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Veterans Fed. Party v COMELEC G.R. No. 136781. October 6, 2000.

Bantay Bayan, 4L, AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, ALU and BIGAS.

Facts: May 11, 1998, the first election for party-list representation was
On October 15, 1998, the COMELEC Second Division promulgated
held simultaneously with the national elections. A total of one
the present assailed Resolution granting PAG-ASA's Petition. It also
hundred twenty-three (123) parties, organizations and coalitions
ordered the proclamation of herein 38 respondents who, in addition
participated. On June 26, 1998, the COMELEC en banc proclaimed
to the 14 already sitting, would thus total 52 party-list representatives.
thirteen (13) party-list representatives from twelve (12) parties and
It held that "at all times, the total number of congressional seats must
organizations, which had obtained at least two percent of the total
be filled up by eighty (80%) percent district representatives and
number of votes cast for the party-list system. Two of the proclaimed
twenty (20%) percent party-list representatives." In allocating the 52
representatives belonged to Petitioner APEC, which obtained 5.5
seats, it disregarded the two percent-vote requirement prescribed
percent of the votes.
under Section 11 (b) of RA 7941. Instead, it identified three "elements
On July 6, 1998, PAG-ASA (People's Progressive Alliance for Peace of the party-list system," which should supposedly determine "how
and Good Government Towards Alleviation of Poverty and Social the 52 seats should be filled up”
Advancement) filed with the COMELEC a "Petition to Proclaim [the]
Issue: How to determine the winners of the subject party-list election
Full Number of Party-List Representatives provided by the
can be settled by addressing the following issues:
Constitution." It alleged that the filling up of the twenty percent
1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives
membership of party-list representatives in the House of
mentioned in Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution, mandatory
Representatives, as provided under the Constitution, was mandatory.
or is it merely a ceiling? In other words, should the twenty percent
It further claimed that the literal application of the two percent vote
allocation for party-list solons be filled up completely and all the time?
requirement and the three-seat limit under RA 7941 would defeat this
2. Are the two percent threshold requirement and the three-seat
constitutional provision, for only 25 nominees would be declared
limit provided in Section 11 (b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
winners, short of the 52 party-list representatives who should actually
3. If the answer to Issue 2 is in the affirmative, how should the
sit in the House.
additional seats of a qualified party be determined?
Thereafter, nine other party-list organizations filed their respective
Motions for Intervention, seeking the same relief as that sought by Held: WHEREFORE, the Petitions are hereby partially GRANTED. The
PAG-ASA on substantially the same grounds. Likewise, PAG-ASA's assailed Resolutions of the COMELEC are SET ASIDE and NULLIFIED.
Petition was joined by other party-list organizations in a Manifestation The proclamations of the fourteen (14) sitting party-list
they filed on August 28, 1998. These organizations were COCOFED, representatives — two for APEC and one each for the remaining
Senior Citizens, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN, PCCI, twelve (12) qualified parties — are AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as
Women Power, Inc., Ang Lakas OCW, FEJODAP, CUP, Veterans Care,
Ratio: In sum, we hold that the COMELEC gravely abused its In view of to whom should the seats be given
discretion in ruling that the thirty-eight (38) herein respondent
In the suits, made respondents together with the COMELEC were
parties, organizations and coalitions are each entitled to a party-list
the 38 parties, organizations and coalitions that had been declared by
seat, because it glaringly violated two requirements of RA 7941: the
the poll body as likewise entitled to party-list seats in the House of
two percent threshold and proportional representation.
Representatives. Collectively, petitioners sought the proclamation of
additional representatives from each of their parties and
In disregarding, rejecting and circumventing these statutory
organizations, all of which had obtained at least two percent of the
provisions, the COMELEC effectively arrogated unto itself what the
total votes cast for the party-list system.
Constitution expressly and wholly vested in the legislature: the power
and the discretion to define the mechanics for the enforcement of the On January 12, 1999, this Court issued a Status Quo Order directing
system. The wisdom and the propriety of these impositions, absent the COMELEC "to CEASE and DESIST from constituting itself as a
any clear transgression of the Constitution or grave abuse of National Board of Canvassers on 13 January 1999 or on any other date
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, are beyond and proclaiming as winners the nominees of the parties, organizations
judicial review. and coalitions enumerated in the dispositive portions at its 15 October
1998 Resolution or its 7 January 1999 Resolution, until further orders
The COMELEC, which is tasked merely to enforce and administer
from this Court."
election-related laws, cannot simply disregard an act of Congress
exercised within the bounds of its authority. As a mere implementing In view of the 20% being mandatory
body, it cannot judge the wisdom, propriety or rationality of such act.
Its recourse is to draft an amendment to the law find lobby for its The COMELEC cannot be faulted for the "incompleteness," for
approval and enactment by the legislature. ultimately the voters themselves are the ones who, in the exercise of
their right of suffrage, determine who and how many should
represent them.
In view of the party-list system elements per COMELEC
First, "the system was conceived to enable the marginalized sectors On the contention that a strict application of the two percent
of the Philippine society to be represented in the House of threshold may result in a "mathematical impossibility," suffice it to say
Representatives." Second, "the system should represent the broadest that the prerogative to determine whether to adjust or change this
sectors of the Philippine society." Third, "it should encourage [the] percentage requirement rests in Congress. Our task now, as should
multi-party system." (Boldface in the original.) Considering these have been the COMELEC's, is not to find fault in the wisdom of the law
elements, but ignoring the two percent threshold requirement of RA through highly unlikely scenarios of clinical extremes, but to craft an
7941, it concluded that "the party-list groups ranked Nos. 1 to 51 . . . innovative mathematical formula that can, as far as practicable,
should have at least one representative." implement it within the context of the actual election process.
very serious shortcomings of classification and of double or triple
In view of the 2% threshold votes. We are for opening up the system, and we would like very much
for the sectors to be there. That is why one of the ways to do that is
In imposing a two percent threshold, Congress wanted to ensure
to put a ceiling on the number of representatives from any single party
that only those parties, organizations and coalitions having a sufficient
that can sit within the 50 allocated under the party list system. This
number of constituents deserving of representation are actually
way, we will open it up and enable sectoral groups, or maybe regional
represented in Congress.
groups, to earn their seats among the fifty. . . ."
In view of the 2.5% vote equivalent
In view of the method of allocating additional seats
"MR. MONSOD. . . . We are amenable to modifications in the
Having determined that the twenty percent seat allocation is
minimum percentage of votes. Our proposal is that anybody who has
merely a ceiling, and having upheld the constitutionality of the two
two-and-a-half percent of the votes gets a seat. There are about 20
percent vote threshold and the three-seat limit imposed under RA
million who cast their votes in the last elections. Two-and-a-half
7941, we now proceed to the method of determining how many
percent would mean 500,000 votes. Anybody who has a constituency
party-list seats the qualified parties, organizations and coalitions are
of 500,000 votes nationwide deserves a seat in the Assembly. If we
entitled to.
bring that down to two percent, we are talking about 400,000 votes.
The average vote per family is three. So, here we are talking about In view of the Niemeyer Formula
134,000 families. We believe that there are many sectors who will be
Under this formula, the number of additional seats to which a
able to get seats in the Assembly because many of them have
qualified party would be entitled is determined by multiplying the
memberships of over 10,000. In effect, that is the operational
remaining number of seats to be allocated by the total number of
implication of our proposal.
votes obtained by that party and dividing the product by the total
Thus, even legislative districts are apportioned according to "the number of votes garnered by all the qualified parties. The integer
number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform portion of the resulting product will be the number of additional seats
and progressive ratio" to ensure meaningful local representation. that the party concerned is entitled to.

The Niemeyer formula, while no doubt suitable for Germany, finds

In view of the Three-Seat-Per-Party limit
no application in the Philippine setting, because of our three-seat limit
An important consideration in adopting the party-list system is to and the non-mandatory character of the twenty percent allocation.
promote and encourage a multiparty system of representation. Again, True, both our Congress and the Bundestag have threshold
we quote Commissioner Monsod: requirements — two percent for us and five for them.

"MR. MONSOD: …but we also wanted to avoid the problems of

mechanics and operation in the implementation of a concept that has
One half of the German Parliament is filled up by party-list The only basis given by the law is that a party receiving at least two
members. More important, there are no seat limitations, because percent of the total votes shall be entitled to one seat. Proportionally,
German law discourages the proliferation of small parties. In contrast, if the first party were to receive twice the number of votes of the
RA 7941, as already mentioned, imposes a three-seat limit to second party, it should be entitled to twice the latter's number of
encourage the promotion of the multiparty system. seats and so on.

In view of the legal and logical formula for the Philippines We adopted this six percent bench mark, because the first party is
Step One. Rank all the participating parties, organizations and not always entitled to the maximum number of additional seats.
coalitions from the highest to the lowest based on the number of Likewise, it would prevent the allotment of more than the total
votes they each received. Then the ratio for each party is computed number of available seats, such as in an extreme case wherein 18 or
by dividing its votes by the total votes cast for all the parties more parties tie for the highest rank and are thus entitled to three
participating in the system. All parties with at least two percent of the seats each. In such scenario, the number of seats to which all the
total votes are guaranteed one seat each. Only these parties shall be parties are entitled may exceed the maximum number of party-list
considered in the computation of additional seats. The party receiving seats reserved in the House of Representatives.
the highest number of votes shall thenceforth be referred to as the
However, if the first party received a significantly higher amount of
"first" party.
votes — say, twenty percent — to grant it the same number of seats
Step Two. The next step is to determine the number of seats the as the second party would violate the statutory mandate of
first party is entitled to, in order to be able to compute that for the proportional representation, since a party getting only six percent of
other parties. Since the distribution is based on proportional the votes will have an equal number of representatives as the one
representation, the number of seats to be allotted to the other parties obtaining twenty percent. The proper solution, therefore, is to grant
cannot possibly exceed that to which the first party is entitled by virtue the first party a total of three seats; and the party receiving six
of its obtaining the most number of votes. percent, additional seats in proportion to those of the first party.

The Court has previously ruled in Guingona Jr. v. Gonzales that a

In view of the formula for additional seats of other qualified parties
fractional membership cannot be converted into a whole membership
of one when it would, in effect; deprive another party's fractional
Step Three: The next step is to solve for the number of additional
membership. It would be a violation of the constitutional mandate of
seats that the other qualified parties are entitled to, based on
proportional representation. We said further that "no party can claim
proportional representation.
more than what it is entitled to . . ."

In view of the formula for determining additional seats for the first
In view of the 2% threshold rationale
The rationale for the 2% threshold can thus be synthesized as sectoral representatives and no further. Thereafter, they have to earn
follows: their seats through participation in the party-list system.

