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G.R. No.

L-28089

October 25, 1967

BARA LIDASAN, petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
Suntay for petitioner.
Barrios and Fule for respondent.
SANCHEZ, J.:
The question initially presented to the Commission on Elections,1 is this: Is Republic Act 4790, which
is entitled "An Act Creating the Municipality of Dianaton in the Province of Lanao del Sur", but which
includes barrios located in another province Cotabato to be spared from attack planted upon the
constitutional mandate that "No bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one
subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill"? Comelec's answer is in the affirmative.
Offshoot is the present original petition for certiorari and prohibition.
On June 18, 1966, the Chief Executive signed into law House Bill 1247, known as Republic Act 4790,
now in dispute. The body of the statute, reproduced in haec verba, reads:
Sec. 1. Barrios Togaig, Madalum, Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Kat-bo, Digakapan, Magabo,
Tabangao, Tiongko, Colodan, Kabamakawan, Kapatagan, Bongabong, Aipang, Dagowan,
Bakikis, Bungabung, Losain, Matimos and Magolatung, in the Municipalities of Butig and
Balabagan, Province of Lanao del Sur, are separated from said municipalities and constituted
into a distinct and independent municipality of the same province to be known as the
Municipality of Dianaton, Province of Lanao del Sur. The seat of government of the
municipality shall be in Togaig.
Sec. 2. The first mayor, vice-mayor and councilors of the new municipality shall be elected in
the nineteen hundred sixty-seven general elections for local officials.
Sec. 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
It came to light later that barrios Togaig and Madalum just mentioned are within the municipality
of Buldon,Province of Cotabato, and that Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Kat-bo, Digakapan, Magabo,
Tabangao, Tiongko, Colodan and Kabamakawan are parts and parcel of another municipality, the
municipality of Parang, also in theProvince of Cotabato and not of Lanao del Sur.
Prompted by the coming elections, Comelec adopted its resolution of August 15, 1967, the pertinent
portions of which are:
For purposes of establishment of precincts, registration of voters and for other election
purposes, the Commission RESOLVED that pursuant to RA 4790, the new municipality of
Dianaton, Lanao del Sur shall comprise the barrios of Kapatagan, Bongabong, Aipang,
Dagowan, Bakikis, Bungabung, Losain, Matimos, and Magolatung situated in the municipality
of Balabagan, Lanao del Sur, the barrios of Togaig and Madalum situated in the municipality of
Buldon, Cotabato, the barrios of Bayanga, Langkong, Sarakan, Kat-bo, Digakapan, Magabo,
Tabangao, Tiongko, Colodan and Kabamakawan situated in the municipality of Parang, also of
Cotabato.

Doubtless, as the statute stands, twelve barrios in two municipalities in the province of Cotabato
are transferred to the province of Lanao del Sur. This brought about a change in the boundaries of
the two provinces.
Apprised of this development, on September 7, 1967, the Office of the President, through the
Assistant Executive Secretary, recommended to Comelec that the operation of the statute be
suspended until "clarified by correcting legislation."
Comelec, by resolution of September 20, 1967, stood by its own interpretation, declared that the
statute "should be implemented unless declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court."
This triggered the present original action for certiorari and prohibition by Bara Lidasan, a resident and
taxpayer of the detached portion of Parang, Cotabato, and a qualified voter for the 1967 elections. He
prays that Republic Act 4790 be declared unconstitutional; and that Comelec's resolutions of August
15, 1967 and September 20, 1967 implementing the same for electoral purposes, be nullified.
1. Petitioner relies upon the constitutional requirement aforestated, that "[n]o bill which may be
enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the
bill."2
It may be well to state, right at the outset, that the constitutional provision contains dual limitations
upon legislative power. First. Congress is to refrain from conglomeration, under one statute, of
heterogeneous subjects. Second. The title of the bill is to be couched in a language sufficient to notify
the legislators and the public and those concerned of the import of the single subject thereof.
Of relevance here is the second directive. The subject of the statute must be "expressed in the title"
of the bill. This constitutional requirement "breathes the spirit of command."3 Compliance is
imperative, given the fact that the Constitution does not exact of Congress the obligation to read
during its deliberations the entire text of the bill. In fact, in the case of House Bill 1247, which became
Republic Act 4790, only its title was read from its introduction to its final approval in the House of
Representatives4 where the bill, being of local application, originated.5
Of course, the Constitution does not require Congress to employ in the title of an enactment,
language of such precision as to mirror, fully index or catalogue all the contents and the minute
details therein. It suffices if the title should serve the purpose of the constitutional demand that it
inform the legislators, the persons interested in the subject of the bill, and the public, of the nature,
scope and consequences of the proposed law and its operation. And this, to lead them to inquire into
the body of the bill, study and discuss the same, take appropriate action thereon, and, thus, prevent
surprise or fraud upon the legislators.6
In our task of ascertaining whether or not the title of a statute conforms with the constitutional
requirement, the following, we believe, may be taken as guidelines:
The test of the sufficiency of a title is whether or not it is misleading; and, which technical
accuracy is not essential, and the subject need not be stated in express terms where it is
clearly inferable from the details set forth, a title which is so uncertain that the average person
reading it would not be informed of the purpose of the enactment or put on inquiry as to its
contents, or which is misleading, either in referring to or indicating one subject where another
or different one is really embraced in the act, or in omitting any expression or indication of the
real subject or scope of the act, is bad.
xxx

xxx

xxx

In determining sufficiency of particular title its substance rather than its form should be
considered, and the purpose of the constitutional requirement, of giving notice to all persons
interested, should be kept in mind by the court.7
With the foregoing principles at hand, we take a hard look at the disputed statute. The title "An Act
Creating the Municipality of Dianaton, in the Province of Lanao del Sur"8 projects the impression
that solely the province of Lanao del Sur is affected by the creation of Dianaton. Not the slightest
intimation is there that communities in the adjacent province of Cotabato are incorporated in this new
Lanao del Sur town. The phrase "in the Province of Lanao del Sur," read without subtlety or
contortion, makes the title misleading, deceptive. For, the known fact is that the legislation has a twopronged purpose combined in one statute: (1) it creates the municipality of Dianaton purportedly from
twenty-one barrios in the towns of Butig and Balabagan, both in the province of Lanao del Sur; and
(2) it also dismembers two municipalities in Cotabato, a province different from Lanao del Sur.
The baneful effect of the defective title here presented is not so difficult to perceive. Such title did not
inform the members of Congress as to the full impact of the law; it did not apprise the people in the
towns of Buldon and Parang in Cotabato and in the province of Cotabato itself that part of their
territory is being taken away from their towns and province and added to the adjacent Province of
Lanao del Sur; it kept the public in the dark as to what towns and provinces were actually affected by
the bill. These are the pressures which heavily weigh against the constitutionality of Republic Act
4790.
Respondent's stance is that the change in boundaries of the two provinces resulting in "the
substantial diminution of territorial limits" of Cotabato province is "merely the incidental legal results of
the definition of the boundary" of the municipality of Dianaton and that, therefore, reference to the fact
that portions in Cotabato are taken away "need not be expressed in the title of the law." This posture
we must say but emphasizes the error of constitutional dimensions in writing down the title of
the bill. Transfer of a sizeable portion of territory from one province to another of necessity involves
reduction of area, population and income of the first and the corresponding increase of those of the
other. This is as important as the creation of a municipality. And yet, the title did not reflect this fact.
Respondent asks us to read Felwa vs. Salas, L-16511, October 29, 1966, as controlling here.
The Felwa case is not in focus. For there, the title of the Act (Republic Act 4695) reads: "An Act
Creating the Provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao." That title was
assailed as unconstitutional upon the averment that the provisions of the law (Section, 8 thereof) in
reference to the elective officials of the provinces thus created, were not set forth in the title of the bill.
We there ruled that this pretense is devoid of merit "for, surely, an Act creating said provinces must
be expected to provide for the officers who shall run the affairs thereof" which is "manifestly
germane to the subject" of the legislation, as set forth in its title. The statute now before us stands
altogether on a different footing. The lumping together of barrios in adjacent but separate provinces
under one statute is neither a natural nor logical consequence of the creation of the new municipality
of Dianaton. A change of boundaries of the two provinces may be made without necessarily creating
a new municipality and vice versa.
As we canvass the authorities on this point, our attention is drawn to Hume vs. Village of Fruitport,
219 NW 648, 649. There, the statute in controversy bears the title "An Act to Incorporate the Village
of Fruitport, in the County of Muskegon." The statute, however, in its section 1 reads: "The people of
the state of Michigan enact, that the following described territory in the counties of Muskegon and
Ottawa Michigan, to wit: . . . be, and the same is hereby constituted a village corporate, by the name
of the Village of Fruitport." This statute was challenged as void by plaintiff, a resident of Ottawa
county, in an action to restraint the Village from exercising jurisdiction and control, including taxing his
lands. Plaintiff based his claim on Section 20, Article IV of the Michigan State Constitution, which

reads: "No law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title." The Circuit
Court decree voided the statute and defendant appealed. The Supreme Court of Michigan voted to
uphold the decree of nullity. The following, said in Hume, may well apply to this case:
It may be that words, "An act to incorporate the village of Fruitport," would have been a
sufficient title, and that the words, "in the county of Muskegon" were unnecessary; but we do
not agree with appellant that the words last quoted may, for that reason, be disregarded as
surplusage.
. . . Under the guise of discarding surplusage, a court cannot reject a part of the title of an act
for the purpose of saving the act. Schmalz vs. Woody, 56 N.J. Eq. 649, 39 A. 539.
A purpose of the provision of the Constitution is to "challenge the attention of those affected by
the act to its provisions." Savings Bank vs. State of Michigan, 228 Mich. 316, 200 NW 262.
The title here is restrictive. It restricts the operation of the act of Muskegon county. The act
goes beyond the restriction. As was said in Schmalz vs. Wooly, supra: "The title is erroneous
in the worst degree, for it is misleading."9
Similar statutes aimed at changing boundaries of political subdivisions, which legislative purpose is
not expressed in the title, were likewise declared unconstitutional." 10
We rule that Republic Act 4790 is null and void.
2. Suggestion was made that Republic Act 4790 may still be salvaged with reference to the nine
barrios in the municipalities of Butig and Balabagan in Lanao del Sur, with the mere nullification of the
portion thereof which took away the twelve barrios in the municipalities of Buldon and Parang in the
other province of Cotabato. The reasoning advocated is that the limited title of the Act still covers
those barrios actually in the province of Lanao del Sur.
We are not unmindful of the rule, buttressed on reason and of long standing, that where a portion of a
statute is rendered unconstitutional and the remainder valid, the parts will be separated, and the
constitutional portion upheld. Black, however, gives the exception to this rule, thus:
. . . But when the parts of the statute are so mutually dependent and connected, as conditions,
considerations, inducements, or compensations for each other, as to warrant a belief that the
legislature intended them as a whole, and that if all could not be carried into effect, the
legislature would not pass the residue independently, then, if some parts are unconstitutional,
all the provisions which are thus dependent, conditional, or connected, must fall with them, 11
In substantially similar language, the same exception is recognized in the jurisprudence of this Court,
thus:
The general rule is that where part of a statute is void, as repugnant to the Organic Law, while
another part is valid, the valid portion if separable from the invalid, may stand and be enforced.
But in order to do this, the valid portion must be so far independent of the invalid portion that it
is fair to presume that the Legislature would have enacted it by itself if they had supposed that
they could not constitutionally enact the other. . . Enough must remain to make a complete,
intelligible, and valid statute, which carries out the legislative intent. . . . The language used in
the invalid part of the statute can have no legal force or efficacy for any purpose whatever,
and what remains must express the legislative will independently of the void part, since the
court has no power to legislate, . . . .12

Could we indulge in the assumption that Congress still intended, by the Act, to create the restricted
area of nine barrios in the towns of Butig and Balabagan in Lanao del Sur into the town of Dianaton, if
the twelve barrios in the towns of Buldon and Parang, Cotabato were to be excluded therefrom? The
answer must be in the negative.
Municipal corporations perform twin functions. Firstly. They serve as an instrumentality of the State in
carrying out the functions of government. Secondly. They act as an agency of the community in the
administration of local affairs. It is in the latter character that they are a separate entity acting for their
own purposes and not a subdivision of the State.13
Consequently, several factors come to the fore in the consideration of whether a group of barrios is
capable of maintaining itself as an independent municipality. Amongst these are population, territory,
and income. It was apparently these same factors which induced the writing out of House Bill 1247
creating the town of Dianaton. Speaking of the original twenty-one barrios which comprise the new
municipality, the explanatory note to House Bill 1247, now Republic Act 4790, reads:
The territory is now a progressive community; the aggregate population is large; and the
collective income is sufficient to maintain an independent municipality.
This bill, if enacted into law, will enable the inhabitants concerned to govern themselves and
enjoy the blessings of municipal autonomy.
When the foregoing bill was presented in Congress, unquestionably, the totality of the twenty-one
barrios not nine barrios was in the mind of the proponent thereof. That this is so, is plainly
evident by the fact that the bill itself, thereafter enacted into law, states that the seat of the
government is in Togaig, which is a barrio in the municipality of Buldon in Cotabato. And then the
reduced area poses a number of questions, thus: Could the observations as to progressive
community, large aggregate population, collective income sufficient to maintain an independent
municipality, still apply to a motley group of only nine barrios out of the twenty-one? Is it fair to
assume that the inhabitants of the said remaining barrios would have agreed that they be formed into
a municipality, what with the consequent duties and liabilities of an independent municipal
corporation? Could they stand on their own feet with the income to be derived in their community?
How about the peace and order, sanitation, and other corporate obligations? This Court may not
supply the answer to any of these disturbing questions. And yet, to remain deaf to these problems, or
to answer them in the negative and still cling to the rule on separability, we are afraid, is to impute to
Congress an undeclared will. With the known premise that Dianaton was created upon the basic
considerations of progressive community, large aggregate population and sufficient income, we may
not now say that Congress intended to create Dianaton with only nine of the original twenty-one
barrios, with a seat of government still left to be conjectured. For, this unduly stretches judicial
interpretation of congressional intent beyond credibility point. To do so, indeed, is to pass the line
which circumscribes the judiciary and tread on legislative premises. Paying due respect to the
traditional separation of powers, we may not now melt and recast Republic Act 4790 to read a
Dianaton town of nine instead of the originally intended twenty-one barrios. Really, if these nine
barrios are to constitute a town at all, it is the function of Congress, not of this Court, to spell out that
congressional will.
Republic Act 4790 is thus indivisible, and it is accordingly null and void in its totality. 14
3. There remains for consideration the issue raised by respondent, namely, that petitioner has no
substantial legal interest adversely affected by the implementation of Republic Act 4790. Stated
differently, respondent's pose is that petitioner is not the real party in interest.

Here the validity of a statute is challenged on the ground that it violates the constitutional requirement
that the subject of the bill be expressed in its title. Capacity to sue, therefore, hinges on whether
petitioner's substantial rights or interests are impaired by lack of notification in the title that the barrio
in Parang, Cotabato, where he is residing has been transferred to a different provincial hegemony.
The right of every citizen, taxpayer and voter of a community affected by legislation creating a town to
ascertain that the law so created is not dismembering his place of residence "in accordance with the
Constitution" is recognized in this jurisdiction.15
Petitioner is a qualified voter. He expects to vote in the 1967 elections. His right to vote in his own
barrio before it was annexed to a new town is affected. He may not want, as is the case here, to vote
in a town different from his actual residence. He may not desire to be considered a part of hitherto
different communities which are fanned into the new town; he may prefer to remain in the place
where he is and as it was constituted, and continue to enjoy the rights and benefits he acquired
therein. He may not even know the candidates of the new town; he may express a lack of desire to
vote for anyone of them; he may feel that his vote should be cast for the officials in the town before
dismemberment. Since by constitutional direction the purpose of a bill must be shown in its title for
the benefit, amongst others, of the community affected thereby,16 it stands to reason to say that when
the constitutional right to vote on the part of any citizen of that community is affected, he may become
a suitor to challenge the constitutionality of the Act as passed by Congress.
For the reasons given, we vote to declare Republic Act 4790 null and void, and to prohibit respondent
Commission from implementing the same for electoral purposes.
No costs allowed. So ordered.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Castro and Angeles,
JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, J., dissenting:
With regret and with due recognition of the merit of the opinion of the Court, I find myself unable to
give my assent. Hence these few words to express my stand.
Republic Act No. 4790 deals with one subject matter, the creation of the municipality of Dianaton in
the province of Lanao del Sur. The title makes evident what is the subject matter of such an
enactment. The mere fact that in the body of such statute barrios found in two other municipalities of
another province were included does not of itself suffice for a finding of nullity by virtue of the
constitutional provision invoked. At the most, the statute to be free from the insubstantial doubts
about its validity must be construed as not including the barrios, located not in the municipalities of
Butig and Balabagan, Lanao del Sur, but in Parang and Baldon, Cotabato.
The constitutional requirement is that no bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than
one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill.1 This provision is similar to those found in
the Constitution of many American States. It is aimed against the evils, of the so-called omnibus bills,
and log-rolling legislation, and against surreptitious or unconsidered enactments.2 Where the subject
of a bill is limited to a particular matter, the members of the legislature as well as the people should
be informed of the subject of proposed legislative measures. This constitutional provision thus
precludes the insertion of riders in legislation, a rider being a provision not germane to the subject
matter of the bill.

It is not to be narrowly construed though as to cripple or impede proper legislation. The construction
must be reasonable and not technical. It is sufficient if the title be comprehensive enough reasonably
to include the general object which the statute seeks to effect without expressing each and every end
and means necessary for the accomplishment of that object. Mere details need not be set forth. The
legislature is not required to make the title of the act a complete index of its contents. The
constitutional provision is satisfied if all parts of an act which relates to its subject find expression in
its title.3
The first decision of this Court, after the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, in
1938, construing a provision of this nature, Government v. Hongkong & Shanghai Bank,4 held that the
inclusion of Section 11 of Act No. 4007, the Reorganization Law, providing for the mode in which the
total annual expenses of the Bureau of Banking may be reimbursed through assessment levied upon
all banking institutions subject to inspection by the Bank Commissioner was not violative of such a
requirement in the Jones Law, the previous organic act. Justice Laurel, however, vigorously
dissented, his view being that while the main subject of the act was reorganization, the provision
assailed did not deal with reorganization but with taxation. While the case ofGovernment vs.
Hongkong & Shanghai Bank was decided by a bare majority of four justices against three, the present
trend seems to be that the constitutional requirement is to be given the liberal test as indicated in the
majority opinion penned by Justice Abad Santos, and not the strict test as desired by the majority
headed by Justice Laurel.
Such a trend has been reflected in subsequent decisions beginning with Sumulong v. Commission on
Elections,5up to and including Felwa vs. Salas, a 1966 decision,6 the opinion coming from Justice
Concepcion.
It is true of course that in Philconsa v. Gimenez,7 one of the grounds on which the invalidity of
Republic Act No. 3836 was predicated was the violation of the above constitutional provision. This
Retirement Act for senators and representatives was entitled "AN ACT AMENDING SUB-SECTION
(c), SECTION TWELVE OF COMMONWEALTH ACT NUMBERED ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-SIX,
AS AMENDED BY REPUBLIC ACT NUMBERED THIRTY HUNDRED NINETY-SIX." As we noted,
the paragraph in Republic Act No. 3836 deemed objectionable "refers to members of Congress and
to elective officers thereof who are not members of the Government Service Insurance System. To
provide retirement benefits, therefore, for these officials, would relate to a subject matter which is not
germane to Commonwealth Act No. 186. In other words, this portion of the amendment ( re
retirement benefits for Members of Congress and appointive officers, such as the Secretary and
Sergeants-at-arms for each house) is not related in any manner to the subject of Commonwealth Act
No. 186 establishing the Government Service Insurance System and which provides for both
retirement and insurance benefits to its members." Nonetheless our opinion was careful to note that
there was no abandonment of the principle of liberality. Thus: "we are not unmindful of the fact that
there has been a general disposition in all courts to construe the constitutional provision with
reference to the subject and title of the Act, liberally."
It would follow therefore that the challenged legislation Republic Act No. 4790 is not susceptible to the
indictment that the constitutional requirement as to legislation having only one subject which should
be expressed in his title was not met. The subject was the creation of the municipality of Dianaton.
That was embodied in the title.
It is in the light of the aforementioned judicial decisions of this Court, some of the opinions coming
from jurists illustrious for their mastery of constitutional law and their acknowledged erudition, that,
with all due respect, I find the citation from Corpus Juris Secundum, unnecessary and far from
persuasive. The State decisions cited, I do not deem controlling, as the freedom of this Court to
accept or reject doctrines therein announced cannot be doubted.

