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1979 Feb 2 G.R. No. L-49112 LEOVILLO C. AGUSTIN, petitioner, vs. HON. ROMEO F. EDU, in his capacity as Land Transportation Commissioner; HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, in his capacity as Minister of National Defense; HON. ALFREDO L. JUINIO, in his capacity as Minister of Public Works, Transportation DECISION FERNANDO, J: The validity of a Letter of Instruction 1 providing for an early warning device for motor vehicles is assailed in this prohibition proceeding as being violative of the constitutional guarantee of due process and, insofar as the rules and regulations for its implementation are concerned, for transgressing the fundamental principle of non-delegation of legislative power. The Letter of Instruction is stigmatized by petitioner, who is possessed of the requisite standing, as being arbitrary and oppressive. A temporary restraining order as issued and respondents Romeo F. Edu, Land Transportation Commissioner; Juan Ponce Enrile, Minister of National Defense; Alfredo L. Juinio, Minister of Public Works, Transportation and Communications; and Baltazar Aquino, Minister of Public Highways; were required to answer. That they did in a pleading submitted by Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza. 2 Impressed with a highly persuasive quality, it makes quite clear that the imputation of a constitutional infirmity is devoid of justification. The challenged Letter of Instruction is a valid police power measure. Nor could the implementing rules and regulations issued by respondent Edu be considered as amounting to an exercise of legislative power. Accordingly, the petition must be dismissed. The facts are undisputed. The assailed Letter of Instruction No. 229 of President Marcos, issued on December 2, 1974, reads in full: [Whereas], statistics show that one of the major causes of fatal or serious accidents in land transportation is the presence of disabled, stalled, or parked motor vehicles along streets or highways without any appropriate early warning device to signal approaching motorists of their presence; [Whereas], the hazards posed by such obstructions to traffic have been recognized by international bodies concerned with traffic safety, the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals and the United Nations Organization (U.N.); [Whereas], the said Vienna Convention which was ratified by the Philippine Government under P.D. No. 207, recommended the enactment of local legislation for the installation of road safety signs and devices; [Now, therefore, I, Ferdinand E. Marcos], President of the Philippines, in the interest of safety on all streets and highways, including expressways or limited access roads, do hereby direct: 1. That all owners, users or drivers of motor vehicles shall have at all times in their motor vehicles at least one (1) pair of early warning device consisting of triangular, collapsible reflectorized plates in red and yellow colors at least 15 cms. at the base and 40 cms. at the sides. 2. Whenever any motor vehicle is stalled or disabled or is parked for thirty (30) minutes or more on any street or highway, including expressways or limited access roads, the owner, user or driver thereof shall cause the warning device mentioned herein to be installed at least four meters away to the front and rear of the motor vehicle stalled, disabled or parked. 3. The Land Transportation Commissioner

2 shall cause Reflectorized Triangular Early Warning Devices, as herein described, to be prepared and issued to registered owners of motor vehicles, except motorcycles and trailers, charging for each piece not more than 15% of the acquisition cost. He shall also promulgate such rules and regulations as are appropriate to effectively implement this order. 4. All hereby concerned shall closely coordinate and take such measures as are necessary or appropriate to carry into effect these instructions. 3 Thereafter, on November 15, 1976, it was amended by Letter of Instruction No. 479 in this wise: Paragraph 3 of Letter of Instructions No. 229 is hereby amended to read as follows: 3. The Land Transportation Commissioner shall require every motor vehicle owner to procure from any source and present at the registration of his vehicle, one pair of a reflectorized triangular early warning device, as described herein, of any brand or make chosen by said motor vehicle owner. The Land Transportation Commissioner shall also promulgate such rules and regulations as are appropriate to effectively implement this order. 4 There was issued accordingly, by respondent Edu, the implementing rules and regulations on December 10, 1976. 5 They were not enforced as President Marcos, on January 25, 1977, ordered a six-month period of suspension insofar as the installation of early warning device as a pre-registration requirement for motor vehicles was concerned. 6 Then on June 30, 1978, another Letter of Instruction 7 ordered the lifting of such suspension and directed the immediate implementation of Letter of Instruction No. 229 as amended. 8 It was not until August 29, 1978 that respondent Edu issued Memorandum Circular No. 32, worded thus: In pursuance of Letter of Instructions No. 716, dated June 30, 1978, directing the implementation of Letter of Instructions No. 229, as amended by Letter of Instructions No. 479, requiring the use of Early Warning Devices (EWD) on motor vehicles, the following rules and regulations are hereby issued: 1. LTC Administrative Order No. 1, dated December 10, 1976; shall now be implemented provided that the device may come from whatever source and that it shall have substantially complied with the EWD specifications contained in Section 2 of said administrative order; 2. In order to insure that every motor vehicle, except motorcycles, is equipped with the device, a pair of serially numbered stickers, to be issued free of charge by this Commission, shall be attached to each EWD. The EWD serial number shall be indicated on the registration certificate and official receipt of payment of current registration fees of the motor vehicle concerned. All Orders, Circulars, and Memoranda in conflict herewith are hereby superseded, This Order shall take effect immediately. 9 It was for immediate implementation by respondent Alfredo L. Juinio, as Minister of Public Works, Transportation, and Communications. 10 Petitioner, after setting forth that he is the owner of a Volkswagen Beetle Car, Model 13035, already properly equipped when it came out from the assembly lines with blinking lights fore and aft, which could very well serve as an early warning device in case of the emergencies mentioned in Letter of Instructions No. 229, as amended, as well as the implementing rules and regulations in Administrative Order No. 1 issued by the Land Transportation Commission, 11 alleged that said Letter of Instruction No. 229, as amended, clearly violates the provisions and delegation of police power, [sic] . . .: For him, they are oppressive, unreasonable, arbitrary, confiscatory, nay unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of our compassionate New Society. 12 He contended that they are infected with arbitrariness because it is harsh, cruel and unconscionable to the motoring public; 13 are one-sided, onerous and patently illegal and immoral because [they] will make manufacturers and dealers instant millionaires at the expense of car owners who are compelled to buy a set of the so-called early warning device at the rate of P56.00 to P72.00 per set. 14 are unlawful and unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of a compassionate New Society [as being] compulsory and confiscatory on the part of the motorists who could very well

3 provide a practical alternative road safety device, or a better substitute to the specified set of EWDs. 15 He therefore prayed for a judgment declaring both the assailed Letters of Instructions and Memorandum Circular void and unconstitutional and for a restraining order in the meanwhile. A resolution to this effect was handed down by this Court on October 19, 1978: L-49112 (Leovillo C. Agustin v. Hon. Romeo F. Edu, etc., et al.) Considering the allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments adduced in the petition for prohibition with writ of preliminary prohibitory and/or mandatory injunction, the Court Resolved to [require] the respondents to file an answer thereto within ten (10) days from notice and not to move to dismiss the petition. The Court further Resolved to [issue] a [temporary restraining order] effective as of this date and continuing until otherwise ordered by this Court. 16 Two motions for extension were filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and granted. Then on November 15, 1978, he Answer for respondents was submitted. After admitting the factual allegations and stating that they lacked knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to petitioner owning a Volkswagen Beetle car, 17 they specifically deny the allegations in paragraphs X and XI (including its subparagraphs 1, 2, 3, 4) of Petition to the effect that Letter of Instruction No. 229 as amended by Letters of Instructions Nos. 479 and 716 as well as Land Transportation Commission Administrative Order No. 1 and its Memorandum Circular No. 32 violates the constitutional provisions on due process of law, equal protection of law and undue delegation of police power, and that the same are likewise oppressive, arbitrary, confiscatory, onesided, onerous, immoral, unreasonable and illegal, the truth being that said allegations are without legal and factual basis and for the reasons alleged in the Special and Affirmative Defenses of this Answer. 18 Unlike petitioner who contented himself with a rhetorical recital of his litany of grievances and merely invoked the sacramental phrases of constitutional litigation, the Answer, in demonstrating that the assailed Letter of Instruction was a valid exercise of the police power and implementing rules and regulations of respondent Edu not susceptible to the charge that there was unlawful delegation of legislative power, there was in the portion captioned Special and Affirmative Defenses, a citation of what respondents believed to be the authoritative decisions of this Tribunal calling for application. They are Calalang v. Williams, 19 Morfe v. Mutuc, 20 and Edu v. Ericta. 21 Reference was likewise made to the 1968 Vienna Conventions of the United Nations on road traffic, road signs, and signals, of which the Philippines was a signatory and which was duly ratified. 22 Solicitor General Mendoza took pains to refute in detail, in language calm and dispassionate, the vigorous, at times intemperate, accusation of petitioner that the assailed Letter of Instruction and the implementing rules and regulations cannot survive the test of rigorous scrutiny. To repeat, its highly-persuasive quality cannot be denied. This Court thus considered the petition submitted for decision, the issues being clearly joined. As noted at the outset, it is far from meritorious and must be dismissed. 1. The Letter of Instruction in question was issued in the exercise of the police power. That is conceded by petitioner and is the main reliance of respondents. It is the submission of the former, however, that while embraced in such a category, it has offended against the due process and equal protection safeguards of the Constitution, although the latter point was mentioned only in passing. The broad and expansive scope of the police power which was originally identified by Chief Justice Taney of the American Supreme Court in an 1847 decision, as nothing more or less than

4 the powers of government inherent in every sovereignty 23 was stressed in the aforementioned case of Edu v. Ericta thus: Justice Laurel, in the first leading decision after the Constitution came into force, Calalang v. Williams, identified police power with state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote the general welfare. Persons and property could thus be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens in order to secure the general comfort, health and prosperity of the state. Shortly after independence in 1948, Primicias v. Fugoso reiterated the doctrine, such a competence being referred to as the power to prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of the people. The concept was set forth in negative terms by Justice Malcolm in a pre-Commonwealth decision as that inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society. In that sense it could be hardly distinguishable as noted by this Court in Morfe v. Mutuc with the totality of legislative power. It is in the above sense the greatest and most powerful attribute of government. It is, to quote Justice Malcolm anew, the most essential, insistent, and at least illimitable powers, extending as Justice Holmes aptly pointed out to all the great public needs. Its scope, ever expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus assuring the greatest benefits. In the language of Justice Cardozo: Needs that were narrow or parochial in the past may be interwoven in the present with the well-being of the nation. What is critical or urgent changes with the time. The police power is thus a dynamic agency, suitably vague and far from precisely defined, rooted in the conception that men in organizing the state and imposing upon its government limitations to safeguard constitutional rights did not intend thereby to enable an individual citizen or a group of citizens to obstruct unreasonably the enactment of such salutary measures calculated to insure communal peace, safety, good order, and welfare. 24 2. It was thus a heavy burden to be shouldered by petitioner, compounded by the fact that the particular police power measure challenged was clearly intended to promote public safety. It would be a rare occurrence indeed for this Court to invalidate a legislative or executive act of that character. None has been called to our attention, an indication of its being non-existent. The latest decision in point, Edu v. Ericta, sustained the validity of the Reflector Law, 25 an enactment conceived with the same end in view. Calalang v. Williams found nothing objectionable in a statute, the purpose of which was: To promote safe transit upon, and avoid obstruction on roads and streets designated as national roads . . . 26 As a matter of fact, the first law sought to be nullified after the effectivity of the 1935 Constitution, the National Defense Act, 27 with petitioner failing in his quest, was likewise prompted by the imperative demands of public safety. 3. The futility of petitioners effort to nullify both the Letter of Instruction and the implementing rules and regulations becomes even more apparent considering his failure to lay the necessary factual foundation to rebut the presumption of validity. So it was held in Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of Manila. 28 The rationale was clearly set forth in an excerpt from a decision of Justice Brandeis of the American Supreme Court, quoted in the opinion: The statute here questioned deals with a subject clearly within the scope of the police power. We are asked to declare it void on the ground that the specific method of regulation prescribed is unreasonable and hence deprives the plaintiff of due process of law. As underlying questions of fact may condition the constitutionality of legislation of this character, the

5 presumption of constitutionality must prevail in the absence of some factual foundation of record in overthrowing the statute. 29 4. Nor did the Solicitor General, as he very well could, rely solely on such rebutted presumption of validity. As was pointed out in his Answer: The President certainly bad in his possession the necessary statistical information and data at the time he issued said letter of instructions, and such factual foundation cannot be defeated by petitioners naked assertion that early warning devices are not too vital to the prevention of nighttime vehicular accidents because allegedly only 390 or 1.5 per cent of the supposed 26,000 motor vehicle accidents that occurred in 1976 involved rearend collisions (p. 12 of petition). Petitioners statistics is not backed up by demonstrable data on record. As aptly stated by this Honorable Court: Further: It admits of no doubt therefore that there being a presumption of validity, the necessity for evidence to rebut it is unavoidable, unless the statute or ordinance is void on its face, which is not the case here . . . But even assuming the verity of petitioners statistics, is that not reason enough to require the installation of early warning devices to prevent another 390 rear-end collisions that could mean the death of 390 or more Filipinos and the deaths that could likewise result from head-on or frontal collisions with stalled vehicles? 30 It is quite manifest then that the issuance of such Letter of Instruction is encased in the armor of prior, careful study by the Executive Department. To set it aside for alleged repugnancy to the due process clause is to give sanction to conjectural claims that exceeded even the broadest permissible limits of a pleaders well-known penchant for exaggeration. 5. The rather wild and fantastic nature of the charge of oppressiveness of this Letter of Instruction was exposed in the Answer of the Solicitor General thus: Such early warning device requirement is not an expensive redundancy, nor oppressive, for car owners whose cars are already equipped with 1) blinking-lights in the fore and aft of said motor vehicles, 2) battery-powered blinking lights inside motor vehicles, 3) built-in reflectorized tapes on front and rear bumpers of motor vehicles, or 4) well-lighted two (2) petroleum lamps (the Kinke) . . . because: Being universal among the signatory countries to the said 1968 Vienna Conventions, and visible even under adverse conditions at a distance of at least 400 meters, any motorist from this country or from any part of the world, who sees a reflectorized rectangular early warning device installed on the roads, highways or expressways, will conclude, without thinking, that somewhere along the travelled portion of that road, highway, or expressway, there is a motor vehicle which is stationary, stalled or disabled which obstructs or endangers passing traffic. On the other hand, a motorist who sees any of the aforementioned other built-in warning devices or the petroleum lamps will not immediately get adequate advance warning because he will still think what that blinking light is all about. Is it an emergency vehicle? Is it a law enforcement car? Is it an ambulance? Such confusion or uncertainty in the mind of the motorist will thus increase, rather than decrease, the danger of collision. 31 6. Nor did the other extravagant assertions of constitutional deficiency go unrefuted in the Answer of the Solicitor General: There is nothing in the questioned Letter of Instruction No. 229, as amended, or in Administrative Order No. 1, which requires or compels motor vehicle owners to purchase the early warning device prescribed thereby. All that is required is for motor vehicle owners concerned like petitioner, to equip their motor vehicles with a pair of this early warning device in question, procuring or obtaining the same from whatever source. In fact, with a little of industry and practical ingenuity, motor vehicle owners can even personally make or produce this early warning device so long as the same substantially conforms with the specifications laid down

6 in said letter of instruction and administrative order. Accordingly, the early warning device requirement can neither be oppressive, onerous, immoral, nor confiscatory, much less does it make manufacturers and dealers of said devices instant millionaires at the expense of car owners as petitioner so sweepingly concludes . . . Petitioners fear that with the early warning device requirement a more subtle racket may be committed by those called upon to enforce it . . . is an unfounded speculation. Besides, that unscrupulous officials may try to enforce said requirement in an unreasonable manner or to an unreasonable degree, does not render the same illegal or immoral where, as in the instant case, the challenged Letter of Instruction No. 229 and implementing order disclose none of the constitutional defects alleged against it. 32 7. It does appear clearly that petitioners objection to this Letter of Instruction is not premised on lack of power, the justification for a finding of unconstitutionality, but on the pessimistic, not to say negative, view he entertains as to its wisdom. That approach, it put it at its mildest, is distinguished, if that is the appropriate word, by its unorthodoxy. It bears repeating that this Court, in the language of Justice Laurel, does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. As expressed by Justice Tuason: It is not the province of the courts to supervise legislation and keep it within the bounds of propriety and common sense. That is primarily and exclusively a legislative concern. There can be no possible objection then to the observation of Justice Montemayor: As long as laws do not violate any Constitutional provision, the Courts merely interpret and apply them regardless of whether or not they are wise or salutary. For they, according to Justice Labrador, are not supposed to override legitimate policy and . . . never inquire into the wisdom of the law. It is thus settled, to paraphrase Chief Justice Concepcion in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, that only congressional power or competence, not the wisdom of the action taken, may be the basis for declaring a statute invalid. This is as it ought to be. The principle of separation of powers has in the main wisely allocated the respective authority of each department and confined its jurisdiction to such a sphere. There would then be intrusion not allowable under the Constitution if on a matter left to the discretion of a coordinate branch, the judiciary would substitute its own. If there be adherence to the rule of law, as there ought to be, the last offender should be courts of justice, to which rightly litigants submit their controversy precisely to maintain unimpaired the supremacy of legal norms and prescriptions. The attack on the validity of the challenged provision likewise insofar as there may be objections, even if valid and cogent, on is wisdom cannot be sustained. 33 8. The alleged infringement of the fundamental principle of non-himself with authoritative pronouncements from this Tribunal, he would not have the temerity to make such an assertion. An excerpt from the aforecited decision of Edu v. Ericta sheds light on the matter: To avoid the taint of unlawful delegation, there must be a standard, which implies at the very least that the legislature itself determines matters of principle and lays down fundamental policy. Otherwise, the charge of complete abdication may be hard to repel. A standard thus defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries and specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the circumstances under which the legislative command is to be effected. It is the criterion by which legislative purpose may be carried out. Thereafter, the executive or administrative office designated may in pursuance of the above guidelines promulgate supplemental rules and regulations. The standard may be either express or implied. If the former, the non-delegation objection is easily met. The standard though does not have to be spelled out specifically. It could be implied from the policy and purpose of the act considered as a whole. In the Reflector Law, clearly, the legislative objective is public safety. What is sought to be attained as in Calalang v.

7 Williams is safe transit upon the roads. This is to adhere to the recognition given expression by Justice Laurel in a decision announced not too long after the Constitution came into force and effect that the principle of non-delegation has been made to adapt itself to the complexities of modern governments, giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits, of the principle of subordinate legislation not only in the United States and England but in practically all modern governments. He continued: Accordingly, with the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulation, and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, there is a constantly growing tendency toward the delegation of greater powers by the legislature and toward the approval of the practice by the courts. Consistency with the conceptual approach requires the reminder that what is delegated is authority non-legislative in character, the completeness of the statute when it leaves the hands of Congress being assumed. 34 9. The conclusion reached by this Court that this petition must be dismissed is reinforced by this consideration. The petition itself quoted these two whereas clauses of the assailed Letter of Instruction: [Whereas], the hazards posed by such obstructions to traffic have been recognized by international bodies concerned with traffic safety, the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals and the United Nations Organization (U.N.); [Whereas], the said Vienna Convention, which was ratified by the Philippine Government under P.D. No. 207, recommended the enactment of local legislation for the installation of road safety signs and devices; . . . 35 It cannot be disputed then that this Declaration of Principle found in the Constitution possesses relevance: The Philippines . . . adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, . . . 36 The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals is impressed with such a character. It is not for this country to repudiate a commitment to which it had pledged its word. The concept of Pacta sunt servanda stands in the way of such an attitude, which is, moreover, at war with the principle of international morality. 10. That is about all that needs be said. The rather court reference to equal protection did not even elicit any attempt on the part of petitioner to substantiate in a manner clear, positive, and categorical, why such a casual observation should be taken seriously. In no case is there a more appropriate occasion for insistence on what was referred to as the general rule in Santiago v. Far Eastern Broadcasting Co., 37 namely, that the constitutionality of a law will not be considered unless the point is specially pleaded, insisted upon, and adequately argued. 38 Equal protection is not a talismanic formula at the mere invocation of which a party to a lawsuit can rightfully expect that success will crown his efforts. The law is anything but that. WHEREFORE, this petition is dismissed. The restraining order is lifted. This decision is immediately executory. No costs.

G.R. No. L-24294 July 15, 1974 DONALD BAER, Commander U.S. Naval Base, Subic Bay, Olongapo, Zambales, petitioner, vs. HON. TITO V. TIZON, as Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Bataan, and EDGARDO GENER,respondents.

FERNANDO, J.:p A clarification of the decision of this Court of May 3, 1974 is sought in a motion filed by petitioner. Its avowed objective is to remove what for him could be a doubt as to the effect of our decision on Civil Case No. 2984 of the Court of First Instance of Bataan. Since a fair reading thereof as a matter of fact even one cursory in character could yield no other conclusion except that such pending suit in the lower court should be dismissed, it would appear that any misgiving entertained as to any lurking ambiguity therein is more fanciful than real. The Motion for clarification is thus denied.

9 1. The judgment of the Court cannot be any clearer as to the action against petitioner Donald Baer being against the United States government, and therefore, covered by the principle of state immunity from suit. So it would appear from the following paragraph in the opinion: "The solidity of the stand of petitioner is therefore evident. What was sought by private respondent and what was granted by respondent Judge amounted to an interference with the performance of the duties of petitioner in the base area in accordance with the powers possessed by him under the PhilippineAmerican Military Bases Agreement. This point was made clear [in the petition] in these words: 'Assuming, for purposes of argument, that the Philippine Government, through the Bureau of Forestry, possesses the "authority to issue a Timber License to cut logs" inside a military base, the Bases Agreement subjects the exercise of rights under a timber license issued by the Philippine Government to the exercise by the United States of its rights, power and authority of control within the bases; and the findings of the Mutual Defense Board, an agency of both the Philippine and United States Governments, that "continued logging operation by Mr. Gener within the boundaries of the U.S. Naval Base would not be consistent with the security and operation of the Base," is conclusive upon the respondent Judge. ... The doctrine of state immunity is not limited to cases which would result in a pecuniary charge against the, sovereign or would require the doing of an affirmative act by it. Prevention of a sovereign from doing an affirmative act pertaining directly and immediately to the most important public function of any government defense of the state is equally as untenable as requiring it to do an affirmative act.' That such an appraisal is not opposed to he interpretation of the relevant treaty provision by our government is [evident] in [its] aforesaid manifestation and memorandum as amicus curiae, wherein it joined petitioner for the grant of the remedy prayed for." 1 2. Neither should there be any doubt entertained as to that portion of the opinion, which merely reiterates the well-settled concept that what removed the case from any judicial scrutiny is not the lack of jurisdiction over the person of petitioner, who is not vested with diplomatic immunity, but his being held accountable for action taken in pursuance of his official duty under the Military Bases Agreement and as such, as pointed out above, beyond the power of judicial scrutiny. Thus: "There should be no misinterpretation of the scope of the decision reached by this Court. Petitioner, as the Commander of the United States Naval Base in Olongapo, does not possess diplomatic immunity. He may therefore be proceeded against in his personal capacity, or when the action taken by him cannot be imputed to the government which he represents. Thus, after the Military Bases Agreement, in Miquiabas v. Commanding General and Dizon v. The Commander General of the Philippine Ryukus Command, both of them being habeas corpus petitions, there was no question as to the submission to jurisdiction of the respondents. As a matter of fact, in Miquiabas v. Commanding General, the immediate release of the petitioner was ordered, it being apparent that the general court martial appointed by respondent Commanding General was without jurisdiction to try petitioner. Thereafter, in the cited cases of Syquia, Marquez Lim, and Johnson, the parties proceeded against were American army commanding officers stationed in the Philippines. The insuperable obstacle to the jurisdiction of respondent Judge is that a foreign sovereign without its consent is haled into court in connection with acts performed by it pursuant to treaty provisions and thus impressed with a governmental character." 2 3. Whoever, therefore, is assigned to take the place of former respondent Judge Tito V. Tizon cannot possibly be misled. No apprehension need be entertained then as to the effect of our decision. Civil Case No. 2984 pending in such sala is bereft of support in law. Its dismissal is

10 called for. Distinguished counsel for petitioner certainly is the last person to need counsel from this Tribunal, even if such were proper. It is to be assumed that what needs to be done will be done and that the Bataan Court of First Instance will act according to law and, more specifically, to the terms of the decision rendered by us. WHEREFORE, the motion for clarification is denied.

11

BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan), a JUNK VFA MOVEMENT, BISHOP TOMAS MILLAMENA (Iglesia Filipina Independiente), BISHOP ELMER BOLOCAN (United Church of Christ of the Phil.), DR. REYNALDO LEGASCA, MD, KILUSANG MAMBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS, KILUSANG MAYO UNO, GABRIELA, PROLABOR, and the PUBLIC INTEREST LAW CENTER, petitioners, vs. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY RONALDO ZAMORA, FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY DOMINGO SIAZON, DEFENSE SECRETARY ORLANDO MERCADO, BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, SENATE PRESIDENT MARCELO FERNAN, SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON, SENATOR BLAS OPLE, SENATOR RODOLFO BIAZON, and SENATOR FRANCISCO TATAD, respondents.

[G.R. No. 138572. October 10, 2000]

PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION, INC.(PHILCONSA), EXEQUIEL B. GARCIA, AMADOGAT INCIONG, CAMILO L. SABIO, AND RAMON A. GONZALES, petitioners, vs. HON. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, as Executive Secretary, HON. ORLANDO MERCADO, as Secretary of National Defense, and HON. DOMINGO L. SIAZON, JR., as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, respondents.

[G.R. No. 138587. October 10, 2000]

TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., RAUL S. ROCO, and SERGIO R. OSMEA III, petitioners, vs. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, RONALDO B. ZAMORA, DOMINGO L. SIAZON, JR., ORLANDO B. MERCADO, MARCELO B. FERNAN, FRANKLIN M. DRILON, BLAS F. OPLE and RODOLFO G. BIAZON, respondents.

[G.R. No. 138680. October 10, 2000]

12 INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, Represented by its National President, Jose Aguila Grapilon, petitioners, vs. JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, in his capacity as President, Republic of the Philippines, and HON. DOMINGO SIAZON, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, respondents.

[G.R. No. 138698. October 10, 2000]

JOVITO R. SALONGA, WIGBERTO TAADA, ZENAIDA QUEZON-AVENCEA, ROLANDO SIMBULAN, PABLITO V. SANIDAD, MA. SOCORRO I. DIOKNO, AGAPITO A. AQUINO, JOKER P. ARROYO, FRANCISCO C. RIVERA JR., RENE A.V. SAGUISAG, KILOSBAYAN, MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. (MABINI), petitioners, vs. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, SENATE PRESIDENT MARCELO B. FERNAN, SENATOR BLAS F. OPLE, SENATOR RODOLFO G. BIAZON, AND ALL OTHER PERSONS ACTING THEIR CONTROL, SUPERVISION, DIRECTION, AND INSTRUCTION IN RELATION TO THE VISITING FORCES AGREEMENT (VFA),respondents. DECISION BUENA, J.: Confronting the Court for resolution in the instant consolidated petitions for certiorari and prohibition are issues relating to, and borne by, an agreement forged in the turn of the last century between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America -the Visiting Forces Agreement. The antecedents unfold. On March 14, 1947, the Philippines and the United States of America forged a Military Bases Agreement which formalized, among others, the use of installations in the Philippine territory by United States military personnel. To further strengthen their defense and security relationship, the Philippines and the United States entered into a Mutual Defense Treaty on August 30, 1951. Under the treaty, the parties agreed to respond to any external armed attack on their territory, armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft.[1] In view of the impending expiration of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement in 1991, the Philippines and the United States negotiated for a possible extension of the military bases agreement. On September 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected the proposed RP-US Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security which, in effect, would have extended the presence of US military bases in the Philippines.[2] With the expiration of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement, the periodic military exercises conducted between the two countries were held in abeyance. Notwithstanding, the defense and security relationship between the Philippines and the United States of America continued pursuant to the Mutual Defense Treaty.

13 On July 18, 1997, the United States panel, headed by US Defense Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Pacific Kurt Campbell, met with the Philippine panel, headed by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rodolfo Severino Jr., to exchange notes on the complementing strategic interests of the United States and the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific region. Both sides discussed, among other things, the possible elements of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA for brevity). Negotiations by both panels on the VFA led to a consolidated draft text, which in turn resulted to a final series of conferences and negotiations[3] that culminated in Manila on January 12 and 13, 1998. Thereafter, then President Fidel V. Ramos approved the VFA, which was respectively signed by public respondent Secretary Siazon and Unites States Ambassador Thomas Hubbard on February 10, 1998. On October 5, 1998, President Joseph E. Estrada, through respondent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, ratified the VFA.[4] On October 6, 1998, the President, acting through respondent Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora, officially transmitted to the Senate of the Philippines,[5] the Instrument of Ratification, the letter of the President[6] and the VFA, for concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. The Senate, in turn, referred the VFA to its Committee on Foreign Relations, chaired by Senator Blas F. Ople, and its Committee on National Defense and Security, chaired by Senator Rodolfo G. Biazon, for their joint consideration and recommendation. Thereafter, joint public hearings were held by the two Committees.[7] On May 3, 1999, the Committees submitted Proposed Senate Resolution No. 443 recommending the concurrence of the Senate to the VFA and the creation of a Legislative Oversight Committee to oversee its implementation. Debates then ensued.
[8]

On May 27, 1999, Proposed Senate Resolution No. 443 was approved by the Senate, by a twothirds (2/3) vote[9] of its members. Senate Resolution No. 443 was then re-numbered as Senate Resolution No. 18.[10] On June 1, 1999, the VFA officially entered into force after an Exchange of Notes between respondent Secretary Siazon and United States Ambassador Hubbard. The VFA, which consists of a Preamble and nine (9) Articles, provides for the mechanism for regulating the circumstances and conditions under which US Armed Forces and defense personnel may be present in the Philippines, and is quoted in its full text, hereunder: Article I Definitions As used in this Agreement, United States personnel means United States military and civilian personnel temporarily in the Philippines in connection with activities approved by the Philippine Government. Within this definition: 1. The term military personnel refers to military members of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

14 2. The term civilian personnel refers to individuals who are neither nationals of, nor ordinary residents in the Philippines and who are employed by the United States armed forces or who are accompanying the United States armed forces, such as employees of the American Red Cross and the United Services Organization. Article II Respect for Law It is the duty of the United States personnel to respect the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and to abstain from any activity inconsistent with the spirit of this agreement, and, in particular, from any political activity in the Philippines. The Government of the United States shall take all measures within its authority to ensure that this is done. Article III Entry and Departure 1. The Government of the Philippines shall facilitate the admission of United States personnel and their departure from the Philippines in connection with activities covered by this agreement. 2. United States military personnel shall be exempt from passport and visa regulations upon entering and departing the Philippines. 3. The following documents only, which shall be presented on demand, shall be required in respect of United States military personnel who enter the Philippines: (a) personal identity card issued by the appropriate United States authority showing full name, date of birth, rank or grade and service number (if any), branch of service and photograph; (b) individual or collective document issued by the appropriate United States authority, authorizing the travel or visit and identifying the individual or group as United States military personnel; and (c) the commanding officer of a military aircraft or vessel shall present a declaration of health, and when required by the cognizant representative of the Government of the Philippines, shall conduct a quarantine inspection and will certify that the aircraft or vessel is free from quarantinable diseases. Any quarantine inspection of United States aircraft or United States vessels or cargoes thereon shall be conducted by the United States commanding officer in accordance with the international health regulations as promulgated by the World Health Organization, and mutually agreed procedures. 4. United States civilian personnel shall be exempt from visa requirements but shall present, upon demand, valid passports upon entry and departure of the Philippines.

15 5. If the Government of the Philippines has requested the removal of any United States personnel from its territory, the United States authorities shall be responsible for receiving the person concerned within its own territory or otherwise disposing of said person outside of the Philippines. Article IV Driving and Vehicle Registration 1. Philippine authorities shall accept as valid, without test or fee, a driving permit or license issued by the appropriate United States authority to United States personnel for the operation of military or official vehicles. 2. Vehicles owned by the Government of the United States need not be registered, but shall have appropriate markings. Article V Criminal Jurisdiction 1. Subject to the provisions of this article: (a) Philippine authorities shall have jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses committed within the Philippines and punishable under the law of the Philippines. (b) United States military authorities shall have the right to exercise within the Philippines all criminal and disciplinary jurisdiction conferred on them by the military law of the United States over United States personnel in the Philippines. 2. (a) Philippine authorities exercise exclusive jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses, including offenses relating to the security of the Philippines, punishable under the laws of the Philippines, but not under the laws of the United States. (b) United States authorities exercise exclusive jurisdiction over United States personnel with respect to offenses, including offenses relating to the security of the United States, punishable under the laws of the United States, but not under the laws of the Philippines. (c) For the purposes of this paragraph and paragraph 3 of this article, an offense relating to security means: (1) treason; (2) sabotage, espionage or violation of any law relating to national defense. 3. In cases where the right to exercise jurisdiction is concurrent, the following rules shall apply:

16 (a) Philippine authorities shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over all offenses committed by United States personnel, except in cases provided for in paragraphs 1(b), 2 (b), and 3 (b) of this Article. (b) United States military authorities shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over United States personnel subject to the military law of the United States in relation to. (1) offenses solely against the property or security of the United States or offenses solely against the property or person of United States personnel; and (2) offenses arising out of any act or omission done in performance of official duty. (c) The authorities of either government may request the authorities of the other government to waive their primary right to exercise jurisdiction in a particular case. (d) Recognizing the responsibility of the United States military authorities to maintain good order and discipline among their forces, Philippine authorities will, upon request by the United States, waive their primary right to exercise jurisdiction except in cases of particular importance to the Philippines. If the Government of the Philippines determines that the case is of particular importance, it shall communicate such determination to the United States authorities within twenty (20) days after the Philippine authorities receive the United States request. (e) When the United States military commander determines that an offense charged by authorities of the Philippines against United states personnel arises out of an act or omission done in the performance of official duty, the commander will issue a certificate setting forth such determination. This certificate will be transmitted to the appropriate authorities of the Philippines and will constitute sufficient proof of performance of official duty for the purposes of paragraph 3(b)(2) of this Article. In those cases where the Government of the Philippines believes the circumstances of the case require a review of the duty certificate, United States military authorities and Philippine authorities shall consult immediately. Philippine authorities at the highest levels may also present any information bearing on its validity. United States military authorities shall take full account of the Philippine position. Where appropriate, United States military authorities will take disciplinary or other action against offenders in official duty cases, and notify the Government of the Philippines of the actions taken. (f) If the government having the primary right does not exercise jurisdiction, it shall notify the authorities of the other government as soon as possible. (g) The authorities of the Philippines and the United States shall notify each other of the disposition of all cases in which both the authorities of the Philippines and the United States have the right to exercise jurisdiction. 4. Within the scope of their legal competence, the authorities of the Philippines and United States shall assist each other in the arrest of United States personnel in the Philippines and in handling them over to authorities who are to exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of this article.

17 5. United States military authorities shall promptly notify Philippine authorities of the arrest or detention of United States personnel who are subject of Philippine primary or exclusive jurisdiction. Philippine authorities shall promptly notify United States military authorities of the arrest or detention of any United States personnel. 6. The custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction shall immediately reside with United States military authorities, if they so request, from the commission of the offense until completion of all judicial proceedings. United States military authorities shall, upon formal notification by the Philippine authorities and without delay, make such personnel available to those authorities in time for any investigative or judicial proceedings relating to the offense with which the person has been charged in extraordinary cases, the Philippine Government shall present its position to the United States Government regarding custody, which the United States Government shall take into full account. In the event Philippine judicial proceedings are not completed within one year, the United States shall be relieved of any obligations under this paragraph. The one-year period will not include the time necessary to appeal. Also, the one-year period will not include any time during which scheduled trial procedures are delayed because United States authorities, after timely notification by Philippine authorities to arrange for the presence of the accused, fail to do so. 7. Within the scope of their legal authority, United States and Philippine authorities shall assist each other in the carrying out of all necessary investigation into offenses and shall cooperate in providing for the attendance of witnesses and in the collection and production of evidence, including seizure and, in proper cases, the delivery of objects connected with an offense. 8. When United States personnel have been tried in accordance with the provisions of this Article and have been acquitted or have been convicted and are serving, or have served their sentence, or have had their sentence remitted or suspended, or have been pardoned, they may not be tried again for the same offense in the Philippines. Nothing in this paragraph, however, shall prevent United States military authorities from trying United States personnel for any violation of rules of discipline arising from the act or omission which constituted an offense for which they were tried by Philippine authorities. 9. When United States personnel are detained, taken into custody, or prosecuted by Philippine authorities, they shall be accorded all procedural safeguards established by the law of the Philippines. At the minimum, United States personnel shall be entitled: (a) To a prompt and speedy trial; (b) To be informed in advance of trial of the specific charge or charges made against them and to have reasonable time to prepare a defense; (c) To be confronted with witnesses against them and to cross examine such witnesses; (d) To present evidence in their defense and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses;

18 (e) To have free and assisted legal representation of their own choice on the same basis as nationals of the Philippines; (f) To have the service of a competent interpreter; and (g) To communicate promptly with and to be visited regularly by United States authorities, and to have such authorities present at all judicial proceedings. These proceedings shall be public unless the court, in accordance with Philippine laws, excludes persons who have no role in the proceedings. 10. The confinement or detention by Philippine authorities of United States personnel shall be carried out in facilities agreed on by appropriate Philippine and United States authorities. United States Personnel serving sentences in the Philippines shall have the right to visits and material assistance. 11. United States personnel shall be subject to trial only in Philippine courts of ordinary jurisdiction, and shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of Philippine military or religious courts. Article VI Claims 1. Except for contractual arrangements, including United States foreign military sales letters of offer and acceptance and leases of military equipment, both governments waive any and all claims against each other for damage, loss or destruction to property of each others armed forces or for death or injury to their military and civilian personnel arising from activities to which this agreement applies. 2. For claims against the United States, other than contractual claims and those to which paragraph 1 applies, the United States Government, in accordance with United States law regarding foreign claims, will pay just and reasonable compensation in settlement of meritorious claims for damage, loss, personal injury or death, caused by acts or omissions of United States personnel, or otherwise incident to the non-combat activities of the United States forces. Article VII Importation and Exportation 1. United States Government equipment, materials, supplies, and other property imported into or acquired in the Philippines by or on behalf of the United States armed forces in connection with activities to which this agreement applies, shall be free of all Philippine duties, taxes and other similar charges. Title to such property shall remain with the United States, which may remove such property from the Philippines at any time, free from export duties, taxes, and other similar charges. The exemptions provided in this paragraph shall also extend to any duty, tax, or other similar charges which would otherwise be assessed upon such property after importation into, or acquisition within, the Philippines. Such property may be removed from the Philippines, or disposed of therein, provided that disposition of such property in the Philippines to persons or entities not entitled to exemption from applicable taxes and

19 duties shall be subject to payment of such taxes, and duties and prior approval of the Philippine Government. 2. Reasonable quantities of personal baggage, personal effects, and other property for the personal use of United States personnel may be imported into and used in the Philippines free of all duties, taxes and other similar charges during the period of their temporary stay in the Philippines. Transfers to persons or entities in the Philippines not entitled to import privileges may only be made upon prior approval of the appropriate Philippine authorities including payment by the recipient of applicable duties and taxes imposed in accordance with the laws of the Philippines. The exportation of such property and of property acquired in the Philippines by United States personnel shall be free of all Philippine duties, taxes, and other similar charges. Article VIII Movement of Vessels and Aircraft 1. Aircraft operated by or for the United States armed forces may enter the Philippines upon approval of the Government of the Philippines in accordance with procedures stipulated in implementing arrangements. 2. Vessels operated by or for the United States armed forces may enter the Philippines upon approval of the Government of the Philippines. The movement of vessels shall be in accordance with international custom and practice governing such vessels, and such agreed implementing arrangements as necessary. 3. Vehicles, vessels, and aircraft operated by or for the United States armed forces shall not be subject to the payment of landing or port fees, navigation or over flight charges, or tolls or other use charges, including light and harbor dues, while in the Philippines. Aircraft operated by or for the United States armed forces shall observe local air traffic control regulations while in the Philippines. Vessels owned or operated by the United States solely on United States Government non-commercial service shall not be subject to compulsory pilotage at Philippine ports. Article IX Duration and Termination This agreement shall enter into force on the date on which the parties have notified each other in writing through the diplomatic channel that they have completed their constitutional requirements for entry into force. This agreement shall remain in force until the expiration of 180 days from the date on which either party gives the other party notice in writing that it desires to terminate the agreement. Via these consolidated[11] petitions for certiorari and prohibition, petitioners - as legislators, non-governmental organizations, citizens and taxpayers - assail the constitutionality of the VFA and impute to herein respondents grave abuse of discretion in ratifying the agreement. We have simplified the issues raised by the petitioners into the following: I

20 Do petitioners have legal standing as concerned citizens, taxpayers, or legislators to question the constitutionality of the VFA? II Is the VFA governed by the provisions of Section 21, Article VII or of Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution? III Does the VFA constitute an abdication of Philippine sovereignty? a. Are Philippine courts deprived of their jurisdiction to hear and try offenses committed by US military personnel? b. Is the Supreme Court deprived of its jurisdiction over offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua or higher? IV Does the VFA violate: a. the equal protection clause under Section 1, Article III of the Constitution? b. the Prohibition against nuclear weapons under Article II, Section 8? c. Section 28 (4), Article VI of the Constitution granting the exemption from taxes and duties for the equipment, materials supplies and other properties imported into or acquired in the Philippines by, or on behalf, of the US Armed Forces?
LOCUS STANDI

At the outset, respondents challenge petitioners standing to sue, on the ground that the latter have not shown any interest in the case, and that petitioners failed to substantiate that they have sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result of the operation of the VFA. [12] Petitioners, on the other hand, counter that the validity or invalidity of the VFA is a matter of transcendental importance which justifies their standing.[13] A party bringing a suit challenging the constitutionality of a law, act, or statute must show not only that the law is invalid, but also that he has sustained or in is in immediate, or imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. He must show that he has been, or is about to be, denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled, or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute complained of.[14] In the case before us, petitioners failed to show, to the satisfaction of this Court, that they have sustained, or are in danger of sustaining any direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the VFA. As taxpayers, petitioners have not established that the VFA involves the exercise by

21 Congress of its taxing or spending powers.[15] On this point, it bears stressing that a taxpayers suit refers to a case where the act complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from taxation.[16] Thus, in Bugnay Const. & Development Corp. vs. Laron[17], we held: x x x it is exigent that the taxpayer-plaintiff sufficiently show that he would be benefited or injured by the judgment or entitled to the avails of the suit as a real party in interest. Before he can invoke the power of judicial review, he must specifically prove that he has sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation and that he will sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned statute or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to all members of the public. Clearly, inasmuch as no public funds raised by taxation are involved in this case, and in the absence of any allegation by petitioners that public funds are being misspent or illegally expended, petitioners, as taxpayers, have no legal standing to assail the legality of the VFA. Similarly, Representatives Wigberto Taada, Agapito Aquino and Joker Arroyo, as petitioners-legislators, do not possess the requisite locus standi to maintain the present suit.While this Court, in Phil. Constitution Association vs. Hon. Salvador Enriquez,[18] sustained the legal standing of a member of the Senate and the House of Representatives to question the validity of a presidential veto or a condition imposed on an item in an appropriation bull, we cannot, at this instance, similarly uphold petitioners standing as members of Congress, in the absence of a clear showing of any direct injury to their person or to the institution to which they belong. Beyond this, the allegations of impairment of legislative power, such as the delegation of the power of Congress to grant tax exemptions, are more apparent than real. While it may be true that petitioners pointed to provisions of the VFA which allegedly impair their legislative powers, petitioners failed however to sufficiently show that they have in fact suffered direct injury. In the same vein, petitioner Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) is stripped of standing in these cases. As aptly observed by the Solicitor General, the IBP lacks the legal capacity to bring this suit in the absence of a board resolution from its Board of Governors authorizing its National President to commence the present action.[19] Notwithstanding, in view of the paramount importance and the constitutional significance of the issues raised in the petitions, this Court, in the exercise of its sound discretion, brushes aside the procedural barrier and takes cognizance of the petitions, as we have done in the early Emergency Powers Cases,[20] where we had occasion to rule: x x x ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders issued by President Quirino although they were involving only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. The Court dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure. We have since then applied the exception in many other cases. (Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Sec. of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343). (Underscoring Supplied)

22 This principle was reiterated in the subsequent cases of Gonzales vs. COMELEC,[21] Daza vs. Singson,[22] and Basco vs. Phil. Amusement and Gaming Corporation,[23]where we emphatically held: Considering however the importance to the public of the case at bar, and in keeping with the Courts duty, under the 1987 Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that they have not abused the discretion given to them, the Court has brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of this petition. x x x Again, in the more recent case of Kilosbayan vs. Guingona, Jr.,[24] thisCourt ruled that in cases of transcendental importance, the Court may relax the standing requirements and allow a suit to prosper even where there is no direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review. Although courts generally avoid having to decide a constitutional question based on the doctrine of separation of powers, which enjoins upon the departments of the government a becoming respect for each others acts,[25] this Court nevertheless resolves to take cognizance of the instant petitions.
APPLICABLE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION

One focal point of inquiry in this controversy is the determination of which provision of the Constitution applies, with regard to the exercise by the senate of its constitutional power to concur with the VFA. Petitioners argue that Section 25, Article XVIII is applicable considering that the VFA has for its subject the presence of foreign military troops in the Philippines. Respondents, on the contrary, maintain that Section 21, Article VII should apply inasmuch as the VFA is not a basing arrangement but an agreement which involves merely the temporary visits of United States personnel engaged in joint military exercises. The 1987 Philippine Constitution contains two provisions requiring the concurrence of the Senate on treaties or international agreements. Section 21, Article VII, which herein respondents invoke, reads: No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate. Section 25, Article XVIII, provides: After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

23 Section 21, Article VII deals with treatise or international agreements in general, in which case, the concurrence of at least two-thirds (2/3) of all the Members of the Senate is required to make the subject treaty, or international agreement, valid and binding on the part of the Philippines. This provision lays down the general rule on treatise or international agreements and applies to any form of treaty with a wide variety of subject matter, such as, but not limited to, extradition or tax treatise or those economic in nature. All treaties or international agreements entered into by the Philippines, regardless of subject matter, coverage, or particular designation or appellation, requires the concurrence of the Senate to be valid and effective. In contrast, Section 25, Article XVIII is a special provision that applies to treaties which involve the presence of foreign military bases, troops or facilities in the Philippines. Under this provision, the concurrence of the Senate is only one of the requisites to render compliance with the constitutional requirements and to consider the agreement binding on the Philippines. Section 25, Article XVIII further requires that foreign military bases, troops, or facilities may be allowed in the Philippines only by virtue of a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate, ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a national referendum held for that purpose if so required by Congress, and recognized as such by the other contracting state. It is our considered view that both constitutional provisions, far from contradicting each other, actually share some common ground. These constitutional provisions both embody phrases in the negative and thus, are deemed prohibitory in mandate and character. In particular, Section 21 opens with the clause No treaty x x x, and Section 25 contains the phrase shall not be allowed. Additionally, in both instances, the concurrence of the Senate is indispensable to render the treaty or international agreement valid and effective. To our mind, the fact that the President referred the VFA to the Senate under Section 21, Article VII, and that the Senate extended its concurrence under the same provision, is immaterial. For in either case, whether under Section 21, Article VII or Section 25, Article XVIII, the fundamental law is crystalline that the concurrence of the Senate is mandatory to comply with the strict constitutional requirements. On the whole, the VFA is an agreement which defines the treatment of United States troops and personnel visiting the Philippines. It provides for the guidelines to govern such visits of military personnel, and further defines the rights of the United States and the Philippine government in the matter of criminal jurisdiction, movement of vessel and aircraft, importation and exportation of equipment, materials and supplies. Undoubtedly, Section 25, Article XVIII, which specifically deals with treaties involving foreign military bases, troops, or facilities, should apply in the instant case. To a certain extent and in a limited sense, however, the provisions of section 21, Article VII will find applicability with regard to the issue and for the sole purpose of determining the number of votes required to obtain the valid concurrence of the Senate, as will be further discussed hereunder. It is a finely-imbedded principle in statutory construction that a special provision or law prevails over a general one. Lex specialis derogat generali. Thus, where there is in the same statute a particular enactment and also a general one which, in its most comprehensive sense, would include what is embraced in the former, the particular enactment must be operative, and the general enactment must be taken to affect only such cases within its general language which are not within the provision of the particular enactment.[26]

24 In Leveriza vs. Intermediate Appellate Court,[27] we enunciated: x x x that another basic principle of statutory construction mandates that general legislation must give way to a special legislation on the same subject, and generally be so interpreted as to embrace only cases in which the special provisions are not applicable (Sto. Domingo vs. de los Angeles, 96 SCRA 139), that a specific statute prevails over a general statute (De Jesus vs. People, 120 SCRA 760) and that where two statutes are of equal theoretical application to a particular case, the one designed therefor specially should prevail (Wil Wilhensen Inc. vs. Baluyot, 83 SCRA 38). Moreover, it is specious to argue that Section 25, Article XVIII is inapplicable to mere transient agreements for the reason that there is no permanent placing of structure for the establishment of a military base. On this score, the Constitution makes no distinction between transient and permanent. Certainly, we find nothing in Section 25, Article XVIII that requires foreign troops or facilities to be stationed or placed permanently in the Philippines. It is a rudiment in legal hermenuetics that when no distinction is made by law, the Court should not distinguish- Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguire debemos. In like manner, we do not subscribe to the argument that Section 25, Article XVIII is not controlling since no foreign military bases, but merely foreign troops and facilities, are involved in the VFA. Notably, a perusal of said constitutional provision reveals that the proscription covers foreign military bases, troops, or facilities. Stated differently, this prohibition is not limited to the entry of troops and facilities without any foreign bases being established. The clause does not refer to foreign military bases, troops, or facilities collectively but treats them as separate and independent subjects. The use of comma and the disjunctive word or clearly signifies disassociation and independence of one thing from the others included in the enumeration,[28] such that, the provision contemplates three different situations - a military treaty the subject of which could be either (a) foreign bases, (b) foreign troops, or (c) foreign facilities - any of the three standing alone places it under the coverage of Section 25, Article XVIII. To this end, the intention of the framers of the Charter, as manifested during the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, is consistent with this interpretation: MR. MAAMBONG. I just want to address a question or two to Commissioner Bernas. This formulation speaks of three things: foreign military bases, troops or facilities. My first question is: If the country does enter into such kind of a treaty, must it cover the threebases, troops or facilities-or could the treaty entered into cover only one or two? FR. BERNAS. Definitely, it can cover only one. Whether it covers only one or it covers three, the requirement will be the same. MR. MAAMBONG. In other words, the Philippine government can enter into a treaty covering not bases but merely troops? FR. BERNAS. Yes. MR. MAAMBONG. I cannot find any reason why the government can enter into a treaty covering only troops.

25 FR. BERNAS. Why not? Probably if we stretch our imagination a little bit more, we will find some. We just want to cover everything.[29] (Underscoring Supplied) Moreover, military bases established within the territory of another state is no longer viable because of the alternatives offered by new means and weapons of warfare such as nuclear weapons, guided missiles as well as huge sea vessels that can stay afloat in the sea even for months and years without returning to their home country. These military warships are actually used as substitutes for a land-home base not only of military aircraft but also of military personnel and facilities. Besides, vessels are mobile as compared to a land-based military headquarters. At this juncture, we shall then resolve the issue of whether or not the requirements of Section 25 were complied with when the Senate gave its concurrence to the VFA. Section 25, Article XVIII disallows foreign military bases, troops, or facilities in the country, unless the following conditions are sufficiently met, viz: (a) it must be under a treaty; (b) the treaty must be duly concurred in by the Senate and, when so required by congress, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum; and (c)recognized as a treaty by the other contracting state. There is no dispute as to the presence of the first two requisites in the case of the VFA. The concurrence handed by the Senate through Resolution No. 18 is in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, whether under the general requirement in Section 21, Article VII, or the specific mandate mentioned in Section 25, Article XVIII, the provision in the latter article requiring ratification by a majority of the votes cast in a national referendum being unnecessary since Congress has not required it. As to the matter of voting, Section 21, Article VII particularly requires that a treaty or international agreement, to be valid and effective, must be concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate. On the other hand, Section 25, Article XVIII simply provides that the treaty be duly concurred in by the Senate. Applying the foregoing constitutional provisions, a two-thirds vote of all the members of the Senate is clearly required so that the concurrence contemplated by law may be validly obtained and deemed present. While it is true that Section 25, Article XVIII requires, among other things, that the treaty-the VFA, in the instant case-be duly concurred in by the Senate, it is very true however that said provision must be related and viewed in light of the clear mandate embodied in Section 21, Article VII, which in more specific terms, requires that the concurrence of a treaty, or international agreement, be made by a two -thirds vote of all the members of the Senate. Indeed, Section 25, Article XVIII must not be treated in isolation to section 21, Article, VII. As noted, the concurrence requirement under Section 25, Article XVIII must be construed in relation to the provisions of Section 21, Article VII. In a more particular language, the concurrence of the Senate contemplated under Section 25, Article XVIII means that at least twothirds of all the members of the Senate favorably vote to concur with the treaty-the VFA in the instant case. Under these circumstances, the charter provides that the Senate shall be composed of twentyfour (24) Senators.[30] Without a tinge of doubt, two-thirds (2/3) of this figure, or not less than sixteen (16) members, favorably acting on the proposal is an unquestionable compliance with the requisite number of votes mentioned in Section 21 of Article VII. The fact that there were actually

26 twenty-three (23) incumbent Senators at the time the voting was made,[31] will not alter in any significant way the circumstance that more than two-thirds of the members of the Senate concurred with the proposed VFA, even if the two-thirds vote requirement is based on this figure of actual members (23). In this regard, the fundamental law is clear that two-thirds of the 24 Senators, or at least 16 favorable votes, suffice so as to render compliance with the strict constitutional mandate of giving concurrence to the subject treaty. Having resolved that the first two requisites prescribed in Section 25, Article XVIII are present, we shall now pass upon and delve on the requirement that the VFA should be recognized as a treaty by the United States of America. Petitioners content that the phrase recognized as a treaty, embodied in section 25, Article XVIII, means that the VFA should have the advice and consent of the United States Senate pursuant to its own constitutional process, and that it should not be considered merely an executive agreement by the United States. In opposition, respondents argue that the letter of United States Ambassador Hubbard stating that the VFA is binding on the United States Government is conclusive, on the point that the VFA is recognized as a treaty by the United States of America. According to respondents, the VFA, to be binding, must only be accepted as a treaty by the United States. This Court is of the firm view that the phrase recognized as a treaty means that the other contracting party accepts or acknowledges the agreement as a treaty.[32] To require the other contracting state, the United States of America in this case, to submit the VFA to the United States Senate for concurrence pursuant to its Constitution,[33] is to accord strict meaning to the phrase. Well-entrenched is the principle that the words used in the Constitution are to be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed, in which case the significance thus attached to them prevails. Its language should be understood in the sense they have in common use.[34] Moreover, it is inconsequential whether the United States treats the VFA only as an executive agreement because, under international law, an executive agreement is as binding as a treaty. [35] To be sure, as long as the VFA possesses the elements of an agreement under international law, the said agreement is to be taken equally as a treaty. A treaty, as defined by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, is an international instrument concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments, and whatever its particular designation.[36] There are many other terms used for a treaty or international agreement, some of which are: act, protocol, agreement, compromis d arbitrage, concordat, convention, declaration, exchange of notes, pact, statute, charter and modus vivendi. All writers, from Hugo Grotius onward, have pointed out that the names or titles of international agreements included under the general term treaty have little or no legal significance. Certain terms are useful, but they furnish little more than mere description.[37] Article 2(2) of the Vienna Convention provides that the provisions of paragraph 1 regarding the use of terms in the present Convention are without prejudice to the use of those terms, or to the meanings which may be given to them in the internal law of the State.

27 Thus, in international law, there is no difference between treaties and executive agreements in their binding effect upon states concerned, as long as the negotiating functionaries have remained within their powers.[38] International law continues to make no distinction between treaties and executive agreements: they are equally binding obligations upon nations.[39] In our jurisdiction, we have recognized the binding effect of executive agreements even without the concurrence of the Senate or Congress. In Commissioner of Customs vs. Eastern Sea Trading,[40] we had occasion to pronounce: x x x the right of the Executive to enter into binding agreements without the necessity of subsequent congressional approval has been confirmed by long usage. From the earliest days of our history we have entered into executive agreements covering such subjects as commercial and consular relations, most-favored-nation rights, patent rights, trademark and copyright protection, postal and navigation arrangements and the settlement of claims. The validity of these has never been seriously questioned by our courts. x x x x x x x x x Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court has expressly recognized the validity and constitutionality of executive agreements entered into without Senate approval. (39 Columbia Law Review, pp. 753-754) (See, also, U.S. vs. Curtis Wright Export Corporation, 299 U.S. 304, 81 L. ed. 255; U.S. vs. Belmont, 301 U.S. 324, 81 L. ed. 1134; U.S. vs. Pink, 315 U.S. 203, 86 L. ed. 796; Ozanicvs. U.S. 188 F. 2d. 288; Yale Law Journal, Vol. 15 pp. 1905-1906; California Law Review, Vol. 25, pp. 670-675; Hyde on International Law [revised Edition], Vol. 2, pp. 1405, 1416-1418; willoughby on the U.S. Constitution Law, Vol. I [2d ed.], pp. 537540; Moore, International Law Digest, Vol. V, pp. 210-218; Hackworth, International Law Digest, Vol. V, pp. 390-407). (Italics Supplied) (Emphasis Ours) The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission which drafted the 1987 Constitution is enlightening and highly-instructive: MR. MAAMBONG. Of course it goes without saying that as far as ratification of the other state is concerned, that is entirely their concern under their own laws. FR. BERNAS. Yes, but we will accept whatever they say. If they say that we have done everything to make it a treaty, then as far as we are concerned, we will accept it as a treaty.[41] The records reveal that the United States Government, through Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard, has stated that the United States government has fully committed to living up to the terms of the VFA.[42] For as long as the united States of America accepts or acknowledges the VFA as a treaty, and binds itself further to comply with its obligations under the treaty, there is indeed marked compliance with the mandate of the Constitution. Worth stressing too, is that the ratification, by the President, of the VFA and the concurrence of the Senate should be taken as a clear an unequivocal expression of our nations consent to be bound by said treaty, with the concomitant duty to uphold the obligations and responsibilities embodied thereunder.

28 Ratification is generally held to be an executive act, undertaken by the head of the state or of the government, as the case may be, through which the formal acceptance of the treaty is proclaimed.[43] A State may provide in its domestic legislation the process of ratification of a treaty. The consent of the State to be bound by a treaty is expressed by ratification when: (a) the treaty provides for such ratification, (b) it is otherwise established that the negotiating States agreed that ratification should be required, (c) the representative of the State has signed the treaty subject to ratification, or (d) the intention of the State to sign the treaty subject to ratification appears from the full powers of its representative, or was expressed during the negotiation.[44] In our jurisdiction, the power to ratify is vested in the President and not, as commonly believed, in the legislature. The role of the Senate is limited only to giving or withholding its consent, or concurrence, to the ratification.[45] With the ratification of the VFA, which is equivalent to final acceptance, and with the exchange of notes between the Philippines and the United States of America, it now becomes obligatory and incumbent on our part, under the principles of international law, to be bound by the terms of the agreement. Thus, no less than Section 2, Article II of the Constitution,[46] declares that the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations. As a member of the family of nations, the Philippines agrees to be bound by generally accepted rules for the conduct of its international relations. While the international obligation devolves upon the state and not upon any particular branch, institution, or individual member of its government, the Philippines is nonetheless responsible for violations committed by any branch or subdivision of its government or any official thereof. As an integral part of the community of nations, we are responsible to assure that our government, Constitution and laws will carry out our international obligation.[47] Hence, we cannot readily plead the Constitution as a convenient excuse for non-compliance with our obligations, duties and responsibilities under international law. Beyond this, Article 13 of the Declaration of Rights and Duties of States adopted by the International Law Commission in 1949 provides: Every State has the duty to carry out in good faith its obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law, and it may not invoke provisions in its constitution or its laws as an excuse for failure to perform this duty.[48] Equally important is Article 26 of the convention which provides that Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith. This is known as the principle of pacta sunt servanda which preserves the sanctity of treaties and have been one of the most fundamental principles of positive international law, supported by the jurisprudence of international tribunals.[49]
NO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION

In the instant controversy, the President, in effect, is heavily faulted for exercising a power and performing a task conferred upon him by the Constitution-the power to enter into and ratify treaties. Through the expediency of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, petitioners in these consolidated cases impute grave abuse of discretion on the part of the chief Executive in ratifying the VFA,

29 and referring the same to the Senate pursuant to the provisions of Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution. On this particular matter, grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or, when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.
[50]

By constitutional fiat and by the intrinsic nature of his office, the President, as head of State, is the sole organ and authority in the external affairs of the country. In many ways, the President is the chief architect of the nations foreign policy; his dominance in the field of foreign relations is (then) conceded.[51] Wielding vast powers an influence, his conduct in the external affairs of the nation, as Jefferson describes, is executive altogether."[52] As regards the power to enter into treaties or international agreements, the Constitution vests the same in the President, subject only to the concurrence of at least two-thirds vote of all the members of the Senate. In this light, the negotiation of the VFA and the subsequent ratification of the agreement are exclusive acts which pertain solely to the President, in the lawful exercise of his vast executive and diplomatic powers granted him no less than by the fundamental law itself. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it. [53] Consequently, the acts or judgment calls of the President involving the VFA-specifically the acts of ratification and entering into a treaty and those necessary or incidental to the exercise of such principal acts - squarely fall within the sphere of his constitutional powers and thus, may not be validly struck down, much less calibrated by this Court, in the absence of clear showing of grave abuse of power or discretion. It is the Courts considered view that the President, in ratifying the VFA and in submitting the same to the Senate for concurrence, acted within the confines and limits of the powers vested in him by the Constitution. It is of no moment that the President, in the exercise of his wide latitude of discretion and in the honest belief that the VFA falls within the ambit of Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution, referred the VFA to the Senate for concurrence under the aforementioned provision. Certainly, no abuse of discretion, much less a grave, patent and whimsical abuse of judgment, may be imputed to the President in his act of ratifying the VFA and referring the same to the Senate for the purpose of complying with the concurrence requirement embodied in the fundamental law. In doing so, the President merely performed a constitutional task and exercised a prerogative that chiefly pertains to the functions of his office. Even if he erred in submitting the VFA to the Senate for concurrence under the provisions of Section 21 of Article VII, instead of Section 25 of Article XVIII of the Constitution, still, the President may not be faulted or scarred, much less be adjudged guilty of committing an abuse of discretion in some patent, gross, and capricious manner. For while it is conceded that Article VIII, Section 1, of the Constitution has broadened the scope of judicial inquiry into areas normally left to the political departments to decide, such as those relating to national security, it has not altogether done away with political questions such as those which arise in the field of foreign relations.[54] The High Tribunals function, as sanctioned by Article VIII, Section 1, is merely (to) check whether or not the governmental branch or agency has gone beyond the constitutional limits of its jurisdiction, not that it erred or has a different view. In the absence of a showing (of) grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of

30 jurisdiction, there is no occasion for the Court to exercise its corrective powerIt has no power to look into what it thinks is apparent error.[55] As to the power to concur with treaties, the constitution lodges the same with the Senate alone. Thus, once the Senate[56] performs that power, or exercises its prerogative within the boundaries prescribed by the Constitution, the concurrence cannot, in like manner, be viewed to constitute an abuse of power, much less grave abuse thereof. Corollarily, the Senate, in the exercise of its discretion and acting within the limits of such power, may not be similarly faulted for having simply performed a task conferred and sanctioned by no less than the fundamental law. For the role of the Senate in relation to treaties is essentially legislative in character;[57] the Senate, as an independent body possessed of its own erudite mind, has the prerogative to either accept or reject the proposed agreement, and whatever action it takes in the exercise of its wide latitude of discretion, pertains to the wisdom rather than the legality of the act. In this sense, the Senate partakes a principal, yet delicate, role in keeping the principles of separation of powers and of checks and balances alive and vigilantly ensures that these cherished rudiments remain true to their form in a democratic government such as ours. The Constitution thus animates, through this treaty-concurring power of the Senate, a healthy system of checks and balances indispensable toward our nations pursuit of political maturity and growth. True enough, rudimentary is the principle that matters pertaining to the wisdom of a legislative act are beyond the ambit and province of the courts to inquire. In fine, absent any clear showing of grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondents, this Court- as the final arbiter of legal controversies and staunch sentinel of the rights of the people - is then without power to conduct an incursion and meddle with such affairs purely executive and legislative in character and nature. For the Constitution no less, maps out the distinct boundaries and limits the metes and bounds within which each of the three political branches of government may exercise the powers exclusively and essentially conferred to it by law. WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing disquisitions, the instant petitions are hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner, vs. S.C. JOHNSON AND SON, INC., and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.

31 DECISION GONZAGA-REYES, J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals dated November 7, 1996 in CA-GR SP No. 40802 affirming the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals in CTA Case No. 5136. The antecedent facts as found by the Court of Tax Appeals are not disputed, to wit: [Respondent], a domestic corporation organized and operating under the Philippine laws, entered into a license agreement with SC Johnson and Son, United States of America (USA), a nonresident foreign corporation based in the U.S.A. pursuant to which the [respondent] was granted the right to use the trademark, patents and technology owned by the latter including the right to manufacture, package and distribute the products covered by the Agreement and secure assistance in management, marketing and production from SC Johnson and Son, U. S. A. The said License Agreement was duly registered with the Technology Transfer Board of the Bureau of Patents, Trade Marks and Technology Transfer under Certificate of Registration No. 8064 (Exh. A). For the use of the trademark or technology, [respondent] was obliged to pay SC Johnson and Son, USA royalties based on a percentage of net sales and subjected the same to 25% withholding tax on royalty payments which [respondent] paid for the period covering July 1992 to May 1993 in the total amount of P1,603,443.00 (Exhs. B to L and submarkings). On October 29, 1993, [respondent] filed with the International Tax Affairs Division (ITAD) of the BIR a claim for refund of overpaid withholding tax on royalties arguing that, the antecedent facts attending [respondents] case fall squarely within the same circumstances under which said MacGeorge and Gillete rulings were issued. Since the agreement was approved by the Technology Transfer Board, the preferential tax rate of 10% should apply to the [respondent]. We therefore submit that royalties paid by the [respondent] to SC Johnson and Son, USA is only subject to 10% withholding tax pursuant to the most-favored nation clause of the RP-US Tax Treaty [Article 13 Paragraph 2 (b) (iii)] in relation to the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty [Article 12 (2) (b)] (Petition for Review [filed with the Court of Appeals], par. 12). [Respondents] claim for the refund of P963,266.00 was computed as follows: Gross Month/ Year ______ July 1992 Royalty Fee _______ 559,878 Withholding Tax Paid 25% 10%

Withholding Tax Balance

__________ __________ ______ 139,970 55,988 83,982

32 August September October November December Jan 1993 February March April May 567,935 595,956 634,405 620,885 383,276 602,451 565,845 547,253 660,810 603,076 P6,421,770 ======== 141,984 148,989 158,601 155,221 95,819 170,630 141,461 136,813 165,203 150,769 P1,605,443 ======== 56,794 59,596 63,441 62,089 36,328 68,245 56,585 54,725 66,081 60,308 P642,177 85,190 89,393 95,161 93,133 57,491 102,368 84,877 82,088 99,122 90,461 P963,266[1] =======

=======

The Commissioner did not act on said claim for refund. Private respondent S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (S.C. Johnson) then filed a petition for review before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) where the case was docketed as CTA Case No. 5136, to claim a refund of the overpaid withholding tax on royalty payments from July 1992 to May 1993. On May 7, 1996, the Court of Tax Appeals rendered its decision in favor of S.C. Johnson and ordered the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to issue a tax credit certificate in the amount of P963,266.00 representing overpaid withholding tax on royalty payments beginning July, 1992 to May, 1993.[2] The Commissioner of Internal Revenue thus filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals which rendered the decision subject of this appeal on November 7, 1996 finding no merit in the petition and affirming in toto the CTA ruling.[3] This petition for review was filed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue raising the following issue: THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT SC JOHNSON AND SON, USA IS ENTITLED TO THE MOST FAVORED NATION TAX RATE OF 10% ON ROYALTIES AS PROVIDED IN THE RP-US TAX TREATY IN RELATION TO THE RP-WEST GERMANY TAX TREATY. Petitioner contends that under Article 13(2) (b) (iii) of the RP-US Tax Treaty, which is known as the most favored nation clause, the lowest rate of the Philippine tax at 10% may be imposed

33 on royalties derived by a resident of the United States from sources within the Philippines only if the circumstances of the resident of the United States are similar to those of the resident of West Germany. Since the RP-US Tax Treaty contains no matching credit provision as that provided under Article 24 of the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty, the tax on royalties under the RP-US Tax Treaty is not paid under similar circumstances as those obtaining in the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty. Even assuming that the phrase paid under similar circumstances refers to the payment of royalties, and not taxes, as held by the Court of Appeals, still, the most favored nation clause cannot be invoked for the reason that when a tax treaty contemplates circumstances attendant to the payment of a tax, or royalty remittances for that matter, these must necessarily refer to circumstances that are tax-related. Finally, petitioner argues that since S.C. Johnsons invocation of the most favored nation clause is in the nature of a claim for exemption from the application of the regular tax rate of 25% for royalties, the provisions of the treaty must be construed strictly against it. In its Comment, private respondent S.C. Johnson avers that the instant petition should be denied (1) because it contains a defective certification against forum shopping as required under SC Circular No. 28-91, that is, the certification was not executed by the petitioner herself but by her counsel; and (2) that the most favored nation clause under the RP-US Tax Treaty refers to royalties paid under similar circumstances as those royalties subject to tax in other treaties; that the phrase paid under similar circumstances does not refer to payment of the tax but to the subject matter of the tax, that is, royalties, because the most favored nation clause is intended to allow the taxpayer in one state to avail of more liberal provisions contained in another tax treaty wherein the country of residence of such taxpayer is also a party thereto, subject to the basic condition that the subject matter of taxation in that other tax treaty is the same as that in the original tax treaty under which the taxpayer is liable; thus, the RP-US Tax Treaty speaks of royalties of the same kind paid under similar circumstances. S.C. Johnson also contends that the Commissioner is estopped from insisting on her interpretation that the phrase paid under similar circumstances refers to the manner in which the tax is paid, for the reason that said interpretation is embodied in Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) 39-92 which was already abandoned by the Commissioners predecessor in 1993; and was expressly revoked in BIR Ruling No. 052-95 which stated that royalties paid to an American licensor are subject only to 10% withholding tax pursuant to Art 13(2)(b)(iii) of the RP-US Tax Treaty in relation to the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty. Said ruling should be given retroactive effect except if such is prejudicial to the taxpayer pursuant to Section 246 of the National Internal Revenue Code. Petitioner filed Reply alleging that the fact that the certification against forum shopping was signed by petitioners counsel is not a fatal defect as to warrant the dismissal of this petition since Circular No. 28-91 applies only to original actions and not to appeals, as in the instant case. Moreover, the requirement that the certification should be signed by petitioner and not by counsel does not apply to petitioner who has only the Office of the Solicitor General as statutory counsel. Petitioner reiterates that even if the phrase paid under similar circumstances embodied in the most favored nation clause of the RP-US Tax Treaty refers to the payment of royalties and not taxes, still the presence or absence of a matching credit provision in the said RP-US Tax Treaty would constitute a material circumstance to such payment and would be determinative of the said clauses application.

34 We address first the objection raised by private respondent that the certification against forum shopping was not executed by the petitioner herself but by her counsel, the Office of the Solicitor General (O.S.G.) through one of its Solicitors, Atty. Tomas M. Navarro. SC Circular No. 28-91 provides: SUBJECT: ADDITIONAL REQUISITES FOR PETITIONS FILED WITH THE SUPREME COURT AND THE COURT OF APPEALS TO PREVENT FORUM SHOPPING OR MULTIPLE FILING OF PETITIONS AND COMPLAINTS TO : xxx xxx xxx

The attention of the Court has been called to the filing of multiple petitions and complaints involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or other tribunals or agencies, with the result that said courts, tribunals or agencies have to resolve the same issues. (1) To avoid the foregoing, in every petition filed with the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, the petitioner aside from complying with pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court and existing circulars, must certify under oath to all of the following facts or undertakings: (a) he has not theretofore commenced any other action or proceeding involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or any tribunal or agency; xxx (2) Any violation of this revised Circular will entail the following sanctions: (a) it shall be a cause for the summary dismissal of the multiple petitions or complaints; xxx The circular expressly requires that a certificate of non-forum shopping should be attached to petitions filed before this Court and the Court of Appeals. Petitioners allegation that Circular No. 28-91 applies only to original actions and not to appeals as in the instant case is not supported by the text nor by the obvious intent of the Circular which is to prevent multiple petitions that will result in the same issue being resolved by different courts. Anent the requirement that the party, not counsel, must certify under oath that he has not commenced any other action involving the same issues in this Court or the Court of Appeals or any other tribunal or agency, we are inclined to accept petitioners submission that since the OSG is the only lawyer for the petitioner, which is a government agency mandated under Section 35, Chapter 12, title III, Book IV of the 1987 Administrative Code[4] to be represented only by the Solicitor General, the certification executed by the OSG in this case constitutes substantial compliance with Circular No. 28-91. With respect to the merits of this petition, the main point of contention in this appeal is the interpretation of Article 13 (2) (b) (iii) of the RP-US Tax Treaty regarding the rate of tax to be imposed by the Philippines upon royalties received by a non-resident foreign corporation. The provision states insofar as pertinent that1) Royalties derived by a resident of one of the Contracting States from sources within the other Contracting State may be taxed by both Contracting States. 2) However, the tax imposed by that Contracting State shall not exceed.