In view of the 3-seat limit rationale

1.To avoid a situation where the candidate will just use the party-
list system as a fallback position; The rationale for the 3-seat limit is to distribute party-list
representation to as many party groups as possible. According to
2.To discourage nuisance candidates or parties, who are not
Senator Tolentino, if one party will be allowed to dominate, then the
ready and whose chances are very low, from participating in the
idea of giving as much as possible to the marginalized groups may be
defeated. The purpose is to allow as many as possible of the
3.To avoid the reserve seat system by opening up the system; marginalized groups that would be entitled to representation to have
a seat in Congress, and to have enough seats left for those who are
4.To encourage the marginalized sectors to organize, work hard, way below the list.
and earn their seats within the system;
The party-list system of proportional representation is based on the
5.To enable sectoral representatives to rise to the same majesty Niemeyer formula, embodied in Art. 6(2) of the German Federal
as that of the elected representatives in the legislative body, rather Electoral Law, which provides that, in determining the number of
than owing to some degree their seats in the legislative body either to seats a party is entitled to have in the Bundestag, seats should be
an outright constitutional gift or to an appointment by the President multiplied by the number of votes obtained by each party and then
of the Philippines; the product should be divided by the sum total of the second votes
obtained by all the parties that have polled at least 5 percent of the
6. if no threshold is imposed, this will actually proliferate political
votes. First, each party receives one seat for each whole number
party groups and those who have not really been given by the people
resulting from the calculation. The remaining seats are then allocated
sufficient basis for them to represent their constituents and, in turn,
in the descending sequence of the decimal fractions. The Niemeyer
they will be able to get to the Parliament through the backdoor under
formula was adopted in R.A. No. 7941, §11.
the name of the party-list system; 16 and
Indeed, the goal should be to fill all seats allowed for party-list
7. To ensure that only those with a more or less substantial
representatives, which at present are 52. The provision thus fixes a
following can be represented.
ratio of 80 percent district representatives to 20 percent party-list
The framers of the Constitution knew that the sectoral groups representatives. If in fact all seats reserved for party-list
suffer from major disadvantages in the competitive election arena. representatives are not filled, that is due to the fact that the law limits
They sought to remedy this inequality through an outright parties, organizations, and coalitions to three (3) seats each. To
constitutional gift of reserve seats for the first three terms of the maintain this ratio, the entire number of seats for the party-list
system, after deducting the number of seats initially distributed to the certified list be accordingly amended." It also asked, as an alternative,
2 percenters, must be allocated to them. that the votes cast for the said respondents not be counted or
canvassed, and that the latter's nominees not be proclaimed. On April
I see no legal or logical basis for the majority's fixation with
11, 2001, Bayan Muna and Bayan Muna-Youth also filed a Petition for
designating the highest ranking participant as a "first" party. This
Cancellation of Registration and Nomination against some of herein
procedure, as admitted by the majority, assumes that the seats to be
allocated to the qualified parties depend on the seats of the so-called
On April 18, 2001, the COMELEC required the respondents in the
first party.
two disqualification cases to file Comments within three days from
In essence, the majority "formula" amounts simply to the following notice. It also set the date for hearing on April 26, 2001, but
prescription: (1) follow the "1 seat for every 2%" rule in allocating subsequently reset it to May 3, 2001. During the hearing, however,
seats to the first ranking party only and (2) with respect to the rest of Commissioner Ralph C. Lantion merely directed the parties to submit
the 2 percenters, give each party one (1) seat, unless the first ranking their respective memoranda.
party gets at least six percent, in which case all 2 percenters with at
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the pace of the COMELEC, Ang Bagong
least one-half of the votes of the first ranking party should get an extra
Bayani-OFW Labor Party filed a Petition before this Court on April 16,
2001. This Petition, docketed as GR No. 147589, assailed COMELEC
Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution dated April 17, 2001,
The scheme adopted by the majority will prevent all 2 percenters,
the Court directed respondents to comment on the Petition within a
which are not the first ranking party, from obtaining the maximum
non-extendible period of five days from notice
number of seats. This is so because, with their votes being
proportioned against the votes of the first ranking party, there will On April 17, 2001, Petitioner Bayan Muna also filed before this
never be an instance where the additional seats of these parties will Court a Petition, docketed as GR No. 147613, also challenging
be equivalent to 2. Again, this is contrary to R.A. No. 7941, §11 which COMELEC Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution dated May
contemplates the possibility of more than one (1) party obtaining the 9, 2001, the Court ordered the consolidation of the two
maximum number of seats allowed by law. Petitions before it; directed respondents named in the second
Petition to file their respective Comments on or before noon of May
Bagong Bayani Labor Party v COMELEC G.R. No. 147589. June 26,
15, 2001; and called the parties to an Oral Argument on May 17, 2001.
It added that the COMELEC may proceed with the counting and
Facts: On April 10, 2001, Akbayan Citizens Action Party filed before the canvassing of votes cast for the party-list elections, but barred the
COMELEC a Petition praying that "the names of [some of herein proclamation of any winner therein, until further orders of the Court.
respondents] be deleted from the 'Certified List of Political
Parties/Sectoral Parties/Organizations/Coalitions Participating in the Issues: During the hearing on May 17, 2001, the Court directed the
Party List System for the May 14, 2001 Elections' and that said parties to address the following issues:
1. Whether or not recourse under Rule 65 is proper under the
premises. More specifically, is there no other plain, speedy or In view of standing on COMELEC OR 3785
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law?
Petitioners attack the validity of COMELEC Omnibus Resolution
2. Whether or not political parties may participate in the party- 3785 for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion, insofar as
list elections. it allowed respondents to participate in the party-list elections of
2001. Indeed, under both the Constitution and the Rules of Court,
3. Whether or not the party-list system is exclusive to
such challenge may be brought before this Court in a verified petition
'marginalized and underrepresented' sectors and organizations.
for certiorari under Rule 65.
4. Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of
discretion in promulgating Omnibus Resolution No. 3785." Moreover, the assailed Omnibus Resolution was promulgated by
Respondent Commission en banc; hence,no motion for
reconsideration was possible, it being a prohibited pleading under
Held: WHEREFORE, this case is REMANDED to the COMELEC, which Section 1 (d), Rule 13 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.
is hereby DIRECTED to immediately conduct summary evidentiary The Court also notes that Petitioner Bayan Muna had filed before
hearings on the qualifications of the party-list participants in the light the COMELEC a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and
of the guidelines enunciated in this Decision. Considering the extreme Nomination against some of herein respondents. The COMELEC,
urgency of determining the winners in the last party-list elections, the however, did not act on that Petition.
COMELEC is directed to begin its hearings for the parties and
In view of the pendency of the elections, Petitioner Bayan Muna
organizations that appear to have garnered such number of votes as
sought succor from this Court, for there was no other adequate
to qualify for seats in the House of Representatives. The COMELEC is
recourse at the time. Subsequent events have proven the urgency of
further DIRECTED to submit to this Court its compliance report within
petitioner's action; to this date, the COMELEC has not yet formally
30 days from notice hereof.
resolved the Petition before it. But a resolution may just be a formality
The Resolution of this Court dated May 9, 2001, directing the because the COMELEC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, has
COMELEC "to refrain from proclaiming any winner" during the last made its position on the matter quite clear.
party-list election, shall remain in force until after the COMELEC itself
In any event, this case presents an exception to the rule
will have complied and reported its compliance with the foregoing
that certiorari shall lie only in the absence of any other plain, speedy
and adequate remedy. It has been held that certiorari is available,
This Decision is immediately executory upon the Commission on
notwithstanding the presence of other remedies, "where the issue
Elections' receipt thereof. No pronouncement as to costs. SO
raised is one purely of law, where public interest is involved, and in
case of urgency." Indeed, the instant case is indubitably imbued with
public interest and with extreme urgency, for it potentially involves
the composition of 20 percent of the House of Representatives. That political parties may participate in the party-list elections does
not mean, however, that any political party — or any organization or
Moreover, this case raises transcendental constitutional issues on group for that matter — may do so. The requisite character of these
the party-list system, which this Court must urgently resolve, parties or organizations must be consistent with the purpose of the
consistent with its duty to "formulate guiding and controlling party-list system, as laid down in the Constitution and RA 7941.
constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules."
"Proportional representation" here does not refer to the number
Finally, when the decision sought to be set aside is a nullity, or when
of people in a particular district, because the party-list election is
the need for relief is extremely urgent and certiorari is the only
national in scope. Neither does it allude to numerical strength in a
adequate and speedy remedy available."
distressed or oppressed group. Rather, it refers to the representation
In view of the participation of political parties of the "marginalized and underrepresented" as exemplified by the
enumeration in Section 5 of the law; namely,
In its Petition, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party contends that "labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural
"the inclusion of political parties in the party-list system is the most communities, elderly,
objectionable portion of the questioned Resolution." For its part, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers,
Petitioner Bayan Muna objects to the participation of "major political and professionals."
However, it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation
For its part, Section 2 of RA 7941 also provides for "a party-list of the marginalized and underrepresented, because representation is
system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or easy to claim and to feign. The party-list organization or party must
organizations or coalitions thereof, . . .." Section 3 expressly states that factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented
a "party" is "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of constituencies mentioned in Section 5. Concurrently, the persons
parties." More to the point, the law defines "political party" as "an nominated by the party-list candidate-organization must be "Filipino
organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
principles and policies for the general conduct of government and organizations and parties."
which, as the most immediate means of securing their adoption,
Finally, "lack of well-defined constituency" refers to the absence of
regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members
a traditionally identifiable electoral group, like voters of a
as candidates for public office."
congressional district or territorial unit of government. Rather, it
points again to those with disparate interests identified with the
In view of terms marginalized and underrepresented "marginalized or underrepresented."
In the end, the role of the COMELEC is to see to it that only those of their constituencies; and simply to give them a direct voice in
Filipinos who are "marginalized and underrepresented" become Congress and in the larger affairs of the State.
members of Congress under the party-list system, Filipino-style.
In view of COMELEC’s grave abuse of discretion
While the enumeration of marginalized and underrepresented
sectors is not exclusive, it demonstrates the clear intent of the law that When a lower court, or a quasi-judicial agency like the Commission
not all sectors can be represented under the party-list system. It is a on Elections, violates or ignores the Constitution or the law, its action
fundamental principle of statutory construction that words employed can be struck down by this Court on the ground of grave abuse of
in a statute are interpreted in connection with, and their meaning is discretion. Indeed, the function of all judicial and quasi-judicial
ascertained by reference to, the words and the phrases with which instrumentalities is to apply the law as they find it, not to reinvent or
they are associated or related. Thus, the meaning of a term in a statute second-guess it.
may be limited, qualified or specialized by those in immediate
association. In view of the Courts assistance

The Court, therefore, deems it proper to remand the case to the

In view of OSG contention COMELEC for the latter to determine, after summary evidentiary
Notwithstanding the unmistakable statutory policy, the Office of hearings, whether the 154 parties and organizations allowed to
the Solicitor General contends that any party or group that is not participate in the party-list elections comply with the requirements of
disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941 may participate in the the law. In this light, the Court finds it appropriate to lay down the
elections. Hence, it admitted during the Oral Argument that even an following guidelines, culled from the law and the Constitution, to
organization representing the super rich of Forbes Park or Dasmariñas assist the COMELEC in its work
Village could participate in the party-list elections. In view of the 2 systems of representation (Mendoza, J.)
Indeed, the law crafted to address the peculiar disadvantages of Indeed, the two systems of representation are not identical. Party
Payatas hovel dwellers cannot be appropriated by the mansion list representation is a type of proportional representation designed
owners of Forbes Park. The interests of these two sectors are to give those who otherwise cannot win a seat in the House of
manifestly disparate; hence, theOSG's position to treat them similarly Representatives in district elections a chance to win if they have
defies reason and common sense. sufficient strength on a nationwide basis. (In this sense, these groups
It is ironic, therefore, that the marginalized and underrepresented are considered "marginalized and underrepresented.") Under the
in our midst are the majority who wallow in poverty, destitution and party-list system, representatives are elected from multi-seat districts
infirmity. It was for them that the party-list system was enacted — to in proportion to the number of votes received in contrast to the
give them not only genuine hope, but genuine power; to give them "winner-take-all"single-seat district in which, even if a candidate
the opportunity to be elected and to represent the specific concerns garners 49.9% of the votes, he gets no seat.
Thus, under the party-list system, a party or candidate need not peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, and
come in first in order to win seats in the legislature. On the other hand, youth sectors.
in the "winner-take-all" single-seat district, the votes cast for a losing
For while the representation of "marginalized and
candidate are wasted as only those who vote for the winner are
underrepresented" sectors is a basic purpose of the law, it is not its
only purpose. As already explained, the aim of proportional
representation is to enable those who cannot win in the "winner-take-
What the advocates of sectoral representation wanted was
all" district elections a chance of winning. These groups are not
permanent reserved seats for "marginalized sectors" by which they
necessarily limited to the sectors mentioned in §5, i.e., labor,
mean the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
peasants, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, the
communities, women, and youth sectors. Under Art. VI, §5(2), these
elderly, the handicapped, women, the youth, veterans, overseas
sectors were given only one-half of the seats in the House of
workers, and professionals. These groups can possibly include other
Representatives and only for three terms. On the other hand, the
"third or fourth placers" in district elections, for whom the party-list
system was intended, refer to those who may not win seats in the Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency
districts but nationwide may be sufficiently strong to enable them to (BANAT) vs COMELEC
be represented in the House. They may include Villacorta's
"marginalized" or "underprivileged" sectors, but they are not limited 586 SCRA 210 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Legislative
to them. There would have been no need to give the "marginalized Department – Party List System; Proportional Representation; Proper
sectors" one-half of the seats for the party-list system for three terms Computation
if the two systems are identical. Statutory Construction – Rule in Interpreting the Constitution – Intent
In sum, a problem was placed before the Constitutional of the Framers vs Intent of the People
Commission that the existing "winner-take-all" one-seat district NOTE: This case is consolidated with BAYAN Muna vs COMELEC (G.R.
system of election leaves blocks of voters underrepresented. To this No. 179295).
problem of underrepresentation two solutions were proposed:
sectoral representation and party-list system or proportional In July and August 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the National Board
representation. The Constitutional Commission chose the party-list of Canvassers, made a partial proclamation of the winners in the
system. party-list elections which was held in May 2007.

In proclaiming the winners and apportioning their seats, the COMELEC

Thus, neither textual nor historical consideration yields support for considered the following rules:
the view that the party-list system is designed exclusively for labor,
1. In the lower house, 80% shall comprise the seats for legislative On the other hand, BAYAN MUNA, another party-list candidate,
districts, while the remaining 20% shall come from party-list questions the validity of the 3 seat rule (Section 11a of RA 7941). It
representatives (Sec. 5, Article VI, 1987 Constitution); also raised the issue of whether or not major political parties are
allowed to participate in the party-list elections or is the said elections
2. Pursuant to Sec. 11b of R.A. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, a
limited to sectoral parties.
party-list which garners at least 2% of the total votes cast in the party-
list elections shall be entitled to one seat; ISSUES:

3. If a party-list garners at least 4%, then it is entitled to 2 seats; if it I. How is the 80-20 rule observed in apportioning the seats in the lower
garners at least 6%, then it is entitled to 3 seats – this is pursuant to house?
the 2-4-6 rule or the Panganiban Formula from the case of Veterans
II. Whether or not the 20% allocation for party-list representatives
Federation Party vs COMELEC.
mandatory or a mere ceiling.
4. In no way shall a party be given more than three seats even if if
III. Whether or not the 2% threshold to qualify for a seat valid.
garners more than 6% of the votes cast for the party-list election (3
seat cap rule, same case). IV. How are party-list seats allocated?
The Barangay Association for National Advancement and V. Whether or not major political parties are allowed to participate in
Transparency (BANAT), a party-list candidate, questioned the the party-list elections.
proclamation as well as the formula being used. BANAT averred that
the 2% threshold is invalid; Sec. 11 of RA 7941 is void because its VI. Whether or not the 3 seat cap rule (3 Seat Limit Rule) is valid.
provision that a party-list, to qualify for a congressional seat, must HELD:
garner at least 2% of the votes cast in the party-list election, is not
supported by the Constitution. Further, the 2% rule creates a I. The 80-20 rule is observed in the following manner: for every 5 seats
mathematical impossibility to meet the 20% party-list seat prescribed allotted for legislative districts, there shall be one seat allotted for a
by the Constitution. party-list representative. Originally, the 1987 Constitution provides
that there shall be not more than 250 members of the lower house.
BANAT also questions if the 20% rule is a mere ceiling or is it Using the 80-20 rule, 200 of that will be from legislative districts, and
mandatory. If it is mandatory, then with the 2% qualifying vote, there 50 would be from party-list representatives. However, the
would be instances when it would be impossible to fill the prescribed Constitution also allowed Congress to fix the number of the
20% share of party-lists in the lower house. BANAT also proposes a membership of the lower house as in fact, it can create additional
new computation (which shall be discussed in the “HELD” portion of legislative districts as it may deem appropriate. As can be seen in the
this digest). May 2007 elections, there were 220 district representatives, hence
applying the 80-20 rule or the 5:1 ratio, there should be 55 seats always impossible for the number of occupied party-list seats to
allotted for party-list representatives. exceed 50 seats as long as the two percent threshold is present.

How did the Supreme Court arrive at 55? This is the formula: It is therefore clear that the two percent threshold presents an
unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of Section 5(2),
(Current Number of Legislative DistrictRepresentatives ÷ 0.80) x (0.20)
Article VI of the Constitution and prevents the attainment of “the
= Number of Seats Available to Party-List Representatives
broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests
Hence, in the House of Representatives.”