Wherein does the weakness of the statute lie then? To repeat, several barrios of two municipalities
outside Lanao del Sur were included in the municipality of Dianaton of that province. That itself would
not have given rise to a constitutional question considering the broad, well-high plenary powers
possessed by Congress to alter provincial and municipal boundaries. What justified resort to this
Court was the congressional failure to make explicit that such barrios in two municipalities located in
Cotabato would thereafter form part of the newly created municipality of Dianaton, Lanao del Sur.
To avoid any doubt as to the validity of such statute, it must be construed as to exclude from
Dianaton all of such barrios mentioned in Republic Act No. 4790 found in municipalities outside
Lanao del Sur. As thus interpreted, the statute can meet the test of the most rigid scrutiny. Nor is this
to do violence to the legislative intent. What was created was a new municipality from barrios named
as found in Lanao del Sur. This construction assures precisely that.
This mode of interpreting Republic Act No. 4790 finds support in basic principles underlying
precedents, which if not precisely controlling, have a persuasive ring. In Radiowealth v.
Agregado,8 certain provisions of the Administrative Code were interpreted and given a "construction
which would be more in harmony with the tenets of the fundamental law." In Sanchez v. Lyon
Construction,9 this Court had a similar ruling: "Article 302 of the Code of Commerce must be applied
in consonance with [the relevant] provisions of our Constitution." The above principle gained
acceptance at a much earlier period in our constitutional history. Thus in a 1913 decision, In re
Guaria:10 "In construing a statute enacted by the Philippine Commission we deem it our duty not to
give it a construction which would be repugnant to an Act of Congress, if the language of the statute
is fairly susceptible of another construction not in conflict with the higher law. In doing so, we think we
should not hesitate to disregard contentions touching the apparent intention of the legislator which
would lead to the conclusion that the Commission intended to enact a law in violation of the Act of
Congress. However specious the argument may be in favor of one of two possible constructions, it
must be disregarded if on examination it is found to rest on the contention that the legislator designed
an attempt to transcend the rightful limits of his authority, and that his apparent intention was to enact
an invalid law."
American Supreme Court decisions are equally explicit. The then Justice, later Chief Justice, Stone,
construed statutes "with an eye to possible constitutional limitations so as to avoid doubts as to [their]
validity."11 From the pen of the articulate jurist, Frankfurter:12 "Accordingly, the phrase "lobbying
activities" in the resolution must be given the meaning that may fairly be attributed to it, having special
regard for the principle of constitutional adjudication which makes it decisive in the choice of fair
alternatives that one construction may raise serious constitutional questions avoided by another." His
opinion in the Rumely case continues with the above pronouncement of Stone and two other former
Chief Justices: "In the words of Mr. Chief Justice Taft, '(i)t is our duty in the interpretation of federal
statutes to reach conclusion which will avoid serious doubt of their constitutionality', Richmond Screw
Anchor Co. v. United States, 275 US 331, 346, 48 S. Ct. 194, 198, 72 L. ed. 303. . . . As phrased by
Mr. Chief Justice Hughes, "if a serious doubt of constitutionality is raised, it is a cardinal principle that
this Court will first ascertain whether a construction of the statute is fairly possible by which the
question may be avoided.' Crowell v. Benson, 285, 296, 76 L. ed. 598, and cases cited." The
prevailing doctrine then as set forth by Justice Clark in a 1963 decision,13 is that courts "have
consistently sought an interpretation which supports the constitutionality of legislation." Phrased
differently by Justice Douglas, the judiciary favors "that interpretation of legislation which gives it the
greater change of surviving the test of constitutionality." 14
It would follow then that both Philippine and American decisions unite in the view that a legislative
measure, in the language of Van Devanter "should not be given a construction which will imperil its
validity where it is reasonably open to construction free from such peril." 15 Republic Act No. 4790 as
above construed incurs no such risk and is free from the peril of nullity.

So I would view the matter, with all due acknowledgment of the practical considerations clearly
brought to light in the opinion of the Court.
Footnotes
1

Hereinafter referred to as Comelec.

Article VI, Sec. 21(1), Philippine Constitution.

Stiglitz vs. Schiardien, 40 SW 2d 315, 317, 320.

Congressional Record, Vol. I, No. 40, p. 8; Vol. I, No. 50, pp. 40-41.

Section 18, Article VI of the Constitution, provides:


"Sec. 18. All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public
debt, bills of local application, and private bills, shall originate exclusively in the House
of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments."

Vidal de Roces vs. Posadas, 58 Phil. 108, 111-112; Ichong vs. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155,
1188-1190.
7

82 C.J.S. pp. 365, 370; emphasis supplied.

Emphasis ours.

Emphasis supplied.

10

Examples: Wilcox vs. Paddock, 31 NW 609, where the statute entitled "An act making an
appropriation of state swamp lands to aid the county of Gratiot in improving the channel of
Maple river . . ." but the body of the act affected another county other than Gratiot.
State vs. Burr, 238 P 585, the statute entitled "An act to amend Secs. 4318 and 4327 of
the Codes of Montana relating to changing the boundaries of Fergus and Judith Basin
countries" was rendered void because the body of the act included the boundaries of
Petroleum county.
Atchison vs. Kearney County, 48 P 583, where the title of the act purported to attach
Kearney county to Finney county the body of the act attached it to Hamilton county.
State vs. Nelson, 98 So. 715, the title of the act purporting to alter or rearrange the
boundaries of Decatur city and the body of the act which actually diminished the
boundary lines of the city were considered by the court as dealing with incongruous
matters. The reading of the former would give no clear suggestion that the latter would
follow and be made the subject of the act. Jackson, Clerk vs. Sherrod, 92 So. 481; City
of Ensley vs. Simpson, 52 So. 61, cited.
Fairview vs. City of Detroit, 113 NW 368, where the title gave notice that the entire
village of Fairview is annexed to Detroit when the body affected only a portion.
11

Black, Interpretation of Laws, 2d. ed., p. 116.

12

Barrameda vs. Moir, 25 Phil. 44, 47-48, quoted in Government vs. Springer (50 Phil. 259,
292; emphasis supplied).
13

McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, 3d ed., pp. 456-464.

14

In the case of Fuqua vs. City of Mobile, 121 So. 696, it was asserted that the portion of the
statute excluding a territory from Mobile which was not express in the title "An act to alter and
rearrange the boundary lines of the city of Mobile in the state of Alabama" should be the only
portion invalidated. The court, using the test whether or not after the objectionable feature is
stricken off there would still remain an act complete in itself, sensible, capable of being
executed, ruled that there can be no segregation of that portion dealing with the excluded
territory from that dealing with additional territory because these two matters are all embraced
and intermingled in one section dealing with the corporate limits of the city.
In the case of Engle vs. Bonnie, 204 SW 2d 963, the statute involved was entitled "An
Act relating to cities". Section 4 thereof "requires the creation of a municipality on
petition of a majority of voters or 500 voters." But some of the provisions were germane
to the title of the law. This statute was declared void in toto. The Court of Appeals of
Kentucky ruled as follows:
"The judgment declared only Section 4 [relative to the creation of a municipality on
petition of the voters] to be void and the remainder valid. While some of the provisions
of the act are germane to the title, since they deal with the classification of cities to be
created, they seem merely to harmonize other sections of the statute which they amend
with a new creation of cities other than sixth class towns. To remove only Section 4
would be like taking the motor of an automobile which leaves the machine of no use.
We are quite sure that these provisions would not have been enacted without Section 4;
hence, they too must fall."
15

Macias vs. The Commission on Elections, L-18684, September 14, 1961.

16

Brooks vs. Hydorn, 42 NW 1122, 1123-1124; Fairview vs. City of Detroit, 113 NW 368, 370.

FERNANDO, J., dissenting:


1

Art. VI, Sec. 21, par. 1, Constitution.

Government v. Hongkong & Shanghai Bank (1938), 66 Phil. 483.

People vs. Carlos (1947), 78 Phil. 535.

66 Phil. 483.

73 Phil. (1942) 228.

L-26511, October 29, 1960. The other cases that may be cited follows People v. Carlos
(1947), 78 Phil. 535; Nuval v. de la Fuente (1953), 92 Phil. 1074; Ichong v. Hernandez (1951),
101 Phil. 1155; Cordero v. Cabatuando, L-14542, Oct. 31, 1962; Municipality of Jose
Panganiban v. Shell Company, L-18349, July 30, 1966.
7

L-23326, December 18, 1965.

86 Phil. 429 (1950).

87 Phil. 309 (1950), Cf . City of Manila v. Arellano Law Colleges, Inc. (1950), 85 Phil. 663.

10

24 Phil. 37. Justice Carson who penned the opinion cited Black on Interpretation of Laws to
this effect: "Hence it follows that the courts will not so construe the law as to make it conflict
with the constitution, but will rather put such an interpretation upon it as will avoid conflict with
the constitution and give it full force and effect, if this can be done without extravagance. If
there is doubt, or uncertainty as to the meaning of the legislature, if the words or provisions of
the statute are obscure, or if the enactment is fairly susceptible of two or more constructions,
that interpretation will be adopted which will avoid the effect of unconstitutionality, even though
it may be necessary, for this purpose, to disregard the more usual or apparent impact of the
language employed."
11

Lucas v. Alexander (1928). 279 US 573, 577-578, citing United States ex rel. Atty. Gen. v.
Delaware & H. Co. 213 US 366, 407, 408, 53 L. ed. 836, 848, 849, 29 Sup. Ct. Rep. 527:
United States v. Standard Brewery, 251 US 210, 220, 64 L. ed. 229, 235, 40 Sup. Ct. Rep.
139; Texas v. Eastern Texas R. Co. 258 US 204, 217, 66 L. ed. 566, 572, 42 Sup. Ct. Rep.
281; Bratton v. Chandler, 260 US 110, 114, 67 L. ed. 157, 161, 43 Sup. Ct. Rep. 43; Panama
R. Co. v. Johnson, 264 US 375, 390, 68 L. ed. 748, 754, 44 Sup. Ct. Rep. 391.
12

United States v. Rumely (1953), 345 US 41, 45.

13

United States v. National Dairy Product Corp. 373 US 29, 32.

14

Ex parte Endo (1944), 323 US 283, 299-300.

15

Chippewa Indians v. United States (1937), 301 US 358, 376.

G.R. No. 127255 August 14, 1997


JOKER P. ARROYO, EDCEL C. LAGMAN, JOHN HENRY R. OSMEA, WIGBERTO E. TAADA,
AND RONALDO B. ZAMORA, petitioner,
vs.
JOSE DE VENECIA, RAUL DAZA, RODOLFO ALBANO, THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE
SECRETARY OF FINANCE, AND THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondents.
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari and/or prohibition challenging the validity of Republic Act No. 8240,
which amends certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code by imposing so-called "sin
taxes" (actually specific taxes) on the manufacture and sale of beer and cigarettes.
Petitioners are members of the House of Representatives. They brought this suit against respondents
Jose de Venecia, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Raul Daza, Majority
Leader Rodolfo Albano, the Executive Secretary, the Secretary of Finance, and the Commissioner of
Internal Revenue, charging violation of the rules of the House which petitioners claim are
"constitutionally mandated" so that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.
The law originated in the House of Representatives as H. No. 7198. This bill was approved on third
reading on September 12, 1996 and transmitted on September 16, 1996 to the Senate which
approved it with certain amendments on third reading on November 17, 1996. A bicameral
conference committee was formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate
versions of the bill.
The bicameral conference committee submitted its report to the House at 8 a.m. on November 21,
1996. At 11:48 a.m., after a recess, Rep. Exequiel Javier, chairman of the Committee on Ways and
Means, proceeded to deliver his sponsorship speech, after which he was interpellate. Rep. Rogelio
Sarmiento was first to interpellate. He was interrupted when Rep. Arroyo moved to adjourn for lack of
quorum. Rep. Antonio Cuenco objected to the motion and asked for a head count. After a roll call, the
Chair (Deputy Speaker Raul Daza) declared the presence of a quorum. 1 Rep. Arroyo appealed the
ruling of the Chair, but his motion was defeated when put to a vote. The interpellation of the sponsor
thereafter proceeded.
Petitioner Rep. Joker Arroyo registered to interpellate. He was fourth in the order, following Rep.
Rogelio Sarmiento, Rep. Edcel C. Lagman and Rep. Enrique Garcia. In the course of his
interpellation, Rep. Arroyo announced that he was going to raise a question on the quorum, although
until the end of his interpellation he never did. What happened thereafter is shown in the following
transcript of the session on November 21, 1996 of the House of Representatives, as published by
Congress in the newspaper issues of December 5 and 6, 1996:
MR. ALBANO. MR. Speaker, I move that we now approved and ratify the conference
committee report.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). Any objection to the motion?
MR. ARROYO. What is that, Mr. Speaker?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). There being none, approved.
(Gavel)

MR. ARROYO. No, no, no, wait a minute, Mr. Speaker, I stood up. I want to know what is the
question that the Chair asked the distinguished sponsor.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). The session is suspended for one minute.
(It was 3:01 p.m.)
(3:40 p.m., the session was resumed)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). The session is resumed.
MR. ALBANO. Mr. Speaker, I move to adjourn until four o'clock, Wednesday, next week.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Daza). The session is adjourned until four o'clock, Wednesday,
next week.
(It was 3:40 p.m.)
On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the
President of the Senate and certified by the respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress as
having been finally passed by the House of Representatives and by the Senate on November 21,
1996. The enrolled bill was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on November 22, 1996.
Petitioners claim that there are actually four different version of the transcript of this portion of Rep.
Arroyo's interpellation: (1) the transcript of audio-sound recording of the proceedings in the session
hall immediately after the session adjourned at 3:40 p.m. on November 21, 1996, which petitioner
Rep. Edcel C. Lagman obtained from he operators of the sound system; (2) the transcript of the
proceedings from 3:00 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. of November 21, 1996, as certified by the Chief of the
Transcription Division on November 21, 1996, also obtained by Rep. Lagman; (3) the transcript of the
proceedings from 3:00 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. of November 21, 1996 as certified by the Chief of the
Transcription Division on November 28, 1996, also obtained by Rep. Lagman; and (4) the published
version abovequoted. According to petitioners, the four versions differ on three points, to wit: (1) in
the audio-sound recording the word "approved," which appears on line 13 in the three other versions,
cannot be heard; (2) in the transcript certified on November 21, 1996 the world "no" on line 17
appears only once, while in the other versions it is repeated three times; and (3) the published version
does not contain the sentence "(Y)ou better prepare for a quorum because I will raise the question of
the quorum," which appears in the other versions.
Petitioners' allegations are vehemently denied by respondents. However, there is no need to discuss
this point as petitioners have announced that, in order to expedite the resolution of this petition, they
admit, without conceding, the correctness of the transcripts relied upon by the respondents.
Petitioners agree that for purposes of this proceeding the word "approved" appears in the transcripts.
Only the proceedings of the House of Representatives on the conference committee report on H. No.
7198 are in question. Petitioners' principal argument is that R.A. No. 8240 is null and void because it
was passed in violation of the rules of the House; that these rules embody the "constitutional
mandate" in Art. VI, 16(3) that "each House may determine the rules of its proceedings" and that,
consequently, violation of the House rules is a violation of the Constitution itself. They contend that
the certification of Speaker De Venecia that the law was properly passed is false and spurious.
More specifically, petitioners charge that (1) in violation of Rule VIII, 35 and Rule XVII, 103 of the
rules of the House, 2 the Chair, in submitting the conference committee report to the House, did not
call for the years or nays, but simply asked for its approval by motion in order to prevent petitioner

Arroyo from questioning the presence of a quorum; (2) in violation of Rule XIX, 112, 3 the Chair
deliberately ignored Rep. Arroyo's question, "What is that . . . Mr. Speaker?" and did not repeat Rep.
Albano's motion to approve or ratify; (3) in violation of Rule XVI, 97, 4 the Chair refused to recognize
Rep. Arroyo and instead proceeded to act on Rep. Albano's motion and afterward declared the report
approved; and (4) in violation of Rule XX, 121-122, Rule XXI, 123, and Rule XVIII, 109, 5 the
Chair suspended the session without first ruling on Rep. Arroyo's question which, it is alleged, is a
point of order or a privileged motion. It is argued that Rep. Arroyo's query should have been resolved
upon the resumption of the session on November 28, 1996, because the parliamentary situation at
the time of the adjournment remained upon the resumption of the session.
Petitioners also charge that the session was hastily adjourned at 3:40 p.m. on November 21, 1996
and the bill certified by Speaker Jose De Venecia to prevent petitioner Rep. Arroyo from formally
challenging the existence of a quorum and asking for a reconsideration.
Petitioners urge the Court not to feel bound by the certification of the Speaker of the House that the
law had been properly passed, considering the Court's power under Art. VIII, 1 to pass on claims of
grave abuse of discretion by the other departments of the government, and they ask for a
reexamination of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, 6 which affirmed the conclusiveness of an
enrolled bill, in view of the changed membership of the Court.
The Solicitor General filed a comment in behalf of all respondents. In addition, respondent De
Venecia filed a supplemental comment. Respondents' defense is anchored on the principle of
separation of powers and the enrolled bill doctrine. They argue that the Court is not the proper forum
for the enforcement of the rules of the House and that there is no justification for reconsidering the
enrolled bill doctrine. Although the Constitution provides in Art. VI, 16(3) for the adoption by each
House of its rules of proceedings, enforcement of the rules cannot be sought in the courts except
insofar as they implement constitutional requirements such as that relating to three readings on
separate days before a bill may be passed. At all events, respondents contend that, in passing the bill
which became R.A. No. 8240, the rules of the House, as well as parliamentary precedents for
approval of conference committee reports on mere motion, were faithfully observed.
In his supplemental comment, respondent De Venecia denies that his certification of H. No. 7198 is
false and spurious and contends that under the journal entry rule, the judicial inquiry sought by the
petitioners is barred. Indeed, Journal No. 39 of the House of Representatives, covering the sessions
of November 20 and 21, 1996, shows that "On Motion of Mr. Albano, there being no objection, the
Body approved the Conference Committee Report on House Bill No. 7198." 7 This Journal was
approved on December 2, 1996 over the lone objection of petitioner Rep. Lagman. 8
After considering the arguments of the parties, the Court finds no ground for holding that Congress
committed a grave abuse of discretion in enacting R.A. No. 8240. This case is therefore dismissed.
First. It is clear from the foregoing facts that what is alleged to have been violated in the enactment of
R.A. No. 8240 are merely internal rules of procedure of the House rather than constitutional
requirements for the enactment of a law, i.e., Art. VI, 26-27. Petitioners do not claim that there was
no quorum but only that, by some maneuver allegedly in violation of the rules of the House, Rep.
Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a quorum.
Petitioners contend that the House rules were adopted pursuant to the constitutional provision that
"each House may determine the rules of its proceedings" 9 and that for this reason they are judicially
enforceable. To begin with, this contention stands the principle on its head. In the decided
cases, 10 the constitutional provision that "each House may determine the rules of its proceedings"
was invoked by parties, although not successfully, precisely to support claims of autonomy of the

