opportunity to present professional and expert
opinions of psychiatrists tracing the root cause, gravity and incurability of a party’s alleged
SO ORDERED.
psychological incapacity, then such expert opinion should be presented and, accordingly, be
weighed by the court in deciding whether to grant a petition for nullity of marriage.
Doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts
III. On petitioner’s psychological incapacity.
G.R. No. 183409 June 18, 2010
Coming now to the main issue, we find the totality of evidence adduced by respondent insufficient
to prove that petitioner is psychologically unfit to discharge the duties expected of him as a CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE AND BUILDERS ASSOCIATIONS, INC. (CREBA), petitioner,
husband, and more particularly, that he suffered from such psychological incapacity as of the date vs. THE SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM, Respondent.
of the marriage eighteen (18) years ago. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s and the
PEREZ, J.: By reason thereof, petitioner claims that there is an actual slow down of housing projects, which,
in turn, aggravated the housing shortage, unemployment and illegal squatting problems to the
substantial prejudice not only of the petitioner and its members but more so of the whole nation.
This case is a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition (with application for temporary restraining
order and/or writ of preliminary injunction) under Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure, filed by herein petitioner Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Associations, Inc. Hence, this petition.
(CREBA) seeking to nullify and prohibit the enforcement of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
Administrative Order (AO) No. 01-02, as amended by DAR AO No. 05-07,1and DAR
The Issues: In its Memorandum, petitioner posits the following issues:
Memorandum No. 88,2 for having been issued by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction as some provisions of the aforesaid
administrative issuances are illegal and unconstitutional. A. WHETHER THE DAR SECRETARY HAS JURISDICTION OVER LANDS THAT
HAVE BEEN RECLASSIFIED AS RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL, OR FOR
OTHER NON-AGRICULTURAL USES.
Petitioner CREBA, a private non-stock, non-profit corporation duly organized and existing under
B. WHETHER THE DAR SECRETARY ACTED IN EXCESS OF HIS JURISDICTION
the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, is the umbrella organization of some 3,500 private
AND GRAVELY ABUSED HIS DISCRETION BY ISSUING AND ENFORCING [DAR AO NO.
corporations, partnerships, single proprietorships and individuals directly or indirectly involved in
01-02, AS AMENDED] WHICH SEEK TO REGULATE RECLASSIFIED LANDS.
land and housing development, building and infrastructure construction, materials production and
C. WHETHER [DAR AO NO. 01-02, AS AMENDED] VIOLATE[S] THE LOCAL
supply, and services in the various related fields of engineering, architecture, community planning
AUTONOMY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS.
and development financing. The Secretary of Agrarian Reform is named respondent as he is the
D. WHETHER [DAR AO NO. 01-02, AS AMENDED] VIOLATE[S] THE DUE PROCESS
duly appointive head of the DAR whose administrative issuances are the subject of this petition.
AND EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE[S] OF THE CONSTITUTION.
E. WHETHER MEMORANDUM NO. 88 IS A VALID EXERCISE OF POLICE POWER.9
The Antecedent Facts
The subject of the submission that the DAR Secretary gravely abused his discretion is AO No.
The Secretary of Agrarian Reform issued, on 29 October 1997, DAR AO No. 07-97,3 entitled 01-02, as amended, which states:
"Omnibus Rules and Procedures Governing Conversion of Agricultural Lands to Non-Agricultural
Uses," which consolidated all existing implementing guidelines related to land use conversion.
Section 3. Applicability of Rules. – These guidelines shall apply to all applications for conversion,
The aforesaid rules embraced all private agricultural lands regardless of tenurial arrangement
from agricultural to non-agricultural uses or to another agricultural use, such as:
and commodity produced, and all untitled agricultural lands and agricultural lands reclassified by
Local Government Units (LGUs) into non-agricultural uses after 15 June 1988.
3.4 Conversion of agricultural lands or areas that have been reclassified by the LGU or by way of
a Presidential Proclamation, to residential, commercial, industrial, or other non-agricultural uses
Subsequently, on 30 March 1999, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform issued DAR AO No. 01-99,4
on or after the effectivity of RA 6657 on 15 June 1988, x x x. [Emphasis supplied].
entitled "Revised Rules and Regulations on the Conversion of Agricultural Lands to
Non-agricultural Uses," amending and updating the previous rules on land use conversion. Its
coverage includes the following agricultural lands, to wit: (1) those to be converted to residential, Petitioner holds that under Republic Act No. 6657 and Republic Act No. 8435,10 the term
commercial, industrial, institutional and other non-agricultural purposes; (2) those to be devoted agricultural lands refers to "lands devoted to or suitable for the cultivation of the soil, planting of
to another type of agricultural activity such as livestock, poultry, and fishpond ─ the effect of which crops, growing of fruit trees, raising of livestock, poultry or fish, including the harvesting of such
is to exempt the land from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) coverage; (3) farm products, and other farm activities and practices performed by a farmer in conjunction with
those to be converted to non-agricultural use other than that previously authorized; and (4) those such farming operations done by a person whether natural or juridical, and not classified by the
reclassified to residential, commercial, industrial, or other non-agricultural uses on or after the law as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land." When the Secretary of Agrarian