(220 ÷ 0.80) x (0.20) = 55 IV. Instead, the 2% rule should mean that if a party-list garners 2% of
the votes cast, then it is guaranteed a seat, and not “qualified”. This
II. The 20% allocation for party-list representatives is merely a ceiling allows those party-lists garnering less than 2% to also get a seat.
– meaning, the number of party-list representatives shall not exceed
20% of the total number of the members of the lower house. But how? The Supreme Court laid down the following rules:
However, it is not mandatory that the 20% shall be filled.
1. The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the
III. No. Section 11b of RA 7941 is unconstitutional. There is no highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered
constitutional basis to allow that only party-lists which garnered 2% of during the elections.
the votes cast are qualified for a seat and those which garnered less
2. The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two
than 2% are disqualified. Further, the 2% threshold creates a
percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be
mathematical impossibility to attain the ideal 80-20 apportionment.
entitled to one guaranteed seat each.
The Supreme Court explained:
3. Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the
To illustrate: There are 55 available party-list seats. Suppose there are
ranking in paragraph 1, shall be entitled to additional seats in
50 million votes cast for the 100 participants in the party list
proportion to their total number of votes until all the additional seats
elections. A party that has two percent of the votes cast, or one
are allocated.
million votes, gets a guaranteed seat. Let us further assume that the
first 50 parties all get one million votes. Only 50 parties get a seat 4. Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more
despite the availability of 55 seats. Because of the operation of the than three (3) seats.
two percent threshold, this situation will repeat itself even if we
In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no
increase the available party-list seats to 60 seats and even if we
longer be included because they have already been allocated, at one
increase the votes cast to 100 million. Thus, even if the maximum
seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, the remaining available seats
number of parties get two percent of the votes for every party, it is
for allocation as “additional seats” are the maximum seats reserved
under the Party List System less the guaranteed seats. Fractional seats Hence, 7.33% x 38 = 2.79
are disregarded in the absence of a provision in R.A. No. 7941 allowing
Rounding off to the next higher number is not allowed so 2.79
for a rounding off of fractional seats.
remains 2. BUHAY is a two-percenter which means it has a guaranteed
In short, there shall be two rounds in determining the allocation of the one seat PLUS additional 2 seats or a total of 3 seats. Now if it so
seats. In the first round, all party-lists which garnered at least 2% of happens that BUHAY got 20% of the votes cast, it will still get 3 seats
the votes cast (called the two-percenters) are given their one seat because the 3 seat limit rule prohibits it from having more than 3
each. The total number of seats given to these two-percenters are seats.
then deducted from the total available seats for party-lists. In this
Now after all the tw0-percenters were given their guaranteed and
case, 17 party-lists were able to garner 2% each. There are a total 55
additional seats, and there are still unoccupied seats, those seats shall
seats available for party-lists hence, 55 minus 17 = 38 remaining seats.
be distributed to the remaining party-lists and those higher in rank in
(Please refer to the full text of the case for the tabulation).
the voting shall be prioritized until all the seats are occupied.
The number of remaining seats, in this case 38, shall be used in the
V. No. By a vote of 8-7, the Supreme Court continued to disallow major
second round, particularly, in determining, first, the additional seats
political parties (the likes of UNIDO, LABAN, etc) from participating in
for the two-percenters, and second, in determining seats for the
the party-list elections.
party-lists that did not garner at least 2% of the votes cast, and in the
process filling up the 20% allocation for party-list representatives. Although the ponencia (Justice Carpio) did point out that there is no
prohibition either from the Constitution or from RA 7941 against
How is this done?
major political parties from participating in the party-list elections as
Get the total percentage of votes garnered by the party and multiply the word “party” was not qualified and that even the framers of the
it against the remaining number of seats. The product, which shall not Constitution in their deliberations deliberately allowed major political
be rounded off, will be the additional number of seats allotted for the parties to participate in the party-list elections provided that they
party list – but the 3 seat limit rule shall still be observed. establish a sectoral wing which represents the marginalized (indirect
participation), Justice Puno, in his separate opinion, concurred by 7
other justices, explained that the will of the people defeats the will of
In this case, the BUHAY party-list garnered the highest total vote of the framers of the Constitution precisely because it is the people who
1,169,234 which is 7.33% of the total votes cast for the party-list ultimately ratified the Constitution – and the will of the people is that
elections (15,950,900). only the marginalized sections of the country shall participate in the
party-list elections. Hence, major political parties cannot participate in
Applying the formula above: (Percentage of vote garnered) x the party-list elections, directly or indirectly.
(remaining seats) = number of additional seat
VI. Yes, the 3 seat limit rule is valid. This is one way to ensure that no advisory for the oral arguments set on 22 April 2008:
one party shall dominate the party-list system. 1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives in
Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution mandatory or merely a
BANAT v COMELEC G.R. No. 179271 April 21, 2009 2. Is the three-seat limit in Section 11(b) of RA 7941 constitutional?
3. Is the two percent threshold prescribed in Section 11(b) of RA
7/17/2010 7941 to qualify for one seat constitutional?
0 Comments 4. How shall the party-list representative seats be allocated?
5. Does the Constitution prohibit the major political parties from
participating in the party-list elections? If not, can the major political
Facts: On 27 June 2002, BANAT filed a Petition to Proclaim the Full parties be barred from participating in the party-list elections?
Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the Constitution,
docketed as NBC No. 07-041 (PL) before the NBC. BANAT filed its
petition because "the Chairman and the Members of the COMELEC Held: WHEREFORE we PARTIALLY GRANT the petition. We SET
have recently been quoted in the national papers that the COMELEC ASIDE the Resolution of the COMELEC dated 3 August 2007 in NBC No.
is duty bound to and shall implement the Veterans ruling, that is, 07-041 (PL) as well as the Resolution dated 9 July 2007 in NBC No. 07-
would apply the Panganiban formula in allocating party-list seats." 60. We declareunconstitutional the two percent threshold in the
distribution of additional party-list seats.
BANAT filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus assailing the
ruling in NBC Resolution No. 07-88. BANAT did not file a motion for
reconsideration of NBC Resolution No. 07-88. Ratio: Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 mandates the filling-
up of the entire 20% allocation of party-list representatives found in
On 9 July 2007, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher asked the the Constitution. However, we cannot allow the continued existence
COMELEC, acting as NBC, to reconsider its decision to use of a provision in the law which will systematically prevent the
the Veterans formula as stated in its NBC Resolution No. 07-60 constitutionally allocated 20% party-list representatives from being
because the Veterans formula is violative of the Constitution and of filled. The three-seat cap, as a limitation to the number of seats that a
Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941). On the same day, the COMELEC qualified party-list organization may occupy, remains a valid statutory
denied reconsideration during the proceedings of the NBC. device that prevents any party from dominating the party-list

Issue: Considering the allegations in the petitions and the comments We rule that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the
of the parties in these cases, we defined the following issues in our continued operation of the two percent threshold for the distribution
of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Section 11(b) reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups. In defining
of R.A. No. 7941 isunconstitutional. This Court finds that the two a "party" that participates in party-list elections as either "a political
percent threshold makes it mathematically impossible to achieve the party or a sectoral party," R.A. No. 7941 also clearly intended that
maximum number of available party list seats when the number of major political parties will participate in the party-list elections.
available party list seats exceeds 50. The continued operation of the Excluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly
two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats against the Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission,
frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling. and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot engage in socio-political
engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political
In declaring the two percent threshold unconstitutional, we do not parties from the party-list elections in patent violation of the
limit our allocation of additional seats to the two-percenters. The Constitution and the law.
percentage of votes garnered by each party-list candidate is arrived at
by dividing the number of votes garnered by each party by
15,950,900, the total number of votes cast for party-list candidates. In view of the inclusion of major political parties (according to Puno,
There are two steps in the second round of seat allocation. First, the J.)
percentage is multiplied by the remaining available seats, 38, which is The Court today effectively reversed the ruling in Ang Bagong
the difference between the 55 maximum seats reserved under the Bayani v. COMELEC with regard to the computation of seat allotments
Party-List System and the 17 guaranteed seats of the two-percenters. and the participation of major political parties in the party-list system.
The whole integer of the product of the percentage and of the I vote for the formula propounded by the majority as it benefits the
remaining available seats corresponds to a party’s share in the party-list system but I regret that my interpretation of Article VI,
remaining available seats. Second, we assign one party-list seat to Section 5 of the Constitution with respect to the participation of the
each of the parties next in rank until all available seats are completely major political parties in the election of party-list representatives is
distributed. We distributed all of the remaining 38 seats in the second not in direct congruence with theirs, hence
round of seat allocation. Finally, we apply the three-seat cap to
determine the number of seats each qualified party-list candidate is There is no gainsaying the fact that the party-list parties are no
entitled. match to our traditional political parties in the political arena. This is
borne out in the party-list elections held in 2001 where major political
Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 prohibits major political parties were initially allowed to campaign and be voted for. The results
parties from participating in the party-list system. On the contrary, the confirmed the fear expressed by some commissioners in the
framers of the Constitution clearly intended the major political parties Constitutional Commission that major political parties would figure in
to participate in party-list elections through their sectoral wings. In the disproportionate distribution of votes: of the 162 parties which
fact, the members of the Constitutional Commission voted down, 19- participated, the seven major political parties made it to the top 50.
22, any permanent sectoral seats, and in the alternative the These seven parties garnered an accumulated 9.54% of the total
number of votes counted, yielding an average of 1.36% each, while (R.A.) No. 7941 is unconstitutional. This minimum vote requirement ─
the remaining 155 parties (including those whose qualifications were fixed at 2% of the total number of votes cast for the party list system
contested) only obtained 90.45% or an average of 0.58% each. Of ─ presents an unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of
these seven, three parties or 42.8% of the total number of the major Section 5 (2), Article VI, of the Philippine Constitution. As such, it
parties garnered more than 2% of the total number of votes each, a effectively defeats the declared constitutional policy, as well as the
feat that would have entitled them to seat their members as party-list legislative objective expressed in the enabling law, to allow the
representatives. In contrast, only about 4% of the total number of the people’s broadest representation in Congress,the raison d’etre for the
remaining parties, or only 8 out of the 155 parties garnered more than adoption of the party-list system.
Today, a little over eight (8) years after this Court’s decision in
In sum, the evils that faced our marginalized and underrepresented Veterans Federation Party, we see that in the 14th Congress, 55 seats
people at the time of the framing of the 1987 Constitution still haunt are allocated to party-list representatives, using the Veterans formula.
them today. It is through the party-list system that the Constitution But that figure (of 55) can never be realized, because the 2% threshold
sought to address this systemic dilemma. In ratifying the Constitution, vote requirement makes it mathematically impossible to have more
our people recognized how the interests of our poor and powerless than 50 seats. After all, the total number of votes cast for the party-
sectoral groups can be frustrated by the traditional political parties list system can never exceed 100%.
who have the machinery and chicanery to dominate our political
institutions. If we allow major political parties to participate in the Lest I be misunderstood, I do not advocate doing away completely
party-list system electoral process, we will surely suffocate the voice with a threshold vote requirement. The need for such a minimum vote
of the marginalized, frustrate their sovereignty and betray the requirement was explained in careful and elaborate detail by Chief
democratic spirit of the Constitution. That opinion will serve as the Justice Puno in his separate concurring opinion in Veterans Federation
graveyard of the party-list system. Party. I fully agree with him that a minimum vote requirement is
needed --
IN VIEW WHEREOF, I dissent on the ruling allowing the entry of
major political parties into the party-list system. 1. to avoid a situation where the candidate will just use the party-list
system as a fallback position;

In view of 2% being unconstitutional (according to Nachura, J.) 2. to discourage nuisance candidates or parties, who are not ready and
whose chances are very low, from participating in the elections;
However, I wish to add a few words to support the proposition that
the inflexible 2% threshold vote required for entitlement by a party- 3. to avoid the reserve seat system by opening up the system;
list group to a seat in the House of Representatives in Republic Act
4. to encourage the marginalized sectors to organize, work hard, and constitutional ceiling completely beyond reach, totally impossible of
earn their seats within the system; realization, then we must strike down the offending condition as an
affront to the fundamental law. This is not simply an inquiry into the
5. to enable sectoral representatives to rise to the same majesty as wisdom of the legislative measure; rather it involves the duty of this
that of the elected representatives in the legislative body, rather than Court to ensure that constitutional provisions remain effective at all
owing to some degree their seats in the legislative body either to an times. No rule of statutory construction can save a particular
outright constitutional gift or to an appointment by the President of legislative enactment that renders a constitutional provision
the Philippines; inoperative and ineffectual.