legislative branch to conduct its business free from interference by courts. Here petitioners cite the
provision for the opposite purpose of invoking judicial review.
But the cases, both here and abroad, in varying forms of expression, all deny to the courts the power
to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a House of Congress failed to comply with its own
rules, in the absence of showing that there was a violation of a constitutional provision or the rights of
private individuals. In Osmea v.Pendatun, 11 it was held: "At any rate, courts have declared that 'the
rules adopted by deliberative bodies are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure
of the body adopting them.' And it has been said that 'Parliamentary rules are merely procedural, and
with their observance, the courts have no concern. They may be waived or disregarded by the
legislative body.' Consequently, 'mere failure to conform to parliamentary usage will not invalidate the
action (taken by a deliberative body) when the requisite number of members have agreed to a
particular measure.'"
In United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co., 12 the rules was stated thus: "The Constitution empowers
each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules ignore constitutional
restraints or violate fundamental rights, and there should be a reasonable relation between the mode
or method of proceeding established by the rule and the result which is sought to be attained. But
within these limitations all matters of method are open to the determination of the House, and it is no
impeachment of the rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more
just. It is no objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed and in force for
a length of time. The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is exhausted. It is a
continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the House, and within the limitations suggested,
absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body or tribunal."
In Crawford v. Gilchrist, 13 it was held: "The provision that each House shall determine the rules of its
proceedings does not restrict the power given to a mere formulation of standing rules, or to the
proceedings of the body in ordinary legislative matters; but in the absence of constitutional restraints,
and when exercised by a majority of a constitutional quorum, such authority extends to a
determination of the propriety and effect of any action as it is taken by the body as it proceeds in the
exercise of any power, in the transaction of any business, or in the performance of any duty conferred
upon it by the Constitution."
In State ex rel. City Loan & Savings Co. v. Moore, 14 the Supreme Court of Ohio stated: "The
provision for reconsideration is no part of the Constitution and is therefore entirely within the control of
the General Assembly. Having made the rule, it should be regarded, but a failure to regard it is not
the subject-matter of judicial inquiry. It has been decided by the courts of last resort of many states,
and also by the United States Supreme Court, that a legislative act will not be declared invalid for
noncompliance with rules."
In State v. Savings Bank, 15 the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut declared itself as follows:
"The Constitution declares that each house shall determine the rules of its own proceedings and shall
have all powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free and independent state. Rules of
proceedings are the servants of the House and subject to its authority. This authority may be abused,
but when the House has acted in a matter clearly within its power, it would be an unwarranted
invasion of the independence of the legislative department for the court to set aside such action as
void because it may think that the House has misconstrued or departed from its own rules of
procedure."
In McDonald v. State, 16 the Wisconsin Supreme Court held: "When it appears that an act was so
passed, no inquiry will be permitted to ascertain whether the two houses have or have not complied
strictly with their own rules in their procedure upon the bill, intermediate its introduction and final

passage. The presumption is conclusive that they have done so. We think no court has ever declared
an act of the legislature void for non-compliance with the rules of procedure made by itself , or the
respective branches thereof, and which it or they may change or suspend at will. If there are any such
adjudications, we decline to follow them."
Schweizer v. Territory 17 is illustrative of the rule in these cases. The 1893 Statutes of Oklahoma
provided for three readings on separate days before a bill may be passed by each house of the
legislature, with the proviso that in case of an emergency the house concerned may, by two-thirds
vote, suspend the operation of the rule. Plaintiff was convicted in the district court of violation of a law
punishing gambling. He appealed contending that the gambling statute was not properly passed by
the legislature because the suspension of the rule on three readings had not been approved by the
requisite two-thirds vote. Dismissing this contention, the State Supreme Court of Oklahoma held:
We have no constitutional provision requiring that the legislature should read a bill in any
particular manner. It may, then, read or deliberate upon a bill as it sees fit. either in accordance
with its own rules, or in violation thereof, or without making any rules. The provision of section
17 referred to is merely a statutory provision for the direction of the legislature in its action
upon proposed measures. It receives its entire force from legislative sanction, and it exists only
at legislative pleasure. The failure of the legislature to properly weigh and consider an act, its
passage through the legislature in a hasty manner, might be reasons for the governor
withholding his signature thereto; but this alone, even though it is shown to be a violation of a
rule which the legislature had made to govern its own proceedings, could be no reason for the
court's refusing its enforcement after it was actually passed by a majority of each branch of the
legislature, and duly signed by the governor. The courts cannot declare an act of the
legislature void on account of noncompliance with rules of procedure made by itself to govern
its deliberations. McDonald v. State, 80 Wis. 407, 50 N.W. 185; In re Ryan, 80 Wis. 414, 50
N.W. 187; State v. Brown, 33 S.C. 151, 11 S.E. 641; Railway Co. v. Gill, 54 Ark. 101, 15 S.W.
18.
We conclude this survey with the useful summary of the rulings by former Chief Justice Fernando,
commenting on the power of each House of Congress to determine its rules of proceedings. He
wrote:
Rules are hardly permanent in character. The prevailing view is that they are subject to
revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them as they are
primarily procedural. Courts ordinary have no concern with their observance. They may be
waived or disregarded by the legislative body. Consequently, mere failure to conform to them
does not have the effect of nullifying the act taken if the requisite number of members have
agreed to a particular measure. The above principle is subject, however, to this qualification.
Where the construction to be given to a rule affects person other than members of the
legislative body the question presented is necessarily judicial in character. Even its validity is
open to question in a case where private rights are involved. 18
In this case no rights of private individuals are involved but only those of a member who, instead of
seeking redress in the House, chose to transfer the dispute to this Court. We have no more power to
look into the internal proceedings of a House than members of that House have to look over our
shoulders, as long as no violation of constitutional provisions is shown.
Petitioners must realize that each of the three departments of our government has its separate
sphere which the others may not invade without upsetting the delicate balance on which our
constitutional order rests. Due regard for the working of our system of government, more than mere

comity, compels reluctance on our part to enter upon an inquiry into an alleged violation of the rules
of the House. We must accordingly decline the invitation to exercise our power.
Second. Petitioners, quoting former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion's sponsorship in the
Constitutional Commission, contend that under Art. VIII, 1, "nothing involving abuse of discretion [by
the other branches of the government] amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction is beyond judicial
review." 19 Implicit in this statement of the former Chief Justice, however, is an acknowledgment that
the jurisdiction of this Court is subject to the case and controversy requirement of Art. VIII. 5 and,
therefore, to the requirement of a justiciable controversy before courts can adjudicate constitutional
questions such as those which arise in the field of foreign relations. For while Art. VIII, 1 has
broadened the scope of judicial inquiry into areas normally left to the political departments to decide,
such as those relating to national security, 20 it has not altogether done away with political questions
such as those which arise in the field of foreign relations. As we have already held, under Art. VIII, 1,
this Court's function
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 jurisdiction, there is no
occasion for the Court to exercise its corrective power. . . . It has no power to look into what it
thinks is apparent error. 21
If, then, the established rule is that courts cannot declare an act of the legislature void on account
merely of noncompliance with rules of procedure made by itself, it follows that such a case does not
present a situation in which a branch of the government has "gone beyond the constitutional limits of
its jurisdiction" so as to call for the exercise of our Art. VIII. 1 power.
Third. Petitioners claim that the passage of the law in the House was "railroaded." They claim that
Rep. Arroyo was still making a query to the Chair when the latter declared Rep. Albano's motion
approved.
What happened is that, after Rep. Arroyo's interpellation of the sponsor of the committee report,
Majority Leader Rodolfo Albano moved for the approval and ratification of the conference committee
report. The Chair called out for objections to the motion. Then the Chair declared: "There being none,
approved." At the same time the Chair was saying this, however, Rep. Arroyo was asking, "What is
that . . . Mr. Speaker?" The Chair and Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously. Thus, although Rep.
Arroyo subsequently objected to the Majority Leader's motion, the approval of the conference
committee report had by then already been declared by the Chair, symbolized by its banging of the
gavel.
Petitioners argue that, in accordance with the rules of the House, Rep. Albano's motion for the
approval of the conference committee report should have been stated by the Chair and later the
individual votes of the members should have been taken. They say that the method used in this case
is a legislator's nightmare because it suggests unanimity when the fact was that one or some
legislators opposed the report.
No rule of the House of Representative has been cited which specifically requires that in case such
as this involving approval of a conference committee report, the Chair must restate the motion and
conduct a viva voce or nominal voting. On the other hand, as the Solicitor General has pointed out,
the manner in which the conference committee report on H. No. 7198 was approval was by no means
a unique one. It has basis in legislative practice. It was the way the conference committee report on
the bills which became the Local Government Code of 1991 and the conference committee report on
the bills amending the Tariff and Customs Code were approved.

In 1957, the practice was questioned as being contrary to the rules of the House. The point was
answered by Majority Leader Arturo M. Tolentino and his answer became the ruling of the Chair Mr.
Tolentino said:
Mr. TOLENTINO. The fact that nobody objects means a unanimous action of the House.
Insofar as the matter of procedure is concerned, this has been a precedent since I came here
seven years ago, and it has been the procedure in this House that if somebody objects, then a
debate follows and after the debate, then the voting comes in.
xxx xxx xxx
Mr. Speaker, a point of order was raised by the gentleman from Leyte, and I wonder what his
attitude is nor on his point of order. I should just like to state that I believe that we have had a
substantial compliance with the Rules. The Rule invoked is not one that refers to statutory or
constitutional requirement, and a substantial compliance, to my mind, is sufficient. When the
Chair announces the vote by saying "Is there any objection?" and nobody objects, then the
Chair announces "The bill is approved on second reading." If there was any doubt as to the
vote, any motion to divide would have been proper. So, if that motion is not presented, we
assume that the House approves the measure. So I believe there is substantial compliance
here, and if anybody wants a division of the House he can always ask for it, and the Chair can
announce how many are in favor and how many are against. 22
Indeed, it is no impeachment of the method to say that some other way would be better, more
accurate and even more just. 23 The advantages or disadvantages, the wisdom or folly of a method
do not present any matter for judicial consideration. 24 In the words of the U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals, "this Court cannot provide a second opinion on what is the best procedure. Notwithstanding
the deference and esteem that is properly tendered to individual congressional actors, our deference
and esteem for the institution as a whole and for the constitutional command that the institution be
allowed to manage its own affairs precludes us from even attempting a diagnosis of the problem." 25
Nor does the Constitution require that the yeas and the nays of
the Members be taken every time a House has to vote, except only in the following instances; upon
the last and third readings of a bill, 26 at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, 27 and in
repassing a bill over the veto of the President. 28 Indeed, considering the fact that in the approval of
the original bill the votes of the members by yeas and nayshad already been taken, it would have
been sheer tedium to repeat the process.
Petitioners claim that they were prevented from seeking reconsideration allegedly as a result of the
precipitate suspension and subsequent adjournment of the session. 29 It would appear, however, that
the session was suspended to allow the parties to settle the problem, because when it resumed at
3:40 p.m. on that day Rep. Arroyo did not say anything anymore. While it is true that the Majority
Leader moved for adjournment until 4 p.m. of Wednesday of the following week, Rep. Arroyo could at
least have objected if there was anything he wanted to say. The fact, however, is that he did not. The
Journal of November 21, 1996 of the House shows.
ADJOURNMENT OF SESSION
On motion of Mr. Albano, there being no objection, the Chair declared the session adjourned
until four o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, November 27, 1996.
It was 3:40 p.m. Thursday, November 21, 1996. (emphasis added)

This Journal was approved on December 3, 1996. Again, no one objected to its approval except Rep.
Lagman.
It is thus apparent that petitioners' predicament was largely of their own making. Instead of submitting
the proper motions for the House to act upon, petitioners insisted on the pendency of Rep. Arroyo's
question as an obstacle to the passage of the bill. But Rep. Arroyo's question was not, in form or
substance, a point of order or a question of privilege entitled to precedence. 30 And even if Rep.
Arroyo's question were so, Rep. Albano's motion to adjourn would have precedence and would have
put an end to any further consideration of the question. 31
Given this fact, it is difficult to see how it can plausibly be contended that in signing the bill which
became R.A. No. 8240, respondent Speaker of the House be acted with grave abuse of his
discretion. Indeed, the phrase "grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction"
has a settled meaning in the jurisprudence of procedure. It means such capricious and whimsical
exercise of judgment by a tribunal exercising judicial or quasi judicial power as to amount to lack of
power. As Chief Justice Concepcion himself said in explaining this provision, the power granted to the
courts by Art. VIII. 1 extends to cases where "a branch of the 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." 32
Here, the matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure of the House with which the
Court should not he concerned. To repeat, the claim is not that there was no quorum but only that
Rep. Arroyo was effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a quorum. Rep. Arroyo's
earlier motion to adjourn for lack of quorum had already been defeated, as the roll call established the
existence of a quorum. The question of quorum cannot be raised repeatedly especially when the
quorum is obviously present for the purpose of delaying the business of the House. 33 Rep. Arroyo
waived his objection by his continued interpellation of the sponsor for in so doing he in effect
acknowledged the presence of a quorum. 34
At any rate it is noteworthy that of the 111 members of the House earlier found to be present on
November 21, 1996, only the five, i.e., petitioners in this case, are questioning the manner by which
the conference committee report on H. No. 7198 was approved on that day. No one, except Rep.
Arroyo, appears to have objected to the manner by which the report was approved. Rep. John Henry
Osmea did not participate in the bicameral conference committee proceedings. 35 Rep. Lagman and
Rep. Zamora objected to the report 36 but not to the manner it was approved; while it is said that, if
voting had been conducted. Rep. Taada would have voted in favor of the conference committee
report. 37
Fourth. Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of H. No. 7198 by the Speaker of the House and
the President of the Senate and the certification by the secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it
was passed on November 21, 1996 are conclusive of its due enactment. Much energy and learning is
devoted in the separate opinion of Justice Puno, joined by Justice Davide, to disputing this doctrine.
To be sure, there is no claim either here or in the decision in the EVAT cases [Tolentino v. Secretary
of Finance] that the enrolled bill embodies a conclusive presumption. In one case 38 we "went behind"
an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine whether certain provisions of a statute had
been approved by the Senate.
But, where as here there is no evidence to the contrary, this Court will respect the certification of the
presiding officers of both Houses that a bill has been duly passed. Under this rule, this Court has
refused to determine claims that the three-fourths vote needed to pass a proposed amendment to the
Constitution had not been obtained, because "a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports absolute

verify and is binding on the courts." 39This Court quoted from Wigmore on Evidence the following
excerpt which embodies good, if old-fashioned, democratic theory:
The truth is that many have been carried away with the righteous desire to check at any cost
the misdoings of Legislatures. They have set such store by the Judiciary for this purpose that
they have almost made them a second and higher Legislature. But they aim in the wrong
direction. Instead of trusting a faithful Judiciary to check an inefficient Legislature, they should
turn to improve the Legislature. The sensible solution is not to patch and mend casual errors
by asking the Judiciary to violate legal principle and to do impossibilities with the Constitution;
but to represent ourselves with competent, careful, and honest legislators, the work of whose
hands on the statute-roll may come to reflect credit upon the name of popular government. 40
This Court has refused to even look into allegations that the enrolled bill sent to the President
contained provisions which had been "surreptitiously" inserted in the conference committee:
[W]here allegations that the constitutional procedures for the passage of bills have not been
observed have no more basis than another allegation that the Conference Committee
"surreptitiously" inserted provisions into a bill which it had prepared, we should decline the
invitation to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To disregard the "enrolled bill" rule in such
cases would be to disregard the respect due the other two departments of our government. 41
It has refused to look into charges that an amendment was made upon the last reading of a bill in
violation of Art. VI. 26(2) of the Constitution that "upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment shall
be allowed." 42
In other cases, 43 this Court has denied claims that the tenor of a bill was otherwise than as certified
by the presiding officers of both Houses of Congress.
The enrolled bill doctrine, as a rule of evidence, is well established. It is cited with approval by text
writers here and abroad. 44 The enrolled bill rule rests on the following considerations:
. . . As the President has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled
Act in the custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker
of the House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of the
United States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and executive
departments of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of enacting and executing
the laws, that it was passed by Congress. The respect due to coequal and independent
departments requires the judicial department to act upon that assurance, and to accept, as
having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner stated; leaving the court to
determine, when the question properly arises, whether the Act, so authenticated, is in
conformity with the Constitution. 45
To overrule the doctrine now, as the dissent urges, is to repudiate the massive teaching of our cases
and overthrow an established rule of evidence.
Indeed, petitioners have advanced no argument to warrant a departure from the rule, except to say
that, with a change in the membership of the Court, the three new members may be assumed to have
an open mind on the question of the enrolled bill rule Actually, not three but four (Cruz, Feliciano,
Bidin, and Quiason, JJ.) have departed from the Court since our decision in the EVAT cases and their
places have since been taken by four new members (Francisco, Hermosisima, Panganiban, and
Torres, JJ.) Petitioners are thus simply banking on the change in the membership of the Court.

Moreover, as already noted, the due enactment of the law in question is confirmed by the Journal of
the House of November 21, 1996 which shows that the conference committee report on H. No. 7198,
which became R.A. No. 8740, was approved on that day. The keeping of the Journal is required by
the Constitution, Art. VI, 16(4) provides:
Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same,
excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, affect national security; and
the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, be
entered in the Journal.
Each House shall also keep a Record of its proceedings.
The Journal is regarded as conclusive with respect to matters that are required by the Constitution to
be recorded therein. 46 With respect to other matters, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the
Journals have also been accorded conclusive effect. Thus, in United States v. Pons, 47 this Court
spoke of the imperatives of public policy for regarding the Journals as "public memorials of the most
permanent character," thus: "They should be public, because all are required to conform to them;
they should be permanent, that rights acquired today upon the faith of what has been declared to be
law shall not be destroyed tomorrow, or at some remote period of time, by facts resting only in the
memory of individuals." As already noted, the bill which became R.A. No. 8240 is shown in the
Journal. Hence its due enactment has been duly proven.
It would be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for this Court either
to set aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks the House has disregarded its own
rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial
forum when petitioners can find their remedy in that department itself. The Court has not been
invested with a roving commission to inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of legislative
skullduggery. It would be acting in excess of its power and would itself be guilty of grave abuse of its
discretion were it to do so. The suggestion made in a case 48 may instead appropriately be made
here: petitioners can seek the enactment of a new law or the repeal or amendment of R.A. No. 8240.
In the absence of anything to the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any House
thereof acted in the good faith belief that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and deference rather
than disrespect is due the judgment of that body. 49
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Melo, Kapunan, Francisco and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
Regalado, J., concurs in the result.
Bellosillo and Panganiban, JJ., took no part.
Torres, Jr., J., is on leave.
Separate Opinions
VITUG, J., concurring:

When the 1987 Constitution has embodied, in its circumscription of judicial power under
Section 1, Article VIII, of the Constitution, the determination of whether or not there is grave
abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government, the Supreme
Court, upon which that great burden has been imposed, could not have been thought of as
likewise being thereby tasked with the awesome responsibility of overseeing the entire
bureaucracy. The term grave abuse of discretion has long been understood in our
jurisprudence as, and confined to, a capricious and whimsical or despotic exercise of
judgment as amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
I see nothing of that sort in the case at bar. Absent a clear case of grave abuse of discretion,
like the patent disregard of a Constitutional proscription, I would respect the judgment of
Congress under whose province the specific responsibility falls and the authority to act is
vested. To do otherwise would be an unwarranted intrusion into the internal affairs of a coequal, independent and coordinate branch of government. At no time, it would seem to me,
has it been intended by the framers of the fundamental law to cause a substantial deviation, let
alone departure, from the time-honored and accepted principle of separation, but balanced,
powers of the three branches of government. There is, of course, a basic variant between the
old rule and the new Charter on the understanding of the term "judicial power." Now, the Court
is under mandate to assume jurisdiction over, and to undertake judicial inquiry into, what may
even be deemed to be political questions provided, however, that grave abuse of discretion
the sole test of justiciability on purely political issues is shown to have attended the
contested act.
All taken, I most humbly reiterate my separate opinion in Tolentino vs. Secretary of
Finance and companion cases (G.R. No. 115455, etc., 235 SCRA 630) and vote to deny the
instant petition.
ROMERO, J., separate opinion:
In filing this separate opinion for the dismissal of the instant petition, I am not backtracking
from the dissent which I expressed in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance. 1 I am somewhat
bothered that if I do not elaborate, the vote which I cast today might be wrongly construed as
an implied abandonment of, and inconsistent with, my firm stance in Tolentino.
The landmark case of Tolentino, just like the one under consideration, involved a similar
challenge to the constitutionality of a significant tax measure namely, Republic Act No. 7716,
otherwise known as the Expanded Value-Added Tax (EVAT) Law. There, a number of issues,
both substantive and procedural, were posed by petitioners, each of which was discussed by
the majority opinion of Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza who, incidentally, is also the ponente of
instant decision. At any rate, it is worth noting that I did not entirely disagree with each and
every argument of the opinion, most especially those touching upon substantive issues. My
main objection in Tolentino, it will be recalled, focused instead on what I perceived was a
substantial breach and disregard by the Legislature of vital constitutional requirements
ordaining the procedures to be followed in the passage of a bill which, in my opinion, the
majority seemed to have cavalierly put to rest by hiding under the cloak of the enrolled bill
theory 2 and the precept that the Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of internal
legislative rules allegedly violated. 3 To me, the position then taken by the majority exhibited
blind adherence to otherwise sound principles of law which did not, however, fit the facts as
presented before the Court. Hence, I objected, not so much because I found these principles
unwise or obsolete, but rather because they were applied, or misapplied, to a case which I
believe did not call for their application.

