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Neri vs Senate Committee 9.

He later refused to attend the other hearings and Ermita sent a letter to
the senate averring that the communications between GMA and Neri are
Facts: privileged and that the jurisprudence laid down in Senate vs Ermita be
applied. He was cited in contempt of respondent committees and an order
1. On April 21, 2007, the Department of Transportation and Communication for his arrest and detention until such time that he would appear and give
(DOTC) entered into a contract with Zhong Xing Telecommunications his testimony.
Equipment (ZTE) for the supply of equipment and services for the National
Broadband Network (NBN) Project in the amount of U.S. $ 329,481,290
(approximately P16 Billion Pesos). ISSUES:

A. W/N the communications elicited by the 3 questions are covered by

2. The Project was to be financed by the People’s Republic of China. executive privilege; YES

3. The Senate passed various resolutions relative to the NBN deal.

The power of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is broad. This is
based on the proposition that a legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively
4. Jose de Venecia III testified that several high executive officials and power in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is
brokers were using their influence to push the approval of the NBN Project intended to affect or change.21 Inevitably, adjunct thereto is the compulsory process
by the NEDA. to enforce it. But, the power, broad as it is, has limitations. To be valid, it is
imperative that it is done in accordance with the Senate or House duly published
rules of procedure and that the rights of the persons appearing in or affected by
5. Neri, the head of NEDA, was then invited to testify before the Senate Blue such inquiries be respected.
Ribbon. He appeared in one hearing wherein he was interrogated for 11
hrs and during which he admitted that Abalos of COMELEC tried to bribe
him with P200M in exchange for his approval of the NBN project. The power extends even to executive officials and the only way for them to be
exempted is through a valid claim of executive privilege.22 This directs us to the
consideration of the question -- is there a recognized claim of executive privilege
6. He further narrated that he informed President Arroyo about the bribery despite the revocation of E.O. 464?
attempt and that she instructed him not to accept the bribe.
B. W/N there is a recognized claim of EXEC PRIV despite revocation of
E.O 464; YES
7. However, when probed further on what they discussed about the NBN
Project, petitioner refused to answer, invoking “executive privilege”.
There are two (2) kinds of executive privilege; one is the presidential
communications privilege and, the other is the deliberative process
8. In particular, he refused to answer the questions on: privilege. The former pertains to "communications, documents or
(a) whether or not President Arroyo followed up the NBN Project, other materials that reflect presidential decision-making and
(b) whether or not she directed him to prioritize it, and deliberations and that the President believes should remain
(c) whether or not she directed him to approve. confidential." The latter includes 'advisory opinions, recommendations
and deliberations comprising part of a process by which
governmental decisions and policies are formulated."

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Accordingly, they are characterized by marked distinctions. Presidential Legislature has traditionally been recognized in Philippine jurisprudence. Second,
communications privilege applies to decision-making of the the communications are "received" by a close advisor of the President. Under the
President while, the deliberative process privilege, to decision- "operational proximity" test, petitioner can be considered a close advisor, being a
making of executive officials. The first is rooted in the constitutional member of President Arroyo's cabinet. And third, there is no adequate showing of a
principle of separation of power and the President's unique constitutional compelling need that would justify the limitation of the privilege and of
role; the second on common law privilege. Unlike the deliberative the unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating
process privilege, the presidential communications authority.
privilege applies to documents in their entirety, and covers final and
post-decisional materials as well as pre-deliberative ones. C. W/N the claim of exec priv is properly invoked; YES

The elements of presidential communications privilege, to wit: Jurisprudence teaches that for the claim to be properly invoked, there
must be a formal claim of privilege, lodged by the head of the department
1) The protected communication must relate to a "quintessential and non- which has control over the matter."56 A formal and proper claim of
delegable presidential power." executive privilege requires a "precise and certain reason" for preserving
their confidentiality.
2) The communication must be authored or "solicited and received" by a
close advisor of the President or the President himself. The judicial test is The Letter dated November 17, 2007 of Executive Secretary Ermita
that an advisor must be in "operational proximity" with the President. satisfies the requirement. It serves as the formal claim of privilege. There,
he expressly states that "this Office is constrained to invoke the
3) The presidential communications privilege remains a qualified settled doctrine of executive privilege as refined in Senate v. Ermita,
privilege that may be overcome by a showing of adequate need, such that and has advised Secretary Neri accordingly." Obviously, he is referring
the information sought "likely contains important evidence" and by the to the Office of the President. That is more than enough compliance.
unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating In Senate v. Ermita, a less categorical letter was even adjudged to be
authority. sufficient.

In the case at bar, Executive Secretary Ermita premised his claim of executive With regard to the existence of "precise and certain reason," we find the grounds
privilege on the ground that the communications elicited by the three (3) questions relied upon by Executive Secretary Ermita specific enough so as not "to leave
"fall under conversation and correspondence between the President and public respondent Committees in the dark on how the requested information could be
officials" necessary in "her executive and policy decision-making process" and, that classified as privileged." The case of Senate v. Ermita only requires that an
"the information sought to be disclosed might impair our diplomatic as well as allegation be made "whether the information demanded involves military or
economic relations with the People's Republic of China." Simply put, the bases diplomatic secrets, closed-door Cabinet meetings, etc." The particular ground must
are presidential communications privilege and executive privilege on matters only be specified. The enumeration is not even intended to be
relating to diplomacy or foreign relations. comprehensive."58 The following statement of grounds satisfies the requirement:

The SC ruled that the communications elicited by the three (3) questions are The context in which executive privilege is being invoked is that the
covered by the presidential communications privilege. First, the communications information sought to be disclosed might impair our diplomatic as well as
relate to a "quintessential and non-delegable power" of the President, i.e. the power economic relations with the People's Republic of China. Given the
to enter into an executive agreement with other countries. This authority of the confidential nature in which these information were conveyed to the
President to enter into executive agreements without the concurrence of the President, he cannot provide the Committee any further details of these

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
conversations, without disclosing the very thing the privilege is designed "The Committee, by a vote of majority of all its members, may punish for
to protect. contempt any witness before it who disobeys any order of the Committee
or refuses to be sworn or to testify or to answer proper questions by the
At any rate, as held further in Senate v. Ermita, 59 the Congress must not require the Committee or any of its members."
executive to state the reasons for the claim with such particularity as to compel
disclosure of the information which the privilege is meant to protect. This is a matter Fourth, we find merit in the argument of the OSG that respondent Committees
of respect to a coordinate and co-equal department. likewise violated Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution, requiring that the inquiry
be in accordance with the "duly published rules of procedure." We quote the
D. W/N resp Committee commited GAD in issuing contempt order; YES OSG's explanation:

Grave abuse of discretion means "such capricious and whimsical exercise The phrase 'duly published rules of procedure' requires the Senate of
of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or, in other words every Congress to publish its rules of procedure governing inquiries in aid
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of legislation because every Senate is distinct from the one before it or
of passion or personal hostility and it must be so patent and gross as to after it. Since Senatorial elections are held every three (3) years for one-
amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the half of the Senate's membership, the composition of the Senate also
duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law." changes by the end of each term. Each Senate may thus enact a different
set of rules as it may deem fit. Not having published its Rules of
Procedure, the subject hearings in aid of legislation conducted by
Respondent Committees committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the
contempt Order in view of five (5) reasons. the 14th Senate, are therefore, procedurally infirm.

And fifth, respondent Committees' issuance of the contempt Order is arbitrary and
First, there being a legitimate claim of executive privilege, the issuance of the
contempt Order suffers from constitutional infirmity. precipitate. It must be pointed out that respondent Committees did not first pass
upon the claim of executive privilege and inform petitioner of their ruling. Instead,
they curtly dismissed his explanation as "unsatisfactory" and simultaneously issued
Second, respondent Committees did not comply with the requirement laid down the Order citing him in contempt and ordering his immediate arrest and detention.
in Senate v. Ermita that the invitations should contain the "possible needed statute
which prompted the need for the inquiry," along with "the usual indication of the
A fact worth highlighting is that petitioner is not an unwilling witness. He
subject of inquiry and the questions relative to and in furtherance thereof."
manifested several times his readiness to testify before respondent Committees. He
Compliance with this requirement is imperative, both under Sections 21 and 22 of
refused to answer the three (3) questions because he was ordered by the President
Article VI of the Constitution. This must be so to ensure that the rights of both
to claim executive privilege. It behooves respondent Committees to first rule on the
persons appearing in or affected by such inquiry are respected as mandated by
claim of executive privilege and inform petitioner of their finding thereon, instead of
said Section 21 and by virtue of the express language of Section 22. Unfortunately,
peremptorily dismissing his explanation as "unsatisfactory." Undoubtedly,
despite petitioner's repeated demands, respondent Committees did not send him an
advance list of questions. respondent Committees' actions constitute grave abuse of discretion for being
arbitrary and for denying petitioner due process of law.
Third, a reading of the transcript of respondent Committees' January 30, 2008
proceeding reveals that only a minority of the members of the Senate Blue Ribbon
Committee was present during the deliberation. 61 Section 18 of the Rules of
Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation provides that:

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Osmena vs Pendatun that if other business has intervened after the member had uttered
obnoxious words in debate, he shall not be held to answer therefor
Facts: nor be subject to censure by the House.
7. The Supreme Court decided to hear the matter further, and required
respondents to answer, without issuing any preliminary injunction.
1. On July 14, 1960, Congressman Sergio Osmeña, Jr., submitted to the
8. The special committee continued to perform its task, and after giving
Supreme Court a verified petition for "declaratory relief, certiorari and
Congressman Osmeña a chance to defend himself, found him guilty of
prohibition with preliminary injunction" against Congressman Salapida K.
serious disorderly behavior and acting on such report, the House
Pendatun and fourteen other congressmen in their capacity as members
approved on the same day House Resolution No. 175, declaring him guilty
of the Special Committee created by House Resolution No. 59.
as recommended, and suspending him from office for fifteen months.
2. He asked for annulment of such Resolution on the ground of
9. The respondents filed their answer where they challenged the jurisdiction
infringenment of his parliamentary immunity; he also asked, principally,
of this Court to entertain the petition, defended the power of Congress to
that said members of the special committee be enjoined from proceeding
discipline its members with suspension and then invited attention to the
in accordance with it, particularly the portion authorizing them to
fact that Congress having ended its session, the Committee had thereby
require him to substantiate his charges against the President with
ceased to exist.
the admonition that if he failed to do so, he must show cause why
10. After the new resolution, Osmena added that the House has no power
the House should not punish him.
under the Constitution, to suspend one of its members.
3. The petition attached a copy of House Resolution No. 59, where it was
stated that Sergio Osmeña, Jr., made a privilege speech entitled a
Message to Garcia. There, he claimed to have been hearing of ugly
reports that the government has been selling “free things” at premium
prices. He also claimed that even pardons are for sale regardless of the Issue: W/N said disciplinary action by the House is in violation of Section 15, Article
gravity of the case. VI of the Constitution; NO
4. The resolution stated that these charges, if made maliciously or recklessly
and without basis in truth, would constitute a serious assault upon the
dignity of the presidential office and would expose it to contempt and
disrepute. Section 15, Article VI of our Constitution provides that "for any speech or
5. The resolution formed a special committee of fifteen Members to debate" in Congress, the Senators or Members of the House of Representative
investigate the truth of the charges against the President of the Philippines "shall not be questioned in any other place." The provision has always been
made by Osmeña, Jr. It was authorized to summon him to appear before it understood to mean that although exempt from prosecution or civil actions for
to substantiate his charges, as well as to require the attendance of their words uttered in Congress, the members of Congress may, nevertheless, be
witnesses and/or the production of pertinent papers before it, and if he questioned in Congress itself.
fails to do so he would be required to show cause why he should not be
punished by the House. The special committee shall submit to the House Furthermore, the Rules of the House which petitioner himself has invoked
a report of its findings before the adjournment of the present special (Rule XVII, sec. 7), recognize the House's power to hold a member responsible "for
session of the Congress of the Philippines. words spoken in debate."
6. In support of his request, Osmeña alleged that the Resolution violated his
constitutional absolute parliamentary immunity for speeches delivered Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity whose purpose "is to
in the House; second, his words constituted no actionable conduct; and enable and encourage a representative of the public to discharge his public trust
third, after his allegedly objectionable speech and words, the House took with firmness and success" for "it is indispensably necessary that he should enjoy
up other business, and Rule XVII, sec. 7 of the Rules of House provides

