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Republic of the Philippines, petitioner, vs.

Sandiganbayan, Major General Josephus


Q. Ramas and Elizabeth Dimaano, respondents.
G.R. No. 104768 | 2003-07-21

Doctrines and Important Details

1. Political Law; Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; Private Acts and The Bill of
Rights
The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and seizures
therefore applies as a restraint directed only against the government and its
agencies tasked with the enforcement of the law. Thus, it could only be invoked
against the State to whom the restraint against arbitrary and unreasonable
exercise of power is imposed. If the search is made upon the request of law
enforcers, a warrant must generally be first secured if it is to pass the test of
constitutionality. However, if the search is made at the behest or initiative of the
proprietor of a private establishment for its own and private purposes, and
without the intervention of police authorities, the right against unreasonable
search and seizure cannot be invoked for only the act of private individual, not
the law enforcers, is involved. The constitution, in laying down the principles of
the government and fundamental liberties of the people, does not govern
relationships between individuals. [People v. Marti G.R. No. 81561, Jan. 18,
1991]

The Bill of Rights focuses on civil and political rights, whereas Article XIII of the
Constitution focuses on social and economic rights. Moreover, the guarantees in
the Bill of Rights are generally self-implementing, e.g. they can be appealed
even in the absence of implementing legislation. On the other hand, the social
and economic rights guaranteed under Article XIII as also recognized in Article II
generally require implementing legislation. [Bernas, The 1987 Philippine
Constitution: A Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)]

The Bill of Rights is a set of prescriptions setting forth the fundamental civil and
political rights of the individual, and imposing limitations on the powers of
government as a means of securing the enjoyment of those rights. The Bill of
Rights is designed to preserve the ideals of liberty, equality and security against
the assault of opportunism, the expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of
small encroachments, and the scorn and derision of those who have no patience
with general principles. [PBM Employees Organization v. Philippine
Blooming Mills, G.R. No. L-31195, June 5, 1973]

Civil Rights are those rights that belong to every citizen of the state or country,
or, in a wider sense, to all its inhabitants, and are not connected with the
organization of government. They include the rights to property, marriage, equal
protection of laws, freedom to contract, etc… They are rights appertaining to a
person by virtue of his citizenship in a state or community. [Nachura, Outline
Reviewer in Political law (2009)]

Political rights refer to the right to participate, directly or indirectly, in the


establishment or administration of government, such as the right of suffrage, the
right to hold office, the right to petition and, in general the rights appurtenant to
citizenship vis-à-vis the management of government. [Simon v. Commission
on Human Rights, G.R. 100150, January 5, 1994]

Generally any governmental action in violation of the Bill of Rights is void. These
provisions are also generally self-executing. [Nachura, Outline Reviewer in
Political law (2009)] Thus, during the interregnum, a person could not invoke
any exclusionary right under the Bill of Rights, because there was neither a
constitution nor a Bill of Rights at the time. However, the protection accorded to
individuals under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights remained in effect during the
interregnum.[Republic v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 104768, July 21, 2003]
2. Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Pleadings; Default; Default (failure to file
an answer)

If the defending party fails to answer within the time allowed therefor, the
court shall, upon motion of the claiming party with notice to the defending party,
and proof of such failure, declare the defending party in default. [Section 3,
Rule 9, Rules of Court] It is error to declare a defendant in default where an
answer has already been filed. [Cathay Pacific Airways v. Romillo, Jr., G.R.
No. L-64276, March 4, 1986]

However, even if the defending party fails to file an answer within the
required period, but he submits it before a declaration of default, there is no
showing that the defendant intends to delay the case, and no prejudice is caused
to the plaintiff, it should be admitted. [Sablas v. Sablas, G.R. No. 144568,
July 3, 2007; San Pedro Cineplex Properties, Inc. v. Heirs of Enaño, G.R.
No. 190754, November 17, 2010]

The current judicial trend is to avoid defaults and thus, courts are
enjoined to be liberal in setting aside orders of default [Ampeloquio v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 124243, June 15, 2000]

Elements of a valid declaration of default


A valid declaration of default requires compliance with the following:


o The court has validly acquired jurisdiction over the person of the defending party
either by service of summons or voluntary appearance;
o The defending party failed to file the answer within the time allowed therefor;
and
o A motion to declare the defending party in default has been filed by the claiming
party with notice to the defending party. [Sablas v. Sablas, G.R. No. 144568,
July 3, 2007]

Effect of a declaration or order of default

he party declared in default loses his standing in court. The loss of such standing
prevents him from taking part in the trial. Nevertheless, he is entitled to notices of
subsequent proceedings.[Sec. 3(a), Rule 9, Rules of Court]

A declaration of default is not an admission of the truth or the validity of the plaintiff’s
claims [Monarch Insurance v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 92735, June 8, 2000;
Vlason Enterprises Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 121662-64, July
6, 1999]

Effect of partial default

When a pleading asserts a claim against several defending parties and some file and
serve their answers but the others do not, the court shall try the case against all the
defending parties based on the answers filed and render judgment upon the evidence
presented where the claim states a common cause of action against them. [Section
3(c), Rule 9, Rules of Court]

Action of the court after declaration or order of default

Under the rules, when a party is declared in default, the court may do either of two
things:


o To proceed to render judgment grating the claimant such relief as his pleading
may warrant; or
o To require the claimant to submit his evidence ex parte [Section 3, Rule 9,
Rules of Court]
Court not required to receive evidence personally

The court need not personally receive the evidence if it decides to hear the evidence of
the plaintiff. The reception of the evidence may be delegated to the clerk of
court. [Section 3, Rule 9, Rules of Court]

Remedies of a defending party declared in default


o Remedy after notice of order and before judgment – file a motion under oath to
set aside the order of default and properly show that 1) the failure to file an
answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, and that
2) he has a meritorious defense (there must be an affidavit of merit) [Section
3[b], Rule 9, Rules of Court; Villareal v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
107314, September 17, 1998]
o Remedy after judgment and before judgment becomes final and executory – he
may file a motion for new trial under Rule 37. He may also appeal from
judgment as being contrary to the evidence or the law [Lina v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. L-63397, April 9, 1985; Republic v. Sandiganbayan,
G.R. No. 104768, July 21, 2003]
o Remedy after judgment becomes final and executor – he may file a petition for
relief from judgment under Rule 38 [Republic v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No.
104768, July 21, 2003; Laus v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 101256, March
8, 1993]

Extent of relief in a judgment by default

A judgment rendered against a party in default shall not exceed the amount or be
different in kind from that prayed for nor award unliquidated damages. [Section 3(d),
Rule 9, Rules of Court]

Where no defaults allowed

If the defending party in an action for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage or


for legal separation fails to file an answer, the court shall order the prosecuting attorney
to investigate whether or not a collusion between the parties exists, and if there is no
collusion, to intervene for the State in order to see to it that the evidence submitted is
not fabricated. [Section 3(e), Rule 9, Rules of Court]

3. Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Motions; Bill of Particulars


he defendant need not file his answer to the complaint within the required period if there are
vague or ambiguous matters in the complaint, or matters which are not averred with sufficient
definiteness. Instead, he may file a motion for bill of particulars to enable him properly to prepare his
responsive pleading. [Section 1, Rule 12, Rules of Court]

Period to file motion for bill of particulars


A motion for bill of particulars is to be filed before responding to a pleading. [Section 1, Rule 12,
Rules of Court] Thus, it should be filed within the period set in Rule 11 for responding to such
pleading.

Pleading responded
Period of time to file pleading
to

Within 15 days after service of summons [Section 1, Rule 11, Rules of


Complaint
Court]

Counterclaim or cross- Within 10 days from service of the counterclaim or cross-claim [Section 4,
claim Rule 11, Rules of Court]

Within 10 days from the service of said reply [Section 1, Rule 12, Rules of
Reply
Court]

Purpose of the motion


Its purpose is to seek an order from the court directing the pleader to submit a bill of particulars which
avers matters with “sufficient definiteness or particularity” to enable the movant to properly prepare
his responsive pleading. [Section 1, Rule 12, Rules of Court]For example, an allegation that the
“defendant acted in unlawful concert with the other defendant in illegally amassing assets, property,
and funds in amounts disproportionate to the latter’s income” is a proper subject of a motion for bill of
particulars. Plaintiff must clarify the specific nature, manner, and extent of the alleged collaboration
between the defendants. [Republic v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 104768, July 21, 2003]

In a criminal case, the purpose of a motion for bill of particulars are:


o to enable the movant to properly plead; and
o to prepare for trial [Section 1, Rule 116, Rules of Court]
Requirements for the motion
Aside from the requirements for a motion as set forth in Rule 15, the motion for bill of particulars shall
point out the:


o defects complaint of;
o the paragraphs wherein they are contained; and
o the details desired [Section 1, Rule 12, Rules of Court]

Action of the court


Upon receipt of the motion, the clerk of court must immediately bring the same to the attention of the
court. [Section 2, Rule 12, Rules of Court]

The court may either do one of three things:


o deny the motion outright;
o grant the motion outright; or
o hold a hearing on the motion to allow the parties the opportunity to be heard [Section 2,
Rule 12, Rules of Court]

Compliance with the order


If the motion for bill of particulars is granted, in whole or in part, the court shall order the pleader to
submit a bill of particulars to the pleading to which the motion is directed. The compliance must be
effected within 10 days from notice of the order, unless a different period is fixed by the
court. [Section 3, Rule 12, Rules of Court]

In complying with the order, the pleader may file the bill of particulars or a more definite statement
either in a separate pleading or in the form of an amended pleading. In either case, a copy thereof is
required to be served upon the adverse party. [Section 3, Rule 12, Rules of Court]

Effect of non-compliance with the order of the court or insufficient compliance


If the order is not obeyed or if there is an insufficient compliance order, the court may do either one of
three things:


o to order the striking out of the pleading;
o to order the striking out of the portions of the pleading to which the order was directed; or
o to make such other order as it may deem just [Section 4, Rule 12, Rules of Court]
Stay of period to file responsive pleading
After service of the bill of particulars or of a more definite pleading, or after notice of denial of his
motion, the moving party may file his responsive pleading within the period to which he was entitled
at the time of filing his motion, which shall not be less than five (5) days in any event. [Section 5,
Rule 12, Rules of Court]

Bill of particulars as part of the pleading


The bill of particulars submitted becomes part of the pleading for which it was intended. [Section 6,
Rule 12, Rules of Court]
JAMES M. IMBONG and LOVELY-ANN C. IMBONG, for themselves and in
behalf of their minor children, LU CIA CARLOS IMBONG and BERNADETTE
CARLOS IMBONG and MAGNIFICAT CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER,
INC.,
Petitioners,
VS.
HON. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., Executive Secretary, HON. FLORENCIO B.
ABAD, Secretary, Department of Budget and Management, HON. ENRIQUE T.
ONA, Secretary, Department of Health, HON. ARMIN A. LUISTRO, Secretary,
Department of
Education, Culture and Sports and HON. MANUELA. ROXAS II, Secretary,
Department of Interior and Local Government,
Respondents.
GR. No. 204819 April 8.2014

Doctrines and Important Details


1. Rights Of An Unborn Child (When Legal Personality Begins)
Relevant Constitutional and Statutory Provisions

Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) of the 1987


Constitution provides:

Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall
protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social
institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of
the unborn from conception. xxx

The Civil Code likewise provides:

Art. 40. Birth determines personality; but the conceived child shall be
considered born for all purposes that are favorable to it, provided it be
born later with the conditions specified in the following article. (29a)

Art. 41. For civil purposes, the fetus is considered born if it is alive at the
time it is completely delivered from the mother's womb. However, if the
fetus had an intra-uterine life of less than seven months, it is not deemed
born if it dies within twenty-four hours after its complete delivery from
the maternal womb. (30a)

Art. 42. Civil personality is extinguished by death.

The effect of death upon the rights and obligations of the deceased is
determined by law, by contract and by will.

Right of an Unborn Child (Provisional Personality)

A conceived child, although as yet unborn, is given by law a provisional


personality of its own for all purposes favorable to it, as explicitly
provided in Article 40 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The unborn
child, therefore, has a right to support from it progenitors [even] if the
said child is only "en ventre de sa mere;" just as a conceived child, even
if as yet unborn, may receive donations as prescribed by Article 742 of
the same Code, and its being ignored by the parent in his testament may
result in preterition of a forced heir that annuls the institution of the
testamentary heir, even if such child should be born after the death of
the testator (Article 854, Civil Code) [see Quimiguing vs. Icao, G.R.
No. L-26795, July 31, 1970](underscoring supplied)

Although an unborn child is granted provisional personality under the law,


whatever inchoate rights that attach to it can only ripen if the child is
born alive. In the case of Geluz vs Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-
16439, July 20, 1961, the court stated that, “Since an action for
pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains
primarily to the one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for such
damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn child on account of
the injuries it received, no such right of action could derivatively accrue
to its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on
behalf of the unborn child, the same was extinguished by its pre-natal
death, since no transmission to anyone can take place from one that
lacked juridical personality (or juridical capacity, as distinguished from
capacity to act). It is no answer to invoke the provisional personality of a
conceived child (conceptus pro nato habetur) under Article 40 of the Civil
Code, because that same article expressly limits such provisional
personality by imposing the condition that the child should be
subsequently born alive: "provided it be born later with the conditions
specified in the following article"

Life not synonymous with Civil Personality

In Continental Steel Manufacturing Corporation vs. Montano, G.R.