35 a) In the case of the United States, 15 percent of the gross amount of the royalties, and b) In the case of the Philippines, the least of: (i) 25 percent of the gross amount of the royalties; (ii) 15 percent of the gross amount of the royalties, where the royalties are paid by a corporation registered with the Philippine Board of Investments and engaged in preferred areas of activities; and (iii) the lowest rate of Philippine tax that may be imposed on royalties of the same kind paid under similar circumstances to a resident of a third State. xxx xxx (italics supplied) Respondent S. C. Johnson and Son, Inc. claims that on the basis of the quoted provision, it is entitled to the concessional tax rate of 10 percent on royalties based on Article 12 (2) (b) of the RPGermany Tax Treaty which provides: (2) However, such royalties may also be taxed in the Contracting State in which they arise, and according to the law of that State, but the tax so charged shall not exceed: xxx b) 10 percent of the gross amount of royalties arising from the use of, or the right to use, any patent, trademark, design or model, plan, secret formula or process, or from the use of or the right to use, industrial, commercial, or scientific equipment, or for information concerning industrial, commercial or scientific experience. For as long as the transfer of technology, under Philippine law, is subject to approval, the limitation of the tax rate mentioned under b) shall, in the case of royalties arising in the Republic of the Philippines, only apply if the contract giving rise to such royalties has been approved by the Philippine competent authorities. Unlike the RP-US Tax Treaty, the RP-Germany Tax Treaty allows a tax credit of 20 percent of the gross amount of such royalties against German income and corporation tax for the taxes payable in the Philippines on such royalties where the tax rate is reduced to 10 or 15 percent under such treaty. Article 24 of the RP-Germany Tax Treaty states1) Tax shall be determined in the case of a resident of the Federal Republic of Germany as follows: xxx xxx xxx xxx

b) Subject to the provisions of German tax law regarding credit for foreign tax, there shall be allowed as a credit against German income and corporation tax payable in respect of the following

36 items of income arising in the Republic of the Philippines, the tax paid under the laws of the Philippines in accordance with this Agreement on: xxx xxx xxx

dd) royalties, as defined in paragraph 3 of Article 12; xxx xxx xxx

c) For the purpose of the credit referred in subparagraph b) the Philippine tax shall be deemed to be xxx xxx xxx

cc) in the case of royalties for which the tax is reduced to 10 or 15 per cent according to paragraph 2 of Article 12, 20 percent of the gross amount of such royalties. xxx xxx xxx

According to petitioner, the taxes upon royalties under the RP-US Tax Treaty are not paid under circumstances similar to those in the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty since there is no provision for a 20 percent matching credit in the former convention and private respondent cannot invoke the concessional tax rate on the strength of the most favored nation clause in the RP-US Tax Treaty. Petitioners position is explained thus: Under the foregoing provision of the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty, the Philippine tax paid on income from sources within the Philippines is allowed as a credit against German income and corporation tax on the same income. In the case of royalties for which the tax is reduced to 10 or 15 percent according to paragraph 2 of Article 12 of the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty, the credit shall be 20% of the gross amount of such royalty. To illustrate, the royalty income of a German resident from sources within the Philippines arising from the use of, or the right to use, any patent, trade mark, design or model, plan, secret formula or process, is taxed at 10% of the gross amount of said royalty under certain conditions. The rate of 10% is imposed if credit against the German income and corporation tax on said royalty is allowed in favor of the German resident. That means the rate of 10% is granted to the German taxpayer if he is similarly granted a credit against the income and corporation tax of West Germany. The clear intent of the matching credit is to soften the impact of double taxation by different jurisdictions. The RP-US Tax Treaty contains no similar matching credit as that provided under the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty. Hence, the tax on royalties under the RP-US Tax Treaty is not paid under similar circumstances as those obtaining in the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty. Therefore, the most favored nation clause in the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty cannot be availed of in interpreting the provisions of the RP-US Tax Treaty.[5] The petition is meritorious. We are unable to sustain the position of the Court of Tax Appeals, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals, that the phrase paid under similar circumstances in Article 13 (2) (b), (iii) of

37 the RP-US Tax Treaty should be interpreted to refer to payment of royalty, and not to the payment of the tax, for the reason that the phrase paid under similar circumstances is followed by the phrase to a resident of a third state. The respondent court held that Words are to be understood in the context in which they are used, and since what is paid to a resident of a third state is not a tax but a royalty logic instructs that the treaty provision in question should refer to royalties of the same kind paid under similar circumstances. The above construction is based principally on syntax or sentence structure but fails to take into account the purpose animating the treaty provisions in point. To begin with, we are not aware of any law or rule pertinent to the payment of royalties, and none has been brought to our attention, which provides for the payment of royalties under dissimilar circumstances. The tax rates on royalties and the circumstances of payment thereof are the same for all the recipients of such royalties and there is no disparity based on nationality in the circumstances of such payment. [6] On the other hand, a cursory reading of the various tax treaties will show that there is no similarity in the provisions on relief from or avoidance of double taxation[7] as this is a matter of negotiation between the contracting parties.[8] As will be shown later, this dissimilarity is true particularly in the treaties between the Philippines and the United States and between the Philippines and West Germany. The RP-US Tax Treaty is just one of a number of bilateral treaties which the Philippines has entered into for the avoidance of double taxation.[9] The purpose of these international agreements is to reconcile the national fiscal legislations of the contracting parties in order to help the taxpayer avoid simultaneous taxation in two different jurisdictions.[10] More precisely, the tax conventions are drafted with a view towards the elimination of international juridical double taxation, which is defined as the imposition of comparable taxes in two or more states on the same taxpayer in respect of the same subject matter and for identical periods.[11], citing the Committee on Fiscal Affairs of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).11 The apparent rationale for doing away with double taxation is to encourage the free flow of goods and services and the movement of capital, technology and persons between countries, conditions deemed vital in creating robust and dynamic economies. [12] Foreign investments will only thrive in a fairly predictable and reasonable international investment climate and the protection against double taxation is crucial in creating such a climate.[13] Double taxation usually takes place when a person is resident of a contracting state and derives income from, or owns capital in, the other contracting state and both states impose tax on that income or capital. In order to eliminate double taxation, a tax treaty resorts to several methods. First, it sets out the respective rights to tax of the state of source or situs and of the state of residence with regard to certain classes of income or capital. In some cases, an exclusive right to tax is conferred on one of the contracting states; however, for other items of income or capital, both states are given the right to tax, although the amount of tax that may be imposed by the state of source is limited.[14] The second method for the elimination of double taxation applies whenever the state of source is given a full or limited right to tax together with the state of residence. In this case, the treaties make it incumbent upon the state of residence to allow relief in order to avoid double taxation. There are two methods of relief- the exemption method and the credit method. In the exemption method, the income or capital which is taxable in the state of source or situs is exempted in the state of residence, although in some instances it may be taken into account in

38 determining the rate of tax applicable to the taxpayers remaining income or capital. On the other hand, in the credit method, although the income or capital which is taxed in the state of source is still taxable in the state of residence, the tax paid in the former is credited against the tax levied in the latter. The basic difference between the two methods is that in the exemption method, the focus is on the income or capital itself, whereas the credit method focuses upon the tax.[15] In negotiating tax treaties, the underlying rationale for reducing the tax rate is that the Philippines will give up a part of the tax in the expectation that the tax given up for this particular investment is not taxed by the other country.[16] Thus the petitioner correctly opined that the phrase royalties paid under similar circumstances in the most favored nation clause of the US-RP Tax Treaty necessarily contemplated circumstances that are tax-related. In the case at bar, the state of source is the Philippines because the royalties are paid for the right to use property or rights, i.e. trademarks, patents and technology, located within the Philippines.[17] The United States is the state of residence since the taxpayer, S. C. Johnson and Son, U. S. A., is based there. Under the RP-US Tax Treaty, the state of residence and the state of source are both permitted to tax the royalties, with a restraint on the tax that may be collected by the state of source.[18] Furthermore, the method employed to give relief from double taxation is the allowance of a tax credit to citizens or residents of the United States (in an appropriate amount based upon the taxes paid or accrued to the Philippines) against the United States tax, but such amount shall not exceed the limitations provided by United States law for the taxable year. [19] Under Article 13 thereof, the Philippines may impose one of three rates- 25 percent of the gross amount of the royalties; 15 percent when the royalties are paid by a corporation registered with the Philippine Board of Investments and engaged in preferred areas of activities; or the lowest rate of Philippine tax that may be imposed on royalties of the same kind paid under similar circumstances to a resident of a third state. Given the purpose underlying tax treaties and the rationale for the most favored nation clause, the concessional tax rate of 10 percent provided for in the RP-Germany Tax Treaty should apply only if the taxes imposed upon royalties in the RP-US Tax Treaty and in the RP-Germany Tax Treaty are paid under similar circumstances. This would mean that private respondent must prove that the RP-US Tax Treaty grants similar tax reliefs to residents of the United States in respect of the taxes imposable upon royalties earned from sources within the Philippines as those allowed to their German counterparts under the RP-Germany Tax Treaty. The RP-US and the RP-West Germany Tax Treaties do not contain similar provisions on tax crediting. Article 24 of the RP-Germany Tax Treaty, supra, expressly allows crediting against German income and corporation tax of 20% of the gross amount of royalties paid under the law of the Philippines. On the other hand, Article 23 of the RP-US Tax Treaty, which is the counterpart provision with respect to relief for double taxation, does not provide for similar crediting of 20% of the gross amount of royalties paid. Said Article 23 reads: Article 23 Relief from double taxation Double taxation of income shall be avoided in the following manner:

39 1) In accordance with the provisions and subject to the limitations of the law of the United States (as it may be amended from time to time without changing the general principle thereof), the United States shall allow to a citizen or resident of the United States as a credit against the United States tax the appropriate amount of taxes paid or accrued to the Philippines and, in the case of a United States corporation owning at least 10 percent of the voting stock of a Philippine corporation from which it receives dividends in any taxable year, shall allow credit for the appropriate amount of taxes paid or accrued to the Philippines by the Philippine corporation paying such dividends with respect to the profits out of which such dividends are paid. Such appropriate amount shall be based upon the amount of tax paid or accrued to the Philippines, but the credit shall not exceed the limitations (for the purpose of limiting the credit to the United States tax on income from sources within the Philippines or on income from sources outside the United States) provided by United States law for the taxable year. xxx. The reason for construing the phrase paid under similar circumstances as used in Article 13 (2) (b) (iii) of the RP-US Tax Treaty as referring to taxes is anchored upon a logical reading of the text in the light of the fundamental purpose of such treaty which is to grant an incentive to the foreign investor by lowering the tax and at the same time crediting against the domestic tax abroad a figure higher than what was collected in the Philippines. In one case, the Supreme Court pointed out that laws are not just mere compositions, but have ends to be achieved and that the general purpose is a more important aid to the meaning of a law than any rule which grammar may lay down.[20] It is the duty of the courts to look to the object to be accomplished, the evils to be remedied, or the purpose to be subserved, and should give the law a reasonable or liberal construction which will best effectuate its purpose.[21] The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states that a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.[22] As stated earlier, the ultimate reason for avoiding double taxation is to encourage foreign investors to invest in the Philippines - a crucial economic goal for developing countries. [23] The goal of double taxation conventions would be thwarted if such treaties did not provide for effective measures to minimize, if not completely eliminate, the tax burden laid upon the income or capital of the investor. Thus, if the rates of tax are lowered by the state of source, in this case, by the Philippines, there should be a concomitant commitment on the part of the state of residence to grant some form of tax relief, whether this be in the form of a tax credit or exemption. [24] Otherwise, the tax which could have been collected by the Philippine government will simply be collected by another state, defeating the object of the tax treaty since the tax burden imposed upon the investor would remain unrelieved. If the state of residence does not grant some form of tax relief to the investor, no benefit would redound to the Philippines, i.e., increased investment resulting from a favorable tax regime, should it impose a lower tax rate on the royalty earnings of the investor, and it would be better to impose the regular rate rather than lose much-needed revenues to another country. At the same time, the intention behind the adoption of the provision on relief from double taxation in the two tax treaties in question should be considered in light of the purpose behind the most favored nation clause.

40 The purpose of a most favored nation clause is to grant to the contracting party treatment not less favorable than that which has been or may be granted to the most favored among other countries.[25]The most favored nation clause is intended to establish the principle of equality of international treatment by providing that the citizens or subjects of the contracting nations may enjoy the privileges accorded by either party to those of the most favored nation. [26] The essence of the principle is to allow the taxpayer in one state to avail of more liberal provisions granted in another tax treaty to which the country of residence of such taxpayer is also a party provided that the subject matter of taxation, in this case royalty income, is the same as that in the tax treaty under which the taxpayer is liable. Both Article 13 of the RP-US Tax Treaty and Article 12 (2) (b) of the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty, above-quoted, speaks of tax on royalties for the use of trademark, patent, and technology. The entitlement of the 10% rate by U.S. firms despite the absence of a matching credit (20% for royalties) would derogate from the design behind the most favored nation clause to grant equality of international treatment since the tax burden laid upon the income of the investor is not the same in the two countries. The similarity in the circumstances of payment of taxes is a condition for the enjoyment of most favored nation treatment precisely to underscore the need for equality of treatment. We accordingly agree with petitioner that since the RP-US Tax Treaty does not give a matching tax credit of 20 percent for the taxes paid to the Philippines on royalties as allowed under the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty, private respondent cannot be deemed entitled to the 10 percent rate granted under the latter treaty for the reason that there is no payment of taxes on royalties under similar circumstances. It bears stress that tax refunds are in the nature of tax exemptions. As such they are regarded as in derogation of sovereign authority and to be construed strictissimi juris against the person or entity claiming the exemption.[27] The burden of proof is upon him who claims the exemption in his favor and he must be able to justify his claim by the clearest grant of organic or statute law. [28] Private respondent is claiming for a refund of the alleged overpayment of tax on royalties; however, there is nothing on record to support a claim that the tax on royalties under the RP-US Tax Treaty is paid under similar circumstances as the tax on royalties under the RP-West Germany Tax Treaty. WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the instant petition is GRANTED. The decision dated May 7, 1996 of the Court of Tax Appeals and the decision dated November 7, 1996 of the Court of Appeals are hereby SET ASIDE. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 113191 September 18, 1996 DEPARTMENT vs. OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, petitioner,

41 NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, HON. LABOR ARBITER NIEVES V. DE CASTRO and JOSE C. MAGNAYI, respondents.

VITUG, J.: The questions raised in the petition for certiorari are a few coincidental matters relative to the diplomatic immunity extended to the Asian Development Bank ("ADB"). On 27 January 1993, private respondent initiated NLRC-NCR Case No. 00-01-0690-93 for his alleged illegal dismissal by ADB and the latter's violation of the "labor-only" contracting law. Two summonses were served, one sent directly to the ADB and the other through the Department of Foreign Affairs ("DFA"), both with a copy of the complaint. Forthwith, the ADB and the DFA notified respondent Labor Arbiter that the ADB, as well as its President and Office, were covered by an immunity from legal process except for borrowings, guaranties or the sale of securities pursuant to Article 50(1) and Article 55 of the Agreement Establishing the Asian Development Bank (the "Charter") in relation to Section 5 and Section 44 of the Agreement Between The Bank And The Government Of The Philippines Regarding The Bank's Headquarters (the "Headquarters Agreement"). The Labor Arbiter took cognizance of the complaint on the impression that the ADB had waived its diplomatic immunity from suit. In time, the Labor Arbiter rendered his decision, dated 31 August 1993, that concluded: WHEREFORE, above premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the complainant as a regular employee of respondent ADB, and the termination of his services as illegal. Accordingly, respondent Bank is hereby ordered: 1. To immediately reinstate the complainant to his former position effective September 16, 1993; 2. To pay complainant full backwages from December 1, 1992 to September 15, 1993 in the amount of P42,750.00 (P4,500.00 x 9 months); 3. And to pay complainants other benefits and without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and benefits due a regular employee of Asian Development Bank from the time he was terminated on December 31, 1992; 4. To pay 10% attorney's fees of the total entitlements. 1 The ADB did not appeal the decision. Instead, on 03 November 1993, the DFA referred the matter to the National Labor Relations Commission ("NLRC"); in its referral, the DFA sought a "formal vacation of the void judgment." Replying to the letter, the NLRC Chairman. wrote:

42 The undersigned submits that the request for the "investigation" of Labor Arbiter Nieves de Castro, by the National Labor Relations Commission, has been erroneously premised on Art. 218(c) of the Labor Code, as cited in the letter of Secretary Padilla, considering that the provision deals with "a question, matter or controversy within its (the Commission) jurisdiction" obviously referring to a labor disputewithin the ambit of Art. 217 (on jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission over labor cases). The procedure, in the adjudication of labor cases, including raising of defenses, is prescribed by law. The defense of immunity could have been raised before the Labor Arbiter by a special appearance which, naturally, may not be considered as a waiver of the very defense being raised. Any decision thereafter is subject to legal remedies, including appeals to the appropriate division of the Commission and/or a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court, under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Except where an appeal is seasonably and properly made, neither the Commission nor the undersigned may review, or even question, the property of any decision by a Labor Arbiter. Incidentally, the Commission sits en banc (all fifteen Commissioners) only to promulgate rules of procedure, or to formulate policies (Art. 213, Labor Code). On the other hand, while the undersigned exercises "administrative supervision over the Commission and its regional branches and all its personnel, including the Executive Labor Arbiters and Labor Arbiters" (penultimate paragraph, Art. 213, Labor Code), he does not have the competence to investigate or review any decision of a Labor Arbiter. However, on the purely administrative aspect of the decision-making process, he may cause that an misconduct, malfeasance or misfeasance, upon complaint properly made. If the Department of Foreign Affairs feels that the action of Labor Arbiter Nieves de Castro constitutes misconduct, malfeasance or misfeasance, it is suggested that an appropriate complaint be lodged with the Office of the Ombudsman. Thank you for kind attention. 2 Dissatisfied, the DFA lodged the instant petition for certiorari. In this Court's resolution of 31 January 1994, respondents were required to comment. Petitioner was later constrained to make an application for a restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction following the issuance, on 16 March 199, by the Labor Arbiter of a writ of execution. In a resolution, dated 07 April 1994, the Court issued the temporary restraining order prayed for. The Office of the Solicitor General ("OSG"), in its comment of 26 May 1994, initially assailed the claim of immunity by the ADB. Subsequently, however, it submitted a Manifestation (dated 20 June 1994) stating, among other things, that "after a thorough review of the case and the records," it became convinced that ADB, indeed, was correct in invoking its immunity from suit under the Charter and the Headquarters Agreement.

43 The Court is of the same view. Article 50(1) of the Charter provides: The Bank shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process, except in cases arising out of or in connection with the exercise of its powers to borrow money, to guarantee obligations, or to buy and sell or underwrite the sale of securities. 3 Under Article 55 thereof All Governors, Directors, alternates, officers and employees of the Bank, including experts performing missions for the Bank: (1) shall be immune from legal process with respect of acts performed by them in their official capacity, except when the Bank waives the immunity. 4 Like provisions are found in the Headquarters Agreement. Thus, its Section 5 reads: The Bank shall enjoy immunity from every form of legal process, except in cases arising out of, or in connection with, the exercise of its powers to borrow money, to guarantee obligations, or to buy and sell or underwrite the sale of securities. 5 And, with respect to certain officials of the bank, Section 44 of the agreement states: Governors, other representatives of Members, Directors, the president, VicePresident and executive officers as may be agreed upon between the Government and the Bank shall enjoy, during their stay in the Republic of the Philippines in connection with their official duties with the Bank: xxx xxx xxx (b) Immunity from legal process of every kind in respect of words spoken or written and all acts done by them in their official 6 capacity. The above stipulations of both the Charter and Headquarters Agreement should be able, may well enough, to establish that, except in the specified cases of borrowing and guarantee operations, as well as the purchase, sale and underwriting of securities, the ADB enjoys immunity from legal process of every form. The Bank's officers, on their part, enjoy immunity in respect of all acts performed by them in their official capacity. The Charter and the Headquarters Agreement granting these immunities and privileges are treaty covenants and commitments voluntarily assumed by the Philippines government which must be respected. In World Health Organization vs. Aquino. 7 we have declared:

44 It is a recognized principle of international law and under our system of separation of powers that diplomatic immunity is essentially a political question and courts should refuse to look beyond a determination by the executive branch of the government, and where the plea of diplomatic immunity is recognized and affirmed by the executive branch of the government . . . it is then the duty of the courts to accept the claim of immunity upon appropriate suggestion by the principal law officer of the government, . . . or other officer acting under his direction. Hence, in adherence to the settled principle that courts may not so exercise their jurisdiction . . . as to embarrass the executive arm of the government in conducting foreign relations, it is accepted doctrine that in "such cases the judicial department of government follows the action of the political branch and will not embarrass the latter by assuming an antagonistic 8 jurisdiction." To the same effect is the decision in International Catholic Migration Commission vs. Calleja, 9 which has similarly deemed the Memoranda of the Legal Adviser of the Department of Foreign Affairs to be "a categorical recognition by the Executive Branch of Government that ICMC . . . enjoy(s) immunities accorded to international organizations" and which determination must be held "conclusive upon the Courts in order not to embarrass a political department of Government." In the instant case, the filing of the petition by the DFA, in behalf of ADB, is itself an affirmance of the government's own recognition of ADB's immunity. Being an international organization that has been extended diplomatic status, the ADB is independent of the municipal law. 10 In Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center vs. Acosta. 11 The Court has cited with approval the opinion 12 of the Minister of justice; thus One of the basic immunities of an international organization is immunity from local jurisdiction, i.e., that it is immune from the legal writs and processes issued by the tribunals of the country where it is found. (See Jenks, Id., pp. 37-44). The obvious reason for this is that the subjection of such an organization to the authority of the local courts would afford a convenient medium thru which the host government may interfere in their operations or even influence or control its policies and decisions of the organization; besides, such subjection to local jurisdiction would impair the capacity of such body to discharge its responsibilities impartially behalf of its member-states. 13 Contrary to private respondent's assertion, the claim of immunity is not here being raised for the first time, it has been invoked before the forum of origin through communications sent by petitioner and the ADB to the Labor Arbiter, as well as before the NLRC following the rendition of the questioned judgment by the Labor Arbiter, but evidently to no avail. In its communication of 27 May 1993, the DFA, through the Office of legal Affairs, has advised the NLRC: Respectfully returned to the Honorable Domingo B. Mabazza, Labor Arbitration Associate Commission, National Labor Relations Commission, National Capital

45 Judicial Region, Arbitration Branch, Associated Bank Bldg., T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila, the attached Notice of Hearing addressed to the Asian Development Bank, in connection with the aforestated case, for the reason stated in the Department's 1st Indoresment dated 23 March 1993, copy attached, which is self-explanatory. In view of the fact that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) invokes its immunity which is sustained by the Department of Foreign Affairs, a continuos hearing of this case erodes the credibility of the Philippine government before the international community, let alone the negative implication of such a suit on the official relationship of the Philippine government with the ADB. For the Secretary Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs(Sgd.) SIME D. HIDALGO
14

The Office of the President, likewise, has issued on 18 May 1993 a letter to the Secretary of Labor, viz Dear Secretary Confesor, I am writing to draw your attention to a case filed by a certain Jose C. Magnayi against the Asian Development Bank and its President, Kimmasa Tarumizu, before the National Labor Relations Commission, National Capital Region Arbitration Board (NLRC NCR Case No. 00-01690-93). Last March 8, the Labor Arbiter charged with the case, Ms. Nieves V. de Castro, addressed a Notice of Resolution/Order to the Bank which brought it to the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs on the ground that the service of such notice was in violation of the RP-ADB Headquarters Agreement which provided, inter alia, for the immunity of the Bank, its President and officers from every form of legal process, except only, in cases of borrowings, guarantees or the sale of securities. The Department of Foreign Affairs, in turn, informed Labor Arbiter Nieves V. de Castro of this fact by letter dated March 22, copied to you. Despite this, the labor arbiter in question persited to send summons, the latest dated May 4, herewith attached, regarding the Magnayi case. The Supreme Court has long settled the matter of diplomatic immunities. In WHO vs. Aquino, SCRA 48, it ruled that courts should respect diplomatic immunities of foreign officials recognized by the Supreme Court forms part of the law of the land.

46 Perhaps you should point out to Labor Arbiter Nieves V. de Castro that ignorance of the law is a ground for dismissal. Very truly yours, Chairman, PCC chariman (Sgd.) JOSE B. ALEJANDRINO

Private respondent argues that, by centering into service contracts with different private companies, ADB has descended to the level of an ordinary party to a commercial transaction giving rise to a waiver of its immunity from suit. In the case of Holy See vs. Hon. Rosario, Jr., 16 the Court has held: There are two conflicting concept of sovereign immunity, each widely held and firmly established. According to the classical or absolute theory, a sovereign cannot, without its consent, be made a respondent in the Courts of another sovereign. According to the newer or restrictive theory, the immunity of the sovereign is recognized only with regard to public acts or acts jure imperii of a state, but not with regard to private act or acts jure gestionis. xxx xxx xxx Certainly, the mere entering into a contract by a foreign state with a private party cannot be the ultimate test. Such an act can only be the start of the inquiry. The logical question is whether the foreign state is engaged in the activity in regular course of business. If the foreign state is not engaged regularly in a business or trade, the particular act or transaction must then be tested by its nature. If the act is in pursuit of a sovereign activity, or an incident thereof, then it is an act jure imperit, especially when it is not undertaken for gain or profit. 17 The service contracts referred to by private respondent have not been intended by the ADB for profit or gain but are official acts over which a waiver of immunity would not attack. With regard to the issue of whether or not the DFA has the legal standing to file the present petition, and whether or not petitioner has regarded the basic rule that certiorari can be availed of only when there is no appeal nor plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, we hold both in the affirmative. The DFA's function includes, among its other mandates, the determination of persons and institutions covered by diplomatic immunities, a determination which, when challenge, entitles it to seek relief from the court so ass not to seriously impair the conduct of the country's foreign relations. The DFA must be allowed to plead its case whenever necessary or advisable to enable it to help keep the credibility of the Philippine government before the international community. When international agreements are concluded, the parties therto are deemed to have likewise accepted the responsibility of seeing to it that their agreements are duly regarded. In our country, this task falls principally of the DFA as being the highest executive department with the competence and authority to so act in this aspect of the international arena. 18 In Holy See vs. Hon. Rosario, Jr., 19 this Court has explained the matter in good datail; viz:

47 In Public International Law, when a state or international agency wishes to plead sovereign or diplomatic immunity in a foreign court, it requests the Foreign Office of the state where it is sued to convey to the court that said defendant is entitled to immunity. In the United States, the procedure followed is the process of "suggestion," where the foreign state or the international organization sued in an American court requests the Secretary of State to make a determination as to whether it is entitled to immunity. If the Secretary of State finds that the defendant is immune from suit, he, in turn, asks the attorney General to submit to the court a "suggestion" that the defendant is entitled to immunity. In England, a similar procedure is followed, only the Foreign Office issues a certification to the effect instead of submitting a "suggestion" (O'Connell, In International Law 130 [1965]; Note: Immunity from Suit of Foreign Sovereign Instrumentalities and Obligations 50 Yale Law Journal 1088 [1941]). In the Philippines, the practice is for the foreign government or the international organization to first secure an executive endorsement of its claim of sovereign or diplomatic immunity. But how the Philippine Foreign Office conveys its endorsement to the courts varies. In International Catholic Migration Commission vs. Calleja, 190 SCRA 130 (1990), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs just sent a letter directly to the Secretary of Labor and Employment, informing the latter that the respondent-employer could not be sued because it enjoyed diplomatic immunity. In World Health Organization vs. Aquino, 48 SCRA 242 (1972), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs sent the trial court a telegram to that effect. In Baer vs. Tizon, 57 SCRA 1 (1974), the U.S. Embassy asked the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to request the Solicitor General to make, in behalf of the Commander of the United States Naval Base at Olongapo City, Zambales, a "suggestion" to respondent Judge. The Solicitor General embodied the "suggestion" in a manifestation and memorandum as amicus curiae. In the case at bench, the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Office of Legal Affairs moved with this Court to be allowed to intervene on the side of petitioner. The Court allowed the said Department to file its memorandum in support of petitioner's claim of sovereign immunity. In some cases, the defense of sovereign immunity was submitted directly to the local courts by the respondents through their private counsels (Raquiza vs. Bradford, 75 Phil. 50 [1945]; Miquiabas vs. Philippine-Ryukyus Command, 80 Phil. 262 [1948]; United States of America vs. Guinto, 182 SCRA 644 [1990] and companion cases). In cases where the foreign states bypass the Foreign Office, the courts can in quire into the facts and make their own determination as to the nature of the acts and transactions involved. 20 Relative to the property of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari, the Court has, under special circumstances, so allowed and entertained such a petition when (a) the questioned order or

48 decision is issued in excess of or without jurisdiction, 21 or (b) where the order or decision is a patent nullity, 22 which, verily, are the circumstances that can be said to obtain in the present case. When an adjudicator is devoid of jurisdiction on a matter before him, his action that assumes otherwise would be a clear nullity. WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is GRANTED, and the decision of the Labor Arbiter, dated 31 August 1993 is VACATED, for being NULL AND VOID. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on 07 April 1994 is hereby made permanent. No costs. SO ORDERED.

49

FISHERIES (UNITED (JURISDICTION OF THE COURT) Judgment of 2 February 1973

JURISDICTION

CASE KINGDOM v. ICELAND)

In its Judgment on the question of its jurisdiction in the case concerning Fisheries Jurisdiction (United Kingdom v. Iceland), the Court found by 14 votes to 1 that it had jurisdiction to entertain the Application filed by the United Kingdom on 14 April 1972 and to deal with the merits of the dispute. The Court was composed as follows: President Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Vice-President Ammoun and Judges Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice, Padilla Nervo, Forster, Gros, Bengzon, Petrn, Lachs, Onyeama, Dillard, Ignacio-Pinto, de Castro, Morozov and Jimnez de Archaga. The President of the Court appended a declaration to the Judgment. Judge Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice appended a separate opinion, and Judge Padilla Nervo a dissenting opinion. * ** Rsum of the Proceedings (paras. 1-12 of the Judgment) In its Judgment the Court recalls that on 14 April 1972 the Government of the United Kingdom instituted proceedings against Iceland in respect of a dispute concerning the proposed extension by the Icelandic Government of its exclusive fisheries jurisdiction to a distance of 50 nautical miles from the baselines around its coasts. By a letter of 29 May 1972 the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland informed the Court that his Government was not willing to confer jurisdiction on it and would not appoint an Agent. By Orders of 17 and 18 August 1972 the Court indicated certain interim measures of protection at the request of the United Kingdom and decided that the first written pleadings should be addressed to the question of its jurisdiction to deal with the case. The Government of the United Kingdom filed a Memorial, and the Court heard oral argument on its behalf at a public hearing on 5 January 1973. The Government of Iceland has filed no pleadings and was not represented at the hearing. It is, the Court observes, to be regretted that the Government of Iceland has failed to appear to plead the objections to the Court's jurisdiction which it is understood to entertain. Nevertheless the Court, in accordance with its Statute and its settled jurisprudence, must examine the question on its own initiative, a duty reinforced by Article 53 of the Statute, whereby, whenever one of the parties does not appear, the Court must satisfy itself that it has jurisdiction before finding on the merits.

50 Although the Government of Iceland has not set out the facts and law on which its objection is based, or adduced any evidence, the Court proceeds to consider those objections which might, in its view, be raised against its jurisdiction. In so doing, it avoids not only all expressions of opinion on matters of substance, but also any pronouncement which might prejudge or appear to prejudge any eventual decision on the merits. Compromissory clause of the 1961 Exchange of Notes (paras. 13-23 of the Judgment) To found the Court's jurisdiction, the Government of the United Kingdom relies on an Exchange of Notes which took place between it and the Government of Iceland on 11 March 1961, following an earlier dispute over fisheries. By that Exchange of Notes the United Kingdom undertook to recognise an exclusive Icelandic fishery zone up to a limit of 12 miles and to withdraw its fishing vessels from that zone over a period of 3 years. The Exchange of Notes featured a compromissory clause in the following terms: "The Icelandic Government will continue to work for the implementation of the Althing Resolution of May 5, 1959, regarding the extension of fisheries jurisdiction around Iceland, but shall give to the United Kingdom Government six months' notice of such extension, and, in case of a dispute in relation to such extension, the matter shall, at the request of either party, be referred to the International Court of Justice." The Court observes that there is no doubt as to the fulfilment by the Government of the United Kingdom of its part of this agreement or as to the fact that the Government of Iceland, in 1971, gave the notice provided for in the event of a further extension of its fisheries jurisdiction. Nor is there any doubt that a dispute has arisen, that it has been submitted to the Court by the United Kingdom and that, on the face of it, the dispute thus falls exactly within the terms of the compromissory clause. Although, strictly speaking, the text of this clause is sufficiently clear for there to be no need to investigate the preparatory work, the Court reviews the history of the negotiations which led to the Exchange of Notes, finding confirmation therein of the parties' intention to provide the United Kingdom, in exchange for its recognition of the 12-mile limit and the withdrawal of its vessels, with a genuine assurance which constituted a sine qua non for the whole agreement, namely the right to challenge before the Court the validity of any further extension of Icelandic fisheries jurisdiction beyond the 12-mile limit. It is thus apparent that the Court has jurisdiction. Validity and duration of the 1961 Exchange of Notes (paras. 24-45 of the Judgment) The Court next considers whether, as has been contended the agreement embodied in the 1961 Exchange of Notes either was initially void or has since ceased to operate. In the above-mentioned letter of 29 May 1972 the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland said that the 1961 Exchange of Notes had taken place at a time when the British Royal Navy had been using force to oppose the 12-mile fishery limit. The Court, however, notes that the agreement appears to have been freely negotiated on the basis of perfect equality and freedom of decision on both sides. In the same letter the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland expressed the view that "an undertaking for judicial settlement cannot be considered to be of a permanent nature" and the Government of Iceland had indeed, in an aide-mmoire of 31 August 1971, asserted that the object and purpose of the provision for recourse to judicial settlement had been fully achieved. The Court notes that the compromissory clause contains no express provision regarding duration. In fact, the right of the United Kingdom to challenge before the Court any claim by Iceland to extend its fisheries zone was subject to the assertion of such a claim and would last so long as Iceland might seek to implement the 1959 Althing resolution.

51 In a statement to the Althing (the Parliament of Iceland) on 9 November 1971, the Prime Minister of Iceland alluded to changes regarding "legal opinion on fisheries jurisdiction". His argument appeared to be that as the compromissory clause was the price that Iceland had paid at the time for the recognition by the United Kingdom of the 12-mile limit, the present general recognition of such a limit constituted a change of legal circumstances that relieved Iceland of its commitment. The Court observes that, on the contrary, since Iceland has received benefits from those parts of the agreement already executed, it behoves it to comply with its side of the bargain. The letter and statement just mentioned also drew attention to "the changed circumstances resulting from the ever-increasing exploitation of the fishery resources in the seas surrounding Iceland". It is, notes the Court, admitted in international law that if a fundamental change of the circumstances which induced parties to accept a treaty radically transforms the extent of the obligations undertaken, this may, under certain conditions, afford the party affected a ground for invoking the termination or suspension of the treaty. It would appear that in the present case there is a serious difference of views between the Parties as to whether there have been any fundamental changes in fishing techniques in the waters around Iceland. Such changes would, however, be relevant only for any eventual decision on the merits. It cannot be said that the change of circumstances alleged by Iceland has modified the scope of the jurisdictional obligation agreed to in the 1961 Exchange of Notes. Moreover, any question as to the jurisdiction of the Court, deriving from an alleged lapse of the obligation through changed circumstances, is for the Court to decide, by virtue of Article 36, paragraph 6, of its Statute.

52

G.R. No. 101949 December 1, 1994 THE HOLY SEE, petitioner, vs. THE HON. ERIBERTO U. ROSARIO, JR., as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 61 and STARBRIGHT SALES ENTERPRISES, INC., respondents. Padilla Law Office for petitioner.

53 Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako for private respondent.

QUIASON, J.: This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to reverse and set aside the Orders dated June 20, 1991 and September 19, 1991 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati, Metro Manila in Civil Case No. 90-183. The Order dated June 20, 1991 denied the motion of petitioner to dismiss the complaint in Civil Case No. 90-183, while the Order dated September 19, 1991 denied the motion for reconsideration of the June 20,1991 Order. Petitioner is the Holy See who exercises sovereignty over the Vatican City in Rome, Italy, and is represented in the Philippines by the Papal Nuncio. Private respondent, Starbright Sales Enterprises, Inc., is a domestic corporation engaged in the real estate business. This petition arose from a controversy over a parcel of land consisting of 6,000 square meters (Lot 5-A, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 390440) located in the Municipality of Paraaque, Metro Manila and registered in the name of petitioner. Said Lot 5-A is contiguous to Lots 5-B and 5-D which are covered by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 271108 and 265388 respectively and registered in the name of the Philippine Realty Corporation (PRC). The three lots were sold to Ramon Licup, through Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos, Jr., acting as agent to the sellers. Later, Licup assigned his rights to the sale to private respondent. In view of the refusal of the squatters to vacate the lots sold to private respondent, a dispute arose as to who of the parties has the responsibility of evicting and clearing the land of squatters. Complicating the relations of the parties was the sale by petitioner of Lot 5-A to Tropicana Properties and Development Corporation (Tropicana). I On January 23, 1990, private respondent filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati, Metro Manila for annulment of the sale of the three parcels of land, and specific performance and damages against petitioner, represented by the Papal Nuncio, and three other defendants: namely, Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos, Jr., the PRC and Tropicana (Civil Case No. 90-183). The complaint alleged that: (1) on April 17, 1988, Msgr. Cirilos, Jr., on behalf of petitioner and the PRC, agreed to sell to Ramon Licup Lots 5-A, 5-B and 5-D at the price of P1,240.00 per square

54 meters; (2) the agreement to sell was made on the condition that earnest money of P100,000.00 be paid by Licup to the sellers, and that the sellers clear the said lots of squatters who were then occupying the same; (3) Licup paid the earnest money to Msgr. Cirilos; (4) in the same month, Licup assigned his rights over the property to private respondent and informed the sellers of the said assignment; (5) thereafter, private respondent demanded from Msgr. Cirilos that the sellers fulfill their undertaking and clear the property of squatters; however, Msgr. Cirilos informed private respondent of the squatters' refusal to vacate the lots, proposing instead either that private respondent undertake the eviction or that the earnest money be returned to the latter; (6) private respondent counterproposed that if it would undertake the eviction of the squatters, the purchase price of the lots should be reduced from P1,240.00 to P1,150.00 per square meter; (7) Msgr. Cirilos returned the earnest money of P100,000.00 and wrote private respondent giving it seven days from receipt of the letter to pay the original purchase price in cash; (8) private respondent sent the earnest money back to the sellers, but later discovered that on March 30, 1989, petitioner and the PRC, without notice to private respondent, sold the lots to Tropicana, as evidenced by two separate Deeds of Sale, one over Lot 5-A, and another over Lots 5-B and 5-D; and that the sellers' transfer certificate of title over the lots were cancelled, transferred and registered in the name of Tropicana; (9) Tropicana induced petitioner and the PRC to sell the lots to it and thus enriched itself at the expense of private respondent; (10) private respondent demanded the rescission of the sale to Tropicana and the reconveyance of the lots, to no avail; and (11) private respondent is willing and able to comply with the terms of the contract to sell and has actually made plans to develop the lots into a townhouse project, but in view of the sellers' breach, it lost profits of not less than P30,000.000.00. Private respondent thus prayed for: (1) the annulment of the Deeds of Sale between petitioner and the PRC on the one hand, and Tropicana on the other; (2) the reconveyance of the lots in question; (3) specific performance of the agreement to sell between it and the owners of the lots; and (4) damages. On June 8, 1990, petitioner and Msgr. Cirilos separately moved to dismiss the complaint petitioner for lack of jurisdiction based on sovereign immunity from suit, and Msgr. Cirilos for being an improper party. An opposition to the motion was filed by private respondent. On June 20, 1991, the trial court issued an order denying, among others, petitioner's motion to dismiss after finding that petitioner "shed off [its] sovereign immunity by entering into the business contract in question" (Rollo, pp. 20-21). On July 12, 1991, petitioner moved for reconsideration of the order. On August 30, 1991, petitioner filed a "Motion for a Hearing for the Sole Purpose of Establishing Factual Allegation for claim of Immunity as a Jurisdictional Defense." So as to facilitate the determination of its defense of sovereign immunity, petitioner prayed that a hearing be conducted to allow it to establish certain facts upon which the said defense is based. Private respondent opposed this motion as well as the motion for reconsideration. On October 1, 1991, the trial court issued an order deferring the resolution on the motion for reconsideration until after trial on the merits and directing petitioner to file its answer (Rollo, p. 22).

55 Petitioner forthwith elevated the matter to us. In its petition, petitioner invokes the privilege of sovereign immunity only on its own behalf and on behalf of its official representative, the Papal Nuncio. On December 9, 1991, a Motion for Intervention was filed before us by the Department of Foreign Affairs, claiming that it has a legal interest in the outcome of the case as regards the diplomatic immunity of petitioner, and that it "adopts by reference, the allegations contained in the petition of the Holy See insofar as they refer to arguments relative to its claim of sovereign immunity from suit" (Rollo, p. 87). Private respondent opposed the intervention of the Department of Foreign Affairs. In compliance with the resolution of this Court, both parties and the Department of Foreign Affairs submitted their respective memoranda. II A preliminary matter to be threshed out is the procedural issue of whether the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court can be availed of to question the order denying petitioner's motion to dismiss. The general rule is that an order denying a motion to dismiss is not reviewable by the appellate courts, the remedy of the movant being to file his answer and to proceed with the hearing before the trial court. But the general rule admits of exceptions, and one of these is when it is very clear in the records that the trial court has no alternative but to dismiss the complaint (Philippine National Bank v. Florendo, 206 SCRA 582 [1992]; Zagada v. Civil Service Commission, 216 SCRA 114 [1992]. In such a case, it would be a sheer waste of time and energy to require the parties to undergo the rigors of a trial. The other procedural question raised by private respondent is the personality or legal interest of the Department of Foreign Affairs to intervene in the case in behalf of the Holy See (Rollo, pp. 186190). In Public International Law, when a state or international agency wishes to plead sovereign or diplomatic immunity in a foreign court, it requests the Foreign Office of the state where it is sued to convey to the court that said defendant is entitled to immunity. In the United States, the procedure followed is the process of "suggestion," where the foreign state or the international organization sued in an American court requests the Secretary of State to make a determination as to whether it is entitled to immunity. If the Secretary of State finds that the defendant is immune from suit, he, in turn, asks the Attorney General to submit to the court a "suggestion" that the defendant is entitled to immunity. In England, a similar procedure is followed, only the Foreign Office issues a certification to that effect instead of submitting a "suggestion" (O'Connell, I International Law 130 [1965]; Note: Immunity from Suit of Foreign Sovereign Instrumentalities and Obligations, 50 Yale Law Journal 1088 [1941]). In the Philippines, the practice is for the foreign government or the international organization to first secure an executive endorsement of its claim of sovereign or diplomatic immunity. But how the Philippine Foreign Office conveys its endorsement to the courts varies. In International

56 Catholic Migration Commission v. Calleja, 190 SCRA 130 (1990), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs just sent a letter directly to the Secretary of Labor and Employment, informing the latter that the respondent-employer could not be sued because it enjoyed diplomatic immunity. InWorld Health Organization v. Aquino, 48 SCRA 242 (1972), the Secretary of Foreign Affairs sent the trial court a telegram to that effect. In Baer v. Tizon, 57 SCRA 1 (1974), the U.S. Embassy asked the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to request the Solicitor General to make, in behalf of the Commander of the United States Naval Base at Olongapo City, Zambales, a "suggestion" to respondent Judge. The Solicitor General embodied the "suggestion" in a Manifestation and Memorandum as amicus curiae. In the case at bench, the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Office of Legal Affairs moved with this Court to be allowed to intervene on the side of petitioner. The Court allowed the said Department to file its memorandum in support of petitioner's claim of sovereign immunity. In some cases, the defense of sovereign immunity was submitted directly to the local courts by the respondents through their private counsels (Raquiza v. Bradford, 75 Phil. 50 [1945]; Miquiabas v. Philippine-Ryukyus Command, 80 Phil. 262 [1948]; United States of America v. Guinto, 182 SCRA 644 [1990] and companion cases). In cases where the foreign states bypass the Foreign Office, the courts can inquire into the facts and make their own determination as to the nature of the acts and transactions involved. III The burden of the petition is that respondent trial court has no jurisdiction over petitioner, being a foreign state enjoying sovereign immunity. On the other hand, private respondent insists that the doctrine of non-suability is not anymore absolute and that petitioner has divested itself of such a cloak when, of its own free will, it entered into a commercial transaction for the sale of a parcel of land located in the Philippines. A. The Holy See Before we determine the issue of petitioner's non-suability, a brief look into its status as a sovereign state is in order. Before the annexation of the Papal States by Italy in 1870, the Pope was the monarch and he, as the Holy See, was considered a subject of International Law. With the loss of the Papal States and the limitation of the territory under the Holy See to an area of 108.7 acres, the position of the Holy See in International Law became controversial (Salonga and Yap, Public International Law 36-37 [1992]). In 1929, Italy and the Holy See entered into the Lateran Treaty, where Italy recognized the exclusive dominion and sovereign jurisdiction of the Holy See over the Vatican City. It also recognized the right of the Holy See to receive foreign diplomats, to send its own diplomats to foreign countries, and to enter into treaties according to International Law (Garcia, Questions and Problems In International Law, Public and Private 81 [1948]).

57 The Lateran Treaty established the statehood of the Vatican City "for the purpose of assuring to the Holy See absolute and visible independence and of guaranteeing to it indisputable sovereignty also in the field of international relations" (O'Connell, I International Law 311 [1965]). In view of the wordings of the Lateran Treaty, it is difficult to determine whether the statehood is vested in the Holy See or in the Vatican City. Some writers even suggested that the treaty created two international persons the Holy See and Vatican City (Salonga and Yap, supra, 37). The Vatican City fits into none of the established categories of states, and the attribution to it of "sovereignty" must be made in a sense different from that in which it is applied to other states (Fenwick, International Law 124-125 [1948]; Cruz, International Law 37 [1991]). In a community of national states, the Vatican City represents an entity organized not for political but for ecclesiastical purposes and international objects. Despite its size and object, the Vatican City has an independent government of its own, with the Pope, who is also head of the Roman Catholic Church, as the Holy See or Head of State, in conformity with its traditions, and the demands of its mission in the world. Indeed, the world-wide interests and activities of the Vatican City are such as to make it in a sense an "international state" (Fenwick, supra., 125; Kelsen, Principles of International Law 160 [1956]). One authority wrote that the recognition of the Vatican City as a state has significant implication that it is possible for any entity pursuing objects essentially different from those pursued by states to be invested with international personality (Kunz, The Status of the Holy See in International Law, 46 The American Journal of International Law 308 [1952]). Inasmuch as the Pope prefers to conduct foreign relations and enter into transactions as the Holy See and not in the name of the Vatican City, one can conclude that in the Pope's own view, it is the Holy See that is the international person. The Republic of the Philippines has accorded the Holy See the status of a foreign sovereign. The Holy See, through its Ambassador, the Papal Nuncio, has had diplomatic representations with the Philippine government since 1957 (Rollo, p. 87). This appears to be the universal practice in international relations. B. Sovereign Immunity As expressed in Section 2 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution, we have adopted the generally accepted principles of International Law. Even without this affirmation, such principles of International Law are deemed incorporated as part of the law of the land as a condition and consequence of our admission in the society of nations (United States of America v. Guinto, 182 SCRA 644 [1990]). There are two conflicting concepts of sovereign immunity, each widely held and firmly established. According to the classical or absolute theory, a sovereign cannot, without its consent, be made a respondent in the courts of another sovereign. According to the newer or restrictive theory, the immunity of the sovereign is recognized only with regard to public acts or acts jure imperii of a state, but not with regard to private acts or acts jure gestionis

58 (United States of America v. Ruiz, 136 SCRA 487 [1987]; Coquia and Defensor-Santiago, Public International Law 194 [1984]). Some states passed legislation to serve as guidelines for the executive or judicial determination when an act may be considered as jure gestionis. The United States passed the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, which defines a commercial activity as "either a regular course of commercial conduct or a particular commercial transaction or act." Furthermore, the law declared that the "commercial character of the activity shall be determined by reference to the nature of the course of conduct or particular transaction or act, rather than by reference to its purpose." The Canadian Parliament enacted in 1982 an Act to Provide For State Immunity in Canadian Courts. The Act defines a "commercial activity" as any particular transaction, act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that by reason of its nature, is of a "commercial character." The restrictive theory, which is intended to be a solution to the host of problems involving the issue of sovereign immunity, has created problems of its own. Legal treatises and the decisions in countries which follow the restrictive theory have difficulty in characterizing whether a contract of a sovereign state with a private party is an act jure gestionis or an act jure imperii. The restrictive theory came about because of the entry of sovereign states into purely commercial activities remotely connected with the discharge of governmental functions. This is particularly true with respect to the Communist states which took control of nationalized business activities and international trading. This Court has considered the following transactions by a foreign state with private parties as acts jure imperii: (1) the lease by a foreign government of apartment buildings for use of its military officers (Syquia v. Lopez, 84 Phil. 312 [1949]; (2) the conduct of public bidding for the repair of a wharf at a United States Naval Station (United States of America v. Ruiz, supra.); and (3) the change of employment status of base employees (Sanders v. Veridiano, 162 SCRA 88 [1988]). On the other hand, this Court has considered the following transactions by a foreign state with private parties as acts jure gestionis: (1) the hiring of a cook in the recreation center, consisting of three restaurants, a cafeteria, a bakery, a store, and a coffee and pastry shop at the John Hay Air Station in Baguio City, to cater to American servicemen and the general public (United States of America v. Rodrigo, 182 SCRA 644 [1990]); and (2) the bidding for the operation of barber shops in Clark Air Base in Angeles City (United States of America v. Guinto, 182 SCRA 644 [1990]). The operation of the restaurants and other facilities open to the general public is undoubtedly for profit as a commercial and not a governmental activity. By entering into the employment contract with the cook in the discharge of its proprietary function, the United States government impliedly divested itself of its sovereign immunity from suit. In the absence of legislation defining what activities and transactions shall be considered "commercial" and as constituting acts jure gestionis, we have to come out with our own guidelines, tentative they may be.

59 Certainly, the mere entering into a contract by a foreign state with a private party cannot be the ultimate test. Such an act can only be the start of the inquiry. The logical question is whether the foreign state is engaged in the activity in the regular course of business. If the foreign state is not engaged regularly in a business or trade, the particular act or transaction must then be tested by its nature. If the act is in pursuit of a sovereign activity, or an incident thereof, then it is an act jure imperii, especially when it is not undertaken for gain or profit. As held in United States of America v. Guinto, (supra): There is no question that the United States of America, like any other state, will be deemed to have impliedly waived its non-suability if it has entered into a contract in its proprietary or private capacity. It is only when the contract involves its sovereign or governmental capacity that no such waiver may be implied. In the case at bench, if petitioner has bought and sold lands in the ordinary course of a real estate business, surely the said transaction can be categorized as an act jure gestionis. However, petitioner has denied that the acquisition and subsequent disposal of Lot 5-A were made for profit but claimed that it acquired said property for the site of its mission or the Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippines. Private respondent failed to dispute said claim. Lot 5-A was acquired by petitioner as a donation from the Archdiocese of Manila. The donation was made not for commercial purpose, but for the use of petitioner to construct thereon the official place of residence of the Papal Nuncio. The right of a foreign sovereign to acquire property, real or personal, in a receiving state, necessary for the creation and maintenance of its diplomatic mission, is recognized in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (Arts. 20-22). This treaty was concurred in by the Philippine Senate and entered into force in the Philippines on November 15, 1965. In Article 31(a) of the Convention, a diplomatic envoy is granted immunity from the civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving state over any real action relating to private immovable property situated in the territory of the receiving state which the envoy holds on behalf of the sending state for the purposes of the mission. If this immunity is provided for a diplomatic envoy, with all the more reason should immunity be recognized as regards the sovereign itself, which in this case is the Holy See. The decision to transfer the property and the subsequent disposal thereof are likewise clothed with a governmental character. Petitioner did not sell Lot 5-A for profit or gain. It merely wanted to dispose off the same because the squatters living thereon made it almost impossible for petitioner to use it for the purpose of the donation. The fact that squatters have occupied and are still occupying the lot, and that they stubbornly refuse to leave the premises, has been admitted by private respondent in its complaint (Rollo, pp. 26, 27). The issue of petitioner's non-suability can be determined by the trial court without going to trial in the light of the pleadings, particularly the admission of private respondent. Besides, the privilege of sovereign immunity in this case was sufficiently established by the Memorandum and Certification of the Department of Foreign Affairs. As the department tasked with the conduct of

60 the Philippines' foreign relations (Administrative Code of 1987, Book IV, Title I, Sec. 3), the Department of Foreign Affairs has formally intervened in this case and officially certified that the Embassy of the Holy See is a duly accredited diplomatic mission to the Republic of the Philippines exempt from local jurisdiction and entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities of a diplomatic mission or embassy in this country (Rollo, pp. 156-157). The determination of the executive arm of government that a state or instrumentality is entitled to sovereign or diplomatic immunity is a political question that is conclusive upon the courts (International Catholic Migration Commission v. Calleja, 190 SCRA 130 [1990]). Where the plea of immunity is recognized and affirmed by the executive branch, it is the duty of the courts to accept this claim so as not to embarrass the executive arm of the government in conducting the country's foreign relations (World Health Organization v. Aquino, 48 SCRA 242 [1972]). As in International Catholic Migration Commission and in World Health Organization, we abide by the certification of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Ordinarily, the procedure would be to remand the case and order the trial court to conduct a hearing to establish the facts alleged by petitioner in its motion. In view of said certification, such procedure would however be pointless and unduly circuitous (Ortigas & Co. Ltd. Partnership v. Judge Tirso Velasco, G.R. No. 109645, July 25, 1994). IV Private respondent is not left without any legal remedy for the redress of its grievances. Under both Public International Law and Transnational Law, a person who feels aggrieved by the acts of a foreign sovereign can ask his own government to espouse his cause through diplomatic channels. Private respondent can ask the Philippine government, through the Foreign Office, to espouse its claims against the Holy See. Its first task is to persuade the Philippine government to take up with the Holy See the validity of its claims. Of course, the Foreign Office shall first make a determination of the impact of its espousal on the relations between the Philippine government and the Holy See (Young, Remedies of Private Claimants Against Foreign States, Selected Readings on Protection by Law of Private Foreign Investments 905, 919 [1964]). Once the Philippine government decides to espouse the claim, the latter ceases to be a private cause. According to the Permanent Court of International Justice, the forerunner of the International Court of Justice: By taking up the case of one of its subjects and by reporting to diplomatic action or international judicial proceedings on his behalf, a State is in reality asserting its own rights its right to ensure, in the person of its subjects, respect for the rules of international law (The Mavrommatis Palestine Concessions, 1 Hudson, World Court Reports 293, 302 [1924]). WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is GRANTED and the complaint in Civil Case No. 90183 against petitioner is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

61

62

G.R. No. L-2662

March 26, 1949

SHIGENORI KURODA, petitioner, vs. Major General RAFAEL JALANDONI, Brigadier General CALIXTO DUQUE, Colonel MARGARITO TORALBA, Colonel IRENEO BUENCONSEJO, Colonel PEDRO TABUENA, Major FEDERICO ARANAS, MELVILLE S. HUSSEY and ROBERT PORT, respondents. Pedro Serran, Jose G. Lukban, and Liberato B. Cinco for petitioner. Fred Ruiz Castro Federico Arenas Mariano Yengco, Jr., Ricardo A. Arcilla and S. Melville Hussey for respondents. MORAN, C.J.: Shigenori Kuroda, formerly a Lieutenant-General of the Japanese Imperial Army and Commanding General of the Japanese Imperial Forces in The Philippines during a period covering 19433 and 19444 who is now charged before a military Commission convened by the Chief of Staff of the Armed forces of the Philippines with having unlawfully disregarded and failed "to discharge his duties as such command, permitting them to commit brutal atrocities and other high crimes against noncombatant civilians and prisoners of the Imperial Japanese Forces in violation of the laws and customs of war" comes before this Court seeking to establish the illegality of Executive Order No. 68 of the President of the Philippines: to enjoin and prohibit respondents Melville S. Hussey and Robert Port from participating in the prosecution of petitioner's case before the Military Commission and to permanently prohibit respondents from proceeding with the case of petitioners. In support of his case petitioner tenders the following principal arguments. First. "That Executive Order No. 68 is illegal on the ground that it violates not only the provision of our constitutional law but also our local laws to say nothing of the fact (that) the Philippines is not a signatory nor an adherent to the Hague Convention on Rules and Regulations covering Land Warfare and therefore petitioners is charged of 'crimes' not based on law, national and international." Hence petitioner argues "That in view off the fact that this commission has been empanelled by virtue of an unconstitutional law an illegal order this commission is without jurisdiction to try herein petitioner." Second. That the participation in the prosecution of the case against petitioner before the Commission in behalf of the United State of America of attorneys Melville Hussey and Robert Port who are not attorneys authorized by the Supreme Court to practice law in the Philippines is a diminution of our personality as an independent state and their appointment as prosecutor are a violation of our Constitution for the reason that they are not qualified to practice law in the Philippines.

63 Third. That Attorneys Hussey and Port have no personality as prosecution the United State not being a party in interest in the case. Executive Order No. 68, establishing a National War Crimes Office prescribing rule and regulation governing the trial of accused war criminals, was issued by the President of the Philippines on the 29th days of July, 1947 This Court holds that this order is valid and constitutional. Article 2 of our Constitution provides in its section 3, that The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy and adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the of the nation. In accordance with the generally accepted principle of international law of the present day including the Hague Convention the Geneva Convention and significant precedents of international jurisprudence established by the United Nation all those person military or civilian who have been guilty of planning preparing or waging a war of aggression and of the commission of crimes and offenses consequential and incidental thereto in violation of the laws and customs of war, of humanity and civilization are held accountable therefor. Consequently in the promulgation and enforcement of Execution Order No. 68 the President of the Philippines has acted in conformity with the generally accepted and policies of international law which are part of the our Constitution. The promulgation of said executive order is an exercise by the President of his power as Commander in chief of all our armed forces as upheld by this Court in the case of Yamashita vs. Styer (L-129, 42 Off. Gaz., 664) 1 when we said War is not ended simply because hostilities have ceased. After cessation of armed hostilities incident of war may remain pending which should be disposed of as in time of war. An importance incident to a conduct of war is the adoption of measure by the military command not only to repel and defeat the enemies but to seize and subject to disciplinary measure those enemies who in their attempt to thwart or impede our military effort have violated the law of war. (Ex parte Quirin 317 U.S., 1; 63 Sup. Ct., 2.) Indeed the power to create a military commission for the trial and punishment of war criminals is an aspect of waging war. And in the language of a writer a military commission has jurisdiction so long as a technical state of war continues. This includes the period of an armistice or military occupation up to the effective of a treaty of peace and may extend beyond by treaty agreement. (Cowles Trial of War Criminals by Military Tribunals, America Bar Association Journal June, 1944.) Consequently, the President as Commander in Chief is fully empowered to consummate this unfinished aspect of war namely the trial and punishment of war criminal through the issuance and enforcement of Executive Order No. 68. Petitioner argues that respondent Military Commission has no Jurisdiction to try petitioner for acts committed in violation of the Hague Convention and the Geneva Convention because the Philippines is not a signatory to the first and signed the second only in 1947. It cannot be denied that the rules and regulation of the Hague and Geneva conventions form, part of and are wholly

64 based on the generally accepted principals of international law. In facts these rules and principles were accepted by the two belligerent nation the United State and Japan who were signatories to the two Convention, Such rule and principles therefore form part of the law of our nation even if the Philippines was not a signatory to the conventions embodying them for our Constitution has been deliberately general and extensive in its scope and is not confined to the recognition of rule and principle of international law as continued inn treaties to which our government may have been or shall be a signatory. Furthermore when the crimes charged against petitioner were allegedly committed the Philippines was under the sovereignty of United States and thus we were equally bound together with the United States and with Japan to the right and obligation contained in the treaties between the belligerent countries. These rights and obligation were not erased by our assumption of full sovereignty. If at all our emergency as a free state entitles us to enforce the right on our own of trying and punishing those who committed crimes against crimes against our people. In this connection it is well to remember what we have said in the case of Laurel vs. Misa (76 Phil., 372): . . . The change of our form government from Commonwealth to Republic does not affect the prosecution of those charged with the crime of treason committed during then Commonwealth because it is an offense against the same sovereign people. . . . By the same token war crimes committed against our people and our government while we were a Commonwealth are triable and punishable by our present Republic. Petitioner challenges the participation of two American attorneys namely Melville S. Hussey and Robert Port in the prosecution of his case on the ground that said attorney's are not qualified to practice law in Philippines in accordance with our Rules of court and the appointment of said attorneys as prosecutors is violative of our national sovereignty. In the first place respondent Military Commission is a special military tribunal governed by a special law and not by the Rules of court which govern ordinary civil court. It has already been shown that Executive Order No. 68 which provides for the organization of such military commission is a valid and constitutional law. There is nothing in said executive order which requires that counsel appearing before said commission must be attorneys qualified to practice law in the Philippines in accordance with the Rules of Court. In facts it is common in military tribunals that counsel for the parties are usually military personnel who are neither attorneys nor even possessed of legal training. Secondly the appointment of the two American attorneys is not violative of our nation sovereignty. It is only fair and proper that United States, which has submitted the vindication of crimes against her government and her people to a tribunal of our nation should be allowed representation in the trial of those very crimes. If there has been any relinquishment of sovereignty it has not been by our government but by the United State Government which has yielded to us the trial and punishment of her enemies. The least that we could do in the spirit of comity is to allow them representation in said trials.

65 Alleging that the United State is not a party in interest in the case petitioner challenges the personality of attorneys Hussey and Port as prosecutors. It is of common knowledge that the United State and its people have been equally if not more greatly aggrieved by the crimes with which petitioner stands charged before the Military Commission. It can be considered a privilege for our Republic that a leader nation should submit the vindication of the honor of its citizens and its government to a military tribunal of our country. The Military Commission having been convened by virtue of a valid law with jurisdiction over the crimes charged which fall under the provisions of Executive Order No. 68, and having said petitioner in its custody, this Court will not interfere with the due process of such Military commission. For all the foregoing the petition is denied with costs de oficio.

66

ARTHUR D. LIM and PAULINO R. ERSANDO, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY as alter ego of HER EXCELLENCEY GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, and HONORABLE ANGELO REYES in his capacity as Secretary of National Defense, respondents. ---------------------------------------SANLAKAS and PARTIDO NG MANGGAGAWA, petitioners-intervenors, vs. GLORIA MACAPAGA-ARROYO, ALBERTO ROMULO, ANGELO REYES, respondents. DISSENTING OPINION SEPARATE OPINION

67 DE LEON, JR., J.: This case involves a petition for certiorari and prohibition as well as a petition-in-intervention, praying that respondents be restrained from proceeding with the so-called "Balikatan 02-1" and that after due notice and hearing, that judgment be rendered issuing a permanent writ of injunction and/or prohibition against the deployment of U.S. troops in Basilan and Mindanao for being illegal and in violation of the Constitution. The facts are as follows: Beginning January of this year 2002, personnel from the armed forces of the United States of America started arriving in Mindanao to take part, in conjunction with the Philippine military, in "Balikatan 02-1." These so-called "Balikatan" exercises are the largest combined training operations involving Filipino and American troops. In theory, they are a simulation of joint military maneuvers pursuant to the Mutual Defense Treaty,1 a bilateral defense agreement entered into by the Philippines and the United States in 1951. Prior to the year 2002, the last "Balikatan" was held in 1995. This was due to the paucity of any formal agreement relative to the treatment of United States personnel visiting the Philippines. In the meantime, the respective governments of the two countries agreed to hold joint exercises on a reduced scale. The lack of consensus was eventually cured when the two nations concluded the Visiting Forces Agreement (V FA) in 1999. The entry of American troops into Philippine soil is proximately rooted in the international antiterrorism campaign declared by President George W. Bush in reaction to the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001. On that day, three (3) commercial aircrafts were hijacked, flown and smashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. by terrorists with alleged links to the al-Qaeda ("the Base"), a Muslim extremist organization headed by the infamous Osama bin Laden. Of no comparable historical parallels, these acts caused billions of dollars worth of destruction of property and incalculable loss of hundreds of lives. On February 1, 2002, petitioners Arthur D. Lim and Paulino P. Ersando filed this petition for certiorari and prohibition, attacking the constitutionality of the joint exercise.2 They were joined subsequently by SANLAKAS and PARTIDO NG MANGGAGAWA, both party-Iist organizations, who filed a petition-in-intervention on February 11, 2002. Lim and Ersando filed suit in their capacities as citizens, lawyers and taxpayers. SANLAKAS and PARTIDO, on the other hand, aver that certain members of their organization are residents of Zamboanga and Sulu, and hence will be directly affected by the operations being conducted in Mindanao. They likewise pray for a relaxation on the rules relative to locus standi citing the unprecedented importance of the issue involved. On February 71 2002 the Senate conducted a hearing on the "Balikatan" exercise wherein VicePresident Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr., who is concurrently Secretary of Foreign. Affairs, presented

68 the Draft Terms of Reference (TOR).3 Five days later, he approved the TOR, which we quote hereunder: I. POLICY LEVEL 1. The Exercise shall be consistent with the Philippine Constitution and all its activities shall be in consonance with the laws of the land and the provisions of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). 2. The conduct of this training Exercise is in accordance with pertinent United Nations resolutions against global terrorism as understood by the respective parties. 3. No permanent US basing and support facilities shall be established. Temporary structures such as those for troop billeting, classroom instruction and messing may be set up for use by RP and US Forces during the Exercise. 4. The Exercise shall be implemented jointly by RP and US Exercise Co-Directors under the authority of the Chief of Staff, AFP. In no instance will US Forces operate independently during field training exercises (FTX). AFP and US Unit Commanders will retain command over their respective forces under the overall authority of the Exercise CoDirectors. RP and US participants shall comply with operational instructions of the AFP during the FTX. 5. The exercise shall be conducted and completed within a period of not more than six months, with the projected participation of 660 US personnel and 3,800 RP Forces. The Chief of Staff, AFP shall direct the Exercise Co-Directors to wind up and terminate the Exercise and other activities within the six month Exercise period. 6. The Exercise is a mutual counter-terrorism advising, assisting and training Exercise relative to Philippine efforts against the ASG, and will be conducted on the Island of Basilan. Further advising, assisting and training exercises shall be conducted in Malagutay and the Zamboanga area. Related activities in Cebu will be for support of the Exercise. 7. Only 160 US Forces organized in 12-man Special Forces Teams shall be deployed with AFP field, commanders. The US teams shall remain at the Battalion Headquarters and, when approved, Company Tactical headquarters where they can observe and assess the performance of the AFP Forces. 8. US exercise participants shall not engage in combat, without prejudice to their right of self-defense. 9. These terms of Reference are for purposes of this Exercise only and do not create additional legal obligations between the US Government and the Republic of the Philippines. II. EXERCISE LEVEL

69 1. TRAINING a. The Exercise shall involve the conduct of mutual military assisting, advising and training of RP and US Forces with the primary objective of enhancing the operational capabilities of both forces to combat terrorism. b. At no time shall US Forces operate independently within RP territory. c. Flight plans of all aircraft involved in the exercise will comply with the local air traffic regulations. 2. ADMINISTRATION & LOGISTICS a. RP and US participants shall be given a country and area briefing at the start of the Exercise. This briefing shall acquaint US Forces on the culture and sensitivities of the Filipinos and the provisions of the VF A. The briefing shall also promote the full cooperation on the part of the RP and US participants for the successful conduct of the Exercise. b. RP and US participating forces may share, in accordance with their respective laws and regulations, in the use of their resources, equipment and other assets. They will use their respective logistics channels. c. Medical evaluation shall be jointly planned and executed utilizing RP and US assets and resources. d. Legal liaison officers from each respective party shall be appointed by the Exercise Directors. 3. PUBLIC AFFAIRS a. Combined RP-US Information Bureaus shall be established at the Exercise Directorate in Zamboanga City and at GHQ, AFP in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. b. Local media relations will be the concern of the AFP and all public affairs guidelines shall be jointly developed by RP and US Forces. c. Socio-Economic Assistance Projects shall be planned and executed jointly by RP and US Forces in accordance with their respective laws and regulations, and in consultation with community and local government officials. Contemporaneously, Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Minerva Jean A. Falcon and United States Charge d' Affaires Robert Fitts signed the Agreed Minutes of the discussion between the Vice-President and Assistant Secretary Kelly.4

70 Petitioners Lim and Ersando present the following arguments: I THE PHILIPPINES AND THE UNITED STATES SIGNED THE MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY (MDT) in 1951 TO PROVIDE MUTUAL MILITARY ASSIST ANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE 'CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESSE-S' OF EACH COUNTRY ONLY IN THE CASE OF AN ARMED ATTACK BY AN EXTERNAL AGGRESSOR, MEANING A THIRD COUNTRY AGAINST ONE OF THEM. BY NO STRETCH OF THE IMAGINA TION CAN IT BE SAID THAT THE ABU SAYYAF BANDITS IN BASILAN CONSTITUTE AN EXTERNAL ARMED FORCE THAT HAS SUBJECT THE PHILIPPINES TO AN ARMED EXTERNAL ATTACK TO WARRANT U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE UNDER THE MDT OF 1951. II NEITHER DOES THE VFA OF 1999 AUTHORIZE AMERICAN SOLDIERS TO ENGAGE IN COMBAT OPERATIONS IN PHILIPPINE TERRITORY, NOT EVEN TO FIRE BACK "IF FIRED UPON". Substantially the same points are advanced by petitioners SANLAKAS and PARTIDO. In his Comment, the Solicitor General points to infirmities in the petitions regarding, inter alia, Lim and Ersando's standing to file suit, the prematurity of the action, as well as the impropriety of availing of certiorari to ascertain a question of fact. Anent their locus standi, the Solicitor General argues that first, they may not file suit in their capacities as, taxpayers inasmuch as it has not been shown that "Balikatan 02-1 " involves the exercise of Congress' taxing or spending powers. Second, their being lawyers does not invest them with sufficient personality to initiate the case, citing our ruling in Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora.5 Third, Lim and Ersando have failed to demonstrate the requisite showing of direct personal injury. We agree. It is also contended that the petitioners are indulging in speculation. The Solicitor General is of the view that since the Terms of Reference are clear as to the extent and duration of "Balikatan 02-1," the issues raised by petitioners are premature, as they are based only on a fear of future violation of the Terms of Reference. Even petitioners' resort to a special civil action for certiorari is assailed on the ground that the writ may only issue on the basis of established facts. Apart from these threshold issues, the Solicitor General claims that there is actually no question of constitutionality involved. The true object of the instant suit, it is said, is to obtain an interpretation of the V FA. The Solicitor General asks that we accord due deference to the executive determination that "Balikatan 02-1" is covered by the VFA, considering the President's monopoly in the field of foreign relations and her role as commander-in-chief of the Philippine armed forces. Given the primordial importance of the issue involved, it will suffice to reiterate our view on this point in a related case:

71 Notwithstanding, in view of the paramount importance and the constitutional significance of the issues raised in the petitions, this Court, in the exercise of its sound discretion, brushes aside the procedural barrier and takes cognizance of the petitions, as we have done in the early Emergency Powers Cases, where we had occasion to rule: 'x x x ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders issued by President Quirino although they were involving only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. The Court dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that 'transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure.' We have since then applied the exception in many other cases. [citation omitted] This principle was reiterated in the subsequent cases of Gonzales vs. COMELEC, Daza vs. Singson, and Basco vs. Phil, Amusement and Gaming Corporation, where we emphatically held: Considering however the importance to the public of the case at bar, and in keeping with the Court's duty, under the 1987 Constitution, to determine whether or not the other branches of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws that they have not abused the discretion given to them, the Court has brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of this petition. xxx' Again, in the more recent case of Kilosbayan vs. Guingona, Jr., this Court ruled that in cases of transcendental importance, the Court may relax the standing requirements and allow a suit to prosper even where there is no direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review. Although courts generally avoid having to decide a constitutional question based on the doctrine of separation of powers, which enjoins upon the department of the government a becoming respect for each other's act, this Court nevertheless resolves to take cognizance of the instant petition.6 Hence, we treat with similar dispatch the general objection to the supposed prematurity of the action. At any rate, petitioners' concerns on the lack of any specific regulation on the latitude of activity US personnel may undertake and the duration of their stay has been addressed in the Terms of Reference. The holding of "Balikatan 02-1" must be studied in the framework of the treaty antecedents to which the Philippines bound itself. The first of these is the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT, for brevity). The MDT has been described as the "core" of the defense relationship between the Philippines and its traditional ally, the United States. Its aim is to enhance the strategic and technological capabilities of our armed forces through joint training with its American

72 counterparts; the "Balikatan" is the largest such training exercise directly supporting the MDT's objectives. It is this treaty to which the V FA adverts and the obligations thereunder which it seeks to reaffirm. The lapse of the US-Philippine Bases Agreement in 1992 and the decision not to renew it created a vacuum in US-Philippine defense relations, that is, until it was replaced by the Visiting Forces Agreement. It should be recalled that on October 10, 2000, by a vote of eleven to three, this Court upheld the validity of the VFA.7 The V FA provides the "regulatory mechanism" by which "United States military and civilian personnel [may visit] temporarily in the Philippines in connection with activities approved by the Philippine Government." It contains provisions relative to entry and departure of American personnel, driving and vehicle registration, criminal jurisdiction, claims, importation and exportation, movement of vessels and aircraft, as well as the duration of the agreement and its termination. It is the VFA which gives continued relevance to the MDT despite the passage of years. Its primary goal is to facilitate the promotion of optimal cooperation between American and Philippine military forces in the event of an attack by a common foe. The first question that should be addressed is whether "Balikatan 02-1" is covered by the Visiting Forces Agreement. To resolve this, it is necessary to refer to the V FA itself: Not much help can be had therefrom, unfortunately, since the terminology employed is itself the source of the problem. The VFA permits United States personnel to engage, on an impermanent basis, in "activities," the exact meaning of which was left undefined. The expression is ambiguous, permitting a wide scope of undertakings subject only to the approval of the Philippine government.8 The sole encumbrance placed on its definition is couched in the negative, in that United States personnel must "abstain from any activity inconsistent with the spirit of this agreement, and in particular, from any political activity."9 All other activities, in other words, are fair game. We are not left completely unaided, however. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which contains provisos governing interpretations of international agreements, state: SECTION 3. INTERPRETATION OF TREATIES Article 31 General rule of interpretation 1. A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith ill accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the tenus of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose. 2. The context for the purpose of the interpretation of a treaty shall comprise, in addition to the text, including its preamble and annexes: (a) any agreement relating to the treaty which was made between all the parties in connexion with the conclusion of the treaty;

73 (b) any instrument which was made by one or more parties in connexion with the conclusion of the treaty and accepted by the other parties as an instrument related to the party . 3. There shall be taken into account, together with the context: (a) any subsequent agreement between the parties regarding the interpretation of the treaty or the application of its provisions; (b) any subsequent practice in the application of the treaty which establishes the agreement of the parties regarding its interpretation; (c) any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties. 4. A special meaning shall be given to a term if it is established that the parties so intended. Article 32 Supplementary means of interpretation Recourse may be had to supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning resulting from the application of article 31, or to determine the meaning when the interpretation according to article 31 : (a) leaves the meaning ambiguous or obscure; or (b) leads to a result which is manifestly absurd unreasonable. It is clear from the foregoing that the cardinal rule of interpretation must involve an examination of the text, which is presumed to verbalize the parties' intentions. The Convention likewise dictates what may be used as aids to deduce the meaning of terms, which it refers to as the context of the treaty, as well as other elements may be taken into account alongside the aforesaid context. As explained by a writer on the Convention , [t]he Commission's proposals (which were adopted virtually without change by the conference and are now reflected in Articles 31 and 32 of the Convention) were clearly based on the view that the text of a treaty must be presumed to be the authentic expression of the intentions of the parties; the Commission accordingly came down firmly in favour of the view that 'the starting point of interpretation is the elucidation of the meaning of the text, not an investigation ab initio into the intentions of the parties'. This is not to say that the travauxpreparatoires of a treaty , or the circumstances of its conclusion, are relegated to a subordinate, and wholly ineffective, role. As Professor Briggs points out, no rigid temporal prohibition on resort to travaux preparatoires of a treaty was intended by the use of the phrase 'supplementary means of interpretation' in what is now Article 32 of the

74 Vienna Convention. The distinction between the general rule of interpretation and the supplementary means of interpretation is intended rather to ensure that the supplementary means do not constitute an alternative, autonomous method of interpretation divorced from the general rule.10 The Terms of Reference rightly fall within the context of the VFA. After studied reflection, it appeared farfetched that the ambiguity surrounding the meaning of the word .'activities" arose from accident. In our view, it was deliberately made that way to give both parties a certain leeway in negotiation. In this manner, visiting US forces may sojourn in Philippine territory for purposes other than military. As conceived, the joint exercises may include training on new techniques of patrol and surveillance to protect the nation's marine resources, sea search-and-rescue operations to assist vessels in distress, disaster relief operations, civic action projects such as the building of school houses, medical and humanitarian missions, and the like. Under these auspices, the VFA gives legitimacy to the current Balikatan exercises. It is only logical to assume that .'Balikatan 02-1," a "mutual anti- terrorism advising, assisting and training exercise," falls under the umbrella of sanctioned or allowable activities in the context of the agreement. Both the history and intent of the Mutual Defense Treaty and the V FA support the conclusion that combat-related activities -as opposed to combat itself -such as the one subject of the instant petition, are indeed authorized. That is not the end of the matter, though. Granted that "Balikatan 02-1" is permitted under the terms of the VFA, what may US forces legitimately do in furtherance of their aim to provide advice, assistance and training in the global effort against terrorism? Differently phrased, may American troops actually engage in combat in Philippine territory? The Terms of Reference are explicit enough. Paragraph 8 of section I stipulates that US exercise participants may not engage in combat "except in self-defense." We wryly note that this sentiment is admirable in the abstract but difficult in implementation. The target of "Balikatan 02-1 I" the Abu Sayyaf, cannot reasonably be expected to sit idly while the battle is brought to their very doorstep. They cannot be expected to pick and choose their targets for they will not have the luxury of doing so. We state this point if only to signify our awareness that the parties straddle a fine line, observing the honored legal maxim "Nemo potest facere per alium quod non potest facere per directum."11 The indirect violation is actually petitioners' worry, that in reality, "Balikatan 02-1 " is actually a war principally conducted by the United States government, and that the provision on self-defense serves only as camouflage to conceal the true nature of the exercise. A clear pronouncement on this matter thereby becomes crucial. In our considered opinion, neither the MDT nor the V FA allow foreign troops to engage in an offensive war on Philippine territory. We bear in mind the salutary proscription stated in the Charter of the United Nations, to wit: Article 2 The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

75 xxx xxx xxx xxx

4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. xxx xxx xxx xxx

In the same manner, both the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement, as in all other treaties and international agreements to which the Philippines is a party, must be read in the context of the 1987 Constitution. In particular, the Mutual Defense Treaty was concluded way before the present Charter, though it nevertheless remains in effect as a valid source of international obligation. The present Constitution contains key provisions useful in determining the extent to which foreign military troops are allowed in Philippine territory. Thus, in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, it is provided that: xxx xxx xxx xxx

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

SEC. 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self- determination. SEC. 8. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in the country. xxx xxx xxx xxx

The Constitution also regulates the foreign relations powers of the Chief Executive when it provides that "[n]o treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate."12 Even more pointedly, the Transitory Provisions state: Sec. 25. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting state.