When I differed from the majority opinion which applied the enrolled bill theory, I was very
careful to emphasize that reliance thereon is not to be discontinued but that its application
must be limited to minor matters relating more to form and factual issues which do not
materially alter the essence and substance of the law itself. Thus:
As applied to the instant petition, the issue posed is whether or not the procedural
irregularities that attended the passage of House Bill No. 11197 and Senate Bill No.
1630, outside of the reading and printing requirements which were exempted by the
Presidential certification, may no longer be impugned, having been "saved" by the
conclusiveness on us of the enrolled bill. I see no cogent reason why we cannot
continue to place reliance on the enrolled bill, but only with respect to matters pertaining
to the procedure followed in the enactment of bills in Congress and their subsequent
engrossment, printing errors, omission of words and phrases and similar relatively minor
matters relating more to form and factual issues which do not materially alter the
essence and substance of the law itself .
Certainly, courts cannot claim greater ability to judge procedural legitimacy, since
constitutional rules on legislative procedure are easily mastered. Procedural disputes
are over facts whether or not the bill had enough votes, or three readings, or
whatever not over the meaning of the constitution. Legislators, as eyewitnesses, are
in a better position than a court to rule on the facts. The argument is also made that
legislatures would be offended if courts examined legislative procedure.
Such a rationale, however, cannot conceivably apply to substantive changes in a bill
introduced towards the end of its tortuous trip through Congress, catching both
legislators and the public unawares and altering the same beyond recognition even by
its sponsors.
This issue I wish to address forthwith. 4
As regards the principle that the Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of internal
legislative rules, both the majority and I were actually of one mind such that I was quick to
qualify the extent of the Court's review power in respect of internal procedures in this wise:
I wish to consider this issue in light of Article VIII, Sec. 1 of the Constitution which
provides that "(j)udicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice . . . 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." We are
also guided by the principle that a court may interfere with the internal procedures of its
coordinate branch only to uphold the Constitution. 5
I differed, however, from the majority insofar as that principle was applied. In this respect, I
showed that the introduction of several provisions in the Bicameral Conference Committee
Report did not only violate the pertinent House and Senate Rules defining the limited power of
the conference committee but that the Constitutional proscription against any amendment
upon the last reading of a bill was likewise breached. Hence, in view of these lapses, I thought
that judicial review would have been proper in order to uphold the Constitution. This the
majority, however, disregarded invoking the same principle which should have justified the
Court in questioning the actuations of the legislative branch.

At this juncture, I wish to reiterate my continuing adherence to the aforesaid reasons I cited in
the Tolentinodissent. At the same time, I realize that the arguments I raised in my dissent
would not hold true in the instant petition.
For one thing, unlike in Tolentino, the rules of the House of Representatives allegedly violated
by respondents in the instant petition are purely internal rules designed for the orderly conduct
of the House's business. They have no direct or reasonable nexus to the requirements and
proscriptions of the Constitution in the passage of a bill which would otherwise warrant the
Court's intervention. Likewise, the petitioners are not in any way complaining that substantial
alterations have been introduced in Republic Act No. 8240. The thrust of petitioners'
arguments in attacking the validity of the law is merely with respect to the fact that Rep. Joker
Arroyo was effectively prevented from invoking the question of quorum and not that the
substance thereof offends constitutional standards. This being the case, I do not now feel
called upon to invoke my previous argument that the enrolled bill theory should not be
conclusive as regards "substantive changes in a bill introduced towards the end of its tortuous
trip through Congress," when it is palpably unwarranted under the circumstances of instant
petition.
PUNO, J., concurring and dissenting:
I concur in the result. I do appreciate the fine legal disquisition of Mr. Justice Mendoza to justify
the dismissal of the case at bar. Nevertheless, I have to express my views on the alleged nonjusticiability of the issue posed by the petitioner as well as the applicability of the archaic enroll
bill doctrine in light of what I perceive as new wrinkles in our law brought about by the 1987
Constitution and the winds of changing time.
I
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor
do I agree that we will trivialize the principle of separation of power if we assume jurisdiction
over the case at bar. Even in the United States, the principle of separation of power is no
longer an impregnable impediment against the interposition of judicial power on cases
involving breach of rules of procedure by legislators.
Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891 case of US v. Ballin, 1 as a window to view the issues
before the Court. It is in Ballin where the US Supreme Court first defined the boundaries of the
power of the judiciary to review congressional rules. 2 It held:
xxx xxx xxx
The Constitution, in the same section, provides, that "each house may determine the
rules of its proceedings." It appears that in pursuance of this authority the House had,
prior to that day, passed this as one of its rules:
Rule XV
3. On the demand of any member, or at the suggestion of the Speaker, the names of
members sufficient to make a quorum in the hall of the House who do not vote shall be
noted by the clerk and recorded in the journal, and reported to the Speaker with the
names of the members voting, and be counted and announced in determining the
presence of a quorum to do business. (House Journal, 230, Feb. 14, 1890)

The action taken was in direct compliance with this rule. The question, therefore, is as
to the validity of this rule, and not what methods the Speaker may of his own motion
resort to for determining the presence of a quorum, nor what matters the Speaker or
clerk may of their own volition place upon the journal. Neither do the advantages or
disadvantages, the wisdom or folly, of such a rule present any matters for judicial
consideration. With the courts the question is only one of power. The Constitution
empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules
ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and there should be a
reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceedings established by the rule
and the result which is sought to be attained. But within these limitations all matters of
method are open to the determination of the House, and it is no impeachment of the
rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is
no objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed and in force
for a length of time. The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is
exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the House, and
within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body
or tribunal.
Ballin, clearly confirmed the jurisdiction of courts to pass upon the validity of congressional
rules, i.e., whether they are constitutional. Rule XV was examined by the Court and it was
found to satisfy the test: (1) that it did not ignore any constitutional restraint; (2) it did not
violate any fundamental right; and (3) its method has a reasonable relationship with the result
sought to be attained. By examining Rule XV, the Court did not allow its jurisdiction to be
defeated by the mere invocation of the principle of separation of powers.
Ballin was followed in 1932 by the case of US v. Smith. 3 In Smith, the meaning of sections 3
and 4 of Rule XXXVIII of the US Senate was in issue, viz:
xxx xxx xxx
3. When a nomination is confirmed or rejected, any Senator voting in the majority may
move for a reconsideration on the same day on which the vote was taken, or on either
of the next two days of actual executive session of the Senate; but if a notification of the
confirmation or rejection of a nomination shall have been sent to the President before
the expiration of the time within which a motion to reconsider may be made, the motion
to reconsider shall be accompanied by a motion to request the President to return such
notification to the Senate. Any motion to reconsider the vote on a nomination may be
laid on the table without prejudice to the nomination, and shall be a final disposition of
such motion.
4. Nominations confirmed or rejected by the Senate shall not be returned by the
Secretary to the President until the expiration of the time limited for making a motion to
reconsider the same, or while a motion to reconsider is pending, unless otherwise
ordered by the Senate.
It appears that the nomination of Mr. Smith as member of the Federal Power Commission has
been confirmed by the US Senate. The resolution of confirmation was sent to the US President
who then signed the appointment of Mr. Smith. The Senate, however, reconsidered the
confirmation of Mr. Smith and requested the President to return its resolution of confirmation.
The President refused. A petition for quo warranto was filed against Mr. Smith. The Court,
speaking thru Mr. Justice Brandeis, assumed jurisdictionover the dispute relying on Ballin. It
exercised jurisdiction although "the question primarily at issue relates to the construction of the

applicable rules, not to their constitutionality." Significantly, the Court rejected the Senate
interpretation of its own rules even while it held that it must be accorded the most sympathetic
consideration.
xxx xxx xxx
Sixth. To place upon the standing rules of the Senate a construction different from that
adopted by the Senate itself when the present case was under debate is a serious and
delicate exercise of judicial power. The Constitution commits to the Senate the power to
make its own rules; and it is not the function of the Court to say that another rule would
be better. A rule designed to ensure due deliberation in the performance of the vital
function of advising and consenting to nominations for public office, moreover, should
receive from the Court the most sympathetic consideration. But the reasons, above
stated, against the Senate's construction seem to us compelling. We are confirmed in
the view we have taken by the fact, since the attempted reconsideration of Smith's
confirmation, the Senate itself seems uniformly to have treated the ordering of
immediate notification to the President as tantamount to authorizing him to proceed to
perfect the appointment.
Smith, of course, involves the right of a third person and its ruling falls within the test spelled
out in Ballin.
Smith was followed by the 1948 case of Christoffel v. United States. 4 Christoffel testified
before the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives. He denied he
was a communist and was charged with perjury in the regular court. He adduced evidence
during the trial that the committee had no quorum when the perjurious statement was given.
Nonetheless, he was convicted in view of the judge's charge to the members of the jury that to
find Christoffel guilty, they had to find beyond a reasonable doubt that
xxx xxx xxx
. . . the defendant Christoffel appeared before a quorum of at least thirteen members of
the said Committee, and that "at least that number must have been actually and
physically present . . . If such a Committee so met, that is, if thirteen members did meet
at the beginning of the afternoon session of March 1, 1947, and thereafter during the
progress of the hearing some of them left temporarily or otherwise and no question was
raised as to the lack of a quorum, then the fact that the majority did not remain there
would not affect, for the purposes of this case, the existence of that Committee as a
competent tribunal provided that before the oath was administered and before the
testimony of the defendant was given there were present as many as 13 members of
that Committee at the beginning of the afternoon session . . . .
Christoffel objected to the charge on the ground that it allowed the jury to assume there was a
continuous quorum simply because it was present at the start of the meeting of the Committee.
Under the House rules, a quorum once established is presumed to continue until the lack of
quorum is raised. Again, the court assumed jurisdiction over the case. A majority of the Court,
with Mr. Justice Murphy, as ponente, defined the issue as "what rules the House had
established and whether they have been followed." It held:
xxx xxx xxx

Congressional practice in the transaction of ordinary legislative business is of course


none of our concern, and by the same token the considerations which may lead
Congress as a matter of legislative practice to treat as valid the conduct of its
committees do not control the issue before us. The question is neither what rules
Congress may establish for its own governance, nor whether presumptions of continuity
may protect the validity of its legislative conduct. The question is rather what rules the
House has established and whether they have been followed. It of course has the
power to define what tribunal is competent to exact testimony and the conditions that
establish its competency to do so. The heart of this case is that by the charge that was
given it the jury was allowed to assume that the conditions of competency were satisfied
even though the basis in fact was not established and in face of a possible finding that
the facts contradicted the assumption.
We are measuring a conviction of crime by the statute which defined it. As a
consequence of this conviction, petitioner was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of
from two to six years. An essential part of a procedure which can be said fairly to inflict
such a punishment is that all the elements of the crime charged shall be proved beyond
a reasonable doubt. An element of the crime charged in the instant indictment is the
presence of a competent tribunal, and the trial court properly so instructed the jury. The
House insists that to be such a tribunal a committee must consist of a quorum, and we
agree with the trial court's charge that to convict, the jury had to be satisfied beyond a
reasonable doubt that there were "actually and physically present" a majority of the
committee.
Then to charge, however, that such requirement is satisfied by a finding that there was
a majority present two or three hours before the defendant offered his testimony, in the
face of evidence indicating the contrary, is to rule as a matter of law that a quorum need
not be present when the offense is committed. This not only seems to us contrary to the
rules and practice of the Congress but denies petitioner a fundamental right. That right
is that he be convicted of crime only on proof of all the elements of the crime charged
against him. A tribunal that is not competent is no tribunal, and it is unthinkable that
such a body can be the instrument of criminal conviction.
The minority complained that the "House has adopted the rule and practice that a quorum
once established is presumed to continue unless and until a point of no quorum is raised. By
this decision, the Court, in effect, invalidates that rule . . . ." The minority view commanded only
the vote of three (3) justices.
The US Supreme Court pursued the same line in 1963 in deciding the case of Yellin v. United
States. 5Yellin was indicted on five counts of willfully refusing to answer questions put to him
by a sub-committee of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He was convicted by
the District Court of contempt of Congress on four counts. The conviction was affirmed by the
Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. On certiorari, he assailed his conviction on the ground that
the Committee illegally denied his request to be heard in executive session. He alleged there
was a violation of Committee Rule IV which provides that "if a majority of the Committee or
sub-committee, duly appointed as provided by the rules of the House of Representatives,
believes that the interrogation of a witness in a public hearing might endanger national security
or unjustly injure his reputation, or the reputation of other individuals, the Committee shall
interrogate such witness in an executive session for the purpose of determining the necessity
or admissibility of conducting such interrogation thereafter in a public hearing." in a 5-4
decision, the Court, speaking thru Mr. Chief Justice Warren, held:

xxx xxx xxx


Yellin should be permitted the same opportunity for judicial review when he discovers at
trial that his rights have been violated. This is especially so when the Committee's
practice leads witnesses to misplaced reliance upon its rules. When reading a copy of
the Committee's rules, which must be distributed to every witness under Rule XVII, the
witness' reasonable expectation is that the Committee actually does what it purports to
do, adhere to its own rules. To foreclose a defense based upon those rules, simply
because the witness was deceived by the Committee's appearance of regularity, is not
fair. The Committee prepared the groundwork for prosecution in Yellin's case
meticulously. It is not too exacting to require that the Committee be equally meticulous
in obeying its own rules.
It additionally bears stressing that in the United States, the judiciary has pruned the "political
thicket." In the benchmark case of Baker v. Carr, 6 the US Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction
to hear a petition for re-apportionment of the Tennessee legislature ruling that "the political
question doctrine, a tool for maintenance of government order, will not be so applied as to
promote only disorder" and that "the courts cannot reject as 'no law suit,' a bona fide
controversy as to whether some action denominated 'political' exceeds constitutional
authority."
In the Philippine setting, there is a more compelling reason for courts to categorically reject the
political question defense when its interposition will cover up abuse of power. For section 1,
Article VIII of our Constitution was intentionally cobbled to empower courts ". . . 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." This power is new
and was not granted to our courts in the 1935 and 1972 Constitutions. It was not also xeroxed
from the US Constitution or any foreign state constitution. The CONCOM granted this
enormous power to our courts in view of our experience under martial law where abusive
exercises of state power were shielded from judicial scrutiny by the misuse of the political
question doctrine. Led by the eminent former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, the
CONCOM expanded and sharpened the checking powers of the judiciary vis-a-vis the
Executive and the Legislative departments of government. In cases involving the proclamation
of martial law and suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, it is now beyond dubiety that
the government can no longer invoke the political question defense. Section 18 of Article
VII completely eliminated this defense when it provided:
xxx xxx xxx
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the
sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of
the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision
thereon within thirty days from its filing.
A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant
the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment
of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to
function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.
The CONCOM did not only outlaw the use of the political question defense in national security
cases. To a great degree, it diminished its use as a shield to protect other abuses of
government by allowing courts to penetrate the shield with the new power to review acts of any

branch or instrumentality of the government ". . . to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction." In Tolentino v. Secretary
of Finance, 7 I posited the following postulates:
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower
courts as may be established by law.
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.
Former Chief Justice Roberto R. Concepcion, the sponsor of this provision in the
Constitutional Commission explained the sense and the reach of judicial power as
follows:
xxx xxx xxx
. . . In other words, 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.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the
courts cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by
claiming that such matters constitute political question.
The Constitution cannot be any clearer. What it granted to this Court is not a mere
power which it can decline to exercise. Precisely to deter this disinclination, the
Constitution imposed it as a duty of this Court to strike down any act of a branch or
instrumentality of government or any of its officials done with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Rightly or wrongly, the Constitution has
elongated the checking powers of this Court against the other branches of government
despite their more democratic character, the President and the legislators being elected
by the people.
It is, however, theorized that this provision is nothing new. I beg to disagree for the view
misses the significant changes made in our constitutional canvass to cure the legal
deficiencies we discovered during martial law. One of the areas radically changed by
the framers of the 1987 Constitution is the imbalance of power between and among the
three great branches of our government the Executive, the Legislative and the
Judiciary. To upgrade the powers of the Judiciary, the Constitutional Commission
strengthened some more the independence of courts. Thus, it further protected the
security of tenure of the members of the Judiciary by providing "No law shall be passed
reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members." It
also guaranteed fiscal autonomy to the Judiciary.

More, it depoliticalized appointments in the judiciary by creating the Judicial and Bar
Council which was tasked with screening the list of prospective appointees to the
judiciary. The power of confirming appointments to the judiciary was also taken away
from Congress. The President was likewise given a specific time to fill up vacancies in
the judiciary ninety (90) days from the occurrence of the vacancy in case of the
Supreme Court and ninety (90) days from the submission of the list of recommendees
by the Judicial and Bar Council in case of vacancies in the lower courts. To further
insulate appointments in the judiciary from the virus of politics, the Supreme Court was
given the power to "appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance
with the Civil Service Law." And to make the separation of the judiciary from the other
branches of government more watertight, it prohibited members of the judiciary to be ". .
. designated to any agency performing quasi judicial or administrative functions." While
the Constitution strengthened the sinews of the Supreme Court, it reduced the powers
of the two other branches of government, especially the Executive. Notable of the
powers of the President clipped by the Constitution is his power to suspend the writ
of habeas corpus and to proclaim martial law. The exercise of this power is now subject
to revocation by Congress. Likewise, the sufficiency of the factual basis for the exercise
of said power may be reviewed by this Court in an appropriate proceeding filed by any
citizen.
The provision defining judicial power as including the "duty of the courts of justice . . . 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"
constitutes the capstone of the efforts of the Constitutional Commission to upgrade the
powers of this court vis-a-vis the other branches of government. This provision
was dictated by our experience under martial law which taught us that a stronger and
more independent judiciary is needed to abort abuses in government. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
In sum, I submit that in imposing to this Court the duty to annul acts of government
committed with grave abuse of discretion, the new Constitution transformed this Court
from passivity to activism. This transformation, dictated by our distinct experience as a
nation, is not merely evolutionary but revolutionary. Under the 1935 and 1973
Constitutions, this Court approached constitutional violations by initially determining
what it cannot do; under the 1987 Constitution, there is a shift in stress this Court is
mandated to approach constitutional violations not by finding out what it should not do
but what it must do. The Court must discharge this solemn duty by not resuscitating a
past that petrifies the present.
I urge my brethren in the Court to give due and serious consideration to this new constitutional
provision as the case at bar once more calls us to define the parameters of our power to
review violations of the rules of the House. We will not be true to our trust as the last bulwark
against government abuses if we refuse to exercise this new power or if we wield it with
timidity. To be sure, it is this exceeding timidity to unsheath the judicial sword that has
increasingly emboldened other branches of government to denigrate, if not defy, orders of our
courts. In Tolentino, 8 I endorsed the view of former Senator Salonga that this novel provision
stretching the latitude of judicial power is distinctly Filipino and its interpretation should not be
depreciated by undue reliance on inapplicable foreign jurisprudence. In resolving the case at
bar, the lessons of our own history should provide us the light and not the experience of
foreigners.