No. 182836, October 13, 2009, the court ruled that bereavement
leave can be availed of for the death of an unborn child, even through the
unborn child has not yet acquired civil personality. The court therein
stated that, “Life is not synonymous with civil personality. One need not
acquire civil personality first before he/she could die. Even a child inside
the womb already has life. No less than the Constitution recognizes the
life of the unborn from conception, that the State must protect equally
with the life of the mother. If the unborn already has life, then the
cessation thereof even prior to the child being delivered, qualifies as
death.”

[see also Imbong vs Executive Secretary, G.R No. 204819, April 8,


2014, where the court declared that the Constitution affords protection
to the unborn from conception, with “conception” defined as life
beginning at fertilization. The court rejected the argument that
conception only begins at the moment of implantation of the fertilized
ovum in a woman’s uterus, as this theory does not pertain to the
beginning of life but to the viability of the fetus.]

2. Constitutional Law; General Principles And State Policy (Article II, 1987
Constitution)
The “Declaration of Principles and State Policies” is a statement of the
basic ideological principles and policies that underlie the Constitution. As
such, the provisions shed light on the meaning of the other provisions of
the Constitution and they are a guide for all departments of the
governments in the implementation of the Constitution. [Bernas, The
1987 Philippine Constitution: A Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)].
Section 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State.
Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority
emanates from them.

A community of persons, more or less numerous, permanently occupying


a definite portion of territory, independent of external control, and
possessing a government to which a great body of the inhabitants render
habitual obedience; a politically organized sovereign community
independent of outside control bound by ties of nationhood, legally
supreme within its territory, acting through a government functioning
under a regime of law. [Collector of Internal Revenue v. Campos,
G.R. No. L-13250, October 29, 1971]. It has four elements: people,
territory, sovereignty and government. [Montevideo Convention of
1933].

“Government” is that institution or aggregate of institutions by which an


independent society makes and carries out those rules of action which are
necessary to enable men to live in a social state or which are imposed
upon the people forming that society by those who possess the power or
authority of prescribing them. [Dorr v. United States, 195 U.S. 138
(1904)].

Government functions can be classified as constituent and ministrant.


Constituent functions are compulsory which constitute the very bonds of
society. Ministrant functions, on the other hand, are the optional
functions of government. [Bacani v. Nacoco, G.R. No. L-9657,
November 29, 1956]. However, the growing complexities of modern
society can necessitate realignment. [ACCFA v. CUGCO, G.R. No. L-
21484, November 29, 1969]. For instance, housing is considered as an
essential service. [PHHC v. Court of Industrial Relations, G.R. No. L-
31890, May 29, 1987].

According to legitimacy, governments are either de jure or de facto. A de


jure government is one established by authority of the legitimate
sovereign whereas a government de facto merely is one in defiance of the
legitimate sovereign. [Bernas, The 1987 Philippine Constitution: A
Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)]. De factogovernments have several
kinds, these are: first, that government that gets possession and control
of, or usurps, by force or by voice of the majority; second, is that which
is established and maintained by invading military forces;third, is that
established as an independent government by the inhabitants of a
country who rise in insurrection against the parent state, such as the
government of the Southern Confederacy in revolt against the Union
during the war of secession. [Co Kim Chan v. Valdez Tan Keh, G.R.
No. L-5, September 17, 1945].

Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of


national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of
international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the
policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity
with all nations.

Examples of generally accepted principles of international law are: (a) the


right of an alien to be released on bail while awaiting deportation when
his failure to leave the country is due to the fact that no country will
accept him. [Mejoff v. Director of Prisons, G.R. No. L-4254,
September 26, 1951]; (b) the right of a country to establish military
commissions to try war criminals [Kuroda v. Jalandoni, G.R. No. L-
2662, March 26, 1949]; (c) the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and
Signals [Agustin v. Edu, G.R. No. L-49112, February 2, 1979]; (d)
duty to protect the premises of embassies and legations [Reyes v.
Bagatsing, G.R. No. L-65366, November 9, 1983].

The phrase “generally accepted principles of international law” refers to


norms of general or customary international law which are binding on all
states. Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can be part of our
domestic law either by transformation or by incorporation.
Transformation requires that the international law principle be
transformed into domestic law either by a constitutional mechanism, such
as local legislation. Incorporation, on the other hand, applies when by
mere constitutional declaration, international law is deemed to have the
force of domestic law. [Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association
of the Philippines v. Duque, G.R. No. 173034, October 9, 2007].
Because of this clause, our Courts have applied rules of international law
in a number of cases even if such rules had not previously been subject
of statutory enactments, because these generally accepted principles of
international law are automatically part of our own laws. The doctrine of
incorporation is applied whenever local Courts are confronted with
situations in which there appears to be a conflict between a rule of
international law and the provisions of the constitution or statute. Efforts
should first be exerted to harmonize them, so as to give effect to
both. [Nachura, Outline Reviewer in Political Law
(2009)]. However, our courts have ruled if the conflict is irreconcilable,
thereafter a choice has to be made, municipal law should be upheld, the
courts being organs of municipal law and are accordingly bound by it in
all circumstances. [Gonzales v. Hechanova, G.R. No. L-21897,
October 22, 1963]. In most countries, the doctrine of incorporation
dictates that rules of international law are given equal standing with, and
are not superior to, national legislative enactments. In states where the
constitution is the highest law of the land, such as the Philippines, both
statutes and treaties may be invalidated if they are in conflict with the
constitution. [Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, G.R. No. 139465,
January 18, 2000]. The fact that international law has been made part
of the law of the land does not imply that it has primacy over national
law. [Philipp Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 91332 July
16, 1993].

Section 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the


military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of
the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of
the State and the integrity of the national territory.

Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and


protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to
defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be
required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal,
military or civil service.

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of


life, liberty, and property, and promotion of the general welfare
are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings
of democracy.

The right to bear arms is a statutory right, not a constitutional right. The
license to carry a firearm is neither a property nor a property right.
Neither does it create a vested right. Even if it were a property right, it
cannot be considered absolute as to be placed beyond the reach of police
power. The maintenance of peace and order, and the protection of the
people against violence are constitutional duties of the State, and the
right to bear arms is to be construed in connection and in harmony with
these constitutional duties. [Chavez v. Romulo, G.R. No. 157036,
June 9, 2004].

Section 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.

During the efficacy of the 1973 Constitution our Court has ruled that,
“[T]he separation of Church and State implicit in the Bill of Rights (Sec.
1, par. 7 of Art. III of the 1935 Constitutions and Sec. 8, Article IV, 1973
Constitution), has been expressly stated and therefore stressed in Section
15 of Article XV of the 1973 Constitution, which categorically enjoins that
"the separation of Church and State shall be inviolable." This basic
principle which underlies the structure of our government was the sharp
reaction to the historical lesson learned by mankind in general that the
fusion of government and religion tends to destroy government and
degrade religion.” [The Municipality of Nueva Caceres v. Director of
Lands, G.R. No. 7153, March 26, 1913]

STATE POLICIES

Section 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy.


In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration
shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national
interest, and the right to self-determination

Section 8. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest,


adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in
its territory.

Our Court held that Art. II Sec. 2, 7, 8 and Art. XVIII Sec. 25, betray a
marked antipathy towards foreign military presence in the country, or of
foreign influence in general. Hence, foreign troops are allowed entry into
the Philippines only by way of direct exception. [Lim v. Executive
Secretary, G.R. No. 151445, April 11, 2002].

Section 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order
that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation
and free the people from poverty through policies that provide
adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising
standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.

Section 10. The State shall promote social justice in all phases of
national development.

The promotion of social justice, however, is to be achieved not through a


mistaken sympathy towards any given group. Social justice is "neither
communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the
humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces
by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular
conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the
promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the
Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the
competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper
economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of
the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally
justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers
underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored
principle of salus populi est suprema lex. [Calalang v. Williams, G.R.
No. 47800, December 2, 1940].

Section 11. The State values the dignity of every human person
and guarantees full respect for human rights.

Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and
shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous
social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother
and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and
primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for
civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall
receive the support of the Government.

In Imbong vs Executive Secretary, G.R No. 204819, April 8,


2014, the court declared that the Constitution affords protection to the
unborn from conception, with “conception” defined as life beginning at
fertilization. The court rejected the argument that conception only begins
at the moment of implantation of the fertilized ovum in a woman’s
uterus, as this theory does not pertain to the beginning of life but to the
viability of the fetus.

Section 13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in
nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical,
moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall
inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage
their involvement in public and civic affairs.

Section 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-


building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the
law of women and men.

Section 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to
health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.

Section 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the
people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the
rhythm and harmony of nature.

This provision recognizes an enforceable right. Hence, appeal to it has


been recognized as conferring “standing” on minors to challenge logging
policies of the government. [Oposa v. Factoran, G.R. No. 101083,
July 30, 1993].Moreover, on the issue that the “total log ban” is a new
policy which should be applied prospectively and not affect the rights of
the petitioner vested under the Timber Licensing Agreement, the
Supreme Court declared that this is not a new policy but a mere
reiteration of the policy of conservation and protection expressed in Sec.
16, Art. II of the Constitution. [C & M Timber Corporation v. Alcala,
G.R. No. 111088, June 13, 1997]. Due to this right, the Court also
upheld the empowerment of the Laguna Lake Development Authority to
protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake Area from the deleterious
effects of pollutants coming from garbage dumping and the discharge of
wastes in the area as against the local autonomy claim of local
governments in the area. [Laguna Lake Development Authority v.
Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 120865-71, December 7, 1995].

Section 17. The State shall give priority to education, science and
technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and
nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human
liberation and development.

Section 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic


force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their
welfare.

Section 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent


national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.

Section 20. The State recognizes the indispensable role of the


private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides
incentives to needed investments.

Section 21. The State shall promote comprehensive rural


development and agrarian reform.

Section 22. The State recognizes and promotes the rights of


indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national
unity and development.
Section 23. The State shall encourage non-governmental,
community-based, or sectoral organizations that promote the
welfare of the nation.

Section 24. The State recognizes the vital role of communication


and information in nation-building.

Section 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local


governments.

Section 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to


opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as
may be defined by law.

The purpose of this provision is to give substance to the desire for the
equalization of political opportunities. However, the definition of “political
dynasties” is left to the legislators. [Bernas, The 1987 Philippine
Constitution: A Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)].

The said provision, however, does not mean that everyone has a right to
be a candidate for president. First of all, this provision is not self-
executory. The provision does not contain any judicially enforceable
constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or
executive action. Secondly, it is within the power of the state to limit the
number of qualified candidates only to those who can afford to wage a
nationwide campaign and/or are nominated by political parties.
[Pamatong v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 161872, April 13, 2004].

Section 27. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the
public service and take positive and effective measures against
graft and corruption.