effectivity of Republic Act No. 66575 on 15 June 1988 pursuant to Section 206 of Republic Act No. Reform, however, issued DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, he included in the definition of
71607 and other pertinent laws and regulations, and are to be converted to such uses. agricultural lands "lands not reclassified as residential, commercial, industrial or other
non-agricultural uses before 15 June 1988." In effect, lands reclassified from agricultural to
residential, commercial, industrial, or other non-agricultural uses after 15 June 1988 are
On 28 February 2002, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform issued another Administrative Order, i.e.,
considered to be agricultural lands for purposes of conversion, redistribution, or otherwise. In so
DAR AO No. 01-02, entitled "2002 Comprehensive Rules on Land Use Conversion," which further
doing, petitioner avows that the Secretary of Agrarian Reform acted without jurisdiction as he has
amended DAR AO No. 07-97 and DAR AO No. 01-99, and repealed all issuances inconsistent
no authority to expand or enlarge the legal signification of the term agricultural lands through DAR
therewith. The aforesaid DAR AO No. 01-02 covers all applications for conversion from
AO No. 01-02. Being a mere administrative issuance, it must conform to the statute it seeks to
agricultural to non-agricultural uses or to another agricultural use.
implement, i.e., Republic Act No. 6657, or to the Constitution, otherwise, its validity or
constitutionality may be questioned.
Thereafter, on 2 August 2007, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform amended certain provisions8 of
DAR AO No. 01-02 by formulating DAR AO No. 05-07, particularly addressing land conversion in
In the same breath, petitioner contends that DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, was made in
time of exigencies and calamities.
violation of Section 6511of Republic Act No. 6657 because it covers all applications for conversion
from agricultural to non-agricultural uses or to other agricultural uses, such as the conversion of
To address the unabated conversion of prime agricultural lands for real estate development, the agricultural lands or areas that have been reclassified by the LGUs or by way of Presidential
Secretary of Agrarian Reform further issued Memorandum No. 88 on 15 April 2008, which Proclamations, to residential, commercial, industrial or other non-agricultural uses on or after 15
temporarily suspended the processing and approval of all land use conversion applications. June 1988. According to petitioner, there is nothing in Section 65 of Republic Act No. 6657 or in
any other provision of law that confers to the DAR the jurisdiction or authority to require that as the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped to resolve the issues
non-awarded lands or reclassified lands be submitted to its conversion authority. Thus, in issuing because this Court is not a trier of facts.19
and enforcing DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform acted with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
This Court thus reaffirms the judicial policy that it will not entertain direct resort to it unless the
redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts, and exceptional and compelling
Petitioner further asseverates that Section 2.19,12 Article I of DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, circumstances, such as cases of national interest and of serious implications, justify the availment
making reclassification of agricultural lands subject to the requirements and procedure for land of the extraordinary remedy of writ of certiorari, calling for the exercise of its primary jurisdiction.20
use conversion, violates Section 20 of Republic Act No. 7160, because it was not provided
therein that reclassification by LGUs shall be subject to conversion procedures or requirements,
Exceptional and compelling circumstances were held present in the following cases: (a) Chavez v.
or that the DAR’s approval or clearance must be secured to effect reclassification. The said
Romulo,21 on citizens’ right to bear arms; (b) Government of [the] United States of America v. Hon.
Section 2.19 of DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, also contravenes the constitutional mandate on
Purganan,22 on bail in extradition proceedings; (c) Commission on Elections v. Judge
local autonomy under Section 25,13 Article II and Section 2,14 Article X of the 1987 Philippine
Quijano-Padilla,23 on government contract involving modernization and computerization of voters’
Constitution.
registration list; (d) Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v. Hon. Sec. Zamora,24on status and existence of a
public office; and (e) Hon. Fortich v. Hon. Corona,25 on the so-called "Win-Win Resolution" of the
Petitioner similarly avers that the promulgation and enforcement of DAR AO No. 01-02, as Office of the President which modified the approval of the conversion to agro-industrial area.26
amended, constitute deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law. There is
deprivation of liberty and property without due process of law because under DAR AO No. 01-02,
In the case at bench, petitioner failed to specifically and sufficiently set forth special and important
as amended, lands that are not within DAR’s jurisdiction are unjustly, arbitrarily and oppressively
reasons to justify direct recourse to this Court and why this Court should give due course to this
prohibited or restricted from legitimate use on pain of administrative and criminal penalties. More
petition in the first instance, hereby failing to fulfill the conditions set forth in Heirs of Bertuldo
so, there is discrimination and violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution because
Hinog v. Melicor.27 The present petition should have been initially filed in the Court of Appeals in
the aforesaid administrative order is patently biased in favor of the peasantry at the expense of all
strict observance of the doctrine on the hierarchy of courts. Failure to do so is sufficient cause for
other sectors of society.
the dismissal of this petition.