Atong Paglaum, Inc. v. COMELEC

6. if no threshold is imposed, this will actually proliferate political party
groups and those who have not really been given by the people ATONG PAGLAUM, INC. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, (G)
sufficient basis for them to represent their constituents and, in turn, G.R. No. 203766, April 2, 2013
they will be able to get to the Parliament through the backdoor under
the name of the party-list system; and FACTS:

7. to ensure that only those with a more or less substantial following The case constitute 54 Petitions for Certiorari and Petitions for
can be represented.9 Certiorari and Prohibition filed by 52 party-list groups and
organizations assailing the Resolutions issued by the Commission on
However, with the burgeoning of the population, the steady Elections (COMELEC) disqualifying them from participating in the 13
increase in the party-list seat allotment as it keeps pace with the May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their petitions for
creation of additional legislative districts, and the foreseeable growth registration under the party-list system, or cancellation of their
of party-list groups, the fixed 2% vote requirement is no longer viable. registration and accreditation as party-list organizations.
It does not adequately respond to the inevitable changes that come Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941)
with time; and it is, in fact, inconsistent with the Constitution, because and COMELEC Resolution Nos. 9366 and 9531, approximately 280
it prevents the fundamental law from ever being fully operative. groups and organizations registered and manifested their desire to
participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections
It is correct to say, and I completely agree with Veterans Federation
Party, that Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution, is not December 5, 2012, the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the COMELEC
mandatory, that it merely provides a ceiling for the number of party- Second Division’s resolution to grant Partido ng Bayan ng Bida’s (PBB)
list seats in Congress.But when the enabling law, R.A. 7941, enacted registration and accreditation as a political party in the National
by Congress for the precise purpose of implementing the Capital Region. However, PBB was denied participation in the
constitutional provision, contains a condition that places the
elections because PBB does not represent any "marginalized and participating in the coming elections. However, since the Court adopts
underrepresented" sector. new parameters in the qualification of the party-list system, thereby
abandoning the rulings in the decisions applied by the COMELEC in
13 petitioners were not able to secure a mandatory injunction from
disqualifying petitioners, we remand to the COMELEC all the present
the Court. The COMELEC, on 7 January 2013 issued Resolution No.
petitions for the COMELEC to determine who are qualified to register
9604, and excluded the names of these 13 petitioners in the printing
under the party-list system, and to participate in the coming elections,
of the official.
under the new parameters prescribed in this Decision.
Pursuant to paragraph 2 of Resolution No. 9513, the COMELEC En
Moreover, Section 5(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution mandates
Banc scheduled summary evidentiary hearings to determine whether
that, during the first three consecutive terms of Congress after the
the groups and organizations that filed manifestations of intent to
ratification of the 1987 Constitution, "one-half of the seats allocated
participate in the elections have continually complied with the
to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by
requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor
selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous
Party v. COMELEC (Ang Bagong Bayani).
cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may
39 petitioners were able to secure a mandatory injunction from the be provided by law, except the religious sector." This provision clearly
Court, directing the COMELEC to include the names of these 39 shows again that the party-list system is not exclusively for sectoral
petitioners in the printing of the official ballot for the elections. parties for two obvious reasons.

Petitioners prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order First, the other one-half of the seats allocated to party-list
and/or writ of preliminary injunction. This Court issued Status Quo representatives would naturally be open to non-sectoral party-list
Ante Orders in all petitions. representatives, clearly negating the idea that the party-list system is
exclusively for sectoral parties representing the "marginalized and
Second, the reservation of one-half of the party-list seats to sectoral
Whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion parties applies only for the first "three consecutive terms after the
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in disqualifying petitioners ratification of this Constitution," clearly making the party-list system
from participating in the elections. fully open after the end of the first three congressional terms. This
means that, after this period, there will be no seats reserved for any
HELD: class or type of party that qualifies under the three groups constituting
the party-list system.
No, the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
following prevailing decisions in disqualifying petitioners from Hence, the clear intent, express wording, and party-list structure
ordained in Section 5(1) and (2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
cannot be disputed: the party-list system is not for sectoral parties to institute the action; 2) the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to
only, but also for non-sectoral parties. entertain the petition; and 3) Section 5(2), Article VIII of the 1973
Constitution does not apply to the Interim Batasan Pambansa.
R.A. No. 7941 does not require national and regional parties or
organizations to represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" ISSUE: Whether or not the SC can compel COMELEC to hold a special
sectors. To require all national and regional parties under the party- election to fill vacancies in the legislature.
list system to represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" is
HELD: No. The SC’s jurisdiction over the COMELEC is only to review by
to deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-
certiorari the latter’s decision, orders or rulings. This is as clearly
oriented parties from the party-list system. How will these ideology-
provided in Article XII-C, Section 11 of the New Constitution which
based and cause-oriented parties, who cannot win in legislative
district elections, participate in the electoral process if they are
excluded from the party-list system? To exclude them from the party- Any decision, order, or ruling of the Commission may be brought to
list system is to prevent them from joining the parliamentary struggle, the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty
leaving as their only option the armed struggle. To exclude them from days from his receipt of a copy thereof.
the party-list system is, apart from being obviously senseless, patently
contrary to the clear intent and express wording of the 1987 There is in this case no decision, order or ruling of the COMELEC which
Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 is sought to be reviewed by this Court under its certiorari jurisdiction
as provided for in the aforequoted provision, which is the only known
Jose Mari Eulalio Lozada vs Commission on Elections provision conferring jurisdiction or authority on the Supreme Court
over the COMELEC.
120 SCRA 337 – Political Law – Vacancy in the Legislature
It is obvious that the holding of special elections in several regional
Jose Mari Eulalio Lozada together with Romeo Igot filed a petition for
districts where vacancies exist, would entail huge expenditure of
mandamus compelling the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to
money. Only the Batasang Pambansa (BP) can make the necessary
hold an election to fill the vacancies in the Interim Batasang Pambansa
appropriation for the purpose, and this power of the BP may neither
(IBP). They anchor their contention on Section 5 (2), Art. VIII of the
be subject to mandamus by the courts much less may COMELEC
1973 Constitution which provides:
compel the BP to exercise its power of appropriation. From the role
In case a vacancy arises in the Batasang Pambansa eighteen months BP has to play in the holding of special elections, which is to
or more before a regular election, the Commission on Election shall appropriate the funds for the expenses thereof, it would seem that
call a special election to be held within sixty (60) days after the vacancy the initiative on the matter must come from the BP, not the COMELEC,
occurs to elect the Member to serve the unexpired term. even when the vacancies would occur in the regular not IBP. The
power to appropriate is the sole and exclusive prerogative of the
COMELEC opposed the petition alleging that 1) petitioners lack
legislative body, the exercise of which may not be compelled through
standing to file the instant petition for they are not the proper parties
a petition for mandamus. What is more, the provision of Section 5(2),
Article VIII of the Constitution was intended to apply to vacancies in
the regular National Assembly, now BP, not to the IBP. Held: In establishing what might be termed a waiting period before
the increased compensation for legislators becomes fully effective,
Philippine Constitution Association, Inc.(PHILCONSA) vs. Mathay G.R.
the Constitutional provision refers to “all members of the Senate and
No. L-25554, October 4, 1966
the House of Representatives” in the same sentence, as a single unit,
Sunday, January 25, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes without distinction or separation between them. This unitary
Labels: Case Digests, Political Law treatment is emphasized by the fact that the provision speaks of the
“expiration of thefull term” of the Senators and Representatives that
approved the measure, using the singular form and not the plural,
Facts: Petitioner has filed a suit against the former Acting Auditor thereby rendering more evident the intent to consider both houses
General of the Philippines and the Auditor of the Congress of the for the purpose as indivisible components of one single Legislature.
Philippines seeking to permanently enjoin them from authorizing or The use of the word“term” in the singular, when combined with the
passing in audit the payment of the increased salaries authorized by following phrase “all the members of the Senate and the House,”
RA 4134 to the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives underscores that in theapplication of Art. VI, Sec. 14(now Sec. 10),
before December 30, 1969. the fundamentalconsideration is that the terms of office of all
members of the Legislature that enacted the measure must
The 1965-1966 Budget implemented the increase in salary of the have expired before the increase in compensation can
Speaker and members of the House of Representatives set by RA become operative.
4134, approved just the preceding year 1964. Petitioner contends that
such implementation is violative of Article VI, Sec. 14(now Sec. 10) of The Court agreed with petitioner that the increased compensation
the Constitution. The reason given being that the term of the 8 provided by RA 4134 is not operative until December 30, 1969, when
senators elected in 1963, and who took part in the approval of RA thefull term of all members of the Senate and House that approved it
4134, would have expired only on December 30, 1969; while the term will have expired.
of the members of the House who participated in the approval of said
Act expired on December 30, 1965.
Ligot vs. Mathay

Issue: Does Sec. 14(now Sec. 10) of the Constitution require that not 56 SCRA 823 – Political Law – Salaries of Representatives – Retirement
only the term of all the members of the House but also that of all the
Benjamin Ligot served as a member of the House of Representatives
Senators who approved the increase must have fully expired before
of the Congress of the Philippines for three consecutive four-year
the increase becomes effective?
terms covering a twelve-year span from December 30, 1957 to
December 30, 1969. During his second term in office (1961-1965), HELD: No. To allow Ligot a retirement gratuity computed on the basis
Republic Act No. 4134 “fixing the salaries of constitutional officials and of P32,000.00 per annum would be a subtle way of increasing his
certain other officials of the national government” was enacted into compensation during his term of office and of achieving indirectly
law and took effect on July 1, 1964. The salaries of members of what he could not obtain directly. Ligot’s claim cannot be sustained as
Congress (senators and congressmen) were increased under said Act far as he and other members of Congress similarly situated whose
from P7,200.00 to P32,000.00 per annum, but the Act expressly term of office ended on December 30, 1969 are concerned for the
provided that said increases “shall take effect in accordance with the simple reason that a retirement gratuity or benefit is a form of
provisions of the Constitution.” compensation within the purview of the Constitutional provision
limiting their compensation and “other emoluments” to their salary as
Ligot’s term expired on December 30, 1969, so he filed a claim for
provided by law. To grant retirement gratuity to members of Congress
retirement under Commonwealth Act No. 186, section 12 (c) as
whose terms expired on December 30, 1969 computed on the basis
amended by Republic Act No. 4968 which provided for retirement
of an increased salary of P32,000.00 per annum (which they were
gratuity of any official or employee, appointive or elective, with a total
prohibited by the Constitution from receiving during their term of
of at least twenty years of service, the last three years of which are
office) would be to pay them prohibited emoluments which in effect
continuous on the basis therein provided “in case of employees based
increase the salary beyond that which they were permitted by the
on the highest rate received and in case of elected officials on the
Constitution to receive during their incumbency. As stressed by the
rates of pay as provided by law.” The House of Representatives
Auditor-General in his decision in the similar case of Ligot’s colleague,
granted his petition however, Jose Velasco, the then Congress Auditor
ex-Congressman Melanio Singson, “Such a scheme would contravene
refused to so issue certification. The Auditor General then, Ismael
the Constitution for it would lead to the same prohibited result by
Mathay, also disallowed the same.
enabling administrative authorities to do indirectly what cannot be
The thrust of Ligot’s appeal is that his claim for retirement gratuity done directly.”
computed on the basis of the increased salary of P32,000.00 per
Martinez v Morfe (1972) case digest
annum for members of Congress (which was not applied to him during
his incumbency which ended December 30, 1969, while the Court held G.R. No. L-34022 March 24, 1972
in Philconsa vs. Mathaythat such increases would become operative
only for members of Congress elected to serve therein commencing
December 30, 1969) should not have been disallowed, because at the vs.
time of his retirement, the increased salary for members of Congress
“as provided by law” (under Republic Act 4134) was already THE HONORABLE JESUS P. MORFE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
P32,000.00 per annum. OF MANILA, and THE CITY WARDEN OF MANILA, respondents.

ISSUE: Whether or not Ligot is entitled to such retirement benefit.

G.R. Nos. L-34046-7 March 24, 1972 Penal Code penalizing a public officer or employee who shall, during
the sessions of Congress, "arrest or search any member thereof,
except in case such member has committed a crime punishable under
FERNANDO BAUTISTA, SR., petitioner, [such] Code by a penalty higher than prision mayor."

Both petitioners are facing criminal prosecutions, for falsification of a
public document and for violation of the Revised Election Code.
HON. FRANCISCO MA. CHANCO, Presiding Judge, Court of First
Instance of Baguio and Benguet, Second Judicial District, Branch III, et
al., respondents.
The Solicitor General dispute such a contention on the ground that the
constitutional provision does not cover any criminal prosecution being
merely an exemption from arrest in civil cases, the logical inference
FERNANDO, J. being that insofar as a provision of the Revised Penal Code would
expand such an immunity, it would be unconstitutional.


The question raised in these certiorari proceedings is the scope to be Whether or not senators should be immune from the criminal
accorded the constitutional immunity of senators and representatives charges.
from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of Congress and in
going to and returning from the same except in cases of treason,
felony and breach of the peace. HELD:

Petitioners Manuel Martinez y Festin and Fernando Bautista, Sr., as No. As is made clear in Section 15 of Article VI of the Constitution, the
delegate of the present Constitutional Convention would invoke what immunity from arrest does not cover any prosecution for treason,
they consider to be the protection of the above constitutional felony and breach of the peace. Treason exists when the accused
provision, if considered in connection with Article 145 of the Revised levies war against the Republic or adheres to its enemies giving them
aid and comfort. Breach of the peace covers any offense whether ambitious AFP officers, with the aid of some civilian political
defined by the Revised Penal Code or any special statute. strategists. That such strategists have had collusions with communists
and that the Secretary of Defense, Jesus Vargas, was planning a coup
d’état to place him as the president. The “planners” allegedly have
It is a well-settled principle in public law that the public peace must be Nicanor Jimenez, among others, under their guise and that Jimenez et
maintained and any breach thereof renders one susceptible to al may or may not be aware that they are being used as a tool to meet
prosecution. There is a full recognition of the necessity to have such an end. The letter was said to have been published in newspapers
members of Congress, and likewise delegates to the Constitutional of general circulation. Jimenez then filed a case against Cabangbang
Convention, entitled to the utmost freedom to enable them to to collect a sum of damages against Cabangbang alleging that
discharge their vital responsibilities. Cabangbang’s statement is libelous. Cabangbang petitioned for the
case to be dismissed because he said that as a member of the lower
house, he is immune from suit and that he is covered by the privileged
When it comes to freedom from arrest, however, it would amount to communication rule and that the said letter is not even libelous.
the creation of a privileged class, without justification in reason, if ISSUE: Whether or not the open letter is covered by privilege
notwithstanding their liability for a criminal offense, they would be communication endowed to members of Congress.
considered immune during their attendance in Congress and in going
to and returning from the same. There is likely to be no dissent from HELD: No. Article VI, Section 15 of the Constitution provides “The
the proposition that a legislator or a delegate can perform his Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all
functions efficiently and well, without the need for any transgression cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace. Be privileged
of the criminal law. Should such an unfortunate event come to pass, from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the Congress,
he is to be treated like any other citizen considering that there is a and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or
strong public interest in seeing to it that crime should not go debate therein, they shall not be questioned in any other place.”
The publication of the said letter is not covered by said expression
Nicanor Jimenez vs Bartolome Cabangbang which refers to utterances made by Congressmen in the performance
of their official functions, such as speeches delivered, statements
17 SCRA 876 – Political Law – Freedom of Speech and Debate made, or votes cast in the halls of Congress, while the same is in
Bartolome Cabangbang was a member of the House of session as well as bills introduced in Congress, whether the same is in
Representatives and Chairman of its Committee on National Defense. session or not, and other acts performed by Congressmen, either in
In November 1958, Cabangbang caused the publication of an open Congress or outside the premises housing its offices, in the official
letter addressed to the Philippines. Said letter alleged that there have discharge of their duties as members of Congress and of Congressional
been allegedly three operational plans under serious study by some Committees duly authorized to perform its functions as such at the
time of the performance of the acts in question. Congress was not in without fear of being made responsible in criminal or civil actions
session when the letter was published and at the same time he, before the courts or any other forum outside the Hall of Congress.
himself, caused the publication of the said letter. It is obvious that, in However, it does not protect him from responsibility before the
thus causing the communication to be so published, he was not legislative body whenever his words and conduct are considered
performing his official duty, either as a member of Congress or as disorderly or unbecoming of a member therein. Therefore, Osmeña’s
officer of any Committee thereof. Hence, contrary to the finding made petition is dismissed.
by the lower court the said communication is not absolutely
Sergio Osmeña, Jr. vs Salipada Pendatun
Petitioners, taxpayers and employees of U.S facilities at Subic,
109 Phil. 863 – Political Law – The Legislative Department –
challenge the constitutionality of Sec. 13 (d) of the Bases Conversion
Parliamentary Immunity
and Development Act of 1992 which directs the President to appoint
In June 1960, Congressman Sergio Osmeña, Jr. delivered a speech a professional manager as administrator of the SBMA…provided that
entitled “A Message to Garcia”. In the said speech, he disparaged then “for the 1st year of its operations, the mayor of Olongapo City (Richard
President Carlos Garcia and his administration. Subsequently, House Gordon) shall be appointed as the chairman and the CEO of the Subic
Resolution No. 59 was passed by the lower house in order to Authority.”
investigate the charges made by Osmeña during his speech and that if
his allegations were found to be baseless and malicious, he may be
subjected to disciplinary actions by the lower house. (1) Whether the proviso violates the constitutional proscription
against appointment or designation of elective officials to other
Osmeña then questioned the validity of the said resolution before the
government posts.
Supreme Court. Osmeña avers that the resolution violates his
parliamentary immunity for speeches delivered in (2) Whether or not the SBMA posts are merely ex officio to the
Congress. Congressman Salipada Pendatun filed an answer where he position of Mayor of Olongapo City and thus an
averred that the Supreme Court has not jurisdiction over the matter excepted circumstance.
and Congress has the power to discipline its members.
(3) Whether or not the Constitutional provision allowing
ISSUE: Whether or not Osmeña’s immunity has been violated? an elective official to receive double compensation (Sec. 8, Art. IX-B)
would be useless if no elective official may be appointed to another
HELD: No. Section 15, Article VI of the 1935 Constitution enshrines
parliamentary immunity upon members of the legislature which is a
fundamental privilege cherished in every parliament in a democratic
world. It guarantees the legislator complete freedom of expression
(4) Whether there is legislative encroachment on the appointing to appoint the Chairman of SBMA, he really has no choice but to
authority of the President. appoint the Mayor of Olongapo City. The power of choice is the heart
of the power to appoint. Appointment involves an exercise of
(5) Whether Mayor Gordon may retain any and all per diems,
discretion of whom to appoint. Hence, when Congress clothes the
allowances and other emoluments which he may have received
President with the power to appoint an officer, it cannot at the same
pursuant to his appointment.
time limit the choice of the President to only one candidate. Such
HELD enactment effectively eliminates the discretion of the appointing
power to choose and constitutes an irregular restriction on the power
(1) YES, Sec. 7 of Art. IX-B of the Constitution Provides: of appointment. While it may be viewed that the proviso merely sets
No elective official shall be eligible for appointment or designation in the qualifications of the officer during the first year of operations of
any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure. Unless SBMA, i.e., he must be the Mayor of Olongapo City, it is manifestly an
otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, abuse of congressional authority to prescribe qualifications where
no appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the only one, and no other, can qualify. Since the ineligibility of
Government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, an elective official for appointment remains all throughout his tenure
including government-owned or controlled corporations or their or during his incumbency, he may however resign first from
subsidiaries. The subject proviso directs the President to appoint his elective post to cast off the constitutionally-attached
an elective official i.e. the Mayor of Olongapo City, to other disqualification before he may be considered fit for appointment.
government post (as Chairman and CEO of SBMA). This is precisely Consequently, as long as he is an incumbent, an elective official
what the Constitution prohibits. It seeks to prevent a situation where remains ineligible for appointment to another public office.
a local elective official will work for his appointment in an executive (5) YES, as incumbent elective official, Gordon is ineligible
position in government, and thus neglect his constitutents. for appointment to the position of Chairman and CEO of SBMA;
(2) NO, Congress did not contemplate making the SBMA posts as hence, his appointment thereto cannot be sustained. He however
automatically attached to the Office of the Mayor without need remains Mayor of Olongapo City, and his acts as SBMA official are not
of appointment. The phrase “shall be appointed” unquestionably necessarily null and void; he may be considered a de facto officer, and
shows the intent to make the SBMA posts appointive and not in accordance with jurisprudence, is entitled to such benefits.
merely adjunct to the post of Mayor of Olongapo City.
(3) NO, Sec. 8 does not affect the constitutionality of the subject dEFENSOR-SANTIAGO vs. GUINGONA
proviso. In any case, the Vice-President for example,
June 29, 2013
an elective official who may be appointed to a cabinet post, may
receive the compensation attached to the cabinet position if GR No. 134577, November 18, 1998
specifically authorized by law.
(4) YES, although Section 13(d) itself vests in the President the power FACTS:
Senator Guingona had been usurping, unlawfully holding and
During the first regular session of the eleventh Congress Sen. Marcelo exercising the position of Senate minority leader, a position that,
B. Fernan was declared the duly elected President of the Senate. The according to them, rightfully belonged to Senator Tatad.
following were likewise elected: Senator Ople as president pro
tempore, and Sen. Franklin M. Drilon as majority leader. ISSUES:

Senator Tatad thereafter manifested that, with the agreement of 1. Does the Court have jurisdiction over the petition?
Senator Santiago, allegedly the only other member of the minority, he 2. Was there an actual violation of the Constitution?
was assuming the position of minority leader. He explained that those 3. Was Respondent Guingona usurping, unlawfully holding
who had voted for Senator Fernan comprised the "majority," while and exercising the position of Senate minority leader
only those who had voted for him, the losing nominee, belonged to 4. Did Respondent Fernan act with grave abuse of discretion in
the "minority." recognizing Respondent Guingona as the minority leader?


During the discussion on who should constitute the Senate "minority," FIRST ISSUE
Sen. Juan M. Flavier manifested that the senators belonging to the
Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party — numbering seven (7) and, thus, also a The Court initially declined to resolve the question of who was the
minority — had chosen Senator Guingona as the minority leader. No rightful Senate President, since it was deemed a political controversy
consensus on the matter was arrived at. The following session day, the falling exclusively within the domain of the Senate. Upon a motion for
debate on the question continued, with Senators Santiago and Tatad reconsideration, however, the Court ultimately assumed jurisdiction
delivering privilege speeches. On the third session day, the Senate met (1) "in the light of subsequent events which justify its intervention;"
in caucus, but still failed to resolve the issue. and (2) because the resolution of the issue hinged on the
interpretation of the constitutional provision on the presence of a
On July 30, 1998, the majority leader informed the body chat he was quorum to hold a session and therein elect a Senate President (read
in receipt of a letter signed by the seven Lakas-NUCD-UMDP senators, Avelino vs. Cuenco about the scope of the Court's power of judicial
stating that they had elected Senator Guingona as the minority leader. review).
By virtue thereof, the Senate President formally recognized Senator
Guingona as the minority leader of the Senate. The Court ruled that the validity of the selection of members of the
Senate Electoral Tribunal by the senators was not a political question.
The following day, Senators Santiago and Tatad filed before this Court The choice of these members did not depend on the Senate's "full
the subject petition for quo warranto, alleging in the main that discretionary authority," but was subject to mandatory constitutional
limitations. Thus, the Court held that not only was it clearly within its solicitor general or a public prosecutor or any person claiming to be
jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the selection proceedings, but entitled to the public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or
it was also its duty to consider and determine the issue. exercise by another.

SECOND ISSUE In order for a quo warranto proceeding to be successful, the person
suing must show that he or she has a clearright to the contested office
There was no violation. The Court finds that the interpretation or to use or exercise the functions of the office allegedly usurped or
proposed by petitioners finds no clear support from the Constitution, unlawfully held by the respondent. In this case, petitioners present
the laws, the Rules of the Senate or even from practices of the Upper not sufficient proof of a clear and indubitable franchise to the office
House. The Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate of the Senate minority leader. Furthermore, no grave abuse of
must be elected by a number constituting more than one half of all discretion has been shown to characterize any of his specific acts as
the members thereof, it however does not provide that the members minority leader.
who will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the "minority,"
who could thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, no law or FOURTH ISSUE
regulation states that the defeated candidate shall automatically
become the minority leader. While the Constitution is explicit on the Grave abuse of discretion - such capricious or whimsical exercise of
manner of electing a Senate President and a House Speaker, it is, judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of
however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers in discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of
both chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that "[e]ach positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or
House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary." The to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised
method of choosing who will be such other officers is merely a in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility.
derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the By the above standard, we hold that Respondent Fernan did not
aforequoted constitutional provision. Therefore, such method must gravely abuse his discretion as Senate President in recognizing
be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by this Court. Respondent Guingona as the minority leader. To recall, the latter
belongs to one of the minority parties in the Senate, the Lakas-NUCD-
THIRD ISSUE UMDP. By unanimous resolution of the members of this party that he
be the minority leader, he was recognized as such by the Senate
Usurpation generally refers to unauthorized arbitrary assumption and President. Such formal recognition by Respondent Fernan came only
exercise of power by one without color of title or who is not entitled after at least two Senate sessions and a caucus, wherein both sides
by law thereto. A quo warranto proceeding is the proper legal remedy were liberally allowed to articulate their standpoints.
to determine the right or title to the contested public office and to
oust the holder from its enjoyment. The action may be brought by the Therefore, the Senate President cannot be accused of "capricious or
whimsical exercise of judgment" or of "an arbitrary and despotic Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz suggested that respondent be
manner by reason of passion or hostility." Where no provision of the designated to preside over the session which suggestion was carried
Constitution, the laws or even the rules of the Senate has been clearly unanimously.
shown to have been violated, disregarded or overlooked, grave abuse
The respondent, Senator Mariano Cuenco, thereupon took the Chair.
of discretion cannot be imputed to Senate officials for acts done
within their competence and authority. Gregorio Abad was appointed Acting Secretary upon motion of
Senator Arranz, because the Assistance Secretary, who was then
Avelino vs Cuenco
acting as Secretary, had followed the petitioner when the latter
83 PHIL 17, March 4, 1949 abandoned the session.

JOSE AVELINO, petitioner, Senator Tañada, after being recognized by the Chair, was then finally
vs. able to deliver his privilege speech. Thereafter Senator Sanidad read
MARIANO J. CUENCO, respondent aloud the complete text of said Resolution (No. 68), and submitted his
motion for approval thereof and the same was unanimously

The petitioners, Senator Jose Avelino, in a quo warranto proceeding,

Facts: asked the court to declare him the rightful Senate President and oust
the respondent, Mariano Cuenco, contending that the latter had not
In a session of the Senate, Tanada’s request to deliver a speech in been validly elected because twelve members did not constitute a
order to formulate charges against then Senate President Avelino was quorum – the majority required of the 24-member Senate.
approved. With the leadership of the Senate President followed by his
supporters, they deliberately tried to delay and prevent Tanada from
delivering his speech. Before Senator Tañada could deliver his
privilege speech to formulate charges against the incumbent Senate
President, the petitioner, motu propio adjourned the session of the Whether or not the court has jurisdiction on subject matter.
Senate and walked out with his followers.
Whether or not Resolutions 67 and 68 was validly approved.
Senator Cabili request to made the following incidents into a record:
Whether or not the petitioner be granted to declare him the rightful
The deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the petitioner, made it President of the Philippines Senate and oust respondent.
incumbent upon Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz and the
remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order not
to paralyze the functions of the Senate.
difference between a majority of “the House”, the latter requiring less
number than the first. Therefore an absolute majority (12) of all the
members of the Senate less one (23), constitutes constitutional
In the resolution of the case, the Court held that: majority of the Senate for the purpose of a quorum.

The Supreme Court held that they cannot take cognizance of the case. The Court adopts a hands-off policy on this matter.
The court will be against the doctrine of separation of powers.
The Court found it injudicious to declare the petitioner as the rightful
In view of the separation of powers, the political nature of the President of the Senate, since the office depends exclusively upon the
controversy and the constitutional grant to the Senate of the power will of the majority of the senators, the rule of the Senate about tenure
to elect its own president, which power should not be interfered with, of the President of that body being amenable at any time by that
nor taken over, by the judiciary. majority.

The court will not interfere in this case because the selection of the At any session hereafter held with thirteen or more senators, in order
presiding officer affect only the Senators themselves who are at to avoid all controversy arising from the divergence of opinion here
liberty at any time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them. about quorum and for the benefit of all concerned, the said twelve
If, as the petition must imply to be acceptable, the majority of the senators who approved the resolutions herein involved could ratify all
Senators want petitioner to preside, his remedy lies in the Senate their acts and thereby place them beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Session Hall — not in the Supreme Court.

Yes, it was validly constituted, supposing that the Court has

Hence, by a vote of 6 to 4, The Supreme Court dismissed the petition
on the ground as it involved a political question. The Supreme Court
Justice Paras, Feria, Pablo and Bengzon say there was the majority should abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding
required by the Constitution for the transaction of the business of the officer affects only the Senators themselves who are at liberty at any
Senate, because, firstly, the minute say so, secondly, because at the time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them.
beginning of such session there were at least fourteen senators
including Senators Pendatun and Lopez, and thirdly because in view
of the absence from the country of Senator Tomas Confesor twelve Pacete v Commission on Appointments G.R. No. L-25895. July 23, 1971
senators constitute a majority of the Senate of twenty-three senators.