Section 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law,


the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure
of all its transactions involving public interest.
JUAN ANTONIO, ANNA ROSARIO and JOSE ALFONSO, all surnamed OPOSA,
minors, and represented by their parents ANTONIO and RIZALINA OPOSA,
ROBERT A NICOLE SADIUA, minor, represented by her parents CALVIN and
ROBERTA SADIUA, CARLO, AMANDA SALUD and PATRISHA, all surnamed
FLORES, minors and represented by their parents ENRICO and NIDA FLORES,
GIANINA DITA R. FORTUN, minor, represented by her parents SIGFRID and
DOLORES FORTUN, GEORGE II and MA. CONCEPCION, all surnamed MISA,
minors and represented by their parents GEORGE and MYRA MISA, BENJAMIN
ALAN V. PASIGAN, minor, represented by his parents ANTONIO and ALICE
PESIGAN, JOVIE MARIE ALFARO, minor, represented by her parents JOSE and
MARIA VIOLETA ALFARO, MARIA CONCEPCION T. CASTRO, minor,
represented by her parents FREDENIL and JANE CASTRO, JOHANNA
DESAMPARADO, minor, represented by her parents JOSE and ANGELA
DESAMPARADO, CARLO JOAQUIN T. NARVASA, minor, represented by his
parents GREGORIO II and CRISTINE CHARITY NARVASA, MA.
MARGARITA, JESUS IGNACIO, MA. ANGELA and MARIE GABRIELLE, all
surnamed SAENZ, minors, represented by their parents ROBERTO and AURORA
SAENZ, KRISTINE, MARY ELLEN, MAY, GOLDA MARTHE and DAVID IAN,
all surnamed KING, minors, represented by their parents MARIO and HAYDEE
KING, DAVID, FRANCISCO and THERESE VICTORIA, all surnamed
ENDRIGA, minors, represented by their parents BALTAZAR and TERESITA
ENDRIGA, JOSE MA. and REGINA MA., all surnamed ABAYA, minors,
represented by their parents ANTONIO and MARICA ABAYA, MARILIN,
MARIO, JR. and MARIETTE, all surnamed CARDAMA, minors, represented by
their parents MARIO and LINA CARDAMA, CLARISSA, ANN MARIE, NAGEL
and IMEE LYN, all surnamed OPOSA, minors and represented by their parents
RICARDO and MARISSA OPOSA, PHILIP JOSEPH, STEPHEN JOHN and
ISAIAH JAMES, all surnamed QUIPIT, minors, represented by their parents JOSE
MAX and VILMI QUIPIT, BUGHAW CIELO, CRISANTO, ANNA, DANIEL and
FRANCISCO, all surnamed BIBAL, minors, represented by their parents
FRANCISCO, JR. and MILAGROS BIBAL, and THE PHILIPPINE
ECOLOGICAL NETWORK, INC., petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE FULGENCIO S. FACTORAN, JR., in his capacity as the
Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and THE
HONORABLE ERIBERTO U. ROSARIO, Presiding Judge of the RTC, Makati,
Branch 66, respondents.
G.R. No. 101083 | 1993-07-30

Doctrines and Important Details


1. Political Law; Constitutional Law; Self-Executing And Non-Self-
Executing Provisions
Self-Executory Provisions:
A constitutional provision is self-executing if the nature and extent of the right
conferred and the liability imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can
be determined by an examination and construction of its terms, and there is no
language indicating that the subject is referred to the legislature for action.

A provision which lays down a general principle, such as those found in Art. II of the
1987 Constitution is usually not self-executing. But a provision which is complete in
itself and becomes operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling legislation,
or that which supplies sufficient rule by means of which the right it grants may be
enjoyed or protected, is self-executing.

Unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a


constitutional mandate, the presumption now is that all provisions of the constitution
are self- executing.

The omission from a constitution of any express provision for a remedy for enforcing a
right or liability is not necessarily an indication that it was not intended to be self-
executing.

The rule is that a self-executing provision of the constitution does not necessarily
exhaust legislative power on the subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with
the constitution, further the exercise of constitutional right and make it more available.

A constitutional provision may be self-executing in one part and non-self-executing in


another.
[see Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS, G.R. No. 122156, February 3, 1997]
The following are self-executing provisions
1. The right to a balanced and healthful ecology is self-executory and does not
need an implementing legislation [Oposa v. Factoran, G.R. No. 101083, July
30, 1993]

2. The duty of full public disclosure [Province of North Cotabato v. GRP, G.R.
No. 183591, Oct. 14, 2008]
3. The Right to information in Art. III [Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission,
G.R. No. L-72119, May 29, 1987];

4. The Filipino First Policy [Bernas, The 1987 Constitution: A commentary


(2009); Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS, G.R. No. 122156, February 3, 1997].

Non Self-Executory Provisions


Non-executing provisions lay down a general principle, and merely indicate principles
without laying rules giving them the force of law. The disregard of such rights does not
give rise to any cause of action before the courts. [Pamatong v. COMELEC, G.R. No.
161872, April 13, 2004].
An example of non-self-executing provision are the principles in Article II. They are
used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of its power of judicial review,
and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. [Tondo Medical v. Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. 167324, July 17, 2000].

2. Constitutional Law; General Principles And State Policy (Article II,


1987 Constitution)
The “Declaration of Principles and State Policies” is a statement of the basic ideological
principles and policies that underlie the Constitution. As such, the provisions shed light
on the meaning of the other provisions of the Constitution and they are a guide for all
departments of the governments in the implementation of the Constitution. [Bernas,
The 1987 Philippine Constitution: A Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)].

Section 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty


resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.

A community of persons, more or less numerous, permanently occupying a definite


portion of territory, independent of external control, and possessing a government to
which a great body of the inhabitants render habitual obedience; a politically organized
sovereign community independent of outside control bound by ties of nationhood,
legally supreme within its territory, acting through a government functioning under a
regime of law. [Collector of Internal Revenue v. Campos, G.R. No. L-13250,
October 29, 1971]. It has four elements: people, territory, sovereignty and
government. [Montevideo Convention of 1933].

“Government” is that institution or aggregate of institutions by which an independent


society makes and carries out those rules of action which are necessary to enable men
to live in a social state or which are imposed upon the people forming that society by
those who possess the power or authority of prescribing them. [Dorr v. United States,
195 U.S. 138 (1904)].
Government functions can be classified as constituent and ministrant. Constituent
functions are compulsory which constitute the very bonds of society. Ministrant
functions, on the other hand, are the optional functions of government. [Bacani v.
Nacoco, G.R. No. L-9657, November 29, 1956]. However, the growing complexities
of modern society can necessitate realignment. [ACCFA v. CUGCO, G.R. No. L-21484,
November 29, 1969]. For instance, housing is considered as an essential service.
[PHHC v. Court of Industrial Relations, G.R. No. L-31890, May 29, 1987].

According to legitimacy, governments are either de jure or de facto. A de


jure government is one established by authority of the legitimate sovereign whereas a
government de facto merely is one in defiance of the legitimate sovereign. [Bernas,
The 1987 Philippine Constitution: A Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)]. De
factogovernments have several kinds, these are: first, that government that gets
possession and control of, or usurps, by force or by voice of the majority; second, is
that which is established and maintained by invading military forces;third, is that
established as an independent government by the inhabitants of a country who rise in
insurrection against the parent state, such as the government of the Southern
Confederacy in revolt against the Union during the war of secession. [Co Kim Chan v.
Valdez Tan Keh, G.R. No. L-5, September 17, 1945].

Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy,


adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law
of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom,
cooperation, and amity with all nations.

Examples of generally accepted principles of international law are: (a) the right of an
alien to be released on bail while awaiting deportation when his failure to leave the
country is due to the fact that no country will accept him. [Mejoff v. Director of
Prisons, G.R. No. L-4254, September 26, 1951]; (b) the right of a country to
establish military commissions to try war criminals [Kuroda v. Jalandoni, G.R. No. L-
2662, March 26, 1949]; (c) the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals
[Agustin v. Edu, G.R. No. L-49112, February 2, 1979]; (d) duty to protect the
premises of embassies and legations [Reyes v. Bagatsing, G.R. No. L-65366,
November 9, 1983].

The phrase “generally accepted principles of international law” refers to norms of


general or customary international law which are binding on all states. Under the 1987
Constitution, international law can be part of our domestic law either by transformation
or by incorporation. Transformation requires that the international law principle be
transformed into domestic law either by a constitutional mechanism, such as local
legislation. Incorporation, on the other hand, applies when by mere constitutional
declaration, international law is deemed to have the force of domestic law.
[Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines v. Duque, G.R.
No. 173034, October 9, 2007].

Because of this clause, our Courts have applied rules of international law in a number of
cases even if such rules had not previously been subject of statutory enactments,
because these generally accepted principles of international law are automatically part
of our own laws. The doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever local Courts are
confronted with situations in which there appears to be a conflict between a rule of
international law and the provisions of the constitution or statute. Efforts should first be
exerted to harmonize them, so as to give effect to both. [Nachura, Outline Reviewer
in Political Law (2009)]. However, our courts have ruled if the conflict is
irreconcilable, thereafter a choice has to be made, municipal law should be upheld, the
courts being organs of municipal law and are accordingly bound by it in all
circumstances. [Gonzales v. Hechanova, G.R. No. L-21897, October 22, 1963]. In
most countries, the doctrine of incorporation dictates that rules of international law are
given equal standing with, and are not superior to, national legislative enactments. In
states where the constitution is the highest law of the land, such as the Philippines,
both statutes and treaties may be invalidated if they are in conflict with the
constitution. [Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, G.R. No. 139465, January 18,
2000]. The fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does
not imply that it has primacy over national law. [Philipp Morris, Inc. v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 91332 July 16, 1993].

Section 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The
Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State.
Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the
national territory.

Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the
people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in
the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided
by law, to render personal, military or civil service.

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty,
and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the
enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.

The right to bear arms is a statutory right, not a constitutional right. The license to
carry a firearm is neither a property nor a property right. Neither does it create a
vested right. Even if it were a property right, it cannot be considered absolute as to be
placed beyond the reach of police power. The maintenance of peace and order, and the
protection of the people against violence are constitutional duties of the State, and the
right to bear arms is to be construed in connection and in harmony with these
constitutional duties. [Chavez v. Romulo, G.R. No. 157036, June 9, 2004].
Section 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.

During the efficacy of the 1973 Constitution our Court has ruled that, “[T]he separation
of Church and State implicit in the Bill of Rights (Sec. 1, par. 7 of Art. III of the 1935
Constitutions and Sec. 8, Article IV, 1973 Constitution), has been expressly stated and
therefore stressed in Section 15 of Article XV of the 1973 Constitution, which
categorically enjoins that "the separation of Church and State shall be inviolable." This
basic principle which underlies the structure of our government was the sharp reaction
to the historical lesson learned by mankind in general that the fusion of government
and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.” [The Municipality of
Nueva Caceres v. Director of Lands, G.R. No. 7153, March 26, 1913]

STATE POLICIES

Section 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its


relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national
sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-
determination

Section 8. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and
pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.

Our Court held that Art. II Sec. 2, 7, 8 and Art. XVIII Sec. 25, betray a marked
antipathy towards foreign military presence in the country, or of foreign influence in
general. Hence, foreign troops are allowed entry into the Philippines only by way of
direct exception. [Lim v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 151445, April 11, 2002].

Section 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will
ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from
poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full
employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.

Section 10. The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national
development.

The promotion of social justice, however, is to be achieved not through a mistaken


sympathy towards any given group. Social justice is "neither communism, nor
despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the humanization of laws and the
equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and
objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the
promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of
measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent elements of
society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the
interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption
of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers
underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of salus
populi est suprema lex. [Calalang v. Williams, G.R. No. 47800, December 2,
1940].

Section 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and
guarantees full respect for human rights.

Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect
and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall
equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from
conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of
the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall
receive the support of the Government.

In Imbong vs Executive Secretary, G.R No. 204819, April 8, 2014, the court
declared that the Constitution affords protection to the unborn from conception, with
“conception” defined as life beginning at fertilization. The court rejected the argument
that conception only begins at the moment of implantation of the fertilized ovum in a
woman’s uterus, as this theory does not pertain to the beginning of life but to the
viability of the fetus.

Section 13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building
and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and
social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism,
and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.

Section 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and
shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.

Section 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the
people and instill health consciousness among them.

Section 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a
balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of
nature.

This provision recognizes an enforceable right. Hence, appeal to it has been recognized
as conferring “standing” on minors to challenge logging policies of the government.
[Oposa v. Factoran, G.R. No. 101083, July 30, 1993].Moreover, on the issue that
the “total log ban” is a new policy which should be applied prospectively and not affect
the rights of the petitioner vested under the Timber Licensing Agreement, the Supreme
Court declared that this is not a new policy but a mere reiteration of the policy of
conservation and protection expressed in Sec. 16, Art. II of the Constitution. [C & M
Timber Corporation v. Alcala, G.R. No. 111088, June 13, 1997]. Due to this right,
the Court also upheld the empowerment of the Laguna Lake Development Authority to
protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake Area from the deleterious effects of
pollutants coming from garbage dumping and the discharge of wastes in the area as
against the local autonomy claim of local governments in the area. [Laguna Lake
Development Authority v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 120865-71, December 7,
1995].

Section 17. The State shall give priority to education, science and technology,
arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social
progress, and promote total human liberation and development.

Section 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall
protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.

Section 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national
economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.

Section 20. The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector,
encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments.

Section 21. The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and
agrarian reform.

Section 22. The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous
cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development.

Section 23. The State shall encourage non-governmental, community-based,


or sectoral organizations that promote the welfare of the nation.

Section 24. The State recognizes the vital role of communication and
information in nation-building.

Section 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

Section 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public
service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.

The purpose of this provision is to give substance to the desire for the equalization of
political opportunities. However, the definition of “political dynasties” is left to the
legislators. [Bernas, The 1987 Philippine Constitution: A Comprehensive
Reviewer (2011)].
The said provision, however, does not mean that everyone has a right to be a candidate
for president. First of all, this provision is not self-executory. The provision does not
contain any judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline
for legislative or executive action. Secondly, it is within the power of the state to limit
the number of qualified candidates only to those who can afford to wage a nationwide
campaign and/or are nominated by political parties. [Pamatong v. COMELEC, G.R.
No. 161872, April 13, 2004].