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
the fullest liberty of speech, and that he should be protected from the resentment of In the case of Congressman Stanbery of Ohio, who insulted the Speaker, was
every one it may offend." censured by the House, despite the argument that other business had intervened
after the objectionable remarks.
It guarantees the legislator complete freedom of expression without fear of being
made responsible in criminal or civil actions before the courts or any other forum On the question whether delivery of speeches attacking the Chief Executive
outside of the Congressional Hall. But it does not protect him from responsibility constitutes disorderly conduct for which Osmeña may be disciplined, the court
before the legislative body itself whenever his words and conduct are believed that the House is the judge of what constitutes disorderly behaviour, not
considered by the latter disorderly or unbecoming a member. only because the Constitution has conferred jurisdiction upon it, but also
because the matter depends mainly on factual circumstances of which the
For unparliamentary conduct, members of Parliament or of Congress have been House knows best but which can not be depicted in black and white for
censured, committed to prison, and even expelled by the votes of their colleagues. presentation to, and adjudication by the Courts. For one thing, if this Court
This was the traditional power of legislative assemblies to take disciplinary action assumed the power to determine whether Osmeña conduct constituted disorderly
against its members, including imprisonment, suspension or expulsion. For behaviour, it would thereby have assumed appellate jurisdiction, which the
instance, the Philippine Senate, in April 1949, suspended a senator for one year. Constitution never intended to confer upon a coordinate branch of the
Needless to add, the Rules of Philippine House of Representatives provide that the Government. This was due to the theory of separation of powers fastidiously
parliamentary practices of the Congress of the United States shall apply in a observed by this. Each department, it has been said, had exclusive cognizance of
supplementary manner to its proceedings. matters within its jurisdiction and is supreme within its own sphere. (Angara vs.
Electoral Commission.)
This brings up the third point of petitioner: the House may no longer take action
against him, because after his speech it had taken up other business. Respondents The general rule has been applied in other cases to cause the courts to refuse to
answer that Resolution No. 59 was unanimously approved by the House, that such intervene in what are exclusively legislative functions. Thus, where the stated
approval amounted to a suspension of the House Rules, which according to Senate is given the power to example a member, the court will not review its action
standard parliamentary practice may done by unanimous consent. or revise even a most arbitrary or unfair decision.

Granted that the House may suspended the operation of its Rules, it may not, Clifford vs. French- several senators who had been expelled by the State Senate of
however, affect past acts or renew its rights to take action which had already lapsed. California for having taken a bribe, filed mandamus proceeding to compel
The situation might thus be compared to laws extending the period of reinstatement, alleging the Senate had given them no hearing, nor a chance to
limitation of actions and making them applicable to actions that had lapsed. make defense, besides falsity of the charges of bribery. The Supreme Court of
At any rate, courts are subject to revocation modification or waiver at the California declined to interfere:
pleasure of the body adopting them. Mere failure to conform to parliamentary
usage will not invalidate the action taken by a deliberative body when the Under our form of government, the judicial department has no power to revise even
required number of members have agreed to a particular measure. the most arbitrary and unfair action of the legislative department, due to the
Constitution. Every legislative body in which is vested the general legislative power
The following is quoted from a reported decision of the Supreme court of of the state has the implied power to expel a member for any cause which it may
Tennessee: deem sufficient.
The rule here invoked is one of parliamentary procedure, and it is uniformly held that In Hiss. vs. Barlett, it was said that this power is inherent in every legislative body;
it is within the power of all deliberative bodies to abolish, modify, or waive their own that it is necessary to the to enable the body 'to perform its high functions, and is
rules of procedure, adopted for the orderly con duct of business, and as security necessary to the safety of the state; That it is a power of self-protection, and that the
against hasty action. (Certain American cases) legislative body must necessarily be the sole judge of the exigency which may justify
and require its exercise. Given the exercise of the power committed to it, the senate

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
is supreme. An attempt by this court to direct or control the legislature, or either Now come questions of procedure and jurisdiction. The petition intended to
house, in the exercise of the power, would be an attempt to exercise legislative prevent the Special Committee from acting tin pursuance of House Resolution No.
functions, which it is expressly forbidden to do. 59. Because no preliminary injunction had been issued, the Committee performed
its task, reported to the House, and the latter approved the suspension order. The
The Court merely refuses to disregard the allocation of constitutional functions House had closed it session, and the Committee has ceased to exist as such. It
which it is our special duty to maintain. Indeed, in the interest of comity, we found would seem, therefore, the case should be dismissed for having become moot or
the House of Representatives of the United States taking the position upon at least academic.
two occasions.
Of course, there is nothing to prevent petitioner from filing new pleadings. But the
Petitioner's principal argument against the House's power to suspend is the most probable outcome of such reformed suit, however, will be a pronouncement of
Alejandrino precedent. In 1924, Senator Alejandrino was, by resolution of Senate, lack of jurisdiction.
suspended from office for 12 months because he had assaulted another member of
that Body. The Senator challenged the validity of the resolution. Although this Court
held that in view of the separation of powers, it had no jurisdiction to compel the
Senate to reinstate petitioner, it nevertheless went on to say the Senate had no
power to adopt the resolution because suspension for 12 months amounted to
removal, and the Jones Law gave the Senate no power to remove an
appointive member, like Senator Alejandrino. The Jones Law specifically provided
that "each house may punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the
concurrence of two-thirds votes, expel an elective member. The Jones Law
empowered the Governor General to appoint Senators. Alejandrino was one.
The opinion in that case stated that "suspension deprives the electoral district of
representation without that district being afforded any means by which to fill that
vacancy." But that remark should be understood to refer particularly to the
appointive senator who was then the affected party.

Now the Congress has the full legislative powers and prerogatives of a sovereign
nation, except as restricted by the Constitution. In the Alejandrino case, the Court
reached the conclusion that the Jones Law did not give the Senate the power it then
exercised—the power of suspension for one year. Now. the Congress has the
inherent legislative prerogative of suspension which the Constitution did not impair.
The Legislative power of the Philippine Congress is plenary, limited by the
Republic's Constitution. So that any power deemed to be legislative by usage or
tradition, is necessarily possessed by the Philippine Congress, unless the
Constitution provides otherwise.

In any event, petitioner's argument as to the deprivation of the district's

representation can not be weighty, becuase deliberative bodies have the power in
proper cases, to commit one of their members to jail.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Trillanes vs Pimentel classification in criminal law enforcement as the functions and duties of the office
are not substantial distinctions which lift one from the class of prisoners interrupted
Facts: in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement.

The Constitution provides: All persons, except those charged with

1. On July 27, 2003, more than 300 heavily armed soldiers led by junior offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall,
officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stormed into the before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance
Oakwood Premier Apartments in Makati City and publicly demanded the as may be provided by law. The Rules also state that no person charged with a
resignation of the President and key national officials. capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment,
2. After a series of negotiations, military soldiers surrendered that evening. shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of
the criminal action. That the cited provisions apply equally to rape and coup d’état
3. In the aftermath of such event dubbed as the Oakwood Incident, petitioner cases, both being punishable by reclusion perpetua, is beyond cavil. Within the
Antonio F. Trillanes IV was charged with coup d’état before the Regional class of offenses covered by the stated range of imposable penalties, there is
Trial Court of Makati. clearly no distinction as to the political complexion of or moral turpitude involved in
the crime charged.
4. Four years later, Trillanes remained in detention and won a seat in the
Senate. In the present case, it is uncontroverted that petitioner's application for bail
and for release on recognizance was denied. The determination that the evidence of
5. Before starting his term, Trillanes filed with RTC an Omnibus Motion for guilt is strong, whether ascertained in a hearing of an application for bail or imported
Leave of Court to be Allowed to Attend Senate Sessions and Related from a trial court's judgment of conviction, justifies the detention of an accused as a
Requests. valid curtailment of his right to provisional liberty. This accentuates the proviso that
the denial of the right to bail in such cases is "regardless of the stage of the criminal
6. Trillanes requested to be allowed to attend senate sessions and fulfill his action."
functions as senator.
Such justification for confinement with its underlying rationale of public self-
7. The RTC however denied his motion. defense applies equally to detention prisoners like Trillanes or convicted prisoners-
appellants like Jalosjos. The Court in People v. Hon. Maceda said that all prisoners
8. Thus, he filed Petition for Certiorari with the Supreme Court to set aside whether under preventive detention or serving final sentence can not practice their
orders of the RTC. profession nor engage in any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or
appointive, while in detention. This is a necessary consequence of arrest and
B. W/N Trillanes‘ election as senator provides legal justification to allow him
to work and serve his mandate as senator; NO
A. Whether or not Trillanes‘ case is different from that of the Jalosjos case ;
The case against Trillanes is not administrative in nature. And there is no "prior
term" to speak of. In a plethora of cases, the Court categorically held that the
No distinction between Trillanes’ case and that of Jalosjos case
doctrine of condonation does not apply to criminal cases. Election, or more
precisely, re-election to office, does not obliterate a criminal charge. Petitioner's
The distinctions cited by petitioner were not elemental in the
electoral victory only signifies pertinently that when the voters elected him to the
pronouncement in Jalosjos that election to Congress is not a reasonable

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Senate, "they did so with full awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action
[and] x x x with the knowledge that he could achieve only such legislative results
which he could accomplish within the confines of prison.