When the Constitution declares that a majority of “each House” shall

Facts: Petitioner Felizardo S. Pacete alleged that he was appointed by
constitute a quorum, “the House: does not mean “all” the members.
the then President of the Philippines on August 31, 1964 as Municipal
Even a majority of all the members constitute “the House”. There is a
Judge of Pigcawayan, Cotabato.
Whether the petitioner's appointment was not duly confirmed; and
He assumed office on September 11, 1964 and discharged his duties
as such. As his appointment, was made during the recess of Congress, Whether the Court has jurisdiction over the case.
it was submitted to the Commission on Appointments at its next
session in 1965.
Held: WHEREFORE, petitioner is entitled to the writ of mandamus and
On February 7, 1966, the then Secretary of Justice, whom he likewise the Secretary of the Commission on Appointments is commanded to
included in his petition, through the Judicial Superintendent, advised issue the certificate of confirmation prayed for by petitioner.
petitioner to vacate his position as municipal judge, the ground being
that his appointment had been by-passed. The right of petitioner to perform his functions as municipal judge of
Pigcawayan, Cotabato is in accordance with law, his confirmation
Senator Rodolfo Ganzon, wrote to its Chairman stating that he was having been duly confirmed. No pronouncement as to costs.
filing a motion for the reconsideration of the confirmation of the
appointment of petitioner as municipal judge of Pigcawayan,
Cotabato, in view of derogatory information which he had received. Ratio: For respondents to argue that the mere filing of a motion for
reconsideration did suffice to set it aside, even in the absence of any
Respondent Secretary of the Commission on Appointments thus was further action, is, as stressed by petitioner, to lose sight of what is
led to notify the then Secretary of Justice accordingly, following what provided in the Constitution. That would be moreover tantamount to
he considered to be the prevailing practice of such body that the mere imparting to a move of a single member of a collective body a decisive
presentation of such letter "automatically vacated the confirmation of weight. It is bad enough if the minority were to prevail. A one-man
the appointment in question . . ." Respondent Secretary of Justice rule, which is the effect of what respondent Secretary of the
through the Judicial Superintendent then advised petitioner that he Commission on Appointments contends, is infinitely worse. It is
should vacate his position as municipal judge, as he had not been duly indefensible in principle and pernicious in operation. It can find no
confirmed. The Disbursing Officer of the Department of Justice was shelter in the constitutional prescription.
likewise named respondent as he had, as a consequence, withheld In view of confirmation
petitioner's salaries. In petitioner's memorandum submitted on August 1, 1966, it was
contended that his confirmation became final and irrevocable upon
the adjournment of the fourth regular session of the Fifth Congress on
Issue: Whether the confirmation of his appointment had become final May 21, 1965.
and executory upon the adjournment of the fourth regular session of In view of construction
the Fifth Congress at midnight of May 21, 1965; As was noted, the controlling principle is supplied by Altarejos v. Molo,
which interpreted Rule 21 of the Revised Rules of the Commission on
Appointments, which reads: "Resolution of the Commission on any beyond the pale of judicial scrutiny. Certainly, there is nothing
appointment may be reconsidered on motion by a member presented sacrosanct about a rule of the Commission on Appointments,
not more than one (1) day after their approval. If a majority of the especially so, when as in this case, a construction sought to be
members present concur to grant a reconsideration, the appointment fastened on it would defeat the right of an individual to a public office.
shall be reopened and submitted anew to the Commission. Any The task becomes unavoidable when claims arising from the express
motion to reconsider the vote on any appointment may be laid on the language of the Constitution are pressed upon the judiciary. So it is in
table, this shall be a final disposition of such a motion." this case. It is a truism that under the circumstances, what cannot be
ignored is the primacy of what the fundamental law ordains.
1. In Altarejos v. Molo this Court gave full attention to the argument
that the motion for reconsideration of Congressman Aldeguer on May As due process is impressed with both substantive and procedural
19, 1965 had the effect of recalling the confirmation of petitioner's significance, the scope of judicial inquiry is thus not unduly limited.
appointmentand that, accordingly, it should be considered non-
Arroyo v De Venecia G.R. No. 127255. August 14, 1997.
existent. His opinion continued: "Pursuant to this provision, the vote
of a majority of the members present in favor of the motion for
reconsideration is necessary to 'reopen' the appointment — and,
hence, to 'recall' its confirmation — and to require a resubmission of Facts: Petitioners are members of the House of Representatives.
the appointment for confirmation." They brought this suit against respondents charging violation of the
rules of the House which petitioners claim are "constitutionally
2. The other provision is worded thus: "The President shall have the mandated" so that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the
power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, but Constitution.
such appointments shall be effective only until disapproval by the
Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the In the course of his interpellation, Rep. Arroyo announced that he was
Congress." going to raise a question on the quorum, although until the end of his
interpellation he never did.
That would be moreover tantamount to imparting to a move of a
single member of a collective body a decisive weight. It is bad enough On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of
if the minority were to prevail. A one-man rule, which is the effect of Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified by the
what respondent Secretary of the Commission on Appointments respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress as having been
contends, is infinitely worse. finally passed by the House of Representatives and by the Senate on
November 21, 1996. The enrolled bill was signed into law by President
3. The courts are called upon to see to it that private rights are not Fidel V. Ramos on November 22, 1996.
invaded. Thus even legislative acts and executive orders are not
of that body.
Issue: Whether R.A. No. 8240 is null and void because it was passed in
violation of the rules of the House;
Whether the certification of Speaker De Venecia that the law was In view of what is essential
properly passed is false and spurious; Merely internal rules of procedure of the House rather than
Whether the Chair, in the process of submitting and certifying the law constitutional requirements for the enactment of a law, i.e., Art. VI,
violated House Rules; and §§26-27 are VIOLATED.
Whether a certiorari/prohibition will be granted.
First, in Osmeña v. Pendatun, it was held: "At any rate, courts have
declared that 'the rules adopted by deliberative bodies are subject to
Held: After considering the arguments of the parties, the Court finds revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body
no ground for holding that Congress committed a grave abuse of adopting them.' And it has been said that 'Parliamentary rules are
discretion in enacting R.A. No. 8240. This case is therefore dismissed. merely procedural, and with their observance, the courts have no
concern. Theymay be waived or disregarded by the legislative body.'
Consequently, 'mere failure to conform to parliamentary usage will
Ratio: To disregard the "enrolled bill" rule in such cases would be to not invalidate the action (taken by a deliberative body) when the
disregard the respect due the other two departments of our requisite number of members have agreed to a particular measure.'"
government. It would be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative
of a coequal department for this Court either to set aside a legislative Rules are hardly permanent in character. The prevailing view is that
action as void because the Court thinks the House has disregarded its they are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure
own rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the political of the body adopting them as they are primarily procedural. Courts
arena to seek a rematch in the judicial forum when petitioners can ordinarily have no concern with their observance. They may be waived
find their remedy in that department itself. The Court has not been or disregarded by the legislative body. Consequently, mere failure to
invested with a roving commission to inquire into complaints, real or conform to them does not have the effect of nullifying the act taken if
imagined, of legislative skullduggery. It would be acting in excess of its the requisite number of members have agreed to a particular
power and would itself be guilty of grave abuse of its discretion were measure.
it to do so. The suggestion made in a case may instead appropriately
be made here: petitioners can seek the enactment of a new law or the
repeal or amendment of R.A. No. 8240. In the absence of anything to In view of the Courts jurisdiction
the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any House This Court's function is merely to check whether or not the
thereof acted in the good faith belief that its conduct was permitted governmental branch or agency has gone beyond the constitutional
by its rules, and deference rather than disrespect is due the judgment limits of its jurisdiction, not that it erred or has a different view. In the
absence of a showing . . . of grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction" has a settled meaning in the jurisprudence of
lack of jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court to exercise its procedure. It means such capricious and whimsical exercise of
corrective power. . . . It has no power to look into what it thinks is judgment by a tribunal exercising judicial or quasi judicial power as to
apparent error. If, then, the established rule is that courts cannot amount to lack of power.
declare an act of the legislature void on account merely of
noncompliance with rules of procedure made by itself, it follows that
such a case does not present a situation in which a branch of the In view of the enrolled bill doctrine
government has "gone beyond the constitutional limits of its Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of H. No. 7198 by the
jurisdiction". Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate and the
certification by the secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it was
passed on November 21, 1996 are conclusive of its due enactment.
In view of House Rules
No rule of the House of Representatives has been cited which This Court quoted from Wigmore on Evidence the following excerpt
specifically requires that in cases such as this involving approval of a which embodies good, if old-fashioned democratic theory: “Instead of
conference committee report, the Chair must restate the motion and trusting a faithful Judiciary to check an inefficient Legislature, they
conduct a viva voce or nominal voting. should turn to improve the Legislature. The sensible solution is not to
patch and mend casual errors by asking the Judiciary to violate legal
Mr. TOLENTINO. The fact that nobody objects means a unanimous principle and to do impossibilities with the Constitution; but to
action of the House. Insofar as the matter of procedure is concerned, represent ourselves with competent, careful, and honest legislators,
this has been a precedent since I came here seven years ago, and it the work of whose hands on the statute-roll may come to reflect credit
has been the procedure in this House that if somebody objects, then upon the name of popular government.”
a debate follows and after the debate, then the voting comes in.

Nor does the Constitution require that the yeas and the nays of the (In view of justiciability according to PUNO, J.)
Members be taken every time a House has to vote, except only in the
following instances: upon the last and third readings of a bill, at the With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the
request of one-fifth of the Members present, and in repassing a bill petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor do I agree that we will trivialize the
over the veto of the President. principle of separation of power if we assume jurisdiction over the
case at bar. Even in the United States, the principle of separation of
power is no longer an impregnable impediment against the
In view of grave abuse interposition of judicial power on cases involving breach of rules of
Indeed, the phrase "grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or procedure by legislators.
and allowing them to occupy their seats and to exercise their
senatorial duties. Respondents assert the validity of the pendatum
The Constitution empowers each house to determine its rules of
proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or Issues of the Case:
violate fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable relation
between the mode or method of proceedings established by the rule Whether or Not the Commission on Elections has the jurisdiction to
and the result which is sought to be attained. But within these determine whether or not votes cast in the said provinces are valid.
limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the
House, and it is no impeachment of the rule to say that some other Whether or Not the administration of oath and the sitting of Jose O.
way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. Vera, Ramon Diokno and Jose Romero should be deferred pending
hearing and decision on the protests lodged against their elections.
Vera vs Avelino

Facts of the Case: Held:

The Commission on Elections submitted last May 1946 to the The Supreme Court refused to intervene, under the concept of
President and the Congress a report regarding the national elections separation of powers, holding that the case was not a “contest”, and
held in 1946. It stated that by reason of certain specified acts of affirmed that it is the inherent right of the legislature to determine
terrorism and violence in certain provinces, namely Pampanga, Nueva who shall be admitted to its membership. Following the powers
Ecija, Bulacan and Tarlac, the voting in said region did not reflect the assigned by the Constitution, the question raised was political in
accurate feedback of the local electorate. nature and therefore not under the juridical review of the courts

During the session on May 25, 1946, a pendatum resolution was The case is therefore dismissed
approved referring to the report ordering that Jose O. Vera, Ramon
Alejandrino v Quezon G.R. No. L-22041. September 11, 1924
Diokno and Jose E. Romero – who had been included among the
16 candidates for senator receiving the highest number of votes and Facts: "Resolved: That the Honorable Jose Alejandrino, Senator for the
as proclaimed by the Commissions on Elections – shall not be sworn, Twelfth District, be, as he is hereby,declared guilty of disorderly
nor seated, as members of the chamber, pending the termination of conduct and flagrant violation of the privileges of the Senate for
the protest filed against their election. havingtreacherously assaulted the Honorable Vicente de Vera,
Senator for the Sixth District on the occasion of certain, phrases being
Petitioners then immediately instituted an action against their uttered by the latter in the course of the debate regarding the
colleagues who instituted the resolution, praying for its annulment credentials of said Mr. Alejandrino.
In view of the propriety of mandamus
Mandamus will not lie against the legislative body, its members, or its
Issue: Whether resolution above quoted is unconstitutional and officers, to compel the performance of duties purely legislative in their
entirely of no effect, for five reasons. He prays the court: character which therefore pertain to their legislative functions and
(1) To issue a preliminary injunction against the respondents enjoining over which they have exclusive control. The final arbiter in cases of
them from executing the resolution; dispute is the judiciary, and to this extent at least the executive
(2) to declare the aforesaid resolution of the Senate null and void; and department may be said to be dependent upon and subordinate to
(3) as a consequence of the foregoing, to issue a final writ of the judiciary. . . . It is not the office of the person to whom the writ of
mandamus and injunction against the respondents ordering them to mandamus is directed, but the nature of the thing to be done, by
recognize the rights of the petitioner to exercise his office as Senator which the propriety of issuing a mandamus is to be determined."
In view of the Organic Law vs Power to Discipline House Members
On the merits of the controversy, we will only say this: The Organic Act
Held: As it is unlikely that the petition could be amended to state a authorizes the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands to appoint
cause of action, it must be dismissed without costs. Such is the two senators and nine representatives to represent the non-Christian
judgment of the court. So ordered. regions in the Philippine Legislature. These senators and
representatives "hold office until removed by the Governor-General."
(Organic Act, secs. 16, 17.)
Ratio: We rule that neither the Philippine Legislature nor a branch
thereof can be directly controlled in the exercise of their legislative They may not be removed by the Philippine Legislature. However, to
powers by any judicial process. The court accordingly lacks jurisdiction the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, is granted
to consider the petition and the demurrer must be sustained. the power to "punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with
the concurrence of two-thirds, expel an elective member." (Organic
The power to control is the power to abrogate and the power to Act, sec. 18.) Either House may thus punish an appointive member for
abrogate is the power to usurp. Each department may, nevertheless, disorderly behavior. Neither House may expel an appointive member
indirectly restrain the others. It is peculiarly the duty of the judiciary for any reason. As to whether the power to "suspend" is then included
to say what the law is, to enforce the Constitution, and to decide in the power to "punish," a power granted to the two Houses of the
whether the proper constitutional sphere of a department has been Legislature by the Constitution, or in the power to "remove," a power
transcended. The courts must determine the validity of legislative granted to the Governor-General by the Constitution, it would appear
enactments as well as the legality of all private and official acts. To this that neither is the correct hypothesis. The Constitution has purposely
extent, do the courts restrain the other departments. withheld from the two Houses of the Legislature and the Governor-
General alike the power to suspend an appointive member of the
Facts: "That on or about October 17, 1988, or sometime prior or
subsequent thereto, in Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction
In view of effects of punishment of this Honorable Court, accused MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO, a
Punishment by way of reprimand or fine vindicates the outraged public officer, being then the Commissioner of the Commission on
dignity of the House without depriving the constituency of Immigration and Deportation, with evident bad faith and manifest
representation; expulsion, when permissible, likewise vindicates the partiality in the exercise of her official functions, did then and there
honor of the legislative body while giving to the constituency an willfully, unlawfully and criminally approve the application for
opportunity to elect anew; but suspension deprives the electoral legalization for the stay of the aliens in violation of Executive Order
district of representation without that district being afforded any No. 324 dated April 13, 1988 which prohibits the legalization of said
means by which to fill the vacancy. By suspension, the seat remains disqualified aliens knowing fully well that said aliens are
filled but the occupant is silenced. Suspension for one year is disqualifiedthereby giving unwarranted benefits to said aliens whose
equivalent to qualified expulsion or removal. stay in the Philippines was unlawfully legalized by said accused."