Section 27. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service
and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.

Section 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State


adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions
involving public interest.

3. Political Law; Constitutional Law; Self-Executing And Non-Self-


Executing Provisions
Self-Executory Provisions:
A constitutional provision is self-executing if the nature and extent of the right
conferred and the liability imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can
be determined by an examination and construction of its terms, and there is no
language indicating that the subject is referred to the legislature for action.

A provision which lays down a general principle, such as those found in Art. II of the
1987 Constitution is usually not self-executing. But a provision which is complete in
itself and becomes operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling legislation,
or that which supplies sufficient rule by means of which the right it grants may be
enjoyed or protected, is self-executing.

Unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a


constitutional mandate, the presumption now is that all provisions of the constitution
are self- executing.

The omission from a constitution of any express provision for a remedy for enforcing a
right or liability is not necessarily an indication that it was not intended to be self-
executing.

The rule is that a self-executing provision of the constitution does not necessarily
exhaust legislative power on the subject, but any legislation must be in harmony with
the constitution, further the exercise of constitutional right and make it more available.

A constitutional provision may be self-executing in one part and non-self-executing in


another.
[see Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS, G.R. No. 122156, February 3, 1997]
The following are self-executing provisions
1. The right to a balanced and healthful ecology is self-executory and does not
need an implementing legislation [Oposa v. Factoran, G.R. No. 101083, July
30, 1993]

2. The duty of full public disclosure [Province of North Cotabato v. GRP, G.R.
No. 183591, Oct. 14, 2008]

3. The Right to information in Art. III [Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission,


G.R. No. L-72119, May 29, 1987];

4. The Filipino First Policy [Bernas, The 1987 Constitution: A commentary


(2009); Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS, G.R. No. 122156, February 3, 1997].

Non Self-Executory Provisions


Non-executing provisions lay down a general principle, and merely indicate principles
without laying rules giving them the force of law. The disregard of such rights does not
give rise to any cause of action before the courts. [Pamatong v. COMELEC, G.R. No.
161872, April 13, 2004].
An example of non-self-executing provision are the principles in Article II. They are
used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of its power of judicial review,
and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. [Tondo Medical v. Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. 167324, July 17, 2000].

4. Political Law; Constitutional Law; General Considerations; General


Principles And State Policy
The “Declaration of Principles and State Policies” is a statement of the basic ideological
principles and policies that underlie the Constitution. As such, the provisions shed light on the
meaning of the other provisions of the Constitution and they are a guide for all departments of
the governments in the implementation of the Constitution. [Bernas, The 1987 Philippine
Constitution: A Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)]

Section 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the
people and all government authority emanates from them.

A community of persons, more or less numerous, permanently occupying a definite portion of


territory, independent of external control, and possessing a government to which a great body of
the inhabitants render habitual obedience; a politically organized sovereign community
independent of outside control bound by ties of nationhood, legally supreme within its territory,
acting through a government functioning under a regime of law. [Collector of Internal Revenue
v. Campos, G.R. No. L-13250, October 29, 1971] It has four elements: people, territory,
sovereignty and government. [Montevideo Convention of 1933]

“Government” is that institution or aggregate of institutions by which an independent society


makes and carries out those rules of action which are necessary to enable men to live in a social
state or which are imposed upon the people forming that society by those who possess the power
or authority of prescribing them. [Dorr v. United States, 195 U.S. 138 (1904)]

Government functions can be classified as constituent and ministrant. Constituent functions are
compulsory which constitute the very bonds of society. Ministrant functions, on the other hand,
are the optional functions of government.[Bacani v. Nacoco, G.R. No. L-9657, November 29,
1956] However, the growing complexities of modern society can necessitate realignment.
[ACCFA v. CUGCO, G.R. No. L-21484, November 29, 1969] For instance, housing is
considered as an essential service. [PHHC v. Court of Industrial Relations, G.R. No. L-31890,
May 29, 1987]

According to legitimacy, governments are either de jure or de facto. A de jure government is one
established by authority of the legitimate sovereign whereas a government de facto merely is one
in defiance of the legitimate sovereign. [Bernas, The 1987 Philippine Constitution: A
Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)] De facto governments have several kinds, these are: first, that
government that gets possession and control of, or usurps, by force or by voice of the
majority; second, is that which is established and maintained by invading military forces; third,
is that established as an independent government by the inhabitants of a country who rise in
insurrection against the parent state, such as the government of the Southern Confederacy in
revolt against the Union during the war of secession. [Co Kim Chan v. Valdez Tan Keh, G.R.
No. L-5, September 17, 1945]

Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the
generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres
to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

Examples of generally accepted principles of international law are: (a) the right of an alien to be
released on bail while awaiting deportation when his failure to leave the country is due to the fact
that no country will accept him. [Mejoff v. Director of Prisons, G.R. No. L-4254, September 26,
1951]; (b) the right of a country to establish military commissions to try war criminals [Kuroda
v. Jalandoni, G.R. No. L-2662, March 26, 1949]; (c) the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and
Signals [Agustin v. Edu, G.R. No. L-49112, February 2, 1979]; (d) duty to protect the premises
of embassies and legations [Reyes v. Bagatsing, G.R. No. L-65366, November 9, 1983]

The phrase “generally accepted principles of international law” refers to norms of general or
customary international law which are binding on all states. Under the 1987 Constitution,
international law can be part of our domestic law either by transformation or by incorporation.
Transformation requires that the international law principle be transformed into domestic law
either by a constitutional mechanism, such as local legislation. Incorporation, on the other hand,
applies when by mere constitutional declaration, international law is deemed to have the force of
domestic law. [Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines v. Duque, G.R.
No. 173034, October 9, 2007]

Because of this clause, our Courts have applied rules of international law in a number of cases
even if such rules had not previously been subject of statutory enactments, because these
generally accepted principles of international law are automatically part of our own laws. The
doctrine of incorporation is applied whenever local Courts are confronted with situations in
which there appears to be a conflict between a rule of international law and the provisions of the
constitution or statute. Efforts should first be exerted to harmonize them, so as to give effect to
both. [Nachura, Outline Reviewer in Political Law (2009)] However, our courts have ruled if
the conflict is irreconcilable, thereafter a choice has to be made, municipal law should be upheld,
the courts being organs of municipal law and are accordingly bound by it in all circumstances.
[Gonzales v. Hechanova, G.R. No. L-21897, October 22, 1963] In most countries, the doctrine
of incorporation dictates that rules of international law are given equal standing with, and are not
superior to, national legislative enactments. In states where the constitution is the highest law of
the land, such as the Philippines, both statutes and treaties may be invalidated if they are in
conflict with the constitution. [Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, G.R. No. 139465, January 18,
2000] The fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not imply
that it has primacy over national law. [Philipp Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 91332,
July 16, 1993]

Section 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces
of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the
sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.

Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The
Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all
citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military or
civil service.

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property,
and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of
the blessings of democracy.

The right to bear arms is a statutory right, not a constitutional right. The license to carry a firearm
is neither a property nor a property right. Neither does it create a vested right. Even if it were a
property right, it cannot be considered absolute as to be placed beyond the reach of police power.
The maintenance of peace and order, and the protection of the people against violence are
constitutional duties of the State, and the right to bear arms is to be construed in connection and
in harmony with these constitutional duties. [Chavez v. Romulo, G.R. No. 157036, June 9,
2004]

Section 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.


During the efficacy of the 1973 Constitution our Court has ruled that, “[T]he separation of
Church and State implicit in the Bill of Rights (Sec. 1, par. 7 of Art. III of the 1935 Constitutions
and Sec. 8, Article IV, 1973 Constitution), has been expressly stated and therefore stressed in
Section 15 of Article XV of the 1973 Constitution, which categorically enjoins that "the
separation of Church and State shall be inviolable." This basic principle which underlies the
structure of our government was the sharp reaction to the historical lesson learned by mankind in
general that the fusion of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade
religion.” [The Municipality of Nueva Caceres v. Director of Lands, G.R. No. 7153, March 26,
1913]

STATE POLICIES

Section 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other
states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity,
national interest, and the right to self-determination

Section 8. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a
policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.

Our Court held that Art. II Sec. 2, 7, 8 and Art. XVIII Sec. 25, betray a marked antipathy towards
foreign military presence in the country, or of foreign influence in general. Hence, foreign troops
are allowed entry into the Philippines only by way of direct exception. [Lim v. Executive
Secretary, G.R. No. 151445, April 11, 2002]

Section 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the
prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through
policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard
of living, and an improved quality of life for all.

Section 10. The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development.

The promotion of social justice, however, is to be achieved not through a mistaken sympathy
towards any given group. Social justice is "neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor
anarchy," but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the
State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be
approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption
by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent
elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the
interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of
measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying
the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex.
[Calalang v. Williams, G.R. No. 47800, December 2, 1940]

Section 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect
for human rights.
Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen
the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the
mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and
duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral
character shall receive the support of the Government.

Section 13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall
promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It
shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in
public and civic affairs.

Section 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the
fundamental equality before the law of women and men.

Section 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill
health consciousness among them.

Section 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and
healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

This provision recognizes an enforceable right. Hence, appeal to it has been recognized as
conferring “standing” on minors to challenge logging policies of the government. [Oposa v.
Factoran, G.R. No. 101083, July 30, 1993] Moreover, on the issue that the “total log ban” is a
new policy which should be applied prospectively and not affect the rights of the petitioner
vested under the Timber Licensing Agreement, the Supreme Court declared that this is not a new
policy but a mere reiteration of the policy of conservation and protection expressed in Sec. 16,
Art. II of the Constitution. [C & M Timber Corporation v. Alcala, G.R. No. 111088, June 13,
1997] Due to this right, the Court also upheld the empowerment of the Laguna Lake
Development Authority to protect the inhabitants of the Laguna Lake Area from the deleterious
effects of pollutants coming from garbage dumping and the discharge of wastes in the area as
against the local autonomy claim of local governments in the area. [Laguna Lake Development
Authority v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 120865-71, December 7, 1995]

Section 17. The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture,
and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote
total human liberation and development.

Section 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the
rights of workers and promote their welfare.

Section 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy
effectively controlled by Filipinos.

Section 20. The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages
private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments.
Section 21. The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian
reform.

Section 22. The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural
communities within the framework of national unity and development.

Section 23. The State shall encourage non-governmental, community-based, or sectoral


organizations that promote the welfare of the nation.

Section 24. The State recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-
building.

Section 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

Section 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and
prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.

The purpose of this provision is to give substance to the desire for the equalization of political
opportunities. However, the definition of “political dynasties” is left to the legislators. [Bernas,
The 1987 Philippine Constitution: A Comprehensive Reviewer (2011)].

The said provision, however, does not mean that everyone has a right to be a candidate for
president. First of all, this provision is not self-executory. The provision does not contain any
judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or
executive action. Secondly, it is within the power of the state to limit the number of qualified
candidates only to those who can afford to wage a nationwide campaign and/or are nominated by
political parties. [Pamatong v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 161872, April 13, 2004]

Section 27. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take
positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.

Section 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and
implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.
Disini vs. Secretary of Justice

Subject:

Strict Scrutiny Standard, Overbreadth Doctrine, As Applied Challenge, Equal Protection


Clause, Right to Privacy, Freedom of Expression, (Online) Libel, Right to Property, Right
Against Unreasonable Search, Undue Delegation of Legislative Power

Facts:

Petitioners Jose Jesus M. Disini, Jr. and company, as taxpayers, file a Petition for
Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65, seeking to nullify Sections 4(c)(4), 6, 7, 12
and 19 of RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) for violating the fundamental
rights protected under the Constitution.

Held:

Strict Scrutiny Standard

1. Petitioners contend that Section 4(a)(1) --which punishes Illegal Access to a


computer system-- fails to meet the strict scrutiny standard and should be struck down

2. According to the strict scrutiny standard, a legislative classification that


impermissibly interferes with the exercise of fundamental right or operates to the
peculiar class disadvantage of a suspect class is presumed unconstitutional. The burden
is on the government to prove that the classification is necessary to achieve a
compelling state interest and that it is the least restrictive means to protect such
interest. Later, the strict scrutiny standard was used to assess the validity of laws
dealing with the regulation of speech, gender, or race as well as other fundamental
rights, as expansion from its earlier applications to equal protection.

3. The Court finds nothing in Section 4(a)(1) that calls for the application of the strict
scrutiny standard since no fundamental freedom, like speech, is involved in punishing
what is essentially a condemnable act – accessing the computer system of another
without right. It is a universally condemned conduct.