76 The aforequoted provisions betray a marked antipathy towards foreign military presence in the country, or of foreign influence in general. Hence, foreign troops are allowed entry into the Philippines only by way of direct exception. Conflict arises then between the fundamental law and our obligations arising from international agreements. A rather recent formulation of the relation of international law vis-a-vis municipal law was expressed in Philip Morris, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,13 to wit: xxx Withal, the fact that international law has been made part of the law of the land does not by any means imply the primacy of international law over national law in the municipal sphere. Under the doctrine of incorporation as applied in most countries, rules of international law are given a standing equal, not superior, to national legislation. This is not exactly helpful in solving the problem at hand since in trying to find a middle ground, it favors neither one law nor the other, which only leaves the hapless seeker with an unsolved dilemma. Other more traditional approaches may offer valuable insights. From the perspective of public international law, a treaty is favored over municipal law pursuant to the principle ofpacta sunt servanda. Hence, "[e]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith."14 Further, a party to a treaty is not allowed to "invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty."15 Our Constitution espouses the opposing view. Witness our jurisdiction as I stated in section 5 of Article VIII: The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxx xxx xxx xxx

(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and order of lower courts in: (A) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. xxx xxx xxx xxx

In Ichong v. Hernandez,16 we ruled that the provisions of a treaty are always subject to qualification or amendment by a subsequent law, or that it is subject to the police power of the State. In Gonzales v. Hechanova,17 xxx As regards the question whether an international agreement may be invalidated by our courts, suffice it to say that the Constitution of the Philippines has clearly settled it in the affirmative, by providing, in Section 2 of Article VIII thereof, that the Supreme Court may not be deprived "of its jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal,

77 certiorari, or writ of error as the law or the rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in -( I) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of anytreaty, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question." In other words, our Constitution authorizes the nullification of a treaty, not only when it conflicts with the fundamental law, but, also, when it runs counter to an act of Congress. The foregoing premises leave us no doubt that US forces are prohibited / from engaging in an offensive war on Philippine territory. Yet a nagging question remains: are American troops actively engaged in combat alongside Filipino soldiers under the guise of an alleged training and assistance exercise? Contrary to what petitioners would have us do, we cannot take judicial notice of the events transpiring down south,18 as reported from the saturation coverage of the media. As a rule, we do not take cognizance of newspaper or electronic reports per se, not because of any issue as to their truth, accuracy, or impartiality, but for the simple reason that facts must be established in accordance with the rules of evidence. As a result, we cannot accept, in the absence of concrete proof, petitioners' allegation that the Arroyo government is engaged in "doublespeak" in trying to pass off as a mere training exercise an offensive effort by foreign troops on native soil. The petitions invite us to speculate on what is really happening in Mindanao, to issue I make factual findings on matters well beyond our immediate perception, and this we are understandably loath to do. It is all too apparent that the determination thereof involves basically a question of fact. On this point, we must concur with the Solicitor General that the present subject matter is not a fit topic for a special civil action forcertiorari. We have held in too many instances that questions of fact are not entertained in such a remedy. The sole object of the writ is to correct errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion: The phrase "grave abuse of discretion" has a precise meaning in law, denoting abuse of discretion "too patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty, or a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or act in contemplation of law, or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and personal hostility."19 In this connection, it will not be amiss to add that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts.20 Under the expanded concept of judicial power under the Constitution, courts are charged with the duty "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government." 21 From the facts obtaining, we find that the holding of "Balikatan 02-1" joint military exercise has not intruded into that penumbra of error that would otherwise call for correction on our part. In other words, respondents in the case at bar have not committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. WHEREFORE, the petition and the petition-in-intervention are hereby DISMISSED without prejudice to the filing of a new petition sufficient in form and substance in the proper Regional Trial Court. SO ORDERED.

78

BERNARDITA R. MACARIOLA, complainant, vs. HONORABLE ELIAS B. ASUNCION, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, respondent. MAKASIAR, J:In a verified complaint dated August 6, 1968 Bernardita R. Macariola charged respondent Judge Elias B. Asuncion of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, with "acts unbecoming a judge." , J.: In a verified complaint dated August 6, 1968 Bernardita R. Macariola charged respondent Judge Elias B. Asuncion of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, with "acts unbecoming a judge." The factual setting of the case is stated in the report dated May 27, 1971 of then Associate Justice Cecilia Mu? Palma of the Court of Appeals now retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, oz to whom this case was referred on October 28, 1968 for investigation, thus:

79

Civil Case No. 3010 of the Court of First Instance of Leyte was a complaint for partition filed by Sinforosa R. Bales, Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes, and Priscilla Reyes, plaintiffs, against Bernardita R. Macariola, defendant, concerning the properties left by the deceased Francisco Reyes, the common father of the plaintiff and defendant. In her defenses to the complaint for partition, Mrs. Macariola alleged among other things that; a) plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales was not a daughter of the deceased Francisco Reyes; b) the only legal heirs of the deceased were defendant Macariola, she being the only offspring of the first marriage of Francisco Reyes with Felisa Espiras, and the remaining plaintiffs who were the children of the deceased by his second marriage with Irene Ondez; c) the properties left by the deceased were all the conjugal properties of the latter and his first wife, Felisa Espiras, and no properties were acquired by the deceased during his second marriage; d) if there was any partition to be made, those conjugal properties should first be partitioned into two parts, and one part is to be adjudicated solely to defendant it being the share of the latter's deceased mother, Felisa Espiras, and the other half which is the share of the deceased Francisco Reyes was to be divided equally among his children by his two marriages. On June 8, 1963, a decision was rendered by respondent Judge Asuncion in Civil Case 3010, the dispositive portion of which reads: IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court, upon a preponderance of evidence, finds and so holds, and hereby renders judgment (1) Declaring the plaintiffs Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes as the only children legitimated by the subsequent marriage of Francisco Reyes Diaz to Irene Ondez; (2) Declaring the plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales to have been an illegitimate child of Francisco Reyes Diaz; (3) Declaring Lots Nos. 4474, 4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506 and 1/4 of Lot 1145 as belonging to the conjugal partnership of the spouses Francisco Reyes Diaz and Felisa Espiras; (4) Declaring Lot No. 2304 and 1/4 of Lot No. 3416 as belonging to the spouses Francisco Reyes Diaz and Irene Ondez in common partnership; (5) Declaring that 1/2 of Lot No. 1184 as belonging exclusively to the deceased Francisco Reyes Diaz; (6) Declaring the defendant Bernardita R. Macariola, being the only legal and forced heir of her mother Felisa Espiras, as the exclusive owner of one-half of each of Lots Nos. 4474, 4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506; and the remaining one-half (1/2) of each of said Lots Nos. 4474, 4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506 and one-half (1/2) of one-fourth (1/4) of Lot No. 1154 as belonging to the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz; (7) Declaring Irene Ondez to be the exclusive owner of one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 2304 and one-half (1/2) of one-fourth (1/4) of Lot No. 3416; the remaining one-half (1/2) of Lot 2304 and the remaining one-half (1/2) of onefourth (1/4) of Lot No. 3416 as belonging to the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz; (8) Directing the division or partition of the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz in such a manner as to give or grant to Irene Ondez, as surviving widow of Francisco Reyes Diaz, a hereditary share of. one-twelfth (1/12) of the whole estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz (Art. 996 in relation to Art. 892, par 2, New Civil Code), and the remaining portion of the estate to be divided among the plaintiffs Sinforosa R. Bales, Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes, Priscilla Reyes and defendant Bernardita R. Macariola, in such a way that the extent of the total share of plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales in the hereditary estate shall not exceed the equivalent of two-fifth (2/5) of the total share of any or each of the other plaintiffs and the defendant (Art. 983, New Civil Code), each

80 of the latter to receive equal shares from the hereditary estate, (Ramirez vs. Bautista, 14 Phil. 528; Diancin vs. Bishop of Jaro, O.G. [3rd Ed.] p. 33); (9) Directing the parties, within thirty days after this judgment shall have become final to submit to this court, for approval a project of partition of the hereditary estate in the proportion above indicated, and in such manner as the parties may, by agreement, deemed convenient and equitable to them taking into consideration the location, kind, quality, nature and value of the properties involved; (10) Directing the plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales and defendant Bernardita R. Macariola to pay the costs of this suit, in the proportion of one-third (1/3) by the first named and two-thirds (2/3) by the second named; and (I 1) Dismissing all other claims of the parties [pp 27-29 of Exh. C]. The decision in civil case 3010 became final for lack of an appeal, and on October 16, 1963, a project of partition was submitted to Judge Asuncion which is marked Exh. A. Notwithstanding the fact that the project of partition was not signed by the parties themselves but only by the respective counsel of plaintiffs and defendant, Judge Asuncion approved it in his Order dated October 23, 1963, which for convenience is quoted hereunder in full: The parties, through their respective counsels, presented to this Court for approval the following project of partition: COMES NOW, the plaintiffs and the defendant in the above-entitled case, to this Honorable Court respectfully submit the following Project of Partition: l. The whole of Lots Nos. 1154, 2304 and 4506 shall belong exclusively to Bernardita Reyes Macariola; 2. A portion of Lot No. 3416 consisting of 2,373.49 square meters along the eastern part of the lot shall be awarded likewise to Bernardita R. Macariola; 3. Lots Nos. 4803, 4892 and 5265 shall be awarded to Sinforosa Reyes Bales; 4. A portion of Lot No. 3416 consisting of 1,834.55 square meters along the western part of the lot shall likewise be awarded to Sinforosa Reyes-Bales; 5. Lots Nos. 4474 and 4475 shall be divided equally among Luz Reyes Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes in equal shares; 6. Lot No. 1184 and the remaining portion of Lot No. 3416 after taking the portions awarded under item (2) and (4) above shall be awarded to Luz Reyes Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes in equal shares, provided, however that the remaining portion of Lot No. 3416 shall belong exclusively to Priscilla Reyes. WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the Project of Partition indicated above which is made in accordance with the decision of the Honorable Court be approved. Tacloban City, October 16, 1963.

81 (SGD) (SGD) BONIFACIO ZOTICO A. RAMO TOLETE Atty. Atty. for for the the Defendant Plaintiff Tacloban Tacloban City City

While the Court thought it more desirable for all the parties to have signed this Project of Partition, nevertheless, upon assurance of both counsels of the respective parties to this Court that the Project of Partition, as above- quoted, had been made after a conference and agreement of the plaintiffs and the defendant approving the above Project of Partition, and that both lawyers had represented to the Court that they are given full authority to sign by themselves the Project of Partition, the Court, therefore, finding the above-quoted Project of Partition to be in accordance with law, hereby approves the same. The parties, therefore, are directed to execute such papers, documents or instrument sufficient in form and substance for the vesting of the rights, interests and participations which were adjudicated to the respective parties, as outlined in the Project of Partition and the delivery of the respective properties adjudicated to each one in view of said Project of Partition, and to perform such other acts as are legal and necessary to effectuate the said Project of Partition. SO Given (SGD) EXH. in Tacloban ELIAS City, this B. 23rd day of ORDERED. October, 1963. Judge B.

ASUNCION

The above Order of October 23, 1963, was amended on November 11, 1963, only for the purpose of giving authority to the Register of Deeds of the Province of Leyte to issue the corresponding transfer certificates of title to the respective adjudicatees in conformity with the project of partition (see Exh. U) qtHSkkUfT. One of the properties mentioned in the project of partition was Lot 1184 or rather one-half thereof with an area of 15,162.5 sq. meters. This lot, which according to the decision was the exclusive property of the deceased Francisco Reyes, was adjudicated in said project of partition to the plaintiffs Luz, Anacorita Ruperto, Adela, and Priscilla all surnamed Reyes in equal shares, and when the project of partition was approved by the trial court the adjudicatees caused Lot 1184 to be subdivided into five lots denominated as Lot 1184-A to 1184-E inclusive (Exh. V). Lot 1184-D was conveyed to Enriqueta D. Anota, a stenographer in Judge Asuncion's court (Exhs. F, F-1 and V-1), while Lot 1184-E which had an area of 2,172.5556 sq. meters was sold on July 31, 1964 to Dr. Arcadio Galapon (Exh. 2) who was issued transfer certificate of title No. 2338 of the Register of Deeds of the city of Tacloban (Exh. 12). On March 6, 1965, Dr. Arcadio Galapon and his wife Sold a portion of Lot 1184-E with an area of around 1,306 sq. meters to Judge Asuncion and his wife, Victoria S. Asuncion (Exh. 11), which particular portion was declared by the latter for taxation purposes (Exh. F). On August 31, 1966, spouses Asuncion and spouses Galapon conveyed their respective shares and

82 interest in Lot 1184-E to "The Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries Inc." (Exit 15 & 16). At the time of said sale the stockholders of the corporation were Dominador Arigpa Tan, Humilia Jalandoni Tan, Jaime Arigpa Tan, Judge Asuncion, and the latter's wife, Victoria S. Asuncion, with Judge Asuncion as the President and Mrs. Asuncion as the secretary (Exhs. E-4 to E-7). The Articles of Incorporation of "The Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc." which we shall henceforth refer to as "TRADERS" were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission only on January 9, 1967 (Exh. E) [pp. 378-385, rec.]. Complainant Bernardita R. Macariola filed on August 9, 1968 the instant complaint dated August 6, 1968 alleging four causes of action, to wit: [1] that respondent Judge Asuncion violated Article 1491, paragraph 5, of the New Civil Code in acquiring by purchase a portion of Lot No. 1184-E which was one of those properties involved in Civil Case No. 3010 decided by him; [2] that he likewise violated Article 14, paragraphs I and 5 of the Code of Commerce, Section 3, paragraph H, of R.A. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules, and Canon 25 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics, by associating himself with the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., as a stockholder and a ranking officer while he was a judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte; [3] that respondent was guilty of coddling an impostor and acted in disregard of judicial decorum by closely fraternizing with a certain Dominador Arigpa Tan who openly and publicly advertised himself as a practising attorney when in truth and in fact his name does not appear in the Rolls of Attorneys and is not a member of the Philippine Bar; and [4] that there was a culpable defiance of the law and utter disregard for ethics by respondent Judge (pp. 1-7, rec.). Respondent Judge Asuncion filed on September 24, 1968 his answer to which a reply was filed on October 16, 1968 by herein complainant. In Our resolution of October 28, 1968, We referred this case to then Justice Cecilia Mu? Palma of the Court of Appeals, for investigation, report and oz recommendation. After hearing, the said Investigating Justice submitted her report dated May 27, 1971 recommending that respondent Judge should be reprimanded or warned in connection with the first cause of action alleged in the complaint, and for the second cause of action, respondent should be warned in case of a finding that he is prohibited under the law to engage in business. On the third and fourth causes of action, Justice Palma recommended that respondent Judge be exonerated. The records also reveal that on or about November 9 or 11, 1968 (pp. 481, 477, rec.), complainant herein instituted an action before the Court of First Instance of Leyte, entitled "Bernardita R. Macariola, plaintiff, versus Sinforosa R. Bales, et al., defendants," which was docketed as Civil Case No. 4235, seeking the annulment of the project of partition made pursuant to the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 and the two orders issued by respondent Judge approving the same, as well as the partition of the estate and the subsequent conveyances with damages. It appears, however, that some defendants were dropped from the civil case. For one, the case against Dr. Arcadio Galapon was dismissed because he was no longer a real party in interest when Civil Case No. 4234 was filed, having already conveyed on March 6, 1965 a portion of lot 1184-E to respondent Judge and on August 31, 1966 the remainder was sold to the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. Similarly, the case against defendant Victoria Asuncion was dismissed on the ground that she was no longer a real party in interest at the time the aforesaid Civil Case No. 4234 was filed as the portion of Lot 1184 acquired by her and respondent Judge from Dr. Arcadio Galapon was already

83 sold on August 31, 1966 to the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing industries, Inc. Likewise, the cases against defendants Serafin P. Ramento, Catalina Cabus, Ben Barraza Go, Jesus Perez, Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., Alfredo R. Celestial and Pilar P. Celestial, Leopoldo Petilla and Remedios Petilla, Salvador Anota and Enriqueta Anota and Atty. Zotico A. Tolete were dismissed with the conformity of complainant herein, plaintiff therein, and her counsel. On November 2, 1970, Judge Jose D. Nepomuceno of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, who was directed and authorized on June 2, 1969 by the then Secretary (now Minister) of Justice and now Minister of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile to hear and decide Civil Case No. 4234, rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: A. IN THE CASE AGAINST JUDGE ELIAS B. ASUNCION

(1) declaring that only Branch IV of the Court of First Instance of Leyte has jurisdiction to take cognizance of the issue of the legality and validity of the Project of Partition [Exhibit "B"] and the two Orders [Exhibits "C" and "C3"] approving the partition; (2) dismissing the complaint against Judge Elias B. Asuncion;

(3) adjudging the plaintiff, Mrs. Bernardita R. Macariola to pay defendant Judge Elias B. Asuncion, (a) the sum of FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS [P400,000.00] for moral damages; (b) the sum of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS [P200,000.001 for exemplary damages; (c) the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS [P50,000.00] for nominal damages; and (d) he sum of TEN THOUSAND PESOS [PI0,000.00] for Attorney's Fees.

B. IN THE CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT MARIQUITA VILLASIN, FOR HERSELF AND FOR THE HEIRS OF THE DECEASED GERARDO VILLASIN ? (1) Dismissing the complaint against the defendants Mariquita Villasin and the heirs of the deceased Gerardo Villasin; (2) Directing the plaintiff to pay the defendants Mariquita Villasin and the heirs of Gerardo Villasin the cost of the suit. C. IN THE CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT SINFOROSA R. BALES, ET AL., WHO WERE PLAINTIFFS IN CIVIL CASE NO. 3010 ? (1) Dismissing the complaint against defendants Sinforosa R. Bales, Adela R. Herrer, Priscilla R. Solis, Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita R. Eng and Ruperto O. Reyes.

84 D. (1) IN THE Dismissing CASE the AGAINST DEFENDANT against BONIFACIO Bonifacio RAMO ?

complaint

Ramo;

(2) Directing the plaintiff to pay the defendant Bonifacio Ramo the cost of the suit. SO ORDERED [pp. 531-533, rec.]

It is further disclosed by the record that the aforesaid decision was elevated to the Court of Appeals upon perfection of the appeal on February 22, 1971. I WE find that there is no merit in the contention of complainant Bernardita R. Macariola, under her first cause of action, that respondent Judge Elias B. Asuncion violated Article 1491, paragraph 5, of the New Civil Code in acquiring by purchase a portion of Lot No. 1184-E which was one of those properties involved in Civil Case No. 3010. 'That Article provides: Article 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or judicial action, either in person or through the mediation of another: xxx xxx xxx

(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of superior and inferior courts, and other officers and employees connected with the administration of justice, the property and rights in litigation or levied upon an execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their respective functions; this prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their profession [emphasis supplied]. The prohibition in the aforesaid Article applies only to the sale or assignment of the property which is the subject of litigation to the persons disqualified therein. WE have already ruled that "... for the prohibition to operate, the sale or assignment of the property must take place during the pendency of the litigation involving the property" (The Director of Lands vs. Ababa et al., 88 SCRA 513, 519 [1979], Rosario vda. de Laig vs. Court of Appeals, 86 SCRA 641, 646 [1978]). In the case at bar, when the respondent Judge purchased on March 6, 1965 a portion of Lot 1184E, the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 which he rendered on June 8, 1963 was already final because none of the parties therein filed an appeal within the reglementary period; hence, the lot in question was no longer subject of the litigation. Moreover, at the time of the sale on March 6, 1965, respondent's order dated October 23, 1963 and the amended order dated November 11, 1963 approving the October 16, 1963 project of partition made pursuant to the June 8, 1963 decision, had long become final for there was no appeal from said orders. Furthermore, respondent Judge did not buy the lot in question on March 6, 1965 directly from the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 3010 but from Dr. Arcadio Galapon who earlier purchased on July 31,

85 1964 Lot 1184-E from three of the plaintiffs, namely, Priscilla Reyes, Adela Reyes, and Luz R. Bakunawa after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010. It may be recalled that Lot 1184 or more specifically one-half thereof was adjudicated in equal shares to Priscilla Reyes, Adela Reyes, Luz Bakunawa, Ruperto Reyes and Anacorita Reyes in the project of partition, and the same was subdivided into five lots denominated as Lot 1184-A to 1184-E. As aforestated, Lot 1184-E was sold on July 31, 1964 to Dr. Galapon for which he was issued TCT No. 2338 by the Register of Deeds of Tacloban City, and on March 6, 1965 he sold a portion of said lot to respondent Judge and his wife who declared the same for taxation purposes only. The subsequent sale on August 31, 1966 by spouses Asuncion and spouses Galapon of their respective shares and interest in said Lot 1184-E to the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., in which respondent was the president and his wife was the secretary, took place long after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 and of the subsequent two aforesaid orders therein approving the project of partition. While it appears that complainant herein filed on or about November 9 or 11, 1968 an action before the Court of First Instance of Leyte docketed as Civil Case No. 4234, seeking to annul the project of partition and the two orders approving the same, as well as the partition of the estate and the subsequent conveyances, the same, however, is of no moment. The fact remains that respondent Judge purchased on March 6, 1965 a portion of Lot 1184-E from Dr. Arcadio Galapon; hence, after the finality of the decision which he rendered on June 8, 1963 in Civil Case No. 3010 and his two questioned orders dated October 23, 1963 and November 11, 1963. Therefore, the property was no longer subject of litigation. The subsequent filing on November 9, or 11, 1968 of Civil Case No. 4234 can no longer alter, change or affect the aforesaid facts ? that the questioned sale to respondent Judge, now Court of Appeals Justice, was effected and consummated long after the finality of the aforesaid decision or orders. Consequently, the sale of a portion of Lot 1184-E to respondent Judge having taken place over one year after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 as well as the two orders approving the project of partition, and not during the pendency of the litigation, there was no violation of paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code. It is also argued by complainant herein that the sale on July 31, 1964 of Lot 1184-E to Dr. Arcadio Galapon by Priscilla Reyes, Adela Reyes and Luz R. Bakunawa was only a mere scheme to conceal the illegal and unethical transfer of said lot to respondent Judge as a consideration for the approval of the project of partition. In this connection, We agree with the findings of the Investigating Justice thus: And so we are now confronted with this all-important question whether or not the acquisition by respondent of a portion of Lot 1184-E and the subsequent transfer of the whole lot to "TRADERS" of which respondent was the President and his wife the Secretary, was intimately related to the Order of respondent approving the project of partition, Exh. A. Respondent vehemently denies any interest or participation in the transactions between the

86 Reyeses and the Galapons concerning Lot 1184-E, and he insists that there is no evidence whatsoever to show that Dr. Galapon had acted, in the purchase of Lot 1184-E, in mediation for him and his wife. (See p. 14 of Respondent's Memorandum). xxx xxx xxx

On this point, I agree with respondent that there is no evidence in the record showing that Dr. Arcadio Galapon acted as a mere "dummy" of respondent in acquiring Lot 1184-E from the Reyeses. Dr. Galapon appeared to this investigator as a respectable citizen, credible and sincere, and I believe him when he testified that he bought Lot 1184-E in good faith and for valuable consideration from the Reyeses without any intervention of, or previous understanding with Judge Asuncion (pp. 391394, rec.). On the contention of complainant herein that respondent Judge acted illegally in approving the project of partition although it was not signed by the parties, We quote with approval the findings of the Investigating Justice, as follows: 1. I agree with complainant that respondent should have required the signature of the parties more particularly that of Mrs. Macariola on the project of partition submitted to him for approval; however, whatever error was committed by respondent in that respect was done in good faith as according to Judge Asuncion he was assured by Atty. Bonifacio Ramo, the counsel of record of Mrs. Macariola, That he was authorized by his client to submit said project of partition, (See Exh. B and tsn p. 24, January 20, 1969). While it is true that such written authority if there was any, was not presented by respondent in evidence, nor did Atty. Ramo appear to corroborate the statement of respondent, his affidavit being the only one that was presented as respondent's Exh. 10, certain actuations of Mrs. Macariola lead this investigator to believe that she knew the contents of the project of partition, Exh. A, and that she gave her conformity thereto. I refer to the following documents: 1) Exh. 9 ? Certified true copy of OCT No. 19520 covering Lot 1154 of the Tacloban Cadastral Survey in which the deceased Francisco Reyes holds a "1/4 share" (Exh. 9-a). On tills certificate of title the Order dated November 11, 1963, (Exh. U) approving the project of partition was duly entered and registered on November 26, 1963 (Exh. 9-D); 2) Exh. 7 ? Certified copy of a deed of absolute sale executed by Bernardita Reyes Macariola on October 22, 1963, conveying to Dr. Hector Decena the one-fourth share of the late Francisco Reyes-Diaz in Lot 1154. In this deed of sale the vendee stated that she was the absolute owner of said one-fourth share, the same having been adjudicated to her as her share in the estate of her father Francisco Reyes Diaz as per decision of the Court of First Instance of Leyte under case No. 3010 (Exh. 7-A). The deed of sale was duly registered and annotated at the back of OCT 19520 on December 3, 1963 (see Exh. 9-e). In connection with the abovementioned documents it is to be noted that in the project of partition dated October 16, 1963, which was approved by respondent on October 23, 1963, followed by an amending Order on November 11, 1963, Lot 1154 or rather 1/4 thereof was adjudicated to Mrs. Macariola. It is this 1/4 share in Lot 1154 which complainant sold to Dr. Decena on October 22,

87 1963, several days after the preparation of the project of partition.

Counsel for complainant stresses the view, however, that the latter sold her one-fourth share in Lot 1154 by virtue of the decision in Civil Case 3010 and not because of the project of partition, Exh. A. Such contention is absurd because from the decision, Exh. C, it is clear that one-half of onefourth of Lot 1154 belonged to the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz while the other half of said onefourth was the share of complainant's mother, Felisa Espiras; in other words, the decision did not adjudicate the whole of the one-fourth of Lot 1154 to the herein complainant (see Exhs. C-3 & C4). Complainant became the owner of the entire one-fourth of Lot 1154 only by means of the project of partition, Exh. A. Therefore, if Mrs. Macariola sold Lot 1154 on October 22, 1963, it was for no other reason than that she was wen aware of the distribution of the properties of her deceased father as per Exhs. A and B. It is also significant at this point to state that Mrs. Macariola admitted during the cross-examination that she went to Tacloban City in connection with the sale of Lot 1154 to Dr. Decena (tsn p. 92, November 28, 1968) from which we can deduce that she could not have been kept ignorant of the proceedings in civil case 3010 relative to the project of partition. Complainant also assails the project of partition because according to her the properties adjudicated to her were insignificant lots and the least valuable. Complainant, however, did not present any direct and positive evidence to prove the alleged gross inequalities in the choice and distribution of the real properties when she could have easily done so by presenting evidence on the area, location, kind, the assessed and market value of said properties. Without such evidence there is nothing in the record to show that there were inequalities in the distribution of the properties of complainant's father (pp. 386389, rec.) hbbH. Finally, while it is. true that respondent Judge did not violate paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code in acquiring by purchase a portion of Lot 1184-E which was in litigation in his court, it was, however, improper for him to have acquired the same. He should be reminded of Canon 3 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which requires that: "A judge's official conduct should be free from the appearance of impropriety, and his personal behavior, not only upon the bench and in the performance of judicial duties, but also in his everyday life, should be beyond reproach." And as aptly observed by the Investigating Justice: "... it was unwise and indiscreet on the part of respondent to have purchased or acquired a portion of a piece of property that was or had been in litigation in his court and caused it to be transferred to a corporation of which he and his wife were ranking officers at the time of such transfer. One who occupies an exalted position in the judiciary has the duty and responsibility of maintaining the faith and trust of the citizenry in the courts of justice, so that not only must he be truly honest and just, but his actuations must be such as not give cause for doubt and mistrust in the uprightness of his administration of justice. In this particular case of respondent, he cannot deny that the transactions over Lot 1184-E are damaging and render his actuations open to suspicion and distrust. Even if respondent honestly believed that Lot 1184-E was no longer in litigation in his court and that he was purchasing it from a third person and not from the parties to the litigation, he should nonetheless have refrained from buying it for himself and transferring it to a corporation in which he and his wife were financially involved, to avoid possible suspicion that his acquisition was related in one way or another to his official actuations in civil case 3010. The conduct of respondent gave cause for the litigants in civil case 3010, the lawyers practising in his court, and the public in general to doubt the honesty and

88 fairness of his actuations and the integrity of our courts of justice" (pp. 395396, rec.). II With respect to the second cause of action, the complainant alleged that respondent Judge violated paragraphs 1 and 5, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce when he associated himself with the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. as a stockholder and a ranking officer, said corporation having been organized to engage in business. Said Article provides that: Article 14 ? The following cannot engage in commerce, either in person or by proxy, nor can they hold any office or have any direct, administrative, or financial intervention in commercial or industrial companies within the limits of the districts, provinces, or towns in which they discharge their duties: 1. Justices of the Supreme Court, judges and officials of the department of public prosecution in active service. This provision shall not be applicable to mayors, municipal judges, and municipal prosecuting attorneys nor to those who by chance are temporarily discharging the functions of judge or prosecuting attorney. xxx xxx xxx

5. Those who by virtue of laws or special provisions may not engage in commerce in a determinate territory kC06A. It is Our considered view that although the aforestated provision is incorporated in the Code of Commerce which is part of the commercial laws of the Philippines, it, however, partakes of the nature of a political law as it regulates the relationship between the government and certain public officers and employees, like justices and judges. Political Law has been defined as that branch of public law which deals with the organization and operation of the governmental organs of the State and define the relations of the state with the inhabitants of its territory (People vs. Perfecto, 43 Phil. 887, 897 [1922]). It may be recalled that political law embraces constitutional law, law of public corporations, administrative law including the law on public officers and elections. Specifically, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce partakes more of the nature of an administrative law because it regulates the conduct of certain public officers and employees with respect to engaging in business: hence, political in essence. It is significant to note that the present Code of Commerce is the Spanish Code of Commerce of 1885, with some modifications made by the "Commission de Codificacion de las Provincias de Ultramar," which was extended to the Philippines by the Royal Decree of August 6, 1888, and took effect as law in this jurisdiction on December 1, 1888. Upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States and later on from the United States to the Republic of the Philippines, Article 14 of this Code of Commerce must be deemed to have been abrogated because where there is change of sovereignty, the political laws of the former sovereign, whether compatible or not with those of the new sovereign, are automatically abrogated,

89 unless they are expressly re-enacted by affirmative act of the new sovereign.

Thus, We held in Roa vs. Collector of Customs (23 Phil. 315, 330, 311 [1912]) that: By well-settled public law, upon the cession of territory by one nation to another, either following a conquest or otherwise, ... those laws which are political in their nature and pertain to the prerogatives of the former government immediately cease upon the transfer of sovereignty. (Opinion, Atty. Gen., July 10, 1899) HOl8o. While municipal laws of the newly acquired territory not in conflict with the, laws of the new sovereign continue in force without the express assent or affirmative act of the conqueror, the political laws do not. (Halleck's Int. Law, chap. 34, par. 14). However, such political laws of the prior sovereignty as are not in conflict with the constitution or institutions of the new sovereign, may be continued in force if the conqueror shall so declare by affirmative act of the commanderin-chief during the war, or by Congress in time of peace. (Ely's Administrator vs. United States, 171 U.S. 220, 43 L. Ed. 142). In the case of American and Ocean Ins. Cos. vs. 356 Bales of Cotton (1 Pet. [26 U.S.] 511, 542, 7 L. Ed. 242), Chief Justice Marshall said: On such transfer (by cession) of territory, it has never been held that the relations of the inhabitants with each other undergo any change. Their relations with their former sovereign are dissolved, and new relations are created between them and the government which has acquired their territory. The same act which transfers their country, transfers the allegiance of those who remain in it; and the law which may be denominated political, is necessarily changed, although that which regulates the intercourse and general conduct of individuals, remains in force, until altered by the newly- created power of the State. Likewise, in People vs. Perfecto (43 Phil. 887, 897 [1922]), this Court stated that: "It is a general principle of the public law that on acquisition of territory the previous political relations of the ceded region are totally abrogated. " There appears no enabling or affirmative act that continued the effectivity of the aforestated provision of the Code of Commerce after the change of sovereignty from Spain to the United States and then to the Republic of the Philippines. Consequently, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce has no legal and binding effect and cannot apply to the respondent, then Judge of the Court of First Instance, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals. It is also argued by complainant herein that respondent Judge violated paragraph H, Section 3 of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which provides that: Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. ? In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxx xxx xxx

90 (h) Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any Iaw from having any interest. Respondent Judge cannot be held liable under the aforestated paragraph because there is no showing that respondent participated or intervened in his official capacity in the business or transactions of the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. In the case at bar, the business of the corporation in which respondent participated has obviously no relation or connection with his judicial office. The business of said corporation is not that kind where respondent intervenes or takes part in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance. As was held in one case involving the application of Article 216 of the Revised Penal Code which has a similar prohibition on public officers against directly or indirectly becoming interested in any contract or business in which it is his official duty to intervene, "(I)t is not enough to be a public official to be subject to this crime; it is necessary that by reason of his office, he has to intervene in said contracts or transactions; and, hence, the official who intervenes in contracts or transactions which have no relation to his office cannot commit this crime.' (People vs. Meneses, C.A. 40 O.G. 11th Supp. 134, cited by Justice Ramon C. Aquino; Revised Penal Code, p. 1174, Vol. 11 [1976]). It does not appear also from the records that the aforesaid corporation gained any undue advantage in its business operations by reason of respondent's financial involvement in it, or that the corporation benefited in one way or another in any case filed by or against it in court. It is undisputed that there was no case filed in the different branches of the Court of First Instance of Leyte in which the corporation was either party plaintiff or defendant except Civil Case No. 4234 entitled "Bernardita R. Macariola, plaintiff, versus Sinforosa O. Bales, et al.," wherein the complainant herein sought to recover Lot 1184-E from the aforesaid corporation. It must be noted, however, that Civil Case No. 4234 was filed only on November 9 or 11, 1968 and decided on November 2, 1970 by CFI Judge Jose D. Nepomuceno when respondent Judge was no longer connected with the corporation, having disposed of his interest therein on January 31, 1967. Furthermore, respondent is not liable under the same paragraph because there is no provision in both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions of the Philippines, nor is there an existing law expressly prohibiting members of the Judiciary from engaging or having interest in any lawful business. It may be pointed out that Republic Act No. 296, as amended, also known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, does not contain any prohibition to that effect. As a matter of fact, under Section 77 of said law, municipal judges may engage in teaching or other vocation not involving the practice of law after office hours but with the permission of the district judge concerned. Likewise, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce which prohibits judges from engaging in commerce is, as heretofore stated, deemed abrogated automatically upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to America, because it is political in nature. Moreover, the prohibition in paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code against the purchase by judges of a property in litigation before the court within whose jurisdiction they perform their duties, cannot apply to respondent Judge because the sale of the lot in question to him took place after the finality of his decision in Civil Case No. 3010 as well as his two orders approving the project of partition; hence, the property was no longer subject of litigation. In addition, although Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules made pursuant to the Civil

91 Service Act of 1959 prohibits an officer or employee in the civil service from engaging in any private business, vocation, or profession or be connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural or industrial undertaking without a written permission from the head of department, the same, however, may not fall within the purview of paragraph h, Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act because the last portion of said paragraph speaks of a prohibition by the Constitution or law on any public officer from having any interest in any business and not by a mere administrative rule or regulation. Thus, a violation of the aforesaid rule by any officer or employee in the civil service, that is, engaging in private business without a written permission from the Department Head may not constitute graft and corrupt practice as defined by law. On the contention of complainant that respondent Judge violated Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules, We hold that the Civil Service Act of 1959 (R.A. No. 2260) and the Civil Service Rules promulgated thereunder, particularly Section 12 of Rule XVIII, do not apply to the members of the Judiciary. Under said Section 12: "No officer or employee shall engage directly in any private business, vocation, or profession or be connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural or industrial undertaking without a written permission from the Head of Department ..." It must be emphasized at the outset that respondent, being a member of the Judiciary, is covered by Republic Act No. 296, as amended, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948 and by Section 7, Article X, 1973 Constitution. Under Section 67 of said law, the power to remove or dismiss judges was then vested in the President of the Philippines, not in the Commissioner of Civil Service, and only on two grounds, namely, serious misconduct and inefficiency, and upon the recommendation of the Supreme Court, which alone is authorized, upon its own motion, or upon information of the Secretary (now Minister) of Justice to conduct the corresponding investigation. Clearly, the aforesaid section defines the grounds and prescribes the special procedure for the discipline of judges. And under Sections 5, 6 and 7, Article X of the 1973 Constitution, only the Supreme Court can discipline judges of inferior courts as well as other personnel of the Judiciary. It is true that under Section 33 of the Civil Service Act of 1959: "The Commissioner may, for ... violation of the existing Civil Service Law and rules or of reasonable office regulations, or in the interest of the service, remove any subordinate officer or employee from the service, demote him in rank, suspend him for not more than one year without pay or fine him in an amount not exceeding six months' salary." Thus, a violation of Section 12 of Rule XVIII is a ground for disciplinary action against civil service officers and employees. However, judges cannot be considered as subordinate civil service officers or employees subject to the disciplinary authority of the Commissioner of Civil Service; for, certainly, the Commissioner is not the head of the Judicial Department to which they belong. The Revised Administrative Code (Section 89) and the Civil Service Law itself state that the Chief Justice is the department head of the Supreme Court (Sec. 20, R.A. No. 2260) [1959]); and under the 1973 Constitution, the Judiciary is the only other or second branch of the government (Sec. 1, Art. X, 1973 Constitution). Besides, a violation of Section 12, Rule XVIII cannot be considered as a ground for disciplinary action against judges because to recognize the same as applicable to them, would be adding another ground for the discipline of judges and, as aforestated, Section 67 of the Judiciary Act recognizes only two grounds for their removal, namely, serious misconduct and inefficiency. Moreover, under Section 16(i) of the Civil Service Act of 1959, it is the Commissioner of Civil Service who has original and exclusive jurisdiction "(T)o decide, within one hundred twenty days, after submission to it, all administrative cases against permanent officers and employees in the

92 competitive service, and, except as provided by law, to have final authority to pass upon their removal, separation, and suspension and upon all matters relating to the conduct, discipline, and efficiency of such officers and employees; and prescribe standards, guidelines and regulations governing the administration of discipline" (emphasis supplied). There is no question that a judge belong to the non-competitive or unclassified service of the government as a Presidential appointee and is therefore not covered by the aforesaid provision. WE have already ruled that "... in interpreting Section 16(i) of Republic Act No. 2260, we emphasized that only permanent officers and employees who belong to the classified service come under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Civil Service" (Villaluz vs. Zaldivar, 15 SCRA 710,713 [1965], Ang-Angco vs. Castillo, 9 SCRA 619 [1963]). Although the actuation of respondent Judge in engaging in private business by joining the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. as a stockholder and a ranking officer, is not violative of the provissions of Article 14 of the Code of Commerce and Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as well as Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules promulgated pursuant to the Civil Service Act of 1959, the impropriety of the same is clearly unquestionable because Canon 25 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics expressly declares that: A judge should abstain from making personal investments in enterprises which are apt to be involved in litigation in his court; and, after his accession to the bench, he should not retain such investments previously made, longer than a period sufficient to enable him to dispose of them without serious loss. It is desirable that he should, so far as reasonably possible, refrain from all relations which would normally tend to arouse the suspicion that such relations warp or bias his judgment, or prevent his impartial attitude of mind in the administration of his judicial duties. ... WE are not, however, unmindful of the fact that respondent Judge and his wife had withdrawn on January 31, 1967 from the aforesaid corporation and sold their respective shares to third parties, and it appears also that the aforesaid corporation did not in anyway benefit in any case filed by or against it in court as there was no case filed in the different branches of the Court of First Instance of Leyte from the time of the drafting of the Articles of Incorporation of the corporation on March 12, 1966, up to its incorporation on January 9, 1967, and the eventual withdrawal of respondent on January 31, 1967 from said corporation. Such disposal or sale by respondent and his wife of their shares in the corporation only 22 days after the incorporation of the corporation, indicates that respondent realized that early that their interest in the corporation contravenes the aforesaid Canon 25. Respondent Judge and his wife therefore deserve the commendation for their immediate withdrawal from the firm after its incorporation and before it became involved in any court litigation III With respect to the third and fourth causes of action, complainant alleged that respondent was guilty of coddling an impostor and acted in disregard of judicial decorum, and that there was culpable defiance of the law and utter disregard for ethics. WE agree, however, with the recommendation of the Investigating Justice that respondent Judge be exonerated because the aforesaid causes of action are groundless, and WE quote the pertinent portion of her report which reads as follows:

93

The basis for complainant's third cause of action is the claim that respondent associated and closely fraternized with Dominador Arigpa Tan who openly and publicly advertised himself as a practising attorney (see Exhs. I, I-1 and J) when in truth and in fact said Dominador Arigpa Tan does not appear in the Roll of Attorneys and is not a member of the Philippine Bar as certified to in Exh. K. The "respondent denies knowing that Dominador Arigpa Tan was an "impostor" and claims that all the time he believed that the latter was a bona fide member of the bar. I see no reason for disbelieving this assertion of respondent. It has been shown by complainant that Dominador Arigpa Tan represented himself publicly as an attorney-at-law to the extent of putting up a signboard with his name and the words "Attorney-at Law" (Exh. I and 1- 1) to indicate his office, and it was but natural for respondent and any person for that matter to have accepted that statement on its face value. "Now with respect to the allegation of complainant that respondent is guilty of fraternizing with Dominador Arigpa Tan to the extent of permitting his wife to be a godmother of Mr. Tan's child at baptism (Exh. M & M-1), that fact even if true did not render respondent guilty of violating any canon of judicial ethics as long as his friendly relations with Dominador A. Tan and family did not influence his official actuations as a judge where said persons were concerned. There is no tangible convincing proof that herein respondent gave any undue privileges in his court to Dominador Arigpa Tan or that the latter benefitted in his practice of law from his personal relations with respondent, or that he used his influence, if he had any, on the Judges of the other branches of the Court to favor said Dominador Tan. Of course it is highly desirable for a member of the judiciary to refrain as much as possible from maintaining close friendly relations with practising attorneys and litigants in his court so as to avoid suspicion 'that his social or business relations or friendship constitute an element in determining his judicial course" (par. 30, Canons of Judicial Ethics), but if a Judge does have social relations, that in itself would not constitute a ground for disciplinary action unless it be clearly shown that his social relations be clouded his official actuations with bias and partiality in favor of his friends (pp. 403-405, rec.). In conclusion, while respondent Judge Asuncion, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, did not violate any law in acquiring by purchase a parcel of land which was in litigation in his court and in engaging in business by joining a private corporation during his incumbency as judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, he should be reminded to be more discreet in his private and business activities, because his conduct as a member of the Judiciary must not only be characterized with propriety but must always be above suspicion. WHEREFORE, THE RESPONDENT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS IS HEREBY REMINDED TO BE MORE DISCREET IN HIS PRIVATE AND BUSINESS ACTIVITIES. SO ORDERED. Teehankee, Guerrero, De Castro, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Vasquez, Relova and Gutierrez, JJ., concur. Concepcion Jr., J., is on leave. Fernando, C.J., Abad Santos and Esolin JJ., took no part.

94

G.R. No. 88211 September 15, 1989 FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR., IRENE M. ARANETA, IMEE MANOTOC, TOMAS MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA, PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR YIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), represented by its President, CONRADO F. ESTRELLA, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOEZ, MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS, RENATO DE VILLA, in their

95 capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner, Secretary of National Defense and Chief of Staff, respectively, respondents.

CORTES, J.: Before the Court is a contreversy of grave national importance. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's decision in this case would undeniably have a profound effect on the political, economic and other aspects of national life. We recall that in February 1986, Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent "people power" revolution and forced into exile. In his stead, Corazon C. Aquino was declared President of the Republic under a revolutionary government. Her ascension to and consilidation of power have not been unchallenged. The failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by political leaders of Mr. Marcos, the takeover of television station Channel 7 by rebel troops led by Col. Canlas with the support of "Marcos loyalists" and the unseccessful plot of the Marcos spouses to surreptitiously return from Hawii with mercenaries aboard an aircraft chartered by a Lebanese arms dealer [Manila Bulletin, January 30, 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of the Marcoses to stir trouble even from afar and to the fanaticism and blind loyalty of their followers in the country. The ratification of the 1987 Constitution enshrined the victory of "people power" and also clearly reinforced the constitutional moorings of Mrs. Aquino's presidency. This did not, however, stop bloody challenges to the government. On August 28, 1987, Col. Gregorio Honasan, one of the major players in the February Revolution, led a failed coup that left scores of people, both combatants and civilians, dead. There were several other armed sorties of lesser significance, but the message they conveyed was the same a split in the ranks of the military establishment that thraetened civilian supremacy over military and brought to the fore the realization that civilian government could be at the mercy of a fractious military. But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in misguided elements and among rabid followers of Mr. Marcos. There are also the communist insurgency and the seccessionist movement in Mindanao which gained ground during the rule of Mr. Marcos, to the extent that the communists have set up a parallel government of their own on the areas they effectively control while the separatist are virtually free to move about in armed bands. There has been no let up on this groups' determination to wrest power from the govermnent. Not only through resort to arms but also to through the use of propaganda have they been successful in dreating chaos and destabilizing the country. Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. The accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of the nation attributed to Mr. Marcos and his cronies left the economy devastated. The efforts at economic recovery, three years after Mrs. Aquino assumed office, have yet to show concrete results in alleviating the poverty of the masses, while the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses has remained elusive.

96 Now, Mr. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to the Philipppines to die. But Mrs. Aquino, considering the dire consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is threatened from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood firmly on the decision to bar the return of Mr. Marcos and his family. The Petition This case is unique. It should not create a precedent, for the case of a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country and who within the short space of three years seeks to return, is in a class by itself. This petition for mandamus and prohibition asks the Courts to order the respondents to issue travel documents to Mr. Marcos and the immediate members of his family and to enjoin the implementation of the President's decision to bar their return to the Philippines. The Issue Th issue is basically one of power: whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the Constitution, the President may prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. According to the petitioners, the resolution of the case would depend on the resolution of the following issues: 1. Does the President have the power to bar the return of former President Marcos and family to the Philippines? a. Is this a political question? 2. Assuming that the President has the power to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the Philippines, in the interest of "national security, public safety or public health a. Has the President made a finding that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear and present danger to national security, public safety or public health? b. Assuming that she has made that finding (1) Have the requirements of due process been complied with in making such finding? (2) Has there been prior notice to petitioners? (3) Has there been a hearing?

97 (4) Assuming that notice and hearing may be dispensed with, has the President's decision, including the grounds upon which it was based, been made known to petitioners so that they may controvert the same? c. Is the President's determination that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear and present danger to national security, public safety, or public health a political question? d. Assuming that the Court may inquire as to whether the return of former President Marcos and his family is a clear and present danger to national security, public safety, or public health, have respondents established such fact? 3. Have the respondents, therefore, in implementing the President's decision to bar the return of former President Marcos and his family, acted and would be acting without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, in performing any act which would effectively bar the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines? [Memorandum for Petitioners, pp. 5-7; Rollo, pp. 234-236.1 The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of the Marcoses to return to the Philippines is guaranteed under the following provisions of the Bill of Rights, to wit: Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. xxx xxx xxx Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law. The petitioners contend that the President is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses because only a court may do so "within the limits prescribed by law." Nor may the President impair their right to travel because no law has authorized her to do so. They advance the view that before the right to travel may be impaired by any authority or agency of the government, there must be legislation to that effect. The petitioners further assert that under international law, the right of Mr. Marcos and his family to return to the Philippines is guaranteed. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides: Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

98 (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Likewise, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which had been ratified by the Philippines, provides: Article 12 1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence. 2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own. 3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (order public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant. 4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country. On the other hand, the respondents' principal argument is that the issue in this case involves a political question which is non-justiciable. According to the Solicitor General: As petitioners couch it, the question involved is simply whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family have the right to travel and liberty of abode. Petitioners invoke these constitutional rights in vacuo without reference to attendant circumstances. Respondents submit that in its proper formulation, the issue is whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and reside here at this time in the face of the determination by the President that such return and residence will endanger national security and public safety. It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners, the question is not a political question as it involves merely a determination of what the law provides on the matter and application thereof to petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family. But when the question is whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family impinge on or collide with the more primordial and transcendental right of the State to security and safety of its nationals, the question becomes political and this Honorable Court can not consider it. There are thus gradations to the question, to wit:

99 Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence here? This is clearly a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide. Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have their right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence here even if their return and residence here will endanger national security and public safety? this is still a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide. Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family shall return to the Philippines and establish their residence here? This is now a political question which this Honorable Court can not decide for it falls within the exclusive authority and competence of the President of the Philippines. [Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 297-299.] Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over individual rights. In support thereof, they cite Article II of the Constitution, to wit: Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military, or civil service. Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy. Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and family from returning to the Philippines for reasons of national security and public safety has international precedents. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Anastacio Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua, Jorge Ubico of Guatemala, Fulgencio batista of Cuba, King Farouk of Egypt, Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among the deposed dictators whose return to their homelands was prevented by their governments. [See Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul S. Manglapus, quoted in Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 26-32; Rollo, pp. 314319.] The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the scope of presidential power and its limits. We, however, view this issue in a different light. Although we give due weight to the parties' formulation of the issues, we are not bound by its narrow confines in arriving at a solution to the controversy. At the outset, we must state that it would not do to view the case within the confines of the right to travel and the import of the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the leading cases of Kent v. Dulles [357 U.S. 116, 78 SCt 1113, 2 L Ed. 2d 1204] and Haig v. Agee [453 U.S. 280, 101 SCt 2766, 69 L Ed. 2d 640) which affirmed the right to travel and recognized exceptions to the exercise thereof, respectively.

100 It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the Philippines to other countries or within the Philippines. These are what the right to travel would normally connote. Essentially, the right involved is the right to return to one's country, a totally distinct right under international law, independent from although related to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and abode within the territory of a state, the right to leave a country, and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. The Declaration speaks of the "right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" [Art. 13(l)] separately from the "right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." [Art. 13(2).] On the other hand, the Covenant guarantees the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence" [Art. 12(l)] and the right to "be free to leave any country, including his own." [Art. 12(2)] which rights may be restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals or enter qqqs own country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily deprived." [Art. 12(4).] It would therefore be inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to return to one's country in the same context as those pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to travel. The right to return to one's country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which treats only of the liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is our well-considered view that the right to return may be considered, as a generally accepted principle of international law and, under our Constitution, is part of the law of the land [Art. II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution.] However, it is distinct and separate from the right to travel and enjoys a different protection under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, i.e., against being "arbitrarily deprived" thereof [Art. 12 (4).] Thus, the rulings in the cases Kent and Haig which refer to the issuance of passports for the purpose of effectively exercising the right to travel are not determinative of this case and are only tangentially material insofar as they relate to a conflict between executive action and the exercise of a protected right. The issue before the Court is novel and without precedent in Philippine, and even in American jurisprudence. Consequently, resolution by the Court of the well-debated issue of whether or not there can be limitations on the right to travel in the absence of legislation to that effect is rendered unnecessary. An appropriate case for its resolution will have to be awaited. Having clarified the substance of the legal issue, we find now a need to explain the methodology for its resolution. Our resolution of the issue will involve a two-tiered approach. We shall first resolve whether or not the President has the power under the Constitution, to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. Then, we shall determine, pursuant to the express power of the Court under the Constitution in Article VIII, Section 1, whether or not the President acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she determined that the return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and decided to bar their return. Executive Power

101 The 1987 Constitution has fully restored the separation of powers of the three great branches of government. To recall the words of Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral Commission [63 Phil. 139 (1936)], "the Constitution has blocked but with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government." [At 157.1 Thus, the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[the legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines" Art VI, Sec. 11, "[t]he executive power shall bevested in the President of the Philippines" [Art. VII, Sec. 11, and "[te judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1.] These provisions not only establish a separation of powers by actual division [Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra] but also confer plenary legislative, executive and judicial powers subject only to limitations provided in the Constitution. For as the Supreme Court inOcampo v. Cabangis [15 Phil. 626 (1910)] pointed out "a grant of the legislative power means a grant of all legislative power; and a grant of the judicial power means a grant of all the judicial power which may be exercised under the government." [At 631-632.1 If this can be said of the legislative power which is exercised by two chambers with a combined membership of more than two hundred members and of the judicial power which is vested in a hierarchy of courts, it can equally be said of the executive power which is vested in one official the President. As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines." [Art. VII, Sec. 1]. However, it does not define what is meant by executive power" although in the same article it touches on the exercise of certain powers by the President, i.e., the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute the laws, the appointing power, the powers under the commander-in-chief clause, the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the power to enter into treaties or international agreements, the power to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to address Congress [Art. VII, Sec. 14-23]. The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers of the Constitution intend that the President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are these se enumerated powers the breadth and scope of "executive power"? Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers are limited to those specifically enumerated in the 1987 Constitution. Thus, they assert: "The President has enumerated powers, and what is not enumerated is impliedly denied to her. Inclusion unius est exclusio alterius[Memorandum for Petitioners, p. 4Rollo p. 233.1 This argument brings to mind the institution of the U.S. Presidency after which ours is legally patterned.** Corwin, in his monumental volume on the President of the United States grappled with the same problem. He said: Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. To those who think that a constitution ought to settle everything beforehand it should be a nightmare; by the same token, to those who think that constitution makers ought to leave considerable leeway for the future play of political forces, it should be a vision realized.

102 We encounter this characteristic of Article 11 in its opening words: "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." . . .. [The President: Office and Powers, 17871957, pp. 3-4.] Reviewing how the powers of the U.S. President were exercised by the different persons who held the office from Washington to the early 1900's, and the swing from the presidency by commission to Lincoln's dictatorship, he concluded that "what the presidency is at any particular moment depends in important measure on who is President." [At 30.] This view is shared by Schlesinger who wrote in The Imperial Presidency: For the American Presidency was a peculiarly personal institution. it remained of course, an agency of government subject to unvarying demands and duties no remained, of cas President. But, more than most agencies of government, it changed shape, intensity and ethos according to the man in charge. Each President's distinctive temperament and character, his values, standards, style, his habits, expectations, Idiosyncrasies, compulsions, phobias recast the WhiteHouse and pervaded the entire government. The executive branch, said Clark Clifford, was a chameleon, taking its color from the character and personality of the President. The thrust of the office, its impact on the constitutional order, therefore altered from President to President. Above all, the way each President understood it as his personal obligation to inform and involve the Congress, to earn and hold the confidence of the electorate and to render an accounting to the nation and posterity determined whether he strengthened or weakened the constitutional order. [At 212213.] We do not say that the presidency is what Mrs. Aquino says it is or what she does but, rather, that the consideration of tradition and the development of presidential power under the different constitutions are essential for a complete understanding of the extent of and limitations to the President's powers under the 1987 Constitution. The 1935 Constitution created a strong President with explicitly broader powers than the U.S. President. The 1973 Constitution attempted to modify the system of government into the parliamentary type, with the President as a mere figurehead, but through numerous amendments, the President became even more powerful, to the point that he was also the de facto Legislature. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and restored the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution among three distinct branches of government with provision for checks and balances. It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.

103 On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise ofspecific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated, It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial has to be executive. Thus, in the landmark decision of Springer v. Government of the Philippine Islands, 277 U.S. 189 (1928), on the issue of who between the Governor-General of the Philippines and the Legislature may vote the shares of stock held by the Government to elect directors in the National Coal Company and the Philippine National Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the power of the Governor-General to do so, said: ...Here the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of the "board" and "committee" respectively, are not charged with the performance of any legislative functions or with the doing of anything which is in aid of performance of any such functions by the legislature. Putting aside for the moment the question whether the duties devolved upon these members are vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-General, it is clear that they are not legislative in character, and still more clear that they are not judicial. The fact that they do not fall within the authority of either of these two constitutes logical ground for concluding that they do fall within that of the remaining one among which the powers of government are divided .... [At 202-203; Emphasis supplied.] We are not unmindful of Justice Holmes' strong dissent. But in his enduring words of dissent we find reinforcement for the view that it would indeed be a folly to construe the powers of a branch of government to embrace only what are specifically mentioned in the Constitution: The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the more specific of them are found to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other. .... xxx xxx xxx It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot carry out the distinction between legislative and executive action with mathematical precision and divide the branches into watertight compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I am far from believing that it is, or that the Constitution requires. [At 210- 211.] The Power Involved The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he prime duty of theGovernment is to serve and protect the people" and that "[t]he maintenance of peace and order,the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy." [Art. II, Secs. 4 and 5.]

104 Admittedly, service and protection of the people, the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essentially ideals to guide governmental action. But such does not mean that they are empty words. Thus, in the exercise of presidential functions, in drawing a plan of government, and in directing implementing action for these plans, or from another point of view, in making any decision as President of the Republic, the President has to consider these principles, among other things, and adhere to them. Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow the Marcoses to return to the Philippines, the President is, under the Constitution, constrained to consider these basic principles in arriving at a decision. More than that, having sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution, the President has the obligation under the Constitution to protect the people, promote their welfare and advance the national interest. It must be borne in mind that the Constitution, aside from being an allocation of power is also a social contract whereby the people have surrendered their sovereign powers to the State for the common good. Hence, lest the officers of the Government exercising the powers delegated by the people forget and the servants of the people become rulers, the Constitution reminds everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them." [Art. II, Sec. 1.] The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons who seek to return to the country are the deposed dictator and his family at whose door the travails of the country are laid and from whom billions of dollars believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought to be recovered. The constitutional guarantees they invoke are neither absolute nor inflexible. For the exercise of even the preferred freedoms of speech and ofexpression, although couched in absolute terms, admits of limits and must be adjusted to the requirements of equally important public interests [Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, October 7, 1981.] To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against the exercise of rights of certain individuals. The power involved is the President's residual power to protect the general welfare of the people. It is founded on the duty of the President, as steward of the people. To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, it is not only the power of the President but also his duty to do anything not forbidden by the Constitution or the laws that the needs of the nation demand [See Corwin, supra, at 153]. It is a power borne by the President's duty to preserve and defend the Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the President's duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed [see Hyman, The American President, where the author advances the view that an allowance of discretionary power is unavoidable in any government and is best lodged in the President]. More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President's powers as protector of the peace. Rossiter The American Presidency].The power of the President to keep the peace is not limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in times of emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to its existence. The President is not only clothed with extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked with attending to the day-today problems of maintaining peace and order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of law, in fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is not in any way diminished by the relative want of an

105 emergency specified in the commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President commander-in-chief the enumeration of powers that follow cannot be said to exclude the President's exercising as Commander-in- Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security. That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the Marcose's from returning has been recognized by memembers of the Legislature, and is manifested by the Resolution proposed in the House of Representatives and signed by 103 of its members urging the President to allow Mr. Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a genuine unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation and as irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to uncompromising respect for human rights under the Constitution and our laws." [House Resolution No. 1342, Rollo, p. 321.1 The Resolution does not question the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines, rather, it appeals to the President's sense of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his country. What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the Philippines cannot be considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing liberty of abode and the right to travel, subject to certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated situations even remotely similar to the present one. It must be treated as a matter that is appropriately addressed to those residual unstated powers of the President which are implicit in and correlative to the paramount duty residing in that office to safeguard and protect general welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit to the exercise of a broader discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied. The Extent of Review Under the Constitution, judicial power includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." [Art. VIII, Sec. 1] Given this wording, we cannot agree with the Solicitor General that the issue constitutes a political question which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Court to decide. The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry into areas which the Court, under previous constitutions, would have normally left to the political departments to decide. But nonetheless there remain issues beyond the Court's jurisdiction the determination of which is exclusively for the President, for Congress or for the people themselves through a plebiscite or referendum. We cannot, for example, question the President's recognition of a foreign government, no matter how premature or improvident such action may appear. We cannot set aside a presidential pardon though it may appear to us that the beneficiary is totally undeserving of the grant. Nor can we amend the Constitution under the guise of resolving a dispute brought before us because the power is reserved to the people. There is nothing in the case before us that precludes our determination thereof on the political question doctrine. The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission cited by petitioners show that the framers intended to widen the scope of judicial review but they did not intend courts of

106 justice to settle all actual controversies before them. When political questions are involved, the Constitution limits the determination to whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is being questioned. If grave abuse is not established, the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the official concerned and decide a matter which by its nature or by law is for the latter alone to decide. In this light, it would appear clear that the second paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution, defining "judicial power," which specifically empowers the courts to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government, incorporates in the fundamental law the ruling in Lansang v. Garcia [G.R. No. L-33964, December 11, 1971, 42 SCRA 4481 that:] Article VII of the [1935] Constitution vests in the Executive the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under specified conditions. Pursuant to the principle of separation of powers underlying our system of government, the Executive is supreme within his own sphere. However, the separation of powers, under the Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes hand in hand with the system of checks and balances, under which the Executive is supreme, as regards the suspension of the privilege, but only if and when he acts within the sphere alloted to him by the Basic Law, and the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in the Judicial Department, which, in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally supreme. In the exercise of such authority, the function of the Court is merely to check not to supplant the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he has gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in him or to determine the wisdom of his act [At 479-480.] Accordingly, the question for the Court to determine is whether or not there exist factual bases for the President to conclude that it was in the national interest to bar the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines. If such postulates do exist, it cannot be said that she has acted, or acts, arbitrarily or that she has gravely abused her discretion in deciding to bar their return. We find that from the pleadings filed by the parties, from their oral arguments, and the facts revealed during the briefing in chambers by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Adviser, wherein petitioners and respondents were represented, there exist factual bases for the President's decision.. The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that the country is not besieged from within by a well-organized communist insurgency, a separatist movement in Mindanao, rightist conspiracies to grab power, urban terrorism, the murder with impunity of military men, police officers and civilian officials, to mention only a few. The documented history of the efforts of the Marcose's and their followers to destabilize the country, as earlier narrated in this ponencia bolsters the conclusion that the return of the Marcoses at this time would only exacerbate and intensify the violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos. As divergent and discordant forces, the enemies of the State may be contained. The military establishment has given assurances that it could handle the threats posed by particular groups. But it is the catalytic effect of the return of the Marcoses that may prove to be the proverbial final straw

107 that would break the camel's back. With these before her, the President cannot be said to have acted arbitrarily and capriciously and whimsically in determining that the return of the Marcoses poses a serious threat to the national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return. It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines will cause the escalation of violence against the State, that would be the time for the President to step in and exercise the commander-in-chief powers granted her by the Constitution to suppress or stamp out such violence. The State, acting through the Government, is not precluded from taking pre- emptive action against threats to its existence if, though still nascent they are perceived as apt to become serious and direct. Protection of the people is the essence of the duty of government. The preservation of the State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation in the highest order. The President, sworn to preserve and defend the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the laws, cannot shirk from that responsibility. We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the hardships brought about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close associates and relatives, many of whom are still here in the Philippines in a position to destabilize the country, while the Government has barely scratched the surface, so to speak, in its efforts to recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in foreign jurisdictions. Then, We cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting precarious state of our economy is of common knowledge and is easily within the ambit of judicial notice. The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the gains achieved during the past few years and lead to total economic collapse. Given what is within our individual and common knowledge of the state of the economy, we cannot argue with that determination. WHEREFORE, and it being our well-considered opinion that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family at the present time and under present circumstances poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the Philippines, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.

108

109

G.R. No. L-2855

July 30, 1949 MEJOFF, petitioner,

BORIS vs. DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, respondent.

First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Lucas Lacson for respondent. BENGZON, J.: The petitioner Boris Mejoff is an alien of Russian descent who was brought to this country from Shanghai as a secret operative by the Japanese forces during the latter's regime in these Islands. Upon liberation he was arrested aa a Japanese spy, by U. S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps. Later he was handed to the Commonwealth Government for disposition in accordance with Commonwealth Act No. 682. Thereafter the People's Court ordered his release. But the deportation board taking his case up, found that having no travel documents Mejoff was illegally in this country, and consequently refferd the matter to the immigration authorities. After the corresponding investigation, the Board oF Commissioners of Immigration on April 5, 1948, declared that Mejoff had entered the Philippines illegally in 1944, withoutinspection and admission by the immigration officials at a designated port of entry and, therefore, it ordered that he be deported on the first available transportation to Russia. The petitioner was then under custody, he having been arrested on March 18, 1948. In May, 1948, he was transferred to the Cebu Provincial Jail together with three other Russians to await the arrival of some Russian vessels. In July and in August of that year two boats of Russian nationality called at the Cebu Port. But their masters refused to take petitioner and his companions alleging lack of authority to do so. In October, 1948, after repeated failures to ship this deportee abroad, the authorities removed him to Bilibid Prison at Muntinglupa where he has been confined up to the present time, inasmuch as the Commissioner of Immigration believes it is for the best interest of the country to keep him under detention while arrangements for his deportation are being made. It is contended on behalf of petitioner that having been brought to the Philippines legally by the Japanese forces, he may not now be deported. It is enough to say that the argument would deny to this Government the power and the authority to eject from the Islands any and all of that members of the Nipponese Army of occupation who may still be found hiding in remote places. Which is absurd. Petitioner likewise contends that he may not be deported because the statutory period to do that under the laws has long expired. The proposition has no basis. Under section 37 of the

110 Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 any alien who enters this country "without inspection and admission by the immigration authorities at a designated point of entry" is subject to deportation within five years. In a recent decision of a similar litigation (Borovsky vs. Commissioner of Immigration) we denied the request for habeas corpus, saying: "It must be admitted that temporary detention is a necessary step in the process of exclusion or expulsion of undesirable aliens and that pending arrangements for his deportation, the Government has the right to hold the undesirable alien under confinement for a reasonable lenght of time. However, under established precedents, too long a detention may justify the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.1 "The meaning of "reasonable time" depends upon the circumstances, specially the difficulties of obtaining a passport, the availability of transfortation, the diplomatic arrangements concerned and the efforts displayed to send the deportee away.2 Considering that this Government desires to expel the alien, and does not relish keeping him at the people's expense, we must presume it is making efforts to carry out the decree of exclusion by the highest officer of the land. On top of this presumption assurances were made during the oral argument that the Government is really trying to expedite the expulsion of this petitioner. On the other hand, the record fails to show how long he has been under confinement since the last time he was apprehended. Neither does he indicate neglected opportunities to send him abroad. And unless it is shown that the deportee is being indefinitely imprisoned under the pretense of awaiting a chance for deportation3 or unless the Government admits that itcan not deport him4 or unless the detainee is being held for too long a period our courts will not interfere. "In the United States there were at least two instances in which courts fixed a time limit within which the imprisoned aliens should be deported5 otherwise their release would be ordered by writ of habeas corpus. Nevertheless, supposing such precedents apply in this jurisdiction, still we have no sufficient data fairly to fix a definite deadline." The difference between this and the Borovsky case lies in the fact that the record shows this petitioner has been detained since March, 1948. However, considering that in the United States (where transportation facilities are much greater and diplomatic arrangements are easier to make) a delay of twenty months in carrying out an order of deportation has not been held sufficient to justify the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus,6 this petition must be, and it is hereby denied. So ordered.