II
Again with due respect, I dissent from the majority insofar as it relied on the enrolled bill
doctrine to justify the dismissal of the petition at bar.
An enrolled bill is one which has been duly introduced, finally enacted by both Houses, signed
by the proper officers of each House and approved by the President. 9 It is a declaration by the
two Houses, through their presiding officers, to the President that a bill, thus attested, has
received in due the sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that it is delivered
to him in obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bills which pass Congress shall be
presented to him.
The enrolled bill originated in England where there is no written Constitution controlling the
legislative branch of the government, and the acts of Parliament, being regarded in their nature
as judicial as emanating from the highest tribunal in the land are placed on the same
footing and regarded with the same veneration as the judgment of the courts which cannot be
collaterally attacked. 10 In England, theconclusiveness of the bill was premised on the rationale
that "an ad of parliament thus made is the exercise of the highest authority that this kingdom
acknowledges upon earth. And it cannot be altered, amended, dispensed with, suspended or
repealed, but in the same forms and by the same authority of parliament; for it is a maxim in
law that it requires the same strength to dissolve as to create an obligation. 11
Over the years, the enrolled bill theory has undergone important mutations. Some jurisdictions
have adopted the modified entry or affirmative contradiction rule. Under this rule,
the presumption in favor of the enrolled bill is not conclusive. The rule concedes validity to the
enrolled bill unless there affirmativelyappears in the journals of the legislature a statement that
there has not been compliance with one or more of the constitutional requirements. 12 Other
jurisdictions have adopted the Extrinsic Evidence Rule which holds that an enrolled bill is
only prima facie evidence that it has been regularly enacted. The prima facie presumption,
however, can be destroyed by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence that the
constitutional requirements in enacting a law have been violated. For this purpose, journals
and other extrinsic evidence are allowed to be received.13 Some limit the use of extrinsic
evidence to issues of fraud or mistakes. 14
These variants developed after a re-examination of the rationale of the enrolled bill.
The modern rationalefor the enrolled bill theory was spelled out in Field v. Clark, 15 viz.:
xxx xxx xxx
The signing by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and, by the President of
the Senate, in open session, of an enrolled bill, is an official attestation by the two
houses of such bill as one that has passed Congress. It is a declaration by the two
Houses, through their presiding officers, to the President, that a bill, thus attested, has
received, in due form, the sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that
it is delivered to him in obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bills which
pass Congress shall be presented to him. And when a bill, thus attested, receives his
approval, and is deposited in the public archives, its authentication as a bill that has
passed Congress should be deemed complete and unimpeachable. As the President
has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in the
custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of
the House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of
the United States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and

executive departments of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of


enacting and executing the laws, that it was passed by Congress. The respect due to
coequal and independent departments requires the judicial department to act upon the
assurance, and to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the
manner stated; leaving the courts to determine, when the question properly arises,
whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the Constitution.
The principle of separation of powers is thus the principal prop of the enrolled bill doctrine. The
doctrine is also justified as a rule of convenience. Supposedly, it avoids difficult questions of
evidence. 16 It is also believed that it will prevent the filing of too many cases which will cast a
cloud of uncertainty on laws passed by the legislature. As explained in Ex Pacte Wren 17 "if the
validity of every act published as law is to be tested by examining its history, as shown by the
journals of the two houses of the legislature, there will be an amount of litigation, difficulty, and
painful uncertainty appalling in its contemplation, and multiplying a hundredfold the alleged
uncertainty of the law." The conclusiveness of the enrolled bill is also justified on the ground
that journals and other extrinsic evidence are conducive to mistake, if not fraud.
These justifications for the enrolled bill theory have been rejected in various jurisdictions in the
United States. In his Dissenting Opinion in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, and its
companion cases, 18 Mr. Justice Regalado cited some of the leading American cases which
discussed the reasons for the withering, if not demise of the enrolled bill theory, viz:
xxx xxx xxx
Even in the land of its source, the so-called conclusive presumption of validity originally
attributed to that doctrine has long been revisited and qualified, if not altogether
rejected. On the competency of judicial inquiry, it has been held that "(u)nder the
"enrolled bill rule" by which an enrolled bill is sole expository of its contents and
conclusive evidence of its existence and valid enactment, it is nevertheless competent
for courts to inquire as to what prerequisites are fixed by the Constitution of which
journals of respective houses of Legislature are required to furnish the evidence.
In fact, in Gwynn vs. Hardee, etc., et al., the Supreme Court of Florida declared
(1) While the presumption is that the enrolled bill, as signed by the legislative offices
and filed with the secretary of state, is the bill as it passed, yet this presumption is not
conclusive, and when it is shown from the legislative journals that a bill though
engrossed and enrolled, and signed by the legislative officers, contains provisions that
have not passed both houses, such provisions will be held spurious and not a part of
the law. As was said by Mr. Justice Cockrell in the case of Wade vs. Atlantic Lumber
Co., 51 Fla. 628, text 633, 41 So. 72, 73:
This Court is firmly committed to the holding that when the journals speak
they control, and against such proof the enrolled bill is not conclusive.
More enlightening and apropos to the present controversy is the decision promulgated
on May 13, 1980 by the Supreme Court of Kentucky in D & W Auto Supply, et
al. vs. Department of Revenue, et al., pertinent excerpts wherefrom are extensively
reproduced hereunder.
. . . In arriving at our decision we must, perforce, reconsider the validity of a long line of
decisions of this court which created and nurtured the so-called "enrolled bill" doctrine.

xxx xxx xxx


[1] Section 46 of the Kentucky Constitution sets out certain procedures that the
legislature must follow before a bill can be considered for final passage. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
. . . Under the enrolled bill doctrine as it now exists in Kentucky, a court may not look
behind such a bill, enrolled and certified by the appropriate officers, to determine if there
are any defects.
xxx xxx xxx
. . . In Lafferty, passage of the law in question violated this provision, yet the bill was
properly enrolled and approved by the governor. In declining to look behind the law to
determine the propriety of its enactment, the court enunciated three reasons for
adopting the enrolled bill rule. First, the court was reluctant to scrutinize the processes
of the legislature, an equal branch of government. Second, reasons of convenience
prevailed, which discouraged requiring the legislature to preserve its records and
anticipated considerable complex litigation if the court ruled otherwise. Third, the court
acknowledged the poor record-keeping abilities of the General Assembly and expressed
a preference for accepting the final bill as enrolled, rather than opening up the records
of the legislature. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
Nowhere has the rule been adopted without reason, or as a result of judicial whim.
There are fourhistorical bases for the doctrine. (1) An enrolled bill was a "record" and,
as such, was not subject to attack at common law. (2) Since the legislature is one of the
three branches of government, the courts, being coequal, must indulge in every
presumption that legislative acts are valid. (3) When the rule was originally formulated,
record-keeping of the legislatures was so inadequate that a balancing of equities
required that the final act, the enrolled bill, be given efficacy. (4) There were theories of
convenience as expressed by the Kentucky court in Lafferty.
The rule is not unanimous in the several states, however and it has not been without its
critics. From an examination of cases and treaties, we can summarize the criticism as
follows: (1) Artificial presumptions, especially conclusive ones, are not favored. (2) Such
a rule frequently (as in the present case) produces results which do not accord with
facts or constitutional provisions. (3) The rule is conducive to fraud, forgery, corruption
and other wrongdoings. (4) Modern automatic and electronic record-keeping devices
now used by legislatures remove one of the original reasons for the rule. (5) The rule
disregards the primary obligation of the courts to seek the truth and to provide a remedy
for a wrong committed by any branch of government. In light of these considerations,
we are convinced that the time has come to re-examine the enrolled bill doctrine.
[2] This court is not unmindful of the admonition of the doctrine of stare decisis. The
maxim is "Stare decisis et non quieta movere," which simply suggests that we stand by
precedents and to disturb settled points of law. Yet, this rule is not inflexible, nor is it of
such a nature as to require perpetuation of error or logic. As we stated in Daniel's Adm'r
v. Hoofnel, 287 Ky 834, 155 S.W.2d 469, 471-72 (1941).

The force of the rule depends upon the nature of the question to be
decided and the extent of the disturbance of rights and practices which a
change in the interpretation of the law or the course of judicial opinions
may create. Cogent considerations are whether there is clear error and
urgent reasons "for neither justice nor wisdom requires a court to go from
one doubtful rule to another," and whether or not the evils of the principle
that has been followed will be more injurious than can possibly result from
a change.
Certainly, when a theory supporting a rule of law is not grounded on facts, or upon
sound logic, or is unjust, or has been discredited by actual experience, it should be
discarded, and with it the rule it supports.
[3] It is clear to us that the major premise of the Lafferty decision, the poor recordkeeping of the legislature, has disappeared. Modern equipment and technology are the
rule in record-keeping by our General Assembly. Tape recorders, electric typewriters,
duplicating machines, recording equipment, printing presses, computers, electronic
voting machines, and the like remove all doubts and fears as to the ability of the
General Assembly to keep accurate and readily accessible records.
It is also apparent that the "convenience" rule is not appropriate in today's modern and
developing judicial philosophy. The fact that the number and complexity of lawsuits may
increase is not persuasive if one is mindful that the overriding purpose of our judicial
system is to discover the truth and see that justice is done. The existence of difficulties
and complexities should not deter this pursuit and we reject any doctrine or presumption
that so provides.
Lastly, we address the premise that the equality of the various branches of government
requires that we shut our eyes to constitutional failing and other errors of our copartners
in government. We simply do not agree. Section 26 of the Kentucky Constitution
provides that any law contrary to the constitution is "void." The proper exercise of
judicial authority requires us to recognize any law which is unconstitutional and to
declare it void. Without elaborating the point, we believe that under section 228 of the
Kentucky Constitution it is our obligation to "support . . . the Constitution of the
commonwealth." We are sworn to see that violations of the constitution by any
person, corporation, state agency or branch or government are brought to light and
corrected. To countenance an artificial rule of law that silences our voices when
confronted with violations of our constitution is not acceptable to this court.
We believe that a more reasonable rule is the one which Professor Sutherland
describes as the "extrinsic evidence." . . . . Under this approach there is a prima
facie presumption that an enrolled bill is valid, but such presumption may be overcome
by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence establishing that constitutional
requirements have not been met.
We therefore overrule Lafferty v. Huffman and all other cases following the so-called
enrolled bill doctrine, to the extent that there is no longer a conclusive presumption that
an enrolled bill is valid. . . .
Clearly, the enrolled bill doctrine no longer enjoys its once unassailable respectability in United
States. Sutherland reveals that starting in the 1940's,
". . . the tendency seems to be toward the abandonment of the conclusive presumption rule

and the adoption of the third rule leaving only a prima facie presumption of validity which may
be attacked by any authoritative source of information." 19
It is high time we re-examine our preference for the enrolled bill doctrine. It was in
the 1947 case ofMabanag v. Lopez Vito, 20 that this Court, with three (3) justices dissenting,
first embraced the rule that a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports absolute verity and is
binding on the courts. In 1963, we firmed up this ruling inCasco Philippine Chemical
Co. v. Gimenez, 21 thus:
xxx xxx xxx
Hence, "urea formaldehyde" is clearly a finished product which is patently distinct and
different from "urea" and "formaldehyde," as separate articles used in the manufacture
of the synthetic resin known as "urea formaldehyde." Petitioner contends, however, that
the bill approved in Congress contained the copulative conjunction "and" between the
term "urea" and "formaldehyde," and that the members of Congress intended to exempt
"urea" and "formaldehyde" separately as essential elements in the manufacture of the
synthetic resin glue called "urea formaldehyde," not the latter as a finished product,
citing in support of this view the statements made on the floor of the Senate, during the
consideration of the bill before said House, by members thereof. But said individual
statements do not necessarily reflect the view of the Senate. Much less do they indicate
the intent of the House of Representatives (see Song Kiat Chocolate Factory vs. Central
Bank, 54 Off Gaz. 615; Mayor Motors Inc. vs. Acting Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, L-15000 [March 29, 1961]; Manila Jockey Club, Inc. vs. Games and
Amusement Board, L-12727 [February 19, 1960]). Furthermore, it is well settled that
enrolled bill which uses the term "urea formaldehyde" instead of "urea and
formaldehyde" conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure
passed by Congress and approved by the President (Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil.
118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comm. on Elections, L-18684,
Sept. 14, 1961). If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was
certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive on which we
cannot speculate without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and
undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system the remedy is by
amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree.
In the 1969 case of Morales v. Subido, 22 we reiterated our fidelity to the enrolled bill
doctrine, viz:
. . . . We cannot go behind the enrolled Act to discover what really happened. The
respect due to the other branches of the Government demands that we act upon the
faith and credit of what the officers of the said branches attest to as the official acts of
their respective departments. Otherwise we would be cast in the unenviable and
unwanted role of a sleuth trying to determine what actually did happen in the labyrinth of
law-making, with consequent impairment of the integrity of the legislative process. The
investigation which the petitioner would like this Court to make can be better done in
Congress. After all, House cleaning the immediate and imperative need for which
seems to be suggested by the petitioner can best be effected by the occupants
thereof. Expressed elsewise, this is a matter worthy of the attention not of an Oliver
Wendell Holmes but of a Sherlock Holmes.
Significantly, however, Morales diluted the conclusiveness rule of the enrolled bill doctrine. The
ponencia stressed:

By what we have essayed above we are not of course to be understood as holding that
in all cases the journals must yield to the enrolled bill. To be sure there are certain
matters which the Constitution expressly requires must be entered on the journal of
each house. To what extent the validity of a legislative act may be affected by a failure
to have such matters entered on the journal, is a question which we do not now
decide. All we hold is that with respect to matters not expressly required to be entered
on the journal, the enrolled bill prevails in the event of any discrepancy.
In the 1974 case of Astorga v. Villegas, 23 we further diluted the enrolled bill doctrine when we
refused to apply it after the Senate President declared his signature on the bill as invalid. We
ruled:
xxx xxx xxx
Petitioner's argument that the attestation of the presiding offices of Congress is
conclusive proof of a bill's due enactment, required, it is said, by the respect due to a
co-equal department of the government, is neutralized in this case by the fact that the
Senate President declared his signature on the bill to be invalid and issued a
subsequent clarification that the invalidation for his signature meant that the bill he had
signed had never been approved by the Senate. Obviously this declaration should be
accorded even greater respect than the attestation it invalidated, which it did for a
reason that is undisputed in fact and indisputable in logic.
As far as Congress itself is concerned, there is nothing sacrosanct in the certification
made by the presiding officers. It is merely a mode of authentication. The law-making
process in Congress ends when the bill is approved by both Houses, and the
certification does not add to the validity of the bill or cure any defect already present
upon its passage. In other words it is the approval by Congress and not the signatures
of the presiding officers that is essential. Thus the (1935) Constitution says that "[e]very
bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes law, be presented to the
President." In Brown vs. Morris, supra, the Supreme Court of Missouri, interpreting a
similar provision in the State Constitution, said that the same "makes it clear that the
indispensable step is the final passage and it follows that if a bill, otherwise fully enacted
as a law, is not attested by the presiding officer, the proof that it has 'passed both
houses' will satisfy the constitutional requirement.
Petitioner agrees that the attestation in the bill is not mandatory but argues that the
disclaimer thereof by the Senate President, granting it to have been validly made, would
only mean that there was no attestation at all, but would not affect the validity of the
statute. Hence, it is pointed out, Republic Act No. 4065 would remain valid and binding.
This argument begs the issue. It would limit the court's inquiry to the presence or
absence of the attestation and to the effect of its absence upon the validity of the
statute. The inquiry, however, goes farther. Absent such attestation as a result of the
disclaimer, and consequently there being no enrolled bill to speak of, what evidence is
there to determine whether or not the bill had been duly enacted. In such a case the
entries in the journal should be consulted.
The journal of the proceedings of each House of Congress is no ordinary record. The
Constitution requires it. While it is true that the journal is not authenticated and is
subject to the risk of misprinting and other errors, the point is irrelevant in this case. This
Court is merely asked to inquire whether the text of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the
Chief Executive was the same text passed by both Houses of Congress. Under the

specific facts and circumstances of this case, this Court can do this and resort to the
Senate journal for the purpose. The journal discloses that substantial and lengthy
amendments were introduced on the floor and approved by the Senate but were not
incorporated in the printed text sent to the President and signed by him. This Court is
not asked to incorporate such amendments into the alleged law, which admittedly is a
risky undertaking, but to declare that the bill was not duly enacted and therefore did not
become law. This We do, as indeed both the President of the Senate and the Chief
Executive did, when they withdrew their signatures therein. In the face of the manifest
error committed and subsequently rectified by the President of the Senate and by the
Chief Executive, for this Court to perpetuate that error by disregarding such rectification
and holding that the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction
and bring about mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body.
In 1993, the enrolled bill doctrine was again used as a secondary rationale in the case
of Philippine Judges Association v. Prado, 24 In this case, the judges claimed that the pertinent
part of section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 repealing the franking privilege of the judiciary appeared
only in the Conference Committee Report. In rejecting this contention, this Court ruled:
While it is true that a conference committee is the mechanism for compromising
differences between the Senate and the House, it is not limited in its jurisdiction to this
question. Its broader function is described thus:
A conference committee may deal generally with the subject matter or it
may be limited to resolving the precise differences between the two
houses. Even where the conference committee is not by rule limited in its
jurisdiction, legislative custom severely limits the freedom with which new
subject matter can be inserted into the conference bill. But occasionally a
conference committee produces unexpected results, results beyond its
mandate. These excursions occur even where the rules impose strict
limitations on conference committee jurisdiction. This is symptomatic of
the authoritarian power of conference committee (Davies, Legislative Law
and Process: In a Nutshell, 1986 Ed., p. 81).
It is a matter of record that the Conference Committee Report on the bill in question was
returned to and duly approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Thereafter, the bill was enrolled with its certification by Senate President Neptali A.
Gonzales and Speaker Ramon V. Mitra of the House of Representatives as having
been duly passed by both Houses of Congress. It was then presented to and approved
by President Corazon C. Aquino on April 3, 1992.
Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the Court may not inquire beyond the
certification of the approval of a bill from the presiding officers of Congress. Casco
Philippine Chemical Co. v. Gimenezlaid down the rule that the enrolled bill is conclusive
upon the Judiciary (except in matters that have to be entered in the journals like the
yeas and nays on the final reading of the bill). The journals are themselves also binding
on the Supreme Court, as we held in the old (but stills valid) case of U.S. vs.Pens,
where we explained the reason thus:
To inquire into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine legislature
when they are, as we have said, clear and explicit, would be to violate
both the letter and spirit of the organic laws by which the Philippine
Government was brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and