It is opportune to wipe out the lingering misimpression that the call of duty
conferred by the voice of the people is louder than the litany of lawful restraints
articulated in the Constitution and echoed by jurisprudence. The apparent discord
may be harmonized by the overarching tenet that the mandate of the people yields
to the Constitution which the people themselves ordained to govern all under the
rule of law. The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public
officers has never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison. The duties
imposed by the "mandate of the people" are multifarious. The accused-appellant
asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of government. The
accused-appellant is only one of 250 members of the House of Representatives, not
to mention the 24 membersof the Senate, charged with the duties of legislation.
Congress continues to function well in the physical absence of one or a few of its
members. x x x Never has the call of a particular duty lifted a prisoner into a different
classification from those others who are validly restrained by law.

C. W/N there are enough precedents that allows for a liberal treatment of
detention prisoners who are held without bail ; NO
Emergency or compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are
allowed to all prisoners, at the discretion of the authorities or upon court
orders. That this discretion was gravely abused, petitioner failed to
establish. In fact, the trial court previously allowed petitioner to register as
a voter in December 2006, file his certificate of candidacy in February
2007, cast his vote on May 14, 2007, be proclaimed as senator-elect, and
take his oath of office on June 29, 2007. In a seeming attempt to bind or
twist the hands of the trial court lest it be accused of taking a complete
turn-around, petitioner largely banks on these prior grants to him and
insists on unending concessions and blanket authorizations.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Arroyo vs De Venecia
Rules of each House of Congress are hardly permanent in character. They are
Facts: subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body
adopting them as they are primarily procedural. Courts ordinarily have no
1. A petition was filed challenging the validity of RA 8240, which
concern with their observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the
amends certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code.
legislative body. Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not have
2. Petitioners, who are members of the House of Representatives, charged
the effect of nullifying the act taken if the requisite number of members has
that there is violation of the rules of the House which petitioners claim are
agreed to a particular measure. But this is subject to qualification. Where the
constitutionally-mandated so that their violation is tantamount to a
construction to be given to a rule affects person other than members of the
violation of the Constitution.
legislative body, the question presented is necessarily judicial in character.
3. The law originated in the House of Representatives. The Senate approved
Even its validity is open to question in a case where private rights are involved.
it with certain amendments. A bicameral conference committee was
formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate
In the case, no rights of private individuals are involved but only those of
versions of the bill. The bicameral committee submitted its report to the
a member who, instead of seeking redress in the House, chose to transfer the
dispute to the Court.
4. During the interpellations, Rep. Arroyo made an interruption and moved to
adjourn for lack of quorum. But after a roll call, the Chair declared the
The matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure of the House
presence of a quorum. The interpellation then proceeded.
with which the Court should not be concerned. The claim is not that there was
5. After Rep. Arroyo’s interpellation of the sponsor of the committee report,
no quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from
Majority Leader Albano moved for the approval and ratification of the
questioning the presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyo’s earlier motion to adjourn
conference committee report.
for lack of quorum had already been defeated, as the roll call established the
6. The Chair called out for objections to the motion. Then the Chair declared:
existence of a quorum. The question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly
“There being none, approved.” At the same time the Chair was saying
especially when the quorum is obviously present for the purpose of delaying
this, Rep. Arroyo was asking, “What is that…Mr. Speaker?” The Chair and
the business of the House.
Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously.
7. Thus, although Rep. Arroyo subsequently objected to the Majority Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of H. No. 7198 by the Speaker of
Leader’s motion, the approval of the conference committee report had by the House and the President of the Senate and the certification by the secretaries of
then already been declared by the Chair. both Houses of Congress that it was passed on November 21, 1996 are conclusive
8. On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of of its due enactment. Much energy and learning is devoted in the separate opinion
Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified by the of Justice Puno, joined by Justice Davide, to disputing this doctrine. To be sure,
respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress. there is no claim either here or in the decision in the EVAT cases [Tolentino v.
9. The enrolled bill was signed into law by President Ramos. Secretary of Finance] that the enrolled bill embodies a conclusive presumption. In
one case 38 we "went behind" an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine
whether certain provisions of a statute had been approved by the Senate.
Issue: Whether or not RA 8240 is null and void because it was passed in
violation of the rules of the House ; NO

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
US vs Pons
The SC looked into the Journals to ascertain the date of adjournment but the SC
Facts: refused to go beyond the recitals in the legislative Journals. The said Journals are
conclusive on the Court and to inquire into the veracity of the journals of the
1. Juan Pons and Gabino Beliso were trading partners. Philippine Legislature, when they are, as the SC have said, clear and explicit, would
2. On April 5, 1914, the steamer Lopez y Lopez arrived in Manila from Spain be to violate both the letter and the spirit of the organic laws by which the Philippine
and it contained 25 barrels of wine. The said barrels of wine were Government was brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and independent
delivered to Beliso. Beliso subsequently delivered 5 barrels to Pons’ department of the Government, and to interfere with the legitimate powers and
house. On the other hand, the customs authorities noticed that the said 25 functions of the Legislature. Pons’ witnesses cannot be given due weight against the
barrels listed as wine on record were not delivered to any listed merchant conclusiveness of the Journals which is an act of the legislature. The journals say
(Beliso not being one). that the Legislature adjourned at 12 midnight on February 28, 1914. This settles the
question, and the court did not err in declining to go beyond these journals. The SC
3. And so the customs officers conducted an investigation thereby
passed upon the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill in this particular case.
discovering that the 25 barrels of wine actually contained tins of opium.

4. Since the act of trading and dealing opium is against Act No. 2381, Pons
and Beliso were charged for illegally and fraudulently importing and
introducing such contraband material to the Philippines.

5. Pons appealed the sentence arguing that Act 2381 was approved while
the Philippine Commission (Congress) was not in session.

6. He said that his witnesses claim that the said law was passed/approved
on 01 March 1914 while the special session of the Commission was
adjourned at 12MN on February 28, 1914.

7. Since this is the case, Act 2381 should be null and void.


Whether or not the SC must go beyond the recitals of the Journals to determine if
Act 2381 was indeed made a law on February 28, 1914; YES


CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Abas vs SET Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have
an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating
Facts: to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members.
Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of
1. On October 9, 1987, the petitioners filed before the respondent Tribunal
whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the
an election contest docketed as SET Case No. 002-87 against 22
Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or
candidates of the LABAN coalition who were proclaimed senators-elect in
the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen
the May 11, 1987 congressional elections by the Commission on
on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and
the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system
2. The respondent Tribunal was at the time composed of three (3) Justices
represented therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal hall be its
of the Supreme Court and six (6) Senators: Senior Associate Justice
Pedro L. Yap (Chairman). Associate Justices Andres R. Narvasa and
Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., and Senators Joseph E. Estrada, Neptali A.
Gonzales, Teofisto T. Guingona, Jose Lina, Jr., Mamintal A.J. Tamano
It seems quite clear to us that in thus providing for a Tribunal to be staffed by both
and Victor S. Ziga.
Justices of the Supreme Court and Members of the Senate, the Constitution
3. filed with the respondent Tribunal a Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition intended that both those "judicial' and 'legislative' components commonly share the
of the Senators-Members thereof from the hearing and resolution of SET duty and authority of deciding all contests relating to the election, returns and
Case No. 002-87 on the ground that all of them are interested parties to qualifications of Senators. The respondent Tribunal correctly stated one part of this
said case. proposition when it held that said provision "... is a clear expression of an intent that
4. Senator Rene A.V. Saguisag, one of the respondents in the same case, all (such) contests ... shall be resolved by a panel or body in which their (the
had filed a Petition to Recuse and later a Supplemental Petition to Recuse Senators') peers in that Chamber are represented." 1 The other part, of course, is
that the constitutional provision just as clearly mandates the participation in the
the same Senators-Members of the Tribunal on essentially the same same process of decision of a representative or representatives of the Supreme
ground. Court.
5. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the meantime had voluntarily inhibited
himself from participating in the hearings and deliberations of the Said intent is even more clearly signalled by the fact that the proportion of Senators
respondent tribunal in both SET Case No. 00287 and SET Case No. 001- to Justices in the prescribed membership of the Senate Electoral Tribunal is 2 to 1-
87, the latter being another contest filed by Augusto's Sanchez against an unmistakable indication that the "legislative component" cannot be totally
him and Senator Santanina T. Rasul as alternative respondents, citing his excluded from participation in the resolution of senatorial election contests, without
personal involvement as a party in the two cases. doing violence to the spirit and intent of the Constitution.
6. The petitioners, in essence, argue that considerations of public policy and
Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the substitution of any
the norms of fair play and due process imperatively require the mass
Senator sitting in the Tribunal by any of his other colleagues in the Senate without
disqualification sought inviting the same objections to the substitute's competence, the proposed mass
disqualification, if sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative
Issue: W/N senator members of the SET can inhibit themselves from but to abandon a duty that no other court or body can perform, but which it cannot
performing their functions; NO lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire membership of Senators.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
To our mind, this is the overriding consideration—that the Tribunal be not prevented
from discharging a duty which it alone has the power to perform, the performance of
which is in the highest public interest as evidenced by its being expressly imposed
by no less than the fundamental law.

It is aptly noted in the first of the questioned Resolutions that the framers of the
Constitution could not have been unaware of the possibility of an election contest
that would involve all 24 Senators-elect, six of whom would inevitably have to sit in
judgment thereon. Indeed, such possibility might surface again in the wake of the
1992 elections when once more, but for the last time, all 24 seats in the Senate will
be at stake. Yet the Constitution provides no scheme or mode for settling such
unusual situations or for the substitution of Senators designated to the Tribunal
whose disqualification may be sought. Litigants in such situations must simply place
their trust and hopes of vindication in the fairness and sense of justice of the
Members of the Tribunal. Justices and Senators, singly and collectively.

Let us not be misunderstood as saying that no Senator-Member of the Senate

Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or disqualify himself from sitting in judgment on any
case before said Tribunal. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as his conscience
dictates, refrain from participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely
feels that his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an objective and
impartial judgment. What we are merely saying is that in the light of the Constitution,
the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot legally function as such, absent its entire
membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can confer on the
three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a senatorial
election contest.