4. With respect to ethical hackers, a client’s engagement of an ethical hacker requires


an agreement between them as to the extent of the search, the methods to be used,
and the systems to be tested. Since the ethical hacker does his job with prior
permission from the client, such permission would insulate him from the coverage of
Section 4(a)(1).

Overbreadth Doctrine (Data Interference)


5. Petitioners claim that Section 4(a)(3) suffers from overbreadth in that, while it
seeks to discourage data interference, it intrudes into the area of protected speech
and expression, creating a chilling and deterrent effect on these guaranteed freedoms.

6. Under the overbreadth doctrine, a proper governmental purpose, constitutionally


subject to state regulation, may not be achieved by means that unnecessarily sweep its
subject broadly, thereby invading the area of protected freedoms.

7. Section 4(a)(3) does not encroach on these freedoms at all. It simply punishes what
essentially is a form of vandalism, the act of willfully destroying without right the things
that belong to others, in this case their computer data, electronic document, or
electronic data message. Such act has no connection to guaranteed freedoms.

8. All penal laws, like the cybercrime law, have of course an inherent chilling effect,
an in terrorem effect or the fear of possible prosecution that hangs on the heads of
citizens who are minded to step beyond the boundaries of what is proper. But to
prevent the State from legislating criminal laws because they instill such kind of fear is
to render the state powerless in addressing and penalizing socially harmful conduct.
Here, the chilling effect that results in paralysis is an illusion since Section 4(a)(3)
clearly describes the evil that it seeks to punish and creates no tendency to intimidate
the free exercise of one’s constitutional rights.

9. Besides, the overbreadth challenge places on petitioners the heavy burden of proving
that under no set of circumstances will Section 4(a)(3) be valid. Petitioner has failed to
discharge this burden

Overbreadth Doctrine (Aiding and Abetting)

10. Section 5 (Aiding and Abetting) in relation to Section 4(c)(4) on Libel, Section
4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications, and Section 4(c)(2) on Child
Pornography is unconstitutional.

11. Section 5 renders criminally liable any person who willfully abets or aids in the
commission or attempts to commit any of the offenses enumerated as cybercrimes. It
suffers from overbreadth, creating a chilling and deterrent effect on protected
expression.

12. Penal laws should provide reasonably clear guidelines for law enforcement officials
and triers of facts to prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. The terms
“aiding or abetting” constitute broad sweep that generates chilling effect on those who
express themselves through cyberspace posts, comments, and other messages.

13. In effect, actions such as “Liking”, or Commenting” on or “Sharing” an online post


that is found to be defamatory is not punishable as “aiding or abetting” a cybercrime
offense

14. However, if the “Comment” does not merely react to the original posting but
creates an altogether new defamatory story, then that should be considered an original
posting published on the internet. Both the penal code and the cybercrime law clearly
punish authors of defamatory publications.

15. But the crime of aiding or abetting the commission of cybercrimes under Section
5 should be permitted to apply to Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access, Section 4(a)(2) on
Illegal Interception, Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference, Section 4(a)(4) on System
Interference, Section 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices, Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-squatting,
Section 4(b)(1) on Computer-related Forgery, Section 4(b)(2) on Computer-related
Fraud, Section 4(b)(3) on Computer-related Identity Theft, and Section 4(c)(1) on
Cybersex. None of these offenses borders on the exercise of the freedom of
expression.The crime of willfully attempting to commit any of these offenses is for
the same reason not objectionable.

“As Applied” challenge in relation to Void for Vagueness/Overbreadth

16. Generally, the void for vagueness doctrine does not apply to penal statutes. By way
of exception, when a penal statute encroaches upon the freedom of speech, a facial
challenge grounded on the void-for-vagueness doctrine is acceptable.

17. In an “as applied” challenge, the petitioner who claims a violation of his
constitutional right can raise any constitutional ground – absence of due process, lack
of fair notice, lack of ascertainable standards, overbreadth, or vagueness. One can
challenge the constitutionality of a statute only if he asserts a violation of his own
rights. It prohibits one from assailing the constitutionality of the statute based solely on
the violation of the rights of third persons not before the court. This rule is also known
as the prohibition against third-party standing.

18. But this rule admits of exceptions. A petitioner may for instance mount a “facial”
challenge to the constitutionality of a statute even if he claims no violation of his own
rights under the assailed statute where it involves free speech on grounds of
overbreadth or vagueness of the statute. The rationale for this exception is to counter
the “chilling effect” on protected speech that comes from statutes violating free speech.
A person who does not know whether his speech constitutes a crime under an
overbroad or vague law may simply restrain himself from speaking in order to avoid
being charged of a crime. The overbroad or vague law thus chills him into silence

Equal Protection Clause

19. Petitioners claim that Section 4(a)(6) or cyber-squatting violates the equal
protection clause in that, not being narrowly tailored, it will cause a user using his real
name to suffer the same fate as those who use aliases or take the name of another in
satire, parody, or any other literary device.

20. But there is no real difference whether he uses his real name or a pseudo-name for
it is the evil purpose for which he uses the name that the law condemns. The law is
reasonable in penalizing him for acquiring the domain name in bad faith to profit,
mislead, destroy reputation, or deprive others who are not ill-motivated of the rightful
opportunity of registering the same. The challenge to the constitutionality of Section
4(a)(6) on ground of denial of equal protection is baseless.

Right to Privacy

21. Petitioners claim that Section 4(b)(3) on Computer Related Identity


Theft violates the constitutional rights to due process and to privacy and
correspondence, and transgresses the freedom of the press.

22. The right to privacy, or the right to be let alone, was institutionalized in the 1987
Constitution as a facet of the right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable
searches and seizures. But the Court acknowledged that the right to privacy exists
independently of its identification with liberty; it is in itself fully deserving of
constitutional protection. (Morfe v. Mutuc)

23. Zones of privacy are recognized and protected in our laws. Two constitutional
guarantees create these zones of privacy: (a) the right against unreasonable searches
and seizures, which is the basis of the right to be let alone, and (b) the right to privacy
of communication and correspondence.

24. In assessing the challenge that the State has impermissibly intruded into these
zones of privacy, a court must determine whether a person has exhibited areasonable
expectation of privacy and, if so, whether that expectation has been violated by
unreasonable government intrusion.

25. The law punishes those who acquire or use identifying information (such as name,
citizenship, residence address, contact number, place and date of birth, name of his
spouse if any, occupation) without right, implicitly to cause damage. Petitioners fail to
show how government effort to curb computer-related identity theft violates the right
to privacy and correspondence as well as the right to due process of law.

26. Neither does the law violate freedom of the press by restricting the ability of
journalists to access and publish unrestricted information about a person in the news.
The theft of identity information must be intended for an illegitimate purpose.
Moreover, acquiring and disseminating information made public by the user himself
cannot be regarded as a form of theft. Moreover, theft requires the element of “intent
to gain” which is not present in the situation described.

27. Also, the charge of invalidity of this section based on the overbreadth doctrine will
not hold water since the specific conducts proscribed do not intrude into guaranteed
freedoms like speech. Clearly, what this section regulates are specific actions: the
acquisition, use, misuse or deletion of personal identifying data of another. There is no
fundamental right to acquire another’s personal data.

Freedom of Expression

28. Petitioners claim that Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersexviolates the freedom of


expression clause of the Constitution, i.e., that private communications of sexual
character between husband and wife or consenting adults, which are not regarded as
crimes under the penal code, would now be regarded as crimes when done “for favor”
in cyberspace.

29. The deliberations of the Bicameral Committee of Congress reveal that the element
of “engaging in a business” is necessary to constitute the illegal cybersex. The Act
actually seeks to punish cyber prostitution, white slave trade, and pornography for
favor and consideration.

30. In Nogales v. People, the Court weighed the property rights of individuals against
the public welfare. Private property, if containing pornographic materials, may be
forfeited and destroyed. Likewise, engaging in sexual acts privately through internet
connection, perceived by some as a right, has to be balanced with the mandate of the
State to eradicate white slavery and the exploitation of women.

Child Pornography

31. Section 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography merely expands the scope of the Anti-
Child Pornography Act of 2009 (ACPA) to cover identical activities in cyberspace.

32. As to making the penalty higher by one degree when the crime is committed in
cyberspace, the intensity or duration of penalty is a legislative prerogative and there is
rational basis for such higher penalty. The potential for uncontrolled proliferation of a
particular piece of child pornography when uploaded in the cyberspace is incalculable.

Unsolicited Ads (“Spam”) as Protected Commercial Speech

33. Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications penalizes the


transmission of unsolicited commercial communications, also known as “spam.”

34. The court did not uphold the argument that spams should be outlawed as a form of
nuisance, stating that what matters is that recipients have the option of deleting or not
reading the spams.

35. Commercial speech is a separate category of speech which is not accorded the
same level of protection as that given to other constitutionally guaranteed forms of
expression but is nonetheless entitled to protection. Unsolicited advertisements are
legitimate forms of expression.

Libel

36. Libel is not a constitutionally protected speech and that the government has an
obligation to protect private individuals from defamation.

37. The elements of libel are: (a) the allegation of a discreditable act or condition
concerning another; (b) publication of the charge; (c) identity of the person defamed;
and (d) existence of malice

38. Where the offended party is a public figure, a showing of actual malice or
malice in fact is required. There is “actual malice” when the offender makes the
defamatory statement with the knowledge that it is false or with reckless disregard of
whether it was false or not. Gross or even extreme negligence is not sufficient to
establish actual malice.

39. But, where the offended party is a private individual, the prosecution need not
prove the presence of malice. The law explicitly presumes its existence (malice in
law) from the defamatory character of the assailed statement. For his defense, the
accused must show that he has a justifiable reason for the defamatory statement even
if it was in fact true.

40. Article 361 of the Penal Code recognizes truth as a defense but under
the condition that the accused has been prompted in making the statement by good
motives and for justifiable ends.

Use of ICT as a Qualifying Circumstance

41. Section 6 merely makes commission of existing crimes through the internet
a qualifying circumstance. There exists a substantial distinction between crimes
committed through the use of information and communications technology (ICT) and
similar crimes committed using other means. In using ICT, the offender often evades
identification and is able to reach far more victims or cause greater harm. The
distinction, therefore, creates a basis for higher penalties for cybercrimes.

Double Jeopardy

42. Section 7 provides that “A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to
any liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or
special laws.”

43. When two different laws define two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one does not bar
prosecution of the other although both offenses arise from the same fact, if each crime
involves some important act which is not an essential element of the other.

44. With the exception of the crimes of online libel and online child pornography,
the Court would leave the determination of the correct application of Section 7 to actual
cases.

45. Online libel is different. There should be no question that if the published material
on print, said to be libelous, is again posted online or vice versa, that identical material
cannot be the subject of two separate libels. The two offenses, one a violation of Article
353 of the Revised Penal Code and the other a violation of Section 4(c)(4) of RA 10175
involve essentially the same elements and are in fact one and the same offense. Online
libel under Section 4(c)(4) is not a new crime but is one already punished under Article
353. Section 4(c)(4) merely establishes the computer system as another means of
publication. Charging the offender under both laws would be a blatant violation of the
proscription against double jeopardy

46. The same is true with child pornography committed online. Section 4(c)(2)
merely expands the ACPA’s scope so as to include identical activities in cyberspace.

Fixing of Penalties

47. The matter of fixing penalties for the commission of crimes is as a rule a legislative
prerogative. Here the legislature prescribed a measure of severe penalties for what it
regards as deleterious cybercrimes. They appear proportionate to the evil sought to be
punished. The power to determine penalties for offenses is not diluted or improperly
wielded simply because at some prior time the act or omission was but an element of
another offense or might just have been connected with another crime. Judges can only
interpret and apply them and have no authority to modify or revise their range as
determined by the legislative department. The courts should not encroach on this
prerogative of the lawmaking body

Right to Privacy (Real Time Collection and Recording of Traffic Data)

48. Petitioners assail the grant to law enforcement agencies of the power to collect or
record traffic data in real time as tending to curtail civil liberties or provide
opportunities for official abuse.

49. The first question is whether or not Section 12 (Real-Time Collection of Traffic
Data) has a proper governmental purpose since a law may require the disclosure of
matters normally considered private upon showing (1) that such requirement has a
rational relation to the purpose of the law, (2) that there is a compelling State interest
behind the law, and (3) that the provision itself is narrowly drawn.

Compelling state interest and rational relation

50. The State has a compelling interest in enacting the cybercrime law for there is a
need to put order to the tremendous activities in cyberspace for public good. To do this,
it is within the realm of reason that the government should be able to monitor traffic
data to enhance its ability to combat all sorts of cybercrimes. The requirement of “real
time” collection is critical because there are many ways the cyber criminals can quickly
erase their tracks. it is only real-time traffic data collection or recording and a
subsequent recourse to court-issued search and seizure warrant that can succeed in
ferreting them out.

