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CASE

DIGEST
AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION

Santiago et al, petitioner


Comelec, public respondent
Delfin et al, private respondent
Petitioner-interveners: (Interveners taking the side of the petitioner)
a. Senator Raul Roco
b. Organizations: DIK, MABINI, LABAN, IBP

READ ME: dalawa ang petition dito: (1) Delfin Petition and (2) Petition/writ of prohibition.
JUST SO YOU WONT GET CONFUSED. HAPPY READING :*


FACTS:

December 6 1996, a Jesus Delfin (Private respondent) filed, with COMELEC (public respondent)
a petition to amend constitution, to lift term limits of elective officials, by Peoples initiative
wherein Deflin asked the COMELEC for an order to (1) fix time and date for signature gathering
through out the country, (2) cause the necessary publication, and (3) Instruct Municipal Election
Registrars to assist in establishing signing stations.

Upon the filing of the Delfin Petition, COMELEC, though its chairman, issued an Order directing
Delfin to cause the publication of his petition and notice of hearing, which will be on Dec. 12,
1996, in 3 newspapers of general circulation at his own expense.

DECEMBER 12 HEARING OF THE DELFIN PETITION:

The interveners mentioned above were all present. And the same day as the hearing, Senator
Roco (intervener), filed a MOTION TO DISMISS THE DELFIN PETITION on the ground that it is not
the initiatory petition (should include the required number of signatures) properly cognizable
by the COMELEC.

DECEMBER 18 1996 DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO ET AL (AGAINST DELFIN PETITION), filed a special
civil action for prohibition raising the ff arguments (writ of prohibition: extraordinary judicial
writ issuing out of a court of superior jurisdiction and directed to an inferior court, for the
purpose of preventing the inferior tribunal from usurping a jurisdiction with which it is not
legally vested.)

1. Peoples initiative to amend the constitution can only be implemented by an enabling
law to be passed by the congress. (NO SUCH LAW HAS BEEN PASSED)
2. RA No. 6735 provides 3 systems of initiative, initiative on the constitution included. It
provided provisions on the 2 initiatives (subtitle I and II) but it failed to provide subtitle
(provisions) for the initiative on the constitution. The deliberate omission indicates

that the matter of peoples initiative to amend the constitution was left to some future
law. (see argument #1)
3. RA No. 6735 provides for the effectivity of the law upon publication. This indicates
that the Act covers only laws and not constitutional amendments because constitutional
amendments takes effect upon ratification, not publication.
4. COMELEC RESOLUTION 2300 is ultra vires as far as initiative on amendments on the
constitution is concerned since COMELEC has no power to provide rules and regulations
for the exercise of the right of initiative to amend the constitution. The deficiency of RA
6735 cannot be remedied by COMELEC resolution 2300 since COMELEC has no authority
to legislate the procedure for peoples initiative under section 2 article 17 of the
constitution. The function rests exclusively to the congress.
5. Peoples initiative is limited only to amendments, not revisions. Extending term limits of
elective officials constitute a revision, outside the power of initiative.



CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES:
1. Whether Art 17, section 2 of the constitution self-executory (Read Art. 17, section 2 of
the constitution)
2. whether R.A 6735 sufficient enough to be the implementing law of the said provision
(art 17, sec 2 of the constitution)
3. Whether COMMELEC can take cognizance of or has jurisdiction over the Delfin Petition
4. Whether COMMELEC resolution 2300 re: conduct of initiative on the amendments of
the constitution, is valid, considering the absence of provisions/subtitle in RA 6735 re:
initiative amendments to the constitution

HELD:
1. THE PROVISION IS NOT SELF-EXECUTORY
Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, stated: Without
implementing legislation Section 2 cannot operate. Thus, although this mode of
amending the Constitution is a mode of amendment which bypasses congressional
action, in the last analysis it still is dependent on congressional action.
Bluntly stated, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the
Constitution through the system of initiative would remain entombed in the cold niche
of the Constitution until Congress provides for its implementation

2. R.A. 6735 is insufficient and incomplete to fully comply with the power and duty of
the Congress to enact the statutory implementation of sec.2, Art 17 of the
Constitution.

Although said Act intended to include the system of initiative on amendments to the
Constitution, it is deemed inadequate to cover and accordingly provide for the initiative

required for proposing Constitutional changes. (The act lacks subtitle (provisions)
regarding the matter)

3. COMELEC has no jurisdiction over the Delfin Petition because the said petition is not
supported by the required minimum number of signatures of registered voters.

COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in refusing to dismiss the Delfin Petition, which
does not contain the required number of signatures. Under Section 2 of Article XVII of
the Constitution and Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 6735, a petition for initiative on the
Constitution must be signed by at least 12% of the total number of registered voters of
which every legislative district is represented by at least 3% of the registered voters
therein. Without the required signatures, the petition cannot be deemed validly
initiated.

Delfin Petition is not the initiatory petition under R.A. No. 6735 and COMELEC
Resolution No. 2300. It cannot be entertained or given cognizance of by the COMELEC.

4. COMELEC cannot validly promulgate rules and regulations to implement the exercise
of the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through
the system of initiative. a law where subordinate legislation is authorized SHOULD
satisfy the "completeness" and the "sufficient standard" tests.
Conclusion:
a) GRANTING the instant petition; (petition for prohibition)
b) DECLARING R.A. No. 6735 inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the
Constitution, and to have failed to provide sufficient standard for subordinate legislation;
c) DECLARING void those parts of Resolution No. 2300 of the Commission on Elections
prescribing rules and regulations on the conduct of initiative or amendments to the
Constitution; and
d) ORDERING the Commission on Elections to forthwith DISMISS the DELFIN petition (UND-96037).
However, the court feels that the system of initiative to propose amendments to the
Constitution should be given flesh and blood, energy and strength. Congress should not delay
any longer in complying with the constitutional mandate to provide for the implementation of
the right of the people under that system.