The charge that the respondent Tribunal gravely abused its discretion in its
disposition of the incidents referred to must therefore fail. In the circumstances, it
acted well within law and principle in dismissing the petition for disqualification or
inhibition filed by herein petitioners. The instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED
for lack of merit.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Bondoc vs Pineda

Facts: The use of the word "sole" in both Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and Section
11 of the 1935 Constitution underscores the exclusive jurisdiction of the House
1. In the elections held on May 11, 1987, Marciano Pineda of the LDP Electoral Tribunal as judge of contests relating to the election, returns and
and Emigdio Bondoc of the NP were candidates for the position of qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives (Robles vs. House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal, G.R. No. 86647, February 5, 1990). The tribunal
Representative for the Fourth District of Pampanga.
was created to function as a nonpartisan court although two-thirds of its members
2. Pineda was proclaimed winner. are politicians. It is a non-political body in a sea of politicians. What this Court had
3. Bondoc filed a protest in the House of Representatives Electoral earlier said about the Electoral Commission applies as well to the electoral tribunals
Tribunal (HRET), which is composed of 9 members, 3 of whom are of the Senate and House of Representatives:
Justices of the SC and the remaining 6 are members of the House of
Representatives (5 members belong to the LDP and 1 member is The purpose of the constitutional convention creating the Electoral
from the NP). Commission was to provide an independent and impartial tribunal for the
4. Thereafter, a decision had been reached in which Bondoc won over determination of contests to legislative office, devoid of partisan
consideration, and to transfer to that tribunal all the powers previously
exercised by the legislature in matters pertaining to contested elections of
5. Congressman Camasura of the LDP voted with the SC Justices and its members.
Congressman Cerilles of the NP to proclaim Bondoc the winner of
the contest. The power granted to the electoral Commission to judge contests relating
6. On the eve of the promulgation of the Bondoc decision, to the election and qualification of members of the National Assembly is
Congressman Camasura received a letter informing him that he was intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had remained in the
already expelled from the LDP for allegedly helping to organize the legislature.
Partido Pilipino of Eduardo Cojuangco and for allegedly inviting LDP
members in Davao Del Sur to join said political party. The Electoral Tribunals of the Senate and the House were created by the
7. On the day of the promulgation of the decision, the Chairman of Constitution as special tribunals to be the sole judge of all contests
relating to election returns and qualifications of members of the legislative
HRET received a letter informing the Tribunal that on the basis of the houses, and, as such, are independent bodies which must be permitted to
letter from the LDP, the House of Representatives decided to select their own employees, and to supervise and control them, without
withdraw the nomination and rescind the election of Congressman any legislative interference. (Suanes vs. Chief Accountant of the Senate,
Camasura to the HRET. 81 Phil. 818.)

Issue: To be able to exercise exclusive jurisdiction, the House Electoral Tribunal must
A. W/N the HoR, at the request of the dominant political party be independent. Its jurisdiction to hear and decide congressional election contests is
therein, may change that party’s representation in the not to be shared by it with the Legislature nor with the Courts.
HRET to thwart the promulgation of a decision freely
The Electoral Commission is a body separate from and independent of the
reached by the tribunal in an election contest pending
legislature and though not a power in the tripartite scheme of government,
therein; NO it is to all intents and purposes, when acting within the limits of its

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
authority, an independent organ; while composed of a majority of tenure under our Constitution (Sec. 2, Art. VIII, 1987 Constitution). Therefore,
members of the legislature it is a body separate from and independent of membership in the House Electoral Tribunal may not be terminated except for a just
the legislature. cause, such as, the expiration of the member's congressional term of office, his
death, permanent disability, resignation from the political party he represents in the
B. W/N the resolution of HR violates the independence of HRET; YES tribunal, formal affiliation with another political party, or removal for other valid
cause. A member may not be expelled by the House of Representatives for "party
The resolution of the House of Representatives removing Congressman Camasura disloyalty" short of proof that he has formally affiliated with another political group.
from the House Electoral Tribunal for disloyalty to the LDP, because he cast his vote
As the records of this case fail to show that Congressman Camasura has become a
in favor of the Nacionalista Party's candidate, Bondoc, is a clear impairment of the
constitutional prerogative of the House Electoral Tribunal to be the sole judge of the registered member of another political party, his expulsion from the LDP and from
election contest between Pineda and Bondoc. the HRET was not for a valid cause, hence, it violated his right to security of tenure.

To sanction such interference by the House of Representatives in the work of the

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

C . W/N Camasura’s termination is valid; NO

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

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

Another reason for the nullity of the expulsion resolution of the House of
Representatives is that it violates Congressman Camasura's right to security of
tenure. Members of the HRET as "sole judge" of congressional election contests,
are entitled to security of tenure just as members of the judiciary enjoy security of

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Lerias vs. House Electoral Tribunal because in Precincts 6, 10, 18 and 19 she received in each of the said
precincts 100 votes less than what she received as shown in the
Facts: provincial board of canvasser's copy of the certificate of canvass.
10. Lerias filed with the Comelec a petition (SPC No. 87-488) for the
1. Petitioner Rosette Y. Lerias filed her certificate of candidacy as the official
annulment of the canvass and proclamation of Mercado, praying that the
candidate of the UPP-KBL for the position of Representative for the lone
ballot boxes of precints 6, 10, 18 & 19 of Libagon be ordered opened and
district of Southern Leyte.
the votes therein recounted.
2. During the canvass of votes by the Provincial Board of Canvassers of
11. There being no action taken by the Comelec on the said motion and since
Southern Leyte, it appeared that, excluding the certificate of canvass from
the term of office of the members of the House of Representatives would
the Municipality of Libagon which had been questioned by Mercado on the
commence on June 30, 1987, Lerias filed on June 30, 1987 before this
ground that allegedly it had been tampered with, the candidates who
Court a petition for the annulment of the Comelec resolution and the
received the two (2) highest number of votes were Roger G. Mercado with
proclamation of Mercado.
34,442 votes and Rosette Y. Lerias with 34,128 votes, respectively.
12. Mercado filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that (a) the resolution
3. In the provincial board's copy of the certificate of canvass for the
dated June 6, 1987 had already become final because the motion for
municipality of Libagon, Lerias received 1,811 votes while Mercado
reconsideration filed by Lerias was ex-parte and did not stop the running
received 1,351.
of the period to appeal therefrom and (b) since Lerias filed with the
4. Thus, if said copy would be the one to be included in the canvass, Lerias
Supreme Court a petition for the annulment of the Comelec's June 6,
would have received 35,939 votes as against Mercado's 35,793 votes,
1987 resolution and the subsequent proclamation of Mercado, she had
giving Lerias a winning margin of 146 votes.
abandoned her previous petition with the Comelec.
5. But, the provincial board of canvassers ruled that their copy of the
13. This Court dismissed the petition because (a) the Comelec resolution of
certificate of canvass contained erasures, alterations and June 6, 1987 and the proclamation of Mercado had already become
superimpositions and therefore, cannot be used as basis of the canvass. executory inasmuch as five days had elapsed from receipt of a copy of
6. The provincial board of canvassers rejected the explanation of the said resolution by petitioner and no restraining order had been issued by
members of the municipal board of canvassers of Libagon that said the Court citing Sec. 246 of the Omnibus Election Code, and (b) Lerias
corrections were made to correct honest clerical mistakes which did not thru counsel had agreed before the Comelec (Second Division) during the
affect the integrity of the certificate and said corrections were made in the hearing therein on June 5, 1987 to use the Comelec copy of the certificate
of canvass.
presence of the watchers of all the nine (9) candidates for the position,
14. Lerias filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied. Hence,
including those of Mercado who offered no objection. on October 1, 1987, she filed an election protest with respondent HRET.
7. Lerias appealed the ruling of the provincial board of canvassers to the 15. Lerias contended that in the four (4) protested precincts of Libagon where
Comelec praying that the Commission order the provincial board of her votes were determined to be 1,411 only, the same were allegedly
canvassers to use their copy of the certificate of canvass for Libagon. reduced by 100 votes in each precinct, thus totalling 400
8. Atty. Valeriano Tumol, then counsel for Lerias, agreed to use the Comelec 16. To prove her contention, Lerias submitted original copies of the certificate
copy of the certificate of canvass provided that it be found to be authentic of canvass of the municipal board of canvassers and the provincial board
and genuine. of canvassers. She also invoked the original copy of the election
9. The Comelec copy of the certificate of canvass was produced and when returns for the municipal board of canvassers of Libagon. These
opened it showed that Lerias received only 1,411 votes in Libagon documents, particularly the election returns showed that Lerias received

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
162 votes in Prec. No. 6, 123 votes in Prec. No. 10, 132 votes in Prec. No. facie status as bona fide reports of the results of the voting. Canvassing boards, the
18 and 156 votes in Prec. No. 19 to give her a total of 1,811 votes in the Comelec and the HRET must exercise extreme caution in rejecting returns and may
entire municipality of Libagon. do so only upon the most convincing proof that the returns are obviously
17. Upon the other hand, Mercado relied mainly on the xerox copy of the manufactured or fake. And, conformably to established rules, it is the party alleging
certificate of canvass for the Comelec. This certificate showed that Lerias that the election returns had been tampered with, who should submit proof of this
received 62 votes in Prec. No. 6, 23 votes in Prec. No. 10, 32 votes in allegation.
Prec. No. 18 and 56 votes in Prec. No. 19.
18. The HRET majority opinion rejected the election returns and sustained the At this juncture, it is well to stress that the evidence before the HRET is
certificate of canvass because (1) the Comelec found that the Comelec the original copy of the election returns while the Comelec's copy of the certificate of
copy of the certificate of canvass is "regular, genuine and authentic on its canvass, is merely a xerox copy, the original thereof had not been produced.
face" and said finding of the Comelec had been sustained by the Supreme
Court; (2) the protestant (meaning Lerias) had agreed during the pre-
Under the best evidence rule, "there can be no evidence of a writing, the contents of
proclamation proceedings to the use of the Comelec copy of the certificate
which are the subject of inquiry, other than the original writing itself" except only in
of canvass; and (3) the authenticity of the election returns from the four (4)
the cases enumerated in Rule 130, Sec. 2 of the Rules of Court. The exceptions are
disputed precincts had not been established.
not present here. Moreover, the xerox copy of the certificate of canvass is
19. The reasons given by the majority for doubting the authenticity of the
inadmissible as secondary evidence because the requirements of Sec. 4 of the
election returns are: (a) the non-production of the election returns during
same Rule have not been met. (Dissent of J. Cruz, p. 254) Besides this certificate of
the entire pre-proclamation proceedings definitely creates much doubt as
canvass had been disowned by the chairman and members of the municipal board
to their authenticity especially so when they surfaced only almost a year
of canvassers, claiming that the same was falsified since their signatures and
later after the ballots had been stolen; (b) during that time, the election
thumbmarks appearing thereon are not theirs and the number of votes credited to
returns may have been tampered with and "doctored" to Lerias'
Lerias in the municipality of Libagon had been reduced from 1,811 to 1,411.
advantage; (c) no proof whatsoever was offered to show that the integrity
of the ballot box in which they were kept was not violated; and (d)
thewitnesses presented by Lerias had shown their partisanship in her The finding of the Comelec in the pre-proclamation proceedings that its copy of the
favor by executing affidavits to support her protest. certificate of canvass is "genuine and authentic" and which finding was sustained by
this Court (G.R. No. 78833; 79882-83) is not binding and conclusive. The HRET
must be referring to the following portion of the decision of this Court –
Issue: Who should be proclaimed as representative of lone district of Southern
Leyte? Lerias
Public interest demands that pre-proclamation contests should be terminated with
dispatch so as not to unduly deprive the people of representation, as in this case, in
The foregoing findings and pronouncements of the HRET (majorirty opinion)
the halls of Congress. As the
are totally bereft of any support in law and settled jurisprudence.
Court has stressed in Enrile v. Comelec, and other cases, the policy of the election
In an election contest where what is involved is the correctness of the number of law is that pre-proclamation controversies should be summarily decided, consistent
votes of each candidate, the best and most conclusive evidence are the ballots with the law's desire that the canvass and proclamation should be delayed as little
themselves. But where the ballots cannot be produced or are not available, the as possible. The powers of the COMELEC are essentially executive and
election returns would be the best evidence. Where it has been duly determined that administrative in nature and the question of fraud, terrorism and other irregularities
actual voting and election by the registered voter had taken place in the questioned in the conduct of the election should be ventilated in a regular election protest and
precincts or voting centers, the election returns cannot be disregarded and excluded the Commission on Elections is not the proper forum for deciding such matters;
with the resulting disenfranchisement of the voters, but must be accorded prima neither the Constitution nor statute has granted the COMELEC or the board of

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
canvassers the power, in the canvass of elections returns to look beyond the face
thereof `once satisfied of their authenticity'. We believe that the matters brought up
by petitioner should be ventilated before the House Electoral Tribunal. Unlike in the
past, it is no longer the COMELEC but the House Electoral Tribunal which is `the
sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications' of the
members of the House of Representatives.