As its final argument, petitioner avows that DAR Memorandum No. 88 is not a valid exercise of
Moreover, although the instant petition is styled as a Petition for Certiorari, in essence, it seeks
police power for it is the prerogative of the legislature and that it is unconstitutional because it
the declaration by this Court of the unconstitutionality or illegality of the questioned DAR AO No.
suspended the land use conversion without any basis.
01-02, as amended, and Memorandum No. 88. It, thus, partakes of the nature of a Petition for
Declaratory Relief over which this Court has only appellate, not original, jurisdiction.28 Section 5,
The Court’s Ruling: This petition must be dismissed. Article VIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides:

Primarily, although this Court, the Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts have concurrent Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and
injunction, such concurrence does not give the petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of court
(1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers
forum.15 In Heirs of Bertuldo Hinog v. Melicor,16citing People v. Cuaresma,17 this Court made the
and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and
following pronouncements:
habeas corpus.

This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is not exclusive. It is shared by this
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules
Court with Regional Trial Courts and with the Court of Appeals. This concurrence of jurisdiction is
of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
not, however, to be taken as according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute,
unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor will be directed. There is
after all a hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals, and also (a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or
serves as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction,
A becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the ordinance, or regulation is in question. (Emphasis supplied.)
issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed with the
Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals. A direct invocation of
the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only when there With that, this Petition must necessarily fail because this Court does not have original jurisdiction
over a Petition for Declaratory Relief even if only questions of law are involved.
are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set out in the petition. This is
[an] established policy. It is a policy necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the Court’s
time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and Even if the petitioner has properly observed the doctrine of judicial hierarchy, this Petition is still
to prevent further over-crowding of the Court’s docket.18 (Emphasis supplied.) dismissible.