51. Privacy is classified into two categories: Decisional privacy involves the right to
independence in making certain important decisions, while Informational
privacy refers to the interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters. It is the right
to informational privacy that those who oppose government collection or recording of
traffic data in real-time seek to protect.

52. Informational privacy has two aspects: (1) the right not to have private
information disclosed, and (2) the right to live freely without surveillance and intrusion.

53. In determining whether or not a matter is entitled to the right to privacy, this Court
has laid down a two-fold test.

(a) subjective test, where one claiming the right must have an actual or
legitimate expectation of privacy over a certain matter.

(b) objective test, where his or her expectation of privacy must be one society is
prepared to accept as objectively reasonable.

54. ICT users must know that they cannot communicate or exchange data with one
another over cyberspace except through some service providers to whom they must
submit certain traffic data that are needed for a successful cyberspace communication.
The conveyance of this data takes them out of the private sphere, making the
expectation to privacy in regard to them an expectation that society is not prepared to
recognize as reasonable.

Not narrowly drawn

55. Section 12 empowers law enforcement authorities, “with due cause,” to collect or
record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time. But the cybercrime law
fails to hint at the meaning it intends for the phrase “due cause”, thus justifying a
general gathering of data. It is akin to the use of a general search warrant that the
Constitution prohibits.

56. The power is virtually limitless, enabling law enforcement authorities to engage in
“fishing expedition,” choosing whatever specified communication they want. This
evidently threatens the right of individuals to privacy. Section 12 is therefore
invalid.

Right to Property (preservation and Destruction of Computer Data)

57. Petitioners claim that Section 13 (Preservation of Computer Data) constitutes


an undue deprivation of the right to property. They liken the data preservation order
that law enforcement authorities are to issue as a form of garnishment of personal
property in civil forfeiture proceedings. Such order prevents internet users from
accessing and disposing of traffic data that essentially belong to them.

58. By virtue of Section 13, the law now requires service providers to keep traffic data
and subscriber information relating to communication services for at least six months
from the date of the transaction and those relating to content data for at least six
months from receipt of the order for their preservation.

59. The data that service providers preserve on orders of law enforcement authorities
are not made inaccessible to users by reason of the issuance of such orders. The
process of preserving data will not unduly hamper the normal transmission or use of
the same.

60. Similarly, Section 17 (Destruction of Computer Data) does not violate the
user’s right against deprivation of property without due process of law. The user has no
clear demandable right to require the service provider to have that copy of the data
saved indefinitely for him in its storage system. If he wanted them preserved, he
should have saved them in his computer when he generated the data or received it. He
could also request the service provider for a copy before it is deleted

Right Against Unreasonable Search (Disclosure and Blocking of Computer


Data)

61. Section 14 (Disclosure of Computer Data) provides that “Law enforcement


authorities, upon securing a court warrant, shall issue an order requiring any person or
service provider to disclose or submit subscriber’s information, traffic data or relevant
data in his/its possession or control ….”

62. Section 14 is being likened to the issuance of a subpoena. The power to issue
subpoenas is not exclusively a judicial function. Executive agencies have the power to
issue subpoena as an adjunct of their investigatory powers.

63. The prescribed procedure for disclosure would not constitute an unlawful search or
seizure nor would it violate the privacy of communications and correspondence.
Disclosure can be made only after judicial intervention.

64. Section 19 (Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data), provides that


“When a computer data is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this
Act, the Department of Justice shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such
computer data.”

65. Computer data, produced or created by their writers or authors may constitute
personal property. Consequently, they are protected from unreasonable searches and
seizures, whether while stored in their personal computers or in the service provider’s
systems

66. Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that no search
warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by
thejudge. Here, the Government, in effect, seizes and places the computer data under
its control and disposition without a warrant. The Department of Justice order cannot
substitute for judicial search warrant.

67. The content of the computer data can also constitute speech. In such a case,
Section 19 operates as a restriction on the freedom of expression over cyberspace.

68. Section 19 is void for being violative of the freedom of expression and
against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Bill of Attainder

69. Petitioners claim that Section 20 (Non Compliance) is a bill of attainder since
the mere failure to comply constitutes a legislative finding of guilt, without regard to
situations where non-compliance would be reasonable or valid.

70. But since the non-compliance would be punished as a violation of PD 1829, Section
20 necessarily incorporates elements of the offense which are defined therein. If
Congress had intended for Section 20 to constitute an offense in and of itself, it would
not have had to make reference to any other statue or provision.

71. The act of non-compliance, for it to be punishable, must be done “knowingly or


willfully.” There must still be a judicial determination of guilt, during which, defense and
justifications for non-compliance may be raised. Thus, Section 20 is valid insofar as it
applies to the provisions of Chapter IV which are not struck down by the Court
Undue Delegation of Legislative Power

72. Petitioners contend that Congress invalidly delegated its power when it gave the
Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) the power to formulate a
national cybersecurity plan without any sufficient standards or parameters for it to
follow.

73. In order to determine whether there is undue delegation of legislative power, the
Court has adopted two tests: Under the completeness test, the law must be complete
in all its terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such that when it reaches
the delegate, the only thing he will have to do is to enforce it. Thesufficient standard
test mandates adequate guidelines or limitations in the law to determine the
boundaries of the delegate’s authority and prevent the delegation from running riot.

74. Here, the cybercrime law is complete in itself when it directed the CICC to
formulate and implement a national cybersecurity plan. Also, the law gave sufficient
standards for the CICC to follow when it provided a definition of cybersecurity.

75. Cybersecurity refers to the collection of tools, policies, risk management


approaches, actions, training, best practices, assurance and technologies that can be
used to protect cyber environment and organization and user’s assets. This definition
serves as the parameters within which CICC should work in formulating the
cybersecurity plan.Further, the policy of the law is adopted in the interest of law and
order, which has been considered as sufficient standard. Hence, Sections 24 and
26(a) are likewise valid.
ISAGANI CRUZ and CESAR EUROPA, petitioners, vs. SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL
RESOURCES, SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT and CHAIRMAN and COMMISSIONERS OF THE
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, respondents.
HON. JUAN M .FLAVIER, HON. PONCIANO BENNAGEN, BAYANI ASCARRAGA, EDTAMI MANSAYANGAN,
BASILIO WANDAG, EVELYN DUNUAN, YAOM TUGAS, ALFREMO CARPIANO, LIBERATO A. GABIN,
MATERNIDAD M. COLAS, NARCISA M. DALUPINES, BAI KIRAM-CONNIE SATURNO, BAE MLOMO-BEATRIZ
T. ABASALA, DATU BALITUNGTUNG-ANTONIO D. LUMANDONG, DATU MANTUMUKAW TEOFISTO
SABASALES, DATU EDUAARDO BANDA, DATU JOEL UNAD, DATU RAMON BAYAAN, TIMUAY JOSE ANOY,
TIMUAY MACARIO D. SALACAO, TIMUAY EDWIN B. ENDING, DATU SAHAMPONG MALANAW VI, DATU
BEN PENDAO CABIGON, BAI NANAPNAY-LIZA SAWAY, BAY INAY DAYA-MELINDA S. REYMUNDO, BAI
TINANGHAGA HELINITA T. PANGAN, DATU MAKAPUKAW ADOLINO L. SAWAY, DATU MAUDAYAW-
CRISPEN SAWAY, VICKY MAKAY, LOURDES D. AMOS, GILBERT P. HOGGANG, TERESA GASPAR, MANUEL S.
ONALAN, MIA GRACE L. GIRON, ROSEMARIE G. PE, BENITO CARINO, JOSEPH JUDE CARANTES, LYNETTE
CARANTES-VIVAL, LANGLEY SEGUNDO, SATUR S. BUGNAY, CARLING DOMULOT, ANDRES MENDIOGRIN,
LEOPOLDO ABUGAN, VIRGILIO CAYETANO, CONCHITA G. DESCAGA, LEVY ESTEVES, ODETTE G. ESTEVEZ,
RODOLFO C. AGUILAR, MAURO VALONES, PEPE H. ATONG, OFELIA T. DAVI, PERFECTO B. GUINOSAO,
WALTER N. TIMOL, MANUEL T. SELEN, OSCAR DALUNHAY, RICO O. SULATAN, RAFFY MALINDA, ALFREDO
ABILLANOS, JESSIE ANDILAB, MIRLANDO H. MANGKULINTAS, SAMIE SATURNO, ROMEO A. LINDAHAY,
ROEL S. MANSANG-CAGAN, PAQUITO S. LIESES, FILIPE G. SAWAY, HERMINIA S. SAWAY, JULIUS S.
SAWAY, LEONARDA SAWAY, JIMMY UGYUB, SALVADOR TIONGSON, VENANCIO APANG, MADION MALID,
SUKIM MALID, NENENG MALID, MANGKATADONG AUGUSTO DIANO, JOSEPHINE M. ALBESO, MORENO
MALID, MARIO MANGCAL, FELAY DIAMILING, SALOME P. SARZA, FELIPE P. BAGON, SAMMY
SALNUNGAN, ANTONIO D. EMBA, NORMA MAPANSAGONOS, ROMEO SALIGA, SR., JERSON P. GERADA,
RENATO T. BAGON, JR., SARING MASALONG, SOLEDAD M. GERARDA, ELIZABETH L. MENDI, MORANTE S.
TIWAN, DANILO M. MALUDAO, MINORS MARICEL MALID, represented by her father CORNELIO MALID,
MARCELINO M. LADRA, represented by her father MONICO D. LADRA, JENNYLYN MALID, represented by
her father TONY MALID, ARIEL M. EVANGELISTA, represented by her mother LINAY BALBUENA, EDWARD
M. EMUY, SR., SUSAN BOLANIO, OND, PULA BATO B'LAAN TRIBAL FARMER'S ASSOCIATION, INTER-
PEOPLE'S EXCHANGE, INC. and GREEN FORUM-WESTERN VISAYAS, intervenors.
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, intervenor. / IKALAHAN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE and HARIBON
FOUNDATION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, INC., intervenor.

Subject:

Supreme Court judgments, Regalian doctrine, Ancestral domain, National patrimony,


Customary laws, Chilling effect syndrome

Facts:

Isagani Cruz and Cesar Europa bring this suit for prohibition and mandamus,
challenging the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights
Act of 1997 and its IRR.

Senator Juan Flavier and the leaders of the 112 groups of indigenous peoples claim that
the IPRA is constitutional. The Commission on Human Rights joined in claiming that the
IPRA is an expression of the principle of parens patriae and that the State has the
responsibility to protect and guarantee the rights of those who are at a serious
disadvantage like indigenous peoples.

Petitioners assail the constitutionality of the IPRA and its IRR on the following grounds:

(1) they amount to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the
public domain, as well as minerals and other natural resources therein, in violation of
the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article 12 of the Constitution;

(2) that by providing for an all encompassing definition of “ancestral domains” and
“ancestral lands” which might even include private lands found within said areas,
Sections 3(a) and 3(b) violate the rights of private landowners;

(3) the provisions of the IPRA defining the powers and jurisdiction of the NCIP and
making customary law applicable to the settlement of disputes involving ancestral
domains and ancestral lands violate the due process clause of the Constitution, and

(4) that Rule VII, Part II, Section 1 of the NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, series of
1998, which provides that “the administrative relationship of the NCIP to the Office of
the President is characterized as a lateral but autonomous relationship for purposes of
policy and program coordination” infringes upon the President’s power of control over
executive departments under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution.

As the votes among the SC Justices were equally divided (7-7) and the necessary
majority was not obtained, the case was re-deliberated upon. However, after re-
deliberation, the voting remained the same. Accordingly, pursuant to Rule 56, Section 7
of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition is dismissed.

Held:

Supreme Court judgments; judicial review

1. When the State machinery is set into motion to implement an alleged


unconstitutional statute, the Supreme Court possesses sufficient authority to resolve
and prevent imminent injury and violation of the constitutional process.

2. Where the votes in the Court en banc are equally divided and the necessary majority
is not obtained, the case is redeliberated upon, but if after deliberation, the voting
remains the same, the petition is dismissed pursuant to Rule 56, Section 7 of the Rules
of Civil Procedure.

Regalian doctrine

3. The “Regalian Doctrine” or jura regalia is a Western legal concept that was first
introduced by the Spaniards into the country through the Laws of the Indies and the
Royal Cedulas.

4. In its broad sense, the term “jura regalia” refers to royal rights, or those rights which
the King has by virtue of his prerogatives.

5. The Regalian theory does not negate native title to lands held in private ownership
since time immemorial.

Public land

6. The term “public land” referred to all lands of the public domain whose title still
remained in the government and are thrown open to private appropriation and
settlement, and excluded the patrimonial property of the government and the friar
lands.