In opting to go by the COMELEC copy which on its face did not show any
alteration, the COMELEC did not commit any grave abuse of discretion,
specially since both parties agreed to the COMELEC using its own copy
(Copy No. 3).

Accordingly, the Court resolved to DISMISS the petition for lack ofmerit.
The temporary restraining order issued on July 23, 1987 is hereby LIFTED
effective immediately.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Jalosjos vs COMELEC
Whether or not the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to pass upon the
Facts: question of Jalosjos’ residency qualification considering that he has been
proclaimed winner in the election and has assumed the discharge of that
1. While serving as Mayor of Tampilasan Zamboanga del Norte, Petitioner,
office ; NO
Romeo Jalosjos sought the transfer of his voter's registration record to
Precint 0051F of Barangay Veterans Village, Zamboanga Sibugay.
2. Dan Erasmo filed a petition with the MCTC which rendered judgement
excluding Jalosjos from the list of voters in question on the ground that he
While the Constitution vests in the COMELEC the power to decide all
did not abandon his domicile in Tampilasan and is still the incumbent
questions affecting elections, such power is not without limitation. It does
not extend to contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of
3. Jalosjos appealed the decision to the RTC but the MCTC ruling was
members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The
Constitution vests the resolution of these contests solely upon the
4. Through a petition for certiorari with an application for the issuance of a
appropriate Electoral Tribunal of the Senate or the House of
writ of preliminary injunction, Jalosjos elevated the case to the CA. His
application was granted and his name was reinstated in the voter's list
pending resolution of the petition.
The proclamation of a congressional candidate following the election
5. Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the position of
divests COMELEC of jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election,
Representative of the Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay for the May
returns, and qualifications of the proclaimed Representative in favor of the
2010 national election.
6. This prompted Erasmo to file a petition with the COMELEC to deny or
cancel said COC. His petition was denied by the COMELEC for
After Jalosjos' proclamation, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction
insufficiency in form and substance.
when it still passed upon the issue of his qualification and declared him
ineligible for the office of Representative of the Second District of
7. Pending Erasmo's motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC en
Zamboanga Sibugay.
banc, Jalosjos won the elections and was proclaimed representative.
8. Meanwhile, CA rendered in his favor judgement on the pending petition.
On election day of 2010 the COMELEC En Banc had as yet to resolve
Erasmo filed a petition for review of the CA's decision before the Supreme
Erasmo’s appeal from the Second Division’s dismissal of the
disqualification case against Jalosjos. Thus, there then existed no final
9. Thereafter, COMELEC en banc granted Erasmo's motion anf declared
judgment deleting Jalosjos’ name from the list of candidates for the
Jalosjos ineligible to seek election as representative for not satisfying the
congressional seat he sought. The last standing official action in his case
residency requirement because of his incumbency as mayor of
before election day was the ruling of the COMELEC’s Second Division
that allowed his name to stay on that list. Meantime, the COMELEC En
10. Thus, the instant petition.
Banc did not issue any order suspending his proclamation pending its final
resolution of his case. With the fact of his proclamation and assumption of

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
office, any issue regarding his qualification for the same, like his alleged
lack of the required residence, was solely for the HRET to consider and

Consequently, the Court holds in G.R. 192474 that the COMELEC En

Banc exceeded its jurisdiction in declaring Jalosjos ineligible for the
position of representative for the Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay,
which he won in the elections, since it had ceased to have jurisdiction over
his case. Necessarily, Erasmo’s petitions (G.R. 192704 and G.R. 193566)
questioning the validity of the registration of Jalosjos as a voter and the
COMELEC’s failure to annul his proclamation also fail. The Court cannot
usurp the power vested by the Constitution solely on the HRET.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Vinzons-Chato vs COMELEC lone congressional district of Camarines Norte. His petition was
dismissed for utter lack of merit.
7. Aggrieved, petitioner Chato filed a motion for reconsideration thereof
1. Petitioner Chato and respondent Renato J. Unico were among the which was elevated to the COMELEC en banc for resolution.
candidates for the lone congressional district of Camarines Norte
during the May 10, 2004 synchronized national and local elections. Issue:
2. On May 14, 2004, at 11:30 a.m., the Provincial Board of Canvassers Whether COMELEC committed grave abuse of jurisdiction; NO
(PBC) proclaimed respondent Unico as representative-elect of the
In the assailed Resolution dated March 17, 2006, the COMELEC en banc
lone congressional district of Camarines Norte.
denied petitioner Chato’s motion for reconsideration ruling that the Commission
3. On July 2, 2004, the COMELEC (First Division) ordered the
already lost jurisdiction over the case in view of the fact that respondent Unico had
suspension of the effects of the proclamation of respondent Unico.
already taken his oath as a Member of the Thirteenth (13th) Congress. It reasoned,
4. On July 23, 2004, it lifted the said order on the ground that
respondent Unico’s proclamation and taking of oath of office had not
In Pangilinan vs. Commission on Elections (G.R. No. 105278, November
only divested the Commission of any jurisdiction to pass upon his
18, 1993), the Supreme Court made a categorical pronouncement that:
election, returns, and qualifications, but also automatically conferred
The Senate and the House of Representatives now
jurisdiction to another electoral tribunal.
have their respective Electoral Tribunals which are the “sole
5. Subsequently, the COMELEC (First Division) issued the Resolution
judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and
dated April 13, 2005, dismissing the petition for lack of merit. It stated
qualifications of their respective Members, thereby divesting the
preliminarily that the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) is
Commission on Elections of its jurisdiction under the 1973
precluded from entertaining pre-proclamation controversies on
Constitution over election cases pertaining to the election of the
matters relating to the preparation, transmission, receipt, custody,
Members of the Batasang Pambansa (Congress). It follows that
and appreciation of the election returns or certificates of canvass
the COMELEC is now bereft of jurisdiction to hear and decide
involving the positions of President, Vice-President, Senators, and
the pre-proclamation controversies against members of the
Members of the House of Representatives and Party-List.
House of Representatives as well as of the Senate.
6. The COMELEC (First Division) also held that the MBC or PBC had
no discretion on matters pertaining to the proclamation of the winning The Honorable Court reiterated the aforequoted ruling in the recent case
candidates because they were simply performing a ministerial of Aggabao vs. COMELEC, et al. (G.R. No. 163756, January 26, 2005), where it
function. Absent a lawful order from the COMELEC to suspend or held that:
annul a proclamation, the PBC of Camarines Norte, in particular, was The HRET has sole and exclusive jurisdiction over all
mandated to comply with its duties and functions including the contests relative to the election, returns, and qualifications of
proclamation of respondent Unico as the winning candidate for the members of the House of Representatives. Thus, once a

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
winning candidate has been proclaimed, taken his oath, and
assumed office as a Member of the House of Representatives,
COMELEC’s jurisdiction over election contests relating to his
election, returns, and qualifications ends, and the HRET’s own
jurisdiction begins.
Considering that private respondent Renato Unico had already taken his
oath and assumed office as member of the 13th Congress, the Commission had
already lost jurisdiction over the case.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Reyes vs COMELEC COMELEC retains jurisdiction because the jurisdiction of the HRET begins only
after the candidate is considered a Member of the House of Representatives, as
Facts: stated in Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. For one to be considered a
Member of the House of Representatives, there must be a concurrence of these
FACTS requisites: (1) valid proclamation; (2) proper oath, and (3) assumption of office.

1. The petitioners assail through a Petition for Certiorari with prayer for Thus the petitioner cannot be considered a member of the HR yet as she has not
Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction resolution of assumed office yet. Also, the 2nd requirement was not validly complied with as a
the Commission on Election ordering the cancellation of the Certificate of valid oath must be made (1) before the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Candidacy of petitioner for the position of the Representative of the lone and (2) in open session. Here, although she made the oath before Speaker
district of Marinduque. Belmonte, there is no indication that it was made during plenary or in open session
2. On October 31. 2012, Joseph Socorro Tan filed with the Comelec an and, thus, it remains unclear whether the required oath of office was indeed
Amended Petition to Deny Due Course or to Cancel the Certificate of complied.
Candidacy of Regina Ongsiako Reyes, the petitioner, on the ground that it
contained material representations.On March 27, 2013, the COMELEC Furthermore, petition for certiorari will prosper only if grave abuse of
cancelled the certificate of candidacy of the petitioner. discretion is alleged and proved to exist. For an act to be struck down as
3. She filed an MR on April 8, 2013. On May 14, 2013, COMELEC en banc having been done with grave abuse of discretion, the abuse of discretion
denied her MR.
must be patent and gross.
4. However, on May 18, 2013, she was proclaimed winner of the May 13,
2013 Elections.
5. On June 5, 2013, COMELEC declared the May 14, 2013 Resolution final
and Executory. Here, this Court finds that petitioner failed to adequately and substantially show that
6. On the same day, petitioner took her oath of office before Feliciano grave abuse of discretion exists.
Belmonte, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
7. She has yet to assume office at that time, as her term officially starts
at noon of June 30, 2013.
8. According to petitioner, the COMELEC was ousted of its jurisdiction when
she was duly proclaimed20 because pursuant to Section 17, Article VI of
the 1987 Constitution, the HRET has the exclusive jurisdiction to be the
“sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and
qualifications” of the Members of the House of Representatives.


Whether or not COMELEC has jurisdiction over the petitioner who is proclaimed as
winner and who has already taken her oath of office for the position of member of
the House of Representative of Marinduque; YES

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Angara vs Electoral Commission
Issue: W/N Whether or not the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over

Facts: the Electoral Commission and the subject matter of the controversy; YES
W/N Electoral Commission acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction
1. In the elections of Sept. 17, 1935, petitioner Jose A. Angara and the when: (1)it assumed cognizance of the protest despite the previous confirmation by
respondents Pedro Ynsua, Miguel Castillo, and Dionisio Mayor the National Assembly; (2) it adopted its resolution in Dec. 9 – NO
were candidates for the position of members of the National Assembly for
the first district of Tayabas. “In cases of conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which
can be called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between several
departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.”
2. On Oct. 7, 1935, the provincial board of canvassers proclaimed Angara as
member-elect of the National Assembly and on Nov. 15, 1935, he took his
Sec. 4 of Art VI provides EC the sole power of deciding such matters. Also, from the
oath of office. transcript of the Framers’ discussion, it is clearly the intention of the Framers to give
EC “sole” jurisdiction over election protests.