independent department of the Government, and to interfere with the


legitimate powers and functions of the Legislature.
Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners' charges that an
amendment was made upon the last reading of the bill that eventually became R.A. No.
7354 and that copies thereof in its final form were not distributed among the members of
each House. Both the enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify that the measure
was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with the Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the Constitution.
We are bound by such official assurances from a coordinate department of the
government, to which we owe, at the very least, a becoming courtesy.
Finally in 1994 came the case of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, et al and its companion
cases. 25Involved in the case was the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7716, otherwise known as
the Expanded Value Added Tax Law. The majority 26 partly relied on the enrolled bill doctrine
in dismissing challenges to the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7716. It held:
xxx xxx xxx
Fourth. Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of Republic Act No. 7716
must be resolved in its favor. Our cases manifest firm adherence to the rule that an
enrolled copy of a bill is conclusive not only of its provisions but also of its due
enactment. Not even claims that a proposed constitutional amendment was invalid
because the requisite votes for its approval had not been obtained or that certain
provisions of a statute had been "smuggled" in the printing of the bill have moved or
persuaded us to look behind the proceedings of a coequal branch of the government.
There is no reason now to depart from this rule.
No claim is here made that the "enrolled bill" rule is absolute. In fact in one case we
"went behind" an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine whether certain
provisions of a statute had been approved by the Senate in view of the fad that the
President of the Senate himself, who had signed the enrolled bill, admitted a mistake
and withdrew his signature, so that in effect there was no longer an enrolled bill to
consider.
But where allegations that the constitutional procedures for the passage of bills have not
been observed have no more basis than another allegation that the Conference
Committee "surreptitiously" inserted provisions into a bill which it had prepared, we
should decline the invitation to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To disregard the
"enrolled bill" rule in such cases would be to disregard the respect due the other two
departments of our government.
These cases show that we have not blindly accepted the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill.
Even inTolentino, Mr. Justice Mendoza was cautious enough to hold that "no claim is here
made that the enrolled bill is absolute." I respectfully submit that it is now time for the Court to
make a definitive pronouncement that we no longer give our unqualified support to the enrolled
bill doctrine. There are compelling reasons for this suggested change in stance. For one, the
enrolled bill is appropriate only in England where it originated because in England there is no
written Constitution and the Parliament is supreme. For another, many of the courts in the
United States have broken away from the rigidity and unrealism of the enrolled bill in light of
contemporary developments in lawmaking. 27 And more important, our uncritical adherence to
the enrolled bill is inconsistent with our Constitution, laws and rules. In Mabanag, 28 we relied
on section 313 of the Old Code of Civil Procedure as amended by Act No. 2210 as a principal

reason in embracing the enrolled bill. This section, however has long been repealed by our
Rules of Court. A half glance at our Rules will show that its section on conclusive presumption
does not carry the conclusive presumption we give to an enrolled bill. But this is not all. The
conclusiveness of an enrolled bill which all too often results in the suppression of truth cannot
be justified under the 1987 Constitution. The Preamble of our Constitution demands that we
live not only under a rule of law but also under a regime of truth. Our Constitution also adopted
a national policy 29 requiring full public disclosure of all state transactions involving public
interest. Any rule which will defeat this policy on transparency ought to be disfavored. And to
implement these policies, this Court was given the power to pry open and to strike down any
act of any branch or instrumentality of government if it amounts to grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. It is time to bury the enrolled bill for its fiction of
conclusiveness shuts off truth in many litigations. We cannot dispense justice based on fiction
for the search for justice is the search for truth. I submit that giving an enrolled bill a mere
prima facie presumption of correctness will facilitate our task of dispensing justice based on
truth.
III
In sum, I respectfully submit that the Court has jurisdiction over the petition at bar and that
issues posed by petitioner are justiciable. Nonetheless, I do not find any grave abuse of
discretion committed by the public respondents to justify granting said petition. As the
ponencia points out, the petition merely involves the complaint that petitioner was prevented
from raising the question of quorum. The petition does not concern violation of any rule
mandated by the Constitution. Nor does it involve the right of a non-member of the House
which requires constitutional protection. The rules on how to question the existence of a
quorum are procedural in character. They are malleable by nature for they were drafted to help
the House enact laws. As well stated, these rules are servants, not masters of the House.
Their observance or non-observance is a matter of judgment call on the part of our legislators
and it is not the business of the Court to reverse this judgment when untainted by grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
Davide, Jr., J., concurs.
Separate Opinions
VITUG, J., concurring:
When the 1987 Constitution has embodied, in its circumscription of judicial power under
Section 1, Article VIII, of the Constitution, the determination of whether or not there is grave
abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government, the Supreme
Court, upon which that great burden has been imposed, could not have been thought of as
likewise being thereby tasked with the awesome responsibility of overseeing the entire
bureaucracy. The term grave abuse of discretion has long been understood in our
jurisprudence as, and confined to, a capricious and whimsical or despotic exercise of
judgment as amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
I see nothing of that sort in the case at bar. Absent a clear case of grave abuse of discretion,
like the patent disregard of a Constitutional proscription, I would respect the judgment of
Congress under whose province the specific responsibility falls and the authority to act is
vested. To do otherwise would be an unwarranted intrusion into the internal affairs of a coequal, independent and coordinate branch of government. At no time, it would seem to me,
has it been intended by the framers of the fundamental law to cause a substantial deviation, let

alone departure, from the time-honored and accepted principle of separation, but balanced,
powers of the three branches of government. There is, of course, a basic variant between the
old rule and the new Charter on the understanding of the term "judicial power." Now, the Court
is under mandate to assume jurisdiction over, and to undertake judicial inquiry into, what may
even be deemed to be political questions provided, however, that grave abuse of discretion
the sole test of justiciability on purely political issues is shown to have attended the
contested act.
All taken, I most humbly reiterate my separate opinion in Tolentino vs. Secretary of
Finance and companion cases (G.R. No. 115455, etc., 235 SCRA 630) and vote to deny the
instant petition.
ROMERO, J., separate opinion:
In filing this separate opinion for the dismissal of the instant petition, I am not backtracking
from the dissent which I expressed in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance. 1 I am somewhat
bothered that if I do not elaborate, the vote which I cast today might be wrongly construed as
an implied abandonment of, and inconsistent with, my firm stance in Tolentino.
The landmark case of Tolentino, just like the one under consideration, involved a similar
challenge to the constitutionality of a significant tax measure namely, Republic Act No. 7716,
otherwise known as the Expanded Value-Added Tax (EVAT) Law. There, a number of issues,
both substantive and procedural, were posed by petitioners, each of which was discussed by
the majority opinion of Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza who, incidentally, is also the ponente of
instant decision. At any rate, it is worth noting that I did not entirely disagree with each and
every argument of the opinion, most especially those touching upon substantive issues. My
main objection in Tolentino, it will be recalled, focused instead on what I perceived was a
substantial breach and disregard by the Legislature of vital constitutional requirements
ordaining the procedures to be followed in the passage of a bill which, in my opinion, the
majority seemed to have cavalierly put to rest by hiding under the cloak of the enrolled bill
theory 2 and the precept that the Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of internal
legislative rules allegedly violated. 3 To me, the position then taken by the majority exhibited
blind adherence to otherwise sound principles of law which did not, however, fit the facts as
presented before the Court. Hence, I objected, not so much because I found these principles
unwise or obsolete, but rather because they were applied, or misapplied, to a case which I
believe did not call for their application.
When I differed from the majority opinion which applied the enrolled bill theory, I was very
careful to emphasize that reliance thereon is not to be discontinued but that its application
must be limited to minor matters relating more to form and factual issues which do not
materially alter the essence and substance of the law itself. Thus:
As applied to the instant petition, the issue posed is whether or not the procedural
irregularities that attended the passage of House Bill No. 11197 and Senate Bill No.
1630, outside of the reading and printing requirements which were exempted by the
Presidential certification, may no longer be impugned, having been "saved" by the
conclusiveness on us of the enrolled bill. I see no cogent reason why we cannot
continue to place reliance on the enrolled bill, but only with respect to matters pertaining
to the procedure followed in the enactment of bills in Congress and their subsequent
engrossment, printing errors, omission of words and phrases and similar relatively minor
matters relating more to form and factual issues which do not materially alter the
essence and substance of the law itself .

Certainly, courts cannot claim greater ability to judge procedural legitimacy, since
constitutional rules on legislative procedure are easily mastered. Procedural disputes
are over facts whether or not the bill had enough votes, or three readings, or
whatever not over the meaning of the constitution. Legislators, as eyewitnesses, are
in a better position than a court to rule on the facts. The argument is also made that
legislatures would be offended if courts examined legislative procedure.
Such a rationale, however, cannot conceivably apply to substantive changes in a bill
introduced towards the end of its tortuous trip through Congress, catching both
legislators and the public unawares and altering the same beyond recognition even by
its sponsors.
This issue I wish to address forthwith. 4
As regards the principle that the Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of internal
legislative rules, both the majority and I were actually of one mind such that I was quick to
qualify the extent of the Court's review power in respect of internal procedures in this wise:
I wish to consider this issue in light of Article VIII, Sec. 1 of the Constitution which
provides that "(j)udicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice . . . 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." We are
also guided by the principle that a court may interfere with the internal procedures of its
coordinate branch only to uphold the Constitution. 5
I differed, however, from the majority insofar as that principle was applied. In this respect, I
showed that the introduction of several provisions in the Bicameral Conference Committee
Report did not only violate the pertinent House and Senate Rules defining the limited power of
the conference committee but that the Constitutional proscription against any amendment
upon the last reading of a bill was likewise breached. Hence, in view of these lapses, I thought
that judicial review would have been proper in order to uphold the Constitution. This the
majority, however, disregarded invoking the same principle which should have justified the
Court in questioning the actuations of the legislative branch.
At this juncture, I wish to reiterate my continuing adherence to the aforesaid reasons I cited in
the Tolentinodissent. At the same time, I realize that the arguments I raised in my dissent
would not hold true in the instant petition.
For one thing, unlike in Tolentino, the rules of the House of Representatives allegedly violated
by respondents in the instant petition are purely internal rules designed for the orderly conduct
of the House's business. They have no direct or reasonable nexus to the requirements and
proscriptions of the Constitution in the passage of a bill which would otherwise warrant the
Court's intervention. Likewise, the petitioners are not in any way complaining that substantial
alterations have been introduced in Republic Act No. 8240. The thrust of petitioners'
arguments in attacking the validity of the law is merely with respect to the fact that Rep. Joker
Arroyo was effectively prevented from invoking the question of quorum and not that the
substance thereof offends constitutional standards. This being the case, I do not now feel
called upon to invoke my previous argument that the enrolled bill theory should not be
conclusive as regards "substantive changes in a bill introduced towards the end of its tortuous
trip through Congress," when it is palpably unwarranted under the circumstances of instant
petition.

PUNO, J., concurring and dissenting:


I concur in the result. I do appreciate the fine legal disquisition of Mr. Justice Mendoza to justify
the dismissal of the case at bar. Nevertheless, I have to express my views on the alleged nonjusticiability of the issue posed by the petitioner as well as the applicability of the archaic enroll
bill doctrine in light of what I perceive as new wrinkles in our law brought about by the 1987
Constitution and the winds of changing time.
I
With due respect, I do not agree that the issues posed by the petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor
do I agree that we will trivialize the principle of separation of power if we assume jurisdiction
over the case at bar. Even in the United States, the principle of separation of power is no
longer an impregnable impediment against the interposition of judicial power on cases
involving breach of rules of procedure by legislators.
Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891 case of US v. Ballin, 1 as a window to view the issues
before the Court. It is in Ballin where the US Supreme Court first defined the boundaries of the
power of the judiciary to review congressional rules. 2 It held:
xxx xxx xxx
The Constitution, in the same section, provides, that "each house may determine the
rules of its proceedings." It appears that in pursuance of this authority the House had,
prior to that day, passed this as one of its rules:
Rule XV
3. On the demand of any member, or at the suggestion of the Speaker, the names of
members sufficient to make a quorum in the hall of the House who do not vote shall be
noted by the clerk and recorded in the journal, and reported to the Speaker with the
names of the members voting, and be counted and announced in determining the
presence of a quorum to do business. (House Journal, 230, Feb. 14, 1890)
The action taken was in direct compliance with this rule. The question, therefore, is as
to the validity of this rule, and not what methods the Speaker may of his own motion
resort to for determining the presence of a quorum, nor what matters the Speaker or
clerk may of their own volition place upon the journal. Neither do the advantages or
disadvantages, the wisdom or folly, of such a rule present any matters for judicial
consideration. With the courts the question is only one of power. The Constitution
empowers each house to determine its rules of proceedings. It may not by its rules
ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights, and there should be a
reasonable relation between the mode or method of proceedings established by the rule
and the result which is sought to be attained. But within these limitations all matters of
method are open to the determination of the House, and it is no impeachment of the
rule to say that some other way would be better, more accurate, or even more just. It is
no objection to the validity of a rule that a different one has been prescribed and in force
for a length of time. The power to make rules is not one which once exercised is
exhausted. It is a continuous power, always subject to be exercised by the House, and
within the limitations suggested, absolute and beyond the challenge of any other body
or tribunal.

Ballin, clearly confirmed the jurisdiction of courts to pass upon the validity of congressional
rules, i.e., whether they are constitutional. Rule XV was examined by the Court and it was
found to satisfy the test: (1) that it did not ignore any constitutional restraint; (2) it did not
violate any fundamental right; and (3) its method has a reasonable relationship with the result
sought to be attained. By examining Rule XV, the Court did not allow its jurisdiction to be
defeated by the mere invocation of the principle of separation of powers.
Ballin was followed in 1932 by the case of US v. Smith. 3 In Smith, the meaning of sections 3
and 4 of Rule XXXVIII of the US Senate was in issue, viz:
xxx xxx xxx
3. When a nomination is confirmed or rejected, any Senator voting in the majority may
move for a reconsideration on the same day on which the vote was taken, or on either
of the next two days of actual executive session of the Senate; but if a notification of the
confirmation or rejection of a nomination shall have been sent to the President before
the expiration of the time within which a motion to reconsider may be made, the motion
to reconsider shall be accompanied by a motion to request the President to return such
notification to the Senate. Any motion to reconsider the vote on a nomination may be
laid on the table without prejudice to the nomination, and shall be a final disposition of
such motion.
4. Nominations confirmed or rejected by the Senate shall not be returned by the
Secretary to the President until the expiration of the time limited for making a motion to
reconsider the same, or while a motion to reconsider is pending, unless otherwise
ordered by the Senate.
It appears that the nomination of Mr. Smith as member of the Federal Power Commission has
been confirmed by the US Senate. The resolution of confirmation was sent to the US President
who then signed the appointment of Mr. Smith. The Senate, however, reconsidered the
confirmation of Mr. Smith and requested the President to return its resolution of confirmation.
The President refused. A petition for quo warranto was filed against Mr. Smith. The Court,
speaking thru Mr. Justice Brandeis, assumed jurisdictionover the dispute relying on Ballin. It
exercised jurisdiction although "the question primarily at issue relates to the construction of the
applicable rules, not to their constitutionality." Significantly, the Court rejected the Senate
interpretation of its own rules even while it held that it must be accorded the most sympathetic
consideration.
xxx xxx xxx
Sixth. To place upon the standing rules of the Senate a construction different from that
adopted by the Senate itself when the present case was under debate is a serious and
delicate exercise of judicial power. The Constitution commits to the Senate the power to
make its own rules; and it is not the function of the Court to say that another rule would
be better. A rule designed to ensure due deliberation in the performance of the vital
function of advising and consenting to nominations for public office, moreover, should
receive from the Court the most sympathetic consideration. But the reasons, above
stated, against the Senate's construction seem to us compelling. We are confirmed in
the view we have taken by the fact, since the attempted reconsideration of Smith's
confirmation, the Senate itself seems uniformly to have treated the ordering of
immediate notification to the President as tantamount to authorizing him to proceed to
perfect the appointment.

Smith, of course, involves the right of a third person and its ruling falls within the test spelled
out in Ballin.
Smith was followed by the 1948 case of Christoffel v. United States. 4 Christoffel testified
before the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives. He denied he
was a communist and was charged with perjury in the regular court. He adduced evidence
during the trial that the committee had no quorum when the perjurious statement was given.
Nonetheless, he was convicted in view of the judge's charge to the members of the jury that to
find Christoffel guilty, they had to find beyond a reasonable doubt that
xxx xxx xxx
. . . the defendant Christoffel appeared before a quorum of at least thirteen members of
the said Committee, and that "at least that number must have been actually and
physically present . . . If such a Committee so met, that is, if thirteen members did meet
at the beginning of the afternoon session of March 1, 1947, and thereafter during the
progress of the hearing some of them left temporarily or otherwise and no question was
raised as to the lack of a quorum, then the fact that the majority did not remain there
would not affect, for the purposes of this case, the existence of that Committee as a
competent tribunal provided that before the oath was administered and before the
testimony of the defendant was given there were present as many as 13 members of
that Committee at the beginning of the afternoon session . . . .
Christoffel objected to the charge on the ground that it allowed the jury to assume there was a
continuous quorum simply because it was present at the start of the meeting of the Committee.
Under the House rules, a quorum once established is presumed to continue until the lack of
quorum is raised. Again, the court assumed jurisdiction over the case. A majority of the Court,
with Mr. Justice Murphy, as ponente, defined the issue as "what rules the House had
established and whether they have been followed." It held:
xxx xxx xxx
Congressional practice in the transaction of ordinary legislative business is of course
none of our concern, and by the same token the considerations which may lead
Congress as a matter of legislative practice to treat as valid the conduct of its
committees do not control the issue before us. The question is neither what rules
Congress may establish for its own governance, nor whether presumptions of continuity
may protect the validity of its legislative conduct. The question is rather what rules the
House has established and whether they have been followed. It of course has the
power to define what tribunal is competent to exact testimony and the conditions that
establish its competency to do so. The heart of this case is that by the charge that was
given it the jury was allowed to assume that the conditions of competency were satisfied
even though the basis in fact was not established and in face of a possible finding that
the facts contradicted the assumption.
We are measuring a conviction of crime by the statute which defined it. As a
consequence of this conviction, petitioner was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of
from two to six years. An essential part of a procedure which can be said fairly to inflict
such a punishment is that all the elements of the crime charged shall be proved beyond
a reasonable doubt. An element of the crime charged in the instant indictment is the
presence of a competent tribunal, and the trial court properly so instructed the jury. The
House insists that to be such a tribunal a committee must consist of a quorum, and we

agree with the trial court's charge that to convict, the jury had to be satisfied beyond a
reasonable doubt that there were "actually and physically present" a majority of the
committee.
Then to charge, however, that such requirement is satisfied by a finding that there was
a majority present two or three hours before the defendant offered his testimony, in the
face of evidence indicating the contrary, is to rule as a matter of law that a quorum need
not be present when the offense is committed. This not only seems to us contrary to the
rules and practice of the Congress but denies petitioner a fundamental right. That right
is that he be convicted of crime only on proof of all the elements of the crime charged
against him. A tribunal that is not competent is no tribunal, and it is unthinkable that
such a body can be the instrument of criminal conviction.
The minority complained that the "House has adopted the rule and practice that a quorum
once established is presumed to continue unless and until a point of no quorum is raised. By
this decision, the Court, in effect, invalidates that rule . . . ." The minority view commanded only
the vote of three (3) justices.
The US Supreme Court pursued the same line in 1963 in deciding the case of Yellin v. United
States. 5Yellin was indicted on five counts of willfully refusing to answer questions put to him
by a sub-committee of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He was convicted by
the District Court of contempt of Congress on four counts. The conviction was affirmed by the
Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. On certiorari, he assailed his conviction on the ground that
the Committee illegally denied his request to be heard in executive session. He alleged there
was a violation of Committee Rule IV which provides that "if a majority of the Committee or
sub-committee, duly appointed as provided by the rules of the House of Representatives,
believes that the interrogation of a witness in a public hearing might endanger national security
or unjustly injure his reputation, or the reputation of other individuals, the Committee shall
interrogate such witness in an executive session for the purpose of determining the necessity
or admissibility of conducting such interrogation thereafter in a public hearing." in a 5-4
decision, the Court, speaking thru Mr. Chief Justice Warren, held:
xxx xxx xxx
Yellin should be permitted the same opportunity for judicial review when he discovers at
trial that his rights have been violated. This is especially so when the Committee's
practice leads witnesses to misplaced reliance upon its rules. When reading a copy of
the Committee's rules, which must be distributed to every witness under Rule XVII, the
witness' reasonable expectation is that the Committee actually does what it purports to
do, adhere to its own rules. To foreclose a defense based upon those rules, simply
because the witness was deceived by the Committee's appearance of regularity, is not
fair. The Committee prepared the groundwork for prosecution in Yellin's case
meticulously. It is not too exacting to require that the Committee be equally meticulous
in obeying its own rules.
It additionally bears stressing that in the United States, the judiciary has pruned the "political
thicket." In the benchmark case of Baker v. Carr, 6 the US Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction
to hear a petition for re-apportionment of the Tennessee legislature ruling that "the political
question doctrine, a tool for maintenance of government order, will not be so applied as to
promote only disorder" and that "the courts cannot reject as 'no law suit,' a bona fide
controversy as to whether some action denominated 'political' exceeds constitutional
authority."