The rationale for this rule is two-fold: (a) it would be an imposition upon the precious time of this The special civil action for certiorari is intended for the correction of errors of jurisdiction only or
Court; and (b) it would cause an inevitable and resultant delay, intended or otherwise, in the grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Its principal office is only to
adjudication of cases, which in some instances had to be remanded or referred to the lower court keep the inferior court within the parameters of its jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing
such a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.29 exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. The issuance and enforcement by the Secretary of
Agrarian Reform of the questioned DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, and Memorandum No. 88
were done in the exercise of his quasi-legislative and administrative functions and not of judicial
The essential requisites for a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 are: (1) the writ is directed
or quasi-judicial functions. In issuing the aforesaid administrative issuances, the Secretary of
against a tribunal, a board, or an officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such
Agrarian Reform never made any adjudication of rights of the parties. As such, it can never be
tribunal, board, or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
said that the Secretary of Agrarian Reform had acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or any plain,
lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing and enforcing DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, and
speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.30
Memorandum No. 88 for he never exercised any judicial or quasi-judicial functions but merely his
quasi-legislative and administrative functions.
Excess of jurisdiction as distinguished from absence of jurisdiction means that an act, though
within the general power of a tribunal, board or officer, is not authorized and invalid with respect to
Furthermore, as this Court has previously discussed, the instant petition in essence seeks the
the particular proceeding, because the conditions which alone authorize the exercise of the
declaration by this Court of the unconstitutionality or illegality of the questioned DAR AO No.
general power in respect of it are wanting.31 Without jurisdiction means lack or want of legal
01-02, as amended, and Memorandum No. 88. Thus, the adequate and proper remedy for the
power, right or authority to hear and determine a cause or causes, considered either in general or
petitioner therefor is to file a Petition for Declaratory Relief, which this Court has only appellate
with reference to a particular matter. It means lack of power to exercise authority.32Grave abuse
and not original jurisdiction. It is beyond the province of certiorari to declare the aforesaid
of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack
administrative issuances unconstitutional and illegal because certiorari is confined only to the
of jurisdiction or, in other words, where the power is exercised in an arbitrary manner by reason of
determination of the existence of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
passion, prejudice, or personal hostility, and it must be so patent or gross as to amount to an
jurisdiction. Petitioner cannot simply allege grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in
of jurisdiction and then invoke certiorari to declare the aforesaid administrative issuances
contemplation of law.33
unconstitutional and illegal. Emphasis must be given to the fact that the writ of certiorari dealt with
in Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure is a prerogative writ, never demandable
In the case before this Court, the petitioner fails to meet the above-mentioned requisites for the as a matter of right, "never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion."36
proper invocation of a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65. The Secretary of Agrarian Reform in
issuing the assailed DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, as well as Memorandum No. 88 did so in
At any rate, even if the Court will set aside procedural infirmities, the instant petition should still be
accordance with his mandate to implement the land use conversion provisions of Republic Act No.
dismissed.
6657. In the process, he neither acted in any judicial or quasi-judicial capacity nor assumed unto
himself any performance of judicial or quasi-judicial prerogative. A Petition for Certiorari is a
special civil action that may be invoked only against a tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial Executive Order No. 129-A37 vested upon the DAR the responsibility of implementing the CARP.
functions. Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure is explicit on this Pursuant to the said mandate and to ensure the successful implementation of the CARP, Section
matter, viz.: 5(c) of the said executive order authorized the DAR to establish and promulgate operational
policies, rules and regulations and priorities for agrarian reform implementation. Section 4(k)
thereof authorized the DAR to approve or disapprove the conversion, restructuring or
SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari. – When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or
readjustment of agricultural lands into non-agricultural uses. Similarly, Section 5(l) of the same
quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse
executive order has given the DAR the exclusive authority to approve or disapprove conversion
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain,
of agricultural lands for residential, commercial, industrial, and other land uses as may be
speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file
provided for by law. Section 7 of the aforesaid executive order clearly provides that "the authority
a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment
and responsibility for the exercise of the mandate of the [DAR] and the discharge of its powers
must be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or
and functions shall be vested in the Secretary of Agrarian Reform x x x."
officer.1avvphi1