3. On Dec. 3, 1935, the National Assembly passed Resolution No. 8, which

Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of powers within its
in effect, fixed the last date to file election protests. jurisdiction and is supreme within its own sphere but it does not follow that the
Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each
4. On Dec. 8, 1935, Ynsua filed before the Electoral Commission a "Motion
of Protest" against Angara and praying, among other things, that Ynsua
Constitution institutes the system of checks and balances. Moderating power of the
be named/declared elected Member of the National Assembly or that the court is granted by clear implication from section 2 article VIII of the Constitution.
election of said position be nullified.
The judiciary does not intend to assert superiority over other departments or
deliberately nullify of invalidate acts of the legislature. It merely asserts the
5. On Dec. 9, 1935, the Electoral Commission adopted a resolution (No. 6)
obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims for
stating that last day for filing of protests is on Dec. 9. Angara contended authority under the Constitution and establish rights for the parties.
that the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction upon
the Electoral Commission solely as regards the merits of contested “Power of judicial review is limited only to actual cases and controversies…and
limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented.”
elections to the National Assembly and the Supreme Court therefore has
no jurisdiction to hear the case.
2. On the legality of the Electoral Commission’s acts

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
National Assembly has no jurisdiction over election protests so it follows that they
don’t have the authority to prescribe the time or prevent the filing of protest.
Separation within same branch of government.

Electoral Commission acted within the legitimate exercise of its constitutional

prerogative. It acted within its jurisdiction. The EC’s resolution will stand. National
Assembly’s Resolution No. 8 should neither prevent the filing of protest within the
time prescribed in EC’s resolution nor “toll the time” in filing protests.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Daza vs Singson the legality, not the wisdom, of the act of that chamber in removing the petitioner
from the Commission on Appointments. That is not a political question because, as
Facts: Chief Justice Concepcion explained in Tanada v. Cuenco. 6

1. The House of Representatives proportionally apportioned its 12 seats in ... the term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, what
the Commission on Appointments among several political parties it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. In
represented in that chamber in accordance with Art. VI Sec 18. other words, ... it refers "to those questions which, under the
2. The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino was reorganized, resulting in a Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign
political realignment in the HoR. 24 members of the Liberal Party joined capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has
the LDP, reducing their former party to only 17 members. been delegated to the Legislature or executive branch of the
Government." It is concerned with issues dependent upon the
3. On the basis of this development, the House of Representatives revised wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure.
its representation in the CoA by withdrawing the seat occupied by Daza
and giving this to the newly-formed LDP. In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable
and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue
4. On December 5th, the chamber elected a new set of representatives presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from
consisting of the original members except the petitioner and including resolving it under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in
therein Luis C. Singson as the additional member from the LDP. proper cases, even the political question. Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution
clearly provides:
5. Daza came to the Supreme Court to challenge his removal from the CoA
and the assumption of his seat by the Singson.
Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme
Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
6. Acting initially on his petition for prohibition and injunction with preliminary
injunction, SC issued a TRO that same day to prevent both Daza and
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle
Singson from serving in the CoA.
actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not
7. Daza contented that he cannot be removed from the CoA because his
there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
election thereto is permanent. He claimed that the reorganization of the
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality
House representation in the said body is not based on a permanent
of the Government.
political realignment because the LDP is not a duly registered political
party and has not yet attained political stability.
To summarize, then, we hold, in view of the foregoing considerations, that the issue
ISSUE: A. Whether or not the question raised by the Daza is political in nature and presented to us is justiciable rather political, involving as it does the legality and not
is beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court; NO the wisdom of the act complained of, or the manner of filling the Commission on
Appointments as prescribed by the Constitution. Even if the question were political
in nature, it would still come within our powers of review under the expanded
jurisdiction conferred upon us by Article VIII, Section 1, of the Constitution, which
Ruling first on the jurisdictional issue, we hold that, contrary to the respondent's
includes the authority to determine whether grave abuse of discretion amounting to
assertion, the Court has the competence to act on the matter at bar. Our finding is
excess or lack of jurisdiction has been committed by any branch or instrumentality of
that what is before us is not a discretionary act of the House of Representatives that
the government. As for the alleged technical flaw in the designation of the party
may not be reviewed by us because it is political in nature. What is involved here is

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
respondent, assuming the existence of such a defect, the same may be brushed
aside, conformably to existing doctrine, so that the important constitutional issue
raised may be addressed. Lastly, we resolve that issue in favor of the authority of
the House of Representatives to change its representation in the Commission on
Appointments to reflect at any time the changes that may transpire in the political
alignments of its membership. It is understood that such changes must be
permanent and do not include the temporary alliances or factional divisions not
involving severance of political loyalties or formal disaffiliation and permanent shifts
of allegiance from one political party to another.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Standard Charter Bank vs Senate 6. Hearing was adjourned without the setting of the next hearing date.
However, petitioners were later served by respondent with subpoenae ad
Facts: testificandum and duces tecum to compel them to attend and testify at the
hearing set on March 15, 2005. Hence, this petition.
7. The petition seeks the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to
1. On February 1, 2005, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, Vice Chairperson of enjoin respondent from (1) proceeding with its inquiry pursuant to
respondent, delivered a privilege speech entitled "Arrogance of Wealth" Philippine Senate (P.S.) Resolution No. 166; (2) compelling petitioners
denouncing SCB-Philippines for selling unregistered foreign securities in who are officers of petitioner SCB-Philippines to attend and testify before
violation of the Securities Regulation Code (R.A. No. 8799) and urging the any further hearing to be conducted by respondent, particularly that set on
Senate to immediately conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to prevent March 15, 2005; and (3) enforcing any hold-departure order (HDO) and/or
the occurrence of a similar fraudulent activity in the future. putting the petitioners on the Watch List. It also prays that judgment be
rendered (1) annulling the subpoenae ad testificandum and duces tecum
2. Upon motion of Senator Francis Pangilinan, the speech was referred to issued to petitioners, and (2) prohibiting the respondent from compelling
respondent. Prior to the privilege speech, Senator Enrile had introduced petitioners to appear and testify in the inquiry being conducted.
P.S. Resolution No. 166,2 to wit:
8. Petitioners filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of this Court’s
RESOLUTION Resolution dated March 14, 2005 only with respect to the denial of the
DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON BANKS, FINANCIAL prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction,
INSTITUTIONS AND CURRENCIES, TO CONDUCT AN alleging that their being held in contempt was without legal basis.
BILLIONS OF PESOS OF LOSSES TO THE INVESTING A. W/N Senate Committee can conduct investigation against SCB despite
PUBLIC the criminal/civil cases against the latter; YES

3. Respondent, through its Chairperson, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, set the Pet contended that since the issue of whether or not SCB-Philippines
initial hearing on February 28, 2005 to investigate, in aid of legislation, the illegally sold unregistered foreign securities is already preempted by the
subject matter of the speech and resolution filed by Senator Enrile. courts that took cognizance of the foregoing cases, the respondent, by
this investigation, would encroach upon the judicial powers vested solely
4. Respondent commenced the investigation. Senator Enrile inquired who in these courts.
among those invited as resource persons were present and who were
absent. Thereafter, Senator Enrile moved that subpoenae be issued to NO;
those who did not attend the hearing and that the Senate request the Indeed, the mere filing of a criminal or an administrative complaint before
Department of Justice, through the Bureau of Immigration and a court or a quasi-judicial body should not automatically bar the conduct of
Deportation, to issue an HDO against them and/or include them in the legislative investigation. Otherwise, it would be extremely easy to subvert
Bureau’s Watch List any intended inquiry by Congress through the convenient ploy of
. instituting a criminal or an administrative complaint. Surely, the exercise of
5. Respondent then proceeded with the investigation proper. sovereign legislative authority, of which the power of legislative inquiry is
an essential component, cannot be made subordinate to a criminal or an
administrative investigation.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
an overriding compelling state interest. Employing the rational basis
B. W/N the Congress can exercise its contempt powers against SCB; YES relationship test, as laid down in Morfe v. Mutuc,15 there is no infringement
of the individual’s right to privacy as the requirement to disclosure
Pets contended that their being held in contempt was without legal basis. information is for a valid purpose, in this case, to ensure that the
government agencies involved in regulating banking transactions
adequately protect the public who invest in foreign securities. Suffice it to
The principle that Congress or any of its bodies has the power to punish state that this purpose constitutes a reason compelling enough to proceed
recalcitrant witnesses is founded upon reason and policy. Said power must be with the assailed legislative investigation.
considered implied or incidental to the exercise of legislative power. How could a
legislative body obtain the knowledge and information on which to base intended
legislation if it cannot require and compel the disclosure of such knowledge and
information, if it is impotent to punish a defiance of its power and authority? When
the framers of the Constitution adopted the principle of separation of powers,
making each branch supreme within the realm of its respective authority, it must
have intended each department’s authority to be full and complete, independently of
each other’s authority or power. And how could the authority and power become
complete if for every act of refusal, every act of defiance, every act of contumacy
against it, the legislative body must resort to the judicial department for the
appropriate remedy, because it is impotent by itself to punish or deal therewith, with
affronts committed against its authority or dignity.11

The exercise by Congress or by any of its committees of the power to punish

contempt is based on the principle of self-preservation. As the branch of the
government vested with the legislative power, independently of the judicial branch, it
can assert its authority and punish contumacious acts against it. Such power is sui
generis, as it attaches not to the discharge of legislative functions per se, but to the
sovereign character of the legislature as one of the three independent and
coordinate branches of government.