111

G.R. No. 139325

April 12, 2005

PRISCILLA C. MIJARES, LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, HILDA B. NARCISO, SR. MARIANI DIMARANAN, SFIC, and JOEL C. LAMANGAN in their behalf and on behalf of the Class Plaintiffs in Class Action No. MDL 840, United States District Court of Hawaii, Petitioner, vs. HON. SANTIAGO JAVIER RANADA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 137, Regional Trial Court, Makati City, and the ESTATE OF FERDINAND E. MARCOS, through its court appointed legal representatives in Class Action MDL 840, United States District Court of Hawaii, namely: Imelda R. Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Respondents. DECISION TINGA, J.: Our martial law experience bore strange unwanted fruits, and we have yet to finish weeding out its bitter crop. While the restoration of freedom and the fundamental structures and processes of democracy have been much lauded, according to a significant number, the changes, however, have not sufficiently healed the colossal damage wrought under the oppressive conditions of the martial law period. The cries of justice for the tortured, the murdered, and the desaparecidos arouse outrage and sympathy in the hearts of the fair-minded, yet the dispensation of the appropriate relief due them cannot be extended through the same caprice or whim that characterized the ill-wind of martial rule. The damage done was not merely personal but institutional, and the proper rebuke to

112 the iniquitous past has to involve the award of reparations due within the confines of the restored rule of law. The petitioners in this case are prominent victims of human rights violations1 who, deprived of the opportunity to directly confront the man who once held absolute rule over this country, have chosen to do battle instead with the earthly representative, his estate. The clash has been for now interrupted by a trial court ruling, seemingly comported to legal logic, that required the petitioners to pay a whopping filing fee of over Four Hundred Seventy-Two Million Pesos (P472,000,000.00) in order that they be able to enforce a judgment awarded them by a foreign court. There is an understandable temptation to cast the struggle within the simplistic confines of a morality tale, and to employ short-cuts to arrive at what might seem the desirable solution. But easy, reflexive resort to the equity principle all too often leads to a result that may be morally correct, but legally wrong. Nonetheless, the application of the legal principles involved in this case will comfort those who maintain that our substantive and procedural laws, for all their perceived ambiguity and susceptibility to myriad interpretations, are inherently fair and just. The relief sought by the petitioners is expressly mandated by our laws and conforms to established legal principles. The granting of this petition for certiorari is warranted in order to correct the legally infirm and unabashedly unjust ruling of the respondent judge. The essential facts bear little elaboration. On 9 May 1991, a complaint was filed with the United States District Court (US District Court), District of Hawaii, against the Estate of former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos (Marcos Estate). The action was brought forth by ten Filipino citizens2 who each alleged having suffered human rights abuses such as arbitrary detention, torture and rape in the hands of police or military forces during the Marcos regime.3 The Alien Tort Act was invoked as basis for the US District Court's jurisdiction over the complaint, as it involved a suit by aliens for tortious violations of international law. 4 These plaintiffs brought the action on their own behalf and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, particularly consisting of all current civilian citizens of the Philippines, their heirs and beneficiaries, who between 1972 and 1987 were tortured, summarily executed or had disappeared while in the custody of military or paramilitary groups. Plaintiffs alleged that the class consisted of approximately ten thousand (10,000) members; hence, joinder of all these persons was impracticable. The institution of a class action suit was warranted under Rule 23(a) and (b)(1)(B) of the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the provisions of which were invoked by the plaintiffs. Subsequently, the US District Court certified the case as a class action and created three (3) subclasses of torture, summary execution and disappearance victims.5 Trial ensued, and subsequently a jury rendered a verdict and an award of compensatory and exemplary damages in favor of the plaintiff class. Then, on 3 February 1995, the US District Court, presided by Judge Manuel L. Real, rendered a Final Judgment (Final Judgment) awarding the plaintiff class a total of One Billion Nine Hundred Sixty Four Million Five Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty Nine Dollars and Ninety Cents ($1,964,005,859.90). The Final Judgment was eventually affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a decision rendered on 17 December 1996.6 On 20 May 1997, the present petitioners filed Complaint with the Regional Trial Court, City of Makati (Makati RTC) for the enforcement of the Final Judgment. They alleged that they are

113 members of the plaintiff class in whose favor the US District Court awarded damages.7 They argued that since the Marcos Estate failed to file a petition for certiorari with the US Supreme Court after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had affirmed the Final Judgment, the decision of the US District Court had become final and executory, and hence should be recognized and enforced in the Philippines, pursuant to Section 50, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court then in force.8 On 5 February 1998, the Marcos Estate filed a motion to dismiss, raising, among others, the nonpayment of the correct filing fees. It alleged that petitioners had only paid Four Hundred Ten Pesos (P410.00) as docket and filing fees, notwithstanding the fact that they sought to enforce a monetary amount of damages in the amount of over Two and a Quarter Billion US Dollars (US$2.25 Billion). The Marcos Estate cited Supreme Court Circular No. 7, pertaining to the proper computation and payment of docket fees. In response, the petitioners claimed that an action for the enforcement of a foreign judgment is not capable of pecuniary estimation; hence, a filing fee of only Four Hundred Ten Pesos (P410.00) was proper, pursuant to Section 7(c) of Rule 141.9 On 9 September 1998, respondent Judge Santiago Javier Ranada10 of the Makati RTC issued the subject Orderdismissing the complaint without prejudice. Respondent judge opined that contrary to the petitioners' submission, the subject matter of the complaint was indeed capable of pecuniary estimation, as it involved a judgment rendered by a foreign court ordering the payment of definite sums of money, allowing for easy determination of the value of the foreign judgment. On that score, Section 7(a) of Rule 141 of the Rules of Civil Procedure would find application, and the RTC estimated the proper amount of filing fees was approximately Four Hundred Seventy Two Million Pesos, which obviously had not been paid. Not surprisingly, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which Judge Ranada denied in an Order dated 28 July 1999. From this denial, petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 assailing the twin orders of respondent judge.11 They prayed for the annulment of the questioned orders, and an order directing the reinstatement of Civil Case No. 97-1052 and the conduct of appropriate proceedings thereon. Petitioners submit that their action is incapable of pecuniary estimation as the subject matter of the suit is the enforcement of a foreign judgment, and not an action for the collection of a sum of money or recovery of damages. They also point out that to require the class plaintiffs to pay Four Hundred Seventy Two Million Pesos (P472,000,000.00) in filing fees would negate and render inutile the liberal construction ordained by the Rules of Court, as required by Section 6, Rule 1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, particularly the inexpensive disposition of every action. Petitioners invoke Section 11, Article III of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, which provides that "Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty," a mandate which is essentially defeated by the required exorbitant filing fee. The adjudicated amount of the filing fee, as arrived at by the RTC, was characterized as indisputably unfair, inequitable, and unjust. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) was permitted to intervene in this case. 12 It urged that the petition be granted and a judgment rendered, ordering the enforcement and execution of the District Court judgment in accordance with Section 48, Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil

114 Procedure. For the CHR, the Makati RTC erred in interpreting the action for the execution of a foreign judgment as a new case, in violation of the principle that once a case has been decided between the same parties in one country on the same issue with finality, it can no longer be relitigated again in another country.13 The CHR likewise invokes the principle of comity, and of vested rights. The Court's disposition on the issue of filing fees will prove a useful jurisprudential guidepost for courts confronted with actions enforcing foreign judgments, particularly those lodged against an estate. There is no basis for the issuance a limited pro hac vice ruling based on the special circumstances of the petitioners as victims of martial law, or on the emotionally-charged allegation of human rights abuses. An examination of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court readily evinces that the respondent judge ignored the clear letter of the law when he concluded that the filing fee be computed based on the total sum claimed or the stated value of the property in litigation. In dismissing the complaint, the respondent judge relied on Section 7(a), Rule 141 as basis for the computation of the filing fee of over P472 Million. The provision states: SEC. 7. Clerk of Regional Trial Court.(a) For filing an action or a permissive counterclaim or money claim against an estate not based on judgment, or for filing with leave of court a third-party, fourth-party, etc., complaint, or a complaint in intervention, and for all clerical services in the same time, if the total sum claimed, exclusive of interest, or the started value of the property in litigation, is: 1. Less than P 100,00.00 2. P 100,000.00 or more but less than P 150,000.00 3. P 150,000.00 or more but less than P 200,000.00 4. P 200,000.00 or more but less than P 250,000.00 5. P 250,000.00 or more but less than P 300,00.00 6. P 300,000.00 or more but not more than P 400,000.00 7. P 350,000.00 or more but not more than P400,000.00 8. For each P 1,000.00 in excess of P 400,000.00 (Emphasis supplied) Obviously, the above-quoted provision covers, on one hand, ordinary actions, permissive counterclaims, third-party, etc. complaints and complaints-in-interventions, and on the other, P 500.00 P 800.00 P 1,000.00 P 1,500.00 P 1,750.00 P 2,000.00 P 2,250.00 P 10.00

115 money claims against estates which are not based on judgment. Thus, the relevant question for purposes of the present petition is whether the action filed with the lower court is a "money claim against an estate not based on judgment." Petitioners' complaint may have been lodged against an estate, but it is clearly based on a judgment, the Final Judgment of the US District Court. The provision does not make any distinction between a local judgment and a foreign judgment, and where the law does not distinguish, we shall not distinguish. A reading of Section 7 in its entirety reveals several instances wherein the filing fee is computed on the basis of the amount of the relief sought, or on the value of the property in litigation. The filing fee for requests for extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage is based on the amount of indebtedness or the mortgagee's claim.14 In special proceedings involving properties such as for the allowance of wills, the filing fee is again based on the value of the property. 15 The aforecited rules evidently have no application to petitioners' complaint. Petitioners rely on Section 7(b), particularly the proviso on actions where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated. The provision reads in full: SEC. 7. Clerk of Regional Trial Court.(b) For filing 1. Actions where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated 2. Special civil actions except judicial foreclosure which shall be governed by paragraph (a) above 3. All other actions not involving property --P 600.00 --P 600.00 --P 600.00

In a real action, the assessed value of the property, or if there is none, the estimated value, thereof shall be alleged by the claimant and shall be the basis in computing the fees. It is worth noting that the provision also provides that in real actions, the assessed value or estimated value of the property shall be alleged by the claimant and shall be the basis in computing

116 the fees. Yet again, this provision does not apply in the case at bar. A real action is one where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of real property or an action affecting title to or recovery of possession of real property.16 Neither the complaint nor the award of damages adjudicated by the US District Court involves any real property of the Marcos Estate. Thus, respondent judge was in clear and serious error when he concluded that the filing fees should be computed on the basis of the schematic table of Section 7(a), as the action involved pertains to a claim against an estate based on judgment. What provision, if any, then should apply in determining the filing fees for an action to enforce a foreign judgment? To resolve this question, a proper understanding is required on the nature and effects of a foreign judgment in this jurisdiction. The rules of comity, utility and convenience of nations have established a usage among civilized states by which final judgments of foreign courts of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and rendered efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in different countries.17 This principle was prominently affirmed in the leading American case of Hilton v. Guyot18 and expressly recognized in our jurisprudence beginning with Ingenholl v. Walter E. Olsen & Co.19 The conditions required by the Philippines for recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment were originally contained in Section 311 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was taken from the California Code of Civil Procedure which, in turn, was derived from the California Act of March 11, 1872.20Remarkably, the procedural rule now outlined in Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Civil Procedure has remained unchanged down to the last word in nearly a century. Section 48 states: SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments. The effect of a judgment of a tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment is as follows: (a) In case of a judgment upon a specific thing, the judgment is conclusive upon the title to the thing; (b) In case of a judgment against a person, the judgment is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title; In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. There is an evident distinction between a foreign judgment in an action in rem and one in personam. For an actionin rem, the foreign judgment is deemed conclusive upon the title to the thing, while in an action in personam, the foreign judgment is presumptive, and not conclusive, of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title.21 However, in both cases, the foreign judgment is susceptible to impeachment in our local courts on the grounds of want of jurisdiction or notice to the party,22 collusion, fraud,23 or clear mistake of law or fact.24 Thus, the party aggrieved by the foreign judgment is entitled to defend against the enforcement of such decision in the local forum. It is essential that there should be an opportunity

117 to challenge the foreign judgment, in order for the court in this jurisdiction to properly determine its efficacy.25 It is clear then that it is usually necessary for an action to be filed in order to enforce a foreign judgment26, even if such judgment has conclusive effect as in the case of in rem actions, if only for the purpose of allowing the losing party an opportunity to challenge the foreign judgment, and in order for the court to properly determine its efficacy.27 Consequently, the party attacking a foreign judgment has the burden of overcoming the presumption of its validity.28 The rules are silent as to what initiatory procedure must be undertaken in order to enforce a foreign judgment in the Philippines. But there is no question that the filing of a civil complaint is an appropriate measure for such purpose. A civil action is one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right,29 and clearly an action to enforce a foreign judgment is in essence a vindication of a right prescinding either from a "conclusive judgment upon title" or the "presumptive evidence of a right."30 Absent perhaps a statutory grant of jurisdiction to a quasijudicial body, the claim for enforcement of judgment must be brought before the regular courts.31 There are distinctions, nuanced but discernible, between the cause of action arising from the enforcement of a foreign judgment, and that arising from the facts or allegations that occasioned the foreign judgment. They may pertain to the same set of facts, but there is an essential difference in the right-duty correlatives that are sought to be vindicated. For example, in a complaint for damages against a tortfeasor, the cause of action emanates from the violation of the right of the complainant through the act or omission of the respondent. On the other hand, in a complaint for the enforcement of a foreign judgment awarding damages from the same tortfeasor, for the violation of the same right through the same manner of action, the cause of action derives not from the tortious act but from the foreign judgment itself. More importantly, the matters for proof are different. Using the above example, the complainant will have to establish before the court the tortious act or omission committed by the tortfeasor, who in turn is allowed to rebut these factual allegations or prove extenuating circumstances. Extensive litigation is thus conducted on the facts, and from there the right to and amount of damages are assessed. On the other hand, in an action to enforce a foreign judgment, the matter left for proof is the foreign judgment itself, and not the facts from which it prescinds. As stated in Section 48, Rule 39, the actionable issues are generally restricted to a review of jurisdiction of the foreign court, the service of personal notice, collusion, fraud, or mistake of fact or law. The limitations on review is in consonance with a strong and pervasive policy in all legal systems to limit repetitive litigation on claims and issues.32 Otherwise known as the policy of preclusion, it seeks to protect party expectations resulting from previous litigation, to safeguard against the harassment of defendants, to insure that the task of courts not be increased by neverending litigation of the same disputes, and in a larger sense to promote what Lord Coke in the Ferrer's Case of 1599 stated to be the goal of all law: "rest and quietness." 33 If every judgment of a foreign court were reviewable on the merits, the plaintiff would be forced back on his/her original cause of action, rendering immaterial the previously concluded litigation.34

118 Petitioners appreciate this distinction, and rely upon it to support the proposition that the subject matter of the complaint the enforcement of a foreign judgment incapable of pecuniary is estimation. Admittedly the proposition, as it applies in this case, is counter-intuitive, and thus deserves strict scrutiny. For in all practical intents and purposes, the matter at hand is capable of pecuniary estimation, down to the last cent. In the assailedOrder, the respondent judge pounced upon this point without equivocation: The Rules use the term "where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated." The subject matter of the present case is the judgment rendered by the foreign court ordering defendant to pay plaintiffs definite sums of money, as and for compensatory damages. The Court finds that the value of the foreign judgment can be estimated; indeed, it can even be easily determined. The Court is not minded to distinguish between the enforcement of a judgment and the amount of said judgment, and separate the two, for purposes of determining the correct filing fees. Similarly, a plaintiff suing on promissory note for P1 million cannot be allowed to pay only P400 filing fees (sic), on the reasoning that the subject matter of his suit is not the P1 million, but the enforcement of the promissory note, and that the value of such "enforcement" cannot be estimated.35 The jurisprudential standard in gauging whether the subject matter of an action is capable of pecuniary estimation is well-entrenched. The Marcos Estate cites Singsong v. Isabela Sawmill and Raymundo v. Court of Appeals, which ruled: [I]n determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts or in the courts of first instance would depend on the amount of the claim. However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of first instance (now Regional Trial Courts). On the other hand, petitioners cite the ponencia of Justice JBL Reyes in Lapitan v. Scandia,36 from which the rule in Singsong and Raymundo actually derives, but which incorporates this additional nuance omitted in the latter cases: xxx However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, like in suits to have the defendant perform his part of the contract (specific performance) and in actions for support, or for annulment of judgment or to foreclose a mortgage, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of first instance.37

119 Petitioners go on to add that among the actions the Court has recognized as being incapable of pecuniary estimation include legality of conveyances and money deposits,38 validity of a mortgage,39 the right to support,40validity of documents,41 rescission of contracts,42 specific performance,43 and validity or annulment of judgments.44 It is urged that an action for enforcement of a foreign judgment belongs to the same class. This is an intriguing argument, but ultimately it is self-evident that while the subject matter of the action is undoubtedly the enforcement of a foreign judgment, the effect of a providential award would be the adjudication of a sum of money. Perhaps in theory, such an action is primarily for "the enforcement of the foreign judgment," but there is a certain obtuseness to that sort of argument since there is no denying that the enforcement of the foreign judgment will necessarily result in the award of a definite sum of money. But before we insist upon this conclusion past beyond the point of reckoning, we must examine its possible ramifications. Petitioners raise the point that a declaration that an action for enforcement of foreign judgment may be capable of pecuniary estimation might lead to an instance wherein a first level court such as the Municipal Trial Court would have jurisdiction to enforce a foreign judgment. But under the statute defining the jurisdiction of first level courts, B.P. 129, such courts are not vested with jurisdiction over actions for the enforcement of foreign judgments. Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: (1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and intestate, including the grant of provisional remedies in proper cases, where the value of the personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila where such personal property, estate, or amount of the demand does not exceed Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) exclusive of interest damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the amount of which must be specifically alleged: Provided, That where there are several claims or causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions; (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the question of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession. (3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions which involve title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein where the assessed value of the property or interest therein does not exceed Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro Manila, where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00)

120 exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs: Provided, That value of such property shall be determined by the assessed value of the adjacent lots.45 Section 33 of B.P. 129 refers to instances wherein the cause of action or subject matter pertains to an assertion of rights and interests over property or a sum of money. But as earlier pointed out, the subject matter of an action to enforce a foreign judgment is the foreign judgment itself, and the cause of action arising from the adjudication of such judgment. An examination of Section 19(6), B.P. 129 reveals that the instant complaint for enforcement of a foreign judgment, even if capable of pecuniary estimation, would fall under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts, thus negating the fears of the petitioners. Indeed, an examination of the provision indicates that it can be relied upon as jurisdictional basis with respect to actions for enforcement of foreign judgments, provided that no other court or office is vested jurisdiction over such complaint: Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: xxx (6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising jurisdiction or any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions. Thus, we are comfortable in asserting the obvious, that the complaint to enforce the US District Court judgment is one capable of pecuniary estimation. But at the same time, it is also an action based on judgment against an estate, thus placing it beyond the ambit of Section 7(a) of Rule 141. What provision then governs the proper computation of the filing fees over the instant complaint? For this case and other similarly situated instances, we find that it is covered by Section 7(b)(3), involving as it does, "other actions not involving property." Notably, the amount paid as docket fees by the petitioners on the premise that it was an action incapable of pecuniary estimation corresponds to the same amount required for "other actions not involving property." The petitioners thus paid the correct amount of filing fees, and it was a grave abuse of discretion for respondent judge to have applied instead a clearly inapplicable rule and dismissed the complaint. There is another consideration of supreme relevance in this case, one which should disabuse the notion that the doctrine affirmed in this decision is grounded solely on the letter of the procedural rule. We earlier adverted to the the internationally recognized policy of preclusion, 46 as well as the principles of comity, utility and convenience of nations47 as the basis for the evolution of the rule calling for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. The US Supreme Court in Hilton v. Guyot48 relied heavily on the concept of comity, as especially derived from the landmark treatise of Justice Story in his Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws of 1834.49 Yet the notion of "comity" has since been criticized as one "of dim contours"50 or suffering from a number of fallacies.51Other

121 conceptual bases for the recognition of foreign judgments have evolved such as the vested rights theory or the modern doctrine of obligation.52 There have been attempts to codify through treaties or multilateral agreements the standards for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, but these have not borne fruition. The members of the European Common Market accede to the Judgments Convention, signed in 1978, which eliminates as to participating countries all of such obstacles to recognition such as reciprocity and rvision au fond.53 The most ambitious of these attempts is the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters, prepared in 1966 by the Hague Conference of International Law.54 While it has not received the ratifications needed to have it take effect,55 it is recognized as representing current scholarly thought on the topic.56 Neither the Philippines nor the United States are signatories to the Convention. Yet even if there is no unanimity as to the applicable theory behind the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments or a universal treaty rendering it obligatory force, there is consensus that the viability of such recognition and enforcement is essential. Steiner and Vagts note: . . . The notion of unconnected bodies of national law on private international law, each following a quite separate path, is not one conducive to the growth of a transnational community encouraging travel and commerce among its members. There is a contemporary resurgence of writing stressing the identity or similarity of the values that systems of public and private international law seek to further a community interest in common, or at least reasonable, rules on these matters in national legal systems. And such generic principles as reciprocity play an important role in both fields.57 Salonga, whose treatise on private international law is of worldwide renown, points out: Whatever be the theory as to the basis for recognizing foreign judgments, there can be little dispute that the end is to protect the reasonable expectations and demands of the parties. Where the parties have submitted a matter for adjudication in the court of one state, and proceedings there are not tainted with irregularity, they may fairly be expected to submit, within the state or elsewhere, to the enforcement of the judgment issued by the court.58 There is also consensus as to the requisites for recognition of a foreign judgment and the defenses against the enforcement thereof. As earlier discussed, the exceptions enumerated in Section 48, Rule 39 have remain unchanged since the time they were adapted in this jurisdiction from long standing American rules. The requisites and exceptions as delineated under Section 48 are but a restatement of generally accepted principles of international law. Section 98 of The Restatement, Second, Conflict of Laws, states that "a valid judgment rendered in a foreign nation after a fair trial in a contested proceeding will be recognized in the United States," and on its face, the term "valid" brings into play requirements such notions as valid jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties.59 Similarly, the notion that fraud or collusion may preclude the enforcement of a foreign judgment finds affirmation with foreign jurisprudence and commentators,60 as well as the doctrine that the foreign judgment must not constitute "a clear mistake of law or fact."61 And finally, it has been recognized that "public policy" as a defense to the recognition of judgments serves as an

122 umbrella for a variety of concerns in international practice which may lead to a denial of recognition.62 The viability of the public policy defense against the enforcement of a foreign judgment has been recognized in this jurisdiction.63 This defense allows for the application of local standards in reviewing the foreign judgment, especially when such judgment creates only a presumptive right, as it does in cases wherein the judgment is against a person.64 The defense is also recognized within the international sphere, as many civil law nations adhere to a broad public policy exception which may result in a denial of recognition when the foreign court, in the light of the choice-of-law rules of the recognizing court, applied the wrong law to the case. 65 The public policy defense can safeguard against possible abuses to the easy resort to offshore litigation if it can be demonstrated that the original claim is noxious to our constitutional values. There is no obligatory rule derived from treaties or conventions that requires the Philippines to recognize foreign judgments, or allow a procedure for the enforcement thereof. However, generally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution, form part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations.66 The classical formulation in international law sees those customary rules accepted as binding result from the combination two elements: the established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as the opinion juris sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it.67 While the definite conceptual parameters of the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments have not been authoritatively established, the Court can assert with certainty that such an undertaking is among those generally accepted principles of international law.68 As earlier demonstrated, there is a widespread practice among states accepting in principle the need for such recognition and enforcement, albeit subject to limitations of varying degrees. The fact that there is no binding universal treaty governing the practice is not indicative of a widespread rejection of the principle, but only a disagreement as to the imposable specific rules governing the procedure for recognition and enforcement. Aside from the widespread practice, it is indubitable that the procedure for recognition and enforcement is embodied in the rules of law, whether statutory or jurisprudential, adopted in various foreign jurisdictions. In the Philippines, this is evidenced primarily by Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which has existed in its current form since the early 1900s. Certainly, the Philippine legal system has long ago accepted into its jurisprudence and procedural rules the viability of an action for enforcement of foreign judgment, as well as the requisites for such valid enforcement, as derived from internationally accepted doctrines. Again, there may be distinctions as to the rules adopted by each particular state,69 but they all prescind from the premise that there is a rule of law obliging states to allow for, however generally, the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment. The bare principle, to our mind, has attained the status of opinio juris in international practice. This is a significant proposition, as it acknowledges that the procedure and requisites outlined in Section 48, Rule 39 derive their efficacy not merely from the procedural rule, but by virtue of the

123 incorporation clause of the Constitution. Rules of procedure are promulgated by the Supreme Court,70 and could very well be abrogated or revised by the high court itself. Yet the Supreme Court is obliged, as are all State components, to obey the laws of the land, including generally accepted principles of international law which form part thereof, such as those ensuring the qualified recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.71 Thus, relative to the enforcement of foreign judgments in the Philippines, it emerges that there is a general right recognized within our body of laws, and affirmed by the Constitution, to seek recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, as well as a right to defend against such enforcement on the grounds of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. The preclusion of an action for enforcement of a foreign judgment in this country merely due to an exhorbitant assessment of docket fees is alien to generally accepted practices and principles in international law. Indeed, there are grave concerns in conditioning the amount of the filing fee on the pecuniary award or the value of the property subject of the foreign decision. Such pecuniary award will almost certainly be in foreign denomination, computed in accordance with the applicable laws and standards of the forum.72 The vagaries of inflation, as well as the relative lowincome capacity of the Filipino, to date may very well translate into an award virtually unenforceable in this country, despite its integral validity, if the docket fees for the enforcement thereof were predicated on the amount of the award sought to be enforced. The theory adopted by respondent judge and the Marcos Estate may even lead to absurdities, such as if applied to an award involving real property situated in places such as the United States or Scandinavia where real property values are inexorably high. We cannot very well require that the filing fee be computed based on the value of the foreign property as determined by the standards of the country where it is located. As crafted, Rule 141 of the Rules of Civil Procedure avoids unreasonableness, as it recognizes that the subject matter of an action for enforcement of a foreign judgment is the foreign judgment itself, and not the right-duty correlatives that resulted in the foreign judgment. In this particular circumstance, given that the complaint is lodged against an estate and is based on the US District Court's Final Judgment, this foreign judgment may, for purposes of classification under the governing procedural rule, be deemed as subsumed under Section 7(b)(3) of Rule 141, i.e., within the class of "all other actions not involving property." Thus, only the blanket filing fee of minimal amount is required. Finally, petitioners also invoke Section 11, Article III of the Constitution, which states that "[F]ree access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty." Since the provision is among the guarantees ensured by the Bill of Rights, it certainly gives rise to a demandable right. However, now is not the occasion to elaborate on the parameters of this constitutional right. Given our preceding discussion, it is not necessary to utilize this provision in order to grant the relief sought by the petitioners. It is axiomatic that the constitutionality of an act will not be resolved by the courts if the controversy can be settled on other grounds73 or unless the resolution thereof is indispensable for the determination of the case.74 One more word. It bears noting that Section 48, Rule 39 acknowledges that the Final Judgment is not conclusive yet, but presumptive evidence of a right of the petitioners

124 against the Marcos Estate. Moreover, the Marcos Estate is not precluded to present evidence, if any, of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. This ruling, decisive as it is on the question of filing fees and no other, does not render verdict on the enforceability of the Final Judgment before the courts under the jurisdiction of the Philippines, or for that matter any other issue which may legitimately be presented before the trial court. Such issues are to be litigated before the trial court, but within the confines of the matters for proof as laid down in Section 48, Rule 39. On the other hand, the speedy resolution of this claim by the trial court is encouraged, and contumacious delay of the decision on the merits will not be brooked by this Court.WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed orders are NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE, and a new order REINSTATING Civil Case No. 97-1052 is hereby issued. No costs. SO ORDERED.

KHOSROW MINUCHER, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ARTHUR SCALZO, respondents. DECISION VITUG, J.: Sometime in May 1986, an Information for violation of Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6425, otherwise also known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, was filed against petitioner Khosrow Minucher and one Abbas Torabian with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 151, of Pasig City. The criminal charge followed a buy-bust operation conducted by the Philippine police narcotic agents in the house of Minucher, an Iranian national, where a quantity of heroin, a prohibited drug, was said to have been seized. The narcotic agents were accompanied by private respondent Arthur Scalzo who would, in due time, become one of the principal witnesses for the prosecution. On 08 January 1988, Presiding Judge Eutropio Migrino rendered a decision acquitting the two accused. On 03 August 1988, Minucher filed Civil Case No. 88-45691 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 19, of Manila for damages on account of what he claimed to have been trumped-up charges of drug trafficking made by Arthur Scalzo. The Manila RTC detailed what it had found to be the facts and circumstances surrounding the case. "The testimony of the plaintiff disclosed that he is an Iranian national. He came to the Philippines to study in the University of the Philippines in 1974. In 1976, under the regime of the Shah of Iran, he was appointed Labor Attach for the Iranian Embassies in Tokyo, Japan and Manila, Philippines. When the Shah of Iran was deposed by Ayatollah Khomeini, plaintiff became a refugee of the United Nations and continued to stay in the Philippines. He headed the Iranian National Resistance Movement in the Philippines. He came to know the defendant on May 13, 1986, when the latter was brought to his house and introduced to him by a certain Jose Iigo, an informer of the Intelligence Unit of the military. Jose

125 Iigo, on the other hand, was met by plaintiff at the office of Atty. Crisanto Saruca, a lawyer for several Iranians whom plaintiff assisted as head of the anti-Khomeini movement in the Philippines. During his first meeting with the defendant on May 13, 1986, upon the introduction of Jose Iigo, the defendant expressed his interest in buying caviar. As a matter of fact, he bought two kilos of caviar from plaintiff and paid P10,000.00 for it. Selling caviar, aside from that of Persian carpets, pistachio nuts and other Iranian products was his business after the Khomeini government cut his pension of over $3,000.00 per month. During their introduction in that meeting, the defendant gave the plaintiff his calling card, which showed that he is working at the US Embassy in the Philippines, as a special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, of the United States, and gave his address as US Embassy, Manila. At the back of the card appears a telephone number in defendants own handwriting, the number of which he can also be contacted. It was also during this first meeting that plaintiff expressed his desire to obtain a US Visa for his wife and the wife of a countryman named Abbas Torabian. The defendant told him that he [could] help plaintiff for a fee of $2,000.00 per visa. Their conversation, however, was more concentrated on politics, carpets and caviar. Thereafter, the defendant promised to see plaintiff again. On May 19, 1986, the defendant called the plaintiff and invited the latter for dinner at Mario's Restaurant at Makati. He wanted to buy 200 grams of caviar. Plaintiff brought the merchandize but for the reason that the defendant was not yet there, he requested the restaurant people to x x x place the same in the refrigerator. Defendant, however, came and plaintiff gave him the caviar for which he was paid. Then their conversation was again focused on politics and business. On May 26, 1986, defendant visited plaintiff again at the latter's residence for 18 years at Kapitolyo, Pasig. The defendant wanted to buy a pair of carpets which plaintiff valued at $27,900.00. After some haggling, they agreed at $24,000.00. For the reason that defendant did not yet have the money, they agreed that defendant would come back the next day. The following day, at 1:00 p.m., he came back with his $24,000.00, which he gave to the plaintiff, and the latter, in turn, gave him the pair of carpets. At about 3:00 in the afternoon of May 27, 1986, the defendant came back again to plaintiff's house and directly proceeded to the latter's bedroom, where the latter and his countryman, Abbas Torabian, were playing chess. Plaintiff opened his safe in the bedroom and obtained $2,000.00 from it, gave it to the defendant for the latter's fee in obtaining a visa for plaintiff's wife. The defendant told him that he would be leaving the Philippines very soon and requested him to come out of the house for a while so that he can introduce him to his cousin waiting in a cab. Without much ado, and without putting on his shirt as he was only in his pajama pants, he followed the defendant where he saw a parked cab opposite the street. To his complete surprise, an American jumped out of the cab with a drawn high-powered gun. He was in the company of about 30 to 40 Filipino soldiers with 6 Americans, all armed. He was handcuffed and after about 20 minutes in the street, he was brought inside the house by the defendant. He was made to sit down while in handcuffs while the defendant was inside his bedroom. The defendant came out of the bedroom and out from defendant's attach case, he took something and placed it on the table in front of the plaintiff. They also took plaintiff's wife who was at that time at the boutique near his house and likewise arrested Torabian, who was playing chess with him in the bedroom and both were

126 handcuffed together. Plaintiff was not told why he was being handcuffed and why the privacy of his house, especially his bedroom was invaded by defendant. He was not allowed to use the telephone. In fact, his telephone was unplugged. He asked for any warrant, but the defendant told him to `shut up. He was nevertheless told that he would be able to call for his lawyer who can defend him. The plaintiff took note of the fact that when the defendant invited him to come out to meet his cousin, his safe was opened where he kept the $24,000.00 the defendant paid for the carpets and another $8,000.00 which he also placed in the safe together with a bracelet worth $15,000.00 and a pair of earrings worth $10,000.00. He also discovered missing upon his release his 8 pieces handmade Persian carpets, valued at $65,000.00, a painting he bought for P30,000.00 together with his TV and betamax sets. He claimed that when he was handcuffed, the defendant took his keys from his wallet. There was, therefore, nothing left in his house. That his arrest as a heroin trafficker x x x had been well publicized throughout the world, in various newspapers, particularly in Australia, America, Central Asia and in the Philippines. He was identified in the papers as an international drug trafficker. x x x In fact, the arrest of defendant and Torabian was likewise on television, not only in the Philippines, but also in America and in Germany. His friends in said places informed him that they saw him on TV with said news. After the arrest made on plaintiff and Torabian, they were brought to Camp Crame handcuffed together, where they were detained for three days without food and water."[1] During the trial, the law firm of Luna, Sison and Manas, filed a special appearance for Scalzo and moved for extension of time to file an answer pending a supposed advice from the United States Department of State and Department of Justice on the defenses to be raised. The trial court granted the motion. On 27 October 1988, Scalzo filed another special appearance to quash the summons on the ground that he, not being a resident of the Philippines and the action being one in personam, was beyond the processes of the court. The motion was denied by the court, in its order of 13 December 1988, holding that the filing by Scalzo of a motion for extension of time to file an answer to the complaint was a voluntary appearance equivalent to service of summons which could likewise be construed a waiver of the requirement of formal notice. Scalzo filed a motion for reconsideration of the court order, contending that a motion for an extension of time to file an answer was not a voluntary appearance equivalent to service of summons since it did not seek an affirmative relief. Scalzo argued that in cases involving the United States government, as well as its agencies and officials, a motion for extension was peculiarly unavoidable due to the need (1) for both the Department of State and the Department of Justice to agree on the defenses to be raised and (2) to refer the case to a Philippine lawyer who would be expected to first review the case. The court a quo denied the motion for reconsideration in its order of 15 October 1989. Scalzo filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, there docketed CA-G.R. No. 17023, assailing the denial. In a decision, dated 06 October 1989, the appellate court denied the petition and affirmed the ruling of the trial court. Scalzo then elevated the incident in a petition for review on certiorari, docketed G.R. No. 91173, to this Court. The petition, however, was denied

127 for its failure to comply with SC Circular No. 1-88; in any event, the Court added, Scalzo had failed to show that the appellate court was in error in its questioned judgment. Meanwhile, at the court a quo, an order, dated 09 February 1990, was issued (a) declaring Scalzo in default for his failure to file a responsive pleading (answer) and (b) setting the case for the reception of evidence. On 12 March 1990, Scalzo filed a motion to set aside the order of default and to admit his answer to the complaint. Granting the motion, the trial court set the case for pre-trial. In his answer, Scalzo denied the material allegations of the complaint and raised the affirmative defenses (a) of Minuchers failure to state a cause of action in his complaint and (b) that Scalzo had acted in the discharge of his official duties as being merely an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States Department of Justice. Scalzo interposed a counterclaim of P100,000.00 to answer for attorneys' fees and expenses of litigation. Then, on 14 June 1990, after almost two years since the institution of the civil case, Scalzo filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that, being a special agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, he was entitled to diplomatic immunity. He attached to his motion Diplomatic Note No. 414 of the United States Embassy, dated 29 May 1990, addressed to the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and a Certification, dated 11 June 1990, of Vice Consul Donna Woodward, certifying that the note is a true and faithful copy of its original. In an order of 25 June 1990, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss. On 27 July 1990, Scalzo filed a petition for certiorari with injunction with this Court, docketed G.R. No. 94257 and entitled "Arthur W. Scalzo, Jr., vs. Hon. Wenceslao Polo, et al.," asking that the complaint in Civil Case No. 88-45691 be ordered dismissed. The case was referred to the Court of Appeals, there docketed CA-G.R. SP No. 22505, per this Courts resolution of 07 August 1990. On 31 October 1990, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision sustaining the diplomatic immunity of Scalzo and ordering the dismissal of the complaint against him. Minucher filed a petition for review with this Court, docketed G.R. No. 97765 and entitled "Khosrow Minucher vs. the Honorable Court of Appeals, et. al. (cited in 214 SCRA 242), appealing the judgment of the Court of Appeals. In a decision, dated 24 September 1992, penned by Justice (now Chief Justice) Hilario Davide, Jr., this Court reversed the decision of the appellate court and remanded the case to the lower court for trial. The remand was ordered on the theses (a) that the Court of Appeals erred in granting the motion to dismiss of Scalzo for lack of jurisdiction over his person without even considering the issue of the authenticity of Diplomatic Note No. 414 and (b) that the complaint contained sufficient allegations to the effect that Scalzo committed the imputed acts in his personal capacity and outside the scope of his official duties and, absent any evidence to the contrary, the issue on Scalzos diplomatic immunity could not be taken up. The Manila RTC thus continued with its hearings on the case. On 17 November 1995, the trial court reached a decision; it adjudged: WHEREFORE, and in view of all the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiff, who successfully established his claim by sufficient evidence, against the defendant in the manner following: "`Adjudging defendant liable to plaintiff in actual and compensatory damages of P520,000.00; moral damages in the sum of P10 million; exemplary damages in the sum of P100,000.00; attorney's fees in the sum of P200,000.00 plus costs.

128 `The Clerk of the Regional Trial Court, Manila, is ordered to take note of the lien of the Court on this judgment to answer for the unpaid docket fees considering that the plaintiff in this case instituted this action as a pauper litigant."[2] While the trial court gave credence to the claim of Scalzo and the evidence presented by him that he was a diplomatic agent entitled to immunity as such, it ruled that he, nevertheless, should be held accountable for the acts complained of committed outside his official duties. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court and sustained the defense of Scalzo that he was sufficiently clothed with diplomatic immunity during his term of duty and thereby immune from the criminal and civil jurisdiction of the Receiving State pursuant to the terms of the Vienna Convention. Hence, this recourse by Minucher. The instant petition for review raises a two-fold issue: (1) whether or not the doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment, following the decision rendered by this Court in G.R. No. 97765, should have precluded the Court of Appeals from resolving the appeal to it in an entirely different manner, and (2) whether or not Arthur Scalzo is indeed entitled to diplomatic immunity. The doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment, or its kindred rule of res judicata, would require 1) the finality of the prior judgment, 2) a valid jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties on the part of the court that renders it, 3) a judgment on the merits, and 4) an identity of the parties, subject matter and causes of action.[3] Even while one of the issues submitted in G.R. No. 97765 "whether or not public respondent Court of Appeals erred in ruling that private respondent Scalzo is a diplomat immune from civil suit conformably with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations" - is also a pivotal question raised in the instant petition, the ruling in G.R. No. 97765, however, has not resolved that point with finality. Indeed, the Court there has made this observation "It may be mentioned in this regard that private respondent himself, in his Pre-trial Brief filed on 13 June 1990, unequivocally states that he would present documentary evidence consisting of DEA records on his investigation and surveillance of plaintiff and on his position and duties as DEA special agent in Manila. Having thus reserved his right to present evidence in support of his position, which is the basis for the alleged diplomatic immunity, the barren self-serving claim in the belated motion to dismiss cannot be relied upon for a reasonable, intelligent and fair resolution of the issue of diplomatic immunity."[4] Scalzo contends that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which the Philippines is a signatory, grants him absolute immunity from suit, describing his functions as an agent of the United States Drugs Enforcement Agency as conducting surveillance operations on suspected drug dealers in the Philippines believed to be the source of prohibited drugs being shipped to the U.S., (and) having ascertained the target, (he then) would inform the Philippine narcotic agents (to) make the actual arrest." Scalzo has submitted to the trial court a number of documents 1. Exh. '2' Diplomatic Note No. 414 dated 29 May 1990;

129 2. Exh. '1' 1990; 3. 4. 5. Exh. '5' Exh. '6' Exh. '7' Certification of Vice Consul Donna K. Woodward dated 11 June Diplomatic Note No. 757 dated 25 October 1991; Diplomatic Note No. 791 dated 17 November 1992; and Diplomatic Note No. 833 dated 21 October 1988.

6. Exh. '3' 1st Indorsement of the Hon. Jorge R. Coquia, Legal Adviser, Department of Foreign Affairs, dated 27 June 1990 forwarding Embassy Note No. 414 to the Clerk of Court of RTC Manila, Branch 19 (the trial court); 7. and Exh. '4' Diplomatic Note No. 414, appended to the 1st Indorsement (Exh. '3');

8. Exh. '8' Letter dated 18 November 1992 from the Office of the Protocol, Department of Foreign Affairs, through Asst. Sec. Emmanuel Fernandez, addressed to the Chief Justice of this Court.[5] The documents, according to Scalzo, would show that: (1) the United States Embassy accordingly advised the Executive Department of the Philippine Government that Scalzo was a member of the diplomatic staff of the United States diplomatic mission from his arrival in the Philippines on 14 October 1985 until his departure on 10 August 1988; (2) that the United States Government was firm from the very beginning in asserting the diplomatic immunity of Scalzo with respect to the case pursuant to the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations; and (3) that the United States Embassy repeatedly urged the Department of Foreign Affairs to take appropriate action to inform the trial court of Scalzos diplomatic immunity. The other documentary exhibits were presented to indicate that: (1) the Philippine government itself, through its Executive Department, recognizing and respecting the diplomatic status of Scalzo, formally advised the Judicial Department of his diplomatic status and his entitlement to all diplomatic privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention; and (2) the Department of Foreign Affairs itself authenticated Diplomatic Note No. 414. Scalzo additionally presented Exhibits "9" to "13" consisting of his reports of investigation on the surveillance and subsequent arrest of Minucher, the certification of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States Department of Justice that Scalzo was a special agent assigned to the Philippines at all times relevant to the complaint, and the special power of attorney executed by him in favor of his previous counsel[6] to show (a) that the United States Embassy, affirmed by its Vice Consul, acknowledged Scalzo to be a member of the diplomatic staff of the United States diplomatic mission from his arrival in the Philippines on 14 October 1985 until his departure on 10 August 1988, (b) that, on May 1986, with the cooperation of the Philippine law enforcement officials and in the exercise of his functions as member of the mission, he investigated Minucher for alleged trafficking in a prohibited drug, and (c) that the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs itself recognized that Scalzo during his tour of duty in the Philippines (14 October 1985 up to 10 August 1988) was listed as being an Assistant Attach of the United States diplomatic mission and accredited with diplomatic status by the Government of the Philippines. In his Exhibit 12, Scalzo

130 described the functions of the overseas office of the United States Drugs Enforcement Agency, i.e., (1) to provide criminal investigative expertise and assistance to foreign law enforcement agencies on narcotic and drug control programs upon the request of the host country, 2) to establish and maintain liaison with the host country and counterpart foreign law enforcement officials, and 3) to conduct complex criminal investigations involving international criminal conspiracies which affect the interests of the United States. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was a codification of centuries-old customary law and, by the time of its ratification on 18 April 1961, its rules of law had long become stable. Among the city states of ancient Greece, among the peoples of the Mediterranean before the establishment of the Roman Empire, and among the states of India, the person of the herald in time of war and the person of the diplomatic envoy in time of peace were universally held sacrosanct.[7] By the end of the 16th century, when the earliest treatises on diplomatic law were published, the inviolability of ambassadors was firmly established as a rule of customary international law.[8] Traditionally, the exercise of diplomatic intercourse among states was undertaken by the head of state himself, as being the preeminent embodiment of the state he represented, and the foreign secretary, the official usually entrusted with the external affairs of the state. Where a state would wish to have a more prominent diplomatic presence in the receiving state, it would then send to the latter a diplomatic mission. Conformably with the Vienna Convention, the functions of the diplomatic mission involve, by and large, the representation of the interests of the sending state and promoting friendly relations with the receiving state.[9] The Convention lists the classes of heads of diplomatic missions to include (a) ambassadors or nuncios accredited to the heads of state,[10] (b) envoys,[11] ministers orinternuncios accredited to the heads of states; and (c) charges d' affairs[12] accredited to the ministers of foreign affairs. [13] Comprising the "staff of the (diplomatic) mission" are the diplomatic staff, the administrative staff and the technical and service staff. Only the heads of missions, as well as members of the diplomatic staff, excluding the members of the administrative, technical and service staff of the mission, are accorded diplomatic rank. Even while the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides for immunity to the members of diplomatic missions, it does so, nevertheless, with an understanding that the same be restrictively applied. Only "diplomatic agents," under the terms of the Convention, are vested with blanket diplomatic immunity from civil and criminal suits. The Convention defines "diplomatic agents" as the heads of missions or members of the diplomatic staff, thus impliedly withholding the same privileges from all others. It might bear stressing that even consuls, who represent their respective states in concerns of commerce and navigation and perform certain administrative and notarial duties, such as the issuance of passports and visas, authentication of documents, and administration of oaths, do not ordinarily enjoy the traditional diplomatic immunities and privileges accorded diplomats, mainly for the reason that they are not charged with the duty of representing their states in political matters. Indeed, the main yardstick in ascertaining whether a person is a diplomat entitled to immunity is the determination of whether or not he performs duties of diplomatic nature. Scalzo asserted, particularly in his Exhibits 9 to 13, that he was an Assistant Attach of the United States diplomatic mission and was accredited as such by the Philippine Government. An attach belongs to a category of officers in the diplomatic establishment who may be in charge of its cultural, press, administrative or financial affairs. There could also be a class of attaches belonging to certain ministries or departments of the government, other than the foreign ministry or department, who are detailed by their respective ministries or departments with

131 the embassies such as the military, naval, air, commercial, agricultural, labor, science, and customs attaches, or the like. Attaches assist a chief of mission in his duties and are administratively under him, but their main function is to observe, analyze and interpret trends and developments in their respective fields in the host country and submit reports to their own ministries or departments in the home government.[14] These officials are not generally regarded as members of the diplomatic mission, nor are they normally designated as having diplomatic rank. In an attempt to prove his diplomatic status, Scalzo presented Diplomatic Notes Nos. 414, 757 and 791, all issued post litem motam, respectively, on 29 May 1990, 25 October 1991 and 17 November 1992. The presentation did nothing much to alleviate the Court's initial reservations in G.R. No. 97765, viz: "While the trial court denied the motion to dismiss, the public respondent gravely abused its discretion in dismissing Civil Case No. 88-45691 on the basis of an erroneous assumption that simply because of the diplomatic note, the private respondent is clothed with diplomatic immunity, thereby divesting the trial court of jurisdiction over his person. x x x xxx xxx

And now, to the core issue - the alleged diplomatic immunity of the private respondent. Setting aside for the moment the issue of authenticity raised by the petitioner and the doubts that surround such claim, in view of the fact that it took private respondent one (1) year, eight (8) months and seventeen (17) days from the time his counsel filed on 12 September 1988 a Special Appearance and Motion asking for a first extension of time to file the Answer because the Departments of State and Justice of the United States of America were studying the case for the purpose of determining his defenses, before he could secure the Diplomatic Note from the US Embassy in Manila, and even granting for the sake of argument that such note is authentic, the complaint for damages filed by petitioner cannot be peremptorily dismissed. x x x x xxx x x

"There is of course the claim of private respondent that the acts imputed to him were done in his official capacity. Nothing supports this self-serving claim other than the so-called Diplomatic Note. x x x. The public respondent then should have sustained the trial court's denial of the motion to dismiss. Verily, it should have been the most proper and appropriate recourse. It should not have been overwhelmed by the self-serving Diplomatic Note whose belated issuance is even suspect and whose authenticity has not yet been proved. The undue haste with which respondent Court yielded to the private respondent's claim is arbitrary." A significant document would appear to be Exhibit No. 08, dated 08 November 1992, issued by the Office of Protocol of the Department of Foreign Affairs and signed by Emmanuel C. Fernandez, Assistant Secretary, certifying that "the records of the Department (would) show that Mr. Arthur W. Scalzo, Jr., during his term of office in the Philippines (from 14 October 1985 up to 10 August 1988) was listed as an Assistant Attach of the United States diplomatic mission and was, therefore, accredited diplomatic status by the Government of the Philippines." No certified

132 true copy of such "records," the supposed bases for the belated issuance, was presented in evidence. Concededly, vesting a person with diplomatic immunity is a prerogative of the executive branch of the government. In World Health Organization vs. Aquino,[15] the Court has recognized that, in such matters, the hands of the courts are virtually tied. Amidst apprehensions of indiscriminate and incautious grant of immunity, designed to gain exemption from the jurisdiction of courts, it should behoove the Philippine government, specifically its Department of Foreign Affairs, to be most circumspect, that should particularly be no less than compelling, in its post litem motam issuances. It might be recalled that the privilege is not an immunity from the observance of the law of the territorial sovereign or from ensuing legal liability; it is, rather, an immunity from the exercise of territorial jurisdiction.[16] The government of the United States itself, which Scalzo claims to be acting for, has formulated its standards for recognition of a diplomatic agent. The State Department policy is to only concede diplomatic status to a person who possesses an acknowledged diplomatic title and performs duties of diplomatic nature.[17] Supplementary criteria for accreditation are the possession of a valid diplomatic passport or, from States which do not issue such passports, a diplomatic note formally representing the intention to assign the person to diplomatic duties, the holding of a non-immigrant visa, being over twenty-one years of age, and performing diplomatic functions on an essentially full-time basis.[18] Diplomatic missions are requested to provide the most accurate and descriptive job title to that which currently applies to the duties performed. The Office of the Protocol would then assign each individual to the appropriate functional category.[19] But while the diplomatic immunity of Scalzo might thus remain contentious, it was sufficiently established that, indeed, he worked for the United States Drug Enforcement Agency and was tasked to conduct surveillance of suspected drug activities within the country on the dates pertinent to this case. If it should be ascertained that Arthur Scalzo was acting well within his assigned functions when he committed the acts alleged in the complaint, the present controversy could then be resolved under the related doctrine of State Immunity from Suit. The precept that a State cannot be sued in the courts of a foreign state is a long-standing rule of customary international law then closely identified with the personal immunity of a foreign sovereign from suit[20] and, with the emergence of democratic states, made to attach not just to the person of the head of state, or his representative, but also distinctly to the state itself in its sovereign capacity.[21] If the acts giving rise to a suit are those of a foreign government done by its foreign agent, although not necessarily a diplomatic personage, but acting in his official capacity, the complaint could be barred by the immunity of the foreign sovereign from suit without its consent. Suing a representative of a state is believed to be, in effect, suing the state itself. The proscription is not accorded for the benefit of an individual but for the State, in whose service he is, under the maxim - par in parem, non habet imperium - that all states are sovereign equals and cannot assert jurisdiction over one another.[22] The implication, in broad terms, is that if the judgment against an official would require the state itself to perform an affirmative act to satisfy the award, such as the appropriation of the amount needed to pay the damages decreed against him, the suit must be regarded as being against the state itself, although it has not been formally impleaded.[23]

133 In United States of America vs. Guinto,[24] involving officers of the United States Air Force and special officers of the Air Force Office of Special Investigators charged with the duty of preventing the distribution, possession and use of prohibited drugs, this Court has ruled "While the doctrine (of state immunity) appears to prohibit only suits against the state without its consent, it is also applicable to complaints filed against officials of the state for acts allegedly performed by them in the discharge of their duties. x x x. It cannot for a moment be imagined that they were acting in their private or unofficial capacity when they apprehended and later testified against the complainant. It follows that for discharging their duties as agents of the United States, they cannot be directly impleaded for acts imputable to their principal, which has not given its consent to be sued. x x x As they have acted on behalf of the government, and within the scope of their authority, it is that government, and not the petitioners personally, [who were] responsible for their acts."[25] This immunity principle, Appeals[26] elaborates: however, has its limitations. Thus, Shauf vs. Court of

It is a different matter where the public official is made to account in his capacity as such for acts contrary to law and injurious to the rights of the plaintiff. As was clearly set forth by Justice Zaldivar inDirector of the Bureau of Telecommunications, et al., vs. Aligaen, et al. (33 SCRA 368): `Inasmuch as the State authorizes only legal acts by its officers, unauthorized acts of government officials or officers are not acts of the State, and an action against the officials or officers by one whose rights have been invaded or violated by such acts, for the protection of his rights, is not a suit against the State within the rule of immunity of the State from suit. In the same tenor, it has been said that an action at law or suit in equity against a State officer or the director of a State department on the ground that, while claiming to act for the State, he violates or invades the personal and property rights of the plaintiff, under an unconstitutional act or under an assumption of authority which he does not have, is not a suit against the State within the constitutional provision that the State may not be sued without its consent. The rationale for this ruling is that the doctrine of state immunity cannot be used as an instrument for perpetrating an injustice. x x x x xxx x x

(T)he doctrine of immunity from suit will not apply and may not be invoked where the public official is being sued in his private and personal capacity as an ordinary citizen. The cloak of protection afforded the officers and agents of the government is removed the moment they are sued in their individual capacity. This situation usually arises where the public official acts without authority or in excess of the powers vested in him. It is a well-settled principle of law that a public official may be liable in his personal private capacity for whatever damage he may have caused by his act done with malice and in bad faith or beyond the scope of his authority and jurisdiction.[27] A foreign agent, operating within a territory, can be cloaked with immunity from suit but only as long as it can be established that he is acting within the directives of the sending state. The consent of the host state is an indispensable requirement of basic courtesy between the two sovereigns. Guinto and Shauf both involve officers and personnel of the United States, stationed

134 within Philippine territory, under the RP-US Military Bases Agreement. While evidence is wanting to show any similar agreement between the governments of the Philippines and of the United States (for the latter to send its agents and to conduct surveillance and related activities of suspected drug dealers in the Philippines), the consent or imprimatur of the Philippine government to the activities of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, however, can be gleaned from the facts heretofore elsewhere mentioned. The official exchanges of communication between agencies of the government of the two countries, certifications from officials of both the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and the United States Embassy, as well as the participation of members of the Philippine Narcotics Command in the buy-bust operation conducted at the residence of Minucher at the behest of Scalzo, may be inadequate to support the "diplomatic status" of the latter but they give enough indication that the Philippine government has given its imprimatur, if not consent, to the activities within Philippine territory of agent Scalzo of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. The job description of Scalzo has tasked him to conduct surveillance on suspected drug suppliers and, after having ascertained the target, to inform local law enforcers who would then be expected to make the arrest. In conducting surveillance activities on Minucher, later acting as the poseur-buyer during the buy-bust operation, and then becoming a principal witness in the criminal case against Minucher, Scalzo hardly can be said to have acted beyond the scope of his official function or duties. All told, this Court is constrained to rule that respondent Arthur Scalzo, an agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency allowed by the Philippine government to conduct activities in the country to help contain the problem on the drug traffic, is entitled to the defense of state immunity from suit. WHEREFORE, on the foregoing premises, the petition is DENIED. No costs. SO ORDERED.

135

G.R. No. 183591

October 14, 2008

THE PROVINCE OF NORTH COTABATO, duly represented by GOVERNOR JESUS SACDALAN and/or VICE-GOVERNOR EMMANUEL PIOL, for and in his own behalf, petitioners, vs. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP), represented by SEC. RODOLFO GARCIA, ATTY. LEAH ARMAMENTO, ATTY. SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN and/or GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, JR., the latter in his capacity as the present and dulyappointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) or the so-called Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, respondents. x--------------------------------------------x G.R. No. 183752 October 14, 2008

CITY GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBOANGA, as represented by HON. CELSO L. LOBREGAT, City Mayor of Zamboanga, and in his personal capacity as resident of the City

136 of Zamboanga, Rep. MA. ISABELLE G. CLIMACO, District 1, and Rep. ERICO BASILIO A. FABIAN, District 2, City of Zamboanga, petitioners, vs. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL (GRP), as represented by RODOLFO C. GARCIA, LEAH ARMAMENTO, SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN and HERMOGENES ESPERON, in his capacity as the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process,respondents. x--------------------------------------------x G.R. No. 183893 October 14, 2008

THE CITY OF ILIGAN, duly represented by CITY MAYOR LAWRENCE LLUCH CRUZ, petitioner, vs. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP), represented by SEC. RODOLFO GARCIA, ATTY. LEAH ARMAMENTO, ATTY. SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN; GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, JR., in his capacity as the present and duly appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process; and/or SEC. EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary. respondents. x--------------------------------------------x G.R. No. 183951 October 14, 2008

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, as represented by HON. ROLANDO E. YEBES, in his capacity as Provincial Governor, HON. FRANCIS H. OLVIS, in his capacity as Vice-Governor and Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, HON. CECILIA JALOSJOS CARREON, Congresswoman, 1st Congressional District, HON. CESAR G. JALOSJOS, Congressman, 3rdCongressional District, and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Zamboanga del Norte, namely, HON. SETH FREDERICK P. JALOSJOS, HON. FERNANDO R. CABIGON, JR., HON. ULDARICO M. MEJORADA II, HON. EDIONAR M. ZAMORAS, HON. EDGAR J. BAGUIO, HON. CEDRIC L. ADRIATICO, HON. FELIXBERTO C. BOLANDO, HON. JOSEPH BRENDO C. AJERO, HON. NORBIDEIRI B. EDDING, HON. ANECITO S. DARUNDAY, HON. ANGELICA J. CARREON and HON. LUZVIMINDA E. TORRINO,petitioners, vs. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL [GRP], as represented by HON. RODOLFO C. GARCIA and HON. HERMOGENES ESPERON, in his capacity as the Presidential Adviser of Peace Process, respondents. x--------------------------------------------x

137 G.R. No. 183962 October 14, 2008

ERNESTO M. MACEDA, JEJOMAR C. BINAY, and AQUILINO L. PIMENTEL III, petitioners, vs. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL, represented by its Chairman RODOLFO C. GARCIA, and the MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL, represented by its Chairman MOHAGHER IQBAL, respondents. x--------------------------------------------x FRANKLIN M. DRILON and ADEL ABBAS TAMANO, petitioners-in-intervention. x--------------------------------------------x SEN. MANUEL A. ROXAS, petitioners-in-intervention. x--------------------------------------------x MUNICIPALITY OF LINAMON duly represented by its Municipal Mayor NOEL N. DEANO, petitioners-in-intervention, x--------------------------------------------x THE CITY OF ISABELA, BASILAN PROVINCE, represented by MAYOR CHERRYLYN P. SANTOS-AKBAR,petitioners-in-intervention. x--------------------------------------------x THE PROVINCE OF SULTAN KUDARAT, rep. by HON. SUHARTO T. MANGUDADATU, in his capacity as Provincial Governor and a resident of the Province of Sultan Kudarat, petitioner-in-intervention. x-------------------------------------------x RUY ELIAS LOPEZ, for and in his own behalf and on behalf of Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao Not Belonging to the MILF, petitioner-in-intervention. x--------------------------------------------x CARLO B. GOMEZ, GERARDO S. DILIG, NESARIO G. AWAT, JOSELITO C. ALISUAG and RICHALEX G. JAGMIS, as citizens and residents of Palawan, petitioners-inintervention. x--------------------------------------------x

138 MARINO RIDAO and KISIN BUXANI, petitioners-in-intervention. x--------------------------------------------x MUSLIM LEGAL intervention. ASSISTANCE FOUNDATION, INC (MUSLAF), respondent-in-

x--------------------------------------------x MUSLIM MULTI-SECTORAL MOVEMENT FOR PEACE & DEVELOPMENT (MMMPD), respondent-in-intervention. x--------------------------------------------x DECISION CARPIO MORALES, J.: Subject of these consolidated cases is the extent of the powers of the President in pursuing the peace process.While the facts surrounding this controversy center on the armed conflict in Mindanao between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the legal issue involved has a bearing on all areas in the country where there has been a long-standing armed conflict. Yet again, the Court is tasked to perform a delicate balancing act. It must uncompromisingly delineate the bounds within which the President may lawfully exercise her discretion, but it must do so in strict adherence to the Constitution, lest its ruling unduly restricts the freedom of action vested by that same Constitution in the Chief Executive precisely to enable her to pursue the peace process effectively. I. FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS OF THE PETITIONS On August 5, 2008, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MILF, through the Chairpersons of their respective peace negotiating panels, were scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The MILF is a rebel group which was established in March 1984 when, under the leadership of the late Salamat Hashim, it splintered from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) then headed by Nur Misuari, on the ground, among others, of what Salamat perceived to be the manipulation of the MNLF away from an Islamic basis towards Marxist-Maoist orientations.1 The signing of the MOA-AD between the GRP and the MILF was not to materialize, however, for upon motion of petitioners, specifically those who filed their cases before the scheduled signing of the MOA-AD, this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining the GRP from signing the same.

139 The MOA-AD was preceded by a long process of negotiation and the concluding of several prior agreements between the two parties beginning in 1996, when the GRP-MILF peace negotiations began. On July 18, 1997, the GRP and MILF Peace Panels signed the Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities. The following year, they signed the General Framework of Agreement of Intent on August 27, 1998. The Solicitor General, who represents respondents, summarizes the MOA-AD by stating that the same contained, among others, the commitment of the parties to pursue peace negotiations, protect and respect human rights, negotiate with sincerity in the resolution and pacific settlement of the conflict, and refrain from the use of threat or force to attain undue advantage while the peace negotiations on the substantive agenda are on-going.2 Early on, however, it was evident that there was not going to be any smooth sailing in the GRPMILF peace process. Towards the end of 1999 up to early 2000, the MILF attacked a number of municipalities in Central Mindanao and, in March 2000, it took control of the town hall of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.3 In response, then President Joseph Estrada declared and carried out an "all-out-war" against the MILF. When President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed office, the military offensive against the MILF was suspended and the government sought a resumption of the peace talks. The MILF, according to a leading MILF member, initially responded with deep reservation, but when President Arroyo asked the Government of Malaysia through Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to help convince the MILF to return to the negotiating table, the MILF convened its Central Committee to seriously discuss the matter and, eventually, decided to meet with the GRP.4 The parties met in Kuala Lumpur on March 24, 2001, with the talks being facilitated by the Malaysian government, the parties signing on the same date the Agreement on the General Framework for the Resumption of Peace Talks Between the GRP and the MILF. The MILF thereafter suspended all its military actions.5 Formal peace talks between the parties were held in Tripoli, Libya from June 20-22, 2001, the outcome of which was the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace (Tripoli Agreement 2001) containing the basic principles and agenda on the following aspects of the negotiation: Security Aspect, Rehabilitation Aspect, and Ancestral Domain Aspect. With regard to the Ancestral Domain Aspect, the parties in Tripoli Agreement 2001 simply agreed "that the same be discussed further by the Parties in their next meeting." A second round of peace talks was held in Cyberjaya, Malaysia on August 5-7, 2001 which ended with the signing of the Implementing Guidelines on the Security Aspect of the Tripoli Agreement 2001 leading to a ceasefire status between the parties. This was followed by the Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian Rehabilitation and Development Aspects of the Tripoli Agreement 2001, which was signed on May 7, 2002 at Putrajaya, Malaysia. Nonetheless, there were many incidence of violence between government forces and the MILF from 2002 to 2003.

140 Meanwhile, then MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim passed away on July 13, 2003 and he was replaced by Al Haj Murad, who was then the chief peace negotiator of the MILF. Murad's position as chief peace negotiator was taken over by Mohagher Iqbal.6 In 2005, several exploratory talks were held between the parties in Kuala Lumpur, eventually leading to the crafting of the draft MOA-AD in its final form, which, as mentioned, was set to be signed last August 5, 2008. II. STATEMENT OF THE PROCEEDINGS Before the Court is what is perhaps the most contentious "consensus" ever embodied in an instrument - the MOA-AD which is assailed principally by the present petitions bearing docket numbers 183591, 183752, 183893, 183951 and 183962. Commonly impleaded as respondents are the GRP Peace Panel on Ancestral Domain7 and the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. On July 23, 2008, the Province of North Cotabato8 and Vice-Governor Emmanuel Piol filed a petition, docketed as G.R. No. 183591, for Mandamus and Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order.9 Invoking the right to information on matters of public concern, petitioners seek to compel respondents to disclose and furnish them the complete and official copies of the MOA-AD including its attachments, and to prohibit the slated signing of the MOA-AD, pending the disclosure of the contents of the MOAAD and the holding of a public consultation thereon. Supplementarily, petitioners pray that the MOA-AD be declared unconstitutional.10 This initial petition was followed by another one, docketed as G.R. No. 183752, also for Mandamus and Prohibition11 filed by the City of Zamboanga,12 Mayor Celso Lobregat, Rep. Ma. Isabelle Climaco and Rep. Erico Basilio Fabian who likewise pray for similar injunctive reliefs. Petitioners herein moreover pray that the City of Zamboanga be excluded from the Bangsamoro Homeland and/or Bangsamoro Juridical Entity and, in the alternative, that the MOA-AD be declared null and void. By Resolution of August 4, 2008, the Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order commanding and directing public respondents and their agents to cease and desist from formally signing the MOA-AD.13 The Court also required the Solicitor General to submit to the Court and petitioners the official copy of the final draft of the MOA-AD,14 to which she complied.15 Meanwhile, the City of Iligan16 filed a petition for Injunction and/or Declaratory Relief, docketed as G.R. No. 183893, praying that respondents be enjoined from signing the MOA-AD or, if the same had already been signed, from implementing the same, and that the MOA-AD be declared unconstitutional. Petitioners herein additionally implead Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as respondent. The Province of Zamboanga del Norte,17 Governor Rolando Yebes, Vice-Governor Francis Olvis, Rep. Cecilia Jalosjos-Carreon, Rep. Cesar Jalosjos, and the members18 of the Sangguniang

141 Panlalawigan of Zamboanga del Norte filed on August 15, 2008 a petition for Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition,19 docketed as G.R. No. 183951. They pray, inter alia, that the MOAAD be declared null and void and without operative effect, and that respondents be enjoined from executing the MOA-AD. On August 19, 2008, Ernesto Maceda, Jejomar Binay, and Aquilino Pimentel III filed a petition for Prohibition,20docketed as G.R. No. 183962, praying for a judgment prohibiting and permanently enjoining respondents from formally signing and executing the MOA-AD and or any other agreement derived therefrom or similar thereto, and nullifying the MOA-AD for being unconstitutional and illegal. Petitioners herein additionally implead as respondent the MILF Peace Negotiating Panel represented by its Chairman Mohagher Iqbal. Various parties moved to intervene and were granted leave of court to file their petitions-/comments-in-intervention. Petitioners-in-Intervention include Senator Manuel A. Roxas, former Senate President Franklin Drilon and Atty. Adel Tamano, the City of Isabela21 and Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar, the Province of Sultan Kudarat22and Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu, the Municipality of Linamon in Lanao del Norte,23 Ruy Elias Lopez of Davao City and of the Bagobo tribe, Sangguniang Panlungsod member Marino Ridao and businessman Kisin Buxani, both of Cotabato City; and lawyers Carlo Gomez, Gerardo Dilig, Nesario Awat, Joselito Alisuag, Richalex Jagmis, all of Palawan City. The Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. (Muslaf) and the Muslim Multi-Sectoral Movement for Peace and Development (MMMPD) filed their respective Comments-in-Intervention. By subsequent Resolutions, the Court ordered the consolidation of the petitions. Respondents filed Comments on the petitions, while some of petitioners submitted their respective Replies. Respondents, by Manifestation and Motion of August 19, 2008, stated that the Executive Department shall thoroughly review the MOA-AD and pursue further negotiations to address the issues hurled against it, and thus moved to dismiss the cases. In the succeeding exchange of pleadings, respondents' motion was met with vigorous opposition from petitioners. The cases were heard on oral argument on August 15, 22 and 29, 2008 that tackled the following principal issues: 1. Whether the petitions have become moot and academic (i) insofar as the mandamus aspect is concerned, in view of the disclosure of official copies of the final draft of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA); and (ii) insofar as the prohibition aspect involving the Local Government Units is concerned, if it is considered that consultation has become fait accompli with the finalization of the draft; 2. Whether the constitutionality and the legality of the MOA is ripe for adjudication;

142 3. Whether respondent Government of the Republic of the Philippines Peace Panel committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it negotiated and initiated the MOA vis--vis ISSUES Nos. 4 and 5; 4. Whether there is a violation of the people's right to information on matters of public concern (1987 Constitution, Article III, Sec. 7) under a state policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest (1987 Constitution, Article II, Sec. 28) including public consultation under Republic Act No. 7160 (LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991)[;] If it is in the affirmative, whether prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is an appropriate remedy; 5. Whether by signing the MOA, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines would be BINDING itself a) to create and recognize the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) as a separate state, or a juridical, territorial or political subdivision not recognized by law; b) to revise or amend the Constitution and existing laws to conform to the MOA; c) to concede to or recognize the claim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for ancestral domain in violation of Republic Act No. 8371 (THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ACT OF 1997), particularly Section 3(g) & Chapter VII (DELINEATION, RECOGNITION OF ANCESTRAL DOMAINS)[;] If in the affirmative, whether the Executive Branch has the authority to so bind the Government of the Republic of the Philippines; 6. Whether the inclusion/exclusion of the Province of North Cotabato, Cities of Zamboanga, Iligan and Isabela, and the Municipality of Linamon, Lanao del Norte in/from the areas covered by the projected Bangsamoro Homeland is a justiciable question; and 7. Whether desistance from signing the MOA derogates any prior valid commitments of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.24 The Court, thereafter, ordered the parties to submit their respective Memoranda. Most of the parties submitted their memoranda on time. III. OVERVIEW OF THE MOA-AD As a necessary backdrop to the consideration of the objections raised in the subject five petitions and six petitions-in-intervention against the MOA-AD, as well as the two comments-inintervention in favor of the MOA-AD, the Court takes an overview of the MOA. The MOA-AD identifies the Parties to it as the GRP and the MILF.