Under DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, "lands not reclassified as residential, commercial,
A tribunal, board, or officer is said to be exercising judicial function where it has the power to
industrial or other non-agricultural uses before 15 June 1988" have been included in the definition
determine what the law is and what the legal rights of the parties are, and then undertakes to
of agricultural lands. In so doing, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform merely acted within the scope
determine these questions and adjudicate upon the rights of the parties. Quasi-judicial function,
of his authority stated in the aforesaid sections of Executive Order No. 129-A, which is to
on the other hand, is "a term which applies to the actions, discretion, etc., of public administrative
promulgate rules and regulations for agrarian reform implementation and that includes the
officers or bodies x x x required to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold
authority to define agricultural lands for purposes of land use conversion. Further, the definition of
hearings, and draw conclusions from them as a basis for their official action and to exercise
agricultural lands under DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, merely refers to the category of
discretion of a judicial nature."34
agricultural lands that may be the subject for conversion to non-agricultural uses and is not in any
way confined to agricultural lands in the context of land redistribution as provided for under
Before a tribunal, board, or officer may exercise judicial or quasi-judicial acts, it is necessary that Republic Act No. 6657.
there be a law that gives rise to some specific rights of persons or property under which adverse
claims to such rights are made, and the controversy ensuing therefrom is brought before a
More so, Department of Justice Opinion No. 44, Series of 1990, which Opinion has been
tribunal, board, or officer clothed with power and authority to determine the law and adjudicate the
recognized in many cases decided by this Court, clarified that after the effectivity of Republic Act
respective rights of the contending parties.35
No. 6657 on 15 June 1988 the DAR has been given the authority to approve land conversion.38
Concomitant to such authority, therefore, is the authority to include in the definition of agricultural
The Secretary of Agrarian Reform does not fall within the ambit of a tribunal, board, or officer lands "lands not reclassified as residential, commercial, industrial or other non-agricultural uses
before 15 June 1988" for purposes of land use conversion. require any DAR conversion clearance or authority.46Thereafter, reclassification of agricultural
lands is already subject to DAR’s conversion authority. Reclassification alone will not suffice to
use the agricultural lands for other purposes. Conversion is needed to change the current use of
In the same vein, the authority of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform to include "lands not
reclassified agricultural lands.
reclassified as residential, commercial, industrial or other non-agricultural uses before 15 June
1988" in the definition of agricultural lands finds basis in jurisprudence. In Ros v. Department of
Agrarian Reform,39 this Court has enunciated that after the passage of Republic Act No. 6657, It is of no moment whether the reclassification of agricultural lands to residential, commercial,
agricultural lands, though reclassified, have to go through the process of conversion, jurisdiction industrial or other non-agricultural uses was done by the LGUs or by way of Presidential
over which is vested in the DAR. However, agricultural lands, which are already reclassified Proclamations because either way they must still undergo conversion process. It bears stressing
before the effectivity of Republic Act No. 6657 which is 15 June 1988, are exempted from that the act of reclassifying agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses simply specifies how
conversion.40 It bears stressing that the said date of effectivity of Republic Act No. 6657 served as agricultural lands shall be utilized for non-agricultural uses and does not automatically convert
the cut-off period for automatic reclassifications or rezoning of agricultural lands that no longer agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses or for other purposes. As explained in DAR
require any DAR conversion clearance or authority.41 It necessarily follows that any Memorandum Circular No. 7, Series of 1994, cited in the 2009 case of Roxas & Company, Inc. v.
reclassification made thereafter can be the subject of DAR’s conversion authority. Having DAMBA-NFSW and the Department of Agrarian Reform,47 reclassification of lands denotes their
recognized the DAR’s conversion authority over lands reclassified after 15 June 1988, it can no allocation into some specific use and providing for the manner of their utilization and disposition
longer be argued that the Secretary of Agrarian Reform was wrongfully given the authority and or the act of specifying how agricultural lands shall be utilized for non-agricultural uses such as
power to include "lands not reclassified as residential, commercial, industrial or other residential, industrial, or commercial, as embodied in the land use plan. For reclassified
non-agricultural uses before 15 June 1988" in the definition of agricultural lands. Such inclusion agricultural lands, therefore, to be used for the purpose to which they are intended there is still a
does not unduly expand or enlarge the definition of agricultural lands; instead, it made clear what need to change the current use thereof through the process of conversion. The authority to do so
are the lands that can be the subject of DAR’s conversion authority, thus, serving the very is vested in the DAR, which is mandated to preserve and maintain agricultural lands with
purpose of the land use conversion provisions of Republic Act No. 6657. increased productivity. Thus, notwithstanding the reclassification of agricultural lands to
non-agricultural uses, they must still undergo conversion before they can be used for other
purposes.
The argument of the petitioner that DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, was made in violation of
Section 65 of Republic Act No. 6657, as it covers even those non-awarded lands and reclassified