Two other criminal cases, one for violation of the provisions of

In view of no remedy Presidential Decree No. 46 and the other for libel, were filed with the
Conceding therefore that the power of the Senate to punish its Regional Trial Court of Manila, docketed, respectively, No. 91-94555
members for disorderly behavior does not authorize it to suspend an and No. 91-94897.
appointive member from the exercise of his office for one year,
conceding what has been so well stated by the learned counsel for the Petitioner, then filed with the Sandiganbayan a Motion to
petitioner, conceding all this and more, yet the writ prayed for cannot "Redetermine Probable Cause" and to dismiss or quash said
issue, for the all-conclusive reason that the Supreme Court does not information. Pending the resolution of this incident, the prosecution
possess the power of coercion to make the Philippine Senate take any filed on 31 July 1995 with the Sandiganbayan a motion to issue an
particular action. If it be said that conclusion leaves the petitioner order suspending petitioner.
without a remedy, the answer is that the judiciary is not the repository
of all wisdom and all power. On 22 August 1995, petitioner filed her opposition to the motion of
the prosecution to suspend her.
Santiago v Sandiganbayan G.R. No. 128055. April 18, 2001

7/28/2010 The petition assails the authority of the Sandiganbayan to decree a

ninety-day preventive suspension of Mme. Miriam Defensor-Santiago,
0 Comments a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines, from any government
position, and furnishing a copy thereof to the Senate of the Philippines
for the implementation of the suspension order.
Thus, it has been held that the use of the word "office" would indicate
that it applies to any office which the officer charged may be holding,
Issue: Whether the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction issuing suspension and not only the particular office under which he stands accused.
to petitioner.
The law does not require that the guilt of the accused must be
established in a pre-suspension proceeding before trial on the merits
Held: WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. No proceeds. Neither does it contemplate a proceeding to determine (1)
costs. the strength of the evidence of culpability against him, (2) the gravity
of the offense charged, or (3) whether or not his continuance in office
could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and
Ratio: The authority of the Sandiganbayan to order the preventive integrity of the records and other evidence before the court could
suspension of an incumbent public official charged with violation of have a valid basis in decreeing preventive suspension pending the trial
the provisions of Republic Act No. 3019 has both legal and of the case. All it secures to the accused is adequate opportunity to
jurisprudential support. Section 13 of the statute provides: challenge the validity or regularity of the proceedings against him,
such as, that he has not been afforded the right to due preliminary
"SECTION 13. Suspension and loss of benefits. — Any incumbent investigation, that the acts imputed to him do not constitute a specific
public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid crime warranting his mandatory suspension from office under Section
information under this Act or under Title 7, Book II of the Revised 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, or that the information is subject to
Penal Code or for any offense involving fraud upon quashal on any of the grounds set out in Section 3, Rule 117, of the
government or public funds or property whether as a simple or as a Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.
complex offense and in whatever stage of execution and mode of
participation, is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.
In view of multiple petitions
"Petitioner next claims that the Amended information did not charge
In view of suspension NOT as a penalty any offense punishable under Section 3 (e) of RA. No. 3019
It would appear, indeed, to be a ministerial duty of the court to issue because the official acts complained therein were authorized under
an order of suspension upon determination of the validity of the Executive Order No. 324 and that the Board of Commissioners of the
information filed before it. Once the information is found to be Bureau of Investigation adopted the policy of approving applications
sufficient in form and substance, the court is bound to issue an order for legalization of spouses and unmarried, minor children of "qualified
of suspension as a matter of course, and there seems to be "no ifs and aliens" even though they had arrived in the Philippines after
buts about it." December 31, 1983. She concludes that the Sandiganbayan erred in
not granting her motion to quash the information (Rollo, pp. 25-31).
In view of the power of the Court
"In a motion to quash, the accused the accused admits hypothetically
the allegations of fact in the information (People vs. Supnad, 7 SCRA Republic Act No. 3019 does not exclude from its coverage the
603 [1963]). Therefore, petitioner admitted hypothetically in her members of Congress and that, therefore, the Sandiganbayan did not
motion that: err in thus decreeing the assailed preventive suspension order.
(1) She was a public officer,
(2) She approved the application for legalization of the stay of
aliens, who arrived in the Philippines after January 1, 1984;
(3) Those aliens were disqualified; Attention might be called to the fact that Criminal Case No. 16698 has
(4) She was cognizant of such fact; and been decided by the First Division of the Sandiganbayan on 06
(5) She acted in 'evident bad faith and manifest partiality in the December 1999, acquitting herein petitioner. The Court, nevertheless,
execution of her official functions.' deems it appropriate to render this decision for future guidance on
the significant issue raised by petitioner.

Mabanag vs Lopez Vito (G.R. NO. L-1123)

In view of RA 3019 and Sec 16, Art VI of the Constitution
The order of suspension prescribed by Republic Act No. 3019 is Journal – Adoption of the Enrolled Bill Theory
distinct from the power of Congress to discipline its own ranks.
FACTS: Petitioners include 3 senators and 8 representatives. The three
senators were suspended by senate due to election irregularities. The
Section 16, Article VI of the Constitution — which deals with the 8 representatives were not allowed to take their seat in the lower
power of each House of Congress inter alia to'punish its Members for House except in the election of the House Speaker. They argued that
disorderly behavior,' and 'suspend or expel a Member' by a vote of some senators and House Reps were not considered in determining
two-thirds of all its Members subject to the qualification that the the required ¾ vote (of each house) in order to pass the Resolution
penalty of suspension, when imposed, should not exceed sixty days — (proposing amendments to the Constitution) – which has been
is unavailing, as it appears to be quite distinct from the suspension considered as an enrolled bill by then. At the same time, the votes
spoken of in Section 13 of RA 3019, which is not a penalty but were already entered into the Journals of the respective House. As a
a preliminary, preventive measure, prescinding from the fact that the result, the Resolution was passed but it could have been otherwise
latter is not being imposed on petitioner for misbehavior as a Member were they allowed to vote. If these members of Congress had been
of the House of Representatives." counted, the affirmative votes in favor of the proposed amendment
would have been short of the necessary three-fourths vote in either
branch of Congress. Petitioners filed or the prohibition of the Section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure (Act 190), as amended
furtherance of the said resolution amending the constitution. by Act No. 2210, provides: “Official documents may be proved as
Respondents argued that the SC cannot take cognizance of the case follows: . . . (2) the proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of
because the Court is bound by the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill any legislatives body that may be provided for in the Philippine Islands,
or resolution. or of Congress, by the journals of those bodies or of either house
thereof, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified
ISSUE: Whether or not the Court can take cognizance of the issue at
by the clerk of secretary, or printed by their order; Provided, That in
bar. Whether or not the said resolution was duly enacted by Congress.
the case of Acts of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine
HELD: As far as looking into the Journals is concerned, even if both the Legislature, when there is an existence of a copy signed by the
journals from each House and an authenticated copy of the Act had presiding officers and secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive
been presented, the disposal of the issue by the Court on the basis of proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment
the journals does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory, for, as thereof.”
already stated, the due enactment of a law may be proved in either of
The SC is bound by the contents of a duly authenticated resolution
the two ways specified in section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended. The
(enrolled bill) by the legislature. In case of conflict, the contents of an
SC found in the journals no signs of irregularity in the passage of the
enrolled bill shall prevail over those of the journals.
law and did not bother itself with considering the effects of an
authenticated copy if one had been introduced. It did not do what the Casco Chemical Co. vs Gimenez
opponents of the rule of conclusiveness advocate, namely, look into
Facts of the Case:
the journals behind the enrolled copy in order to determine the
correctness of the latter, and rule such copy out if the two, the
Casco Chemical Co., which is engaged in the manufacture of synthetic
journals and the copy, be found in conflict with each other. No
resin glues used in bonding lumber and veneer by plywood and
discrepancy appears to have been noted between the two documents
hardwood producers, bought foreign exchange for the importation of
and the court did not say or so much as give to understand that if
urea and formaldehyde which are the main raw materials in the
discrepancy existed it would give greater weight to the journals,
production of the said glues. They paid P33,765.42 in November and
disregarding the explicit provision that duly certified copies “shall be
December 1949 and P6345.72 in May 1960. Prior thereto, the
conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due
petitioner sought the refund of the first and second sum relying upon
enactment thereof.”
Resolution No. 1529 of the Monetary Board of said bank, dated
**Enrolled Bill – that which has been duly introduced, finally passed November 3, 1959, declaring that the separate importation of urea
by both houses, signed by the proper officers of each, approved by the and formaldehyde is exempt from said fee. The Auditor of the Bank,
president and filed by the secretary of state. Pedro Gimenez, refused to pass in audit and approve the said refund
on the ground that the exemption granted by the board in not in
accord with the provision of section 2 of RA 2609. inconsistent to what the constitution mandates. Further, it violated
the equal protection clause since the said law didn’t repeal provision
Issue of the Case: relating to appointive officials. Appointive officials would still
Whether or Not Urea and formaldehyde are exempt by law from the be considered ipso jure resigned upon filing of their respective
payment of the margin fee. certificates of candidacy.