Ancestral domain

7. Ancestral domains are all areas belonging to Indigenous Cultural communities/


Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) held under a claim of ownership, occupied or possessed
by ICCs/IPs by themselves or through their ancestors, communally or individually since
time immemorial, continuously until the present, except when interrupted by war, force
majeure or displacement by force, deceit, stealth or as a consequence of government
projects or any other voluntary dealings with government and/or private individuals or
corporations.

8. Ancestral domains comprise lands, inland waters, coastal areas, and natural
resources therein and includes ancestral lands, forests, pasture, residential,
agricultural, and other lands individually owned whether alienable or not, hunting
grounds, burial grounds, worship areas, bodies of water, mineral and other natural
resources.

9. They also include lands which may no longer be exclusively occupied by ICCs/IPs but
from which they traditionally had access to for their subsistence and traditional
activities, particularly the home ranges of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting
cultivators.

Ancestral land

10. Ancestral lands are lands held by the ICCs/IPs under the same conditions as
ancestral domains except that these are limited to lands and that these lands are not
merely occupied and possessed but are also utilized by the ICCs/IPs under claims of
individual or traditional group ownership.

11. These lands include but are not limited to residential lots, rice terraces or paddies,
private forests, swidden farms and tree lots.

National Patrimony

12. Ancestral lands and ancestral domains are not part of the lands of the public
domain.

13. The IPRA categorically declares ancestral lands and domains held by native title as
never to have been public land—domains and lands held under native title are,
therefore, indisputably presumed to have never been public lands and are private.

14. The right of ownership and possession of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains is
held under the indigenous concept of ownership which maintains the view that ancestral
domains are the ICCs/IPs private but community property.

15. For areas certified as ancestral domain, jurisdiction of the government agency or
agencies concerned over lands forming part thereof ceases. HOWEVER, thejurisdiction
of government agencies over the natural resources within the ancestral
domains does not terminate by such certification because said agencies are
mandated under existing laws to administer the natural resources for the State, which
is the owner thereof.

Customary laws

16. Customary law is a primary, not secondary, source of rights under the IPRA. In the
absence of any applicable provision in the Civil Code, custom, when duly proven, can
define rights and liabilities, and it uniquely applies to ICCs/IPs.

17. However, the use of customary laws under the IPRA is not absolute, for the law
speaks merely of primacy of use.

18. In fact, customary laws, when specifically enacted to become part of statutory law,
must first undergo that publication to render them correspondingly binding and
effective as such.
19. The application of customary law is limited to disputes concerning property
rights or relations in determining the ownership and extent of the ancestral domains,
where all the parties involved are members of the same indigenous group. It
therefore follows that when one of the parties to a dispute is a non-member of an
indigenous group, or when the indigenous peoples involved belong to different groups,
the application of customary law is not required.

President’s power of control

20. An “independent agency” is an administrative body independent of the executive


branch or one not subject to a superior head of department, as distinguished from a
“subordinate agency” or an administrative body whose action is subject to
administrative review or revision.

21. The NCIP, although independent to a certain degree, was placed by Congress
“under the office of the President” and, as such, is still subject to the President’s power
to control and supervision with respect to its performance of administrative functions.

Chilling effect syndrome

22. Invalidation of the statute “on its face” rather than “as applied” is permitted in the
interest of preventing a “chilling” effect on freedom of expression.

23. But the only instance where a facial challenge to a statute is allowed is when it
operates in the area of freedom of expression.
THE PROVINCE OF NORTH COTABATO, duly represented by GOVERNOR
JESUS SACDALAN and/or VICE-GOVERNOR EMMANUEL PI?OL, for and in
his own behalf, Petitioners, versus THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF
THE PHILIPPINES PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP),
represented by SEC. RODOLFO GARCIA, ATTY. LEAH ARMAMENTO, ATTY.
SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN and/or GEN.
HERMOGENES ESPERON, JR., the latter in his capacity as the present and duly-
appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPEOPLE) or the so-
called Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Respondents.

Doctrines and Important Details


1. International Law; Concept Of Association And Associative State
Concept of “Association” under International Law

In the international legal context, an association is formed "when two states of unequal
power voluntarily establish durable links. In the basic model, one state, the associate,
delegates certain responsibilities to the other, theprincipal,while maintaining its
international status as a state. Free associations represent a middle ground between
integration and independence".

In international practice, the “associated state” arrangement has usually been used as a
transitional device of former colonies on their way to full independence.

The concept of Association is not recognized under the 1987 Constitution

No province, city, or municipality, not even the ARMM, is recognized under ourlaws as
having an “associative” relationship with the national government. The concept implies
powers that go beyond anything granted by the Constitution to any local or regional
government. It also implies the recognition of the associated entity as a state. The
Constitution does not contemplate any state in this jurisdiction other than the Philippine
State, much less does it provide for a transitory status that aims to prepare any part of
Philippine territory for independence. [Province of North Cotabato v. GRP Peace
Panel, G.R. No. 183591 and G.R. No. 183752 and G.R. No. 183893 and G.R. No.
183962, October 14, 2008]

2. International Law; Right Of People To Self-Determination


The right of a people to self-determination has acquired a status beyond ‘convention’
and is considered a general principle of international law.

The people’s right to self-determination should not be understood as extending to a


unilateral right of secession. A distinction should be made between the right of internal
and external self-determination.

a. internal self-determination – a people’s pursuit of its political, economic, social


and cultural development within the framework of an existing state.

b. external self-determination (which potentially takes the form of the assertion of


aright to unilateral secession) arises in only the most extreme of cases and, even then,
under carefully defined circumstances.

Positive International Law does not recognize the right of national groups, as such, to
separate themselves from the State of which they form part by the simple expression of
a wish. The grant or refusal of the right to a portion of its population of determining its
own political fate by plebiscite or by some other method, is, exclusively, an attribute of
the sovereignty of every State. [Province of North Cotabato v. GRP Peace Panel,
G.R. No. 183591 and G.R. No. 183752 and G.R. No. 183893 and G.R. No.
183962, October 14, 2008]
GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA, JOSE M. VILLEGAS, JR., JOSE L.
GONZALEZ, REUBEN M. ABANTE, and QUINTIN PAREDES SAN DIEGO,
Petitioners, Vs. HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N.
OCHOA, JR., SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT FLORENCIO
B. ABAD, NATIONAL TREASURER ROSALIA V. DE LEON, SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, represented by FRANKLIN M. DRILON m his capacity as
SENATE PRESIDENT, and HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, represented by
FELICIANO S. BELMONTE, JR. in his capacity as SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE,
Respondents.
G.R. No. 208566 | 2013-11-19

Doctrine
1. Pork Barrel System
as the collective body of rules and practices that govern the manner by which lump-sum,
discretionary funds, primarily intended for local projects, are utilized through the respective
participations of the Legislative and Executive branches of government, including its members.

2. Two Kinds Of Pork Barrel


The Pork Barrel System involves two (2) kinds of lump-sum discretionary funds:

1. Congressional Pork Barrel - a kind of lump-sum, discretionary fund wherein


legislators, either individually or collectively organized into committees, are able
to effectively control certain aspects of the fund’s utilization through various
post-enactment measures and/or practices
2. Presidential Pork Barrel - a kind of lump-sum, discretionary fund which
allows the President to determine the manner of its utilization.

3. Constitutionality Of The Pork Barrel In The Form Of The Countrywide


Development Fund (CDF) Or Priority Development Assistance Fund
(PDAF)
Prevailing doctrine on Pork Barrel
In Belgica v. Executive Secretary , G.R. 208566, November 11, 2013, the
Supreme Court declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and its
predecessor, the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) unconstitutional.

Pork Barrel, definition and kinds

The Pork Barrel System is defined as the collective body of rules and practices that
govern the manner by which lump-sum, discretionary funds, primarily intended for local
projects, are utilized through the respective participations of the Legislative and
Executive branches of government, including its members.

The Pork Barrel System involves two kinds of lump-sum discretionary funds: (1) The
Congressional Pork Barrel; and (2) Presidential Pork Barrel. The former is defined as a
kind of lump-sum, discretionary fund wherein legislators, either individually or
collectively organized into committees, are able to effectively control certain aspects of
the fund’s utilization through various post-enactment measures and/or practices. The
latter is defined as a kind of lump-sum, discretionary fund which allows the President to
determine the manner of its utilization.

Jurisprudence prior to Belgica v. Executive Secretary

In Philconsa v. Enriquez, G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994, the Supreme Court
upheld the constitutionality of the then known Countrywide Development Fund (CDF).
The petitioners in the said case claimed that the power given to the members of
Congress to propose and identify the projects and acivites to be funded by the CDF is
an encroachment by the legislature on executive power. They argued that the proposal
and identification of the projects do not involve the making of laws or the repeal and
amendment thereof which is the only function given to the Congress by the
Constitution.

The Supreme Court held that the power of appropriation carries with it the power to
specify the project or activity to be funded under the appropriation law. It can be as
detailed and as broad as Congress wants it to be. The CDF is explicit that it shall be
used "for infrastructure, purchase of ambulances and computers and other priority
projects and activities and other credit facilities to qualified beneficiaries..." It was
Congress itself that determined the purposes for the appropriation. On the other hand,
the Executive was responsive for the implementation of the priority projects specified in
the law. The Supreme Court emphasized that the authority given to the members of
Congress is only to propose and identify projects to be implemented by the President.
under the GAA of 1994, the President must examine whether the proposals submitted
by the members of Congress fall within the specific items of expenditures for which the
CDF was set up, and if qualified, the President next determines whether they are in line
with other projects planned for the locality. Thereafter, if the proposed projects qualify
for funding, i is the President who shall implement them. The proposals and
identifications made by the members of Congress are merely recommendatory.

In addition, the Supreme Court stated that the CDF attempts to make equal the
unequal. It is also a recognition that individual members of Congress, far more than the
President and their congressional colleagues are likely o be knowledgeable about the
needs of their respective constituents and the priority to be given to each project.

In Sarmiento v. Treasurer, G.R. Nos. 125680 & 126313, September 4, 2001, the
petitioners questioned the constitutionality of the CDF under the GAA of 1996. Seeking
the reversal of Philconsa v. Enriquez, the petitioners alleged that the proposal and
identification of projects by members of Congress were not merely recommendatory
considering that requests for releases of funds under the CDF are automically released.
The Solicitor General argued that since the questioned provision is basically the same
provision found in the 1994 GAA held as constitutional by the Supreme Court
in Philconsa v. Enriquez, the instant case should be resolved in the same manner,
following the principle of stare decisis.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the CDF under the 1996 GAA.

In League Against Monopoly and Poverty (LAMP) v. Secretary of Budget and


Management, G.R. 164987, April 21, 2012, petitioners assailed the constitutionality
and legality of the implementation of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)
as provided for in the GAA of 2004. According to the petitioners, the provision in the
GAA as regards the PDAF is silent and therefore prohibits an automatic allocation of
lump sums to individual senators and congressmen for funding of projects. It does not
give the individual members of Congress the mandate to propose, select and identify
programs and projects to be funded out of PDAF. The petitioners submitted that such a
situation violates the principle of separation of powers because in receiving and
thereafter spending funds for their chosen projects, the members of Congress in effect
intruded into an executive function. Further, the authority to propose and select
projects does not pertain to legislation. It is, in fact, a non-legislative function devoid of
constitutional sanction and therefore impermissible and must be considered nothing
less than malfeasance.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the PDAF. The Court stated that no
convincing proof was presented showing that, indeed there were direct releases of
funds to members of Congresss, who actually spent them according to their sole
discretion. Not even a documentation of the disbursement of funds by the DBM in favor
of the members of Congres was presented by the petitioner to convince the Court to
probe into the truth of their claims. The Court further stated that the authority granted
to members of Congress to propose and select projects was already upheld in Philconsa
v. Enriquez, and there is no need to review or reverse the pronouncements made in
said case so long as there is no showing of a direct participation of legislators in the
actual spending of the budget.