143 Under the heading "Terms of Reference" (TOR), the MOA-AD includes not only four earlier agreements between the GRP and MILF, but also two agreements between the GRP and the MNLF: the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, and the Final Peace Agreement on the Implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, signed on September 2, 1996 during the administration of President Fidel Ramos. The MOA-AD also identifies as TOR two local statutes - the organic act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)25 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA),26 and several international law instruments - the ILO Convention No. 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries in relation to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, and the UN Charter, among others. The MOA-AD includes as a final TOR the generic category of "compact rights entrenchment emanating from the regime of dar-ul-mua'hada (or territory under compact) and dar-ul-sulh (or territory under peace agreement) that partakes the nature of a treaty device." During the height of the Muslim Empire, early Muslim jurists tended to see the world through a simple dichotomy: there was the dar-ul-Islam (the Abode of Islam) and dar-ul-harb (the Abode of War). The first referred to those lands where Islamic laws held sway, while the second denoted those lands where Muslims were persecuted or where Muslim laws were outlawed or ineffective.27 This way of viewing the world, however, became more complex through the centuries as the Islamic world became part of the international community of nations. As Muslim States entered into treaties with their neighbors, even with distant States and intergovernmental organizations, the classical division of the world into dar-ul-Islam and dar-ulharb eventually lost its meaning. New terms were drawn up to describe novel ways of perceiving non-Muslim territories. For instance, areas like dar-ul-mua'hada (land of compact) and dar-ulsulh (land of treaty) referred to countries which, though under a secular regime, maintained peaceful and cooperative relations with Muslim States, having been bound to each other by treaty or agreement. Dar-ul-aman (land of order), on the other hand, referred to countries which, though not bound by treaty with Muslim States, maintained freedom of religion for Muslims.28 It thus appears that the "compact rights entrenchment" emanating from the regime of dar-ulmua'hada and dar-ul-sulh simply refers to all other agreements between the MILF and the Philippine government - the Philippines being the land of compact and peace agreement - that partake of the nature of a treaty device, "treaty" being broadly defined as "any solemn agreement in writing that sets out understandings, obligations, and benefits for both parties which provides for a framework that elaborates the principles declared in the [MOA-AD]."29 The MOA-AD states that the Parties "HAVE AGREED AND ACKNOWLEDGED AS FOLLOWS," and starts with its main body. The main body of the MOA-AD is divided into four strands, namely, Concepts and Principles, Territory, Resources, and Governance. A. CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES

144 This strand begins with the statement that it is "the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous peoples of Mindanao to identify themselves and be accepted as Bangsamoros.'" It defines "Bangsamoro people" as the natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization, and their descendants whether mixed or of full blood, including their spouses.30 Thus, the concept of "Bangsamoro," as defined in this strand of the MOA-AD, includes not only "Moros" as traditionally understood even by Muslims,31 but all indigenous peoples of Mindanao and its adjacent islands. The MOA-AD adds that the freedom of choice of indigenous peoples shall be respected. What this freedom of choice consists in has not been specifically defined. The MOA-AD proceeds to refer to the "Bangsamoro homeland," the ownership of which is vested exclusively in the Bangsamoro people by virtue of their prior rights of occupation.32 Both parties to the MOA-AD acknowledge that ancestral domain does not form part of the public domain.33 The Bangsamoro people are acknowledged as having the right to self-governance, which right is said to be rooted on ancestral territoriality exercised originally under the suzerain authority of their sultanates and the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw. The sultanates were described as states or "karajaan/kadatuan" resembling a body politic endowed with all the elements of a nation-state in the modern sense.34 The MOA-AD thus grounds the right to self-governance of the Bangsamoro people on the past suzerain authority of the sultanates. As gathered, the territory defined as the Bangsamoro homeland was ruled by several sultanates and, specifically in the case of the Maranao, by the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw, a confederation of independent principalities (pangampong) each ruled by datus and sultans, none of whom was supreme over the others.35 The MOA-AD goes on to describe the Bangsamoro people as "the First Nation' with defined territory and with a system of government having entered into treaties of amity and commerce with foreign nations." The term "First Nation" is of Canadian origin referring to the indigenous peoples of that territory, particularly those known as Indians. In Canada, each of these indigenous peoples is equally entitled to be called "First Nation," hence, all of them are usually described collectively by the plural "First Nations."36 To that extent, the MOA-AD, by identifying the Bangsamoro people as "the First Nation" - suggesting its exclusive entitlement to that designation - departs from the Canadian usage of the term. The MOA-AD then mentions for the first time the "Bangsamoro Juridical Entity" (BJE) to which it grants the authority and jurisdiction over the Ancestral Domain and Ancestral Lands of the Bangsamoro.37 B. TERRITORY

145 The territory of the Bangsamoro homeland is described as the land mass as well as the maritime, terrestrial, fluvial and alluvial domains, including the aerial domain and the atmospheric space above it, embracing the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan geographic region.38 More specifically, the core of the BJE is defined as the present geographic area of the ARMM thus constituting the following areas: Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Marawi City. Significantly, this core also includes certain municipalities of Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite.39 Outside of this core, the BJE is to cover other provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays, which are grouped into two categories, Category A and Category B. Each of these areas is to be subjected to a plebiscite to be held on different dates, years apart from each other. Thus, Category A areas are to be subjected to a plebiscite not later than twelve (12) months following the signing of the MOA-AD.40 Category B areas, also called "Special Intervention Areas," on the other hand, are to be subjected to a plebiscite twenty-five (25) years from the signing of a separate agreement the Comprehensive Compact.41 The Parties to the MOA-AD stipulate that the BJE shall have jurisdiction over all natural resources within its "internal waters," defined as extending fifteen (15) kilometers from the coastline of the BJE area;42 that the BJE shall also have "territorial waters," which shall stretch beyond the BJE internal waters up to the baselines of the Republic of the Philippines (RP) south east and south west of mainland Mindanao; and that within these territorialwaters, the BJE and the "Central Government" (used interchangeably with RP) shall exercise joint jurisdiction, authority and management over all natural resources.43 Notably, the jurisdiction over the internal waters is not similarly described as "joint." The MOA-AD further provides for the sharing of minerals on the territorial waters between the Central Government and the BJE, in favor of the latter, through production sharing and economic cooperation agreement.44 The activities which the Parties are allowed to conduct on the territorial waters are enumerated, among which are the exploration and utilization of natural resources, regulation of shipping and fishing activities, and the enforcement of police and safety measures.45 There is no similar provision on the sharing of minerals and allowed activities with respect to the internal waters of the BJE. C. RESOURCES The MOA-AD states that the BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries and shall have the option to establish trade missions in those countries. Such relationships and understandings, however, are not to include aggression against the GRP. The BJE may also enter into environmental cooperation agreements.46 The external defense of the BJE is to remain the duty and obligation of the Central Government. The Central Government is also bound to "take necessary steps to ensure the BJE's participation in international meetings and events" like those of the ASEAN and the specialized agencies of the UN. The BJE is to be entitled to participate in Philippine official missions and delegations for the negotiation of border agreements or protocols for environmental protection and equitable sharing

146 of incomes and revenues involving the bodies of water adjacent to or between the islands forming part of the ancestral domain.47 With regard to the right of exploring for, producing, and obtaining all potential sources of energy, petroleum, fossil fuel, mineral oil and natural gas, the jurisdiction and control thereon is to be vested in the BJE "as the party having control within its territorial jurisdiction." This right carries the proviso that, "in times of national emergency, when public interest so requires," the Central Government may, for a fixed period and under reasonable terms as may be agreed upon by both Parties, assume or direct the operation of such resources.48 The sharing between the Central Government and the BJE of total production pertaining to natural resources is to be 75:25 in favor of the BJE.49 The MOA-AD provides that legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people arising from any unjust dispossession of their territorial and proprietary rights, customary land tenures, or their marginalization shall be acknowledged. Whenever restoration is no longer possible, reparation is to be in such form as mutually determined by the Parties.50 The BJE may modify or cancel the forest concessions, timber licenses, contracts or agreements, mining concessions, Mineral Production and Sharing Agreements (MPSA), Industrial Forest Management Agreements (IFMA), and other land tenure instruments granted by the Philippine Government, including those issued by the present ARMM.51 D. GOVERNANCE The MOA-AD binds the Parties to invite a multinational third-party to observe and monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Compact. This compact is to embody the "details for the effective enforcement" and "the mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation" of the MOA-AD. The MOA-AD explicitly provides that the participation of the third party shall not in any way affect the status of the relationship between the Central Government and the BJE.52 The between and the BJE "associative" the Central relationship Government

The MOA-AD describes the relationship of the Central Government and the BJE as "associative," characterized by shared authority and responsibility. And it states that the structure of governance is to be based on executive, legislative, judicial, and administrative institutions with defined powers and functions in the Comprehensive Compact. The MOA-AD provides that its provisions requiring "amendments to the existing legal framework" shall take effect upon signing of the Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the aforesaid amendments, with due regard to the non-derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact. As will be discussed later, much of the present controversy hangs on the legality of this provision.

147 The BJE is granted the power to build, develop and maintain its own institutions inclusive of civil service, electoral, financial and banking, education, legislation, legal, economic, police and internal security force, judicial system and correctional institutions, the details of which shall be discussed in the negotiation of the comprehensive compact. As stated early on, the MOA-AD was set to be signed on August 5, 2008 by Rodolfo Garcia and Mohagher Iqbal, Chairpersons of the Peace Negotiating Panels of the GRP and the MILF, respectively. Notably, the penultimate paragraph of the MOA-AD identifies the signatories as "the representatives of the Parties," meaning the GRP and MILF themselves, and not merely of the negotiating panels.53 In addition, the signature page of the MOA-AD states that it is "WITNESSED BY" Datuk Othman Bin Abd Razak, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, "ENDORSED BY" Ambassador Sayed Elmasry, Adviser to Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General and Special Envoy for Peace Process in Southern Philippines, and SIGNED "IN THE PRESENCE OF" Dr. Albert G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of RP and Dato' Seri Utama Dr. Rais Bin Yatim, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia, all of whom were scheduled to sign the Agreement last August 5, 2008. Annexed to the MOA-AD are two documents containing the respective lists cum maps of the provinces, municipalities, and barangays under Categories A and B earlier mentioned in the discussion on the strand on TERRITORY. IV. PROCEDURAL ISSUES A. RIPENESS The power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies.54 Courts decline to issue advisory opinions or to resolve hypothetical or feigned problems, or mere academic questions.55 The limitation of the power of judicial review to actual cases and controversies defines the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite allocation of power, to assure that the courts will not intrude into areas committed to the other branches of government.56 An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims, susceptible of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute. There must be a contrariety of legal rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and jurisprudence.57The Court can decide the constitutionality of an act or treaty only when a proper case between opposing parties is submitted for judicial determination.58 Related to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the requirement of ripeness. A question is ripe for adjudication when the act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it.59 For a case to be considered ripe for adjudication, it is a prerequisite that something had then been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture,60 and the petitioner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to itself as a result of the challenged action.61 He must show that he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of the act complained of.62

148 The Solicitor General argues that there is no justiciable controversy that is ripe for judicial review in the present petitions, reasoning that The unsigned MOA-AD is simply a list of consensus points subject to further negotiations and legislative enactments as well as constitutional processes aimed at attaining a final peaceful agreement. Simply put, the MOA-AD remains to be a proposal that does not automatically create legally demandable rights and obligations until the list of operative acts required have been duly complied with. x x x xxxx In the cases at bar, it is respectfully submitted that this Honorable Court has no authority to pass upon issues based on hypothetical or feigned constitutional problems or interests with no concrete bases. Considering the preliminary character of the MOA-AD, there are no concrete acts that could possibly violate petitioners' and intervenors' rights since the acts complained of are mere contemplated steps toward the formulation of a final peace agreement. Plainly, petitioners and intervenors' perceived injury, if at all, is merely imaginary and illusory apart from being unfounded and based on mere conjectures. (Underscoring supplied) The Solicitor General cites63 the following provisions of the MOA-AD: TERRITORY xxxx 2. Toward this end, the Parties enter into the following stipulations: xxxx d. Without derogating from the requirements of prior agreements, the Government stipulates to conduct and deliver, using all possible legal measures, within twelve (12) months following the signing of the MOA-AD, a plebiscite covering the areas as enumerated in the list and depicted in the map as Category A attached herein (the "Annex"). The Annex constitutes an integral part of this framework agreement. Toward this end, the Parties shall endeavor to complete the negotiations and resolve all outstanding issues on the Comprehensive Compact within fifteen (15) months from the signing of the MOA-AD. xxxx GOVERNANCE xxxx

149 7. The Parties agree that mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation of this MOA-AD shall be spelt out in the Comprehensive Compact to mutually take such steps to enable it to occur effectively. Any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into forceupon the signing of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to non-derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact.64 (Underscoring supplied) The Solicitor General's arguments fail to persuade. Concrete acts under the MOA-AD are not necessary to render the present controversy ripe. In Pimentel, Jr. v. Aguirre,65 this Court held: x x x [B]y the mere enactment of the questioned law or the approval of the challenged action, the dispute is said to have ripened into a judicial controversy even without any other overt act. Indeed, even a singular violation of the Constitution and/or the law is enough to awaken judicial duty. xxxx By the same token, when an act of the President, who in our constitutional scheme is a coequal of Congress, is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution and the laws x x x settling the dispute becomes the duty and the responsibility of the courts.66 In Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe,67 the United States Supreme Court held that the challenge to the constitutionality of the school's policy allowing student-led prayers and speeches before games was ripe for adjudication, even if no public prayer had yet been led under the policy, because the policy was being challenged as unconstitutional on its face.68 That the law or act in question is not yet effective does not negate ripeness. For example, in New York v. United States,69 decided in 1992, the United States Supreme Court held that the action by the State of New York challenging the provisions of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act was ripe for adjudication even if the questioned provision was not to take effect until January 1, 1996, because the parties agreed that New York had to take immediate action to avoid the provision's consequences.70 The present petitions pray for Certiorari,71 Prohibition, and Mandamus. Certiorari and Prohibition are remedies granted by law when any tribunal, board or officer has acted, in the case of certiorari, or is proceeding, in the case of prohibition, without or in excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.72 Mandamus is a remedy granted by law when any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use or enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled.73 Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional

150 issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials.74 The authority of the GRP Negotiating Panel is defined by Executive Order No. 3 (E.O. No. 3), issued on February 28, 2001.75 The said executive order requires that "[t]he government's policy framework for peace, including the systematic approach and the administrative structure for carrying out the comprehensive peace process x x x be governed by this Executive Order."76 The present petitions allege that respondents GRP Panel and PAPP Esperon drafted the terms of the MOA-AD without consulting the local government units or communities affected, nor informing them of the proceedings. As will be discussed in greater detail later, such omission, by itself, constitutes a departure by respondents from their mandate under E.O. No. 3. Furthermore, the petitions allege that the provisions of the MOA-AD violate the Constitution. The MOA-AD provides that "any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon the signing of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework," implying an amendment of the Constitution to accommodate the MOA-AD. This stipulation, in effect,guaranteed to the MILF the amendment of the Constitution. Such act constitutes another violation of its authority. Again, these points will be discussed in more detail later. As the petitions allege acts or omissions on the part of respondent that exceed their authority, by violating their duties under E.O. No. 3 and the provisions of the Constitution and statutes, the petitions make a prima facie case for Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus, and an actual case or controversy ripe for adjudication exists. When an act of a branch of government is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute.77 B. LOCUS STANDI For a party to have locus standi, one must allege "such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions."78 Because constitutional cases are often public actions in which the relief sought is likely to affect other persons, a preliminary question frequently arises as to this interest in the constitutional question raised.79 When suing as a citizen, the person complaining must allege that he has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of.80 When the issue concerns a public right, it is sufficient that the petitioner is a citizen and has an interest in the execution of the laws.81 For a taxpayer, one is allowed to sue where there is an assertion that public funds are illegally disbursed or deflected to an illegal purpose, or that there is a wastage of public funds through the

151 enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.82 The Court retains discretion whether or not to allow a taxpayer's suit.83 In the case of a legislator or member of Congress, an act of the Executive that injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless substantial injury that can be questioned by legislators. A member of the House of Representatives has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in his office.84 An organization may be granted standing to assert the rights of its members,85 but the mere invocation by theIntegrated Bar of the Philippines or any member of the legal profession of the duty to preserve the rule of law does not suffice to clothe it with standing.86 As regards a local government unit (LGU), it can seek relief in order to protect or vindicate an interest of its own, and of the other LGUs.87 Intervenors, meanwhile, may be given legal standing upon showing of facts that satisfy the requirements of the law authorizing intervention,88 such as a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties. In any case, the Court has discretion to relax the procedural technicality on locus standi, given the liberal attitude it has exercised, highlighted in the case of David v. Macapagal-Arroyo,89 where technicalities of procedure were brushed aside, the constitutional issues raised being of paramount public interest or of transcendental importance deserving the attention of the Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents.90 The Court's forbearing stance on locus standi on issues involving constitutional issues has for its purpose the protection of fundamental rights. In not a few cases, the Court, in keeping with its duty under the Constitution to determine whether the other branches of government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and have not abused the discretion given them, has brushed aside technical rules of procedure.91 In the petitions at bar, petitioners Province of North Cotabato (G.R. No. 183591) Province of Zamboanga del Norte (G.R. No. 183951), City of Iligan (G.R. No. 183893) and City of Zamboanga (G.R. No. 183752) and petitioners-in-intervention Province of Sultan Kudarat, City of Isabela and Municipality of Linamon havelocus standi in view of the direct and substantial injury that they, as LGUs, would suffer as their territories, whether in whole or in part, are to be included in the intended domain of the BJE. These petitioners allege that they did not vote for their inclusion in the ARMM which would be expanded to form the BJE territory. Petitioners' legal standing is thus beyond doubt. In G.R. No. 183962, petitioners Ernesto Maceda, Jejomar Binay and Aquilino Pimentel III would have no standing as citizens and taxpayers for their failure to specify that they would be denied some right or privilege or there would be wastage of public funds. The fact that they are a former Senator, an incumbent mayor of Makati City, and a resident of Cagayan de Oro, respectively, is of no consequence. Considering their invocation of the transcendental importance of the issues at hand, however, the Court grants them standing.

152 Intervenors Franklin Drilon and Adel Tamano, in alleging their standing as taxpayers, assert that government funds would be expended for the conduct of an illegal and unconstitutional plebiscite to delineate the BJE territory. On that score alone, they can be given legal standing. Their allegation that the issues involved in these petitions are of "undeniable transcendental importance" clothes them with added basis for their personality to intervene in these petitions. With regard to Senator Manuel Roxas, his standing is premised on his being a member of the Senate and a citizen to enforce compliance by respondents of the public's constitutional right to be informed of the MOA-AD, as well as on a genuine legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success or failure of either of the parties. He thus possesses the requisite standing as an intervenor. With respect to Intervenors Ruy Elias Lopez, as a former congressman of the 3rd district of Davao City, a taxpayer and a member of the Bagobo tribe; Carlo B. Gomez, et al., as members of the IBP Palawan chapter, citizens and taxpayers; Marino Ridao, as taxpayer, resident and member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cotabato City; and Kisin Buxani, as taxpayer, they failed to allege any proper legal interest in the present petitions. Just the same, the Court exercises its discretion to relax the procedural technicality on locus standi given the paramount public interest in the issues at hand. Intervening respondents Muslim Multi-Sectoral Movement for Peace and Development, an advocacy group for justice and the attainment of peace and prosperity in Muslim Mindanao; and Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation Inc., a non-government organization of Muslim lawyers, allege that they stand to be benefited or prejudiced, as the case may be, in the resolution of the petitions concerning the MOA-AD, and prays for the denial of the petitions on the grounds therein stated. Such legal interest suffices to clothe them with standing. B. MOOTNESS Respondents insist that the present petitions have been rendered moot with the satisfaction of all the reliefs prayed for by petitioners and the subsequent pronouncement of the Executive Secretary that "[n]o matter what the Supreme Court ultimately decides[,] the government will not sign the MOA."92 In lending credence to this policy decision, the Solicitor General points out that the President had already disbanded the GRP Peace Panel.93 In David v. Macapagal-Arroyo,94 this Court held that the "moot and academic" principle not being a magical formula that automatically dissuades courts in resolving a case, it will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if it finds that (a) there is a grave violation of the Constitution; 95 (b) the situation is of exceptional character and paramount public interest is involved;96 (c) the constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public;97 and (d) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.98 Another exclusionary circumstance that may be considered is where there is a voluntary cessation of the activity complained of by the defendant or doer. Thus, once a suit is filed and the doer voluntarily ceases the challenged conduct, it does not automatically deprive the

153 tribunal of power to hear and determine the case and does not render the case moot especially when the plaintiff seeks damages or prays for injunctive relief against the possible recurrence of the violation.99 The present petitions fall squarely into these exceptions to thus thrust them into the domain of judicial review. The grounds cited above in David are just as applicable in the present cases as they were, not only in David, but also in Province of Batangas v. Romulo100 and Manalo v. Calderon101 where the Court similarly decided them on the merits, supervening events that would ordinarily have rendered the same moot notwithstanding. Petitions not mooted Contrary then to the asseverations of respondents, the non-signing of the MOA-AD and the eventual dissolution of the GRP Peace Panel did not moot the present petitions. It bears emphasis that the signing of the MOA-AD did not push through due to the Court's issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order. Contrary too to respondents' position, the MOA-AD cannot be considered a mere "list of consensus points," especially given its nomenclature, the need to have it signed or initialed by all the parties concerned on August 5, 2008, and the far-reaching Constitutional implications of these "consensus points," foremost of which is the creation of the BJE. In fact, as what will, in the main, be discussed, there is a commitment on the part of respondents to amend and effect necessary changes to the existing legal framework for certain provisions of the MOA-AD to take effect. Consequently, the present petitions are not confined to the terms and provisions of the MOA-AD, but to other ongoing and future negotiations and agreements necessary for its realization. The petitions have not, therefore, been rendered moot and academic simply by the public disclosure of the MOAAD,102 the manifestation that it will not be signed as well as the disbanding of the GRP Panel not withstanding. Petitions are imbued with paramount public interest There is no gainsaying that the petitions are imbued with paramount public interest, involving a significant part of the country's territory and the wide-ranging political modifications of affected LGUs. The assertion that the MOA-AD is subject to further legal enactments including possible Constitutional amendments more than ever provides impetus for the Court to formulate controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, the public and, in this case, the government and its negotiating entity. Respondents cite Suplico v. NEDA, et al.103 where the Court did not "pontificat[e] on issues which no longer legitimately constitute an actual case or controversy [as this] will do more harm than good to the nation as a whole." The present petitions must be differentiated from Suplico. Primarily, in Suplico, what was assailed and eventually cancelled was a stand-alone government procurement contract for a national

154 broadband network involving a one-time contractual relation between two parties-the government and a private foreign corporation. As the issues therein involved specific government procurement policies and standard principles on contracts, the majority opinion in Suplico found nothing exceptional therein, the factual circumstances being peculiar only to the transactions and parties involved in the controversy. The MOA-AD is part of a series of agreements In the present controversy, the MOA-AD is a significant part of a series of agreements necessary to carry out the Tripoli Agreement 2001. The MOA-AD which dwells on the Ancestral Domain Aspect of said Tripoli Agreement is the third such component to be undertaken following the implementation of the Security Aspect in August 2001 and the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Aspect in May 2002. Accordingly, even if the Executive Secretary, in his Memorandum of August 28, 2008 to the Solicitor General, has stated that "no matter what the Supreme Court ultimately decides[,] the government will not sign the MOA[-AD],"mootness will not set in in light of the terms of the Tripoli Agreement 2001. Need to formulate principles-guidelines Surely, the present MOA-AD can be renegotiated or another one will be drawn up to carry out the Ancestral Domain Aspect of the Tripoli Agreement 2001, in another or in any form, which could contain similar or significantly drastic provisions. While the Court notes the word of the Executive Secretary that the government "is committed to securing an agreement that is both constitutional and equitable because that is the only way that long-lasting peace can be assured," it is minded to render a decision on the merits in the present petitions toformulate controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, the public and, most especially, the government in negotiating with the MILF regarding Ancestral Domain. Respondents invite the Court's attention to the separate opinion of then Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban inSanlakas v. Reyes104 in which he stated that the doctrine of "capable of repetition yet evading review" can override mootness, "provided the party raising it in a proper case has been and/or continue to be prejudiced or damaged as a direct result of their issuance." They contend that the Court must have jurisdiction over the subject matter for the doctrine to be invoked. The present petitions all contain prayers for Prohibition over which this Court exercises original jurisdiction. While G.R. No. 183893 (City of Iligan v. GRP) is a petition for Injunction and Declaratory Relief, the Court will treat it as one for Prohibition as it has far reaching implications and raises questions that need to be resolved.105 At all events, the Court has jurisdiction over most if not the rest of the petitions. Indeed, the present petitions afford a proper venue for the Court to again apply the doctrine immediately referred to as what it had done in a number of landmark cases. 106 There is a reasonable expectation that petitioners, particularly the Provinces of North Cotabato, Zamboanga del Norte and Sultan Kudarat, the Cities of Zamboanga, Iligan and Isabela, and the Municipality of

155 Linamon, will again be subjected to the same problem in the future as respondents' actions are capable of repetition, in another or any form. It is with respect to the prayers for Mandamus that the petitions have become moot, respondents having, by Compliance of August 7, 2008, provided this Court and petitioners with official copies of the final draft of the MOA-AD and its annexes. Too, intervenors have been furnished, or have procured for themselves, copies of the MOA-AD. V. SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES As culled from the Petitions and Petitions-in-Intervention, there are basically two SUBSTANTIVE issues to be resolved, one relating to the manner in which the MOA-AD was negotiated and finalized, the other relating to its provisions, viz: 1. Did respondents violate constitutional and statutory provisions on public consultation and the right to information when they negotiated and later initialed the MOA-AD? 2. Do the contents of the MOA-AD violate the Constitution and the laws? ON THE FIRST SUBSTANTIVE ISSUE Petitioners invoke their constitutional right to information on matters of public concern, as provided in Section 7, Article III on the Bill of Rights: Sec. 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.107 As early as 1948, in Subido v. Ozaeta,108 the Court has recognized the statutory right to examine and inspect public records, a right which was eventually accorded constitutional status. The right of access to public documents, as enshrined in both the 1973 Constitution and the 1987 Constitution, has been recognized as a self-executory constitutional right.109 In the 1976 case of Baldoza v. Hon. Judge Dimaano,110 the Court ruled that access to public records is predicated on the right of the people to acquire information on matters of public concern since, undoubtedly, in a democracy, the pubic has a legitimate interest in matters of social and political significance. x x x The incorporation of this right in the Constitution is a recognition of the fundamental role of free exchange of information in a democracy. There can be no realistic perception by the public of the nation's problems, nor a meaningful democratic decision-making if they are denied access to information of general interest. Information is needed to enable the members of society to cope with the exigencies of the times. As has been aptly observed: "Maintaining the flow of such

156 information depends on protection for both its acquisition and its dissemination since, if either process is interrupted, the flow inevitably ceases." x x x111 In the same way that free discussion enables members of society to cope with the exigencies of their time, access to information of general interest aids the people in democratic decision-making by giving them a better perspective of the vital issues confronting the nation 112 so that they may be able to criticize and participate in the affairs of the government in a responsible, reasonable and effective manner. It is by ensuring an unfettered and uninhibited exchange of ideas among a wellinformed public that a government remains responsive to the changes desired by the people.113 The MOA-AD is a matter of public concern That the subject of the information sought in the present cases is a matter of public concern114 faces no serious challenge. In fact, respondents admit that the MOA-AD is indeed of public concern.115 In previous cases, the Court found that the regularity of real estate transactions entered in the Register of Deeds,116 the need for adequate notice to the public of the various laws,117 the civil service eligibility of a public employee,118 the proper management of GSIS funds allegedly used to grant loans to public officials,119 the recovery of the Marcoses' alleged ill-gotten wealth,120 and the identity of party-list nominees,121 among others, are matters of public concern. Undoubtedly, the MOA-AD subject of the present cases is of public concern, involving as it does thesovereignty and territorial integrity of the State, which directly affects the lives of the public at large. Matters of public concern covered by the right to information include steps and negotiations leading to the consummation of the contract. In not distinguishing as to the executory nature or commercial character of agreements, the Court has categorically ruled: x x x [T]he right to information "contemplates inclusion of negotiations leading to the consummation of the transaction." Certainly, a consummated contract is not a requirement for the exercise of the right to information. Otherwise, the people can never exercise the right if no contract is consummated, and if one is consummated, it may be too late for the public to expose its defects. Requiring a consummated contract will keep the public in the dark until the contract, which may be grossly disadvantageous to the government or even illegal, becomes fait accompli. This negates the State policy of full transparency on matters of public concern, a situation which the framers of the Constitution could not have intended. Such a requirement will prevent the citizenry from participating in the public discussion of any proposed contract, effectively truncating a basic right enshrined in the Bill of Rights. We can allow neither an emasculation of a constitutional right, nor a retreat by the State of its avowed "policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest."122 (Emphasis and italics in the original) Intended as a "splendid symmetry"123 to the right to information under the Bill of Rights is the policy of public disclosure under Section 28, Article II of the Constitution reading:

157 Sec. 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.124 The policy of full public disclosure enunciated in above-quoted Section 28 complements the right of access to information on matters of public concern found in the Bill of Rights. The right to information guarantees the right of the people to demand information, while Section 28 recognizes the duty of officialdom to give information even if nobody demands.125 The policy of public disclosure establishes a concrete ethical principle for the conduct of public affairs in a genuinely open democracy, with the people's right to know as the centerpiece. It is a mandate of the State to be accountable by following such policy.126 These provisions are vital to the exercise of the freedom of expression and essential to hold public officials at all times accountable to the people.127 Whether Section 28 is self-executory, the records of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission so disclose: MR. SUAREZ. And since this is not self-executory, this policy will not be enunciated or will not be in force and effect until after Congress shall have provided it. MR. OPLE. I expect it to influence the climate of public ethics immediately but, of course, the implementing law will have to be enacted by Congress, Mr. Presiding Officer.128 The following discourse, after Commissioner Hilario Davide, Jr., sought clarification on the issue, is enlightening. MR. DAVIDE. I would like to get some clarifications on this. Mr. Presiding Officer, did I get the Gentleman correctly as having said that this is not a self-executing provision? It would require a legislation by Congress to implement? MR. OPLE. Yes. Originally, it was going to be self-executing, but I accepted an amendment from Commissioner Regalado, so that the safeguards on national interest are modified by the clause "as may be provided by law" MR. DAVIDE. But as worded, does it not mean that this will immediately take effect and Congress may provide for reasonable safeguards on the sole ground national interest? MR. OPLE. Yes. I think so, Mr. Presiding Officer, I said earlier that it should immediately influence the climate of the conduct of public affairs but, of course, Congress here may no longer pass a law revoking it, or if this is approved, revoking this principle, which is inconsistent with this policy.129 (Emphasis supplied) Indubitably, the effectivity of the policy of public disclosure need not await the passing of a statute. As Congress cannot revoke this principle, it is merely directed to provide for "reasonable

158 safeguards." The complete and effective exercise of the right to information necessitates that its complementary provision on public disclosure derive the same self-executory nature. Since both provisions go hand-in-hand, it is absurd to say that the broader 130 right to information on matters of public concern is already enforceable while the correlative duty of the State to disclose its transactions involving public interest is not enforceable until there is an enabling law.Respondents cannot thus point to the absence of an implementing legislation as an excuse in not effecting such policy. An essential element of these freedoms is to keep open a continuing dialogue or process of communication between the government and the people. It is in the interest of the State that the channels for free political discussion be maintained to the end that the government may perceive and be responsive to the people's will.131Envisioned to be corollary to the twin rights to information and disclosure is the design for feedback mechanisms. MS. ROSARIO BRAID. Yes. And lastly, Mr. Presiding Officer, will the people be able to participate? Will the government provide feedback mechanisms so that the people can participate and can react where the existing media facilities are not able to provide full feedback mechanisms to the government? I suppose this will be part of the government implementing operational mechanisms. MR. OPLE. Yes. I think through their elected representatives and that is how these courses take place. There is a message and a feedback, both ways. xxxx MS. ROSARIO BRAID. Mr. Presiding Officer, may I just make one last sentence? I think when we talk about the feedback network, we are not talking about public officials but also network of private business o[r] community-based organizations that will be reacting. As a matter of fact, we will put more credence or credibility on the private network of volunteers and voluntary community-based organizations. So I do not think we are afraid that there will be another OMA in the making.132 (Emphasis supplied) The imperative of a public consultation, as a species of the right to information, is evident in the "marching orders" to respondents. The mechanics for the duty to disclose information and to conduct public consultation regarding the peace agenda and process is manifestly provided by E.O. No. 3.133 The preambulatory clause of E.O. No. 3 declares that there is a need to further enhance the contribution of civil society to the comprehensive peace process by institutionalizing the people's participation. One of the three underlying principles of the comprehensive peace process is that it "should be community-based, reflecting the sentiments, values and principles important to all Filipinos" and "shall be defined not by the government alone, nor by the different contending groups only, but by all Filipinos as one community."134 Included as a component of the comprehensive peace process is consensus-building and empowerment for peace, which includes "continuing consultations on both

159 national and local levels to build consensus for a peace agenda and process, and the mobilization and facilitation of people's participation in the peace process."135 Clearly, E.O. No. 3 contemplates not just the conduct of a plebiscite to effectuate "continuing" consultations, contrary to respondents' position that plebiscite is "more than sufficient consultation."136 Further, E.O. No. 3 enumerates the functions and responsibilities of the PAPP, one of which is to "[c]onductregular dialogues with the National Peace Forum (NPF) and other peace partners to seek relevant information, comments, recommendations as well as to render appropriate and timely reports on the progress of the comprehensive peace process."137 E.O. No. 3 mandates the establishment of the NPF to be "the principal forumfor the PAPP to consult with and seek advi[c]e from the peace advocates, peace partners and concerned sectors of society on both national and local levels, on the implementation of the comprehensive peace process, as well as for government[-]civil society dialogue and consensus-building on peace agenda and initiatives."138 In fine, E.O. No. 3 establishes petitioners' right to be consulted on the peace agenda, as a corollary to the constitutional right to information and disclosure. PAPP Esperon committed grave abuse of discretion The PAPP committed grave abuse of discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation. The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic exercise thereof. The Court may not, of course, require the PAPP to conduct the consultation in a particular way or manner. It may, however, require him to comply with the law and discharge the functions within the authority granted by the President.139 Petitioners are not claiming a seat at the negotiating table, contrary to respondents' retort in justifying the denial of petitioners' right to be consulted. Respondents' stance manifests the manner by which they treat the salient provisions of E.O. No. 3 on people's participation. Such disregard of the express mandate of the President is not much different from superficial conduct toward token provisos that border on classic lip service.140 It illustrates a gross evasion of positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined. As for respondents' invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege, it is not tenable under the premises. The argument defies sound reason when contrasted with E.O. No. 3's explicit provisions on continuing consultation and dialogue on both national and local levels. The executive order even recognizes the exercise of the public's right even before the GRP makes its official recommendations or before the government proffers its definite propositions.141 It bear emphasis that E.O. No. 3 seeks to elicit relevant advice, information, comments and recommendations from the people through dialogue.

160 AT ALL EVENTS, respondents effectively waived the defense of executive privilege in view of their unqualified disclosure of the official copies of the final draft of the MOA-AD. By unconditionally complying with the Court's August 4, 2008 Resolution, without a prayer for the document's disclosure in camera, or without a manifestation that it was complying therewith ex abundante ad cautelam. Petitioners' assertion that the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 declares it a State policy to "require all national agencies and offices to conduct periodic consultations with appropriate local government units, non-governmental and people's organizations, and other concerned sectors of the community before any project or program is implemented in their respective jurisdictions"142 is well-taken. The LGC chapter on intergovernmental relations puts flesh into this avowed policy: Prior Consultations Required. - No project or program shall be implemented by government authoritiesunless the consultations mentioned in Sections 2 (c) and 26 hereof are complied with, and prior approval of the sanggunian concerned is obtained: Provided, That occupants in areas where such projects are to be implemented shall not be evicted unless appropriate relocation sites have been provided, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.143 (Italics and underscoring supplied) In Lina, Jr. v. Hon. Pao,144 the Court held that the above-stated policy and above-quoted provision of the LGU apply only to national programs or projects which are to be implemented in a particular local community. Among the programs and projects covered are those that are critical to the environment and human ecology including those that may call for the eviction of a particular group of people residing in the locality where these will be implemented.145 The MOA-AD is one peculiar program that unequivocally and unilaterally vests ownership of a vast territory to the Bangsamoro people,146 which could pervasively and drastically result to the diaspora or displacement of a great number of inhabitants from their total environment. With respect to the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs), whose interests are represented herein by petitioner Lopez and are adversely affected by the MOA-AD, the ICCs/IPs have, under the IPRA, the right to participate fully at all levels of decision-making in matters which may affect their rights, lives and destinies.147 The MOA-AD, an instrument recognizing ancestral domain, failed to justify its non-compliance with the clear-cut mechanisms ordained in said Act,148 which entails, among other things, the observance of the free and prior informed consent of the ICCs/IPs. Notably, the IPRA does not grant the Executive Department or any government agency the power to delineate and recognize an ancestral domain claim by mere agreement or compromise. The recognition of the ancestral domain is the raison d'etre of the MOA-AD, without which all other stipulations or "consensus points" necessarily must fail. In proceeding to make a sweeping declaration on ancestral domain, without complying with the IPRA, which is cited as one of the TOR of the MOA-AD, respondents clearly transcended the boundaries of their authority. As it seems, even the heart of the MOA-AD is still subject to necessary changes to the legal framework. While paragraph 7 on Governance suspends the effectivity of all provisions requiring changes to the legal framework, such clause is itself invalid, as will be discussed in the following section.

161 Indeed, ours is an open society, with all the acts of the government subject to public scrutiny and available always to public cognizance. This has to be so if the country is to remain democratic, with sovereignty residing in the people and all government authority emanating from them.149 ON THE SECOND SUBSTANTIVE ISSUE With regard to the provisions of the MOA-AD, there can be no question that they cannot all be accommodated under the present Constitution and laws. Respondents have admitted as much in the oral arguments before this Court, and the MOA-AD itself recognizes the need to amend the existing legal framework to render effective at least some of its provisions. Respondents, nonetheless, counter that the MOA-AD is free of any legal infirmity because any provisions therein which are inconsistent with the present legal framework will not be effective until the necessary changes to that framework are made. The validity of this argument will be considered later. For now, the Court shall pass upon how The MOA-AD is inconsistent with the Constitution and laws as presently worded. In general, the objections against the MOA-AD center on the extent of the powers conceded therein to the BJE. Petitioners assert that the powers granted to the BJE exceed those granted to any local government under present laws, and even go beyond those of the present ARMM. Before assessing some of the specific powers that would have been vested in the BJE, however, it would be useful to turn first to a general idea that serves as a unifying link to the different provisions of the MOA-AD, namely, the international law concept of association. Significantly, the MOA-AD explicitly alludes to this concept, indicating that the Parties actually framed its provisions with it in mind. Association is referred to in paragraph 3 on TERRITORY, paragraph 11 on RESOURCES, and paragraph 4 on GOVERNANCE. It is in the last mentioned provision, however, that the MOA-AD most clearly uses it to describe theenvisioned relationship between the BJE and the Central Government. 4. The relationship between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro juridical entity shall beassociative characterized by shared authority and responsibility with a structure of governance based on executive, legislative, judicial and administrative institutions with defined powers and functions in the comprehensive compact. A period of transition shall be established in a comprehensive peace compact specifying the relationship between the Central Government and the BJE. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The nature of the "associative" relationship may have been intended to be defined more precisely in the still to be forged Comprehensive Compact. Nonetheless, given that there is a concept of "association" in international law, and the MOA-AD - by its inclusion of international law instruments in its TOR- placed itself in an international legal context, that concept of association may be brought to bear in understanding the use of the term "associative" in the MOA-AD. Keitner and Reisman state that

162 [a]n association is formed when two states of unequal power voluntarily establish durable links. In the basic model, one state, the associate, delegates certain responsibilities to the other, the principal, while maintaining its international status as a state. Free associations represent a middle ground between integration and independence. x x x150 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) For purposes of illustration, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), formerly part of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands,151 are associated states of the U.S. pursuant to a Compact of Free Association. The currency in these countries is the U.S. dollar, indicating their very close ties with the U.S., yet they issue their own travel documents, which is a mark of their statehood. Their international legal status as states was confirmed by the UN Security Council and by their admission to UN membership. According to their compacts of free association, the Marshall Islands and the FSM generally have the capacity to conduct foreign affairs in their own name and right, such capacity extending to matters such as the law of the sea, marine resources, trade, banking, postal, civil aviation, and cultural relations. The U.S. government, when conducting its foreign affairs, is obligated to consult with the governments of the Marshall Islands or the FSM on matters which it (U.S. government) regards as relating to or affecting either government. In the event of attacks or threats against the Marshall Islands or the FSM, the U.S. government has the authority and obligation to defend them as if they were part of U.S. territory. The U.S. government, moreover, has the option of establishing and using military areas and facilities within these associated states and has the right to bar the military personnel of any third country from having access to these territories for military purposes. It bears noting that in U.S. constitutional and international practice, free association is understood as an international association between sovereigns. The Compact of Free Association is a treaty which is subordinate to the associated nation's national constitution, and each party may terminate the association consistent with the right of independence. It has been said that, with the admission of the U.S.-associated states to the UN in 1990, the UN recognized that the American model of free association is actually based on an underlying status of independence.152 In international practice, the "associated state" arrangement has usually been used as a transitional device of former colonies on their way to full independence. Examples of states that have passed through the status of associated states as a transitional phase are Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada. All have since become independent states.153 Back to the MOA-AD, it contains many provisions which are consistent with the international legal concept ofassociation, specifically the following: the BJE's capacity to enter into economic and trade relations with foreign countries, the commitment of the Central Government to ensure the BJE's participation in meetings and events in the ASEAN and the specialized UN agencies, and the continuing responsibility of the Central Government over external defense. Moreover, the BJE's right to participate in Philippine official missions bearing on negotiation of border agreements, environmental protection, and sharing of revenues pertaining to the bodies of water

163 adjacent to or between the islands forming part of the ancestral domain, resembles the right of the governments of FSM and the Marshall Islands to be consulted by the U.S. government on any foreign affairs matter affecting them. These provisions of the MOA indicate, among other things, that the Parties aimed to vest in the BJE the status of an associated state or, at any rate, a status closely approximating it. The concept of association is not recognized under the present Constitution No province, city, or municipality, not even the ARMM, is recognized under our laws as having an "associative" relationship with the national government. Indeed, the concept implies powers that go beyond anything ever granted by the Constitution to any local or regional government. It also implies the recognition of the associated entity as a state. The Constitution, however, does not contemplate any state in this jurisdiction other than the Philippine State, much less does it provide for a transitory status that aims to prepare any part of Philippine territory for independence. Even the mere concept animating many of the MOA-AD's provisions, therefore, already requires for its validity the amendment of constitutional provisions, specifically the following provisions of Article X: SECTION 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided. SECTION 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. The BJE is entity than recognized in the Constitution a the far more autonomous powerful region

It is not merely an expanded version of the ARMM, the status of its relationship with the national government being fundamentally different from that of the ARMM. Indeed, BJE is a state in all but name as it meets the criteria of a state laid down in the Montevideo Convention,154 namely, a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and a capacity to enter into relations with other states. Even assuming arguendo that the MOA-AD would not necessarily sever any portion of Philippine territory, the spirit animating it - which has betrayed itself by its use of the concept of association - runs counter to the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic. The defining concept underlying the relationship between the national government and the BJE being itself contrary to the present Constitution, it is not surprising that many of the

164 specific provisions of the MOA-AD on the formation and powers of the BJE are in conflict with the Constitution and the laws. Article X, Section 18 of the Constitution provides that "[t]he creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only provinces, cities, and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region." (Emphasis supplied) As reflected above, the BJE is more of a state than an autonomous region. But even assuming that it is covered by the term "autonomous region" in the constitutional provision just quoted, the MOA-AD would still be in conflict with it. Under paragraph 2(c) on TERRITORY in relation to 2(d) and 2(e), the present geographic area of the ARMM and, in addition, the municipalities of Lanao del Norte which voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite - Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal - are automatically part of the BJE without need of another plebiscite, in contrast to the areas under Categories A and B mentioned earlier in the overview. That the present components of the ARMM and the above-mentioned municipalities voted for inclusion therein in 2001, however, does not render another plebiscite unnecessary under the Constitution, precisely because what these areas voted for then was their inclusion in the ARMM, not the BJE. The MOA-AD, comply with the Constitution Article moreover, X, would Section 20 not of

since that provision defines the powers of autonomous regions as follows: SECTION 20. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over: (1) Administrative organization; (2) Creation of sources of revenues; (3) Ancestral domain and natural resources; (4) Personal, family, and property relations; (5) Regional urban and rural planning development; (6) Economic, social, and tourism development; (7) Educational policies; (8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and

165 (9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. (Underscoring supplied) Again on the premise that the BJE may be regarded as an autonomous region, the MOA-AD would require an amendment that would expand the above-quoted provision. The mere passage of new legislation pursuant to sub-paragraph No. 9 of said constitutional provision would not suffice, since any new law that might vest in the BJE the powers found in the MOA-AD must, itself, comply with other provisions of the Constitution. It would not do, for instance, to merely pass legislation vesting the BJE with treaty-making power in order to accommodate paragraph 4 of the strand on RESOURCES which states: "The BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries: provided, however, that such relationships and understandings do not include aggression against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines x x x." Under our constitutional system, it is only the President who has that power. Pimentel v. Executive Secretary155 instructs: In our system of government, the President, being the head of state, is regarded as the sole organ and authority in external relations and is the country's sole representative with foreign nations. As the chief architect of foreign policy, the President acts as the country's mouthpiece with respect to international affairs. Hence, the President is vested with the authority to deal with foreign states and governments, extend or withhold recognition, maintain diplomatic relations, enter into treaties, and otherwise transact the business of foreign relations. In the realm of treaty-making, the President has the sole authority to negotiate with other states. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Article II, Section 22 of the Constitution must also be amended if the scheme envisioned in the MOA-AD is to be effected. That constitutional provision states: "The State recognizes and promotes the rights ofindigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development." (Underscoring supplied)An associative arrangement does not uphold national unity. While there may be a semblance of unity because of the associative ties between the BJE and the national government, the act of placing a portion of Philippine territory in a status which, in international practice, has generally been a preparation for independence, is certainly not conducive to national unity. Besides being irreconcilable with the Constitution, the MOA-AD is also inconsistent with prevailing statutory law, among which are R.A. No. 9054156 or the Organic Act of the ARMM, and the IPRA.157 Article X, Section 3 of the Organic Act of the ARMM is a bar to the adoption of the definition of "Bangsamoro people" used in the MOA-AD. Paragraph 1 on Concepts and Principles states: 1. It is the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous peoples of Mindanao to identify themselves and be accepted as "Bangsamoros". The Bangsamoro people refers to those who are natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization of its descendants whether mixed or of full blood. Spouses and their descendants are classified as

166 Bangsamoro. The freedom of choice of the Indigenous people shall be respected. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) This use of the term Bangsamoro sharply contrasts with that found in the Article X, Section 3 of the Organic Act, which, rather than lumping together the identities of the Bangsamoro and other indigenous peoples living in Mindanao, clearly distinguishes between Bangsamoro people and Tribal peoples, as follows: "As used in this Organic Act, the phrase "indigenous cultural community" refers to Filipino citizens residing in the autonomous region who are: (a) Tribal peoples. These are citizens whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sectors of the national community; and (b) Bangsa Moro people. These are citizens who are believers in Islam and who have retained some or all of their own social, economic, cultural, and political institutions." Respecting the IPRA, it lays down the prevailing procedure for the delineation and recognition of ancestral domains. The MOA-AD's manner of delineating the ancestral domain of the Bangsamoro people is a clear departure from that procedure. By paragraph 1 of Territory, the Parties simply agree that, subject to the delimitations in the agreed Schedules, "[t]he Bangsamoro homeland and historic territory refer to the land mass as well as the maritime, terrestrial, fluvial and alluvial domains, and the aerial domain, the atmospheric space above it, embracing the Mindanao-SuluPalawan geographic region." Chapter VIII of the IPRA, on the other hand, lays down a detailed procedure, as illustrated in the following provisions thereof: SECTION 52. Delineation Process. - The identification and delineation of ancestral domains shall be done in accordance with the following procedures: xxxx b) Petition for Delineation. - The process of delineating a specific perimeter may be initiated by the NCIP with the consent of the ICC/IP concerned, or through a Petition for Delineation filed with the NCIP, by a majority of the members of the ICCs/IPs; c) Delineation Proper. - The official delineation of ancestral domain boundaries including census of all community members therein, shall be immediately undertaken by the Ancestral Domains Office upon filing of the application by the ICCs/IPs concerned. Delineation will be done in coordination with the community concerned and shall at all times include genuine involvement and participation by the members of the communities concerned; d) Proof Required. - Proof of Ancestral Domain Claims shall include the testimony of elders or community under oath, and other documents directly or indirectly attesting to the

167 possession or occupation of the area since time immemorial by such ICCs/IPs in the concept of owners which shall be any one (1) of the following authentic documents: 1) Written accounts of the ICCs/IPs customs and traditions; 2) Written accounts of the ICCs/IPs political structure and institution; 3) Pictures showing long term occupation such as those of old improvements, burial grounds, sacred places and old villages; 4) Historical accounts, including pacts and agreements concerning boundaries entered into by the ICCs/IPs concerned with other ICCs/IPs; 5) Survey plans and sketch maps; 6) Anthropological data; 7) Genealogical surveys; 8) Pictures and descriptive histories of traditional communal forests and hunting grounds; 9) Pictures and descriptive histories of traditional landmarks such as mountains, rivers, creeks, ridges, hills, terraces and the like; and 10) Write-ups of names and places derived from the native dialect of the community. e) Preparation of Maps. - On the basis of such investigation and the findings of fact based thereon, the Ancestral Domains Office of the NCIP shall prepare a perimeter map, complete with technical descriptions, and a description of the natural features and landmarks embraced therein; f) Report of Investigation and Other Documents. - A complete copy of the preliminary census and a report of investigation, shall be prepared by the Ancestral Domains Office of the NCIP; g) Notice and Publication. - A copy of each document, including a translation in the native language of the ICCs/IPs concerned shall be posted in a prominent place therein for at least fifteen (15) days. A copy of the document shall also be posted at the local, provincial and regional offices of the NCIP, and shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks to allow other claimants to file opposition thereto within fifteen (15) days from date of such publication: Provided, That in areas where no such newspaper exists, broadcasting in a radio station will be a valid substitute: Provided, further, That mere posting shall be deemed sufficient if both newspaper and radio station are not available;

168 h) Endorsement to NCIP. - Within fifteen (15) days from publication, and of the inspection process, the Ancestral Domains Office shall prepare a report to the NCIP endorsing a favorable action upon a claim that is deemed to have sufficient proof. However, if the proof is deemed insufficient, the Ancestral Domains Office shall require the submission of additional evidence: Provided, That the Ancestral Domains Office shall reject any claim that is deemed patently false or fraudulent after inspection and verification: Provided, further, That in case of rejection, the Ancestral Domains Office shall give the applicant due notice, copy furnished all concerned, containing the grounds for denial. The denial shall be appealable to the NCIP: Provided, furthermore, That in cases where there are conflicting claims among ICCs/IPs on the boundaries of ancestral domain claims, the Ancestral Domains Office shall cause the contending parties to meet and assist them in coming up with a preliminary resolution of the conflict, without prejudice to its full adjudication according to the section below. xxxx To remove all doubts about the irreconcilability of the MOA-AD with the present legal system, a discussion of not only the Constitution and domestic statutes, but also of international law is in order, for Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states that the Philippines "adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land." Applying this provision of the Constitution, the Court, in Mejoff v. Director of Prisons,158 held that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is part of the law of the land on account of which it ordered the release on bail of a detained alien of Russian descent whose deportation order had not been executed even after two years. Similarly, the Court in Agustin v. Edu159 applied the aforesaid constitutional provision to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals. International law has long recognized the right to self-determination of "peoples," understood not merely as the entire population of a State but also a portion thereof. In considering the question of whether the people of Quebec had a right to unilaterally secede from Canada, the Canadian Supreme Court in REFERENCE RE SECESSION OF QUEBEC160 had occasion to acknowledge that "the right of a people to self-determination is now so widely recognized in international conventions that the principle has acquired a status beyond convention' and is considered a general principle of international law." Among the conventions referred to are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights161 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights162 which state, in Article 1 of both covenants, that all peoples, by virtue of the right of self-determination, "freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development." The people's right to self-determination should not, however, be understood as extending to a unilateral right of secession. A distinction should be made between the right of internal and external self-determination. REFERENCE RE SECESSION OF QUEBEC is again instructive:

169 "(ii) Scope of the Right to Self-determination 126. The recognized sources of international law establish that the right to selfdetermination of a people is normally fulfilled through internal self-determination - a people's pursuit of its political, economic, social and cultural development within the framework of an existing state. A right toexternal self-determination (which in this case potentially takes the form of the assertion of a right to unilateral secession) arises in only the most extreme of cases and, even then, under carefully defined circumstances. x x x External self-determination can be defined as in the following statement from the Declaration on Friendly Relations, supra, as The establishment of a sovereign and independent State, the free association or integration with an independent State or the emergence into any other political status freely determined by apeople constitute modes of implementing the right of selfdetermination by that people. (Emphasis added) 127. The international law principle of self-determination has evolved within a framework of respect for the territorial integrity of existing states. The various international documents that support the existence of a people's right to self-determination also contain parallel statements supportive of the conclusion that the exercise of such a right must be sufficiently limited to prevent threats to an existing state's territorial integrity or the stability of relations between sovereign states. x x x x (Emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied) The Canadian Court went on to discuss the exceptional cases in which the right to external selfdetermination can arise, namely, where a people is under colonial rule, is subject to foreign domination or exploitation outside a colonial context, and - less definitely but asserted by a number of commentators - is blocked from the meaningful exercise of its right to internal selfdetermination. The Court ultimately held that the population of Quebec had no right to secession, as the same is not under colonial rule or foreign domination, nor is it being deprived of the freedom to make political choices and pursue economic, social and cultural development, citing that Quebec is equitably represented in legislative, executive and judicial institutions within Canada, even occupying prominent positions therein. The exceptional nature of the right of secession is further exemplified in the REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF JURISTS ON THE LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE AALAND ISLANDS QUESTION.163 There, Sweden presented to the Council of the League of Nations the question of whether the inhabitants of the Aaland Islands should be authorized to determine by plebiscite if the archipelago should remain under Finnish sovereignty or be incorporated in the kingdom of Sweden. The Council, before resolving the question, appointed an International Committee composed of three jurists to submit an opinion on the preliminary issue of whether the dispute should, based on international law, be entirely left to the domestic jurisdiction of Finland. The Committee stated the rule as follows:

170 x x x [I]n the absence of express provisions in international treaties, the right of disposing of national territory is essentially an attribute of the sovereignty of every State. Positive International Law does not recognize the right of national groups, as such, to separate themselves from the State of which they form part by the simple expression of a wish, any more than it recognizes the right of other States to claim such a separation. Generally speaking, the grant or refusal of the right to a portion of its population of determining its own political fate by plebiscite or by some other method, is, exclusively, an attribute of the sovereignty of every State which is definitively constituted. A dispute between two States concerning such a question, under normal conditions therefore, bears upon a question which International Law leaves entirely to the domestic jurisdiction of one of the States concerned. Any other solution would amount to an infringement of sovereign rights of a State and would involve the risk of creating difficulties and a lack of stability which would not only be contrary to the very idea embodied in term "State," but would also endanger the interests of the international community. If this right is not possessed by a large or small section of a nation, neither can it be held by the State to which the national group wishes to be attached, nor by any other State. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The Committee held that the dispute concerning the Aaland Islands did not refer to a question which is left by international law to the domestic jurisdiction of Finland, thereby applying the exception rather than the rule elucidated above. Its ground for departing from the general rule, however, was a very narrow one, namely, the Aaland Islands agitation originated at a time when Finland was undergoing drastic political transformation. The internal situation of Finland was, according to the Committee, so abnormal that, for a considerable time, the conditions required for the formation of a sovereign State did not exist. In the midst of revolution, anarchy, and civil war, the legitimacy of the Finnish national government was disputed by a large section of the people, and it had, in fact, been chased from the capital and forcibly prevented from carrying out its duties. The armed camps and the police were divided into two opposing forces. In light of these circumstances, Finland was not, during the relevant time period, a "definitively constituted" sovereign state. The Committee, therefore, found that Finland did not possess the right to withhold from a portion of its population the option to separate itself - a right which sovereign nations generally have with respect to their own populations. Turning now to the more specific category of indigenous peoples, this term has been used, in scholarship as well as international, regional, and state practices, to refer to groups with distinct cultures, histories, and connections to land (spiritual and otherwise) that have been forcibly incorporated into a larger governing society. These groups are regarded as "indigenous" since they are the living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others. Otherwise stated, indigenous peoples, nations, or communities are culturally distinctive groups that find themselves engulfed by settler societies born of the forces of empire and conquest.164 Examples of groups who have been regarded as indigenous peoples are the Maori of New Zealand and the aboriginal peoples of Canada. As with the broader category of "peoples," indigenous peoples situated within states do not have a general right to independence or secession from those states under international law,165 but they do have rights amounting to what was discussed above as the right to internal self-determination.

171 In a historic development last September 13, 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) through General Assembly Resolution 61/295. The vote was 143 to 4, the Philippines being included among those in favor, and the four voting against being Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S. The Declaration clearly recognized the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, encompassing the right to autonomy or self-government, to wit: Article 3 Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Article 4 Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions. Article 5 Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State. Self-government, as used in international legal discourse pertaining to indigenous peoples, has been understood as equivalent to "internal self-determination."166 The extent of self-determination provided for in the UN DRIP is more particularly defined in its subsequent articles, some of which are quoted hereunder: Article 8 1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. 2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities; (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources; (c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;

172 (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration; (e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them. Article 21 1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security. 2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities. Article 26 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired. 2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired. 3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned. Article 30 1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless justified by a relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned. 2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, prior to using their lands or territories for military activities. Article 32 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.

173 2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources. 3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact. Article 37 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements. 2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements. Article 38 States in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration. Assuming that the UN DRIP, like the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, must now be regarded as embodying customary international law - a question which the Court need not definitively resolve here - the obligations enumerated therein do not strictly require the Republic to grant the Bangsamoro people, through the instrumentality of the BJE, the particular rights and powers provided for in the MOA-AD. Even the more specific provisions of the UN DRIP are general in scope, allowing for flexibility in its application by the different States. There is, for instance, no requirement in the UN DRIP that States now guarantee indigenous peoples their own police and internal security force. Indeed, Article 8 presupposes that it is the State which will provide protection for indigenous peoples against acts like the forced dispossession of their lands - a function that is normally performed by police officers. If the protection of a right so essential to indigenous people's identity is acknowledged to be the responsibility of the State, then surely the protection of rights less significant to them as such peoples would also be the duty of States. Nor is there in the UN DRIP an acknowledgement of the right of indigenous peoples to the aerial domain and atmospheric space. What it upholds, in Article 26 thereof, is the right of indigenous peoples to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.

174 Moreover, the UN DRIP, while upholding the right of indigenous peoples to autonomy, does not obligate States to grant indigenous peoples the near-independent status of an associated state. All the rights recognized in that document are qualified in Article 46 as follows: 1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations orconstrued as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States. Even if the UN DRIP were considered as part of the law of the land pursuant to Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, it would not suffice to uphold the validity of the MOA-AD so as to render its compliance with other laws unnecessary. It is, therefore, clear that the MOA-AD contains numerous provisions that cannot be reconciled with the Constitution and the laws as presently worded. Respondents proffer, however, that the signing of the MOA-AD alone would not have entailed any violation of law or grave abuse of discretion on their part, precisely because it stipulates that the provisions thereof inconsistent with the laws shall not take effect until these laws are amended. They cite paragraph 7 of the MOA-AD strand on GOVERNANCE quoted earlier, but which is reproduced below for convenience: 7. The Parties agree that the mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation of this MOA-AD shall be spelt out in the Comprehensive Compact to mutually take such steps to enable it to occur effectively. Any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon signing of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to non derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact. Indeed, the foregoing stipulation keeps many controversial provisions of the MOA-AD from coming into force until the necessary changes to the legal framework are effected. While the word "Constitution" is not mentioned in the provision now under consideration or anywhere else in the MOA-AD, the term "legal framework" is certainly broad enough to include the Constitution. Notwithstanding the suspensive clause, however, respondents, by their mere act of incorporating in the MOA-AD the provisions thereof regarding the associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government, have already violated the Memorandum of Instructions From The President dated March 1, 2001, which states that the "negotiations shall be conducted in accordance with x x x the principles of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines." (Emphasis supplied) Establishing an associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government is, for the reasons already discussed, a preparation for independence, or worse, an implicit acknowledgment of an independent status already prevailing.

175 Even apart from the above-mentioned Memorandum, however, the MOA-AD is defective because the suspensive clause is invalid, as discussed below. The authority of the GRP Peace Negotiating Panel to negotiate with the MILF is founded on E.O. No. 3, Section 5(c), which states that there shall be established Government Peace Negotiating Panels for negotiations with different rebel groups to be "appointed by the President as her official emissaries to conduct negotiations, dialogues, and face-to-face discussions with rebel groups." These negotiating panels are to report to the President, through the PAPP on the conduct and progress of the negotiations. It bears noting that the GRP Peace Panel, in exploring lasting solutions to the Moro Problem through its negotiations with the MILF, was not restricted by E.O. No. 3 only to those options available under the laws as they presently stand. One of the components of a comprehensive peace process, which E.O. No. 3 collectively refers to as the "Paths to Peace," is the pursuit of social, economic, and political reforms which may require new legislation or even constitutional amendments. Sec. 4(a) of E.O. No. 3, which reiterates Section 3(a), of E.O. No. 125,167states: SECTION 4. The Six Paths to Peace. - The components of the comprehensive peace process comprise the processes known as the "Paths to Peace". These component processes are interrelated and not mutually exclusive, and must therefore be pursued simultaneously in a coordinated and integrated fashion. They shall include, but may not be limited to, the following: a. PURSUIT OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL REFORMS. This component involves the vigorous implementation of various policies, reforms, programs and projects aimed at addressing the root causes of internal armed conflicts and social unrest. This may require administrative action, new legislation or even constitutional amendments. x x x x (Emphasis supplied) The MOA-AD, therefore, may reasonably be perceived as an attempt of respondents to address, pursuant to this provision of E.O. No. 3, the root causes of the armed conflict in Mindanao. The E.O. authorized them to "think outside the box," so to speak. Hence, they negotiated and were set on signing the MOA-AD that included various social, economic, and political reforms which cannot, however, all be accommodated within the present legal framework, and which thus would require new legislation and constitutional amendments. The inquiry on the legality of the "suspensive clause," however, cannot stop here, because it must be askedwhether the President herself may exercise the power delegated to the GRP Peace Panel under E.O. No. 3, Sec. 4(a). The President cannot delegate a power that she herself does not possess. May the President, in the course of peace negotiations, agree to pursue reforms that would require new legislation and constitutional amendments, or should the reforms be restricted only to those solutions which the

176 present laws allow? The answer to this question requires a discussion of the extent of the President's power to conduct peace negotiations. That the authority of the President to conduct peace negotiations with rebel groups is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution does not mean that she has no such authority. In Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,168 in issue was the authority of the President to declare a state of rebellion - an authority which is not expressly provided for in the Constitution. The Court held thus: "In her ponencia in Marcos v. Manglapus, Justice Cortes put her thesis into jurisprudence. There, the Court, by a slim 8-7 margin, upheld the President's power to forbid the return of her exiled predecessor. The rationale for the majority's ruling rested on the President's . . . unstated residual powers which are implied from the grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the Constitution. The powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution. This is so, notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a limitation of specific powers of the President, particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of executive power. Thus, the President's authority to declare a state of rebellion springs in the main from her powers as chief executive and, at the same time, draws strength from her Commander-in-Chief powers. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Similarly, the President's power to conduct peace negotiations is implicitly included in her powers as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief. As Chief Executive, the President has the general responsibility to promote public peace, and as Commander-in-Chief, she has the more specific duty to prevent and suppress rebellion and lawless violence.169 As the experience of nations which have similarly gone through internal armed conflict will show, however, peace is rarely attained by simply pursuing a military solution. Oftentimes, changes as far-reaching as a fundamental reconfiguration of the nation's constitutional structure is required. The observations of Dr. Kirsti Samuels are enlightening, to wit: x x x [T]he fact remains that a successful political and governance transition must form the core of any post-conflict peace-building mission. As we have observed in Liberia and Haiti over the last ten years, conflict cessation without modification of the political environment, even where state-building is undertaken through technical electoral assistance and institution- or capacity-building, is unlikely to succeed. On average, more than 50 percent of states emerging from conflict return to conflict. Moreover, a substantial proportion of transitions have resulted in weak or limited democracies.

177 The design of a constitution and its constitution-making process can play an important role in the political and governance transition. Constitution-making after conflict is an opportunity to create a common vision of the future of a state and a road map on how to get there. The constitution can be partly a peace agreement and partly a framework setting up the rules by which the new democracy will operate.170 In the same vein, Professor Christine Bell, in her article on the nature and legal status of peace agreements, observed that the typical way that peace agreements establish or confirm mechanisms for demilitarization and demobilization is by linking them to new constitutional structures addressing governance, elections, and legal and human rights institutions.171 In the Philippine experience, the link between peace agreements and constitution-making has been recognized by no less than the framers of the Constitution. Behind the provisions of the Constitution on autonomous regions172is the framers' intention to implement a particular peace agreement, namely, the Tripoli Agreement of 1976 between the GRP and the MNLF, signed by then Undersecretary of National Defense Carmelo Z. Barbero and then MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari. MR. ROMULO. There are other speakers; so, although I have some more questions, I will reserve my right to ask them if they are not covered by the other speakers. I have only two questions. I heard one of the Commissioners say that local autonomy already exists in the Muslim region; it is working very well; it has, in fact, diminished a great deal of the problems. So, my question is: since that already exists, why do we have to go into something new? MR. OPLE. May I answer that on behalf of Chairman Nolledo. Commissioner Yusup Abubakar is right thatcertain definite steps have been taken to implement the provisions of the Tripoli Agreement with respect to an autonomous region in Mindanao. This is a good first step, but there is no question that this is merely a partial response to the Tripoli Agreement itself and to the fuller standard of regional autonomy contemplated in that agreement, and now by state policy.173(Emphasis supplied) The constitutional provisions on autonomy and the statutes enacted pursuant to them have, to the credit of their drafters, been partly successful. Nonetheless, the Filipino people are still faced with the reality of an on-going conflict between the Government and the MILF. If the President is to be expected to find means for bringing this conflict to an end and to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao, then she must be given the leeway to explore, in the course of peace negotiations, solutions that may require changes to the Constitution for their implementation. Being uniquely vested with the power to conduct peace negotiations with rebel groups, the President is in a singular position to know the precise nature of their grievances which, if resolved, may bring an end to hostilities.

178 The President may not, of course, unilaterally implement the solutions that she considers viable, but she may not be prevented from submitting them as recommendations to Congress, which could then, if it is minded, act upon them pursuant to the legal procedures for constitutional amendment and revision. In particular, Congress would have the option, pursuant to Article XVII, Sections 1 and 3 of the Constitution, to propose the recommended amendments or revision to the people, call a constitutional convention, or submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention. While the President does not possess constituent powers - as those powers may be exercised only by Congress, a Constitutional Convention, or the people through initiative and referendum - she may submit proposals for constitutional change to Congress in a manner that does not involve the arrogation of constituent powers. In Sanidad v. COMELEC,174 in issue was the legality of then President Marcos' act of directly submitting proposals for constitutional amendments to a referendum, bypassing the interim National Assembly which was the body vested by the 1973 Constitution with the power to propose such amendments. President Marcos, it will be recalled, never convened the interim National Assembly. The majority upheld the President's act, holding that "the urges of absolute necessity" compelled the President as the agent of the people to act as he did, there being no interim National Assembly to propose constitutional amendments. Against this ruling, Justices Teehankee and Muoz Palma vigorously dissented. The Court's concern at present, however, is not with regard to the point on which it was then divided in that controversial case, but on that which was not disputed by either side. Justice Teehankee's dissent,175 in particular, bears noting. While he disagreed that the President may directly submit proposed constitutional amendments to a referendum, implicit in his opinion is a recognition that he would have upheld the President's action along with the majority had the President convened the interim National Assembly and coursed his proposals through it. Thus Justice Teehankee opined: "Since the Constitution provides for the organization of the essential departments of government, defines and delimits the powers of each and prescribes the manner of the exercise of such powers, and the constituent power has not been granted to but has been withheld from the President or Prime Minister, it follows that the President's questioned decrees proposing and submitting constitutional amendments directly to the people (without the intervention of the interim National Assembly in whom the power is expressly vested) are devoid of constitutional and legal basis."176 (Emphasis supplied) From the foregoing discussion, the principle may be inferred that the President - in the course of conducting peace negotiations - may validly consider implementing even those policies that require changes to the Constitution, but she may not unilaterally implement them without the intervention of Congress, or act in any way as if the assent of that body were assumed as a certainty. Since, under the present Constitution, the people also have the power to directly propose amendments through initiative and referendum, the President may also submit her recommendations to the people, not as a formal proposal to be voted on in a plebiscite similar to

179 what President Marcos did in Sanidad, but for their independent consideration of whether these recommendations merit being formally proposed through initiative. These recommendations, however, may amount to nothing more than the President's suggestions to the people, for any further involvement in the process of initiative by the Chief Executive may vitiate its character as a genuine "people's initiative." The only initiative recognized by the Constitution is that which truly proceeds from the people. As the Court stated in Lambino v. COMELEC:177 "The Lambino Group claims that their initiative is the people's voice.' However, the Lambino Group unabashedly states in ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02, in the verification of their petition with the COMELEC, that ULAP maintains its unqualified support to the agenda of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for constitutional reforms.' The Lambino Group thus admits that their people's' initiative is an unqualified support to the agenda' of the incumbent President to change the Constitution. This forewarns the Court to be wary of incantations of people's voice' or sovereign will' in the present initiative." It will be observed that the President has authority, as stated in her oath of office, 178 only to preserve and defend the Constitution. Such presidential power does not, however, extend to allowing her to change the Constitution, but simply to recommend proposed amendments or revision. As long as she limits herself to recommending these changes and submits to the proper procedure for constitutional amendments and revision, her mere recommendation need not be construed as an unconstitutional act. The foregoing discussion focused on the President's authority to propose constitutional amendments, since her authority to propose new legislation is not in controversy. It has been an accepted practice for Presidents in this jurisdiction to propose new legislation. One of the more prominent instances the practice is usually done is in the yearly State of the Nation Address of the President to Congress. Moreover, the annual general appropriations bill has always been based on the budget prepared by the President, which - for all intents and purposes - is a proposal for new legislation coming from the President.179 The "suspensive clause" in the MOA-AD viewed in light of the above-discussed standards Given the limited nature of the President's authority to propose constitutional amendments, she cannot guarantee to any third party that the required amendments will eventually be put in place, nor even be submitted to a plebiscite. The most she could do is submit these proposals as recommendations either to Congress or the people, in whom constituent powers are vested. Paragraph 7 on Governance of the MOA-AD states, however, that all provisions thereof which cannot be reconciled with the present Constitution and laws "shall come into force upon signing of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework." This stipulation does not bear the marks of a suspensive condition - defined in civil law as a future and uncertain event - but of a term. It is not a question of whether the necessary changes to the legal framework will be effected, but when. That there is no uncertainty being contemplated is

180 plain from what follows, for the paragraph goes on to state that the contemplated changes shall be "with due regard to non derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact." Pursuant to this stipulation, therefore, it is mandatory for the GRP to effect the changes to the legal framework contemplated in the MOA-AD - which changes would include constitutional amendments, as discussed earlier. It bears noting that, By the time these changes are put in place, the MOA-AD itself would be counted among the "prior agreements" from which there could be no derogation. What remains for discussion in the Comprehensive Compact would merely be the implementing details for these "consensus points" and, notably, the deadline for effecting the contemplated changes to the legal framework. Plainly, stipulation-paragraph 7 on GOVERNANCE is inconsistent with the limits of the President's authority to propose constitutional amendments, it being a virtual guarantee that the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of the Philippines will certainly be adjusted to conform to all the "consensus points" found in the MOA-AD.Hence, it must be struck down as unconstitutional. A comparison between the "suspensive clause" of the MOA-AD with a similar provision appearing in the 1996 final peace agreement between the MNLF and the GRP is most instructive. As a backdrop, the parties to the 1996 Agreement stipulated that it would be implemented in two phases. Phase Icovered a three-year transitional period involving the putting up of new administrative structures through Executive Order, such as the Special Zone of Peace and Development (SZOPAD) and the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD), while Phase II covered the establishment of the new regional autonomous government through amendment or repeal of R.A. No. 6734, which was then the Organic Act of the ARMM. The stipulations on Phase II consisted of specific agreements on the structure of the expanded autonomous region envisioned by the parties. To that extent, they are similar to the provisions of the MOA-AD. There is, however, a crucial difference between the two agreements. While the MOA-AD virtually guarantees that the "necessary changes to the legal framework" will be put in place, the GRP-MNLF final peace agreement states thus: "Accordingly, these provisions [on Phase II] shall be recommended by the GRP to Congress for incorporation in the amendatory or repealing law." Concerns have been raised that the MOA-AD would have given rise to a binding international law obligation on the part of the Philippines to change its Constitution in conformity thereto, on the ground that it may be considered either as a binding agreement under international law, or a unilateral declaration of the Philippine government to the international community that it would grant to the Bangsamoro people all the concessions therein stated. Neither ground finds sufficient support in international law, however.