C. W/N their right to privacy has been violated; NO

With respect to the right of privacy which petitioners claim respondent has
violated, suffice it to state that privacy is not an absolute right. While it is
true that Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution, guarantees respect for
the rights of persons affected by the legislative investigation, not every
invocation of the right to privacy should be allowed to thwart a legitimate
congressional inquiry. In Sabio v. Gordon,14 we have held that the right of
the people to access information on matters of public concern generally
prevails over the right to privacy of ordinary financial transactions. In that
case, we declared that the right to privacy is not absolute where there is

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Garcillano vs House of Representatives
Issue: W/N not publication of the Rules of Procedures Governing
Facts: Inquiries in Aid of Legislation through the Senate’s website, satisfies
the due process requirement of law; NO
1. Tapes ostensibly containing a wiretapped conversation purportedly
between the President of the Philippines and a high-ranking official of
the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) surfaced. The Senate cannot be allowed to continue with the conduct of the
questioned legislative inquiry without duly published rules of procedure, in clear
2. The tapes, notoriously referred to as the "Hello Garci" tapes, derogation of the constitutional requirement.
allegedly contained the President’s instructions to COMELEC
Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to manipulate in her favor results of
the 2004 presidential elections. Section 21, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[t]he
Senate or the House of Representatives, or any of its respective committees may
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of
3. These recordings were to become the subject of heated legislative
procedure." The requisite of publication of the rules is intended to satisfy the basic
hearings conducted separately by committees of both Houses of
requirements of due process.42 Publication is indeed imperative, for it will be the
height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a
law or rule of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive
4. Intervenor Sagge alleges violation of his right to due process
one.43What constitutes publication is set forth in Article 2 of the Civil Code, which
considering that he is summoned to attend the Senate hearings
provides that "[l]aws shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of their
without being apprised not only of his rights therein through the
publication either in the Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation in
publication of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in
the Philippines."44
Aid of Legislation, but also of the intended legislation which
underpins the investigation. He further intervenes as a taxpayer
bewailing the useless and wasteful expenditure of public funds The respondents in G.R. No. 179275 admit in their pleadings and even on
involved in the conduct of the questioned hearings. oral argument that the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of
Legislation had been published in newspapers of general circulation only in 1995
5. The respondents in G.R. No. 179275 admit in their pleadings and and in 2006.45 With respect to the present Senate of the 14 th Congress, however, of
even on oral argument that the Senate Rules of Procedure which the term of half of its members commenced on June 30, 2007, no effort was
Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation had been published in undertaken for the publication of these rules when they first opened their session.
newspapers of general circulation only in 1995 and in 2006. With
respect to the present Senate of the 14th Congress, however, of Respondents justify their non-observance of the constitutionally mandated
which the term of half of its members commenced on June 30, 2007, publication by arguing that the rules have never been amended since 1995 and,
no effort was undertaken for the publication of these rules when they despite that, they are published in booklet form available to anyone for free, and
first opened their session. accessible to the public at the Senate’s internet web page.49

6. Respondents justify their non-observance of the constitutionally The Court does not agree. The absence of any amendment to the rules
mandated publication by arguing that the rules have never been cannot justify the Senate’s defiance of the clear and unambiguous language of
amended since 1995 and, despite that, they are published in booklet Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution. The organic law instructs, without more,
form available to anyone for free, and accessible to the public at the that the Senate or its committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation only in
Senate’s internet web page. accordance with duly published rules of procedure, and does not make any

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
distinction whether or not these rules have undergone amendments or revision. The
constitutional mandate to publish the said rules prevails over any custom, practice
or tradition followed by the Senate.

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Tolentino vs Sec of Finance 4. § 10

Facts: B. Does the law violate the following other provisions of the
1. Tolentino et al is questioning the constitutionality of RA 7716 otherwise Constitution?
known as the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) Law.
2. Tolentino averred that this revenue bill did not exclusively originate from
1. Art. VI, § 28(1)
the House of Representatives as required by Section 24, Article 6 of the
3. Even though RA 7716 originated as HB 11197 and that it passed the 3 2. Art. VI, § 28(3)
readings in the HoR, the same did not complete the 3 readings in Senate
for after the 1st reading it was referred to the Senate Ways & Means First. Petitioners' contention is that Republic Act No. 7716 did not "originate
Committee thereafter Senate passed its own version known as Senate Bill exclusively" in the House of Representatives as required by Art. VI, §24 of the
1630. Constitution, because it is in fact the result of the consolidation of two distinct bills.

Issues: This argument will not bear analysis. To begin with, it is not the law — but the
revenue bill — which is required by the Constitution to "originate exclusively" in the
House of Representatives. It is important to emphasize this, because a bill
Procedural Issues: originating in the House may undergo such extensive changes in the Senate that
the result may be a rewriting of the whole. The possibility of a third version by the
conference committee will be discussed later. At this point, what is important to note
A. Does Republic Act No. 7716 violate Art. VI, § 24 of the
is that, as a result of the Senate action, a distinct bill may be produced. To insist that
a revenue statute — and not only the bill which initiated the legislative process
culminating in the enactment of the law — must substantially be the same as the
B. Does it violate Art. VI, § 26(2) of the Constitution? House bill would be to deny the Senate's power not only to "concur with
amendments" but also to "propose amendments." It would be to violate the
C. What is the extent of the power of the Bicameral Conference coequality of legislative power of the two houses of Congress and in fact make the
Committee? House superior to the Senate.

II. Substantive Issues: Indeed, what the Constitution simply means is that the initiative for filing revenue,
tariff, or tax bills, bills authorizing an increase of the public debt, private bills and bills
of local application must come from the House of Representatives on the theory
A. Does the law violate the following provisions in the Bill of
that, elected as they are from the districts, the members of the House can be
Rights (Art. III)?
expected to be more sensitive to the local needs and problems. On the other hand,
the senators, who are elected at large, are expected to approach the same
1. §1 problems from the national perspective. Both views are thereby made to bear on the
enactment of such laws.
2. § 4

3. § 5

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
2nd: that S. No. 1630 did not pass three readings on separate days as required by such amendment is germane to the subject of the bills before the committee. After
the Constitution 8 because the second and third readings were done on the same all, its report was not final but needed the approval of both houses of Congress to
day; become valid as an act of the legislative department. The charge that in this case
the Conference Committee acted as a third legislative chamber is thus without any
The President had certified S. No. 1630 as urgent. The presidential certification
dispensed with the requirement not only of printing but also that of reading the bill Fourth. Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of Republic Act No.
on separate days. The phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity 7716 must be resolved in its favor.
of its immediate enactment, etc." in Art. VI, § 26(2) qualifies the two stated
conditions before a bill can become a law: (i) the bill has passed three readings on ( see entire ruling with regard to procedural issues )
separate days and (ii) it has been printed in its final form and distributed three days
before it is finally approved.

In other words, the "unless" clause must be read in relation to the "except" clause,
because the two are really coordinate clauses of the same sentence. To construe
the "except" clause as simply dispensing with the second requirement in the
"unless" clause (i.e., printing and distribution three days before final approval) would
not only violate the rules of grammar. It would also negate the very premise of the
"except" clause: the necessity of securing the immediate enactment of a bill which is
certified in order to meet a public calamity or emergency. For if it is only the printing
that is dispensed with by presidential certification, the time saved would be so
negligible as to be of any use in insuring immediate enactment. It may well be
doubted whether doing away with the necessity of printing and distributing copies of
the bill three days before the third reading would insure speedy enactment of a law
in the face of an emergency requiring the calling of a special election for President
and Vice-President. Under the Constitution such a law is required to be made within
seven days of the convening of Congress in emergency session.

Third. Finally it is contended that the bill which became Republic Act No. 7716 is the
bill which the Conference Committee prepared by consolidating H. No. 11197 and
S. No. 1630. It is claimed that the Conference Committee report included provisions
not found in either the House bill or the Senate bill and that these provisions were
"surreptitiously" inserted by the Conference Committee.

Indeed, this Court recently held that it is within the power of a conference committee
to include in its report an entirely new provision that is not found either in the House
bill or in the Senate bill. 17 If the committee can propose an amendment consisting of
one or two provisions, there is no reason why it cannot propose several provisions,
collectively considered as an "amendment in the nature of a substitute," so long as

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Philippine Judges Association vs Prado if the title fairly indicates the general subject, and reasonably covers all the
provisions of the act, and is not calculated to mislead the legislature or the people,
Facts: there is sufficient compliance with the constitutional requirement. 2

1. The petition assails the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7354 on the grounds To require every end and means necessary for the accomplishment of the general
that: (1) its title embraces more than one subject and does not express its objectives of the statute to be expressed in its title would not only be unreasonable
purposes; (2) it did not pass the required readings in both Houses of but would actually render legislation impossible. 3 As has been correctly explained:
Congress and printed copies of the bill in its final form were not distributed
among the members before its passage; The details of a legislative act need not be specifically stated in
its title, but matter germane to the subject as expressed in the
2. R.A. No. 7354 is entitled "An Act Creating the Philippine Postal title, and adopted to the accomplishment of the object in view,
Corporation, Defining its Powers, Functions and Responsibilities, may properly be included in the act. Thus, it is proper to create
Providing for Regulation of the Industry and for Other Purposes in the same act the machinery by which the act is to be
Connected Therewith." enforced, to prescribe the penalties for its infraction, and to
remove obstacles in the way of its execution. If such matters are
properly connected with the subject as expressed in the title, it is
3. Sec. 35 of R.A. No. 7354, which is the principal target of the petition, unnecessary that they should also have special mention in the
reads as follows: title

Sec. 35. Repealing Clause. — All acts, decrees, orders, executive orders, We are convinced that the withdrawal of the franking privilege from some
instructions, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with the agencies is germane to the accomplishment of the principal objective of
provisions of this Act are repealed or modified accordingly. R.A. No. 7354, which is the creation of a more efficient and effective
postal service system. Our ruling is that, by virtue of its nature as a
All franking privileges authorized by law are hereby repealed, except repealing clause, Section 35 did not have to be expressly included in the
those provided for under Commonwealth Act No. 265, Republic Acts title of the said law.
Numbered 69, 180, 1414, 2087 and 5059. The Corporation may continue
the franking privilege under Circular No. 35 dated October 24, 1977 and "Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which
that of the Vice President, under such arrangements and conditions as shall be expressed in the title thereof."
may obviate abuse or unauthorized use thereof.
The purposes of this rule are: (1) to prevent hodge-podge or "log-rolling"
4. Petitioners contended that Section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 which withdrew legislation; (2) to prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature by means
the franking privilege from the Judiciary is not expressed in the title of the of provisions in bills of which the title gives no intimation, and which might
law, nor does it reflect its purposes. therefore be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally adopted; and
(3) to fairly apprise the people, through such publication of legislative
proceedings as is usually made, of the subject of legislation that is being
The petitioners' contention is untenable. We do not agree that the title of the considered, in order that they may have opportunity of being heard
challenged act violates the Constitution. thereon, by petition or otherwise, if they shall so desire.