lands by the LGUs or by way of Presidential Proclamations on or after 15 June 1988 is specious. Even reclassification of agricultural lands by way of Presidential Proclamations to non-agricultural
As explained in Department of Justice Opinion No. 44, series of 1990, it is true that the DAR’s uses, such as school sites, needs conversion clearance from the DAR. We reiterate that
express power over land use conversion provided for under Section 65 of Republic Act No. 6657 reclassification is different from conversion. Reclassification alone will not suffice and does not
is limited to cases in which agricultural lands already awarded have, after five years, ceased to be automatically allow the landowner to change its use. It must still undergo conversion process
economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes, or the locality has become urbanized before the landowner can use such agricultural lands for such purpose.48Reclassification of
and the land will have a greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes. agricultural lands is one thing, conversion is another. Agricultural lands that are reclassified to
To suggest, however, that these are the only instances that the DAR can require conversion non-agricultural uses do not ipso facto allow the landowner thereof to use the same for such
clearances would open a loophole in Republic Act No. 6657 which every landowner may use to purpose. Stated differently, despite having reclassified into school sites, the landowner of such
evade compliance with the agrarian reform program. It should logically follow, therefore, from the reclassified agricultural lands must apply for conversion before the DAR in order to use the same
said department’s express duty and function to execute and enforce the said statute that any for the said purpose.
reclassification of a private land as a residential, commercial or industrial property, on or after the
effectivity of Republic Act No. 6657 on 15 June 1988 should first be cleared by the DAR.42
Any reclassification, therefore, of agricultural lands to residential, commercial, industrial or other
non-agricultural uses either by the LGUs or by way of Presidential Proclamations enacted on or
This Court held in Alarcon v. Court of Appeals43 that reclassification of lands does not suffice. after 15 June 1988 must undergo the process of conversion, despite having undergone
Conversion and reclassification differ from each other. Conversion is the act of changing the reclassification, before agricultural lands may be used for other purposes.
current use of a piece of agricultural land into some other use as approved by the DAR while
reclassification is the act of specifying how agricultural lands shall be utilized for non-agricultural
It is different, however, when through Presidential Proclamations public agricultural lands have
uses such as residential, industrial, and commercial, as embodied in the land use plan, subject to
been reserved in whole or in part for public use or purpose, i.e., public school, etc., because in
the requirements and procedures for land use conversion. In view thereof, a mere reclassification
such a case, conversion is no longer necessary. As held in Republic v. Estonilo,49 only a positive
of an agricultural land does not automatically allow a landowner to change its use. He has to
act of the President is needed to segregate or reserve a piece of land of the public domain for a
undergo the process of conversion before he is permitted to use the agricultural land for other
public purpose. As such, reservation of public agricultural lands for public use or purpose in effect
purposes.44
converted the same to such use without undergoing any conversion process and that they must
be actually, directly and exclusively used for such public purpose for which they have been
It is clear from the aforesaid distinction between reclassification and conversion that agricultural reserved, otherwise, they will be segregated from the reservations and transferred to the DAR for
lands though reclassified to residential, commercial, industrial or other non-agricultural uses must distribution to qualified beneficiaries under the CARP.50 More so, public agricultural lands already
still undergo the process of conversion before they can be used for the purpose to which they are reserved for public use or purpose no longer form part of the alienable and disposable lands of
intended. the public domain suitable for agriculture.51 Hence, they are outside the coverage of the CARP
and it logically follows that they are also beyond the conversion authority of the DAR.
Nevertheless, emphasis must be given to the fact that DAR’s conversion authority can only be
exercised after the effectivity of Republic Act No. 6657 on 15 June 1988.45 The said date served Clearly from the foregoing, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform did not act without jurisdiction or in
as the cut-off period for automatic reclassification or rezoning of agricultural lands that no longer excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
in (1) including lands not reclassified as residential, commercial, industrial or other provisions of this Act.
non-agricultural uses before 15 June 1988 in the definition of agricultural lands under DAR AO No.
01-02, as amended, and; (2) issuing and enforcing DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, subjecting
Sec. 74. Penalties. ─ Any person who knowingly or willfully violates the provisions of this Act shall
to DAR’s jurisdiction for conversion lands which had already been reclassified as residential,
be punished by imprisonment of not less than one (1) month to not more than three (3) years or a
commercial, industrial or for other non-agricultural uses on or after 15 June 1988.
fine of not less than one thousand pesos (₱1,000.00) and not more than fifteen thousand pesos
(₱15,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court.
Similarly, DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, providing that the reclassification of agricultural lands
by LGUs shall be subject to the requirements of land use conversion procedure or that DAR’s
If the offender is a corporation or association, the officer responsible therefor shall be criminally
approval or clearance must be secured to effect reclassification, did not violate the autonomy of
liable.
the LGUs.