181 The MOA-AD, as earlier mentioned in the overview thereof, would have included foreign dignitaries as signatories. In addition, representatives of other nations were invited to witness its signing in Kuala Lumpur. These circumstances readily lead one to surmise that the MOA-AD would have had the status of a binding international agreement had it been signed. An examination of the prevailing principles in international law, however, leads to the contrary conclusion. The Decision on Challenge to Jurisdiction: Lom Accord Amnesty180 (the Lom Accord case) of the Special Court of Sierra Leone is enlightening. The Lom Accord was a peace agreement signed on July 7, 1999 between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a rebel group with which the Sierra Leone Government had been in armed conflict for around eight years at the time of signing. There were non-contracting signatories to the agreement, among which were the Government of the Togolese Republic, the Economic Community of West African States, and the UN. On January 16, 2002, after a successful negotiation between the UN Secretary-General and the Sierra Leone Government, another agreement was entered into by the UN and that Government whereby the Special Court of Sierra Leone was established. The sole purpose of the Special Court, an international court, was to try persons who bore the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since November 30, 1996. Among the stipulations of the Lom Accord was a provision for the full pardon of the members of the RUF with respect to anything done by them in pursuit of their objectives as members of that organization since the conflict began. In the Lom Accord case, the Defence argued that the Accord created an internationally binding obligation not to prosecute the beneficiaries of the amnesty provided therein, citing, among other things, the participation of foreign dignitaries and international organizations in the finalization of that agreement. The Special Court, however, rejected this argument, ruling that the Lome Accord is not a treaty and that it can only create binding obligations and rights between the parties in municipal law, not in international law. Hence, the Special Court held, it is ineffective in depriving an international court like it of jurisdiction. "37. In regard to the nature of a negotiated settlement of an internal armed conflict it is easy to assume and to argue with some degree of plausibility, as Defence counsel for the defendants seem to have done, that the mere fact that in addition to the parties to the conflict, the document formalizing the settlement is signed by foreign heads of state or their representatives and representatives of international organizations, means the agreement of the parties is internationalized so as to create obligations in international law. xxxx 40. Almost every conflict resolution will involve the parties to the conflict and the mediator or facilitator of the settlement, or persons or bodies under whose auspices the settlement took place but who are not at all parties to the conflict, are not contracting parties and who

182 do not claim any obligation from the contracting parties or incur any obligation from the settlement. 41. In this case, the parties to the conflict are the lawful authority of the State and the RUF which has no status of statehood and is to all intents and purposes a faction within the state. The non-contracting signatories of the Lom Agreement were moral guarantors of the principle that, in the terms of Article XXXIV of the Agreement, "this peace agreement is implemented with integrity and in good faith by both parties". The moral guarantors assumed no legal obligation. It is recalled that the UN by its representative appended, presumably for avoidance of doubt, an understanding of the extent of the agreement to be implemented as not including certain international crimes. 42. An international agreement in the nature of a treaty must create rights and obligations regulated by international law so that a breach of its terms will be a breach determined under international law which will also provide principle means of enforcement. The Lom Agreement created neither rights nor obligations capable of being regulated by international law. An agreement such as the Lom Agreement which brings to an end an internal armed conflict no doubt creates a factual situation of restoration of peace that the international community acting through the Security Council may take note of. That, however, will not convert it to an international agreement which creates an obligation enforceable in international, as distinguished from municipal, law. A breach of the terms of such a peace agreement resulting in resumption of internal armed conflict or creating a threat to peace in the determination of the Security Council may indicate a reversal of the factual situation of peace to be visited with possible legal consequences arising from the new situation of conflict created. Such consequences such as action by the Security Council pursuant to Chapter VII arise from the situation and not from the agreement, nor from the obligation imposed by it. Such action cannot be regarded as a remedy for the breach. A peace agreement which settles an internal armed conflict cannot be ascribed the same status as one which settles an international armed conflict which, essentially, must be between two or more warring States. The Lom Agreement cannot be characterised as an international instrument. x x x" (Emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied) Similarly, that the MOA-AD would have been signed by representatives of States and international organizations not parties to the Agreement would not have sufficed to vest in it a binding character under international law. In another vein, concern has been raised that the MOA-AD would amount to a unilateral declaration of the Philippine State, binding under international law, that it would comply with all the stipulations stated therein, with the result that it would have to amend its Constitution accordingly regardless of the true will of the people. Cited as authority for this view is Australia v. France,181 also known as the Nuclear Tests Case, decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In the Nuclear Tests Case, Australia challenged before the ICJ the legality of France's nuclear tests in the South Pacific. France refused to appear in the case, but public statements from its President,

183 and similar statements from other French officials including its Minister of Defence, that its 1974 series of atmospheric tests would be its last, persuaded the ICJ to dismiss the case.182 Those statements, the ICJ held, amounted to a legal undertaking addressed to the international community, which required no acceptance from other States for it to become effective. Essential to the ICJ ruling is its finding that the French government intended to be bound to the international community in issuing its public statements, viz: 43. It is well recognized that declarations made by way of unilateral acts, concerning legal or factual situations, may have the effect of creating legal obligations. Declarations of this kind may be, and often are, very specific. When it is the intention of the State making the declaration that it should become bound according to its terms, that intention confers on the declaration the character of a legal undertaking, the State being thenceforth legally required to follow a course of conduct consistent with the declaration. An undertaking of this kind, if given publicly, and with an intent to be bound, even though not made within the context of international negotiations, is binding. In these circumstances, nothing in the nature of a quid pro quo nor any subsequent acceptance of the declaration, nor even any reply or reaction from other States, is required for the declaration to take effect, since such a requirement would be inconsistent with the strictly unilateral nature of the juridical act by which the pronouncement by the State was made. 44. Of course, not all unilateral acts imply obligation; but a State may choose to take up a certain position in relation to a particular matter with the intention of being bound-the intention is to be ascertained by interpretation of the act. When States make statements by which their freedom of action is to be limited, a restrictive interpretation is called for. xxxx 51. In announcing that the 1974 series of atmospheric tests would be the last, the French Government conveyed to the world at large, including the Applicant, its intention effectively to terminate these tests. It was bound to assume that other States might take note of these statements and rely on their being effective. The validity of these statements and their legal consequences must be considered within the general framework of the security of international intercourse, and the confidence and trust which are so essential in the relations among States. It is from the actual substance of these statements, and from the circumstances attending their making, that the legal implications of the unilateral act must be deduced. The objects of these statements are clear and they were addressed to the international community as a whole, and the Court holds that they constitute an undertaking possessing legal effect. The Court considers *270 that the President of the Republic, in deciding upon the effective cessation of atmospheric tests, gave an undertaking to the international community to which his words were addressed. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) As gathered from the above-quoted ruling of the ICJ, public statements of a state representative may be construed as a unilateral declaration only when the following conditions are present: the

184 statements were clearly addressed to the international community, the state intended to be bound to that community by its statements, and that not to give legal effect to those statements would be detrimental to the security of international intercourse. Plainly, unilateral declarations arise only in peculiar circumstances. The limited applicability of the Nuclear Tests Case ruling was recognized in a later case decided by the ICJ entitledBurkina Faso v. Mali,183 also known as the Case Concerning the Frontier Dispute. The public declaration subject of that case was a statement made by the President of Mali, in an interview by a foreign press agency, that Mali would abide by the decision to be issued by a commission of the Organization of African Unity on a frontier dispute then pending between Mali and Burkina Faso. Unlike in the Nuclear Tests Case, the ICJ held that the statement of Mali's President was not a unilateral act with legal implications. It clarified that its ruling in the Nuclear Tests case rested on the peculiar circumstances surrounding the French declaration subject thereof, to wit: 40. In order to assess the intentions of the author of a unilateral act, account must be taken of all the factual circumstances in which the act occurred. For example, in the Nuclear Tests cases, the Court took the view that since the applicant States were not the only ones concerned at the possible continuance of atmospheric testing by the French Government, that Government's unilateral declarations had conveyed to the world at large, including the Applicant, its intention effectively to terminate these tests (I.C.J. Reports 1974, p. 269, para. 51; p. 474, para. 53). In the particular circumstances of those cases, the French Government could not express an intention to be bound otherwise than by unilateral declarations. It is difficult to see how it could have accepted the terms of a negotiated solution with each of the applicants without thereby jeopardizing its contention that its conduct was lawful. The circumstances of the present case are radically different. Here, there was nothing to hinder the Parties from manifesting an intention to accept the binding character of the conclusions of the Organization of African Unity Mediation Commission by the normal method: a formal agreement on the basis of reciprocity. Since no agreement of this kind was concluded between the Parties, the Chamber finds that there are no grounds to interpret the declaration made by Mali's head of State on 11 April 1975 as a unilateral act with legal implications in regard to the present case. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Assessing the MOA-AD in light of the above criteria, it would not have amounted to a unilateral declaration on the part of the Philippine State to the international community. The Philippine panel did not draft the same with the clear intention of being bound thereby to the international community as a whole or to any State, but only to the MILF. While there were States and international organizations involved, one way or another, in the negotiation and projected signing of the MOA-AD, they participated merely as witnesses or, in the case of Malaysia, as facilitator. As held in the Lom Accord case, the mere fact that in addition to the parties to the conflict, the peace settlement is signed by representatives of states and international organizations does not mean that the agreement is internationalized so as to create obligations in international law.

185 Since the commitments in the MOA-AD were not addressed to States, not to give legal effect to such commitments would not be detrimental to the security of international intercourse - to the trust and confidence essential in the relations among States. In one important respect, the circumstances surrounding the MOA-AD are closer to that of Burkina Faso wherein, as already discussed, the Mali President's statement was not held to be a binding unilateral declaration by the ICJ. As in that case, there was also nothing to hinder the Philippine panel, had it really been its intention to be bound to other States, to manifest that intention by formal agreement. Here, that formal agreement would have come about by the inclusion in the MOA-AD of a clear commitment to be legally bound to the international community, not just the MILF, and by an equally clear indication that the signatures of the participating statesrepresentatives would constitute an acceptance of that commitment. Entering into such a formal agreement would not have resulted in a loss of face for the Philippine government before the international community, which was one of the difficulties that prevented the French Government from entering into a formal agreement with other countries. That the Philippine panel did not enter into such a formal agreement suggests that it had no intention to be bound to the international community. On that ground, the MOA-AD may not be considered a unilateral declaration under international law. The MOA-AD not being a document that can bind the Philippines under international law notwithstanding, respondents' almost consummated act of guaranteeing amendments to the legal framework is, by itself, sufficient to constitute grave abuse of discretion. The grave abuse lies not in the fact that they considered, as a solution to the Moro Problem, the creation of a state within a state, but in their brazen willingness toguarantee that Congress and the sovereign Filipino people would give their imprimatur to their solution. Upholding such an act would amount to authorizing a usurpation of the constituent powers vested only in Congress, a Constitutional Convention, or the people themselves through the process of initiative, for the only way that the Executive can ensure the outcome of the amendment process is through an undue influence or interference with that process. The sovereign people may, if it so desired, go to the extent of giving up a portion of its own territory to the Moros for the sake of peace, for it can change the Constitution in any it wants, so long as the change is not inconsistent with what, in international law, is known as Jus Cogens.184 Respondents, however, may not preempt it in that decision. SUMMARY The petitions are ripe for adjudication. The failure of respondents to consult the local government units or communities affected constitutes a departure by respondents from their mandate under E.O. No. 3. Moreover, respondents exceeded their authority by the mere act of guaranteeing amendments to the Constitution. Any alleged violation of the Constitution by any branch of government is a proper matter for judicial review. As the petitions involve constitutional issues which are of paramount public interest or of transcendental importance, the Court grants the petitioners, petitioners-in-intervention and

186 intervening respondents the requisitelocus standi in keeping with the liberal stance adopted in David v. Macapagal-Arroyo. Contrary to the assertion of respondents that the non-signing of the MOA-AD and the eventual dissolution of the GRP Peace Panel mooted the present petitions, the Court finds that the present petitions provide an exception to the "moot and academic" principle in view of (a) the grave violation of the Constitution involved; (b) the exceptional character of the situation and paramount public interest; (c) the need to formulate controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and (d) the fact that the case is capable of repetition yet evading review. The MOA-AD is a significant part of a series of agreements necessary to carry out the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace signed by the government and the MILF back in June 2001. Hence, the present MOA-AD can be renegotiated or another one drawn up that could contain similar or significantly dissimilar provisions compared to the original. The Court, however, finds that the prayers for mandamus have been rendered moot in view of the respondents' action in providing the Court and the petitioners with the official copy of the final draft of the MOA-AD and its annexes. The people's right to information on matters of public concern under Sec. 7, Article III of the Constitution is insplendid symmetry with the state policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest under Sec. 28, Article II of the Constitution. The right to information guarantees the right of the people to demand information, while Section 28 recognizes the duty of officialdom to give information even if nobody demands. The complete and effective exercise of the right to information necessitates that its complementary provision on public disclosure derive the same self-executory nature, subject only to reasonable safeguards or limitations as may be provided by law. The contents of the MOA-AD is a matter of paramount public concern involving public interest in the highest order. In declaring that the right to information contemplates steps and negotiations leading to the consummation of the contract, jurisprudence finds no distinction as to the executory nature or commercial character of the agreement. An essential element of these twin freedoms is to keep a continuing dialogue or process of communication between the government and the people. Corollary to these twin rights is the design for feedback mechanisms. The right to public consultation was envisioned to be a species of these public rights. At least three pertinent laws animate these constitutional imperatives and justify the exercise of the people's right to be consulted on relevant matters relating to the peace agenda. One, E.O. No. 3 itself is replete with mechanics for continuing consultations on both national and local levels and for a principal forum for consensus-building. In fact, it is the duty of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to conduct regular dialogues to seek relevant information, comments, advice, and recommendations from peace partners and concerned sectors of society.

187 Two, Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 requires all national offices to conduct consultations before any project or program critical to the environment and human ecology including those that may call for the eviction of a particular group of people residing in such locality, is implemented therein. The MOA-AD is one peculiar program that unequivocally and unilaterally vests ownership of a vast territory to the Bangsamoro people, which could pervasively and drastically result to the diaspora or displacement of a great number of inhabitants from their total environment. Three, Republic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 provides for clear-cut procedure for the recognition and delineation of ancestral domain, which entails, among other things, the observance of the free and prior informed consent of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples. Notably, the statute does not grant the Executive Department or any government agency the power to delineate and recognize an ancestral domain claim by mere agreement or compromise. The invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege as a defense to the general right to information or the specific right to consultation is untenable. The various explicit legal provisions fly in the face of executive secrecy. In any event, respondents effectively waived such defense after it unconditionally disclosed the official copies of the final draft of the MOA-AD, for judicial compliance and public scrutiny. In sum, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process committed grave abuse of discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation process, as mandated by E.O. No. 3, Republic Act No. 7160, and Republic Act No. 8371. The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic exercise thereof. It illustrates a gross evasion of positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined. The MOA-AD cannot be reconciled with the present Constitution and laws. Not only its specific provisions but the very concept underlying them, namely, the associative relationship envisioned between the GRP and the BJE, areunconstitutional, for the concept presupposes that the associated entity is a state and implies that the same is on its way to independence. While there is a clause in the MOA-AD stating that the provisions thereof inconsistent with the present legal framework will not be effective until that framework is amended, the same does not cure its defect. The inclusion of provisions in the MOA-AD establishing an associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government is, itself, a violation of the Memorandum of Instructions From The President dated March 1, 2001, addressed to the government peace panel. Moreover, as the clause is worded, it virtually guarantees that the necessary amendments to the Constitution and the laws will eventually be put in place. Neither the GRP Peace Panel nor the President herself is authorized to make such a guarantee. Upholding such an act would amount to authorizing a usurpation of the constituent powers vested only in Congress, a Constitutional Convention, or the people themselves through the process of initiative, for the only way that the Executive can ensure the outcome of the amendment process is through an undue influence or interference with that process.

188 While the MOA-AD would not amount to an international agreement or unilateral declaration binding on the Philippines under international law, respondents' act of guaranteeing amendments is, by itself, already a constitutional violation that renders the MOA-AD fatally defective. WHEREFORE, respondents' motion to dismiss is DENIED. The main and intervening petitions are GIVEN DUE COURSE and hereby GRANTED. The Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 is declared contrary to law and the Constitution. SO ORDERED.

189

NORTH SEA CONTINENTAL SHELF CASES Judgment of 20 February 1969 The Court delivered judgment, by 11 votes to 6, in the North Sea Continental Shelf cases. The dispute, which was submitted to the Court on 20 February 1967, related to the delimitation of the continental shelf between the Federal Republic of Germany and Denmark on the one hand, and between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands on the other. The Parties asked the Court to state the principles and rules of international law applicable, and undertook thereafter to carry out the delimitations on that basis. The Court rejected the contention of Denmark and the Netherlands to the effect that the delimitations in question had to be carried out in accordance with the principle of equidistance as defined in Article 6 of the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf, holding: - that the Federal Republic, which had not ratified the Convention, was not legally bound by the provisions of Article 6; - that the equidistance principle was not a necessary consequence of the general concept of continental shelf rights, and was not a rule of customary international law. The Court also rejected the contentions of the Federal Republic in so far as these sought acceptance of the principle of an apportionment of the continental shelf into just and equitable shares. It held that each Party had an original right to those areas of the continental shelf which constituted the natural prolongation of its land territory into and under the sea. It was not a question of apportioning or sharing out those areas, but of delimiting them. The Court found that the boundary lines in question were to be drawn by agreement between the Parties and in accordance with equitable principles, and it indicated certain factors to be taken into consideration for that purpose. It was now for the Parties to negotiate on the basis of such principles, as they have agreed to do. The proceedings, relating to the delimitation as between the Parties of the areas of the North Sea continental shelf appertaining to each of them, were instituted on 20 February 1967 by the communication to the Registry of the Court of two Special Agreements, between Denmark and the Federal Republic and the Federal Republic and the Netherlands respectively. By an Order of 26 April 1968, the Court joined the proceedings in the two cases. The Court decided the two cases in a single Judgment, which it adopted by eleven votes to six. Amongst the Members of the Court concurring in the Judgment, Judge Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan appended a declaration; and President Bustamante y Rivero and Judges Jessup, Padilla Nervo and Ammoun appended separate opinions. In the case of the non-concurring Judges, a declaration of his dissent was appended by Judge Bengzon; and Vice-President Koretsky, together with Judges Tanaka, Morelli and Lachs, and Judge ad hoc Sorensen, appended dissenting opinions. In its Judgment, the Court examined in the context of the delimitations concerned the problems relating to the legal rgime of the continental shelf raised by the contentions of the Parties. The Facts and the Contentions of the Parties (paras. 1-17 of the Judgment) The two Special Agreements had asked the Court to declare the principles and rules of international law applicable to the delimitation as between the Parties of the areas of the North Sea continental shelf appertaining to each of them beyond the partial boundaries in the immediate vicinity of the coast already determined between the Federal Republic and the Netherlands by an

190 agreement of 1 December 1964 and between the Federal Republic and Denmark by an agreement of 9 June 1965.The Court was not asked actually to delimit the further boundaries involved, the Parties undertaking in their respective Special Agreements to effect such delimitation by agreement in pursuance of the Court's decision. The waters of the North Sea were shallow, the whole seabed, except for the Norwegian Trough, consisting of continental shelf at a depth of less than 200 metres. Most of it had already been delimited between the coastal States concerned. The Federal Republic and Denmark and the Netherlands, respectively, had, however, been unable to agree on the prolongation of the partial boundaries referred to above, mainly because Denmark and the Netherlands had wished this prolongation to be effected on the basis of the equidistance principle, whereas the Federal Republic had considered that it would unduly curtail what the Federal Republic believed should be its proper share of continental shelf area, on the basis of proportionality to the length of its North Sea coastline. Neither of the boundaries in question would by itself produce this effect, but only both of them together - an element regarded by Denmark and the Netherlands as irrelevant to what they viewed as being two separate delimitations, to be carried out without reference to the other. A boundary based on the equidistance principle, i.e., an "equidistance line", left to each of the Parties concerned all those portions of the continental shelf that were nearer to a point on its own coast than they were to any point on the coast of the other Party. In the case of a concave or recessing coast such as that of the Federal Republic on the North Sea, the effect of the equidistance method was to pull the line of the boundary inwards, in the direction of the concavity. Consequently, where two equidistance lines were drawn, they would, if the curvature were pronounced, inevitably meet at a relatively short distance from the coast, thus "cutting off" the coastal State from the area of the continental shelf outside. In contrast, the effect of convex or outwardly curving coasts, such as were, to a moderate extent, those of Denmark and the Netherlands, was to cause the equidistance lines to leave the coasts on divergent courses, thus having a widening tendency on the area of continental shelf off that coast. It had been contended on behalf of Denmark and the Netherlands that the whole matter was governed by a mandatory rule of law which, reflecting the language of Article 6 of the Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf of 29 April 1958, was designated by them as the "equidistance-special circumstances" rule. That rule was to the effect that in the absence of agreement by the parties to employ another method, all continental shelf boundaries had to be drawn by means of an equidistance line unless "special circumstances" were recognized to exist. According to Denmark and the Netherlands, the configuration of the German North Sea coast did not of itself constitute, for either of the two boundary lines concerned, a special circumstance. The Federal Republic, for its part, had contended that the correct rule, at any rate in such circumstances as those of the North Sea, was one according to which each of the States concerned should have a "just and equitable share" of the available continental shelf, in proportion to the length of its sea-frontage. It had also contended that in a sea shaped as is the North Sea, each of the States concerned was entitled to a continental shelf area extending up to the central point of that sea, or at least extending to its median line. Alternatively, the Federal Republic had claimed that if the equidistance method were held to bc applicable, the configuration of the German North Sea coast constituted a special circumstance such as to justify a departure from that method of delimitation in this particular case. The Apportionment Theory Rejected (paras. 18-20 of the Judgment) The Court felt unable to accept, in the particular form it had taken, the first contention put forward on behalf of the Federal Republic. Its task was to delimit, not to apportion the areas concerned. The

191 process of delimitation involved establishing the boundaries of an area already, in principle, appertaining to the coastal State and not the determination de novo of such an area. The doctrine of the just and equitable share was wholly at variance with the most fundamental of all the rules of law relating to the continental shelf, namely, that the rights of the coastal State in respect of the area of continental shelf constituting a natural prolongation of its land territory under the sea existed ipso facto and ab initio, by virtue of its sovereignty over the land. That right was inherent. In order to exercise it, no special legal acts had to be performed. It followed that the notion of apportioning an as yet undelimited area considered as a whole (which underlay the doctrine of the just and equitable share) was inconsistent with the basic concept of continental shelf entitlement. Non-Applicability of Article 6 of the 1958 Continental Shelf Convention (paras. 21-36 of the Judgment) The Court then turned to the question whether in delimiting those areas the Federal Republic was under a legal obligation to accept the application of the equidistance principle. While it was probably true that no other method of delimitation had the same combination of practical convenience and certainty of application, those factors did not suffice of themselves to convert what was a method into a rule of law. Such a method would have to draw its legal force from other factors than the existence of those advantages. The first question to be considered was whether the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf was binding for all the Parties in the case. Under the formal provisions of the Convention, it was in force for any individual State that had signed it within the time-limit provided, only if that State had also subsequently ratified it. Denmark and the Netherlands had both signed and ratified the Convention and were parties to it, but the Federal Republic, although one of the signatories of the Convention, had never ratified it, and was consequently not a party. It was admitted on behalf of Denmark and the Netherlands that in the circumstances the Convention could not, as such, be binding on the Federal Republic. But it was contended that the rgime of Article 6 of the Convention had become binding on the Federal Republic, because, by conduct, by public statements and proclamations, and in other ways, the Republic had assumed the obligations of the Convention. It was clear that only a very definite, very consistent course of conduct on the part of a State in the situation of the Federal Republic could justify upholding those contentions. When a number of States drew up a convention specifically providing for a particular method by which the intention to become bound by the rgime of the convention was to be manifested, it was not lightly to be presumed that a State which had not carried out those formalities had nevertheless somehow become bound in another way. Furthermore, had the Federal Republic ratified the Geneva Convention, it could have entered a reservation to Article 6, by reason of the faculty to do so conferred by Article 12 of the Convention. Only the existence of a situation of estoppel could lend substance to the contention of Denmark and the Netherlands - i.e., if the Federal Republic were now precluded from denying the applicability of the conventional rgime, by reason of past conduct, declarations, etc., which not only clearly and consistently evinced acceptance of that rgime, but also had caused Denmark or the Netherlands, in reliance on such conduct, detrimentally to change position or suffer some prejudice. Of this there was no evidence. Accordingly, Article 6 of the Geneva Convention was not, as such, applicable to the delimitations involved in the present proceedings. The Equidistance Principle Not Inherent in the Basic Doctrine of the Continental Shelf (paras. 3759 of the Judgment)

192 It had been maintained by Denmark and the Netherlands that the Federal Republic was in any event, and quite apart from the Geneva Convention, bound to accept delimitation on an equidistance basis, since the use of that method was a rule of general or customary international law, automatically binding on the Federal Republic. One argument advanced by them in support of this contention, which might be termed the a priori argument, started from the position that the rights of the coastal State to its continental shelf areas were based on its sovereignty over the land domain, of which the shelf area was the natural prolongation under the sea. From this notion of appurtenance was derived the view, which the Court accepted, that the coastal State's rights existed ipso facto and ab initio. Denmark and the Netherlands claimed that the test of appurtenance must be "proximity": all those parts of the shelf being considered as appurtenant to a particular coastal State which were closer to it than they were to any point on the coast of another State. Hence, delimitation had to be effected by a method which would leave to each one of the States concerned all those areas that were nearest to its own coast. As only an equidistance line would do this, only such a line could be valid, it was contended. This view had much force; the greater part of a State's continental shelf areas would normally in fact be nearer to its coasts than to any other. But the real issue was whether it followed that every part of the area concerned must be placed in that way. The Court did not consider this to follow from the notion of proximity, which was a somewhat fluid one. More fundamental was the concept of the continental shelf as being the natural prolongation of the land domain. Even if proximity might afford one of the tests to be applied, and an important one in the right conditions, it might not necessarily be the only, nor in all circumstances the most appropriate, one. Submarine areas did not appertain to the coastal State merely because they were near it, nor did their appurtenance depend on any certainty of delimitation as to their boundaries. What conferred the ipso jure title was the fact that the submarine areas concerned might be deemed to be actually part of its territory in the sense that they were a prolongation of its land territory under the sea. Equidistance clearly could not be identified with the notion of natural prolongation, since the use of the equidistance method would frequently cause areas which were the natural prolongation of the territory of one State to be attributed to another. Hence, the notion of equidistance was not an inescapable a priori accompaniment of basic continental shelf doctrine. A review of the genesis of the equidistance method of delimitation confirmed the foregoing conclusion. The "Truman Proclamation" issued by the Government of the United States on 28 September 1945 could be regarded as a starting point of the positive law on the subject, and the chief doctrine it enunciated, that the coastal State had an original, natural and exclusive right to the continental shelf off its shores, had come to prevail over all others and was now reflected in the1958 Geneva Convention. With regard to the delimitation of boundaries between the continental shelves of adjacent States, the Truman Proclamation had stated that such boundaries "shall be determined by the United States and the State concerned in accordance with equitable principles". These two concepts, of delimitation by mutual agreement and delimitation in accordance with equitable principles, had underlain all the subsequent history of the subject. It had been largely on the recommendation of a committee of experts that the principle of equidistance for the delimitation of continental shelf boundaries had been accepted by the United Nations International Law Commission in the text it had laid before the Geneva Conference of 1958 on the Law of the Sea which had adopted the Continental Shelf Convention. It could legitimately be assumed that the experts had been actuated by considerations not of legal theory but of practical convenience and cartography. Moreover, the article adopted by the Commission had given priority to delimitation by agreement and had contained an exception in favour of "special circumstances".

193 The Court consequently considered that Denmark and the Netherlands inverted the true order of things and that, far from an equidistance rule having been generated by an antecedent principle of proximity inherent in the whole concept of continental shelf appurtenance, the latter was rather a rationalization of the former The Equidistance Principle Not a Rule of Customary International Law (paras. 60-82 of the Judgment) The question remained whether through positive law processes the equidistance principle must now be regarded as a rule of customary international law. Rejecting the contentions of Denmark and the Netherlands, the Court considered that the principle of equidistance, as it figured in Article 6 of the Geneva Convention, had not been proposed by the International Law Commission as an emerging rule of customary international law. This Article could not be said to have reflected or crystallized such a rule. This was confirmed by the fact that any State might make reservations in respect of Article 6, unlike Articles 1, 2 and 3, on signing, ratifying or acceding to the Convention. While certain other provisions of the Convention, although relating to matters that lay within the field of received customary law, were also not excluded from the faculty of reservation, they all related to rules of general maritime law very considerably antedating the Convention which were only incidental to continental shelf rights as such, and had been mentioned in the Convention simply to ensure that they were not prejudiced by the exercise of continental shelf rights. Article 6, however, related directly to continental shelf rights as such, and since it was not excluded from the faculty of reservation, it was a legitimate inference that it was not considered to reflect emergent customary law. It had been argued on behalf of Denmark and the Netherlands that even if at the date of the Geneva Convention no rule of customary international law existed in favour of the equidistance principle, such a rule had nevertheless come into being since the Convention, partly because of its own impact, and partly on the basis of subsequent State practice. In order for this process to occur it was necessary that Article 6 of the Convention should, at all events potentially, be of a normcreating character. Article 6 was so framed, however, as to put the obligation to make use of the equidistance method after a primary obligation to effect delimitation by agreement. Furthermore, the part played by the notion of special circumstances in relation to the principle of equidistance, the controversies as to the exact meaning and scope of that notion, and the faculty of making reservations to Article 6 must all raise doubts as to the potentially norm-creating character of that Article. Furthermore, while a very widespread and representative participation in a convention might show that a conventional rule had become a general rule of international law, in the present case the number of ratifications and accessions so far was hardly sufficient. As regards the time element, although the passage of only a short period of time was not necessarily a bar to the formation of a new rule of customary international law on the basis of what was originally a purely conventional rule, it was indispensable that State practice during that period, including that of States whose interests were specially affected, should have been both extensive and virtually uniform in the sense of the provision invoked and should have occurred in such a way as to show a general recognition that a rule of law was involved. Some 15 cases had been cited in which the States concerned had agreed to draw or had drawn the boundaries concerned according to the principle of equidistance, but there was no evidence that they had so acted because they had felt legally compelled to draw them in that way by reason of a rule of customary law. The cases cited were inconclusive and insufficient evidence of a settled practice.

194 The Court consequently concluded that the Geneva Convention was not in its origins or inception declaratory of a mandatory rule of customary international law enjoining the use of the equidistance principle, its subsequent effect had not been constitutive of such a rule, and State practice up to date had equally been insufficient for the purpose. The Principles and Rules of Law Applicable (paras. 83-101 of the Judgment) The legal situation was that the Parties were under no obligation to apply the equidistance principle either under the 1958 Convention or as a rule of general or customary international law. It consequently became unnecessary for the Court to consider whether or not the configuration of the German North Sea coast constituted a "special circumstance". It remained for the Court, however, to indicate to the Parties the principles and rules of law in the light of which delimitation was to be effected. The basic principles in the matter of delimitation, deriving from the Truman Proclamation, were that it must be the object of agreement between the States concerned and that such agreement must be arrived at in accordance with equitable principles. The Parties were under an obligation to enter into negotiations with a view to arriving at an agreement and not merely to go through a formal process of negotiation as a sort of prior condition for the automatic application of a certain method of delimitation in the absence of agreement; they were so to conduct themselves that the negotiations were meaningful, which would not be the case when one of them insisted upon its own position without contemplating any modification of it. This obligation was merely a special application of a principle underlying all international relations, which was moreover recognized in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations as one of the methods for the peaceful settlement of international disputes. The Parties were under an obligation to act in such a way that in the particular case, and taking all the circumstances into account, equitable principles were applied. There was no question of the Court's decision being ex aequo et bono. It was precisely a rule of law that called for the application of equitable principles, and in such cases as the present ones the equidistance method could unquestionably lead to inequity. Other methods existed and might be employed, alone or in combination, according to the areas involved. Although the Parties intended themselves to apply the principles and rules laid down by the Court some indication was called for of the possible ways in which they might apply them. For all the foregoing reasons, the Court found in each case that the use of the equidistance method of delimitation was not obligatory as between the Parties; that no other single method of delimitation was in all circumstances obligatory; that delimitation was to be effected by agreement in accordance with equitable principles and taking account of all relevant circumstances, in such a way as to leave as much as possible to each Party all those parts of the continental shelf that constituted a natural prolongation of its land territory, without encroachment on the natural prolongation of the land territory of the other; and that, if such delimitation produced overlapping areas, they were to be divided between the Parties in agreed proportions, or, failing agreement, equally, unless they decided on a rgime of joint jurisdiction, user, or exploitation. In the course of negotiations, the factors to be taken into account were to include: the general configuration of the coasts of the Parties, as well as the presence of any special or unusual features; so far as known or readily ascertainable, the physical and geological structure and natural resources of the continental shelf areas involved, the element of a reasonable degree of proportionality between the extent of the continental shelf areas appertaining to each State and the length of its coast measured in the general direction of the coastline, taking into account the effects, actual or prospective, of any other continental shelf delimitations in the same region.

195

196

G.R. No. 173034

October 9, 2007

PHARMACEUTICAL AND HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HEALTH SECRETARY FRANCISCO T. DUQUE III; HEALTH UNDER SECRETARIES DR. ETHELYN P. NIETO, DR. MARGARITA M. GALON, ATTY. ALEXANDER A. PADILLA, & DR. JADE F. DEL MUNDO; and ASSISTANT SECRETARIES DR. MARIO C. VILLAVERDE, DR. DAVID J. LOZADA, AND DR. NEMESIO T. GAKO,respondents. DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: The Court and all parties involved are in agreement that the best nourishment for an infant is mother's milk. There is nothing greater than for a mother to nurture her beloved child straight from her bosom. The ideal is, of course, for each and every Filipino child to enjoy the unequaled benefits of breastmilk. But how should this end be attained?

197 Before the Court is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to nullify Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 2006-0012 entitled, Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Executive Order No. 51, Otherwise Known as The "Milk Code," Relevant International Agreements, Penalizing Violations Thereof, and for Other Purposes (RIRR). Petitioner posits that the RIRR is not valid as it contains provisions that are not constitutional and go beyond the law it is supposed to implement. Named as respondents are the Health Secretary, Undersecretaries, and Assistant Secretaries of the Department of Health (DOH). For purposes of herein petition, the DOH is deemed impleaded as a co-respondent since respondents issued the questioned RIRR in their capacity as officials of said executive agency.1 Executive Order No. 51 (Milk Code) was issued by President Corazon Aquino on October 28, 1986 by virtue of the legislative powers granted to the president under the Freedom Constitution. One of the preambular clauses of the Milk Code states that the law seeks to give effect to Article 112 of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (ICMBS), a code adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1981. From 1982 to 2006, the WHA adopted several Resolutions to the effect that breastfeeding should be supported, promoted and protected, hence, it should be ensured that nutrition and health claims are not permitted for breastmilk substitutes. In 1990, the Philippines ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 24 of said instrument provides that State Parties should take appropriate measures to diminish infant and child mortality, and ensure that all segments of society, specially parents and children, are informed of the advantages of breastfeeding. On May 15, 2006, the DOH issued herein assailed RIRR which was to take effect on July 7, 2006. However, on June 28, 2006, petitioner, representing its members that are manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes, filed the present Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. The main issue raised in the petition is whether respondents officers of the DOH acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and in violation of the provisions of the Constitution in promulgating the RIRR.3 On August 15, 2006, the Court issued a Resolution granting a TRO enjoining respondents from implementing the questioned RIRR. After the Comment and Reply had been filed, the Court set the case for oral arguments on June 19, 2007. The Court issued an Advisory (Guidance for Oral Arguments) dated June 5, 2007, to wit: The Court hereby sets the following issues: 1. Whether or not petitioner is a real party-in-interest;

198 2. Whether Administrative Order No. 2006-0012 or the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (RIRR) issued by the Department of Health (DOH) is not constitutional; 2.1 Whether the RIRR is in accord with the provisions of Executive Order No. 51 (Milk Code); 2.2 Whether pertinent international agreements1 entered into by the Philippines are part of the law of the land and may be implemented by the DOH through the RIRR; If in the affirmative, whether the RIRR is in accord with the international agreements; 2.3 Whether Sections 4, 5(w), 22, 32, 47, and 52 of the RIRR violate the due process clause and are in restraint of trade; and 2.4 Whether Section 13 of the RIRR on Total Effect provides sufficient standards. _____________ 1 (1) United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; (2) the WHO and Unicef "2002 Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding;" and (3) various World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolutions. The parties filed their respective memoranda. The petition is partly imbued with merit. On the issue of petitioner's standing With regard to the issue of whether petitioner may prosecute this case as the real party-in-interest, the Court adopts the view enunciated in Executive Secretary v. Court of Appeals,4 to wit: The modern view is that an association has standing to complain of injuries to its members. This view fuses the legal identity of an association with that of its members. An association has standing to file suit for its workers despite its lack of direct interest if its members are affected by the action. An organization has standing to assert the concerns of its constituents. xxxx x x x We note that, under its Articles of Incorporation, the respondent was organized x x x to act as the representative of any individual, company, entity or association on matters related to the manpower recruitment industry, and to perform other acts and activities necessary to accomplish the purposes embodied therein. The respondent is, thus, the appropriate party to assert the rights of its members, because it and its members are in every practical sense identical. x x x The respondent [association] is but the medium through which its individual members seek to make more effective the expression of their voices and the redress of their grievances. 5 (Emphasis supplied)

199 which was reasserted in Purok Bagong Silang Association, Inc. v. Yuipco,6 where the Court ruled that an association has the legal personality to represent its members because the results of the case will affect their vital interests.7 Herein petitioner's Amended Articles of Incorporation contains a similar provision just like in Executive Secretary, that the association is formed "to represent directly or through approved representatives the pharmaceutical and health care industry before the Philippine Government and any of its agencies, the medical professions and the general public."8 Thus, as an organization, petitioner definitely has an interest in fulfilling its avowed purpose of representing members who are part of the pharmaceutical and health care industry. Petitioner is duly authorized 9to take the appropriate course of action to bring to the attention of government agencies and the courts any grievance suffered by its members which are directly affected by the RIRR. Petitioner, which is mandated by its Amended Articles of Incorporation to represent the entire industry, would be remiss in its duties if it fails to act on governmental action that would affect any of its industry members, no matter how few or numerous they are. Hence, petitioner, whose legal identity is deemed fused with its members, should be considered as a real party-in-interest which stands to be benefited or injured by any judgment in the present action. On the constitutionality of the provisions of the RIRR First, the Court will determine if pertinent international instruments adverted to by respondents are part of the law of the land. Petitioner assails the RIRR for allegedly going beyond the provisions of the Milk Code, thereby amending and expanding the coverage of said law. The defense of the DOH is that the RIRR implements not only the Milk Code but also various international instruments10 regarding infant and young child nutrition. It is respondents' position that said international instruments are deemed part of the law of the land and therefore the DOH may implement them through the RIRR. The Court notes that the following international instruments invoked by respondents, namely: (1) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; (2) The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and (3) the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, only provide in general terms that steps must be taken by State Parties to diminish infant and child mortality and inform society of the advantages of breastfeeding, ensure the health and well-being of families, and ensure that women are provided with services and nutrition in connection with pregnancy and lactation. Said instruments do not contain specific provisions regarding the use or marketing of breastmilk substitutes. The international instruments that do have specific provisions regarding breastmilk substitutes are the ICMBS and various WHA Resolutions. Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either bytransformation or incorporation.11 The transformation method requires that an international law be transformed into a domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation. The incorporation method applies when, by mere constitutional declaration, international law is deemed to have the force of domestic law.12

200 Treaties become part of the law of the land through transformation pursuant to Article VII, Section 21 of the Constitution which provides that "[n]o treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate." Thus, treaties or conventional international law must go through a process prescribed by the Constitution for it to be transformed into municipal law that can be applied to domestic conflicts.13 The ICMBS and WHA Resolutions are not treaties as they have not been concurred in by at least two-thirds of all members of the Senate as required under Section 21, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. However, the ICMBS which was adopted by the WHA in 1981 had been transformed into domestic law through local legislation, the Milk Code. Consequently, it is the Milk Code that has the force and effect of law in this jurisdiction and not the ICMBS per se. The Milk Code is almost a verbatim reproduction of the ICMBS, but it is well to emphasize at this point that the Code did not adopt the provision in the ICMBS absolutely prohibiting advertising or other forms of promotion to the general public of products within the scope of the ICMBS. Instead, the Milk Code expressly provides that advertising, promotion, or other marketing materials may be allowed if such materials are duly authorized and approved by the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC). On the other hand, Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, to wit: SECTION 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations. (Emphasis supplied) embodies the incorporation method.14 In Mijares v. Ranada,15 the Court held thus: [G]enerally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution, form part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations. The classical formulation in international law sees those customary rules accepted as binding result from the combination [of] two elements: the established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as the opinion juris sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it.16 (Emphasis supplied) "Generally accepted principles of international law" refers to norms of general or customary international law which are binding on all states,17 i.e., renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, the principle of sovereign immunity,18 a person's right to life, liberty and due process,19 and pacta sunt servanda,20 among others. The concept of "generally accepted principles of law" has also been depicted in this wise:

201 Some legal scholars and judges look upon certain "general principles of law" as a primary source of international law because they have the "character of jus rationale" and are "valid through all kinds of human societies." (Judge Tanaka in his dissenting opinion in the 1966 South West Africa Case, 1966 I.C.J. 296). O'Connell holds that certain priniciples are part of international law because they are "basic to legal systems generally" and hence part of the jus gentium. These principles, he believes, are established by a process of reasoning based on the common identity of all legal systems. If there should be doubt or disagreement, one must look to state practice and determine whether the municipal law principle provides a just and acceptable solution. x x x 21 (Emphasis supplied) Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas defines customary international law as follows: Custom or customary international law means "a general and consistent practice of states followed by them from a sense of legal obligation [opinio juris]." (Restatement) This statement contains the two basic elements of custom: the material factor, that is, how states behave, and the psychological orsubjective factor, that is, why they behave the way they do. xxxx The initial factor for determining the existence of custom is the actual behavior of states. This includes several elements: duration, consistency, and generality of the practice of states. The required duration can be either short or long. x x x xxxx Duration therefore is not the most important element. More important is the consistency and the generality of the practice. x x x xxxx Once the existence of state practice has been established, it becomes necessary to determine why states behave the way they do. Do states behave the way they do because they consider it obligatory to behave thus or do they do it only as a matter of courtesy? Opinio juris, or the belief that a certain form of behavior is obligatory, is what makes practice an international rule. Without it, practice is not law.22 (Underscoring and Emphasis supplied) Clearly, customary international law is deemed incorporated into our domestic system.23 WHA Resolutions have not been embodied in any local legislation. Have they attained the status of customary law and should they then be deemed incorporated as part of the law of the land?

202 The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the international specialized agencies allied with the United Nations (UN) by virtue of Article 57,24 in relation to Article 6325 of the UN Charter. Under the 1946 WHO Constitution, it is the WHA which determines the policies of the WHO,26 and has the power to adopt regulations concerning "advertising and labeling of biological, pharmaceutical and similar products moving in international commerce,"27 and to "make recommendations to members with respect to any matter within the competence of the Organization."28 The legal effect of its regulations, as opposed to recommendations, is quite different. Regulations, along with conventions and agreements, duly adopted by the WHA bind member states thus: Article 19. The Health Assembly shall have authority to adopt conventions or agreements with respect to any matter within the competence of the Organization. A two-thirds vote of the Health Assembly shall be required for the adoption of such conventions or agreements, which shall come into force for each Member when accepted by it in accordance with its constitutional processes. Article 20. Each Member undertakes that it will, within eighteen months after the adoption by the Health Assembly of a convention or agreement, take action relative to the acceptance of such convention or agreement. Each Member shall notify the DirectorGeneral of the action taken, and if it does not accept such convention or agreement within the time limit, it will furnish a statement of the reasons for non-acceptance. In case of acceptance, each Member agrees to make an annual report to the Director-General in accordance with Chapter XIV. Article 21. The Health Assembly shall have authority to adopt regulations concerning: (a) sanitary and quarantine requirements and other procedures designed to prevent the international spread of disease; (b) nomenclatures with respect to diseases, causes of death and public health practices; (c) standards with respect to diagnostic procedures for international use; (d) standards with respect to the safety, purity and potency of biological, pharmaceutical and similar products moving in international commerce; (e) advertising and labeling of biological, pharmaceutical and similar products moving in international commerce. Article 22. Regulations adopted pursuant to Article 21 shall come into force for all Members after due notice has been given of their adoption by the Health Assembly except for such Members as may notify the Director-General of rejection or reservations within the period stated in the notice. (Emphasis supplied) On the other hand, under Article 23, recommendations of the WHA do not come into force for members,in the same way that conventions or agreements under Article 19 and regulations under Article 21 come into force. Article 23 of the WHO Constitution reads:

203 Article 23. The Health Assembly shall have authority to make recommendations to Members with respect to any matter within the competence of the Organization. (Emphasis supplied) The absence of a provision in Article 23 of any mechanism by which the recommendation would come into force for member states is conspicuous. The former Senior Legal Officer of WHO, Sami Shubber, stated that WHA recommendations are generally not binding, but they "carry moral and political weight, as they constitute the judgment on a health issue of the collective membership of the highest international body in the field of health."29 Even the ICMBS itself was adopted as a mere recommendation, as WHA Resolution No. 34.22 states: "The Thirty-Fourth World Health Assembly x x x adopts, in the sense of Article 23 of the Constitution, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes annexed to the present resolution." (Emphasis supplied) The Introduction to the ICMBS also reads as follows: In January 1981, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization at its sixty-seventh session, considered the fourth draft of the code, endorsed it, and unanimously recommended to the Thirty-fourth World Health Assembly the text of a resolution by which it would adopt the code in the form of a recommendation rather than a regulation. x x x (Emphasis supplied) The legal value of WHA Resolutions as recommendations is summarized in Article 62 of the WHO Constitution, to wit: Art. 62. Each member shall report annually on the action taken with respect to recommendations made to it by the Organization, and with respect to conventions, agreements and regulations. Apparently, the WHA Resolution adopting the ICMBS and subsequent WHA Resolutions urging member states to implement the ICMBS are merely recommendatory and legally nonbinding. Thus, unlike what has been done with the ICMBS whereby the legislature enacted most of the provisions into law which is the Milk Code, the subsequent WHA Resolutions,30 specifically providing for exclusive breastfeeding from 0-6 months, continued breastfeeding up to 24 months, and absolutely prohibiting advertisements and promotions of breastmilk substitutes, have not been adopted as a domestic law. It is propounded that WHA Resolutions may constitute "soft law" or non-binding norms, principles and practices that influence state behavior.31 "Soft law" does not fall into any of the categories of international law set forth in Article 38, Chapter III of the 1946 Statute of the International Court of Justice.32 It is, however, an expression of non-binding norms, principles, and practices that influence state behavior.33 Certain declarations

204 and resolutions of the UN General Assembly fall under this category.34 The most notable is the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which this Court has enforced in various cases, specifically, Government of Hongkong Special Administrative Region v. Olalia,35 Mejoff v. Director of Prisons,36 Mijares v. Raada37 and Shangri-la International Hotel Management, Ltd. v. Developers Group of Companies, Inc..38 The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency attached to the UN with the mandate to promote and protect intellectual property worldwide, has resorted to soft law as a rapid means of norm creation, in order "to reflect and respond to the changing needs and demands of its constituents."39 Other international organizations which have resorted to soft law include the International Labor Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization (in the form of the Codex Alimentarius).40 WHO has resorted to soft law. This was most evident at the time of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Avian flu outbreaks. Although the IHR Resolution does not create new international law binding on WHO member states, it provides an excellent example of the power of "soft law" in international relations. International lawyers typically distinguish binding rules of international law-"hard law"-from non-binding norms, principles, and practices that influence state behavior-"soft law." WHO has during its existence generated many soft law norms, creating a "soft law regime" in international governance for public health. The "soft law" SARS and IHR Resolutions represent significant steps in laying the political groundwork for improved international cooperation on infectious diseases. These resolutions clearly define WHO member states' normative duty to cooperate fully with other countries and with WHO in connection with infectious disease surveillance and response to outbreaks. This duty is neither binding nor enforceable, but, in the wake of the SARS epidemic, the duty is powerful politically for two reasons. First, the SARS outbreak has taught the lesson that participating in, and enhancing, international cooperation on infectious disease controls is in a country's self-interest x x x if this warning is heeded, the "soft law" in the SARS and IHR Resolution could inform the development of general and consistent state practice on infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response, perhaps crystallizing eventually into customary international law on infectious disease prevention and control.41 In the Philippines, the executive department implemented certain measures recommended by WHO to address the outbreaks of SARS and Avian flu by issuing Executive Order (E.O.) No. 201 on April 26, 2003 and E.O. No. 280 on February 2, 2004, delegating to various departments broad powers to close down schools/establishments, conduct health surveillance and monitoring, and ban importation of poultry and agricultural products.

205 It must be emphasized that even under such an international emergency, the duty of a state to implement the IHR Resolution was still considered not binding or enforceable, although said resolutions had great political influence. As previously discussed, for an international rule to be considered as customary law, it must be established that such rule is being followed by states because they consider it obligatory to comply with such rules (opinio juris). Respondents have not presented any evidence to prove that the WHA Resolutions, although signed by most of the member states, were in fact enforced or practiced by at least a majority of the member states; neither have respondents proven that any compliance by member states with said WHA Resolutions was obligatory in nature. Respondents failed to establish that the provisions of pertinent WHA Resolutions are customary international law that may be deemed part of the law of the land. Consequently, legislation is necessary to transform the provisions of the WHA Resolutions into domestic law. The provisions of the WHA Resolutions cannot be considered as part of the law of the land that can be implemented by executive agencies without the need of a law enacted by the legislature. Second, the Court will determine whether the DOH may implement the provisions of the WHA Resolutions by virtue of its powers and functions under the Revised Administrative Code even in the absence of a domestic law. Section 3, Chapter 1, Title IX of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 provides that the DOH shall define the national health policy and implement a national health plan within the framework of the government's general policies and plans, and issue orders and regulations concerning the implementation of established health policies. It is crucial to ascertain whether the absolute prohibition on advertising and other forms of promotion of breastmilk substitutes provided in some WHA Resolutions has been adopted as part of the national health policy. Respondents submit that the national policy on infant and young child feeding is embodied in A.O. No. 2005-0014, dated May 23, 2005. Basically, the Administrative Order declared the following policy guidelines: (1) ideal breastfeeding practices, such as early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, extended breastfeeding up to two years and beyond; (2) appropriate complementary feeding, which is to start at age six months; (3) micronutrient supplementation; (4) universal salt iodization; (5) the exercise of other feeding options; and (6) feeding in exceptionally difficult circumstances. Indeed, the primacy of breastfeeding for children is emphasized as a national health policy. However, nowhere in A.O. No. 2005-0014 is it declared that as part of such health policy, the advertisement or promotion of breastmilk substitutes should be absolutely prohibited. The national policy of protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding cannot automatically be equated with a total ban on advertising for breastmilk substitutes.

206 In view of the enactment of the Milk Code which does not contain a total ban on the advertising and promotion of breastmilk substitutes, but instead, specifically creates an IAC which will regulate said advertising and promotion, it follows that a total ban policy could be implemented only pursuant to a law amending the Milk Code passed by the constitutionally authorized branch of government, the legislature. Thus, only the provisions of the Milk Code, but not those of subsequent WHA Resolutions, can be validly implemented by the DOH through the subject RIRR. Third, the Court will now determine whether the provisions of the RIRR are in accordance with those of the Milk Code. In support of its claim that the RIRR is inconsistent with the Milk Code, petitioner alleges the following: 1. The Milk Code limits its coverage to children 0-12 months old, but the RIRR extended its coverage to "young children" or those from ages two years old and beyond: MILK CODE RIRR WHEREAS, in order to ensure that safe and Section 2. Purpose These Revised Rules adequate nutrition for infants is provided, and Regulations are hereby promulgated to there is a need to protect and promote ensure the provision of safe and adequate breastfeeding and to inform the public about nutrition for infants and young children by the the proper use of breastmilk substitutes and promotion, protection and support of supplements and related products through breastfeeding and by ensuring the proper use adequate, consistent and objective information of breastmilk substitutes, breastmilk and appropriate regulation of the marketing supplements and related products when these and distribution of the said substitutes, are medically indicated and only when supplements and related products; necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate SECTION 4(e). "Infant" means a person marketing and distribution. falling within the age bracket of 0-12 months. Section 5(ff). "Young Child" means a person from the age of more than twelve (12) months up to the age of three (3) years (36 months). 2. The Milk Code recognizes that infant formula may be a proper and possible substitute for breastmilk in certain instances; but the RIRR provides "exclusive breastfeeding for infants from 0-6 months" and declares that "there is no substitute nor replacement for breastmilk": MILK CODE RIRR WHEREAS, in order to ensure that safe and Section 4. Declaration of Principles The adequate nutrition for infants is provided, following are the underlying principles from there is a need to protect and promote which the revised rules and regulations are breastfeeding and to inform the public about

207 the proper use of breastmilk substitutes and premised upon: supplements and related products through adequate, consistent and objective information a. Exclusive breastfeeding is for infants from 0 and appropriate regulation of the marketing to six (6) months. and distribution of the said substitutes, supplements and related products; b. There is no substitute or replacement for breastmilk. 3. The Milk Code only regulates and does not impose unreasonable requirements for advertising and promotion; RIRR imposes an absolute ban on such activities for breastmilk substitutes intended for infants from 0-24 months old or beyond, and forbids the use of health and nutritional claims. Section 13 of the RIRR, which provides for a "total effect" in the promotion of products within the scope of the Code, is vague: MILK CODE RIRR SECTION 6. The General Public and Section 4. Declaration of Principles The Mothers. following are the underlying principles from which the revised rules and regulations are (a) No advertising, promotion or other premised upon: marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual, for products within the scope of this x x x x Code shall be printed, published, distributed, exhibited and broadcast unless such materials f. Advertising, promotions, or sponsorare duly authorized and approved by an inter- ships of infant formula, breastmilk substitutes agency committee created herein pursuant to and other related products are prohibited. the applicable standards provided for in this Code. Section 11. Prohibition No advertising, promotions, sponsorships, or marketing materials and activities for breastmilk substitutes intended for infants and young children up to twenty-four (24) months, shall be allowed, because they tend to convey or give subliminal messages or impressions that undermine breastmilk and breastfeeding or otherwise exaggerate breastmilk substitutes and/or replacements, as well as related products covered within the scope of this Code. Section 13. "Total Effect" - Promotion of products within the scope of this Code must be objective and should not equate or make the product appear to be as good or equal to breastmilk or breastfeeding in the advertising concept. It must not in any case undermine breastmilk or breastfeeding. The "total effect"

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should not directly or indirectly suggest that buying their product would produce better individuals, or resulting in greater love, intelligence, ability, harmony or in any manner bring better health to the baby or other such exaggerated and unsubstantiated claim. Section 15. Content of Materials. - The following shall not be included in advertising, promotional and marketing materials: a. Texts, pictures, illustrations or information which discourage or tend to undermine the benefits or superiority of breastfeeding or which idealize the use of breastmilk substitutes and milk supplements. In this connection, no pictures of babies and children together with their mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, other relatives or caregivers (or yayas) shall be used in any advertisements for infant formula and breastmilk supplements; b. The term "humanized," "maternalized," "close to mother's milk" or similar words in describing breastmilk substitutes or milk supplements; c. Pictures or texts that idealize the use of infant and milk formula. Section 16. All health and nutrition claims for products within the scope of the Code are absolutely prohibited. For this purpose, any phrase or words that connotes to increase emotional, intellectual abilities of the infant and young child and other like phrases shall not be allowed. 4. The RIRR imposes additional labeling requirements not found in the Milk Code: MILK CODE SECTION 10. Containers/Label. RIRR Section 26. Content Each container/label shall contain such message, in both Filipino (a) Containers and/or labels shall be designed and English languages, and which message to provide the necessary information about the cannot be readily separated therefrom, relative

209 the following points: appropriate use of the products, and in such a way as not to discourage breastfeeding. (a) The words or phrase "Important Notice" or "Government Warning" or their equivalent; (b) Each container shall have a clear, conspicuous and easily readable and (b) A statement of the superiority of understandable message in Pilipino or English breastfeeding; printed on it, or on a label, which message can not readily become separated from it, and (c) A statement that there is no substitute for which shall include the following points: breastmilk; (i) the words "Important Notice" or their (d) A statement that the product shall be used equivalent; only on the advice of a health worker as to the need for its use and the proper methods of use; (ii) a statement of the superiority of breastfeeding; (e) Instructions for appropriate prepara-tion, and a warning against the health hazards of (iii) a statement that the product shall be used inappropriate preparation; and only on the advice of a health worker as to the need for its use and the proper methods of use; (f) The health hazards of unnecessary or and improper use of infant formula and other related products including information that (iv) instructions for appropriate preparation, powdered infant formula may contain and a warning against the health hazards of pathogenic microorganisms and must be inappropriate preparation. prepared and used appropriately. 5. The Milk Code allows dissemination of information on infant formula to health professionals; the RIRR totally prohibits such activity: MILK CODE SECTION 7. Health Care System. RIRR Section 22. No manufacturer, distributor, or representatives of products covered by the (b) No facility of the health care system shall Code shall be allowed to conduct or be be used for the purpose of promoting infant involved in any activity on breastfeeding formula or other products within the scope of promotion, education and production of this Code. This Code does not, however, Information, Education and Communication preclude the dissemination of information to (IEC) materials on breastfeeding, holding of health professionals as provided in Section or participating as speakers in classes or seminars for women and children activities 8(b). and to avoid the use of these venues to market their brands or company names. SECTION 8. Health Workers. (b) Information provided by manufacturers SECTION 16. All health and nutrition claims and distributors to health professionals for products within the scope of the Code are regarding products within the scope of this absolutely prohibited. For this purpose, any Code shall be restricted to scientific and phrase or words that connotes to increase

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factual matters and such information shall not emotional, intellectual abilities of the infant imply or create a belief that bottle-feeding is and young child and other like phrases shall equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It shall not be allowed. also include the information specified in Section 5(b). 6. The Milk Code permits milk manufacturers and distributors to extend assistance in research and continuing education of health professionals; RIRR absolutely forbids the same. MILK CODE SECTION 8. Health Workers RIRR Section 4. Declaration of Principles

(e) Manufacturers and distributors of products The following are the underlying principles within the scope of this Code may assist in the from which the revised rules and regulations research, scholarships and continuing are premised upon: education, of health professionals, in accordance with the rules and regulations i. Milk companies, and their promulgated by the Ministry of Health. representatives,should not form part of any policymaking body or entity in relation to the advancement of breasfeeding. SECTION 22. No manufacturer, distributor, or representatives of products covered by the Code shall be allowed to conduct or be involved in any activity on breastfeeding promotion, education and production of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on breastfeeding, holding of or participating as speakers in classes or seminars for women and children activitiesand to avoid the use of these venues to market their brands or company names. SECTION 32. Primary Responsibility of Health Workers - It is the primary responsibility of the health workers to promote, protect and support breastfeeding and appropriate infant and young child feeding. Part of this responsibility is to continuously update their knowledge and skills on breastfeeding. No assistance, support, logistics or training from milk companies shall be permitted.

211 7. The Milk Code regulates the giving of donations; RIRR absolutely prohibits it. MILK CODE RIRR SECTION 6. The General Public and Section 51. Donations Within the Scope of Mothers. This Code - Donations of products, materials, defined and covered under the Milk Code and (f) Nothing herein contained shall prevent these implementing rules and regulations, donations from manufacturers and distributors shall be strictly prohibited. of products within the scope of this Code upon request by or with the approval of the Ministry Section 52. Other Donations By Milk of Health. Companies Not Covered by this Code. Donations of products, equipments, and the like, not otherwise falling within the scope of this Code or these Rules, given by milk companies and their agents, representatives, whether in kind or in cash, may only be coursed through the Inter Agency Committee (IAC), which shall determine whether such donation be accepted or otherwise. 8. The RIRR provides for administrative sanctions not imposed by the Milk Code. MILK CODE RIRR Section 46. Administrative Sanctions. The following administrative sanctions shall be imposed upon any person, juridical or natural, found to have violated the provisions of the Code and its implementing Rules and Regulations: a) 1st violation Warning; b) 2nd violation Administrative fine of a minimum of Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos, depending on the gravity and extent of the violation, including the recall of the offending product; c) 3rd violation Administrative Fine of a minimum of Sixty Thousand (P60,000.00) to One Hundred Fifty Thousand (P150,000.00) Pesos, depending on the gravity and extent of the violation, and in addition thereto, the recall of the offending product, and suspension of

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the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR); d) 4th violation Administrative Fine of a minimum of Two Hundred Thousand (P200,000.00) to Five Hundred (P500,000.00) Thousand Pesos, depending on the gravity and extent of the violation; and in addition thereto, the recall of the product, revocation of the CPR, suspension of the License to Operate (LTO) for one year; e) 5th and succeeding repeated violations Administrative Fine of One Million (P1,000,000.00) Pesos, the recall of the offending product, cancellation of the CPR, revocation of the License to Operate (LTO) of the company concerned, including the blacklisting of the company to be furnished the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); f) An additional penalty of Two Thou-sand Five Hundred (P2,500.00) Pesos per day shall be made for every day the violation continues after having received the order from the IAC or other such appropriate body, notifying and penalizing the company for the infraction. For purposes of determining whether or not there is "repeated" violation, each product violation belonging or owned by a company, including those of their subsidiaries, are deemed to be violations of the concerned milk company and shall not be based on the specific violating product alone. 9. The RIRR provides for repeal of existing laws to the contrary. The Court shall resolve the merits of the allegations of petitioner seriatim. 1. Petitioner is mistaken in its claim that the Milk Code's coverage is limited only to children 0-12 months old. Section 3 of the Milk Code states:

213 SECTION 3. Scope of the Code The Code applies to the marketing, and practices related thereto, of the following products: breastmilk substitutes, including infant formula; other milk products, foods and beverages, including bottle-fed complementary foods, when marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable, with or without modification, for use as a partial or total replacement of breastmilk; feeding bottles and teats. It also applies to their quality and availability, and to information concerning their use. Clearly, the coverage of the Milk Code is not dependent on the age of the child but on the kind of product being marketed to the public. The law treats infant formula, bottle-fed complementary food, and breastmilk substitute as separate and distinct product categories. Section 4(h) of the Milk Code defines infant formula as "a breastmilk substitute x x x to satisfy the normal nutritional requirements of infants up to between four to six months of age, and adapted to their physiological characteristics"; while under Section 4(b), bottle-fed complementary food refers to "any food, whether manufactured or locally prepared, suitable as a complement to breastmilk or infant formula, when either becomes insufficient to satisfy the nutritional requirements of the infant." An infant under Section 4(e) is a person falling within the age bracket 0-12 months. It is the nourishment of this group of infants or children aged 0-12 months that is sought to be promoted and protected by the Milk Code. But there is another target group. Breastmilk substitute is defined under Section 4(a) as "any food being marketed or otherwise presented as a partial or total replacement for breastmilk, whether or not suitable for that purpose."This section conspicuously lacks reference to any particular agegroup of children. Hence, the provision of the Milk Code cannot be considered exclusive for children aged 0-12 months. In other words, breastmilk substitutes may also be intended for young children more than 12 months of age. Therefore, by regulating breastmilk substitutes, the Milk Code also intends to protect and promote the nourishment of children more than 12 months old. Evidently, as long as what is being marketed falls within the scope of the Milk Code as provided in Section 3, then it can be subject to regulation pursuant to said law, even if the product is to be used by children aged over 12 months. There is, therefore, nothing objectionable with Sections 242 and 5(ff)43 of the RIRR. 2. It is also incorrect for petitioner to say that the RIRR, unlike the Milk Code, does not recognize that breastmilk substitutes may be a proper and possible substitute for breastmilk. The entirety of the RIRR, not merely truncated portions thereof, must be considered and construed together. As held in De Luna v. Pascual,44 "[t]he particular words, clauses and phrases in the Rule should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to produce a harmonious whole." Section 7 of the RIRR provides that "when medically indicated and only when necessary, the use of breastmilk substitutes is proper if based on complete and updated information." Section 8 of

214 the RIRR also states that information and educational materials should include information on the proper use of infant formula when the use thereof is needed. Hence, the RIRR, just like the Milk Code, also recognizes that in certain cases, the use of breastmilk substitutes may be proper. 3. The Court shall ascertain the merits of allegations 345 and 446 together as they are interlinked with each other. To resolve the question of whether the labeling requirements and advertising regulations under the RIRR are valid, it is important to deal first with the nature, purpose, and depth of the regulatory powers of the DOH, as defined in general under the 1987 Administrative Code, 47 and as delegated in particular under the Milk Code. Health is a legitimate subject matter for regulation by the DOH (and certain other administrative agencies) in exercise of police powers delegated to it. The sheer span of jurisprudence on that matter precludes the need to further discuss it..48 However, health information, particularly advertising materials on apparently non-toxic products like breastmilk substitutes and supplements, is a relatively new area for regulation by the DOH.49 As early as the 1917 Revised Administrative Code of the Philippine Islands, 50 health information was already within the ambit of the regulatory powers of the predecessor of DOH. 51 Section 938 thereof charged it with the duty to protect the health of the people, and vested it with such powers as "(g) the dissemination of hygienic information among the people and especially the inculcation of knowledge as to the proper care of infants and the methods of preventing and combating dangerous communicable diseases." Seventy years later, the 1987 Administrative Code tasked respondent DOH to carry out the state policy pronounced under Section 15, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, which is "to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them."52 To that end, it was granted under Section 3 of the Administrative Code the power to "(6) propagate health information and educate the population on important health, medical and environmental matters which have health implications."53 When it comes to information regarding nutrition of infants and young children, however, the Milk Code specifically delegated to the Ministry of Health (hereinafter referred to as DOH) the power to ensure that there is adequate, consistent and objective information on breastfeeding and use of breastmilk substitutes, supplements and related products; and the power to control such information. These are expressly provided for in Sections 12 and 5(a), to wit: SECTION 12. Implementation and Monitoring xxxx

215 (b) The Ministry of Health shall be principally responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this Code. For this purpose, the Ministry of Health shall have the following powers and functions: (1) To promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary or proper for the implementation of this Code and the accomplishment of its purposes and objectives. xxxx (4) To exercise such other powers and functions as may be necessary for or incidental to the attainment of the purposes and objectives of this Code. SECTION 5. Information and Education (a) The government shall ensure that objective and consistent information is provided on infant feeding, for use by families and those involved in the field of infant nutrition. This responsibility shall cover the planning, provision, design and dissemination of information, and the control thereof, on infant nutrition. (Emphasis supplied) Further, DOH is authorized by the Milk Code to control the content of any information on breastmilk vis--visbreastmilk substitutes, supplement and related products, in the following manner: SECTION 5. x x x (b) Informational and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants and intended to reach pregnant women and mothers of infants, shall include clear information on all the following points: (1) the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding; (2) maternal nutrition, and the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding; (3) the negative effect on breastfeeding of introducing partial bottlefeeding; (4) the difficulty of reversing the decision not to breastfeed; and (5) where needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared. When such materials contain information about the use of infant formula, they shall include the social and financial implications of its use; the health hazards of inappropriate foods or feeding methods; and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes. Such materials shall not use any picture or text which may idealize the use of breastmilk substitutes. SECTION 8. Health Workers xxxx (b) Information provided by manufacturers and distributors to health professionals regarding products within the scope of this Code shall be restricted to scientific and factual matters, and such information shall not imply or create a belief that

216 bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It shall also include the information specified in Section 5(b). SECTION 10. Containers/Label (a) Containers and/or labels shall be designed to provide the necessary information about the appropriate use of the products, and in such a way as not to discourage breastfeeding. xxxx (d) The term "humanized," "maternalized" or similar terms shall not be used. (Emphasis supplied) The DOH is also authorized to control the purpose of the information and to whom such information may be disseminated under Sections 6 through 9 of the Milk Code54 to ensure that the information that would reach pregnant women, mothers of infants, and health professionals and workers in the health care system is restricted to scientific and factual matters and shall not imply or create a belief that bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It bears emphasis, however, that the DOH's power under the Milk Code to control information regarding breastmilk vis-a-vis breastmilk substitutes is not absolute as the power to control does not encompass the power to absolutely prohibit the advertising, marketing, and promotion of breastmilk substitutes. The following are the provisions of the Milk Code that unequivocally indicate that the control over information given to the DOH is not absolute and that absolute prohibition is not contemplated by the Code: a) Section 2 which requires adequate information and appropriate marketing and distribution of breastmilk substitutes, to wit: SECTION 2. Aim of the Code The aim of the Code is to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes and breastmilk supplements when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution. b) Section 3 which specifically states that the Code applies to the marketing of and practices related to breastmilk substitutes, including infant formula, and to information concerning their use; c) Section 5(a) which provides that the government shall ensure that objective and consistent information is provided on infant feeding;

217 d) Section 5(b) which provides that written, audio or visual informational and educational materials shall not use any picture or text which may idealize the use of breastmilk substitutes and should include information on the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of said product; e) Section 6(a) in relation to Section 12(a) which creates and empowers the IAC to review and examine advertising, promotion, and other marketing materials; f) Section 8(b) which states that milk companies may provide information to health professionals but such information should be restricted to factual and scientific matters and shall not imply or create a belief that bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding; and g) Section 10 which provides that containers or labels should not contain information that would discourage breastfeeding and idealize the use of infant formula. It is in this context that the Court now examines the assailed provisions of the RIRR regarding labeling and advertising. Sections 1355 on "total effect" and 2656 of Rule VII of the RIRR contain some labeling requirements, specifically: a) that there be a statement that there is no substitute to breastmilk; and b) that there be a statement that powdered infant formula may contain pathogenic microorganisms and must be prepared and used appropriately. Section 1657 of the RIRR prohibits all health and nutrition claims for products within the scope of the Milk Code, such as claims of increased emotional and intellectual abilities of the infant and young child. These requirements and limitations are consistent with the provisions of Section 8 of the Milk Code, to wit: SECTION 8. Health workers xxxx (b) Information provided by manufacturers and distributors to health professionals regarding products within the scope of this Code shall be restricted to scientific and factual matters, and such information shall not imply or create a belief that bottlefeeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It shall also include the information specified in Section 5.58 (Emphasis supplied) and Section 10(d)59 which bars the use on containers and labels of the terms "humanized," "maternalized," or similar terms. These provisions of the Milk Code expressly forbid information that would imply or create a belief that there is any milk product equivalent to breastmilk or which is humanized or maternalized, as such information would be inconsistent with the superiority of breastfeeding.

218 It may be argued that Section 8 of the Milk Code refers only to information given to health workers regarding breastmilk substitutes, not to containers and labels thereof. However, such restrictive application of Section 8(b) will result in the absurd situation in which milk companies and distributors are forbidden to claim to health workers that their products are substitutes or equivalents of breastmilk, and yet be allowed to display on the containers and labels of their products the exact opposite message. That askewed interpretation of the Milk Code is precisely what Section 5(a) thereof seeks to avoid by mandating that all information regarding breastmilk vis-a-vis breastmilk substitutes be consistent, at the same time giving the government control over planning, provision, design, and dissemination of information on infant feeding. Thus, Section 26(c) of the RIRR which requires containers and labels to state that the product offered is not a substitute for breastmilk, is a reasonable means of enforcing Section 8(b) of the Milk Code and deterring circumvention of the protection and promotion of breastfeeding as embodied in Section 260 of the Milk Code. Section 26(f)61 of the RIRR is an equally reasonable labeling requirement. It implements Section 5(b) of the Milk Code which reads: SECTION 5. x x x xxxx (b) Informational and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants and intended to reach pregnant women and mothers of infants, shall include clear information on all the following points: x x x (5) where needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared. When such materials contain information about the use of infant formula, they shall include the social and financial implications of its use; the health hazards of inappropriate foods or feeding methods; and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes. Such materials shall not use any picture or text which may idealize the use of breastmilk substitutes. (Emphasis supplied) The label of a product contains information about said product intended for the buyers thereof. The buyers of breastmilk substitutes are mothers of infants, and Section 26 of the RIRR merely adds a fair warning about the likelihood of pathogenic microorganisms being present in infant formula and other related products when these are prepared and used inappropriately. Petitioners counsel has admitted during the hearing on June 19, 2007 that formula milk is prone to contaminations and there is as yet no technology that allows production of powdered infant formula that eliminates all forms of contamination.62 Ineluctably, the requirement under Section 26(f) of the RIRR for the label to contain the message regarding health hazards including the possibility of contamination with pathogenic microorganisms is in accordance with Section 5(b) of the Milk Code.

219 The authority of DOH to control information regarding breastmilk vis-a-vis breastmilk substitutes and supplements and related products cannot be questioned. It is its intervention into the area of advertising, promotion, and marketing that is being assailed by petitioner. In furtherance of Section 6(a) of the Milk Code, to wit: SECTION 6. The General Public and Mothers. (a) No advertising, promotion or other marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual, for products within the scope of this Code shall be printed, published, distributed, exhibited and broadcast unless such materials are duly authorized and approved by an inter-agency committee created herein pursuant to the applicable standards provided for in this Code. the Milk Code invested regulatory authority over advertising, promotional and marketing materials to an IAC, thus: SECTION 12. Implementation and Monitoring (a) For purposes of Section 6(a) of this Code, an inter-agency committee composed of the following members is hereby created: Minister of Health Minister of Trade and Industry Minister of Justice Minister of Social Services and Development ------------------------------------------------------------------------Chairman Member Member Member

The members may designate their duly authorized representative to every meeting of the Committee. The Committee shall have the following powers and functions: (1) To review and examine all advertising. promotion or other marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual, on products within the scope of this Code; (2) To approve or disapprove, delete objectionable portions from and prohibit the printing, publication, distribution, exhibition and broadcast of, all advertising promotion or other marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual, on products within the scope of this Code; (3) To prescribe the internal and operational procedure for the exercise of its powers and functions as well as the performance of its duties and responsibilities; and

220 (4) To promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary or proper for the implementation of Section 6(a) of this Code. x x x (Emphasis supplied) However, Section 11 of the RIRR, to wit: SECTION 11. Prohibition No advertising, promotions, sponsorships, or marketing materials and activities for breastmilk substitutes intended for infants and young children up to twenty-four (24) months, shall be allowed, because they tend to convey or give subliminal messages or impressions that undermine breastmilk and breastfeeding or otherwise exaggerate breastmilk substitutes and/or replacements, as well as related products covered within the scope of this Code. prohibits advertising, promotions, sponsorships or marketing materials and activities for breastmilk substitutes in line with the RIRRs declaration of principle under Section 4(f), to wit: SECTION 4. Declaration of Principles xxxx (f) Advertising, promotions, or sponsorships of infant formula, breastmilk substitutes and other related products are prohibited. The DOH, through its co-respondents, evidently arrogated to itself not only the regulatory authority given to the IAC but also imposed absolute prohibition on advertising, promotion, and marketing. Yet, oddly enough, Section 12 of the RIRR reiterated the requirement of the Milk Code in Section 6 thereof for prior approval by IAC of all advertising, marketing and promotional materials prior to dissemination. Even respondents, through the OSG, acknowledged the authority of IAC, and repeatedly insisted, during the oral arguments on June 19, 2007, that the prohibition under Section 11 is not actually operational, viz: SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA: xxxx x x x Now, the crux of the matter that is being questioned by Petitioner is whether or not there is an absolute prohibition on advertising making AO 2006-12 unconstitutional. We maintained that what AO 2006-12 provides is not an absolute prohibition because Section 11 while it states and it is entitled prohibition it states that no advertising, promotion, sponsorship or marketing materials and activities for breast milk substitutes intended for infants and young children up to 24 months shall be allowed because this is the standard they tend to convey or give subliminal messages or impression undermine that breastmilk or breastfeeding x x x.