In the Philippine setting, there is a more compelling reason for courts to categorically reject the
political question defense when its interposition will cover up abuse of power. For section 1,
Article VIII of our Constitution was intentionally cobbled to empower courts ". . . 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." This power is new
and was not granted to our courts in the 1935 and 1972 Constitutions. It was not also xeroxed
from the US Constitution or any foreign state constitution. The CONCOM granted this
enormous power to our courts in view of our experience under martial law where abusive
exercises of state power were shielded from judicial scrutiny by the misuse of the political
question doctrine. Led by the eminent former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, the
CONCOM expanded and sharpened the checking powers of the judiciary vis-a-vis the
Executive and the Legislative departments of government. In cases involving the proclamation
of martial law and suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, it is now beyond dubiety that
the government can no longer invoke the political question defense. Section 18 of Article
VII completely eliminated this defense when it provided:
xxx xxx xxx
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the
sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of
the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision
thereon within thirty days from its filing.
A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant
the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment
of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to
function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.
The CONCOM did not only outlaw the use of the political question defense in national security
cases. To a great degree, it diminished its use as a shield to protect other abuses of
government by allowing courts to penetrate the shield with the new power to review acts of any
branch or instrumentality of the government ". . . to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction." In Tolentino v. Secretary
of Finance, 7 I posited the following postulates:
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower
courts as may be established by law.
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.
Former Chief Justice Roberto R. Concepcion, the sponsor of this provision in the
Constitutional Commission explained the sense and the reach of judicial power as
follows:
xxx xxx xxx

. . . In other words, 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.
This is the background of paragraph 2 of Section 1, which means that the
courts cannot hereafter evade the duty to settle matters of this nature, by
claiming that such matters constitute political question.
The Constitution cannot be any clearer. What it granted to this Court is not a mere
power which it can decline to exercise. Precisely to deter this disinclination, the
Constitution imposed it as a duty of this Court to strike down any act of a branch or
instrumentality of government or any of its officials done with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Rightly or wrongly, the Constitution has
elongated the checking powers of this Court against the other branches of government
despite their more democratic character, the President and the legislators being elected
by the people.
It is, however, theorized that this provision is nothing new. I beg to disagree for the view
misses the significant changes made in our constitutional canvass to cure the legal
deficiencies we discovered during martial law. One of the areas radically changed by
the framers of the 1987 Constitution is the imbalance of power between and among the
three great branches of our government the Executive, the Legislative and the
Judiciary. To upgrade the powers of the Judiciary, the Constitutional Commission
strengthened some more the independence of courts. Thus, it further protected the
security of tenure of the members of the Judiciary by providing "No law shall be passed
reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its Members." It
also guaranteed fiscal autonomy to the Judiciary.
More, it depoliticalized appointments in the judiciary by creating the Judicial and Bar
Council which was tasked with screening the list of prospective appointees to the
judiciary. The power of confirming appointments to the judiciary was also taken away
from Congress. The President was likewise given a specific time to fill up vacancies in
the judiciary ninety (90) days from the occurrence of the vacancy in case of the
Supreme Court and ninety (90) days from the submission of the list of recommendees
by the Judicial and Bar Council in case of vacancies in the lower courts. To further
insulate appointments in the judiciary from the virus of politics, the Supreme Court was
given the power to "appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance
with the Civil Service Law." And to make the separation of the judiciary from the other
branches of government more watertight, it prohibited members of the judiciary to be ". .
. designated to any agency performing quasi judicial or administrative functions." While
the Constitution strengthened the sinews of the Supreme Court, it reduced the powers
of the two other branches of government, especially the Executive. Notable of the
powers of the President clipped by the Constitution is his power to suspend the writ
of habeas corpus and to proclaim martial law. The exercise of this power is now subject
to revocation by Congress. Likewise, the sufficiency of the factual basis for the exercise
of said power may be reviewed by this Court in an appropriate proceeding filed by any
citizen.

The provision defining judicial power as including the "duty of the courts of justice . . . 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"
constitutes the capstone of the efforts of the Constitutional Commission to upgrade the
powers of this court vis-a-vis the other branches of government. This provision
was dictated by our experience under martial law which taught us that a stronger and
more independent judiciary is needed to abort abuses in government. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
In sum, I submit that in imposing to this Court the duty to annul acts of government
committed with grave abuse of discretion, the new Constitution transformed this Court
from passivity to activism. This transformation, dictated by our distinct experience as a
nation, is not merely evolutionary but revolutionary. Under the 1935 and 1973
Constitutions, this Court approached constitutional violations by initially determining
what it cannot do; under the 1987 Constitution, there is a shift in stress this Court is
mandated to approach constitutional violations not by finding out what it should not do
but what it must do. The Court must discharge this solemn duty by not resuscitating a
past that petrifies the present.
I urge my brethren in the Court to give due and serious consideration to this new constitutional
provision as the case at bar once more calls us to define the parameters of our power to
review violations of the rules of the House. We will not be true to our trust as the last bulwark
against government abuses if we refuse to exercise this new power or if we wield it with
timidity. To be sure, it is this exceeding timidity to unsheath the judicial sword that has
increasingly emboldened other branches of government to denigrate, if not defy, orders of our
courts. In Tolentino, 8 I endorsed the view of former Senator Salonga that this novel provision
stretching the latitude of judicial power is distinctly Filipino and its interpretation should not be
depreciated by undue reliance on inapplicable foreign jurisprudence. In resolving the case at
bar, the lessons of our own history should provide us the light and not the experience of
foreigners.
II
Again with due respect, I dissent from the majority insofar as it relied on the enrolled bill
doctrine to justify the dismissal of the petition at bar.
An enrolled bill is one which has been duly introduced, finally enacted by both Houses, signed
by the proper officers of each House and approved by the President. 9 It is a declaration by the
two Houses, through their presiding officers, to the President that a bill, thus attested, has
received in due the sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that it is delivered
to him in obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bills which pass Congress shall be
presented to him.
The enrolled bill originated in England where there is no written Constitution controlling the
legislative branch of the government, and the acts of Parliament, being regarded in their nature
as judicial as emanating from the highest tribunal in the land are placed on the same
footing and regarded with the same veneration as the judgment of the courts which cannot be
collaterally attacked. 10 In England, theconclusiveness of the bill was premised on the rationale
that "an ad of parliament thus made is the exercise of the highest authority that this kingdom
acknowledges upon earth. And it cannot be altered, amended, dispensed with, suspended or

repealed, but in the same forms and by the same authority of parliament; for it is a maxim in
law that it requires the same strength to dissolve as to create an obligation. 11
Over the years, the enrolled bill theory has undergone important mutations. Some jurisdictions
have adopted the modified entry or affirmative contradiction rule. Under this rule,
the presumption in favor of the enrolled bill is not conclusive. The rule concedes validity to the
enrolled bill unless there affirmativelyappears in the journals of the legislature a statement that
there has not been compliance with one or more of the constitutional requirements. 12 Other
jurisdictions have adopted the Extrinsic Evidence Rule which holds that an enrolled bill is
only prima facie evidence that it has been regularly enacted. The prima facie presumption,
however, can be destroyed by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence that the
constitutional requirements in enacting a law have been violated. For this purpose, journals
and other extrinsic evidence are allowed to be received.13 Some limit the use of extrinsic
evidence to issues of fraud or mistakes. 14
These variants developed after a re-examination of the rationale of the enrolled bill.
The modern rationalefor the enrolled bill theory was spelled out in Field v. Clark, 15 viz.:
xxx xxx xxx
The signing by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and, by the President of
the Senate, in open session, of an enrolled bill, is an official attestation by the two
houses of such bill as one that has passed Congress. It is a declaration by the two
Houses, through their presiding officers, to the President, that a bill, thus attested, has
received, in due form, the sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that
it is delivered to him in obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bills which
pass Congress shall be presented to him. And when a bill, thus attested, receives his
approval, and is deposited in the public archives, its authentication as a bill that has
passed Congress should be deemed complete and unimpeachable. As the President
has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in the
custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of
the House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of
the United States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and
executive departments of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of
enacting and executing the laws, that it was passed by Congress. The respect due to
coequal and independent departments requires the judicial department to act upon the
assurance, and to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the
manner stated; leaving the courts to determine, when the question properly arises,
whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the Constitution.
The principle of separation of powers is thus the principal prop of the enrolled bill doctrine. The
doctrine is also justified as a rule of convenience. Supposedly, it avoids difficult questions of
evidence. 16 It is also believed that it will prevent the filing of too many cases which will cast a
cloud of uncertainty on laws passed by the legislature. As explained in Ex Pacte Wren 17 "if the
validity of every act published as law is to be tested by examining its history, as shown by the
journals of the two houses of the legislature, there will be an amount of litigation, difficulty, and
painful uncertainty appalling in its contemplation, and multiplying a hundredfold the alleged
uncertainty of the law." The conclusiveness of the enrolled bill is also justified on the ground
that journals and other extrinsic evidence are conducive to mistake, if not fraud.
These justifications for the enrolled bill theory have been rejected in various jurisdictions in the
United States. In his Dissenting Opinion in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, and its

companion cases, 18 Mr. Justice Regalado cited some of the leading American cases which
discussed the reasons for the withering, if not demise of the enrolled bill theory, viz:
xxx xxx xxx
Even in the land of its source, the so-called conclusive presumption of validity originally
attributed to that doctrine has long been revisited and qualified, if not altogether
rejected. On the competency of judicial inquiry, it has been held that "(u)nder the
"enrolled bill rule" by which an enrolled bill is sole expository of its contents and
conclusive evidence of its existence and valid enactment, it is nevertheless competent
for courts to inquire as to what prerequisites are fixed by the Constitution of which
journals of respective houses of Legislature are required to furnish the evidence.
In fact, in Gwynn vs. Hardee, etc., et al., the Supreme Court of Florida declared
(1) While the presumption is that the enrolled bill, as signed by the legislative offices
and filed with the secretary of state, is the bill as it passed, yet this presumption is not
conclusive, and when it is shown from the legislative journals that a bill though
engrossed and enrolled, and signed by the legislative officers, contains provisions that
have not passed both houses, such provisions will be held spurious and not a part of
the law. As was said by Mr. Justice Cockrell in the case of Wade vs. Atlantic Lumber
Co., 51 Fla. 628, text 633, 41 So. 72, 73:
This Court is firmly committed to the holding that when the journals speak
they control, and against such proof the enrolled bill is not conclusive.
More enlightening and apropos to the present controversy is the decision promulgated
on May 13, 1980 by the Supreme Court of Kentucky in D & W Auto Supply, et
al. vs. Department of Revenue, et al., pertinent excerpts wherefrom are extensively
reproduced hereunder.
. . . In arriving at our decision we must, perforce, reconsider the validity of a long line of
decisions of this court which created and nurtured the so-called "enrolled bill" doctrine.
xxx xxx xxx
[1] Section 46 of the Kentucky Constitution sets out certain procedures that the
legislature must follow before a bill can be considered for final passage. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
. . . Under the enrolled bill doctrine as it now exists in Kentucky, a court may not look
behind such a bill, enrolled and certified by the appropriate officers, to determine if there
are any defects.
xxx xxx xxx
. . . In Lafferty, passage of the law in question violated this provision, yet the bill was
properly enrolled and approved by the governor. In declining to look behind the law to
determine the propriety of its enactment, the court enunciated three reasons for
adopting the enrolled bill rule. First, the court was reluctant to scrutinize the processes

of the legislature, an equal branch of government. Second, reasons of convenience


prevailed, which discouraged requiring the legislature to preserve its records and
anticipated considerable complex litigation if the court ruled otherwise. Third, the court
acknowledged the poor record-keeping abilities of the General Assembly and expressed
a preference for accepting the final bill as enrolled, rather than opening up the records
of the legislature. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
Nowhere has the rule been adopted without reason, or as a result of judicial whim.
There are fourhistorical bases for the doctrine. (1) An enrolled bill was a "record" and,
as such, was not subject to attack at common law. (2) Since the legislature is one of the
three branches of government, the courts, being coequal, must indulge in every
presumption that legislative acts are valid. (3) When the rule was originally formulated,
record-keeping of the legislatures was so inadequate that a balancing of equities
required that the final act, the enrolled bill, be given efficacy. (4) There were theories of
convenience as expressed by the Kentucky court in Lafferty.
The rule is not unanimous in the several states, however and it has not been without its
critics. From an examination of cases and treaties, we can summarize the criticism as
follows: (1) Artificial presumptions, especially conclusive ones, are not favored. (2) Such
a rule frequently (as in the present case) produces results which do not accord with
facts or constitutional provisions. (3) The rule is conducive to fraud, forgery, corruption
and other wrongdoings. (4) Modern automatic and electronic record-keeping devices
now used by legislatures remove one of the original reasons for the rule. (5) The rule
disregards the primary obligation of the courts to seek the truth and to provide a remedy
for a wrong committed by any branch of government. In light of these considerations,
we are convinced that the time has come to re-examine the enrolled bill doctrine.
[2] This court is not unmindful of the admonition of the doctrine of stare decisis. The
maxim is "Stare decisis et non quieta movere," which simply suggests that we stand by
precedents and to disturb settled points of law. Yet, this rule is not inflexible, nor is it of
such a nature as to require perpetuation of error or logic. As we stated in Daniel's Adm'r
v. Hoofnel, 287 Ky 834, 155 S.W.2d 469, 471-72 (1941).
The force of the rule depends upon the nature of the question to be
decided and the extent of the disturbance of rights and practices which a
change in the interpretation of the law or the course of judicial opinions
may create. Cogent considerations are whether there is clear error and
urgent reasons "for neither justice nor wisdom requires a court to go from
one doubtful rule to another," and whether or not the evils of the principle
that has been followed will be more injurious than can possibly result from
a change.
Certainly, when a theory supporting a rule of law is not grounded on facts, or upon
sound logic, or is unjust, or has been discredited by actual experience, it should be
discarded, and with it the rule it supports.
[3] It is clear to us that the major premise of the Lafferty decision, the poor recordkeeping of the legislature, has disappeared. Modern equipment and technology are the
rule in record-keeping by our General Assembly. Tape recorders, electric typewriters,
duplicating machines, recording equipment, printing presses, computers, electronic

voting machines, and the like remove all doubts and fears as to the ability of the
General Assembly to keep accurate and readily accessible records.
It is also apparent that the "convenience" rule is not appropriate in today's modern and
developing judicial philosophy. The fact that the number and complexity of lawsuits may
increase is not persuasive if one is mindful that the overriding purpose of our judicial
system is to discover the truth and see that justice is done. The existence of difficulties
and complexities should not deter this pursuit and we reject any doctrine or presumption
that so provides.
Lastly, we address the premise that the equality of the various branches of government
requires that we shut our eyes to constitutional failing and other errors of our copartners
in government. We simply do not agree. Section 26 of the Kentucky Constitution
provides that any law contrary to the constitution is "void." The proper exercise of
judicial authority requires us to recognize any law which is unconstitutional and to
declare it void. Without elaborating the point, we believe that under section 228 of the
Kentucky Constitution it is our obligation to "support . . . the Constitution of the
commonwealth." We are sworn to see that violations of the constitution by any
person, corporation, state agency or branch or government are brought to light and
corrected. To countenance an artificial rule of law that silences our voices when
confronted with violations of our constitution is not acceptable to this court.
We believe that a more reasonable rule is the one which Professor Sutherland
describes as the "extrinsic evidence." . . . . Under this approach there is a prima
facie presumption that an enrolled bill is valid, but such presumption may be overcome
by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence establishing that constitutional
requirements have not been met.
We therefore overrule Lafferty v. Huffman and all other cases following the so-called
enrolled bill doctrine, to the extent that there is no longer a conclusive presumption that
an enrolled bill is valid. . . .
Clearly, the enrolled bill doctrine no longer enjoys its once unassailable respectability in United
States. Sutherland reveals that starting in the 1940's,
". . . the tendency seems to be toward the abandonment of the conclusive presumption rule
and the adoption of the third rule leaving only a prima facie presumption of validity which may
be attacked by any authoritative source of information." 19
It is high time we re-examine our preference for the enrolled bill doctrine. It was in
the 1947 case ofMabanag v. Lopez Vito, 20 that this Court, with three (3) justices dissenting,
first embraced the rule that a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports absolute verity and is
binding on the courts. In 1963, we firmed up this ruling inCasco Philippine Chemical
Co. v. Gimenez, 21 thus:
xxx xxx xxx
Hence, "urea formaldehyde" is clearly a finished product which is patently distinct and
different from "urea" and "formaldehyde," as separate articles used in the manufacture
of the synthetic resin known as "urea formaldehyde." Petitioner contends, however, that
the bill approved in Congress contained the copulative conjunction "and" between the
term "urea" and "formaldehyde," and that the members of Congress intended to exempt
"urea" and "formaldehyde" separately as essential elements in the manufacture of the

synthetic resin glue called "urea formaldehyde," not the latter as a finished product,
citing in support of this view the statements made on the floor of the Senate, during the
consideration of the bill before said House, by members thereof. But said individual
statements do not necessarily reflect the view of the Senate. Much less do they indicate
the intent of the House of Representatives (see Song Kiat Chocolate Factory vs. Central
Bank, 54 Off Gaz. 615; Mayor Motors Inc. vs. Acting Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, L-15000 [March 29, 1961]; Manila Jockey Club, Inc. vs. Games and
Amusement Board, L-12727 [February 19, 1960]). Furthermore, it is well settled that
enrolled bill which uses the term "urea formaldehyde" instead of "urea and
formaldehyde" conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure
passed by Congress and approved by the President (Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil.
118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comm. on Elections, L-18684,
Sept. 14, 1961). If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was
certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive on which we
cannot speculate without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and
undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system the remedy is by
amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree.
In the 1969 case of Morales v. Subido, 22 we reiterated our fidelity to the enrolled bill
doctrine, viz:
. . . . We cannot go behind the enrolled Act to discover what really happened. The
respect due to the other branches of the Government demands that we act upon the
faith and credit of what the officers of the said branches attest to as the official acts of
their respective departments. Otherwise we would be cast in the unenviable and
unwanted role of a sleuth trying to determine what actually did happen in the labyrinth of
law-making, with consequent impairment of the integrity of the legislative process. The
investigation which the petitioner would like this Court to make can be better done in
Congress. After all, House cleaning the immediate and imperative need for which
seems to be suggested by the petitioner can best be effected by the occupants
thereof. Expressed elsewise, this is a matter worthy of the attention not of an Oliver
Wendell Holmes but of a Sherlock Holmes.
Significantly, however, Morales diluted the conclusiveness rule of the enrolled bill doctrine. The
ponencia stressed:
By what we have essayed above we are not of course to be understood as holding that
in all cases the journals must yield to the enrolled bill. To be sure there are certain
matters which the Constitution expressly requires must be entered on the journal of
each house. To what extent the validity of a legislative act may be affected by a failure
to have such matters entered on the journal, is a question which we do not now
decide. All we hold is that with respect to matters not expressly required to be entered
on the journal, the enrolled bill prevails in the event of any discrepancy.
In the 1974 case of Astorga v. Villegas, 23 we further diluted the enrolled bill doctrine when we
refused to apply it after the Senate President declared his signature on the bill as invalid. We
ruled:
xxx xxx xxx
Petitioner's argument that the attestation of the presiding offices of Congress is
conclusive proof of a bill's due enactment, required, it is said, by the respect due to a