The Ruling in Belgica v. Executive Secretary

In Belgica v. Executive Secretary , G.R. 208566, November 11, 2013, the


Supreme Court abandoned its pronouncements in the three cases mentioned and
declared the Pork Barrel System as unconstitutional in view of the inherent defects in
the rules within which the system operates. The Court submitted that:

 Insofar as it has allowed legislators to wield, in varying gradations, non-oversight,


postenactment authority in vital areas of budget execution, the system has violated
the principle of separation of powers;
 Insofar as it has conferred unto legislators the power of appropriation by giving
them personal, discretionary funds from which they are able to fund specific
projects which they themselves determine, it has similarly violated the principle of
nondelegability of legislative power;
 Insofar as it has created a system of budgeting wherein items are not textualized
into the appropriations bill, it has flouted the prescribed procedure of presentment
and, in the process, denied the President the power to veto items
 Insofar as it has diluted the effectiveness of congressional oversight by giving
legislators a stake in the affairs of budget execution, an aspect of governance which
they may be called to monitor and scrutinize, the system has equally impaired
public accountability;
 Insofar as it has authorized legislators, who are national officers, to intervene in
affairs of purely local nature, despite the existence of capable local institutions, it
has likewise subverted genuine local autonomy; and
 Insofar as it has conferred to the President the power to appropriate funds intended
by law for energy-related purposes only to other purposes he may deem fit as well
as other public funds under the broad classification of priority infrastructure
development projects, it has once more transgressed the principle of non-
delegability.
MARIA CAROLINA P. ARAULLO, CHAIRPERSON, BAGONG ALYANSANG
MAKABAYAN; JUDY M. TAGUIWALO, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF THE
PHILIPPINES DILIMAN, CO-CHAIRPERSON, PAGBABAGO; HENRI KAHN,
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. DAYRIT, CHAIRMAN,
ANG KAPATIRAN PARTY; VENCER MARI E. CRISOSTOMO,
CHAIRPERSON, ANAKBAYAN; VICTOR VILLANUEVA, CONVENOR,
YOUTH ACT NOW, PETITIONERS, VS. BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES; PAQUITO N.
OCHOA, JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; AND FLORENCIO B. ABAD,
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT,
RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. No. 209135]

AUGUSTO L. SYJUCO JR., PH.D., PETITIONER, VS. FLORENCIO B. ABAD,


IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE SECRETARY OF DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET
AND MANAGEMENT; AND HON. FRANKLIN MAGTUNAO DRILON, IN HIS
CAPACITY AS THE SENATE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES,
RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. No. 209136]

MANUELITO R. LUNA, PETITIONER, VS. SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD,


IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET
AND MANAGEMENT; AND EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO OCHOA, IN
HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ALTER EGO OF THE PRESIDENT,
RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. No. 209155]


ATTY. JOSE MALVAR VILLEGAS, JR., PETITIONER, VS. THE HONORABLE
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.; AND THE
SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT FLORENCIO B. ABAD,
RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. No. 209164]

PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), REPRESENTED


BY DEAN FROILAN M. BACUNGAN, BENJAMIN E. DIOKNO AND LEONOR
M. BRIONES, PETITIONERS, VS. DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND
MANAGEMENT AND/OR HON. FLORENCIO B. ABAD, RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. No. 209260]

INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), PETITIONER, VS.


SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET
AND MANAGEMENT (DBM), RESPONDENT.

[G.R. No. 209442]

GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA; BISHOP REUBEN M. ABANTE


AND REV. JOSE L. GONZALEZ, PETITIONERS, VS. 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 FELICIANO
BELMONTE, JR.; THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE, REPRESENTED BY
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.; THE DEPARTMENT
OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, REPRESENTED BY SECRETARY
FLORENCIO ABAD; THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, REPRESENTED BY
SECRETARY CESAR V. PURISIMA; AND THE BUREAU OF TREASURY,
REPRESENTED BY ROSALIA V. DE LEON, RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. No. 209517]


CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE), REPRESENTED BY ITS 1ST
VICE PRESIDENT, SANTIAGO DASMARINAS, JR.; ROSALINDA NARTATES,
FOR HERSELF AND AS NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE CONSOLIDATED
UNION OF EMPLOYEES NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY (CUE-NHA);
MANUEL BACLAGON, FOR HIMSELF AND AS PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIAL
WELFARE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES,
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRAL
OFFICE (SWEAP-DSWD CO); ANTONIA PASCUAL, FOR HERSELF AND AS
NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM
EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (DAREA); ALBERT MAGALANG, FOR
HIMSELF AND AS PRESIDENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND
MANAGEMENT BUREAU EMPLOYEES UNION (EMBEU); AND MARCIAL
ARABA, FOR HIMSELF AND AS PRESIDENT OF THE KAPISANAN PARA SA
KAGALINGAN NG MGA KAWANI NG MMDA (KKK-MMDA), PETITIONERS,
VS. BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF
THE PHILIPPINES; PAQUITO OCHOA, JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY; AND
HON. FLORENCIO B. ABAD, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. No. 209569]

VOLUNTEERS AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION (VACC),


REPRESENTED BY DANTE L. JIMENEZ, PETITIONER, VS. PAQUITO N.
OCHOA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, AND FLORENCIO B. ABAD,
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT,
RESPONDENTS.
G.R. No. 209287 | 2015-02-03

Doctrine and Important Details


1. Doctrine Of Operative Fact
As a general rule, an unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes
no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is inoperative as if it has not
been passed at all. The general rule is supported by Article 7 of the Civil Code. xxx

The doctrine of operative fact, as an exception to the general rule, only applies as a
matter of equity and fair play. It nullifies the effects of an unconstitutional law by
recognizing that the existence of a statute prior to a determination of
unconstitutionality is an operative fact and may have consequences which cannot
always be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration.

The doctrine is applicable when a declaration of unconstitutionality will impose an


undue burden on those who have relied on the invalid law. Thus, it was applied to a
criminal case when a declaration of unconstitutionality would put the accused in double
jeopardy or would put in limbo the acts done by a municipality in reliance upon a law
creating it. [Yap vs. Thenamaris Ship's Management and Intermare Maritime
Agencies, Inc., G.R. No. 179532, May 30, 2011 citing Planter Products vs
Fertiphil Corporation, G.R. No. 166006, March 14, 2008; see also De
Agbayani v. Philippine National Bank, G.R. No. L-23127, April 29, 1971]

Doctrine applies even to quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial acts

The doctrine of operative fact extends to a void or unconstitutional executive act. The
term executive act is broad enough to include any and all acts of the Executive,
including those that are quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial in nature. xxx

The operative fact doctrine is not confined to statutes and rules and regulations issued
by the executive department that are accorded the same status as that of a statute or
those which are quasi-legislative in nature.

Even assuming that De Agbayani initially applied the operative fact doctrine only to
executive issuances like orders and rules and regulations, said principle can nonetheless
be applied, by analogy, to decisions made by the President or the agencies under the
executive department. This doctrine, in the interest of justice and equity, can be
applied liberally and in a broad sense to encompass said decisions of the executive
branch. In keeping with the demands of equity, the Court can apply the operative fact
dctrine to acts and consequences that resulted from the reliance not only on a law or
executive act which is quasi-legislative in nature but also on decisions or orders of the
executive branch which were later nullified. This Court is not unmindful that such acts
and consequences must be recognized in the higher interest of justice, equity and
fairness. [Araullo vs Aquino, G.R. No. 209287, July 1, 2014 citing Hacienda
Luisita, Inc. v. Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, G.R. No. 171101,
November 22, 2011]

Operative Fact applied to Question of Jurisdiction

In Tan v. Barrios [G.R. Nos. 85481-82, October 18, 1990], [the Supreme] Court,
in applying the operative fact doctrine, held that despite the invalidity of the jurisdiction
of the military courts over civilians, certain operative facts must be acknowledged to
have existed so as not to trample upon the rights of the accused there.

2. Impoundment
Impoundment refers to a refusal by the President, for whatever reason, to spend funds
made available by Congress. It is the failure to spend or obligate budget authority of
any type. [Philconsa vs Enriquez, G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994 and Araullo
vs Aquino, G.R. No. 209287? , July 1, 2014]

3. Budget System
Definition of "Budget"

Under Republic Act No. 992 (Revised Budget Act) the term 'budget' is described as the
services and products, or benefits that would accrue to the public together with the
estimated unit cost of each type of service, product or benefit.

Guiding Principles

The Philippine Budget System is guided by two principal objectives that are vital to
the development of a progressive democratic government, namely:

(1) to carry on all government activities under a comprehensive fiscal plan developed,
authorized and executed in accordance with the Constitution, prevailing statutes and
the principles of sound public management; and
(2) to provide for the periodic review and disclosure of the budgetary status of the
Government in such detail so that persons entrusted by law with the responsibility as
well as the enlightened citizenry can determine the adequacy of the budget actions
taken, authorized or proposed, as well as the true financial position of the Government.

Budget Phases

The Philippine budget process is comprised of four phases. Each phase is distinctly
separate from the others but they overlap in the implementation of the budget during
the budget year. These are:

(1) Budget Preparation— government agencies prepare and submit their budget
proposals in response to a Budget Call by the DBM.

(2) Budget Legislation— also known as the Budget Authorization Phase, and involves
the participation of both legislative houses through its deliberations and culminates in
the passing of a General Appropriations Act.

(3) Budget Execution— this phase is primarily the function of the DBM, which is tasked
to: (1) issue the programs and guidelines for the release of funds; (2) prepare an
Allotment and Cash Release Program (3) release allotments; and (4) issue
disbursement authorities. Actual disbursement or spending of government funds
terminates the Budget Execution Phase.

(4) Accountability— An agency’s accountability may be examined and evaluated


through (1) performance targets and outcomes; (2) budget accountability reports;
(3)review of agency performance; and (4) audit conducted by the Commission on Audit
(COA).

[Araullo vs Aquino, G.R. No. 209287, July 1, 2014]

3. Public Expenditures
Public or government expenditures are generally classified into two categories,
specifically:

(1) Capital expenditures or outlays: the expenses whose usefulness lasts for more than
one year, and which add to the assets of the Government, including investments in the
capital of GOCCs and their subsidiaries.

(2) Current operating expenditures: the purchases of goods and services in current
consumption the benefit of which does not extend beyond the fiscal year. The two
components of current expenditures are those for personal services (PS), and those for
maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).

Public expenditures are also broadly grouped according to their functions into:

(1) economic development expenditures (i.e.,expenditures on agriculture and natural


resources, transportation and communications, commerce and industry, and other
economic development efforts);

(2) social services or social development expenditures (i.e., government outlay on


education, public health and medicare, labor and welfare and others);

(3) general government or general public services expenditures (i.e., expenditures for
the general government, legislative services, the administration of justice, and for
pensions and gratuities);

(4) national defense expenditures (i.e., sub-divided into national security expenditures
and expenditures for the maintenance of peace and order); and

(5) public debt

Public expenditures may further be classified according to the nature of funds:

(1) general fund,


(2) special fund
(3) bond fun

[Araullo vs Aquino, G.R. No. 209287, July 1, 2014]

3. Public Revenues
Public revenues cover all income or receipts of the government treasury used to
support government expenditures.

Public revenues are classified as either:


(1) General Income (service income, forex gains, donations, etc) or

(2) Specific Income (taxes, fines)

In the Philippines, public revenues are generally derived from the following sources, to
wit:

(1) tax revenues (i.e., compulsory contributions to finance government activities);

(2) capital revenues (i.e., proceeds from sales of fixed capital assets or scrap thereof
and public domain, and gains on such sales like sale of public lands, buildings and other
structures, equipment, and other properties recorded as fixed assets);

(3) grants (i.e., voluntary contributions and aids given to the Government for its
operation on specific purposes in the form of money and/or materials, and do not
require any monetary commitment on the part of the recipient);

(4) extra-ordinary income (i.e., repayment of loans and advances made by government
corporations and local governments and the receipts and shares in income of the Banko
Sentral ng Pilipinas, and other receipts); and

(5) public borrowings (i.e., proceeds of repayable obligations generally with interest
from domestic and foreign creditors of the Government in general, including the
National Government and its political subdivisions)

[Araullo vs Aquino, G.R. No. 209287, July 1, 2014]

4. Special Allotment Release Order (SARO)


A SARO, as defined by the DBM itself in its website, is “[a] specific authority issued to
identified agencies to incur obligations not exceeding a given amount during a specified
period for the purpose indicated. It shall cover expenditures the release of which is
subject to compliance with specific laws or regulations, or is subject to separate
approval or clearance by competent authority.”

Based on this definition, it may be gleaned that a SARO only evinces the existence of
an obligation and not the directive to pay.Practically speaking, the SARO does not have
the direct and immediate effect of placing public funds beyond the control of the
disbursing authority. In fact, a SARO may even be withdrawn under certain
circumstances which will prevent the actual release of funds. On the other hand, the
actual release of funds is brought about by the issuance of the Notice of Cash Allotment
(NCA), which is subsequent to the issuance of a SARO. [Araullo vs Aquino, G.R. No.
209287, July 1, 2014]

5. Cross Border Augmentations


Section 25(5) of Article VI provides:

“No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however,


the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of
Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the
general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of
their respective appropriations.”

By providing that the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Heads of
the Constitutional Commissions may be authorized to augment any item in the GAA
“for their respective offices,” Section 25(5) has delineated borders between their
offices, such that funds appropriated for one office are pohibited from crossing over
to another office even in the guise of augmentation of a deficient item or items. Thus,
we call such transfers of funds cross-border transfers or cross-border
augmentations.

Cross-border transfers, whether as augmentation, or as aid, are prohibited under


Section 25(5).

[see Araullo vs Aquino, G.R. No. 209287, July 1, 2014]