221 We have to read Section 11 together with the other Sections because the other Section, Section 12, provides for the inter agency committee that is empowered to process and evaluate all the advertising and promotion materials. xxxx What AO 2006-12, what it does, it does not prohibit the sale and manufacture, it simply regulates the advertisement and the promotions of breastfeeding milk substitutes. xxxx Now, the prohibition on advertising, Your Honor, must be taken together with the provision on the Inter-Agency Committee that processes and evaluates because there may be some information dissemination that are straight forward information dissemination. What the AO 2006 is trying to prevent is any material that will undermine the practice of breastfeeding, Your Honor. xxxx ASSOCIATE JUSTICE SANTIAGO: Madam Solicitor General, under the Milk Code, which body has authority or power to promulgate Rules and Regulations regarding the Advertising, Promotion and Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes? SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA: Your Honor, please, it is provided that the Inter-Agency Committee, Your Honor. xxxx ASSOCIATE JUSTICE SANTIAGO: x x x Don't you think that the Department of Health overstepped its rule making authority when it totally banned advertising and promotion under Section 11 prescribed the total effect rule as well as the content of materials under Section 13 and 15 of the rules and regulations? SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA: Your Honor, please, first we would like to stress that there is no total absolute ban. Second, the Inter-Agency Committee is under the Department of Health, Your Honor. xxxx ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NAZARIO:

222 x x x Did I hear you correctly, Madam Solicitor, that there is no absolute ban on advertising of breastmilk substitutes in the Revised Rules? SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA: Yes, your Honor. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NAZARIO: But, would you nevertheless agree that there is an absolute ban on advertising of breastmilk substitutes intended for children two (2) years old and younger? SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA: It's not an absolute ban, Your Honor, because we have the Inter-Agency Committee that can evaluate some advertising and promotional materials, subject to the standards that we have stated earlier, which are- they should not undermine breastfeeding, Your Honor. xxxx x x x Section 11, while it is titled Prohibition, it must be taken in relation with the other Sections, particularly 12 and 13 and 15, Your Honor, because it is recognized that the InterAgency Committee has that power to evaluate promotional materials, Your Honor. ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NAZARIO: So in short, will you please clarify there's no absolute ban on advertisement regarding milk substitute regarding infants two (2) years below? SOLICITOR GENERAL DEVANADERA: We can proudly say that the general rule is that there is a prohibition, however, we take exceptions and standards have been set. One of which is that, the Inter-Agency Committee can allow if the advertising and promotions will not undermine breastmilk and breastfeeding, Your Honor.63 Sections 11 and 4(f) of the RIRR are clearly violative of the Milk Code. However, although it is the IAC which is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the approval or rejection of advertising, promotional, or other marketing materials under Section 12(a) of the Milk Code, said provision must be related to Section 6 thereof which in turn provides that the rules and regulations must be "pursuant to the applicable standards provided for in this Code." Said standards are set forth in Sections 5(b), 8(b), and 10 of the Code, which, at the risk of being repetitious, and for easy reference, are quoted hereunder: SECTION 5. Information and Education

223 xxxx (b) Informational and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual, dealing with the feeding of infants and intended to reach pregnant women and mothers of infants, shall include clear information on all the following points: (1) the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding; (2) maternal nutrition, and the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding; (3) the negative effect on breastfeeding of introducing partial bottlefeeding; (4) the difficulty of reversing the decision not to breastfeed; and (5) where needed, the proper use of infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared. When such materials contain information about the use of infant formula, they shall include the social and financial implications of its use; the health hazards of inappropriate foods of feeding methods; and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper use of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes. Such materials shall not use any picture or text which may idealize the use of breastmilk substitutes. xxxx SECTION 8. Health Workers. xxxx (b) Information provided by manufacturers and distributors to health professionals regarding products within the scope of this Code shall be restricted to scientific and factual matters and such information shall not imply or create a belief that bottle feeding is equivalent or superior to breastfeeding. It shall also include the information specified in Section 5(b). xxxx SECTION 10. Containers/Label (a) Containers and/or labels shall be designed to provide the necessary information about the appropriate use of the products, and in such a way as not to discourage breastfeeding. (b) Each container shall have a clear, conspicuous and easily readable and understandable message in Pilipino or English printed on it, or on a label, which message can not readily become separated from it, and which shall include the following points: (i) the words "Important Notice" or their equivalent; (ii) a statement of the superiority of breastfeeding; (iii) a statement that the product shall be used only on the advice of a health worker as to the need for its use and the proper methods of use; and

224 (iv) instructions for appropriate preparation, and a warning against the health hazards of inappropriate preparation. Section 12(b) of the Milk Code designates the DOH as the principal implementing agency for the enforcement of the provisions of the Code. In relation to such responsibility of the DOH, Section 5(a) of the Milk Code states that: SECTION 5. Information and Education (a) The government shall ensure that objective and consistent information is provided on infant feeding, for use by families and those involved in the field of infant nutrition. This responsibility shall cover the planning, provision, design and dissemination of information, and the control thereof, on infant nutrition. (Emphasis supplied) Thus, the DOH has the significant responsibility to translate into operational terms the standards set forth in Sections 5, 8, and 10 of the Milk Code, by which the IAC shall screen advertising, promotional, or other marketing materials. It is pursuant to such responsibility that the DOH correctly provided for Section 13 in the RIRR which reads as follows: SECTION 13. "Total Effect" - Promotion of products within the scope of this Code must be objective and should not equate or make the product appear to be as good or equal to breastmilk or breastfeeding in the advertising concept. It must not in any case undermine breastmilk or breastfeeding. The "total effect" should not directly or indirectly suggest that buying their product would produce better individuals, or resulting in greater love, intelligence, ability, harmony or in any manner bring better health to the baby or other such exaggerated and unsubstantiated claim. Such standards bind the IAC in formulating its rules and regulations on advertising, promotion, and marketing. Through that single provision, the DOH exercises control over the information content of advertising, promotional and marketing materials on breastmilk vis-a-vis breastmilk substitutes, supplements and other related products. It also sets a viable standard against which the IAC may screen such materials before they are made public. In Equi-Asia Placement, Inc. vs. Department of Foreign Affairs,64 the Court held: x x x [T]his Court had, in the past, accepted as sufficient standards the following: "public interest," "justice and equity," "public convenience and welfare," and "simplicity, economy and welfare."65 In this case, correct information as to infant feeding and nutrition is infused with public interest and welfare. 4. With regard to activities for dissemination of information to health professionals, the Court also finds that there is no inconsistency between the provisions of the Milk Code and the RIRR. Section

225 7(b)66 of the Milk Code, in relation to Section 8(b)67 of the same Code, allows dissemination of information to health professionals but suchinformation is restricted to scientific and factual matters. Contrary to petitioner's claim, Section 22 of the RIRR does not prohibit the giving of information to health professionals on scientific and factual matters. What it prohibits is the involvement of the manufacturer and distributor of the products covered by the Code in activities for the promotion, education and production of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials regarding breastfeeding that are intended forwomen and children. Said provision cannot be construed to encompass even the dissemination of information to health professionals, as restricted by the Milk Code. 5. Next, petitioner alleges that Section 8(e)68 of the Milk Code permits milk manufacturers and distributors to extend assistance in research and in the continuing education of health professionals, while Sections 22 and 32 of the RIRR absolutely forbid the same. Petitioner also assails Section 4(i)69 of the RIRR prohibiting milk manufacturers' and distributors' participation in any policymaking body in relation to the advancement of breastfeeding. Section 4(i) of the RIRR provides that milk companies and their representatives should not form part of any policymaking body or entity in relation to the advancement of breastfeeding. The Court finds nothing in said provisions which contravenes the Milk Code. Note that under Section 12(b) of the Milk Code, it is the DOH which shall be principally responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of said Code. It is entirely up to the DOH to decide which entities to call upon or allow to be part of policymaking bodies on breastfeeding. Therefore, the RIRR's prohibition on milk companies participation in any policymaking body in relation to the advancement of breastfeeding is in accord with the Milk Code. Petitioner is also mistaken in arguing that Section 22 of the RIRR prohibits milk companies from giving reasearch assistance and continuing education to health professionals. Section 2270 of the RIRR does not pertain to research assistance to or the continuing education of health professionals; rather, it deals with breastfeeding promotion and education for women and children. Nothing in Section 22 of the RIRR prohibits milk companies from giving assistance for research or continuing education to health professionals; hence, petitioner's argument against this particular provision must be struck down. It is Sections 971 and 1072 of the RIRR which govern research assistance. Said sections of the RIRR provide thatresearch assistance for health workers and researchers may be allowed upon approval of an ethics committee, and with certain disclosure requirements imposed on the milk company and on the recipient of the research award. The Milk Code endows the DOH with the power to determine how such research or educational assistance may be given by milk companies or under what conditions health workers may accept the assistance. Thus, Sections 9 and 10 of the RIRR imposing limitations on the kind of research done or extent of assistance given by milk companies are completely in accord with the Milk Code.

226 Petitioner complains that Section 3273 of the RIRR prohibits milk companies from giving assistance, support, logistics or training to health workers. This provision is within the prerogative given to the DOH under Section 8(e)74 of the Milk Code, which provides that manufacturers and distributors of breastmilk substitutes may assist in researches, scholarships and the continuing education, of health professionals in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Health, now DOH. 6. As to the RIRR's prohibition on donations, said provisions are also consistent with the Milk Code. Section 6(f) of the Milk Code provides that donations may be made by manufacturers and distributors of breastmilk substitutesupon the request or with the approval of the DOH. The law does not proscribe the refusal of donations. The Milk Code leaves it purely to the discretion of the DOH whether to request or accept such donations. The DOH then appropriately exercised its discretion through Section 5175 of the RIRR which sets forth its policy not to request or approve donations from manufacturers and distributors of breastmilk substitutes. It was within the discretion of the DOH when it provided in Section 52 of the RIRR that any donation from milk companies not covered by the Code should be coursed through the IAC which shall determine whether such donation should be accepted or refused. As reasoned out by respondents, the DOH is not mandated by the Milk Code to accept donations. For that matter, no person or entity can be forced to accept a donation. There is, therefore, no real inconsistency between the RIRR and the law because the Milk Code does not prohibit the DOH from refusing donations. 7. With regard to Section 46 of the RIRR providing for administrative sanctions that are not found in the Milk Code, the Court upholds petitioner's objection thereto. Respondent's reliance on Civil Aeronautics Board v. Philippine Air Lines, Inc.76 is misplaced. The glaring difference in said case and the present case before the Court is that, in the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) was expressly granted by the law (R.A. No. 776) the power to impose fines and civil penalties, while the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) was granted by the same law the power to review on appeal the order or decision of the CAA and to determine whether to impose, remit, mitigate, increase or compromise such fine and civil penalties. Thus, the Court upheld the CAB's Resolution imposing administrative fines. In a more recent case, Perez v. LPG Refillers Association of the Philippines, Inc.,77 the Court upheld the Department of Energy (DOE) Circular No. 2000-06-10 implementing Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 33. The circular provided for fines for the commission of prohibited acts. The Court found that nothing in the circular contravened the law because the DOE was expressly authorized by B.P. Blg. 33 and R.A. No. 7638 to impose fines or penalties. In the present case, neither the Milk Code nor the Revised Administrative Code grants the DOH the authority to fix or impose administrative fines. Thus, without any express grant of power to fix or impose such fines, the DOH cannot provide for those fines in the RIRR. In this regard, the DOH again exceeded its authority by providing for such fines or sanctions in Section 46 of the RIRR. Said provision is, therefore, null and void.

227 The DOH is not left without any means to enforce its rules and regulations. Section 12(b) (3) of the Milk Code authorizes the DOH to "cause the prosecution of the violators of this Code and other pertinent laws on products covered by this Code." Section 13 of the Milk Code provides for the penalties to be imposed on violators of the provision of the Milk Code or the rules and regulations issued pursuant to it, to wit: SECTION 13. Sanctions (a) Any person who violates the provisions of this Code or the rules and regulations issued pursuant to this Code shall, upon conviction, be punished by a penalty of two (2) months to one (1) year imprisonment or a fine of not less than One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) nor more than Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) or both. Should the offense be committed by a juridical person, the chairman of the Board of Directors, the president, general manager, or the partners and/or the persons directly responsible therefor, shall be penalized. (b) Any license, permit or authority issued by any government agency to any health worker, distributor, manufacturer, or marketing firm or personnel for the practice of their profession or occupation, or for the pursuit of their business, may, upon recommendation of the Ministry of Health, be suspended or revoked in the event of repeated violations of this Code, or of the rules and regulations issued pursuant to this Code. (Emphasis supplied) 8. Petitioners claim that Section 57 of the RIRR repeals existing laws that are contrary to the RIRR is frivolous. Section 57 reads: SECTION 57. Repealing Clause - All orders, issuances, and rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with these revised rules and implementing regulations are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. Section 57 of the RIRR does not provide for the repeal of laws but only orders, issuances and rules and regulations. Thus, said provision is valid as it is within the DOH's rule-making power. An administrative agency like respondent possesses quasi-legislative or rule-making power or the power to make rules and regulations which results in delegated legislation that is within the confines of the granting statute and the Constitution, and subject to the doctrine of non-delegability and separability of powers.78 Such express grant of rule-making power necessarily includes the power to amend, revise, alter, or repeal the same.79 This is to allow administrative agencies flexibility in formulating and adjusting the details and manner by which they are to implement the provisions of a law,80 in order to make it more responsive to the times. Hence, it is a standard provision in administrative rules that prior issuances of administrative agencies that are inconsistent therewith are declared repealed or modified.

228 In fine, only Sections 4(f), 11 and 46 are ultra vires, beyond the authority of the DOH to promulgate and in contravention of the Milk Code and, therefore, null and void. The rest of the provisions of the RIRR are in consonance with the Milk Code. Lastly, petitioner makes a "catch-all" allegation that: x x x [T]he questioned RIRR sought to be implemented by the Respondents is unnecessary and oppressive, and is offensive to the due process clause of the Constitution, insofar as the same is in restraint of trade and because a provision therein is inadequate to provide the public with a comprehensible basis to determine whether or not they have committed a violation.81 (Emphasis supplied) Petitioner refers to Sections 4(f),82 4(i),83 5(w),84 11,85 22,86 32,87 46,88 and 5289 as the provisions that suppress the trade of milk and, thus, violate the due process clause of the Constitution. The framers of the constitution were well aware that trade must be subjected to some form of regulation for the public good. Public interest must be upheld over business interests.90 In Pest Management Association of the Philippines v. Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority,91 it was held thus: x x x Furthermore, as held in Association of Philippine Coconut Desiccators v. Philippine Coconut Authority,despite the fact that "our present Constitution enshrines free enterprise as a policy, it nonetheless reserves to the government the power to intervene whenever necessary to promote the general welfare." There can be no question that the unregulated use or proliferation of pesticides would be hazardous to our environment. Thus, in the aforecited case, the Court declared that "free enterprise does not call for removal of protective regulations." x x x It must be clearly explained and proven by competent evidence just exactly how such protective regulation would result in the restraint of trade. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied] In this case, petitioner failed to show that the proscription of milk manufacturers participation in any policymaking body (Section 4(i)), classes and seminars for women and children (Section 22); the giving of assistance, support and logistics or training (Section 32); and the giving of donations (Section 52) would unreasonably hamper the trade of breastmilk substitutes. Petitioner has not established that the proscribed activities are indispensable to the trade of breastmilk substitutes. Petitioner failed to demonstrate that the aforementioned provisions of the RIRR are unreasonable and oppressive for being in restraint of trade. Petitioner also failed to convince the Court that Section 5(w) of the RIRR is unreasonable and oppressive. Said section provides for the definition of the term "milk company," to wit: SECTION 5 x x x. (w) "Milk Company" shall refer to the owner, manufacturer, distributor of infant formula, follow-up milk, milk formula, milk supplement, breastmilk substitute or replacement, or by any other description of such nature, including their representatives who promote or otherwise advance their commercial interests in marketing those products; On the other hand, Section 4 of the Milk Code provides:

229 (d) "Distributor" means a person, corporation or any other entity in the public or private sector engaged in the business (whether directly or indirectly) of marketing at the wholesale or retail level a product within the scope of this Code. A "primary distributor" is a manufacturer's sales agent, representative, national distributor or broker. xxxx (j) "Manufacturer" means a corporation or other entity in the public or private sector engaged in the business or function (whether directly or indirectly or through an agent or and entity controlled by or under contract with it) of manufacturing a products within the scope of this Code. Notably, the definition in the RIRR merely merged together under the term "milk company" the entities defined separately under the Milk Code as "distributor" and "manufacturer." The RIRR also enumerated in Section 5(w) the products manufactured or distributed by an entity that would qualify it as a "milk company," whereas in the Milk Code, what is used is the phrase "products within the scope of this Code." Those are the only differences between the definitions given in the Milk Code and the definition as re-stated in the RIRR. Since all the regulatory provisions under the Milk Code apply equally to both manufacturers and distributors, the Court sees no harm in the RIRR providing for just one term to encompass both entities. The definition of "milk company" in the RIRR and the definitions of "distributor" and "manufacturer" provided for under the Milk Code are practically the same. The Court is not convinced that the definition of "milk company" provided in the RIRR would bring about any change in the treatment or regulation of "distributors" and "manufacturers" of breastmilk substitutes, as defined under the Milk Code. Except Sections 4(f), 11 and 46, the rest of the provisions of the RIRR are in consonance with the objective, purpose and intent of the Milk Code, constituting reasonable regulation of an industry which affects public health and welfare and, as such, the rest of the RIRR do not constitute illegal restraint of trade nor are they violative of the due process clause of the Constitution. WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. Sections 4(f), 11 and 46 of Administrative Order No. 2006-0012 dated May 12, 2006 are declared NULL and VOID for being ultra vires. The Department of Health and respondents are PROHIBITED from implementing said provisions. The Temporary Restraining Order issued on August 15, 2006 is LIFTED insofar as the rest of the provisions of Administrative Order No. 2006-0012 is concerned. SO ORDERED.

230

December G.R. WILLIAM vs. COMMISSIONER C. OF

27, No. REAGAN, INTERNAL ETC., REVENUE,

1969 L-26379 petitioner, respondent.

Quasha, Asperilla, Blanco, Zafra and Tayag for petitioner. Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Felicisimo R. Rosete, Solicitor Lolita O. Gal-lang and Special Attorney Gamaliel H. Mantolino for respondent. Fernando, J.: A question novel in character, the answer to which has far-reaching implications, is raised by petitioner William C. Reagan, at one time a civilian employee of an American corporation providing technical assistance to the United States Air Force in the Philippines. He would dispute the payment of the income tax assessed on him by respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue on an amount realized by him on a sale of his automobile to a member of the United States Marine Corps, the transaction having taken place at the Clark Field Air Base at Pampanga. It is his contention, seriously and earnestly expressed, that in legal contemplation the sale was made outside Philippine territory and therefore beyond our jurisdictional power to tax. Such a plea, far-fetched and implausible, on its face betraying no kinship with reality, he would justify by invoking, mistakenly as will hereafter be more fully shown an observation to that effect in a 1951 opinion, 1 petitioner ignoring that such utterance was made purely as a flourish of rhetoric and by way of emphasizing the decision reached, that the trading firm as purchaser of army goods must respond for the sales taxes due from an importer, as the American armed forces being exempt could not be taxed as such under the National Internal Revenue Code.2 Such an assumption, inspired by the commendable aim to render unavailing any attempt at tax evasion on the part of such vendee, found expression anew in a 1962 decision,3 coupled with the reminder however, to render the truth unmistakable, that "the areas covered by the United States Military Bases are not foreign territories both in the political and geographical sense." As thus clarified, it is manifest that such a view amounts at most to a legal fiction and is moreover obiter. It certainly cannot control the resolution of the specific question that confronts us. We declare our stand in an unequivocal manner. The sale having taken place on what indisputably is Philippine territory, petitioner's liability for the income tax due as a result thereof was unavoidable. As the Court of Tax Appeals reached a similar conclusion, we sustain its decision now before us on appeal. In the decision appealed from, the Court of Tax Appeals, after stating the nature of the case, started the recital of facts thus: "It appears that petitioner, a citizen of the United States and an employee of Bendix Radio, Division of Bendix Aviation Corporation, which provides technical assistance to the United States Air Force, was assigned at Clark Air Base, Philippines, on or about July 7, 1959 ... . Nine (9) months thereafter and before his tour of duty expired, petitioner imported on

231 April 22, 1960 a tax-free 1960 Cadillac car with accessories valued at $6,443.83, including freight, insurance and other charges."4 Then came the following: "On July 11, 1960, more than two (2) months after the 1960 Cadillac car was imported into the Philippines, petitioner requested the Base Commander, Clark Air Base, for a permit to sell the car, which was granted provided that the sale was made to a member of the United States Armed Forces or a citizen of the United States employed in the U.S. military bases in the Philippines. On the same date, July 11, 1960, petitioner sold his car for $6,600.00 to a certain Willie Johnson, Jr. (Private first class), United States Marine Corps, Sangley Point, Cavite, Philippines, as shown by a Bill of Sale . . . executed at Clark Air Base. On the same date, Pfc. Willie (William) Johnson, Jr. sold the car to Fred Meneses for P32,000.00 as evidenced by a deed of sale executed in Manila."5 As a result of the transaction thus made, respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue, after deducting the landed cost of the car as well as the personal exemption to which petitioner was entitled, fixed as his net taxable income arising from such transaction the amount of P17,912.34, rendering him liable for income tax in the sum of P2,979.00. After paying the sum, he sought a refund from respondent claiming that he was exempt, but pending action on his request for refund, he filed the case with the Court of Tax Appeals seeking recovery of the sum of P2,979.00 plus the legal rate of interest. As noted in the appealed decision: "The only issue submitted for our resolution is whether or not the said income tax of P2,979.00 was legally collected by respondent for petitioner."6 After discussing the legal issues raised, primarily the contention that the Clark Air Base "in legal contemplation, is a base outside the Philippines" the sale therefore having taken place on "foreign soil", the Court of Tax Appeals found nothing objectionable in the assessment and thereafter the payment of P2,979.00 as income tax and denied the refund on the same. Hence, this appeal predicated on a legal theory we cannot accept. Petitioner cannot make out a case for reversal. 1. Resort to fundamentals is unavoidable to place things in their proper perspective, petitioner apparently feeling justified in his refusal to defer to basic postulates of constitutional and international law, induced no doubt by the weight he would accord to the observation made by this Court in the two opinions earlier referred to. To repeat, scant comfort, if at all is to be derived from such an obiter dictum, one which is likewise far from reflecting the fact as it is tE02D. Nothing is better settled than that the Philippines being independent and sovereign, its authority may be exercised over its entire domain. There is no portion thereof that is beyond its power. Within its limits, its decrees are supreme, its commands paramount. Its laws govern therein, and everyone to whom it applies must submit to its terms. That is the extent of its jurisdiction, both territorial and personal. Necessarily, likewise, it has to be exclusive. If it were not thus, there is a diminution of its sovereignty. It is to be admitted that any state may, by its consent, express or implied, submit to a restriction of its sovereign rights. There may thus be a curtailment of what otherwise is a power plenary in character. That is the concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation, which, in the succinct language of Jellinek, "is the property of a state-force due to which it has the exclusive capacity of legal selfdetermination and self-restriction."7 A state then, if it chooses to, may refrain from the exercise of what otherwise is illimitable competence gT6wE3hK.

232

Its laws may as to some persons found within its territory no longer control. Nor does the matter end there. It is not precluded from allowing another power to participate in the exercise of jurisdictional right over certain portions of its territory. If it does so, it by no means follows that such areas become impressed with an alien character. They retain their status as native soil. They are still subject to its authority. Its jurisdiction may be diminished, but it does not disappear. So it is with the bases under lease to the American armed forces by virtue of the military bases agreement of 1947. They are not and cannot be foreign territory. Decisions coming from petitioner's native land, penned by jurists of repute, speak to that effect with impressive unanimity. We start with the citation from Chief Justice Marshall, announced in the leading case of Schooner Exchange v. M'Faddon,8 an 1812 decision: "The jurisdiction of the nation within its own territory is necessarily exclusive and absolute. It is susceptible of no limitation not imposed by itself. Any restriction upon it, deriving validity from an external source, would imply a diminution of its sovereignty to the extent of the restriction, and an investment of that sovereignty to the same extent in that power which could impose such restriction." After which came this paragraph: "All exceptions, therefore, to the full and complete power of a nation within its own territories, must be traced up to the consent of the nation itself. They can flow from no other legitimate source." Chief Justice Taney, in an 1857 decision,9 affirmed the fundamental principle of everyone within the territorial domain of a state being subject to its commands: "For undoubtedly every person who is found within the limits of a government, whether the temporary purposes or as a resident, is bound by its laws." It is no exaggeration then for Justice Brewer to stress that the United States government "is one having jurisdiction over every foot of soil within its territory, and acting directly upon each [individual found therein]; . . ."10 Not too long ago, there was a reiteration of such a view, this time from the pen of Justice Van Devanter. Thus: "It now is settled in the United States and recognized elsewhere that the territory subject to its jurisdiction includes the land areas under its dominion and control the ports, harbors, bays, and other in closed arms of the sea along its coast, and a marginal belt of the sea extending from the coast line outward a marine league, or 3 geographic miles."11 He could cite moreover, in addition to many American decisions, such eminent treatise-writers as Kent, Moore, Hyde, Wilson, Westlake, Wheaton and Oppenheim. As a matter of fact, the eminent commentator Hyde in his three-volume work on International Law, as interpreted and applied by the United States, made clear that not even the embassy premises of a foreign power are to be considered outside the territorial domain of the host state. Thus: "The ground occupied by an embassy is not in fact the territory of the foreign State to which the premises belong through possession or ownership. The lawfulness or unlawfulness of acts there committed is determined by the territorial sovereign. If an attache commits an offense within the precincts of an embassy, his immunity from prosecution is not because he has not violated the local law, but rather for the reason that the individual is exempt from prosecution. If a person not so exempt, or whose immunity is waived, similarly commits a crime therein, the territorial sovereign, if it secures custody of the offender, may subject him to prosecution, even though its criminal code normally does not contemplate the punishment of one who commits an offense

233 outside of the national domain. It is not believed, therefore, that an ambassador himself possesses the right to exercise jurisdiction, contrary to the will of the State of his sojourn, even within his embassy with respect to acts there committed. Nor is there apparent at the present time any tendency on the part of States to acquiesce in his exercise of it."12 2. In the light of the above, the first and crucial error imputed to the Court of Tax Appeals to the effect that it should have held that the Clark Air Force is foreign soil or territory for purposes of income tax legislation is clearly without support in law. As thus correctly viewed, petitioner's hope for the reversal of the decision completely fades away. There is nothing in the Military Bases Agreement that lends support to such an assertion. It has not become foreign soil or territory. This country's jurisdictional rights therein, certainly not excluding the power to tax, have been preserved. As to certain tax matters, an appropriate exemption was provided for. Petitioner could not have been unaware that to maintain the contrary would be to defy reality and would be an affront to the law. While his first assigned error is thus worded, he would seek to impart plausibility to his claim by the ostensible invocation of the exemption clause in the Agreement by virtue of which a "national of the United States serving in or employed in the Philippines in connection with the construction, maintenance, operation or defense of the bases and residing in the Philippines only by reason of such employment" is not to be taxed on his income unless "derived from Philippine source or sources other than the United States sources."13 The reliance, to repeat, is more apparent than real for as noted at the outset of this opinion, petitioner places more faith not on the language of the provision on exemption but on a sentiment given expression in a 1951 opinion of this Court, which would be made to yield such an unwarranted interpretation at war with the controlling constitutional and international law principles. At any rate, even if such a contention were more adequately pressed and insisted upon, it is on its face devoid of merit as the source clearly was Philippine. In Saura Import and Export Co. v. Meer,14 the case above referred to, this Court affirmed a decision rendered about seven months previously,15 holding liable as an importer, within the contemplation of the National Internal Revenue Code provision, the trading firm that purchased army goods from a United States government agency in the Philippines. It is easily understandable why. If it were not thus, tax evasion would have been facilitated. The United States forces that brought in such equipment later disposed of as surplus, when no longer needed for military purposes, was beyond the reach of our tax statutes. Justice Tuason, who spoke for the Court, adhered to such a rationale, quoting extensively from the earlier opinion. He could have stopped there. He chose not to do so. The transaction having occurred in 1946, not so long after the liberation of the Philippines, he proceeded to discuss the role of the American military contingent in the Philippines as a belligerent occupant. In the course of such a dissertion, drawing on his well-known gift for rhetoric and cognizant that he was making an as if statement, he did say: "While in army bases or installations within the Philippines those goods were in contemplation of law on foreign soil." It is thus evident that the first, and thereafter the controlling, decision as to the liability for sales taxes as an importer by the purchaser, could have been reached without any need for such expression as that given utterance by Justice Tuason. Its value then as an authoritative doctrine

234 cannot be as much as petitioner would mistakenly attach to it. It was clearly obiter not being necessary for the resolution of the issue before this Court.16 It was an opinion "uttered by the way."17 It could not then be controlling on the question before us now, the liability of the petitioner for income tax which, as announced at the opening of this opinion, is squarely raised for the first time.18 On this point, Chief Justice Marshall could again be listened to with profit. Thus: "It is a maxim, not to be disregarded, that general expressions, in every opinion, are to be taken in connection with the case in which those expressions are used. If they go beyond the case, they may be respected, but ought not to control the judgment in a subsequent suit when the very point is presented for decision."19 Nor did the fact that such utterance of Justice Tuason was cited in Co Po v. Collector of Internal Revenue,20 a 1962 decision relied upon by petitioner, put a different complexion on the matter. Again, it was by way of pure embellishment, there being no need to repeat it, to reach the conclusion that it was the purchaser of army goods, this time from military bases, that must respond for the advance sales taxes as importer. Again, the purpose that animated the reiteration of such a view was clearly to emphasize that through the employment of such a fiction, tax evasion is precluded. What is more, how far divorced from the truth was such statement was emphasized by Justice Barrera, who penned the Co Po opinion, thus: "It is true that the areas covered by the United States Military Bases are not foreign territories both in the political and geographical sense."21 Justice Tuason moreover made explicit that rather than corresponding with reality, what was said by him was in the way of a legal fiction. Note his stress on "in contemplation of law." To lend further support to a conclusion already announced, being at that a confirmation of what had been arrived at in the earlier case, distinguished by its sound appreciation of the issue then before this Court and to preclude any tax evasion, an observation certainly not to be taken literally was thus given utterance. This is not to say that it should have been ignored altogether afterwards. It could be utilized again, as it undoubtedly was, especially so for the purpose intended, namely to stigmatize as without support in law any attempt on the part of a taxpayer to escape an obligation incumbent upon him. So it was quoted with that end in view in the Co Po case. It certainly does not justify any effort to render futile the collection of a tax legally due, as here. That was farthest from the thought of Justice Tuason. What is more, the statement on its face is, to repeat, a legal fiction. This is not to discount the uses of a fictio juris in the science of the law. It was Cardozo who pointed out its value as a device "to advance the ends of justice" although at times it could be "clumsy" and even "offensive".22 Certainly, then, while far from objectionable as thus enunciated, this observation of Justice Tuason could be misused or misconstrued in a clumsy manner to reach an offensive result. To repeat, properly used, a legal fiction could be relied upon by the law, as Frankfurter noted, in the pursuit of legitimate ends.23 Petitioner then would be well-advised to take to heart such counsel of care and circumspection before invoking not a legal fiction that would avoid a mockery of the law by avoiding tax evasion but what clearly is a misinterpretation thereof, leading to results that would

235 have shocked its originator.

The conclusion is thus irresistible that the crucial error assigned, the only one that calls for discussion to the effect that for income tax purposes the Clark Air Force Base is outside Philippine territory, is utterly without merit. So we have said earlier 1isEPf. 3. To impute then to the statement of Justice Tuason the meaning that petitioner would fasten on it is, to paraphrase Frankfurter, to be guilty of succumbing to the vice of literalness. To so conclude is, whether by design or inadvertence, to misread it. It certainly is not susceptible of the mischievous consequences now sought to be fastened on it by petitioner. That it would be fraught with such peril to the enforcement of our tax statutes on the military bases under lease to the American armed forces could not have been within the contemplation of Justice Tuason. To so attribute such a bizarre consequence is to be guilty of a grave disservice to the memory of a great jurist. For his real and genuine sentiment on the matter in consonance with the imperative mandate of controlling constitutional and international law concepts was categorically set forth by him, not as an obiter but as the rationale of the decision, in People v. Acierto24 thus: "By the [Military Bases] Agreement, it should be noted, the Philippine Government merely consents that the United States exercise jurisdiction in certain cases. The consent was given purely as a matter of comity, courtesy, or expediency over the bases as part of the Philippine territory or divested itself completely of jurisdiction over offenses committed therein." Nor did he stop there. He did stress further the full extent of our territorial jurisdiction in words that do not admit of doubt. Thus: "This provision is not and can not on principle or authority be construed as a limitation upon the rights of the Philippine Government. If anything, it is an emphatic recognition and reaffirmation of Philippine sovereignty over the bases and of the truth that all jurisdictional rights granted to the United States and not exercised by the latter are reserved by the Philippines for itself."25 It is in the same spirit that we approach the specific question confronting us in this litigation. We hold, as announced at the outset, that petitioner was liable for the income tax arising from a sale of his automobile in the Clark Field Air Base, which clearly is and cannot otherwise be other than, within our territorial jurisdiction to tax. 4. With the mist thus lifted from the situation as it truly presents itself, there is nothing that stands in the way of an affirmance of the Court of Tax Appeals decision. No useful purpose would be served by discussing the other assigned errors, petitioner himself being fully aware that if the Clark Air Force Base is to be considered, as it ought to be and as it is, Philippine soil or territory, his claim for exemption from the income tax due was distinguished only by its futility. There is further satisfaction in finding ourselves unable to indulge petitioner in his plea for reversal. We thus manifest fealty to a pronouncement made time and time again that the law does not look with favor on tax exemptions and that he who would seek to be thus privileged must justify it by words too plain to be mistaken and too categorical to be misinterpreted.26 Petitioner had not done so. Petitioner cannot do so.

236 WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals of May 12, 1966 denying the refund of P2,979.00 as the income tax paid by petitioner is affirmed. With costs against petitioner.

237

G.R. No. 183871

February 18, 2010

LOURDES D. RUBRICO, JEAN RUBRICO APRUEBO, and MARY JOY RUBRICO CARBONEL, Petitioners, vs. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, P/DIR. GEN. AVELINO RAZON, MAJ. DARWIN SY a.k.a. DARWIN REYES, JIMMY SANTANA, RUBEN ALFARO, CAPT. ANGELO CUARESMA, a certain JONATHAN, P/SUPT. EDGAR B. ROQUERO, ARSENIO C. GOMEZ, and OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Respondents. DECISION VELASCO, JR., J.: In this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 191 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo2 (Amparo Rule), Lourdes D. Rubrico, Jean Rubrico Apruebo, and Mary Joy Rubrico Carbonel assail and seek to set aside the Decision3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated July 31, 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 00003, a petition commenced under the Amparo Rule.

238 The petition for the writ of amparo dated October 25, 2007 was originally filed before this Court. After issuing the desired writ and directing the respondents to file a verified written return, the Court referred the petition to the CA for summary hearing and appropriate action. The petition and its attachments contained, in substance, the following allegations: 1. On April 3, 2007, armed men belonging to the 301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron (AISS, for short) based in Fernando Air Base in Lipa City abducted Lourdes D. Rubrico (Lourdes), then attending a Lenten pabasa in Bagong Bayan, Dasmarias, Cavite, and brought to, and detained at, the air base without charges. Following a week of relentless interrogation - conducted alternately by hooded individuals - and what amounts to verbal abuse and mental harassment, Lourdes, chair of the Ugnayan ng Maralita para sa Gawa Adhikan, was released at Dasmarias, Cavite, her hometown, but only after being made to sign a statement that she would be a military asset. After Lourdes release, the harassment, coming in the form of being tailed on at least two occasions at different places, i.e., Dasmarias, Cavite and Baclaran in Pasay City, by motorcycle-riding men in bonnets, continued; 2. During the time Lourdes was missing, P/Sr. Insp. Arsenio Gomez (P/Insp. Gomez), then sub-station commander of Bagong Bayan, Dasmarias, Cavite, kept sending text messages to Lourdes daughter, Mary Joy R. Carbonel (Mary Joy), bringing her to beaches and asking her questions about Karapatan, an alliance of human rights organizations. He, however, failed to make an investigation even after Lourdes disappearance had been made known to him; 3. A week after Lourdes release, another daughter, Jean R. Apruebo (Jean), was constrained to leave their house because of the presence of men watching them; 4. Lourdes has filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a criminal complaint for kidnapping and arbitrary detention and administrative complaint for gross abuse of authority and grave misconduct against Capt. Angelo Cuaresma (Cuaresma), Ruben Alfaro (Alfaro), Jimmy Santana (Santana) and a certain Jonathan, c/o Headquarters 301st AISS, Fernando Air Base and Maj. Sy/Reyes with address at No. 09 Amsterdam Ext., Merville Subd., Paraaque City, but nothing has happened; and the threats and harassment incidents have been reported to the Dasmarias municipal and Cavite provincial police stations, but nothing eventful resulted from their respective investigations. Two of the four witnesses to Lourdes abduction went into hiding after being visited by government agents in civilian clothes; and 5. Karapatan conducted an investigation on the incidents. The investigation would indicate that men belonging to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), namely Capt. Cuaresma of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan and Maj. Darwin Sy/Reyes, led the abduction of Lourdes; that unknown to the abductors, Lourdes was able to pilfer a "mission order" which was addressed to CA Ruben Alfaro and signed by Capt. Cuaresma of the PAF.

239 The petition prayed that a writ of amparo issue, ordering the individual respondents to desist from performing any threatening act against the security of the petitioners and for the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) to immediately file an information for kidnapping qualified with the aggravating circumstance of gender of the offended party. It also prayed for damages and for respondents to produce documents submitted to any of them on the case of Lourdes. Before the CA, respondents President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, then Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Police Director-General (P/Dir. Gen.) Avelino Razon, then Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Police Superintendent (P/Supt.) Roquero of the Cavite Police Provincial Office, Police Inspector (P/Insp.) Gomez, now retired, and the OMB (answering respondents, collectively) filed, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), a joint return on the writ specifically denying the material inculpatory averments against them. The OSG also denied the allegations against the following impleaded persons, namely: Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes, for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations truth. And by way of general affirmative defenses, answering respondents interposed the following defenses: (1) the President may not be sued during her incumbency; and (2) the petition is incomplete, as it fails to indicate the matters required by Sec. 5(d) and (e) of the Amparo Rule.4 Attached to the return were the affidavits of the following, among other public officials, containing their respective affirmative defenses and/or statements of what they had undertaken or committed to undertake regarding the claimed disappearance of Lourdes and the harassments made to bear on her and her daughters: 1. Gen. Esperon attested that, pursuant to a directive of then Secretary of National Defense (SND) Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr., he ordered the Commanding General of the PAF, with information to all concerned units, to conduct an investigation to establish the circumstances behind the disappearance and the reappearance of Lourdes insofar as the involvement of alleged personnel/unit is concerned. The Provost Marshall General and the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAGO), AFP, also undertook a parallel action. Gen. Esperon manifested his resolve to provide the CA with material results of the investigation; to continue with the probe on the alleged abduction of Lourdes and to bring those responsible, including military personnel, to the bar of justice when warranted by the findings and the competent evidence that may be gathered in the investigation process by those mandated to look into the matter;5 2. P/Dir. Gen. Razon - stated that an investigation he immediately ordered upon receiving a copy of the petition is on-going vis--vis Lourdes abduction, and that a background verification with the PNP Personnel Accounting and Information System disclosed that the names Santana, Alfaro, Cuaresma and one Jonathan do not appear in the police personnel records, although the PNP files carry the name of Darwin Reyes Y. Muga. Per the initial investigation report of the Dasmarias municipal police station, P/Dir. Gen. Razon disclosed, Lourdes was abducted by six armed men in the afternoon of April 3, 2007 and dragged aboard a Toyota Revo with plate number XRR 428, which plate was issued for

240 a Mitsubishi van to AK Cottage Industry with address at 9 Amsterdam St., Merville Subd., Paraaque City. The person residing in the apartment on that given address is one Darius/Erwin See @ Darius Reyes allegedly working, per the latters house helper, in Camp Aguinaldo. P/Dir. Gen. Razon, however, bemoaned the fact that Mrs. Rubrico never contacted nor coordinated with the local police or other investigating units of the PNP after her release, although she is in the best position to establish the identity of her abductors and/or provide positive description through composite sketching. Nonetheless, he manifested that the PNP is ready to assist and protect the petitioners and the key witnesses from threats, harassments and intimidation from whatever source and, at the same time, to assist the Court in the implementation of its orders.61avvphi1 3. P/Supt. Roquero stated conducting, upon receipt of Lourdes complaint, an investigation and submitting the corresponding report to the PNP Calabarzon, observing that neither Lourdes nor her relatives provided the police with relevant information; 4. P/Insp. Gomez alleged that Lourdes, her kin and witnesses refused to cooperate with the investigating Cavite PNP; and 5. Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro - alleged that cases for violation of Articles 267 and 124, or kidnapping and arbitrary detention, respectively, have been filed with, and are under preliminary investigation by the OMB against those believed to be involved in Lourdes kidnapping; that upon receipt of the petition for a writ of amparo, proper coordination was made with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) where the subject criminal and administrative complaints were filed. Commenting on the return, petitioners pointed out that the return was no more than a general denial of averments in the petition. They, thus, pleaded to be allowed to present evidence ex parte against the President, Santana, Alfaro, Capt. Cuaresma, Darwin Sy, and Jonathan. And with leave of court, they also asked to serve notice of the petition through publication, owing to their failure to secure the current address of the latter five and thus submit, as the CA required, proof of service of the petition on them. The hearing started on November 13, 2007.7 In that setting, petitioners counsel prayed for the issuance of a temporary protection order (TPO) against the answering respondents on the basis of the allegations in the petition. At the hearing of November 20, 2007, the CA granted petitioners motion that the petition and writ be served by the courts process server on Darwin Sy/Reyes, Santana, Alfaro, Capt. Cuaresma, and Jonathan. The legal skirmishes that followed over the propriety of excluding President Arroyo from the petition, petitioners motions for service by publication, and the issuance of a TPO are not of decisive pertinence in this recital. The bottom line is that, by separate resolutions, the CA dropped the President as respondent in the case; denied the motion for a TPO for the courts want of authority to issue it in the tenor sought by petitioners; and effectively denied the motion for notice

241 by publication owing to petitioners failure to submit the affidavit required under Sec. 17, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court.8 After due proceedings, the CA rendered, on July 31, 2008, its partial judgment, subject of this review, disposing of the petition but only insofar as the answering respondents were concerned. The fallo of the CA decision reads as follows: WHEREFORE, premises considered, partial judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the instant petition with respect to respondent Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon, Supt. Edgar B. Roquero, P/Sr. Insp. Arsenio C. Gomez (ret.) and the Office of the Ombudsman. Nevertheless, in order that petitioners complaint will not end up as another unsolved case, the heads of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are directed to ensure that the investigations already commenced are diligently pursued to bring the perpetrators to justice. The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon are directed to regularly update petitioners and this Court on the status of their investigation. SO ORDERED. In this recourse, petitioners formulate the issue for resolution in the following wise: WHETHER OR NOT the [CA] committed reversible error in dismissing [their] Petition and dropping President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as party respondent. Petitioners first take issue on the Presidents purported lack of immunity from suit during her term of office. The 1987 Constitution, so they claim, has removed such immunity heretofore enjoyed by the chief executive under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions. Petitioners are mistaken. The presidential immunity from suit remains preserved under our system of government, albeit not expressly reserved in the present constitution. Addressing a concern of his co-members in the 1986 Constitutional Commission on the absence of an express provision on the matter, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. observed that it was already understood in jurisprudence that the President may not be sued during his or her tenure. 9 The Court subsequently made it abundantly clear in David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, a case likewise resolved under the umbrella of the 1987 Constitution, that indeed the President enjoys immunity during her incumbency, and why this must be so: Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law. It will degrade the dignity of the high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can be dragged into court litigations while serving as such. Furthermore, it is important that he be freed from any form of harassment, hindrance or distraction to enable him to fully attend to the performance of his official duties and functions. Unlike the legislative and judicial branch, only one constitutes the executive branch and anything which impairs his usefulness in the discharge of the many great and important duties imposed upon him by the Constitution necessarily impairs the operation of the Government.10 x x x

242 And lest it be overlooked, the petition is simply bereft of any allegation as to what specific presidential act or omission violated or threatened to violate petitioners protected rights. This brings us to the correctness of the assailed dismissal of the petition with respect to Gen. Esperon, P/Dir. Gen. Razon, P/Supt. Roquero, P/Insp. Gomez, and the OMB. None of the four individual respondents immediately referred to above has been implicated as being connected to, let alone as being behind, the alleged abduction and harassment of petitioner Lourdes. Their names were not even mentioned in Lourdes Sinumpaang Salaysay11 of April 2007. The same goes for the respective Sinumpaang Salaysay and/or Karagdagang Sinumpaang Salaysay of Jean12 and Mary Joy.13 As explained by the CA, Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon were included in the case on the theory that they, as commanders, were responsible for the unlawful acts allegedly committed by their subordinates against petitioners. To the appellate court, "the privilege of the writ of amparo must be denied as against Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon for the simple reason that petitioners have not presented evidence showing that those who allegedly abducted and illegally detained Lourdes and later threatened her and her family were, in fact, members of the military or the police force." The two generals, the CAs holding broadly hinted, would have been accountable for the abduction and threats if the actual malefactors were members of the AFP or PNP. As regards the three other answering respondents, they were impleaded because they allegedly had not exerted the required extraordinary diligence in investigating and satisfactorily resolving Lourdes disappearance or bringing to justice the actual perpetrators of what amounted to a criminal act, albeit there were allegations against P/Insp. Gomez of acts constituting threats against Mary Joy. While in a qualified sense tenable, the dismissal by the CA of the case as against Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon is incorrect if viewed against the backdrop of the stated rationale underpinning the assailed decision vis--vis the two generals, i.e., command responsibility. The Court assumes the latter stance owing to the fact that command responsibility, as a concept defined, developed, and applied under international law, has little, if at all, bearing in amparo proceedings. The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds its context in the development of laws of war and armed combats. According to Fr. Bernas, "command responsibility," in its simplest terms, means the "responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflict."14 In this sense, command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity. The Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the doctrine of command responsibility,15foreshadowing the present-day precept of holding a superior accountable for the atrocities committed by his subordinates should he be remiss in his duty of control over them. As then formulated, command responsibility is "an omission mode of individual criminal liability," whereby the superior is made responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to prevent or punish the perpetrators16 (as opposed to crimes he ordered).

243 The doctrine has recently been codified in the Rome Statute17 of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to which the Philippines is signatory. Sec. 28 of the Statute imposes individual responsibility on military commanders for crimes committed by forces under their control. The country is, however, not yet formally bound by the terms and provisions embodied in this treaty-statute, since the Senate has yet to extend concurrence in its ratification.18 While there are several pending bills on command responsibility,19 there is still no Philippine law that provides for criminal liability under that doctrine.20 It may plausibly be contended that command responsibility, as legal basis to hold military/police commanders liable for extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats, may be made applicable to this jurisdiction on the theory that the command responsibility doctrine now constitutes a principle of international law or customary international law in accordance with the incorporation clause of the Constitution.21 Still, it would be inappropriate to apply to these proceedings the doctrine of command responsibility, as the CA seemed to have done, as a form of criminal complicity through omission, for individual respondents criminal liability, if there be any, is beyond the reach of amparo. In other words, the Court does not rule in such proceedings on any issue of criminal culpability, even if incidentally a crime or an infraction of an administrative rule may have been committed. As the Court stressed in Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo (Manalo),22 the writ of amparo was conceived to provide expeditious and effective procedural relief against violations or threats of violation of the basic rights to life, liberty, and security of persons; the corresponding amparo suit, however, "is not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt x x x or administrative liability requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings."23 Of the same tenor, and by way of expounding on the nature and role of amparo, is what the Court said in Razon v. Tagitis: It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance [threats thereof or extra-judicial killings]; it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced disappearance [threats thereof or extra-judicial killings] for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance [or extra-judicial killings]. xxxx As the law now stands, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are not crimes penalized separately from the component criminal acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced disappearances and are now penalized under the Revised Penal Code and special laws. The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on the matter; the determination of what acts are criminal x x x are matters of substantive law that only the Legislature has the power to enact.24 x x x If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at most, be only to determine the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the disappearance and harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered by the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to fix criminal

244 liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to administrative disciplinary proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be any. Petitioners, as the CA has declared, have not adduced substantial evidence pointing to government involvement in the disappearance of Lourdes. To a concrete point, petitioners have not shown that the actual perpetrators of the abduction and the harassments that followed formally or informally formed part of either the military or the police chain of command. A preliminary police investigation report, however, would tend to show a link, however hazy, between the license plate (XRR 428) of the vehicle allegedly used in the abduction of Lourdes and the address of Darwin Reyes/Sy, who was alleged to be working in Camp Aguinaldo.25 Then, too, there were affidavits and testimonies on events that transpired which, if taken together, logically point to military involvement in the alleged disappearance of Lourdes, such as, but not limited to, her abduction in broad daylight, her being forcibly dragged to a vehicle blindfolded and then being brought to a place where the sounds of planes taking off and landing could be heard. Mention may also be made of the fact that Lourdes was asked about her membership in the Communist Party and of being released when she agreed to become an "asset." Still and all, the identities and links to the AFP or the PNP of the alleged abductors, namely Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes, have yet to be established. Based on the separate sworn statements of Maj. Paul Ciano26 and Technical Sergeant John N. Romano,27 officer-in-charge and a staff of the 301st AISS, respectively, none of the alleged abductors of Lourdes belonged to the 301st AISS based in San Fernando Air Base. Neither were they members of any unit of the Philippine Air Force, per the certification28 of Col. Raul Dimatactac, Air Force Adjutant. And as stated in the challenged CA decision, a verification with the Personnel Accounting and Information System of the PNP yielded the information that, except for a certain Darwin Reyes y Muga, the other alleged abductors, i.e., Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana and Jonathan, were not members of the PNP. Petitioners, when given the opportunity to identify Police Officer 1 Darwin Reyes y Muga, made no effort to confirm if he was the same Maj. Darwin Reyes a.k.a. Darwin Sy they were implicating in Lourdes abduction. Petitioners, to be sure, have not successfully controverted answering respondents documentary evidence, adduced to debunk the formers allegations directly linking Lourdes abductors and tormentors to the military or the police establishment. We note, in fact, that Lourdes, when queried on cross-examination, expressed the belief that Sy/Reyes was an NBI agent. 29 The Court is, of course, aware of what was referred to in Razon30 as the "evidentiary difficulties" presented by the nature of, and encountered by petitioners in, enforced disappearance cases. But it is precisely for this reason that the Court should take care too that no wrong message is sent, lest one conclude that any kind or degree of evidence, even the outlandish, would suffice to secure amparo remedies and protection. Sec. 17, as complemented by Sec. 18 of the Amparo Rule, expressly prescribes the minimum evidentiary substantiation requirement and norm to support a cause of action under the Rule, thus: Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required.The parties shall establish their claims by substantial evidence.

245 xxxx Sec. 18. Judgment.x x x If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be denied. (Emphasis added.) Substantial evidence is more than a mere imputation of wrongdoing or violation that would warrant a finding of liability against the person charged;31 it is more than a scintilla of evidence. It means such amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, even if other equally reasonable minds might opine otherwise.32 Per the CAs evaluation of their evidence, consisting of the testimonies and affidavits of the three Rubrico women and five other individuals, petitioners have not satisfactorily hurdled the evidentiary bar required of and assigned to them under the Amparo Rule. In a very real sense, the burden of evidence never even shifted to answering respondents. The Court finds no compelling reason to disturb the appellate courts determination of the answering respondents role in the alleged enforced disappearance of petitioner Lourdes and the threats to her familys security. Notwithstanding the foregoing findings, the Court notes that both Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon, per their separate affidavits, lost no time, upon their receipt of the order to make a return on the writ, in issuing directives to the concerned units in their respective commands for a thorough probe of the case and in providing the investigators the necessary support. As of this date, however, the investigations have yet to be concluded with some definite findings and recommendation. As regards P/Supt. Romero and P/Insp. Gomez, the Court is more than satisfied that they have no direct or indirect hand in the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the threats against her daughters. As police officers, though, theirs was the duty to thoroughly investigate the abduction of Lourdes, a duty that would include looking into the cause, manner, and like details of the disappearance; identifying witnesses and obtaining statements from them; and following evidentiary leads, such as the Toyota Revo vehicle with plate number XRR 428, and securing and preserving evidence related to the abduction and the threats that may aid in the prosecution of the person/s responsible. As we said in Manalo,33 the right to security, as a guarantee of protection by the government, is breached by the superficial and one-sidedhence, ineffectiveinvestigation by the military or the police of reported cases under their jurisdiction. As found by the CA, the local police stations concerned, including P/Supt. Roquero and P/Insp. Gomez, did conduct a preliminary fact-finding on petitioners complaint. They could not, however, make any headway, owing to what was perceived to be the refusal of Lourdes, her family, and her witnesses to cooperate. Petitioners counsel, Atty. Rex J.M.A. Fernandez, provided a plausible explanation for his clients and their witnesses attitude, "[They] do not trust the government agencies to protect them."34 The difficulty arising from a situation where the party whose complicity in extra-judicial killing or enforced disappearance, as the case may be, is alleged to be the same party who investigates it is understandable, though. The seeming reluctance on the part of the Rubricos or their witnesses to cooperate ought not to pose a hindrance to the police in pursuing, on its own initiative, the investigation in question to its natural end. To repeat what the Court said in Manalo, the right to security of persons is a guarantee

246 of the protection of ones right by the government. And this protection includes conducting effective investigations of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats of the same kind. The nature and importance of an investigation are captured in theVelasquez Rodriguez case,35 in which the Inter-American Court of Human Rights pronounced: [The duty to investigate] must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not a step taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the government. (Emphasis added.) This brings us to Mary Joys charge of having been harassed by respondent P/Insp. Gomez. With the view we take of this incident, there is nothing concrete to support the charge, save for Mary Joys bare allegations of harassment. We cite with approval the following self-explanatory excerpt from the appealed CA decision: In fact, during her cross-examination, when asked what specific act or threat P/Sr. Gomez (ret) committed against her or her mother and sister, Mary Joy replied "None "36 Similarly, there appears to be no basis for petitioners allegations about the OMB failing to act on their complaint against those who allegedly abducted and illegally detained Lourdes. Contrary to petitioners contention, the OMB has taken the necessary appropriate action on said complaint. As culled from the affidavit37 of the Deputy Overall Ombudsman and the joint affidavits38 of the designated investigators, all dated November 7, 2007, the OMB had, on the basis of said complaint, commenced criminal39 and administrative40 proceedings, docketed as OMB-P-C-070602-E and OMB-P-A 07-567-E, respectively, against Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes. The requisite orders for the submission of counter-affidavits and verified position papers had been sent out. The privilege of the writ of amparo, to reiterate, is a remedy available to victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances or threats of similar nature, regardless of whether the perpetrator of the unlawful act or omission is a public official or employee or a private individual. At this juncture, it bears to state that petitioners have not provided the CA with the correct addresses of respondents Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes. The mailed envelopes containing the petition for a writ of amparo individually addressed to each of them have all been returned unopened. And petitioners motion interposed before the appellate court for notice or service via publication has not been accompanied by supporting affidavits as required by the Rules of Court. Accordingly, the appealed CA partial judgmentdisposing of the underlying petition for a writ of amparo without (1) pronouncement as to the accountability, or lack of it, of the four non-answering respondents or (2) outright dismissal of the same petition as to them hews to the prescription of Sec. 20 of the Amparo Rule on archiving and reviving cases.41 Parenthetically, petitioners have also not furnished this Court with sufficient data as to where the afore-named respondents may be served a copy of their petition for review.

247 Apart from the foregoing considerations, the petition did not allege ultimate facts as would link the OMB in any manner to the violation or threat of violation of the petitioners rights to life, liberty, or personal security. The privilege of the writ of amparo is envisioned basically to protect and guarantee the rights to life, liberty, and security of persons, free from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of this life.42 It is an extraordinary writ conceptualized and adopted in light of and in response to the prevalence of extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances.43 Accordingly, the remedy ought to be resorted to and granted judiciously, lest the ideal sought by the Amparo Rule be diluted and undermined by the indiscriminate filing of amparo petitions for purposes less than the desire to secure amparo reliefs and protection and/or on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations. In their petition for a writ of amparo, petitioners asked, as their main prayer, that the Court order the impleaded respondents "to immediately desist from doing any acts that would threaten or seem to threaten the security of the Petitioners and to desist from approaching Petitioners, x x x their residences and offices where they are working under pain of contempt of [this] Court." Petitioners, however, failed to adduce the threshold substantive evidence to establish the predicate facts to support their cause of action, i.e., the adverted harassments and threats to their life, liberty, or security, against responding respondents, as responsible for the disappearance and harassments complained of. This is not to say, however, that petitioners allegation on the fact of the abduction incident or harassment is necessarily contrived. The reality on the ground, however, is that the military or police connection has not been adequately proved either by identifying the malefactors as components of the AFP or PNP; or in case identification is not possible, by showing that they acted with the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government. For this reason, the Court is unable to ascribe the authorship of and responsibility for the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the harassment and threats on her daughters to individual respondents. To this extent, the dismissal of the case against them is correct and must, accordingly, be sustained. Prescinding from the above considerations, the Court distinctly notes that the appealed decision veritably extended the privilege of the writ of amparo to petitioners when it granted what to us are amparo reliefs. Consider: the appellate court decreed, and rightly so, that the police and the military take specific measures for the protection of petitioners right or threatened right to liberty or security. The protection came in the form of directives specifically to Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon, requiring each of them (1) to ensure that the investigations already commenced by the AFP and PNP units, respectively, under them on the complaints of Lourdes and her daughters are being pursued with urgency to bring to justice the perpetrators of the acts complained of; and (2) to submit to the CA, copy furnished the petitioners, a regular report on the progress and status of the investigations. The directives obviously go to Gen. Esperon in his capacity as head of the AFP and, in a sense, chief guarantor of order and security in the country. On the other hand, P/Dir. Gen. Razon is called upon to perform a duty pertaining to the PNP, a crime-preventing, investigatory, and arresting institution. As the CA, however, formulated its directives, no definitive time frame was set in its decision for the completion of the investigation and the reportorial requirements. It also failed to consider Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razons imminent compulsory retirement from the military and police services, respectively. Accordingly, the CA directives, as hereinafter redefined and amplified to

248 fully enforce the amparo remedies, are hereby given to, and shall be directly enforceable against, whoever sits as the commanding general of the AFP and the PNP. At this stage, two postulates and their implications need highlighting for a proper disposition of this case. First, a criminal complaint for kidnapping and, alternatively, for arbitrary detention rooted in the same acts and incidents leading to the filing of the subject amparo petition has been instituted with the OMB, docketed as OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E. The usual initial steps to determine the existence of a prima facie case against the five (5) impleaded individuals suspected to be actually involved in the detention of Lourdes have been set in motion. It must be pointed out, though, that the filing 44 of the OMB complaint came before the effectivity of the Amparo Rule on October 24, 2007. Second, Sec. 2245 of the Amparo Rule proscribes the filing of an amparo petition should a criminal action have, in the meanwhile, been commenced. The succeeding Sec. 23,46 on the other hand, provides that when the criminal suit is filed subsequent to a petition for amparo, the petition shall be consolidated with the criminal action where the Amparo Rule shall nonetheless govern the disposition of the relief under the Rule. Under the terms of said Sec. 22, the present petition ought to have been dismissed at the outset. But as things stand, the outright dismissal of the petition by force of that section is no longer technically feasible in light of the interplay of the following factual mix: (1) the Court has, pursuant to Sec. 647 of the Rule, already issued ex parte the writ of amparo; (2) the CA, after a summary hearing, has dismissed the petition, but not on the basis of Sec. 22; and (3) the complaint in OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E named as respondents only those believed to be the actual abductors of Lourdes, while the instant petition impleaded, in addition, those tasked to investigate the kidnapping and detention incidents and their superiors at the top. Yet, the acts and/or omissions subject of the criminal complaint and the amparo petition are so linked as to call for the consolidation of both proceedings to obviate the mischief inherent in a multiplicity-ofsuits situation. Given the above perspective and to fully apply the beneficial nature of the writ of amparo as an inexpensive and effective tool to protect certain rights violated or threatened to be violated, the Court hereby adjusts to a degree the literal application of Secs. 22 and 23 of the Amparo Rule to fittingly address the situation obtaining under the premises. 48 Towards this end, two things are at once indicated: (1) the consolidation of the probe and fact-finding aspects of the instant petition with the investigation of the criminal complaint before the OMB; and (2) the incorporation in the same criminal complaint of the allegations in this petition bearing on the threats to the right to security. Withal, the OMB should be furnished copies of the investigation reports to aid that body in its own investigation and eventual resolution of OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E. Then, too, the OMB shall be given easy access to all pertinent documents and evidence, if any, adduced before the CA. Necessarily, Lourdes, as complainant in OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E, should be allowed, if so minded, to amend her basic criminal complaint if the consolidation of cases is to be fully effective. WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS this petition for review and makes a decision: (1) Affirming the dropping of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from the petition for a writ of amparo;

249 (2) Affirming the dismissal of the amparo case as against Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, and P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon, insofar as it tended, under the command responsibility principle, to attach accountability and responsibility to them, as then AFP Chief of Staff and then PNP Chief, for the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the ensuing harassments allegedly committed against petitioners. The dismissal of the petition with respect to the OMB is also affirmed for failure of the petition to allege ultimate facts as to make out a case against that body for the enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the threats and harassment that followed; and (3) Directing the incumbent Chief of Staff, AFP, or his successor, and the incumbent Director-General of the PNP, or his successor, to ensure that the investigations already commenced by their respective units on the alleged abduction of Lourdes Rubrico and the alleged harassments and threats she and her daughters were made to endure are pursued with extraordinary diligence as required by Sec. 1749 of the Amparo Rule. They shall order their subordinate officials, in particular, to do the following: (a) Determine based on records, past and present, the identities and locations of respondents Maj. Darwin Sy, a.k.a. Darwin Reyes, Jimmy Santana, Ruben Alfaro, Capt. Angelo Cuaresma, and one Jonathan; and submit certifications of this determination to the OMB with copy furnished to petitioners, the CA, and this Court; (b) Pursue with extraordinary diligence the evidentiary leads relating to Maj. Darwin Sy and the Toyota Revo vehicle with Plate No. XRR 428; and (c) Prepare, with the assistance of petitioners and/or witnesses, cartographic sketches of respondents Maj. Sy/Reyes, Jimmy Santana, Ruben Alfaro, Capt. Angelo Cuaresma, and a certain Jonathan to aid in positively identifying and locating them. The investigations shall be completed not later than six (6) months from receipt of this Decision; and within thirty (30) days after completion of the investigations, the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Director-General of the PNP shall submit a full report of the results of the investigations to the Court, the CA, the OMB, and petitioners. This case is accordingly referred back to the CA for the purpose of monitoring the investigations and the actions of the AFP and the PNP. Subject to the foregoing modifications, the Court AFFIRMS the partial judgment dated July 31, 2008 of the CA. SO ORDERED.

250

SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, petitioner, vs. HON. RALPH C. LANTION, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25, and MARK B. JIMENEZ, respondents. RESOLUTION PUNO, J.: On January 18, 2000, by a vote of 9-6, we dismissed the petition at bar and ordered the petitioner to furnish private respondent copies of the extradition request and its supporting papers and to grant him a reasonable period within which to file his comment with supporting evidence.[1] On February 3, 2000, the petitioner timely filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration. He assails the decision on the following grounds: "The majority decision failed to appreciate the following facts and points of substance and of value which, if considered, would alter the result of the case, thus: I. There is a substantial difference between an evaluation process antecedent to the filing of an extradition petition in court and a preliminary investigation. II. Absence of notice and hearing during the evaluation process will not result in a denial of fundamental fairness. III. In the evaluation process, instituting a notice and hearing requirement satisfies no higher objective. IV. The deliberate omission of the notice and hearing requirement in the Philippine Extradition Law is intended to prevent flight.

251 V. There is a need to balance the interest between the discretionary powers of government and the rights of an individual. VI. The instances cited in the assailed majority decision when the twin rights of notice and hearing may be dispensed with in this case results in a non sequitur conclusion. VII. Jimenez is not placed in imminent danger of arrest by the Executive Branch necessitating notice and hearing. VIII. By instituting a 'proceeding' not contemplated by PD No. 1069, the Supreme Court has encroached upon the constitutional boundaries separating it from the other two co-equal branches of government. IX. Bail is not a matter of right in proceedings leading to extradition or in extradition proceedings."[2] On March 28, 2000, a 58-page Comment was filed by the private respondent Mark B. Jimenez, opposing petitioners Urgent Motion for Reconsideration. On April 5, 2000, petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Allow Continuation and Maintenance of Action and Filing of Reply. Thereafter, petitioner filed on June 7, 2000 a Manifestation with the attached Note 327/00 from the Embassy of Canada and Note No. 34 from the Security Bureau of the Hongkong SAR Government Secretariat. On August 15, 2000, private respondent filed a Manifestation and Motion for Leave to File Rejoinder in the event that petitioner's April 5, 2000 Motion would be granted. Private respondent also filed on August 18, 2000, a Motion to Expunge from the records petitioner's June 7, 2000 Manifestation with its attached note verbales. Except for the Motion to Allow Continuation and Maintenance of Action, the Court denies these pending motions and hereby resolves petitioner's Urgent Motion for Reconsideration. The jugular issue is whether or not the private respondent is entitled to the due process right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. We now hold that private respondent is bereft of the right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. First. P.D. No. 1069[3] which implements the RP-US Extradition Treaty provides the time when an extraditee shall be furnished a copy of the petition for extradition as well as its supporting papers, i.e., after the filing of the petition for extradition in the extradition court, viz: "Sec. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing; Service of Notices. - (1) Immediately upon receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as practicable, summon the accused to appear and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order . . . Upon receipt of the answer, or should the accused after having received the summons fail to answer within the time fixed, the presiding judge shall hear the case or set another date for the hearing thereof. (2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be promptly served each upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case."

252 It is of judicial notice that the summons includes the petition for extradition which will be answered by the extraditee. There is no provision in the RP-US Extradition Treaty and in P.D. No. 1069 which gives an extraditee the right to demand from the petitioner Secretary of Justice copies of the extradition request from the US government and its supporting documents and to comment thereon while the request is still undergoing evaluation. We cannot write a provision in the treaty giving private respondent that right where there is none. It is well-settled that a "court cannot alter, amend, or add to a treaty by the insertion of any clause, small or great, or dispense with any of its conditions and requirements or take away any qualification, or integral part of any stipulation, upon any motion of equity, or general convenience, or substantial justice."[4] Second. All treaties, including the RP-US Extradition Treaty, should be interpreted in light of their intent. Nothing less than the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to which the Philippines is a signatory provides that "a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in light of its object and purpose."[5] (emphasis supplied) The preambular paragraphs of P.D. No. 1069 define its intent, viz: "WHEREAS, under the Constitution[,] the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations; WHEREAS, the suppression of crime is the concern not only of the state where it is committed but also of any other state to which the criminal may have escaped, because it saps the foundation of social life and is an outrage upon humanity at large, and it is in the interest of civilized communities that crimes should not go unpunished; WHEREAS, in recognition of this principle the Philippines recently concluded an extradition treaty with the Republic of Indonesia, and intends to conclude similar treaties with other interested countries; x x x." (emphasis supplied) It cannot be gainsaid that today, countries like the Philippines forge extradition treaties to arrest the dramatic rise of international and transnational crimes like terrorism and drug trafficking. Extradition treaties provide the assurance that the punishment of these crimes will not be frustrated by the frontiers of territorial sovereignty. Implicit in the treaties should be the unbending commitment that the perpetrators of these crimes will not be coddled by any signatory state. It ought to follow that the RP-US Extradition Treaty calls for an interpretation that will minimize if not prevent the escape of extraditees from the long arm of the law and expedite their trial. The submission of the private respondent, that as a probable extraditee under the RP-US Extradition Treaty he should be furnished a copy of the US government request for his extradition and its supporting documents even while they are still under evaluation by petitioner Secretary of Justice, does not meet this desideratum. The fear of the petitioner Secretary of Justice that the demanded notice is equivalent to a notice to flee must be deeply rooted on the experience of the

253 executive branch of our government. As it comes from the branch of our government in charge of the faithful execution of our laws, it deserves the careful consideration of this Court. In addition, it cannot be gainsaid that private respondents demand for advance notice can delay the summary process of executive evaluation of the extradition request and its accompanying papers. The foresight of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes did not miss this danger. In 1911, he held: "It is common in extradition cases to attempt to bring to bear all the factitious niceties of a criminal trial at common law. But it is a waste of time . . . if there is presented, even in somewhat untechnical form according to our ideas, such reasonable ground to suppose him guilty as to make it proper that he should be tried, good faith to the demanding government requires his surrender."[6] (emphasis supplied) We erode no right of an extraditee when we do not allow time to stand still on his prosecution. Justice is best served when done without delay. Third. An equally compelling factor to consider is the understanding of the parties themselves to the RP-US Extradition Treaty as well as the general interpretation of the issue in question by other countries with similar treaties with the Philippines. The rule is recognized that while courts have the power to interpret treaties, the meaning given them by the departments of government particularly charged with their negotiation and enforcement is accorded great weight.[7] The reason for the rule is laid down in Santos III v. Northwest Orient Airlines, et al.,[8] where we stressed that a treaty is a joint executive-legislative act which enjoys the presumption that "it was first carefully studied and determined to be constitutional before it was adopted and given the force of law in the country." Our executive department of government, thru the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), has steadfastly maintained that the RP-US Extradition Treaty and P.D. No. 1069 do not grant the private respondent a right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of an extradition process.[9] This understanding of the treaty is shared by the US government, the other party to the treaty.[10] This interpretation by the two governments cannot be given scant significance. It will be presumptuous for the Court to assume that both governments did not understand the terms of the treaty they concluded. Yet, this is not all. Other countries with similar extradition treaties with the Philippines have expressed the same interpretation adopted by the Philippine and US governments. Canadian[11] and Hongkong[12] authorities, thru appropriate note verbales communicated to our Department of Foreign Affairs, stated in unequivocal language that it is not an international practice to afford a potential extraditee with a copy of the extradition papers during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. We cannot disregard such a convergence of views unless it is manifestly erroneous. Fourth. Private respondent, however, peddles the postulate that he must be afforded the right to notice and hearing as required by our Constitution. He buttresses his position by likening an extradition proceeding to a criminal proceeding and the evaluation stage to a preliminary investigation. We are not persuaded. An extradition proceeding is sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which will call into operation all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. To begin with, the process of extradition does not involve the determination of the

254 guilt or innocence of an accused.[13] His guilt or innocence will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited. Hence, as a rule, constitutional rights that are only relevant to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused cannot be invoked by an extraditee especially by one whose extradition papers are still undergoing evaluation.[14] As held by the US Supreme Court in United States v. Galanis: "An extradition proceeding is not a criminal prosecution, and the constitutional safeguards that accompany a criminal trial in this country do not shield an accused from extradition pursuant to a valid treaty."[15] There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal proceeding. An extradition proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a full-blown trial. [16] In contradistinction to a criminal proceeding, the rules of evidence in an extradition proceeding allow admission of evidence under less stringent standards.[17] In terms of the quantum of evidence to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof beyond reasonable doubt for conviction [18] while a fugitive may be ordered extradited "upon showing of the existence of a prima facie case."[19] Finally, unlike in a criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered final, in an extradition proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the President has the final discretion to extradite him.[20] The United States adheres to a similar practice whereby the Secretary of State exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the case and the demands of the nation's foreign relations before making the ultimate decision to extradite.[21] As an extradition proceeding is not criminal in character and the evaluation stage in an extradition proceeding is not akin to a preliminary investigation, the due process safeguards in the latter do not necessarily apply to the former. This we hold for the procedural due process required by a given set of circumstances "must begin with a determination of the precise nature of the government function involved as well as the private interest that has been affected by governmental action."[22] The concept of due process is flexible for "not all situations calling for procedural safeguards call for the same kind of procedure."[23] Fifth. Private respondent would also impress upon the Court the urgency of his right to notice and hearing considering the alleged threat to his liberty "which may be more priceless than life."[24] The supposed threat to private respondents liberty is perceived to come from several provisions of the RP-US Extradition Treaty and P.D. No. 1069 which allow provisional arrest and temporary detention. We first deal with provisional arrest. The RP-US Extradition Treaty provides as follows: "PROVISIONAL ARREST 1. In case of urgency, a Contracting Party may request the provisional arrest of the person sought pending presentation of the request for extradition. A request for provisional arrest may be transmitted through the diplomatic channel or directly between the Philippine Department of Justice and the United States Department of Justice. 2. The application for provisional arrest shall contain:

255 a) a description of the person sought; b) the location of the person sought, if known; c) a brief statement of the facts of the case, including, if possible, the time and location of the offense; d) a description of the laws violated; e) a statement of the existence of a warrant of arrest or finding of guilt or judgment of conviction against the person sought; and f) a statement that a request for extradition for the person sought will follow. 3. The Requesting State shall be notified without delay of the disposition of its application and the reasons for any denial. 4. A person who is provisionally arrested may be discharged from custody upon the expiration of sixty (60) days from the date of arrest pursuant to this Treaty if the executive authority of the Requested State has not received the formal request for extradition and the supporting documents required in Article 7." (emphasis supplied) In relation to the above, Section 20 of P.D. No. 1069 provides: "Sec. 20. Provisional Arrest.- (a) In case of urgency, the requesting state may, pursuant to the relevant treaty or convention and while the same remains in force, request for the provisional arrest of the accused, pending receipt of the request for extradition made in accordance with Section 4 of this Decree. (b) A request for provisional arrest shall be sent to the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, Manila, either through the diplomatic channels or direct by post or telegraph. (c) The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation or any official acting on his behalf shall upon receipt of the request immediately secure a warrant for the provisional arrest of the accused from the presiding judge of the Court of First Instance of the province or city having jurisdiction of the place, who shall issue the warrant for the provisional arrest of the accused. The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation through the Secretary of Foreign Affairs shall inform the requesting state of the result of its request. (d) If within a period of 20 days after the provisional arrest the Secretary of Foreign Affairs has not received the request for extradition and the documents mentioned in Section 4 of this Decree, the accused shall be released from custody." (emphasis supplied) Both the RP-US Extradition Treaty and P.D. No. 1069 clearly provide that private respondent may be provisionally arrested only pending receipt of the request for extradition. Our DFA has long received the extradition request from the United States and has turned it over to the DOJ. It is undisputed that until today, the United States has not requested for private respondents provisional arrest. Therefore, the threat to private respondents liberty has passed. It is more imagined than real.