And Section 11 of Republic Act No. 8435, which specifically provides:


Section 20 of Republic Act No. 7160 states that:

Sec. 11. Penalty for Agricultural Inactivity and Premature Conversion. – x x x.


SECTION 20. Reclassification of Lands. – (a) A city or municipality may, through an ordinance
passed by the sanggunian after conducting public hearings for the purpose, authorize the
reclassification of agricultural lands and provide for the manner of their utilization or disposition in Any person found guilty of premature or illegal conversion shall be penalized with imprisonment
the following cases: (1) when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for of two (2) to six (6) years, or a fine equivalent to one hundred percent (100%) of the government's
agricultural purposes as determined by the Department of Agriculture or (2) where the land shall investment cost, or both, at the discretion of the court, and an accessory penalty of forfeiture of
have substantially greater economic value for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, as the land and any improvement thereon.
determined by the sanggunian concerned: Provided, That such reclassification shall be limited to
the following percentage of the total agricultural land area at the time of the passage of the
In addition, the DAR may impose the following penalties, after determining, in an administrative
ordinance:
proceedings, that violation of this law has been committed:

(3) For fourth to sixth class municipalities, five percent (5%): Provided, further, That agricultural
a. Consolation or withdrawal of the authorization for land use conversion; and
lands distributed to agrarian reform beneficiaries pursuant to Republic Act Numbered Sixty-six
hundred fifty-seven (R.A. No. 6657), otherwise known as "The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Law," shall not be affected by the said reclassification and the conversion of such lands into other b. Blacklisting, or automatic disapproval of pending and subsequent conversion
purposes shall be governed by Section 65 of said Act. applications that they may file with the DAR.

(e) Nothing in this Section shall be construed as repealing, amending, or modifying in any manner Contrary to petitioner’s assertions, the administrative and criminal penalties provided for under
the provisions of R.A. No. 6657. DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, are imposed upon the illegal or premature conversion of lands
within DAR’s jurisdiction, i.e., "lands not reclassified as residential, commercial, industrial or for
The a forequoted provisions of law show that the power of the LGUs to reclassify agricultural other non-agricultural uses before 15 June 1998."
lands is not absolute. The authority of the DAR to approve conversion of agricultural lands
covered by Republic Act No. 6657 to non-agricultural uses has been validly recognized by said The petitioner’s argument that DAR Memorandum No. 88 is unconstitutional, as it suspends the
Section 20 of Republic Act No. 7160 by explicitly providing therein that, "nothing in this section land use conversion without any basis, stands on hollow ground.
shall be construed as repealing or modifying in any manner the provisions of Republic Act No.
6657."
It bears emphasis that said Memorandum No. 88 was issued upon the instruction of the President
in order to address the unabated conversion of prime agricultural lands for real estate
DAR AO No. 01-02, as amended, does not also violate the due process clause, as well as the development because of the worsening rice shortage in the country at that time. Such measure
equal protection clause of the Constitution. In providing administrative and criminal penalties in was made in order to ensure that there are enough agricultural lands in which rice cultivation and
the said administrative order, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform simply implements the provisions production may be carried into. The issuance of said Memorandum No. 88 was made pursuant to
of Sections 73 and 74 of Republic Act No. 6657, thus: the general welfare of the public, thus, it cannot be argued that it was made without any basis.

Sec. 73. Prohibited Acts and Omissions. – The following are prohibited: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED. Costs
against petitioner. SO ORDERED.
(c) The conversion by any landowner of his agricultural land into any non-agricultural use with
intent to avoid the application of this Act to his landholdings and to disposes his tenant farmers of
the land tilled by them;

(f) The sale, transfer or conveyance by a beneficiary of the right to use or any other usufructuary
right over the land he acquired by virtue of being a beneficiary, in order to circumvent the