The title of the bill is not required to be an index to the body of the act, or to be as
comprehensive as to cover every single detail of the measure. It has been held that

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
The petitioners maintain that the second paragraph of Sec. 35 covering the repeal of President Neptali A. Gonzales and Speaker Ramon V. Mitra of the House of
the franking privilege from the petitioners and this Court under E.O. 207, PD 1882 Representatives as having been duly passed by both Houses of Congress. It was
and PD 26 was not included in the original version of Senate Bill No. 720 or House then presented to and approved by President Corazon C. Aquino on April 3, 1992.
Bill No. 4200. As this paragraph appeared only in the Conference Committee
Report, its addition, violates Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the Constitution, reading as Under the doctrine of separation powers, the Court may not inquire beyond the
follows: certification of the approval of a bill from the presiding officers of Congress. Casco
Philippine Chemical Co. v. Gimenez7 laid down the rule that the enrolled bill, is
(2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it conclusive upon the Judiciary (except in matters that have to be entered in the
has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies journals like the yeas and nays on the final reading of the
thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members bill).8 The journals are themselves also binding on the Supreme Court, as we held in
three days before its passage, except when the President the old (but still valid) case of U.S. vs. Pons,9 where we explained the reason thus:
certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a
public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no To inquire into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine
amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall legislature when they are, as we have said, clear and explicit,
be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered would be to violate both the, letter and spirit of the organic laws
in the Journal. by which the Philippine Government was brought into existence,
to invade a coordinate and independent department of the
Government, and to interfere with the legitimate powers and
functions, of the Legislature.
While it is true that a conference committee is the mechanism for compromising
differences between the Senate and the House, it is not limited in its jurisdiction to Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners' charges that
this question. Its broader function is described thus: an amendment was made upon the last reading of the bill that eventually became
R.A. No. 7354 and that copies thereof in its final form were not distributed among
A conference committee may, deal generally with the subject the members of each House. Both the enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify
matter or it may be limited to resolving the precise differences that the measure was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of
between the two houses. Even where the conference committee the Constitution. We are bound by such official assurances from a coordinate
is not by rule limited in its jurisdiction, legislative custom department of the government, to which we owe, at the very least, a becoming
severely limits the freedom with which new subject matter can courtesy.
be inserted into the conference bill. But occasionally a
conference committee produces unexpected results, results
beyond its mandate, These excursions occur even where the
rules impose strict limitations on conference committee
jurisdiction. This is symptomatic of the authoritarian power of
conference committee (Davies, Legislative Law and Process: In
a Nutshell, 1986 Ed., p.81).

It is a matter of record that the conference Committee Report on the bill in question
was returned to and duly approved by both the Senate and the House of
Representatives. Thereafter, the bill was enrolled with its certification by Senate

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Gonzales vs Macaraig any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from
savings in other items of their respective appropriations. A careful review
Facts: of the legislative action on the budget as submitted shows that in almost
all cases, the budgets of agencies as recommended by the President, as
1. On 16 December 1988, Congress passed House Bill 19186, or the well as those of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the
General Appropriations Bill for the Fiscal Year 1989. Constitutional Commissions, have been reduced. An unwanted
consequence of this provision is the inability of the President, the
2. As passed, it eliminated or decreased certain items included in the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the
proposed budget submitted by the President. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional
Commissions to augment any item of appropriation of their respective
3. Pursuant to the constitutional provision on the passage of bills, Congress offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations even
presented the said Bill to the President for consideration and approval. in cases of calamity or in the event of urgent need to accelerate the
implementation of essential public services and infrastructure projects.
4. On 29 December 1988, the President signed the Bill into law, and
declared the same to have become RA 6688. 6. On 2 February 1989, the Senate, in Resolution 381 ("Authorizing and
Directing the Committee on Finance to Bring in the Name of the Senate of
5. In the process, 7 Special Provisions and Section 55, a "General the Philippines the Proper Suit with the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Provision," were vetoed. contesting the Constitutionality of the Veto by the President of Special and
General Provisions, particularly Section 55, of the General Appropriation
Section 55 of the Appropriations Act of 1989 (Section 55 [FY ‘89] Bill of 1989 (H.B. No. 19186) and For Other Purposes") was adopted.
hereinafter), which was vetoed by the President, reads:
7. On 11 April 1989, the Petition for Prohibition/ Mandamus was filed by
"SEC. 55. Prohibition Against the Restoration or Increase of Neptali A. Gonzales, et. al. as members and ex-officio members of the
Recommended Appropriations Disapproved and/or Reduced by Committee on Finance of the Senate and as "substantial taxpayers whose
Congress: No item of appropriation recommended by the President in the vital interests may be affected by this case," with a prayer for the issuance
Budget submitted to Congress pursuant to Article VII, Section 22 of the of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Restraining Order, assailing mainly
Constitution which has been disapproved or reduced in this Act shall be the constitutionality or legality of the Presidential veto of Section 55, and
restored or increased by the use of appropriations authorized for other seeking to enjoin Catalino Macaraig, Jr., from implementing RA 6688.
purposes by augmentation. An item of appropriation for any purpose
recommended by the President in the Budget shall be deemed to have 8. No Restraining Order was issued by the Supreme Court. Gonzales et
been disapproved by Congress if no corresponding appropriation for the al.'s cause is anchored on the following grounds: (1) the President's line-
specific purpose is provided in this Act."cralaw virtua1aw library veto power as regards appropriation bills is limited to item/s and does not
cover provision/s; therefore, she exceeded her authority when she vetoed
We quote below the reason for the Presidential veto: Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90) which are provisions; (2)
when the President objects to a provision of an appropriation bill, she
"The provision violates Section 25 (5) of Article VI of the Constitution. If cannot exercise the item-veto power but should veto the entire bill; (3) the
allowed, this Section would nullify not only the constitutional and statutory item-veto power does not carry with it the power to strike out conditions or
authority of the President, but also that of the President of the Senate, the restrictions for that would be legislation, in violation of the doctrine of
Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the separation of powers; and (4) the power of augmentation in Article VI,
Supreme Court, and Heads of Constitutional Commissions, to augment Section 25 [5] of the 1987 Constitution, has to be provided for by law and,

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
therefore, Congress is also vested with the prerogative to impose general appropriations bill shall relate specifically to some particular
restrictions on the exercise of that power. The Solicitor General, as appropriation therein and that any such provision shall be limited in its
counsel for Macaraig et al., counters that the issue in the present case is a operation to the appropriation to which it relates.
political question beyond the power of this Court to determine; that
Gonzales et al. had a political remedy, which was to override the veto; that In other words, in the true sense of the term, a provision in an
Section 55 is a "rider" because it is extraneous to the Appropriations Act Appropriations Bill is limited in its operation to some particular
and, therefore, merits the President's veto; that the power of the President appropriation to which it relates, and does not relate to the entire bill. The
to augment items in the appropriations for the executive branches had President promptly vetoed Section 55 (FY '89) and Section 16 (FY '90)
already been provided for in the Budget Law, specifically Sections 44 and because they nullify the authority of the Chief Executive and heads of
45 of PD 1177, as amended by RA 6670 (4 August 1988); and that the different branches of government to augment any item in the General
President is empowered by the Constitution to veto provisions or other Appropriations Law for their respective offices from savings in other items
"distinct and severable parts" of an Appropriations Bill. of their respective appropriations, as guaranteed by Article VI, Section 25
(5) of the Constitution.
Issue [1]:
Noteworthy is the fact that the power to augment from savings
Whether the President exceeded the item-veto power accorded by the lies dormant until authorized by law. When Sections 55 (FY '89) and 16
Constitution (Whether the President has the power to veto "provisions" of (FY '90) prohibit the restoration or increase by augmentation of
an Appropriations Bill appropriations disapproved or reduced by Congress, they impair the
constitutional and statutory authority of the President and other key
NO officials to augment any item or any appropriation from savings in the
The veto power of the President is expressed in Article VI, interest of expediency and efficiency. The exercise of such authority in
Section 27 of the 1987 Constitution. Paragraph (1) refers to the general respect of disapproved or reduced items by no means vests in the
veto power of the President and if exercised would result in the veto of the Executive the power to rewrite the entire budget, the leeway granted being
entire bill, as a general rule. Paragraph (2) is what is referred to as the delimited to transfers within the department or branch concerned, the
item-veto power or the line-veto power. It allows the exercise of the veto sourcing to come only from savings. More importantly, for such a special
over a particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill. As power as that of augmentation from savings, the same is merely
specified, the President may not veto less than all of an item of an incorporated in the General Appropriations Bill. An Appropriations Bill is
Appropriations Bill. In other words, the power given the executive to "one the primary and specific aim of which is to make appropriation of
disapprove any item or items in an Appropriations Bill does not grant the money from the public treasury" (Bengzon v. Secretary of Justice, 292
authority to veto a part of an item and to approve the remaining portion of U.S., 410, 57 S.Ct. 252). It is a legislative authorization of receipts and
the same item. Notwithstanding the elimination in Article VI, Section 27 (2) expenditures. The power of augmentation from savings, on the other
of the 1987 Constitution of any reference to the veto of a provision, the hand, can by no means be considered a specific appropriation of money.
extent of the President's veto power as previously defined by the 1935 It is a non-appropriation item inserted in an appropriation measure.
Constitution has not changed. This is because the eliminated proviso
merely pronounces the basic principle that a distinct and severable part of
a bill may be the subject of a separate veto. The restrictive interpretation
urged by Gonzales et al. that the President may not veto a provision
without vetoing the entire bill not only disregards the basic principle that a
distinct and severable part of a bill may be the subject of a separate veto
but also overlooks the Constitutional mandate that any provision in the

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Philconsa vs Enriquez the National Treasurer and questions the constitutionality of the conditions
imposed by the President in the items of the GAA of 1994 as well as the
Facts: constitutionality of the veto of the special provision in the appropriation for
debt services.
1. House Bill No. 10900, the General Appropriation Bill of 1994 (GAB of
1994), was passed and approved by both houses of Congress on 9. Senator Tanada and Senator Romulo sought the issuance of the writs of
December 17, 1993. prohibition and mandamus against the same respondents.

2. As passed, it imposed conditions and limitations on certain items of 10. Petitioners contest the constitutionality of (1) the veto on four special
appropriations in the proposed budget previously submitted by the provisions added to items in the GAA of 1994 for the AFP and DPWH; and
President. (2) the conditions imposed by the President in the implementation of
certain appropriations for the CAFGU’s, DPWH, and National Highway
3. It also authorized members of Congress to propose and identify projects Authority.
in the "pork barrels" allotted to them and to realign their respective
operating budgets. Issue: Hindi ko type ang pagkakagawa ng kasong ito. SKIP.

4. On December 30, 1993, the President signed the bill into law, making it as
Republic Act No. 7663, entitled "AN ACT APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR
of 1994).

5. On the same day, the President delivered his Presidential Veto Message,
specifying the provisions of the bill he vetoed and on which he imposed
certain conditions.

6. Petitioners assail the special provision allowing a member of Congress to

realign his allocation for operational expenses to any other expense
category claiming that it violates Section 25, Article 7 of the Constitution.
Issues of constitutionality were raised before the Supreme Court.

7. Petition prayed for a writ of prohibition to declare unconstitutional and void

the provision under Article 16 of the Countrywide Development Fund and
the veto of the President of the Special provision of Art XLVIII of the GAA
of 1994.

8. There were 16 members of the Senate who sought for the issuance of
writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against the Executive
Secretary, the Secretary of Department of Budget and Management and

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.
Marcos vs Manglapus


Issue: Whether or not the President may prohibit the Marcoses from
returning to Philippines


The Court ruled that the right involved is not the right to travel. Essentially,
the right involved is the right to return to one’s country, independent from
although related to right to travel.

Sanlakas vs Exec Sec


Issue: W/N it is within the President’s power to declare state of rebellion in

the exercise of its calling out power; No, but

CaseBrief by: NiaColineMacalaMendoza,JD ConstiLawReview Atty. Ramel C. Muria B.S., LL. B., LL.M.