256 Nor can the threat to private respondents liberty come from Section 6 of P.D. No. 1069, which provides: "Sec. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing, Service of Notices.- (1) Immediately upon receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as practicable, summon the accused to appear and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order. [H]e may issue a warrant for the immediate arrest of the accused which may be served anywhere within the Philippines if it appears to the presiding judge that the immediate arrest and temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of justice. . . (2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be promptly served each upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case." (emphasis supplied) It is evident from the above provision that a warrant of arrest for the temporary detention of the accused pending the extradition hearing may only be issued by the presiding judge of the extradition court upon filing of the petition for extradition. As the extradition process is still in the evaluation stage of pertinent documents and there is no certainty that a petition for extradition will be filed in the appropriate extradition court, the threat to private respondents liberty is merely hypothetical. Sixth. To be sure, private respondents plea for due process deserves serious consideration involving as it does his primordial right to liberty. His plea to due process, however, collides with important state interests which cannot also be ignored for they serve the interest of the greater majority. The clash of rights demands a delicate balancing of interests approach which is a "fundamental postulate of constitutional law."[25] The approach requires that we "take conscious and detailed consideration of the interplay of interests observable in a given situation or type of situation."[26] These interests usually consist in the exercise by an individual of his basic freedoms on the one hand, and the governments promotion of fundamental public interest or policy objectives on the other.[27] In the case at bar, on one end of the balancing pole is the private respondents claim to due process predicated on Section 1, Article III of the Constitution, which provides that "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law . . ." Without a bubble of doubt, procedural due process of law lies at the foundation of a civilized society which accords paramount importance to justice and fairness. It has to be accorded the weight it deserves. This brings us to the other end of the balancing pole. Petitioner avers that the Court should give more weight to our national commitment under the RP-US Extradition Treaty to expedite the extradition to the United States of persons charged with violation of some of its laws. Petitioner also emphasizes the need to defer to the judgment of the Executive on matters relating to foreign affairs in order not to weaken if not violate the principle of separation of powers. Considering that in the case at bar, the extradition proceeding is only at its evaluation stage, the nature of the right being claimed by the private respondent isnebulous and the degree of prejudice he will allegedly suffer is weak, we accord greater weight to the interests espoused by the government thru the petitioner Secretary of Justice. In Angara v. Electoral Commission, we held that the "Constitution has blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial

257 departments of the government."[28] Under our constitutional scheme, executive power is vested in the President of the Philippines.[29] Executive power includes, among others, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans and the power to enter into treaties or international agreements.[30] The task of safeguarding that these treaties are duly honored devolves upon the executive department which has the competence and authority to so act in the international arena.[31] It is traditionally held that the President has power and even supremacy over the countrys foreign relations.[32] The executive department is aptly accorded deference on matters of foreign relations considering the Presidents most comprehensive and most confidential information about the international scene of which he is regularly briefed by our diplomatic and consular officials. His access to ultra-sensitive military intelligence data is also unlimited.[33] The deference we give to the executive department is dictated by the principle of separation of powers. This principle is one of the cornerstones of our democratic government. It cannot be eroded without endangering our government. The Philippines also has a national interest to help in suppressing crimes and one way to do it is to facilitate the extradition of persons covered by treaties duly entered by our government. More and more, crimes are becoming the concern of one world. Laws involving crimes and crime prevention are undergoing universalization. One manifest purpose of this trend towards globalization is to deny easy refuge to a criminal whose activities threaten the peace and progress of civilized countries. It is to the great interest of the Philippines to be part of this irreversible movement in light of its vulnerability to crimes, especially transnational crimes. In tilting the balance in favor of the interests of the State, the Court stresses that it is not ruling that the private respondent has no right to due process at all throughout the length and breadth of the extrajudicial proceedings. Procedural due process requires a determination of what process is due, when it is due, and the degree of what is due. Stated otherwise, a prior determination should be made as to whether procedural protections are at all due and when they are due, which in turn depends on the extent to which an individual will be "condemned to suffer grievous loss."[34] We have explained why an extraditee has no right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. As aforesaid, P.D. No. 1069 which implements the RP-US Extradition Treaty affords an extraditee sufficient opportunity to meet the evidence against him once the petition is filed in court. The time for the extraditee to know the basis of the request for his extradition is merely moved to the filing in court of the formal petition for extradition. The extraditee's right to know is momentarily withheld during the evaluation stage of the extradition process to accommodate the more compelling interest of the State to prevent escape of potential extraditees which can be precipitated by premature information of the basis of the request for his extradition. No less compelling at that stage of the extradition proceedings is the need to be more deferential to the judgment of a co-equal branch of the government, the Executive, which has been endowed by our Constitution with greater power over matters involving our foreign relations. Needless to state, this balance of interests is not a static but a moving balance which can be adjusted as the extradition process moves from the administrative stage to the judicial stage and to the execution stage depending on factors that will come into play. In sum, we rule that thetemporary hold on private respondent's privilege of notice and hearing is a soft restraint on his right to due process which will not deprive him of fundamental fairness should he decide to resist the request for his extradition to the United States. There is no denial of due process as long as fundamental fairness is assured a party. We end where we began. A myopic interpretation of the due process clause would not suffice to resolve the conflicting rights in the case at bar. With the global village shrinking at a rapid pace,

258 propelled as it is by technological leaps in transportation and communication, we need to push further back our horizons and work with the rest of the civilized nations and move closer to the universal goals of "peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations."[35] In the end, it is the individual who will reap the harvest of peace and prosperity from these efforts. WHEREFORE, the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration is GRANTED. The Decision in the case at bar promulgated on January18, 2000 is REVERSED. The assailed Order issued by the public respondent judge on August 9, 1999 is SET ASIDE. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on August 17, 1999 is made PERMANENT. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 25 is enjoined from conducting further proceedings in Civil Case No. 99-94684. SO ORDERED.

259

G.R. No. 118295 May 2, 1997 WIGBERTO E. TAADA and ANNA DOMINIQUE COSETENG, as members of the Philippine Senate and as taxpayers; GREGORIO ANDOLANA and JOKER ARROYO as members of the House of Representatives and as taxpayers; NICANOR P. PERLAS and HORACIO R. MORALES, both as taxpayers; CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, NATIONAL ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM ASSOCIATION, CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES, LIKAS-KAYANG KAUNLARAN FOUNDATION, INC., PHILIPPINE RURAL RECONSTRUCTION MOVEMENT, DEMOKRATIKONG KILUSAN NG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS, INC., and PHILIPPINE PEASANT INSTITUTE, in representation of various taxpayers and as non-governmental organizations, petitioners, vs.

260 EDGARDO ANGARA, ALBERTO ROMULO, LETICIA RAMOS-SHAHANI, HEHERSON ALVAREZ, AGAPITO AQUINO, RODOLFO BIAZON, NEPTALI GONZALES, ERNESTO HERRERA, JOSE LINA, GLORIA. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, ORLANDO MERCADO, BLAS OPLE, JOHN OSMEA, SANTANINA RASUL, RAMON REVILLA, RAUL ROCO, FRANCISCO TATAD and FREDDIE WEBB, in their respective capacities as members of the Philippine Senate who concurred in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization; SALVADOR ENRIQUEZ, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management; CARIDAD VALDEHUESA, in her capacity as National Treasurer; RIZALINO NAVARRO, in his capacity as Secretary of Trade and Industry; ROBERTO SEBASTIAN, in his capacity as Secretary of Agriculture; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance; ROBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.: The emergence on January 1, 1995 of the World Trade Organization, abetted by the membership thereto of the vast majority of countries has revolutionized international business and economic relations amongst states. It has irreversibly propelled the world towards trade liberalization and economic globalization. Liberalization, globalization, deregulation and privatization, the thirdmillennium buzz words, are ushering in a new borderless world of business by sweeping away as mere historical relics the heretofore traditional modes of promoting and protecting national economies like tariffs, export subsidies, import quotas, quantitative restrictions, tax exemptions and currency controls. Finding market niches and becoming the best in specific industries in a market-driven and export-oriented global scenario are replacing age-old "beggar-thy-neighbor" policies that unilaterally protect weak and inefficient domestic producers of goods and services. In the words of Peter Drucker, the well-known management guru, "Increased participation in the world economy has become the key to domestic economic growth and prosperity." Brief Historical Background To hasten worldwide recovery from the devastation wrought by the Second World War, plans for the establishment of three multilateral institutions inspired by that grand political body, the United Nations were discussed at Dumbarton Oaks and Bretton Woods. The first was the World Bank (WB) which was to address the rehabilitation and reconstruction of war-ravaged and later developing countries; the second, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which was to deal with currency problems; and the third, the International Trade Organization (ITO), which was to foster order and predictability in world trade and to minimize unilateral protectionist policies that invite challenge, even retaliation, from other states. However, for a variety of reasons, including its nonratification by the United States, the ITO, unlike the IMF and WB, never took off. What remained was only GATT the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was a collection of treaties governing access to the economies of treaty adherents with no institutionalized body administering the agreements or dependable system of dispute settlement.

261 After half a century and several dizzying rounds of negotiations, principally the Kennedy Round, the Tokyo Round and the Uruguay Round, the world finally gave birth to that administering body the World Trade Organization with the signing of the "Final Act" in Marrakesh, Morocco and the ratification of the WTO Agreement by its members. 1 Like many other developing countries, the Philippines joined WTO as a founding member with the goal, as articulated by President Fidel V. Ramos in two letters to the Senate (infra), of improving "Philippine access to foreign markets, especially its major trading partners, through the reduction of tariffs on its exports, particularly agricultural and industrial products." The President also saw in the WTO the opening of "new opportunities for the services sector . . . , (the reduction of) costs and uncertainty associated with exporting . . . , and (the attraction of) more investments into the country." Although the Chief Executive did not expressly mention it in his letter, the Philippines and this is of special interest to the legal profession will benefit from the WTO system of dispute settlement by judicial adjudication through the independent WTO settlement bodies called (1) Dispute Settlement Panels and (2) Appellate Tribunal. Heretofore, trade disputes were settled mainly through negotiations where solutions were arrived at frequently on the basis of relative bargaining strengths, and where naturally, weak and underdeveloped countries were at a disadvantage. The Petition in Brief Arguing mainly (1) that the WTO requires the Philippines "to place nationals and products of member-countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products" and (2) that the WTO "intrudes, limits and/or impairs" the constitutional powers of both Congress and the Supreme Court, the instant petition before this Court assails the WTO Agreement for violating the mandate of the 1987 Constitution to "develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos . . . (to) give preference to qualified Filipinos (and to) promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods." Simply stated, does the Philippine Constitution prohibit Philippine participation in worldwide trade liberalization and economic globalization? Does it proscribe Philippine integration into a global economy that is liberalized, deregulated and privatized? These are the main questions raised in this petition for certiorari, prohibition andmandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court praying (1) for the nullification, on constitutional grounds, of the concurrence of the Philippine Senate in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement, for brevity) and (2) for the prohibition of its implementation and enforcement through the release and utilization of public funds, the assignment of public officials and employees, as well as the use of government properties and resources by respondent-heads of various executive offices concerned therewith. This concurrence is embodied in Senate Resolution No. 97, dated December 14, 1994. The Facts On April 15, 1994, Respondent Rizalino Navarro, then Secretary of The Department of Trade and Industry (Secretary Navarro, for brevity), representing the Government of the Republic of the

262 Philippines, signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, the Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations (Final Act, for brevity). By signing the Final Act, 2 Secretary Navarro on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, agreed: (a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities, with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and (b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions. On August 12, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received a letter dated August 11, 1994 from the President of the Philippines, 3 stating among others that "the Uruguay Round Final Act is hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution." On August 13, 1994, the members of the Philippine Senate received another letter from the President of the Philippines 4 likewise dated August 11, 1994, which stated among others that "the Uruguay Round Final Act, the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services are hereby submitted to the Senate for its concurrence pursuant to Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution." On December 9, 1994, the President of the Philippines certified the necessity of the immediate adoption of P.S. 1083, a resolution entitled "Concurring in the Ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization." 5 On December 14, 1994, the Philippine Senate adopted Resolution No. 97 which "Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that the Senate concur, as it hereby concurs, in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization." 6 The text of the WTO Agreement is written on pages 137et seq. of Volume I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and includes various agreements and associated legal instruments (identified in the said Agreement as Annexes 1, 2 and 3 thereto and collectively referred to as Multilateral Trade Agreements, for brevity) as follows: ANNEX 1 Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreement on Trade in Goods General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 Agreement on Agriculture Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement on Textiles and Clothing Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of he

263 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the General on Tariffs and Trade 1994 Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection Agreement on Rules of Origin Agreement on Imports Licensing Procedures Agreement on Subsidies and Coordinating Measures Agreement on Safeguards Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in Services and Annexes Annex 1C: Agreement Property Rights ANNEX 2 Understanding on Rules the Settlement of Disputes ANNEX 3 Trade Policy Review Mechanism On December 16, 1994, the President of the Philippines signed 7 the Instrument of Ratification, declaring: NOW THEREFORE, be it known that I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, after having seen and considered the aforementioned Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts thereof, signed at Marrakesh, Morocco on 15 April 1994, do hereby ratify and confirm the same and every Article and Clause thereof. To emphasize, the WTO Agreement ratified by the President of the Philippines is composed of the Agreement Proper and "the associated legal instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that Agreement which are integral parts thereof." On the other hand, the Final Act signed by Secretary Navarro embodies not only the WTO Agreement (and its integral annexes aforementioned) but also (1) the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions and (2) the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. In his Memorandum dated May 13, 1996, 8 the Solicitor General describes these two latter documents as follows: and Procedures Governing on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual

264 The Ministerial Decisions and Declarations are twenty-five declarations and decisions on a wide range of matters, such as measures in favor of least developed countries, notification procedures, relationship of WTO with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and agreements on technical barriers to trade and on dispute settlement. The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services dwell on, among other things, standstill or limitations and qualifications of commitments to existing nonconforming measures, market access, national treatment, and definitions of nonresident supplier of financial services, commercial presence and new financial service. On December 29, 1994, the present petition was filed. After careful deliberation on respondents' comment and petitioners' reply thereto, the Court resolved on December 12, 1995, to give due course to the petition, and the parties thereafter filed their respective memoranda. The court also requested the Honorable Lilia R. Bautista, the Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, to submit a paper, hereafter referred to as "Bautista Paper," 9 for brevity, (1) providing a historical background of and (2) summarizing the said agreements. During the Oral Argument held on August 27, 1996, the Court directed: (a) the petitioners to submit the (1) Senate Committee Report on the matter in controversy and (2) the transcript of proceedings/hearings in the Senate; and (b) the Solicitor General, as counsel for respondents, to file (1) a list of Philippine treaties signed prior to the Philippine adherence to the WTO Agreement, which derogate from Philippine sovereignty and (2) copies of the multi-volume WTO Agreement and other documents mentioned in the Final Act, as soon as possible. After receipt of the foregoing documents, the Court said it would consider the case submitted for resolution. In a Compliance dated September 16, 1996, the Solicitor General submitted a printed copy of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, and in another Compliance dated October 24, 1996, he listed the various "bilateral or multilateral treaties or international instruments involving derogation of Philippine sovereignty." Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted their Compliance dated January 28, 1997, on January 30, 1997. The Issues In their Memorandum dated March 11, 1996, petitioners summarized the issues as follows: A. Whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable. B. Whether the petitioner members of the Senate who participated in the deliberations and voting leading to the concurrence are estopped from impugning the validity of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization or of the validity of the concurrence.

265 C. Whether the provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization contravene the provisions of Sec. 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, all of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. D. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization unduly limit, restrict and impair Philippine sovereignty specifically the legislative power which, under Sec. 2, Article VI, 1987 Philippine Constitution is "vested in the Congress of the Philippines"; E. Whether provisions of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization interfere with the exercise of judicial power. F. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the constitutionally-infirm Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. G. Whether the respondent members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when they concurred only in the ratification of the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, and not with the Presidential submission which included the Final Act, Ministerial Declaration and Decisions, and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. On the other hand, the Solicitor General as counsel for respondents "synthesized the several issues raised by petitioners into the following": 10 1. Whether or not the provisions of the "Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the Agreements and Associated Legal Instruments included in Annexes one (1), two (2) and three (3) of that agreement" cited by petitioners directly contravene or undermine the letter, spirit and intent of Section 19, Article II and Sections 10 and 12, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. 2. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement unduly limit, restrict or impair the exercise of legislative power by Congress. 3. Whether or not certain provisions of the Agreement impair the exercise of judicial power by this Honorable Court in promulgating the rules of evidence. 4. Whether or not the concurrence of the Senate "in the ratification by the President of the Philippines of the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization" implied rejection of the treaty embodied in the Final Act. By raising and arguing only four issues against the seven presented by petitioners, the Solicitor General has effectively ignored three, namely: (1) whether the petition presents a political question or is otherwise not justiciable; (2) whether petitioner-members of the Senate (Wigberto E. Taada

266 and Anna Dominique Coseteng) are estopped from joining this suit; and (3) whether the respondent-members of the Senate acted in grave abuse of discretion when they voted for concurrence in the ratification of the WTO Agreement. The foregoing notwithstanding, this Court resolved to deal with these three issues thus: (1) The "political question" issue being very fundamental and vital, and being a matter that probes into the very jurisdiction of this Court to hear and decide this case was deliberated upon by the Court and will thus be ruled upon as the first issue; (2) The matter of estoppel will not be taken up because this defense is waivable and the respondents have effectively waived it by not pursuing it in any of their pleadings; in any event, this issue, even if ruled in respondents' favor, will not cause the petition's dismissal as there are petitioners other than the two senators, who are not vulnerable to the defense of estoppel; and (3) The issue of alleged grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent senators will be taken up as an integral part of the disposition of the four issues raised by the Solicitor General. During its deliberations on the case, the Court noted that the respondents did not question the locus standi of petitioners. Hence, they are also deemed to have waived the benefit of such issue. They probably realized that grave constitutional issues, expenditures of public funds and serious international commitments of the nation are involved here, and that transcendental public interest requires that the substantive issues be met head on and decided on the merits, rather than skirted or deflected by procedural matters. 11 To recapitulate, the issues that will be ruled upon shortly are: (1) DOES THE PETITION PRESENT A JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY? OTHERWISE STATED, DOES THE PETITION INVOLVE A POLITICAL QUESTION OVER WHICH THIS COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION? (2) DO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS THREE ANNEXES CONTRAVENE SEC. 19, ARTICLE II, AND SECS. 10 AND 12, ARTICLE XII, OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION? (3) DO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES LIMIT, RESTRICT, OR IMPAIR THE EXERCISE OF LEGISLATIVE POWER BY CONGRESS? (4) DO SAID PROVISIONS UNDULY IMPAIR OR INTERFERE WITH THE EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL POWER BY THIS COURT IN PROMULGATING RULES ON EVIDENCE? (5) WAS THE CONCURRENCE OF THE SENATE IN THE WTO AGREEMENT AND ITS ANNEXES SUFFICIENT AND/OR VALID, CONSIDERING THAT IT DID NOT INCLUDE THE FINAL ACT,

267 MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND DECISIONS, AND UNDERSTANDING ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES? The First Issue: Have Jurisdiction Over the Controversy? Does the THE Court

In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. "The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld." 12 Once a "controversy as to the application or interpretation of a constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide." 13 The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters 14 raised in the petition is clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution, 15 as follows: Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. The foregoing text emphasizes the judicial department's duty and power to strike down grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government including Congress. It is an innovation in our political law. 16 As explained by former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, 17 "the judiciary is the final arbiter on the question of whether or not a branch of government or any of its officials has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or so capriciously as to constitute an abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. This is not only a judicial power but a duty to pass judgment on matters of this nature." As this Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases, 18 it will not shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution in matters that involve grave abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases, committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the government. As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that this petition should be given due course and the vital questions raised therein ruled upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, certiorari, prohibition andmandamus are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we have no equivocation. We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this petition, this Court will not review the wisdom of the decision of the President and the Senate in enlisting the country into the WTO,

268 or pass upon the merits of trade liberalization as a policy espoused by said international body. Neither will it rule on the propriety of the government's economic policy of reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies, quantitative restrictions, and other import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only exercise its constitutional duty "to determine whether or not there had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in ratifying the WTO Agreement and its three annexes. Second Issue: and Economic Nationalism The WTO Agreement

This is the lis mota, the main issue, raised by the petition. Petitioners vigorously argue that the "letter, spirit and intent" of the Constitution mandating "economic nationalism" are violated by the so-called "parity provisions" and "national treatment" clauses scattered in various parts not only of the WTO Agreement and its annexes but also in the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations and in the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. Specifically, the "flagship" constitutional provisions referred to are Sec 19, Article II, and Secs. 10 and 12, Article XII, of the Constitution, which are worded as follows: Article II DECLARATION AND STATE POLICIES xxx xxx xxx Sec. 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos. xxx xxx xxx Article XII NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY xxx xxx xxx Sec. 10. . . . The Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the formation and operation of enterprises whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos. In the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos. xxx xxx xxx OF PRINCIPLES

269 Sec. 12. The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt measures that help make them competitive. Petitioners aver that these sacred constitutional principles are desecrated by the following WTO provisions quoted in their memorandum: 19 a) In the area of investment measures related to trade in goods (TRIMS, for brevity): Article 2 National Treatment and Quantitative Restrictions. 1. Without prejudice to other rights and obligations under GATT 1994, no Member shall apply any TRIM that is inconsistent with the provisions of Article II or Article XI of GATT 1994. 2. An illustrative list of TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in paragraph I of Article XI of GATT 1994 is contained in the Annex to this Agreement." (Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p. 22121, emphasis supplied). The Annex referred to reads as follows: ANNEX Illustrative List 1. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligation of national treatment provided for in paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic law or under administrative rulings, or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which require: (a) the purchase or use by an enterprise of products of domestic origin or from any domestic source, whether specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of proportion of volume or value of its local production; or (b) that an enterprise's purchases or use of imported products be limited to an amount related to the volume or value of local products that it exports.

270 2. TRIMS that are inconsistent with the obligations of general elimination of quantitative restrictions provided for in paragraph 1 of Article XI of GATT 1994 include those which are mandatory or enforceable under domestic laws or under administrative rulings, or compliance with which is necessary to obtain an advantage, and which restrict: (a) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to the local production that it exports; (b) the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to its local production by restricting its access to foreign exchange inflows attributable to the enterprise; or (c) the exportation or sale for export specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of a preparation of volume or value of its local production. (Annex to the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures, Vol. 27, Uruguay Round Legal Documents, p. 22125, emphasis supplied). The paragraph 4 of Article III of GATT 1994 referred to is quoted as follows: The products of the territory of any contracting party imported into the territory of any other contracting party shall be accorded treatment no less favorable than that accorded to like products of national origin in respect of laws, regulations and requirements affecting their internal sale, offering for sale, purchase, transportation, distribution or use, the provisions of this paragraph shall not prevent the application of differential internal transportation charges which are based exclusively on the economic operation of the means of transport and not on the nationality of the product." (Article III, GATT 1947, as amended by the Protocol Modifying Part II, and Article XXVI of GATT, 14 September 1948, 62 UMTS 82-84 in relation to paragraph 1(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, Vol. 1, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments p. 177, emphasis supplied). (b) In the area of trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS, for brevity): Each Member shall accord to the nationals of other Members treatment no less favourable than that it accords to its own nationals with regard to the protection of intellectual property. . . (par. 1 Article 3, Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property rights, Vol. 31, Uruguay Round, Legal Instruments, p. 25432 (emphasis supplied)

271 (c) In the area of the General Agreement on Trade in Services: National Treatment 1. In the sectors inscribed in its schedule, and subject to any conditions and qualifications set out therein, each Member shall accord to services and service suppliers of any other Member, in respect of all measures affecting the supply of services, treatment no less favourable than it accords to its own like services and service suppliers. 2. A Member may meet the requirement of paragraph I by according to services and service suppliers of any other Member, either formally suppliers of any other Member, either formally identical treatment or formally different treatment to that it accords to its own like services and service suppliers. 3. Formally identical or formally different treatment shall be considered to be less favourable if it modifies the conditions of completion in favour of services or service suppliers of the Member compared to like services or service suppliers of any other Member. (Article XVII, General Agreement on Trade in Services, Vol. 28, Uruguay Round Legal Instruments, p. 22610 emphasis supplied). It is petitioners' position that the foregoing "national treatment" and "parity provisions" of the WTO Agreement "place nationals and products of member countries on the same footing as Filipinos and local products," in contravention of the "Filipino First" policy of the Constitution. They allegedly render meaningless the phrase "effectively controlled by Filipinos." The constitutional conflict becomes more manifest when viewed in the context of the clear duty imposed on the Philippines as a WTO member to ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed agreements. 20 Petitioners further argue that these provisions contravene constitutional limitations on the role exports play in national development and negate the preferential treatment accorded to Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods. On the other hand, respondents through the Solicitor General counter (1) that such Charter provisions are not self-executing and merely set out general policies; (2) that these nationalistic portions of the Constitution invoked by petitioners should not be read in isolation but should be related to other relevant provisions of Art. XII, particularly Secs. 1 and 13 thereof; (3) that read properly, the cited WTO clauses do not conflict with Constitution; and (4) that the WTO Agreement contains sufficient provisions to protect developing countries like the Philippines from the harshness of sudden trade liberalization. We shall now discuss and rule on these arguments.

272 Declaration Not Self-Executing of Principles

By its very title, Article II of the Constitution is a "declaration of principles and state policies." The counterpart of this article in the 1935 Constitution 21 is called the "basic political creed of the nation" by Dean Vicente Sinco. 22These principles in Article II are not intended to be selfexecuting principles ready for enforcement through the courts. 23 They are used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of its power of judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. As held in the leading case of Kilosbayan, Incorporated vs. Morato, 24 the principles and state policies enumerated in Article II and some sections of Article XII are not "selfexecuting provisions, the disregard of which can give rise to a cause of action in the courts. They do not embody judicially enforceable constitutional rights but guidelines for legislation." In the same light, we held in Basco vs. Pagcor 25 that broad constitutional principles need legislative enactments to implement the, thus: On petitioners' allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11 (Personal Dignity) 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II; Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also that these are merely statements of principles and policies. As such, they are basically not self-executing, meaning a law should be passed by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principles. In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be self-executing principles ready for enforcement through the courts. They were rather directives addressed to the executive and to the legislature. If the executive and the legislature failed to heed the directives of the article, the available remedy was not judicial but political. The electorate could express their displeasure with the failure of the executive and the legislature through the language of the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2). The reasons for denying a cause of action to an alleged infringement of board constitutional principles are sourced from basic considerations of due process and the lack of judicial authority to wade "into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy making." Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his concurring opinion inOposa vs. Factoran, Jr., 26 explained these reasons as follows: My suggestion is simply that petitioners must, before the trial court, show a more specific legal right a right cast in language of a significantly lower order of generality than Article II (15) of the Constitution that is or may be violated by the actions, or failures to act, imputed to the public respondent by petitioners so that the trial court can validly render judgment grating all or part of the relief prayed for. To my mind, the court should be understood as simply saying that such a more specific legal right or rights may well exist in our corpus of law, considering the general policy principles found in the Constitution and the existence of the Philippine Environment Code, and that the trial court should have given petitioners

273 an effective opportunity so to demonstrate, instead of aborting the proceedings on a motion to dismiss. It seems to me important that the legal right which is an essential component of a cause of action be a specific, operable legal right, rather than a constitutional or statutory policy, for at least two (2) reasons. One is that unless the legal right claimed to have been violated or disregarded is given specification in operational terms, defendants may well be unable to defend themselves intelligently and effectively; in other words, there are due process dimensions to this matter. The second is a broader-gauge consideration where a specific violation of law or applicable regulation is not alleged or proved, petitioners can be expected to fall back on the expanded conception of judicial power in the second paragraph of Section 1 of Article VIII of the Constitution which reads: Sec. 1. . . . Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. (Emphasis supplied) When substantive standards as general as "the right to a balanced and healthy ecology" and "the right to health" are combined with remedial standards as broad ranging as "a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction," the result will be, it is respectfully submitted, to propel courts into the uncharted ocean of social and economic policy making. At least in respect of the vast area of environmental protection and management, our courts have no claim to special technical competence and experience and professional qualification. Where no specific, operable norms and standards are shown to exist, then the policy making departments the legislative and executive departments must be given a real and effective opportunity to fashion and promulgate those norms and standards, and to implement them before the courts should intervene. Economic Nationalism Other Constitutional Balanced Development of Economy Should Mandates Be to Read with Attain

On the other hand, Secs. 10 and 12 of Article XII, apart from merely laying down general principles relating to the national economy and patrimony, should be read and understood in relation to the other sections in said article, especially Secs. 1 and 13 thereof which read: Sec. 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and

274 services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the underprivileged. The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices. In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. . . . xxx xxx xxx Sec. 13. The State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, Sec. 1 lays down the basic goals of national economic development, as follows: 1. A more equitable distribution of opportunities, income and wealth; 2. A sustained increase in the amount of goods and services provided by the nation for the benefit of the people; and 3. An expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all especially the underprivileged. With these goals in context, the Constitution then ordains the ideals of economic nationalism (1) by expressing preference in favor of qualified Filipinos "in the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony" 27 and in the use of "Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally-produced goods"; (2) by mandating the State to "adopt measures that help make them competitive; 28 and (3) by requiring the State to "develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos." 29 In similar language, the Constitution takes into account the realities of the outside world as it requires the pursuit of "a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality ad reciprocity"; 30 and speaks of industries "which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets" as well as of the protection of "Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices." It is true that in the recent case of Manila Prince Hotel vs. Government Service Insurance System, et al., 31 this Court held that "Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory, positive command which is complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or implementing laws or rule for its enforcement. From its very words the provision does not require

275 any legislation to put it in operation. It is per se judicially enforceable." However, as the constitutional provision itself states, it is enforceable only in regard to "the grants of rights, privileges and concessions covering national economy and patrimony" and not to every aspect of trade and commerce. It refers to exceptions rather than the rule. The issue here is not whether this paragraph of Sec. 10 of Art. XII is self-executing or not. Rather, the issue is whether, as a rule, there are enough balancing provisions in the Constitution to allow the Senate to ratify the Philippine concurrence in the WTO Agreement. And we hold that there are. All told, while the Constitution indeed mandates a bias in favor of Filipino goods, services, labor and enterprises, at the same time, it recognizes the need for business exchange with the rest of the world on the bases of equality and reciprocity and limits protection of Filipino enterprises only against foreign competition and trade practices that are unfair. 32 In other words, the Constitution did not intend to pursue an isolationist policy. It did not shut out foreign investments, goods and services in the development of the Philippine economy. While the Constitution does not encourage the unlimited entry of foreign goods, services and investments into the country, it does not prohibit them either. In fact, it allows an exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity, frowning only on foreign competition that is unfair. WTO Protect Weak Economies Recognizes Need to

Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that the WTO itself has some built-in advantages to protect weak and developing economies, which comprise the vast majority of its members. Unlike in the UN where major states have permanent seats and veto powers in the Security Council, in the WTO, decisions are made on the basis of sovereign equality, with each member's vote equal in weight to that of any other. There is no WTO equivalent of the UN Security Council. WTO decides by consensus whenever possible, otherwise, decisions of the Ministerial Conference and the General Council shall be taken by the majority of the votes cast, except in cases of interpretation of the Agreement or waiver of the obligation of a member which would require three fourths vote. Amendments would require two thirds vote in general. Amendments to MFN provisions and the Amendments provision will require assent of all members. Any member may withdraw from the Agreement upon the expiration of six months from the date of notice of withdrawals. 33 Hence, poor countries can protect their common interests more effectively through the WTO than through one-on-one negotiations with developed countries. Within the WTO, developing countries can form powerful blocs to push their economic agenda more decisively than outside the Organization. This is not merely a matter of practical alliances but a negotiating strategy rooted in law. Thus, the basic principles underlying the WTO Agreement recognize the need of developing countries like the Philippines to "share in the growth in international tradecommensurate with the needs of their economic development." These basic principles are found in the preamble34 of the WTO Agreement as follows: The Parties to this Agreement,

276 Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour should be conducted with a view to raising standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, and expanding the production of and trade in goods and services, while allowing for the optimal use of the world's resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development, seeking both to protect and preserve the environment and to enhance the means for doing so in a manner consistent with their respective needs and concerns at different levels of economic development, Recognizing further that there is need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries, and especially the least developed among them, secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development, Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and to the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international trade relations, Resolved, therefore, to develop an integrated, more viable and durable multilateral trading system encompassing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the results of past trade liberalization efforts, and all of the results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, Determined to preserve the basic principles and to further the objectives underlying this multilateral trading system, . . . (emphasis supplied.) Specific Protect Developing Countries WTO Provisos

So too, the Solicitor General points out that pursuant to and consistent with the foregoing basic principles, the WTO Agreement grants developing countries a more lenient treatment, giving their domestic industries some protection from the rush of foreign competition. Thus, with respect to tariffs in general, preferential treatment is given to developing countries in terms of the amount of tariff reduction and the period within which the reduction is to be spread out. Specifically, GATT requires an average tariff reduction rate of 36% for developed countries to be effected within a period of six (6) years while developing countries including the Philippines are required to effect an average tariff reduction of only 24% within ten (10) years. In respect to domestic subsidy, GATT requires developed countries to reduce domestic support to agricultural products by 20% over six (6) years, as compared to only 13% for developing countries to be effected within ten (10) years. In regard to export subsidy for agricultural products, GATT requires developed countries to reduce their budgetary outlays for export subsidy by 36% and export volumes receiving export subsidy by 21% within a period of six (6) years. For developing countries, however, the reduction rate is

277 only two-thirds of that prescribed for developed countries and a longer period of ten (10) years within which to effect such reduction. Moreover, GATT itself has provided built-in protection from unfair foreign competition and trade practices including anti-dumping measures, countervailing measures and safeguards against import surges. Where local businesses are jeopardized by unfair foreign competition, the Philippines can avail of these measures. There is hardly therefore any basis for the statement that under the WTO, local industries and enterprises will all be wiped out and that Filipinos will be deprived of control of the economy. Quite the contrary, the weaker situations of developing nations like the Philippines have been taken into account; thus, there would be no basis to say that in joining the WTO, the respondents have gravely abused their discretion. True, they have made a bold decision to steer the ship of state into the yet uncharted sea of economic liberalization. But such decision cannot be set aside on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, simply because we disagree with it or simply because we believe only in other economic policies. As earlier stated, the Court in taking jurisdiction of this case will not pass upon the advantages and disadvantages of trade liberalization as an economic policy. It will only perform its constitutional duty of determining whether the Senate committed grave abuse of discretion. Constitution Rule Out Foreign Competition Does Not

Furthermore, the constitutional policy of a "self-reliant and independent national economy" 35 does not necessarily rule out the entry of foreign investments, goods and services. It contemplates neither "economic seclusion" nor "mendicancy in the international community." As explained by Constitutional Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, sponsor of this constitutional policy: Economic self-reliance is a primary objective of a developing country that is keenly aware of overdependence on external assistance for even its most basic needs. It does not mean autarky or economic seclusion; rather, it means avoiding mendicancy in the international community. Independence refers to the freedom from undue foreign control of the national economy, especially in such strategic industries as in the development of natural resources and public utilities. 36 The WTO reliance on "most favored nation," "national treatment," and "trade without discrimination" cannot be struck down as unconstitutional as in fact they are rules of equality and reciprocity that apply to all WTO members. Aside from envisioning a trade policy based on "equality and reciprocity," 37 the fundamental law encourages industries that are "competitive in both domestic and foreign markets," thereby demonstrating a clear policy against a sheltered domestic trade environment, but one in favor of the gradual development of robust industries that can compete with the best in the foreign markets. Indeed, Filipino managers and Filipino enterprises have shown capability and tenacity to compete internationally. And given a free trade environment, Filipino entrepreneurs and managers in Hongkong have demonstrated the Filipino capacity to grow and to prosper against the best offered under a policy of laissez faire. Constitution Not Industries or Enterprises Favors Consumers,

278 The Constitution has not really shown any unbalanced bias in favor of any business or enterprise, nor does it contain any specific pronouncement that Filipino companies should be pampered with a total proscription of foreign competition. On the other hand, respondents claim that WTO/GATT aims to make available to the Filipino consumer the best goods and services obtainable anywhere in the world at the most reasonable prices. Consequently, the question boils down to whether WTO/GATT will favor the general welfare of the public at large. Will adherence to the WTO treaty bring this ideal (of favoring the general welfare) to reality? Will WTO/GATT succeed in promoting the Filipinos' general welfare because it will as promised by its promoters expand the country's exports and generate more employment? Will it bring more prosperity, employment, purchasing power and quality products at the most reasonable rates to the Filipino public? The responses to these questions involve "judgment calls" by our policy makers, for which they are answerable to our people during appropriate electoral exercises. Such questions and the answers thereto are not subject to judicial pronouncements based on grave abuse of discretion. Constitution Designed Future Events and Contingencies to Meet

No doubt, the WTO Agreement was not yet in existence when the Constitution was drafted and ratified in 1987. That does not mean however that the Charter is necessarily flawed in the sense that its framers might not have anticipated the advent of a borderless world of business. By the same token, the United Nations was not yet in existence when the 1935 Constitution became effective. Did that necessarily mean that the then Constitution might not have contemplated a diminution of the absoluteness of sovereignty when the Philippines signed the UN Charter, thereby effectively surrendering part of its control over its foreign relations to the decisions of various UN organs like the Security Council? It is not difficult to answer this question. Constitutions are designed to meet not only the vagaries of contemporary events. They should be interpreted to cover even future and unknown circumstances. It is to the credit of its drafters that a Constitution can withstand the assaults of bigots and infidels but at the same time bend with the refreshing winds of change necessitated by unfolding events. As one eminent political law writer and respected jurist 38 explains: The Constitution must be quintessential rather than superficial, the root and not the blossom, the base and frame-work only of the edifice that is yet to rise. It is but the core of the dream that must take shape, not in a twinkling by mandate of our delegates, but slowly "in the crucible of Filipino minds and hearts," where it will in time develop its sinews and gradually gather its strength and finally achieve its substance. In fine, the Constitution cannot, like the goddess Athena, rise full-grown from the brow of the Constitutional Convention, nor can it conjure by mere fiat an instant Utopia. It must grow with the society it seeks to re-structure and march apace with the progress of the race, drawing from the vicissitudes of history the

279 dynamism and vitality that will keep it, far from becoming a petrified rule, a pulsing, living law attuned to the heartbeat of the nation. Third Issue: The WTO Agreement and Legislative Power The WTO Agreement provides that "(e)ach Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements." 39 Petitioners maintain that this undertaking "unduly limits, restricts and impairs Philippine sovereignty, specifically the legislative power which under Sec. 2, Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution is vested in the Congress of the Philippines. It is an assault on the sovereign powers of the Philippines because this means that Congress could not pass legislation that will be good for our national interest and general welfare if such legislation will not conform with the WTO Agreement, which not only relates to the trade in goods . . . but also to the flow of investments and money . . . as well as to a whole slew of agreements on socio-cultural matters . . . 40 More specifically, petitioners claim that said WTO proviso derogates from the power to tax, which is lodged in the Congress. 41 And while the Constitution allows Congress to authorize the President to fix tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts, such authority is subject to "specified limits and . . . such limitations and restrictions" as Congress may provide, 42 as in fact it did under Sec. 401 of the Tariff and Customs Code. Sovereignty International Law and Treaties Limited by

This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by which petitioners stressed their arguments on this issue. However, while sovereignty has traditionally been deemed absolute and all-encompassing on the domestic level, it is however subject to restrictions and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines, expressly or impliedly, as a member of the family of nations. Unquestionably, the Constitution did not envision a hermit-type isolation of the country from the rest of the world. In its Declaration of Principles and State Policies, the Constitution "adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity, with all nations." 43 By the doctrine of incorporation, the country is bound by generally accepted principles of international law, which are considered to be automatically part of our own laws. 44 One of the oldest and most fundamental rules in international law is pacta sunt servanda international agreements must be performed in good faith. "A treaty engagement is not a mere moral obligation but creates a legally binding obligation on the parties . . . A state which has contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its legislations such modifications as may be necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken." 45 By their inherent nature, treaties really limit or restrict the absoluteness of sovereignty. By their voluntary act, nations may surrender some aspects of their state power in exchange for greater benefits granted by or derived from a convention or pact. After all, states, like individuals, live with coequals, and in pursuit of mutually covenanted objectives and benefits, they also commonly agree to limit the exercise of their otherwise absolute rights. Thus, treaties have been used to

280 record agreements between States concerning such widely diverse matters as, for example, the lease of naval bases, the sale or cession of territory, the termination of war, the regulation of conduct of hostilities, the formation of alliances, the regulation of commercial relations, the settling of claims, the laying down of rules governing conduct in peace and the establishment of international organizations.46 The sovereignty of a state therefore cannot in fact and in reality be considered absolute. Certain restrictions enter into the picture: (1) limitations imposed by the very nature of membership in the family of nations and (2) limitations imposed by treaty stipulations. As aptly put by John F. Kennedy, "Today, no nation can build its destiny alone. The age of selfsufficient nationalism is over. The age of interdependence is here." 47 UN Charter Limit Sovereignty and Other Treaties

Thus, when the Philippines joined the United Nations as one of its 51 charter members, it consented to restrict its sovereign rights under the "concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation." 47A Under Article 2 of the UN Charter, "(a)ll members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action." Such assistance includes payment of its corresponding share not merely in administrative expenses but also in expenditures for the peace-keeping operations of the organization. In its advisory opinion of July 20, 1961, the International Court of Justice held that money used by the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East and in the Congo were "expenses of the United Nations" under Article 17, paragraph 2, of the UN Charter. Hence, all its members must bear their corresponding share in such expenses. In this sense, the Philippine Congress is restricted in its power to appropriate. It is compelled to appropriate funds whether it agrees with such peacekeeping expenses or not. So too, under Article 105 of the said Charter, the UN and its representatives enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities, thereby limiting again the exercise of sovereignty of members within their own territory. Another example: although "sovereign equality" and "domestic jurisdiction" of all members are set forth as underlying principles in the UN Charter, such provisos are however subject to enforcement measures decided by the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security under Chapter VII of the Charter. A final example: under Article 103, "(i)n the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligation under the present charter shall prevail," thus unquestionably denying the Philippines as a member the sovereign power to make a choice as to which of conflicting obligations, if any, to honor. Apart from the UN Treaty, the Philippines has entered into many other international pacts both bilateral and multilateral that involve limitations on Philippine sovereignty. These are enumerated by the Solicitor General in his Compliance dated October 24, 1996, as follows: (a) Bilateral convention with the United States regarding taxes on income, where the Philippines agreed, among others, to exempt from tax, income received in the Philippines by, among others, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, the Export/Import Bank of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United States. Likewise, in said convention, wages, salaries and

281 similar remunerations paid by the United States to its citizens for labor and personal services performed by them as employees or officials of the United States are exempt from income tax by the Philippines. (b) Bilateral agreement with Belgium, providing, among others, for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to taxes on income. (c) Bilateral convention with the Kingdom of Sweden for the avoidance of double taxation. (d) Bilateral convention with the French Republic for the avoidance of double taxation. (e) Bilateral air transport agreement with Korea where the Philippines agreed to exempt from all customs duties, inspection fees and other duties or taxes aircrafts of South Korea and the regular equipment, spare parts and supplies arriving with said aircrafts. (f) Bilateral air service agreement with Japan, where the Philippines agreed to exempt from customs duties, excise taxes, inspection fees and other similar duties, taxes or charges fuel, lubricating oils, spare parts, regular equipment, stores on board Japanese aircrafts while on Philippine soil. (g) Bilateral air service agreement with Belgium where the Philippines granted Belgian air carriers the same privileges as those granted to Japanese and Korean air carriers under separate air service agreements. (h) Bilateral notes with Israel for the abolition of transit and visitor visas where the Philippines exempted Israeli nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit or visitor visas for a sojourn in the Philippines not exceeding 59 days. (i) Bilateral agreement with France exempting French nationals from the requirement of obtaining transit and visitor visa for a sojourn not exceeding 59 days. (j) Multilateral Convention on Special Missions, where the Philippines agreed that premises of Special Missions in the Philippines are inviolable and its agents can not enter said premises without consent of the Head of Mission concerned. Special Missions are also exempted from customs duties, taxes and related charges. (k) Multilateral convention on the Law of Treaties. In this convention, the Philippines agreed to be governed by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. (l) Declaration of the President of the Philippines accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. The International Court of Justice has

282 jurisdiction in all legal disputes concerning the interpretation of a treaty, any question of international law, the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach "of international obligation." In the foregoing treaties, the Philippines has effectively agreed to limit the exercise of its sovereign powers of taxation, eminent domain and police power. The underlying consideration in this partial surrender of sovereignty is the reciprocal commitment of the other contracting states in granting the same privilege and immunities to the Philippines, its officials and its citizens. The same reciprocity characterizes the Philippine commitments under WTO-GATT. International treaties, whether relating to nuclear disarmament, human rights, the environment, the law of the sea, or trade, constrain domestic political sovereignty through the assumption of external obligations. But unless anarchy in international relations is preferred as an alternative, in most cases we accept that the benefits of the reciprocal obligations involved outweigh the costs associated with any loss of political sovereignty. (T)rade treaties that structure relations by reference to durable, well-defined substantive norms and objective dispute resolution procedures reduce the risks of larger countries exploiting raw economic power to bully smaller countries, by subjecting power relations to some form of legal ordering. In addition, smaller countries typically stand to gain disproportionately from trade liberalization. This is due to the simple fact that liberalization will provide access to a larger set of potential new trading relationship than in case of the larger country gaining enhanced success to the smaller country's market. 48 The point is that, as shown by the foregoing treaties, a portion of sovereignty may be waived without violating the Constitution, based on the rationale that the Philippines "adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of . . . cooperation and amity with all nations." Fourth Issue: The WTO Agreement and Judicial Power Petitioners aver that paragraph 1, Article 34 of the General Provisions and Basic Principles of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) 49 intrudes on the power of the Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedures. 50 To understand the scope and meaning of Article 34, TRIPS, 51 it will be fruitful to restate its full text as follows: Article 34 Process Patents: Burden of Proof 1. For the purposes of civil proceedings in respect of the infringement of the rights of the owner referred to in paragraph 1 (b) of Article 28, if the subject matter of a patent is a process for obtaining a product, the judicial authorities shall have the authority to order the defendant to prove that the process to obtain an identical

283 product is different from the patented process. Therefore, Members shall provide, in at least one of the following circumstances, that any identical product when produced without the consent of the patent owner shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be deemed to have been obtained by the patented process: (a) if the product obtained by the patented process is new; (b) if there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the process and the owner of the patent has been unable through reasonable efforts to determine the process actually used. 2. Any Member shall be free to provide that the burden of proof indicated in paragraph 1 shall be on the alleged infringer only if the condition referred to in subparagraph (a) is fulfilled or only if the condition referred to in subparagraph (b) is fulfilled. 3. In the adduction of proof to the contrary, the legitimate interests of defendants in protecting their manufacturing and business secrets shall be taken into account. From the above, a WTO Member is required to provide a rule of disputable (not the words "in the absence of proof to the contrary") presumption that a product shown to be identical to one produced with the use of a patented process shall be deemed to have been obtained by the (illegal) use of the said patented process, (1) where such product obtained by the patented product is new, or (2) where there is "substantial likelihood" that the identical product was made with the use of the said patented process but the owner of the patent could not determine the exact process used in obtaining such identical product. Hence, the "burden of proof" contemplated by Article 34 should actually be understood as the duty of the alleged patent infringer to overthrow such presumption. Such burden, properly understood, actually refers to the "burden of evidence" (burden of going forward) placed on the producer of the identical (or fake) product to show that his product was produced without the use of the patented process. The foregoing notwithstanding, the patent owner still has the "burden of proof" since, regardless of the presumption provided under paragraph 1 of Article 34, such owner still has to introduce evidence of the existence of the alleged identical product, the fact that it is "identical" to the genuine one produced by the patented process and the fact of "newness" of the genuine product or the fact of "substantial likelihood" that the identical product was made by the patented process. The foregoing should really present no problem in changing the rules of evidence as the present law on the subject, Republic Act No. 165, as amended, otherwise known as the Patent Law, provides a similar presumption in cases of infringement of patented design or utility model, thus: Sec. 60. Infringement. Infringement of a design patent or of a patent for utility model shall consist in unauthorized copying of the patented design or utility model for the purpose of trade or industry in the article or product and in the making, using or selling of the article or product copying the patented design or utility

284 model. Identity or substantial identity with the patented design or utility model shall constitute evidence of copying. (emphasis supplied) Moreover, it should be noted that the requirement of Article 34 to provide a disputable presumption applies only if (1) the product obtained by the patented process in NEW or (2) there is a substantial likelihood that the identical product was made by the process and the process owner has not been able through reasonable effort to determine the process used. Where either of these two provisos does not obtain, members shall be free to determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of TRIPS within their own internal systems and processes. By and large, the arguments adduced in connection with our disposition of the third issue derogation of legislative power will apply to this fourth issue also. Suffice it to say that the reciprocity clause more than justifies such intrusion, if any actually exists. Besides, Article 34 does not contain an unreasonable burden, consistent as it is with due process and the concept of adversarial dispute settlement inherent in our judicial system. So too, since the Philippine is a signatory to most international conventions on patents, trademarks and copyrights, the adjustment in legislation and rules of procedure will not be substantial. 52 Fifth Issue: Concurrence Only in Not in Other Documents Contained in the Final Act the WTO Agreement and

Petitioners allege that the Senate concurrence in the WTO Agreement and its annexes but not in the other documents referred to in the Final Act, namely the Ministerial Declaration and Decisions and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services is defective and insufficient and thus constitutes abuse of discretion. They submit that such concurrence in the WTO Agreement alone is flawed because it is in effect a rejection of the Final Act, which in turn was the document signed by Secretary Navarro, in representation of the Republic upon authority of the President. They contend that the second letter of the President to the Senate 53 which enumerated what constitutes the Final Act should have been the subject of concurrence of the Senate. "A final act, sometimes called protocol de cloture, is an instrument which records the winding up of the proceedings of a diplomatic conference and usually includes a reproduction of the texts of treaties, conventions, recommendations and other acts agreed upon and signed by the plenipotentiaries attending the conference." 54 It is not the treaty itself. It is rather a summary of the proceedings of a protracted conference which may have taken place over several years. The text of the "Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations" is contained in just one page 55 in Vol. I of the 36-volume Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. By signing said Final Act, Secretary Navarro as representative of the Republic of the Philippines undertook: (a) to submit, as appropriate, the WTO Agreement for the consideration of their respective competent authorities with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures; and (b) to adopt the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions.

285 The assailed Senate Resolution No. 97 expressed concurrence in exactly what the Final Act required from its signatories, namely, concurrence of the Senate in the WTO Agreement. The Ministerial Declarations and Decisions were deemed adopted without need for ratification. They were approved by the ministers by virtue of Article XXV: 1 of GATT which provides that representatives of the members can meet "to give effect to those provisions of this Agreement which invoke joint action, and generally with a view to facilitating the operation and furthering the objectives of this Agreement." 56 The Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services also approved in Marrakesh does not apply to the Philippines. It applies only to those 27 Members which "have indicated in their respective schedules of commitments on standstill, elimination of monopoly, expansion of operation of existing financial service suppliers, temporary entry of personnel, free transfer and processing of information, and national treatment with respect to access to payment, clearing systems and refinancing available in the normal course of business." 57 On the other hand, the WTO Agreement itself expresses what multilateral agreements are deemed included as its integral parts, 58 as follows: Article II Scope of the WTO 1. The WTO shall provide the common institutional frame-work for the conduct of trade relations among its Members in matters to the agreements and associated legal instruments included in the Annexes to this Agreement. 2. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annexes 1, 2, and 3, (hereinafter referred to as "Multilateral Agreements") are integral parts of this Agreement, binding on all Members. 3. The Agreements and associated legal instruments included in Annex 4 (hereinafter referred to as "Plurilateral Trade Agreements") are also part of this Agreement for those Members that have accepted them, and are binding on those Members. The Plurilateral Trade Agreements do not create either obligation or rights for Members that have not accepted them. 4. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 as specified in annex 1A (hereinafter referred to as "GATT 1994") is legally distinct from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, dated 30 October 1947, annexed to the Final Act adopted at the conclusion of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment, as subsequently rectified, amended or modified (hereinafter referred to as "GATT 1947"). It should be added that the Senate was well-aware of what it was concurring in as shown by the members' deliberation on August 25, 1994. After reading the letter of President Ramos dated

286 August 11, 1994, 59 the of the Republic minutely dissected what the Senate was concurring in, as follows: 60 senators

THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. Now, the question of the validity of the submission came up in the first day hearing of this Committee yesterday. Was the observation made by Senator Taada that what was submitted to the Senate was not the agreement on establishing the World Trade Organization by the final act of the Uruguay Round which is not the same as the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization? And on that basis, Senator Tolentino raised a point of order which, however, he agreed to withdraw upon understanding that his suggestion for an alternative solution at that time was acceptable. That suggestion was to treat the proceedings of the Committee as being in the nature of briefings for Senators until the question of the submission could be clarified. And so, Secretary Romulo, in effect, is the President submitting a new . . . is he making a new submission which improves on the clarity of the first submission? MR. ROMULO: Mr. Chairman, to make sure that it is clear cut and there should be no misunderstanding, it was his intention to clarify all matters by giving this letter. THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Can this Committee hear from Senator Taada and later on Senator Tolentino since they were the ones that raised this question yesterday? Senator Taada, please. SEN. TAADA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Based on what Secretary Romulo has read, it would now clearly appear that what is being submitted to the Senate for ratification is not the Final Act of the Uruguay Round, but rather the Agreement on the World Trade Organization as well as the Ministerial Declarations and Decisions, and the Understanding and Commitments in Financial Services. I am now satisfied with the wording of the new submission of President Ramos. SEN. TAADA. . . . of President Ramos, Mr. Chairman. THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Taada. Can we hear from Senator Tolentino? And after him Senator Neptali Gonzales and Senator Lina. SEN. TOLENTINO, Mr. Chairman, I have not seen the new submission actually transmitted to us but I saw the draft of his earlier, and I think it now complies with the provisions of the Constitution, and with the Final Act itself . The Constitution does not require us to ratify the Final Act. It requires us to ratify the Agreement

287 which is now being submitted. The Final Act itself specifies what is going to be submitted to with the governments of the participants. In paragraph 2 of the Final Act, we read and I quote: By signing the present Final Act, the representatives agree: (a) to submit as appropriate the WTO Agreement for the consideration of the respective competent authorities with a view to seeking approval of the Agreement in accordance with their procedures. In other words, it is not the Final Act that was agreed to be submitted to the governments for ratification or acceptance as whatever their constitutional procedures may provide but it is the World Trade Organization Agreement. And if that is the one that is being submitted now, I think it satisfies both the Constitution and the Final Act itself . Thank you, Mr. Chairman. THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Tolentino, May I call on Senator Gonzales. SEN. GONZALES. Mr. Chairman, my views on this matter are already a matter of record. And they had been adequately reflected in the journal of yesterday's session and I don't see any need for repeating the same. Now, I would consider the new submission as an act ex abudante cautela. THE CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Gonzales. Senator Lina, do you want to make any comment on this? SEN. LINA. Mr. President, I agree with the observation just made by Senator Gonzales out of the abundance of question. Then the new submission is, I believe, stating the obvious and therefore I have no further comment to make. Epilogue In praying for the nullification of the Philippine ratification of the WTO Agreement, petitioners are invoking this Court's constitutionally imposed duty "to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in giving its concurrence therein via Senate Resolution No. 97. Procedurally, a writ of certiorari grounded on grave abuse of discretion may be issued by the Court under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court when it is amply shown that petitioners have no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. 61 Mere abuse of discretion is not enough. It must be grave abuse of discretion as when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of

288 passion or personal hostility, and must be so patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. 62 Failure on the part of the petitioner to show grave abuse of discretion will result in the dismissal of the petition. 63 In rendering this Decision, this Court never forgets that the Senate, whose act is under review, is one of two sovereign houses of Congress and is thus entitled to great respect in its actions. It is itself a constitutional body independent and coordinate, and thus its actions are presumed regular and done in good faith. Unless convincing proof and persuasive arguments are presented to overthrow such presumptions, this Court will resolve every doubt in its favor. Using the foregoing well-accepted definition of grave abuse of discretion and the presumption of regularity in the Senate's processes, this Court cannot find any cogent reason to impute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate's exercise of its power of concurrence in the WTO Agreement granted it by Sec. 21 of Article VII of the Constitution. 64 It is true, as alleged by petitioners, that broad constitutional principles require the State to develop an independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos; and to protect and/or prefer Filipino labor, products, domestic materials and locally produced goods. But it is equally true that such principles while serving as judicial and legislative guides are not in themselves sources of causes of action. Moreover, there are other equally fundamental constitutional principles relied upon by the Senate which mandate the pursuit of a "trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity" and the promotion of industries "which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets," thereby justifying its acceptance of said treaty. So too, the alleged impairment of sovereignty in the exercise of legislative and judicial powers is balanced by the adoption of the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and the adherence of the Constitution to the policy of cooperation and amity with all nations. That the Senate, after deliberation and voting, voluntarily and overwhelmingly gave its consent to the WTO Agreement thereby making it "a part of the law of the land" is a legitimate exercise of its sovereign duty and power. We find no "patent and gross" arbitrariness or despotism "by reason of passion or personal hostility" in such exercise. It is not impossible to surmise that this Court, or at least some of its members, may even agree with petitioners that it is more advantageous to the national interest to strike down Senate Resolution No. 97. But that is not a legal reason to attribute grave abuse of discretion to the Senate and to nullify its decision. To do so would constitute grave abuse in the exercise of our own judicial power and duty. Ineludably, what the Senate did was a valid exercise of its authority. As to whether such exercise was wise, beneficial or viable is outside the realm of judicial inquiry and review. That is a matter between the elected policy makers and the people. As to whether the nation should join the worldwide march toward trade liberalization and economic globalization is a matter that our people should determine in electing their policy makers. After all, the WTO Agreement allows withdrawal of membership, should this be the political desire of a member. The eminent futurist John Naisbitt, author of the best seller Megatrends, predicts an Asian Renaissance 65 where "the East will become the dominant region of the world economically, politically and culturally in the next century." He refers to the "free market" espoused by WTO as

289 the "catalyst" in this coming Asian ascendancy. There are at present about 31 countries including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia negotiating for membership in the WTO. Notwithstanding objections against possible limitations on national sovereignty, the WTO remains as the only viable structure for multilateral trading and the veritable forum for the development of international trade law. The alternative to WTO is isolation, stagnation, if not economic selfdestruction. Duly enriched with original membership, keenly aware of the advantages and disadvantages of globalization with its on-line experience, and endowed with a vision of the future, the Philippines now straddles the crossroads of an international strategy for economic prosperity and stability in the new millennium. Let the people, through their duly authorized elected officers, make their free choice. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.

June

30, INC., ET AL.,

1959 L-10500 plaintiff-appellant, defendants-appellees.

G.R. No. USAFFE VETERANS ASSOCIATION, vs. THE TREASURER OF THE PHILIPPINES,

Lorenzo B. Camins, Castor C. Ames and Alberto M. K. Jamir for appellant. Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla, Assistant Solicitor General Jose P. Alejandro and Solicitor Jorge R. Coquia for appellees. Bengzon (Jose), J.:

The central issue in this litigation concerns the validity of the Romulo-Snyder Agreement (1950) whereby the Philippine Government undertook to return to the United States Government in ten annual installments, a total of about 35-million dollars advanced by the United States to, but unexpanded by, the National Defense Forces of the Philippines. In October 1954, the USAFFE Veterans Associations Inc., hereafter called Usaffe Veterans, for itself and for many other Filipino veterans of World War II, ex-members of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) prayed in its complaint before the Manila court of first instance that said Agreement be annulled, that payments thereunder be declared illegal and that defendants as officers of the Philippine Republic be restrained from disbursing any funds in the National Treasury in pursuance of said Agreement. Said Usaffe Veterans further asked that the moneys available, instead of being remitted to the United States, should be turned over to the Finance Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the payment of all pending claims of the veterans represented by plaintiff. The complaint rested on plaintiff's three propositions: first, that the funds to be "returned" under the Agreement were funds appropriated by the American Congress for the Philippine army,

290 actually delivered to the Philippine Government and actually owned by said Government; second, that U.S. Secretary Snyder of the Treasury, had no authority to retake such funds from the P.I. Government; and third, that Philippine foreign Secretary Carlos P. Romulo had no authority to return or promise to return the aforesaid sums of money through the so-called Romulo-Snyder Agreement. The defendants moved to dismiss, alleging Governmental immunity from suit. But the court required an answer, and then heard the case merits. Thereafter, it dismissed the complaint, upheld the validity of the Agreement and dissolved the preliminary injunction i had previously issued. The plaintiff appealed. On July 26, 1941, foreseeing the War in the Pacific, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, called into the service of the Armed Forces of the United States, for the duration of the emergency, all the organized military forces of the Philippine Commonwealth. His order was published here by Proclamation No. 740 of President Quezon on August 10, 1941. In October 1941, by two special orders, General Douglas MacArthur, Commanding General of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (known as USAFFE) placed under his command all the Philippine Army units including the Philippine Constabulary, about 100,000 officers and soldiers. For the expenses incident to such incorporation, mobilization and activities, the Congress of the United States provided in its Appropriation Act of December 17, 1941 (Public Law No. 353, 77th Congress) as follows: For all expenses necessary for the mobilization, operation and maintenance of the Army of the Philippines, including expenses connected with calling into the service of the armed forces of the United States the organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, . . . but shall be expanded and accounted for in the manner prescribed by the President of the United States, S269,000.00; to remain available until June 30, 1943, which shall be available for payment to the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines upon its written request, either in advance of or in reimbursement for all or any part of the estimated or actual costs, as authorized by the Commanding General, United States Army Forces in the Far East, of necessary expenses for the purposes aforesaid. . . . (Emphasis Ours.) In subsequent Acts, the U.S. Congress appropriated moneys in language identical to the above: S28,313,000.00 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1943; and S100,000,000 each year, for the fiscal years ending June 30, 1944, June 30, 1945, and June 30, 1946.1 The last pertinent appropriation was Public law No. 301 (79th Congress) known as the Rescission Act. It simply set aside 200 million dollars for the Army for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1946. Now, pursuant to the power reserved to him under Public Law 353 above-quoted, President Roosevelt issued on January 3, 1942, his executive Order No. 9011 prescribing partly as follows: 2. (a) Necessary expenditures from funds in the Philippine Treasury for the purposes authorized by the Act of December 17, 1941, will be made by disbursing officers of the Army of the Philippines on the approval of authority of the Commanding General, United States Army Forces in the Far East, and such purposes as he may deem proper, and his determination thereon shall be final and

291 conclusive upon the accounting officers of the Philippine Government, and such expenditures will be accounted for in accordance with procedures established by the Philippine Commonwealth Laws and regulations. (Emphasis Ours.) Out of the total amounts thus appropriated by the United States Congress as above itemized, P570,863,000.00 was transferred directly to the Philippines Armed Forces by means of vouchers which stated "Advance of Funds under Public law 353-77th Congress and Executive Order No. 9011". This amount was used (mostly) to discharge in the Philippine Islands the monetary obligations assumed by the U.S. Government as a result of the induction of the Philippine Armed Forces into the U.S. Army, and of its operations beginning in 1941. Part of these obligations consisted in the claims of Filipino USAFFE soldiers for arrears in pay and in the charges for supplies used by them and the guerrillas JawOKOk. Of the millions so transferred, there remained unexpended and uncommitted in the possession of the Philippine Armed Forces as of December 31, 1949 about 35 million dollars. As at that time, the Philippine Government badly needed funds for its activities, President Quirino, through Governor Miguel Cuaderno of the Central Bank proposed to the corresponding officials of the U.S. Government the retention of the 35-million dollars as a loan, and for its repayment in ten annual installments. After protracted negotiations the deal was concluded, and the Romulo-Snyder Agreement was signed in Washington on November 6, 1950, by the then Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Carlos P. Romulo, and the then American Secretary of the Treasury, John W. Snyder. Principal stipulation therein was this paragraph:

3. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines further agrees to pay the dollar amount payable hereunder to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States in ten annual installments, the first nine payments to be in the amount of S3,500,000.00 and the final residual payment to be in the amount determined by deducting the total of the previous principal payments from the total amount of dollars to be paid to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, the latter amount to be determined as provided in Article II hereof. . . Bbjcf. It should be added that the agreement, made on the basis of the parties' belief that S35-million was the outstanding balance, provided in its article II for an audit by appropriate officers to compute the exact amount due. In compliance with the Agreement, this Government has appropriated by law and paid to the United States up to and including 1954, yearly installments totaling of P33,187,663.24. There is no reason to doubt that subsequent budgets failed to make the corresponding appropriations for other installments. In this appeal, the Usaffe Veterans reiterated with extended arguments, their basic propositions. They insists: first, the money delivered to the U.S. to the Armed Forces of the Philippine Island were straight payments for military services; ownership thereof vested in the Philippine Government upon delivery, and consequently, there was nothing to return, nothing to consider as a loan; and second, the Romulo-Snyder Agreement was void because it was not binding on the

292 Philippine Government for lack of authority of the officers who concluded the same yDUfn. With regard to the first point, it must be remembered that the first Congressional Act of December 17, 1941 (Public Law No. 353) appropriating S269-million expressly said the amount "shall be available for payment to the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines upon its written request, either in advance of or in reimbursement for all or any part of the estimated or actual costs" of operation, mobilization and maintenance of the Philippine Army. Note carefully, the money is to handled to the Philippine Government either in advance of expenditures or in reimbursement thereof. All the vouchers signed upon receipt of the money state clearly, " Advance of funds under Public law 353-7th Congress and Executive Order No. 9011" ZqvEZUqq. In any system of accounting, advances of funds for expenditures contemplate disbursements to be reported, and credited if approved, against such advances, the unexpended sums to be returned later. In fact, the Congressional law itself required accounting "in the manner prescribed by the President of the U.S." and said President in his Executive Order No. 9011, outlined the procedure whereby advanced funds shall be accounted for. Furthermore, it requires as a condition sine qua non that all expenditures shall first be approved by the Commanding General, United States Army Forces Army Forces in the Far East. Now, these ideas of "funds advanced" to meet such expenditures of the Philippine Army as may be approved by the USAFFE Commanding-General, in connection with the requirement of accounting therefor evidently contradict appellant's thesis that the moneys represented straight payments to the Philippine Government for its armed services, and passed into the absolute control of such Government. In fact, the respective army officers of both nations,2 who are presumed to know their business, have consistently regarded the money as funds advanced, to be subsequently accounted for ? which means submission of expenditures, and if approved, return of unexpended balance. Now then, it is undeniable that upon a final rendition of accounts by the Philippine Government, a superabit resulted of at least 35 million dollars in favor of the U. S. Instead of returning such amount in one lump sum, our Executive Department arranged for its repayment in ten annual installments. Prima facie such arrangement should raise no valid objection, given the obligation to return-which we know exists. Yet plaintiff attempts to block such repayment because many alleged claims of veterans have not been processed and paid, December 31, 1949, having been fixed as the deadline for the presentation and/or payment of such claims. Plaintiff obviously calculates that if the return is prevented and the money kept here, it might manage to persuade the powers-that-be extend the deadline anew. Hence the two-pronged attack: (a) no obligation to repay; (b) the officers who promised to repay had no authority to bind this Government. The first ground has proved untenable.

On the second, there is no doubt that President Quirino approved the negotiations. And he had power to contract budgetary loans under Republic Act No. 213, amending the Republic Act No.

293 16. The most important argument, however, rests on the lack of ratification of the Agreement by the Senate of the Philippines to make it binding on this Government. On this matter, the defendants explain as follows: That the agreement is not a "treaty" as that term is used in the Constitution, is conceded. The agreement was never submitted to the Senate for concurrence (Art. VII, Sec. 10 (7). However, it must be noted that treaty is not the only form that an international agreement may assume. For the grant of the treaty-making power to the Executive and the Senate does not exhaust the power of the government over international relations. Consequently, executive agreements may be entered with other states and are effective even without the concurrence of the Senate (Sinco, Philippine Political Law, 10th ed., 303; Ta? and Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines, 4th ed., Vol. II, ada 1055). It is observed in this connection that from the point of view of the international law, there is no difference between treaties and executive agreements in their binding effect upon states concerned as long as the negotiating functionaries have remained within their powers (Hackworth, Digest of International Law, Vol. 5, 395, citing U. S. vs. Belmont, 301 U. S. 342, State of Russia vs. National City Bank of New York, 69 F. (2d) 44; United States vs. Pink, 315 U. S. 203; Altman & Co., vs. United States, 224 U. S. 583. See also McDougal and Lans, "Treaties and Executive Agreements 54 Yale Law Journal 181, 318, et seg.; and Sinco; Op. cit. 305) "The distinction between so-called executive agreements" and "treaties" is purely a constitutional one and has no international legal significance" (Research in International Law Draft Convention on the Law of Treaties (Harvard Law School), Comment, 29 Am. J. Int.) Law Supp. 653, 897. See also Hackworth, op. cit. 391) r2xPr. There are now various forms of such pacts or agreements entered into by and between sovereign states which do not necessarily come under the strict sense of a treaty and which do not require ratification or consent of the legislative body of the State, but nevertheless, are considered valid international agreements. In a survey of the practice of States made by Harvard Research in the Draft Convention in the Law of Treaties (1935, pp. 711-713) it has been shown that there had been more executive agreements entered into by States than treaties (Hudson, International Legislation, I, p. ixii-xcvii). In the leading case of Altman vs, U.S. 224, U. S. 583, it was held that "an international compact negotiated between the representatives of two sovereign nations and made in the name and or behalf of the contracting parties and dealing with important commercial relations between the two countries, is a treaty both internationally although as an executive agreement it is not technically a treaty requiring the advice and consent of the Senate. (Herbert Briggs, The Law of Nations, 1947 ed., p. 489) OVm4. Nature of Executive Agreements.

Executive Agreements fall into two classes: (1) agreements made purely as executive acts affecting external relations and independent of or without legislative authorization, which may be termed as presidential agreements and (2) agreemen