Section 14 is not a rider. The purported dissimilarity of Section 67 of
No, it is not exempt from payment of the marginal fee. Urea the Omnibus Election Code,
formaldehyde is clearly a finished product which is distinct from urea which imposes a limitation on elective officials who run for an office
and formaldehyde. The petitioner’s contends that the bill approved in other than the one they are holding, to the other provisions of
Congress contained the conjunction “and” between the terms “urea” the contested law, which deal with the lifting of the ban on the use of
and “formaldehyde” separately as essential elements in the media for election propaganda, doesn’t violate the “one subject- one
manufacture of “urea formaldehyde” and not the latter. But this is not title rule”. The Court has held that an act having a single general
reflective of the view of the Senate and the intent of the House of subject, indicated in its title, may contain any number of provisions,
Representatives in passing the bill. If there has been any mistake in no matter how diverse they may be, so long as they are not
the printing of the bill before it was passed the only remedy is by inconsistent with or foreign to the general subject, and they may
amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree. be considered in furtherance of such subject by providing for the
method and means of carrying out the general subject.
Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with cost against the petitioner. The repeal of Section 67 is not violative of the equal protection
clause. Equal protection is not absolute especially if the classification
is reasonable. There is reasonable classification between
FACTS: an elective official and an appointive one. The former occupy their
office by virtue of the mandate of the electorate. They are elected to
A petition was filed seeking the Court to declare unconstitutional
an office for a definite term and may be removed therefrom only upon
Section 14 of RA 9006 or “The Act to Enhance the Holding of Free,
stringent conditions. On the other hand, appointive officials hold their
Orderly, Honest, Peaceful and Credible Elections Through Fair Election
office by virtue of their designation thereto by an appointing
Practices” as it repealed Section 67 of the Omnibus Election Code
authority. Some appointive officials hold their office in a permanent
mandating the ipso jure resignation from public office of one who filed
capacity and are entitled to security of tenure while others serve at
his certificate of candidacy, except for President and Vice-President.
the pleasure of the appointing authority. Another substantial
It is the petitioners’ contention that the repeal of Section 67 is a rider
distinction is that by law, appointed officials are prohibited from
on the said law, the same embracing more than one subject,
engaging in partisan political activity or take part in any election violate both the letter and the spirit of the organic laws by which the
except to vote. Philippine Government was brought into existence, to invade a
coordinate and independent department of the Government, and to
United States vs Juan Pons
interfere with the legitimate powers and functions of the Legislature.
34 Phil. 729 – Political Law – Journal – Conclusiveness of the Journals Pons’ witnesses cannot be given due weight against the
conclusiveness of the Journals which is an act of the legislature. The
Juan Pons and Gabino Beliso were trading partners. On April 5, 1914, journals say that the Legislature adjourned at 12 midnight on February
the steamer Lopez y Lopezarrived in Manila from Spain and it 28, 1914. This settles the question, and the court did not err in
contained 25 barrels of wine. The said barrels of wine were delivered declining to go beyond these journals. The SC passed upon the
to Beliso. Beliso subsequently delivered 5 barrels to Pons’ house. On conclusiveness of the enrolled bill in this particular case.
the other hand, the customs authorities noticed that the said 25
barrels listed as wine on record were not delivered to any listed ASTORGA vs. VILLEGAS
merchant (Beliso not being one). And so the customs officers
FACTS: RA 4065 was passed which amended the Revised Charter of
conducted an investigation thereby discovering that the 25 barrels of
the of the City of Manila and provided for the
wine actually contained tins of opium. Since the act of trading and
power, duties and rights of the vice-mayor of the city. It tumns
dealing opium is against Act No. 2381, Pons and Beliso were charged
out that the bill which was signedinto law contained amendments
for illegally and fraudulently importing and introducing such
different form those approved by theSenate, The President
contraband material to the Philippines. Pons appealed the sentence
of the Philippines after learning of such, had already withdrawn his
arguing that Act 2381 was approved while the Philippine Commission
signature therefrom. This being the case, the Mayor of Manila issued
(Congress) was not in session. He said that his witnesses claim that the
circulars to the various departments of the local govemnment unit to
said law was passed/approved on 01 March 1914 while the special
disregard the provisions ofthe said law. thus, thepetitioner, then vice-
session of the Commission was adjourned at 12MN on February 28,
mayor of Manila filed a petition for Mandamus, lnjunction and/or
1914. Since this is the case, Act 2381 should be null and void.
Prohibition with Preliminary Mandatory and Prohibitory Injunction
ISSUE: Whether or not the SC must go beyond the recitals of the to compel the necessary parties to comply with the law.
Journals to determine if Act 2381 was indeed made a law on February Respondents alleged, hovever, that the bill never became a law as
28, 1914. itwas not the bill approved by Senate, and in such a case, the entries
in the journal, and not the enrolled bill itself should be the
HELD: The SC looked into the Journals to ascertain the date of basis for thedecision of the Court.
adjournment but the SC refused to go beyond the recitals in the
legislative Journals. The said Journals are conclusive on the Court and RULING:
to inquire into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine Legislature,
when they are, as the SC have said, clear and explicit, would be to
The enrolled bill theory is based mainly on “the respect due to coequal Morales v Subido G.R. No. L-29658. February 27, 1969.
and independent departments. which requires the judicial
department to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills
authenticated in the manner stated. If the attestation is absent and Facts: "In the Senate, the Committee on Government Reorganization,
the same is not required for the validity of a statute, the courts may to which House Bill 6951 was referred, reported a substitute measure.
resort to the journals and other records of Congress for proof of its It is to this substitute bill that Section 10 of the Act owes its present
due enactment. form and substance.
That attestation of the presiding officers of Congress is conclusive
"It is be noted that the Rodrigo amendment was in the nature of an
proof of due enactment of the law cannot apply in this case because
addition to the phrase 'who has served the police department of a city
the Senate President himself had already declared his signature on the
for at least 8 years with the rank of captain and/or higher,' under
bill to be invalid. Thus, the enrolled bill doctrine cannot apply.
which the petitionerherein, who is at least a high school graduate
CERTIFICATION OF BILLS (both parties agree that the petitioner finished the second year of the
law course) could possibly qualify. However, somewhere in the
As far as Congress itself is concerned, there is nothing sacrosanct in
legislative process the phrase ["who has served the police department
the certification made by the presiding officers. It is merely a mode
of a city or"] was dropped and only the Rodrigo amendment was
of authentication.The lawmaking process in Congress ends when the
bill is approved by both Houses, and the certification does not add to
the validity of the bill or cure any defect already present upon its
The present insistence of the petitioner is that the version of the
passage. In other words it is the approval by Congress and not the
provision, as amended at the behest of Sen. Rodrigo, was the version
signatures of the presiding officers that is essential.
approved by the Senate on third reading, and that when the bill
LEGISLATIVE JOURNALS emerged from the conference committee the only change made in
the provision was the insertion of the phrase "or has served as chief
While it is true that the journal is not authenticated and is subject to of police with exemplary record."
the risks of misprinting and other errors, the point is irrelevant in this
case. The Court is merely asked to inquire whether the text of House In support of this assertion, the petitioner submitted certified
Bill No. 9266 signed by the chief Executive was the same text passed photostatic copies of the different drafts of House Bill 6951 showing
by both Houses of Congress. Under the specific facts and the various changes made. In what purport to be the page proofs of
circumstances of this case, this Court can do this and resort to the the bill as finally approved by both Houses of Congress.
Senate journal for the purpose.
It is unmistakable up to this point that the phrase, "who has served
the police department of a city or," was still part of the provision, but
according to the petitioner the House bill division deleted the entire demands that we act upon the faith and credit of what the officers of
provision and substituted what now is Section 10 of the Police Act of the said branches attest to as the official acts of their respective
1966, which Section reads: departments. Otherwise we would be cast in the unenviable and
unwanted role of a sleuth trying to determine what actually did
"Minimum qualification for appointment as Chief of Police Agency. happen in the labyrinth of lawmaking, with consequent impairment of
— No person may be appointed chief of a city police agency unless he the integrity of the legislative process.
holds a bachelor's degree from a recognized institution of learning
and has served either in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or The investigation which the petitioner would like this Court to make
the National Bureau of Investigation, or has served as chief of police can be better done in Congress. After all, House cleaning — the
with exemplary record, or has served in the police department of any immediate and imperative need for which seems to be suggested by
city with rank of captain or its equivalent therein for at least three the petitioner — can best be effected by the occupants thereof.
years; or any high school graduate who has served as officer in the
Armed Forces for at least eight years with the rank of captain and/or If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was
higher." certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive —
on which we cannot speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of
The petitioner also submitted a certified photostatic copy of a separation of powers and undermining one of the cornerstones of our
memorandum which according to him was signed by an employee in democratic system — the remedy is by amendment or curative
the Senate bill division, and can be found attached to the page proofs legislation, not by judicial decree."
of the bill, explaining the change in Section 10, thus: "Section 10 was
recast for clarity. (with the consent of Sen. Ganzon & Congressman
Montano)." In view of Harwood v Wentworth
What the Justice Harlan said in Harwood v. Wentworth: “How much
greater is the danger of permitting the validity of a legislative
Issue: Whetherthe change an employee, as purportedty was a enactment to be questioned by evidence furnished by the general
rewriting to suit some stylistic preferences, was in truth an alteration endorsements made by clerks upon bills previous to their final passage
of meaning. and enrollment, — endorsements usually so expressed as not to be
intelligible to any one except those who made them, and the scope
and effect of which cannot in many cases be understood unless
Held: ACCORDINGLY, the motions for reconsideration are denied. supplemented by the recollection of clerks as to what occurred in the
hurry and confusion often attendant upon legislative proceedings."

Ratio: The respect due to the other branches of the Government

In view of two foreign landmark cases on enrolled bill doctrine v. Lopez-Vito, and we there held that an enrolled bill "imports absolute
Both Marshall Field & Co. v. Clark and Harwood v. Wentworth verity and is binding on the courts." This court held itself bound by an
involved claims similar to that made by the petitioner in this case. In authenticated resolution, despite the fact that the vote of three-
both the claims were rejected. fourths of the members of the Congress (as required by the
Constitution to approve proposals for constitutional amendments)
Thus, in Marshall Field & Co. it was contended that the Tariff Act of was not actually obtained on account of the suspension of some
October 1, 1890 was a nullity because "it is shown by the members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate.
congressional records of proceedings, reports of committees of
conference, and other papers printed by authority of Congress, and Thus in Mabanag the enrolled bill theory was adopted. Whatever
having reference to House Bill 9416, that a section of the bill as it doubt there might have been as to the status and force of the theory
finally passed, was not in the bill authenticated by the signatures of in the Philippines, in view of the dissent of three Justices in Mabanag,
the presiding officers of the respective houses of Congress, and was finally laid to rest by the unanimous decision in Casco Philippine
approved by the President." Chemical Co. v. Gimenez. Speaking for the Court, the then Justice (now
Chief Justice) Concepcion said: "Furthermore, it is well settled that the
In rejecting the contention, the United States Supreme Court held enrolled bill — which uses the term 'urea formaldehyde' instead of
that the signing by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and 'urea and formaldehyde' — is conclusive upon the courts as regards
by the President of the Senate of an enrolled bill is an official the tenor of the measure passed by Congress and approved by the
attestation by the two houses that such bill is the one that has passed President (Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil., 118, 120; Mabanag vs.
Congress. And when the bill thus attested is signed by the President Lopez-Vito, 78 Phil., 1; Macias vs. Comm. on Elections, L-18684,
and deposited in the archives, its authentication as a bill that has September 14, 1961).
passed Congress should be deemed complete and unimpeachable.
Tañada and Macapagal v. Cuenco, et al., G.R. No. L-10520, February
28, 1957
In Harwood the claim was that an act of the legislature of Arizona
"contained, at the time of its final passage, provisions that were 10JAN
omitted from it without authority of the council or the house, before
it was presented to the governor for his approval." The Court En Banc
reiterated its ruling in Marshall Field & Co. [CONCEPCION, J.]

FACTS: Petitioners pray that a writ of preliminary injunction be

immediately issued directed to respondents Mariano J. Cuenco,
In view of Mabanag v Lopez-Vito & CASCO v Gimenez Francisco A. Delgado, Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio
It was not until 1947 that the question was presented in Mabanag and Placido Reyes, restraining them from continuing to usurp, intrude
into and/ or hold or exercise the said public offices respectively being executive branch of the Government.” It is concerned with issues
occupied by them in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and to respondent dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure.
Fernando Hipolito restraining him from paying the salaries of
Such is not the nature of the question for determination in the present
respondent Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and
case. Here, we are called upon to decide whether the election of
Placido Reyes, pending this action. Petitioners likewise prayed that
Senators Cuenco and Delgado, by the Senate, as members of the
judgment be rendered ousting respondents from the aforementioned
Senate Electoral Tribunal, upon nomination by Senator Primicias-a
public offices in the Senate Electoral Tribunal and that they be
member and spokesman of the party having the largest number of
altogether excluded therefrom and making the preliminary injunction
votes in the Senate-on behalf of its Committee on Rules, contravenes
the constitutional mandate that said members of the Senate Electoral
Respondents have admitted the main allegations of fact in the Tribunal shall be chosen “upon nomination .. of the party having the
petition, except insofar as it questions the legality, and validity of the second largest number of votes” in the Senate, and hence, is null and
election of respondents Senators Cuenco and Delgado, as members of void. This is not a political question. The Senate is not clothed with
the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and of the appointment of respondent “full discretionary authority” in the choice of members of the Senate
Alfredo Cruz, Catalina Cayetano, Manuel Serapio and Placido Reyes as Electoral Tribunal. The exercise of its power thereon is subject to
technical assistants and private secretaries to said respondents constitutional limitations which are claimed to be mandatory in
Senators. Respondents, likewise, allege, by way of special and nature. It is clearly within the legitimate prove of the judicial
affirmative defenses, that: (a) this Court is without power, authority department to pass upon the validity the proceedings in connection
of jurisdiction to direct or control the action of the Senate in choosing therewith.
the members of the Electoral Tribunal
“.. whether an election of public officers has been in accordance with
ISSUE: Was the dispute regarding the election of Senators Cuenco and law is for the judiciary. Moreover, where the legislative department
Delgado as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal in the nature of has by statute prescribed election procedure in a given situation, the
a political question that will divest the Court of jurisdiction? judiciary may determine whether a particular election has been in
conformity with such statute, and, particularly, whether such statute
has been applied in a way to deny or transgress on the constitutional
[T]he term “political question” connotes, in legal parlance, what it or statutory rights ..” (16 C.J.S., 439).
means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. In other
It is, therefore, our opinion that we have, not only jurisdiction, but,
words, in the language of Corpus Juris Secundum (supra), it refers to
also, the duty, to consider and determine the principal issue raised by
“those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by
the parties herein.
the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full
discretionary authority has been delegated to the Legislature or Firdausi Abbas et al vs The Senate Electoral Tribunal
January 22, 2012 “Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each
have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests
166 SCRA 651 – Political Law – The Legislative Department – Electoral
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective
Tribunals – Inhibition in the Senate Electoral Tribunal
Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine
In October 1987, Firdausi Abbas et al filed before the SET an election Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be
contest against 22 candidates of the LABAN coalition who were designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be
proclaimed senators-elect in the May 11 (1987) congressional Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case
elections by the COMELEC. The SET was at the time composed of three may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional
(3) Justices of the Supreme Court and six (6) Senators. Abbas later on representation from the political parties and the parties or
filed for the disqualification of the 6 senator members from partaking organizations registered under the party-list system represented
in the said election protest on the ground that all of them are therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its
interested parties to said case. Abbas argue that considerations of Chairman.”
public policy and the norms of fair play and due process imperatively
It is quite clear that in providing for a SET to be staffed by both Justices
require the mass disqualification sought. To accommodate the
of the SC and Members of the Senate, the Constitution intended that
proposed disqualification, Abbas suggested the following
both those “judicial” and “legislative” components commonly share
amendment: Tribunal’s Rules (Section 24) —- requiring the
the duty and authority of deciding all contests relating to the election,
concurrence of five (5) members for the adoption of resolutions of
returns and qualifications of Senators. The legislative component
whatever nature —- is a proviso that where more than four (4)
herein cannot be totally excluded from participation in the resolution
members are disqualified, the remaining members shall constitute a
of senatorial election contests, without doing violence to the spirit and
quorum, if not less than three (3) including one (1) Justice, and may
intent of the Constitution. It is not to be misunderstood in saying that
adopt resolutions by majority vote with no abstentions. Obviously
no Senator-Member of the SET may inhibit or disqualify himself from
tailored to fit the situation created by the petition for disqualification,
sitting in judgment on any case before said Tribunal. Every Member of
this would, in the context of that situation, leave the resolution of the
the Tribunal may, as his conscience dictates, refrain from participating
contest to the only three Members who would remain, all Justices of
in the resolution of a case where he sincerely feels that his personal
this Court, whose disqualification is not sought.
interests or biases would stand in the way of an objective and
ISSUE: Whether or not Abbas’ proposal could be given due weight. impartial judgment. What SC is saying is that in the light of the
Constitution, the SET cannot legally function as such; absent its entire
HELD: The most fundamental objection to such proposal lies in the membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can
plain terms and intent of the Constitution itself which, in its Article VI, confer on the three Justices-Members alone the power of valid
Section 17, creates the Senate Electoral Tribunal, ordains its adjudication of a senatorial election contest.
composition and defines its jurisdiction and powers.