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Garcillano v House of Representatives

GR No. 170338 December 23, 2008

During the 2007 Election, the conversation of President Arroyo and Comelec
Regional Director, Virgilio Garcillano was caught in tape. The conversation
between the two regarding the desire of the President to have a favourable outcome
in the terms of senatoriables was played during the House of Representative’s
investigation. Petitions were filed before the court praying that such playing of the
illegally seized communication was in violation of the anti-wire tapping law. The
petition also prayed that the Senate Committee be prevented from further
conducting such investigation for the basic reason that there was no proper
publication of the senate rules, empower them to make such investigation of the
unlawfully-seized tape.

ISSUES: Whether or not there was proper publication of the rules as to empower
the senate to further proceed with their investigation.

HELD: No. The Senate cannot be allowed to proceed with investigation of the
“Hello Garci” controversy in aid of legislation without duly published rules of
procedure in clear derogation of the constitutional requirement. Sec. 21, Article VI
of the 1987 Constitution provides: “The Senate or the House of Representatives, or
any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in
accordance with its duly published rules of procedure.”
As set forth in Article 2 of the Civil Code, “the law shall take effect after 15 days
following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, or in a
newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.” Publication is indispensible.
SC ruled that the Senate is a “continuing body” however in the conduct of its day-
to-day business, the Senate of each Congress acts separately and independently of
the Senate before it. The consequence is that the Rules of Procedure must be
republished by the Senate every expiry of the term of the 12 senators.
The Respondents therefore could not use its unpublished rules in the legislative
inquiry of the subject cases. The Senate was ordered to enjoin from conducting any
inquiry centered on the “Hello Garci” tapes.