co-equal department of the government, is neutralized in this case by the fact that the
Senate President declared his signature on the bill to be invalid and issued a
subsequent clarification that the invalidation for his signature meant that the bill he had
signed had never been approved by the Senate. Obviously this declaration should be
accorded even greater respect than the attestation it invalidated, which it did for a
reason that is undisputed in fact and indisputable in logic.
As far as Congress itself is concerned, there is nothing sacrosanct in the certification
made by the presiding officers. It is merely a mode of authentication. The law-making
process in Congress ends when the bill is approved by both Houses, and the
certification does not add to the validity of the bill or cure any defect already present
upon its passage. In other words it is the approval by Congress and not the signatures
of the presiding officers that is essential. Thus the (1935) Constitution says that "[e]very
bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes law, be presented to the
President." In Brown vs. Morris, supra, the Supreme Court of Missouri, interpreting a
similar provision in the State Constitution, said that the same "makes it clear that the
indispensable step is the final passage and it follows that if a bill, otherwise fully enacted
as a law, is not attested by the presiding officer, the proof that it has 'passed both
houses' will satisfy the constitutional requirement.
Petitioner agrees that the attestation in the bill is not mandatory but argues that the
disclaimer thereof by the Senate President, granting it to have been validly made, would
only mean that there was no attestation at all, but would not affect the validity of the
statute. Hence, it is pointed out, Republic Act No. 4065 would remain valid and binding.
This argument begs the issue. It would limit the court's inquiry to the presence or
absence of the attestation and to the effect of its absence upon the validity of the
statute. The inquiry, however, goes farther. Absent such attestation as a result of the
disclaimer, and consequently there being no enrolled bill to speak of, what evidence is
there to determine whether or not the bill had been duly enacted. In such a case the
entries in the journal should be consulted.
The journal of the proceedings of each House of Congress is no ordinary record. The
Constitution requires it. While it is true that the journal is not authenticated and is
subject to the risk of misprinting and other errors, the point is irrelevant in this case. This
Court is merely asked to inquire whether the text of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the
Chief Executive was the same text passed by both Houses of Congress. Under the
specific facts and circumstances of this case, this Court can do this and resort to the
Senate journal for the purpose. The journal discloses that substantial and lengthy
amendments were introduced on the floor and approved by the Senate but were not
incorporated in the printed text sent to the President and signed by him. This Court is
not asked to incorporate such amendments into the alleged law, which admittedly is a
risky undertaking, but to declare that the bill was not duly enacted and therefore did not
become law. This We do, as indeed both the President of the Senate and the Chief
Executive did, when they withdrew their signatures therein. In the face of the manifest
error committed and subsequently rectified by the President of the Senate and by the
Chief Executive, for this Court to perpetuate that error by disregarding such rectification
and holding that the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction
and bring about mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body.
In 1993, the enrolled bill doctrine was again used as a secondary rationale in the case
of Philippine Judges Association v. Prado, 24 In this case, the judges claimed that the pertinent

part of section 35 of R.A. No. 7354 repealing the franking privilege of the judiciary appeared
only in the Conference Committee Report. In rejecting this contention, this Court ruled:
While it is true that a conference committee is the mechanism for compromising
differences between the Senate and the House, it is not limited in its jurisdiction to this
question. Its broader function is described thus:
A conference committee may deal generally with the subject matter or it
may be limited to resolving the precise differences between the two
houses. Even where the conference committee is not by rule limited in its
jurisdiction, legislative custom severely limits the freedom with which new
subject matter can be inserted into the conference bill. But occasionally a
conference committee produces unexpected results, results beyond its
mandate. These excursions occur even where the rules impose strict
limitations on conference committee jurisdiction. This is symptomatic of
the authoritarian power of conference committee (Davies, Legislative Law
and Process: In a Nutshell, 1986 Ed., p. 81).
It is a matter of record that the Conference Committee Report on the bill in question was
returned to and duly approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Thereafter, the bill was enrolled with its certification by Senate President Neptali A.
Gonzales and Speaker Ramon V. Mitra of the House of Representatives as having
been duly passed by both Houses of Congress. It was then presented to and approved
by President Corazon C. Aquino on April 3, 1992.
Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the Court may not inquire beyond the
certification of the approval of a bill from the presiding officers of Congress. Casco
Philippine Chemical Co. v. Gimenezlaid down the rule that the enrolled bill is conclusive
upon the Judiciary (except in matters that have to be entered in the journals like the
yeas and nays on the final reading of the bill). The journals are themselves also binding
on the Supreme Court, as we held in the old (but stills valid) case of U.S. vs.Pens,
where we explained the reason thus:
To inquire into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine legislature
when they are, as we have said, clear and explicit, would be to violate
both the letter and spirit of the organic laws by which the Philippine
Government was brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and
independent department of the Government, and to interfere with the
legitimate powers and functions of the Legislature.
Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners' charges that an
amendment was made upon the last reading of the bill that eventually became R.A. No.
7354 and that copies thereof in its final form were not distributed among the members of
each House. Both the enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify that the measure
was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with the Article VI, Sec. 26(2) of the Constitution.
We are bound by such official assurances from a coordinate department of the
government, to which we owe, at the very least, a becoming courtesy.
Finally in 1994 came the case of Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, et al and its companion
cases. 25Involved in the case was the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7716, otherwise known as
the Expanded Value Added Tax Law. The majority 26 partly relied on the enrolled bill doctrine
in dismissing challenges to the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7716. It held:

xxx xxx xxx


Fourth. Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of Republic Act No. 7716
must be resolved in its favor. Our cases manifest firm adherence to the rule that an
enrolled copy of a bill is conclusive not only of its provisions but also of its due
enactment. Not even claims that a proposed constitutional amendment was invalid
because the requisite votes for its approval had not been obtained or that certain
provisions of a statute had been "smuggled" in the printing of the bill have moved or
persuaded us to look behind the proceedings of a coequal branch of the government.
There is no reason now to depart from this rule.
No claim is here made that the "enrolled bill" rule is absolute. In fact in one case we
"went behind" an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine whether certain
provisions of a statute had been approved by the Senate in view of the fad that the
President of the Senate himself, who had signed the enrolled bill, admitted a mistake
and withdrew his signature, so that in effect there was no longer an enrolled bill to
consider.
But where allegations that the constitutional procedures for the passage of bills have not
been observed have no more basis than another allegation that the Conference
Committee "surreptitiously" inserted provisions into a bill which it had prepared, we
should decline the invitation to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To disregard the
"enrolled bill" rule in such cases would be to disregard the respect due the other two
departments of our government.
These cases show that we have not blindly accepted the conclusiveness of the enrolled bill.
Even inTolentino, Mr. Justice Mendoza was cautious enough to hold that "no claim is here
made that the enrolled bill is absolute." I respectfully submit that it is now time for the Court to
make a definitive pronouncement that we no longer give our unqualified support to the enrolled
bill doctrine. There are compelling reasons for this suggested change in stance. For one, the
enrolled bill is appropriate only in England where it originated because in England there is no
written Constitution and the Parliament is supreme. For another, many of the courts in the
United States have broken away from the rigidity and unrealism of the enrolled bill in light of
contemporary developments in lawmaking. 27 And more important, our uncritical adherence to
the enrolled bill is inconsistent with our Constitution, laws and rules. In Mabanag, 28 we relied
on section 313 of the Old Code of Civil Procedure as amended by Act No. 2210 as a principal
reason in embracing the enrolled bill. This section, however has long been repealed by our
Rules of Court. A half glance at our Rules will show that its section on conclusive presumption
does not carry the conclusive presumption we give to an enrolled bill. But this is not all. The
conclusiveness of an enrolled bill which all too often results in the suppression of truth cannot
be justified under the 1987 Constitution. The Preamble of our Constitution demands that we
live not only under a rule of law but also under a regime of truth. Our Constitution also adopted
a national policy 29 requiring full public disclosure of all state transactions involving public
interest. Any rule which will defeat this policy on transparency ought to be disfavored. And to
implement these policies, this Court was given the power to pry open and to strike down any
act of any branch or instrumentality of government if it amounts to grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. It is time to bury the enrolled bill for its fiction of
conclusiveness shuts off truth in many litigations. We cannot dispense justice based on fiction
for the search for justice is the search for truth. I submit that giving an enrolled bill a mere
prima facie presumption of correctness will facilitate our task of dispensing justice based on
truth.

III
In sum, I respectfully submit that the Court has jurisdiction over the petition at bar and that
issues posed by petitioner are justiciable. Nonetheless, I do not find any grave abuse of
discretion committed by the public respondents to justify granting said petition. As the
ponencia points out, the petition merely involves the complaint that petitioner was prevented
from raising the question of quorum. The petition does not concern violation of any rule
mandated by the Constitution. Nor does it involve the right of a non-member of the House
which requires constitutional protection. The rules on how to question the existence of a
quorum are procedural in character. They are malleable by nature for they were drafted to help
the House enact laws. As well stated, these rules are servants, not masters of the House.
Their observance or non-observance is a matter of judgment call on the part of our legislators
and it is not the business of the Court to reverse this judgment when untainted by grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
Davide, Jr., J., concurs.
Footnotes
1 JOURNAL No. 39, pp. 66, 68; Rollo, pp. 210, 212: Transcript of November 21, 1996
session, pp. 39-52; Rollo, pp. 368-381; Petition, p. 6 par. 10; Rollo, p. 8.
2 Rule VIII, 35. Voting. Every member present in the session shall vote on every
question put unless he inhibits himself on account of personal pecuniary interest
therein.
Rule XVII, 103. Manner of Voting. The Speaker shall rise to put a question saying
"As many as are in favor of (as the question may be), say Aye" and, after the affirmative
vote is counted, "As many as are opposed, say Nay. . . ."
3 Rule XIX, 112. Reading and Withdrawal of Motions. The Speaker shall state the
motion or, if in writing shall cause it to be read by the Secretary General before being
debated. A motion may be withdrawn any time before its approval.
4 Rule XVI, 97. Recognition of Member. When two or more members rise at the
same time, the Speaker shall recognize the Member who is to speak first.
5 Rule XX, 121. Definition. Questions of privilege are those affecting the duties,
conduct, rights, privileges, dignity, integrity or reputation of the House or of its members,
collectively or individually.
122. Precedence. Subject to the ten-minute rule, questions of privilege shall have
precedence over all other question, except a motion to adjourn and a point of order.
Rule XXI, 123. Definition and Precedence. A privileged motion pertains to a subject
matter which, under the rules, takes precedence over others.
The order of precedence of privileged motions is determined in each case by the rules.
Rule XVIII, 109. Who May Vote; Procedure; Exceptions. When a bill, report or
motion is adopted or lost a member who voted with the majority may move for its

reconsideration on the same or succeeding session day. The motion shall take
precedence over all other questions except a motion to adjourn a question of privilege,
and a point of order.
6 235 SCRA 630 (1994).
7 Rollo, p. 228.
8 Id., p. 229.
9 Art. VI, 16(3).
10 E.g., United States v. Ballin, Joseph & Co., 144 U.S. 1, 36 L.ED. 321 (1862); Exxon
Corp. v. FTC, 589 F. 2d 582 (1978); Murray v. Buchanan, 674 F. 2d 14 (1982);
Metzenbaum v. Federal Energy Regulatory Com'n. 675 F. 2d 1282 (1982). See
also Osmea v. Pendatun, 109 Phil. 863 (1960).
11 109 Phil. at 870-71. See also EVAT cases [Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance], 235
SCRA 630.
12 144 U.S. at 5, 36 L.Ed. at 324-25 (emphasis added).
13 64 Fla. 41; 59 So. 963, 968 (1912) (emphasis added).
14 124 Ohio St. 256, 177 N.E. 910, 911 (1931) (emphasis added).
15 79 Conn. 141, 64 Atl. 5, 9-10 (1906) (emphasis added).
16 80 Wis. 407, 50 N.W. 185, 186 (1891 ) (emphasis added).
17 5 Okl. 297, 47 Pac. 1094 (1897) (emphasis added).
18 ENRIQUE M. FERNANDO, CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES ANNOTATED
188-189 (1977); Pacete v. Secretary of the Commission on Appointments, 40 SCRA 58
(1971).
19 Petition, p. 25, quoting the sponsorship speech of former Chief Justice Roberto
Concepcion, chairman of the Committee on Judiciary of the Constitutional Commission,
in 1 RECORDS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 436 (Session of July 10,
1986).
20 Gonzales v. Macaraig, 191 SCRA 452 (1990); See Marcos v. Manglapus, 177 SCRA
668, 695 (1989); Lansang v. Garcia, 42 SCRA 448 (1971).
21 Co. v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 199 SCRA 692, 701
(1991); Llamas v. Orbos, 202 SCRA 849, 857 (1991); Lansang v. Garcia, 42 SCRA at
480-481 (emphasis added).
22 4 CONG. REC. 413-414 (Feb. 15, 1957).

23 United States v. Ballin , Joseph & Co., 144 U.S. at 5, 36 L.Ed. at 324-25; State v.
Lewis, 186 S.E. 625, 630 (1936).
24 United States v. Smith, 286 U.S. 6, 76 L.Ed. 954 (1931).
25 Gregg v. Barrett, 771 F. 2d 539, 549 (1985).
26 Art. VI, 26(2).
27 Id., 16(4).
28 Id., 27(1).
29 Id., p. 17; id., p. 19.
30 INOCENCIO PAREJA, RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMENTED AND ANNOTATED 331 (1963); REYNALDO FAJARDO, PRINCIPLES
OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE 157-158, 172-173 (1963).
31 Rule XIX, 13.
32 I RECORDS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 436 (Session of July 10,
1986).
33 ALICE STURGIS, STANDARD CODE OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE, 17
(1950).
34 PAUL MASON, MANUAL OF LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE 335 (1953).
35 Conference Committee Report, Rollo, p. 36; Petition, p. 14; Rollo, p. 16.
36 Ibid.
37 Petition, p. 14; Rollo. p. 16.
38 Astorga v. Villegas, 56 SCRA 714 (1974).
39 Mabanag v. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1, 12 (1947).
40 Id. at 17, quoting 4 JOHN WIGMORE TREATISE ON THE LAW ON EVIDENCE
1350 at 702 (1940). This excerpt is preserved in the Chadbourne edition of this locus
classicus. See 4 WIGMORE ON EVIDENCE 1350 at 834 (James Chadbourne, ed.
1972).
41 EVAT cases [Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance], 235 SCRA at 672, Cf. Morales v.
Subido, 27 SCRA 131 (1969).
42 Philippine Judges Ass'n v. Prado, 227 SCRA 703, 710 (1993); Morales v. Subido, 27
SCRA 131.

43 Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc. v. Gimenez, 7 SCRA 347 (1963); Resins, Inc. v.
Auditor General, 25 SCRA 754 (1968).
44 4 WIGMORE ON EVIDENCE 1350 (James H. Chadbourne, ed. 1972); 6 MANUEL
V. MORAN, COMMENTS ON THE RULES OF COURT 115 (1980); 7 VICENTE J.
FRANCISCO, THE REVISED RULES OF COURT (Pt. II) 454 (1973).
45 Marshall Field & Co. v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 672, 36 L.Ed. 249, 303 (1891).
46 The following are required to be entered on the Journal: (1) The yeas and nays on
the third and final reading of a bill (Art. VI, 26(2)); (2) the yeas and nays on any
question, at the request of one-fifth of the members present (Id., 16(4)); (3) the yeas
and nays upon repassing a bill over the President's veto (Id., 27(1); and (4) the
President's objection to a bill which he has vetoed. (Id.)
47 34 Phil. 729, 735 (1916), quoting State ex rel. Herron v. Smith, 44 Ohio 348 (1886).
48 Gregg v. Barrett, 771 F.2d 529.
49 Metzenbaum v. Federal Energy Regulatory Com'n. 675 F.2d 1282.
ROMERO, J., concurring:
1 235 SCRA 630.
2 Id., at p. 672: "Fourth. Whatever doubts there may be as to the formal validity of
Republic Act No. 7716 must be resolved in its favor. Our cases manifest firm adherence
to the rule that an enrolled copy of a bill is conclusive not only of its provisions but also
of its due enactment. Not even claims that a proposed constitutional amendment was
invalid because the requisite votes for its approval had not been obtained or that certain
provisions of a state had been "smuggled" in the printing of the bill have moved or
persuaded us to look behind the proceedings of a coequal branch of the government.
There is no reason now to depart from this rule.
No claim is here made that the "enrolled bill" rule is absolute. In fact in one case we
"went behind" an enrolled bill and consulted the Journal to determine whether certain
provisions of a statute had been approved by the Senate in view of the fact that the
President of the Senate himself, who had signed the enrolled bill, admitted a mistake
and withdrew his signature, so that in effect there was no longer an enrolled bill to
consider.
But where allegations that the constitutional procedures for the passage of bills have not
been observed have no more basis than another allegation that the Conference
Committee "surreptitiously" inserted provisions into a bill which it had prepared, we
should decline the invitation to go behind the enrolled copy of the bill. To disregard the
"enrolled bill" rule in such cases would be to disregard the respect due the other two
departments of our government."
3 Id., at p. 675: "Moreover, this Court is not the proper forum for the enforcement of
these internal Rules. To the contrary, as we have already ruled, "parliamentary rules are
merely procedural and with their observance the courts have no concern." Our concern
is with the procedural requirements of the Constitution for the enactment of laws. As far

as these requirements are concerned, we are satisfied that they have been faithfully
observed in these cases."
4 Id., pp. 778-779; emphasis supplied.
5 Id., p. 780; emphasis supplied; compare to note 3, supra.
PUNO, J., concurring and dissenting:
1 144 US 1 (1891).
2 The case involved the validity of a law which allegedly was passed in violation of
House Rule XV which provided that members present in the chamber but not voting
would be "counted and announced in determining the presence of a quorum to do
business."
3 286 US 6 (1932).
4 338 US 89 (1948).
5 374 US 109 (1963).
6 369 US 186 (1962); see also Bond vs. Floyd, 385 US 116 (1966).
7 235 SCRA 630.
8 Supra.
9 Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Rev. ed., p. 624.
10 Price v. Moundsville, 64 Am. St. Rep. 878, 879; 43 W. Virginia 523 [1897].
11 Carr v. Coke, 47 Am. St. Rep. 801, 803 [1895]; see also Note on ex rel. Reed v.
Jones, 23 L.R.A. 211 [1893]. The rule of conclusiveness is similar to the common law
rule of the inviolability of the Sheriff's return. The Sheriff is considered as an officer of
the King just as a parliamentary act is deemed as a regal act and no official can dispute
the King's word. Dallas, Sutherland Statutes and Statutory Construction, Vol. 1, 4th ed.,
pp. 408-418 (1972).
12 Sutherland, op cit., p. 410.
13 Sutherland, Vol. I, Section 1405 (3rd ed., 1943).
14 See e.g., Mogilner v. Metropolitan Plan Communication, 236 Ind. 298, 140 N.E. 2d
220 [1957].
15 Op. cit, footnote No. 2.
16 50 Am. Jur. Statutes, S. 150 (1938) 4 J. Wigmore Evidence, S. 1350 (3rd ed. 1940).
17 63 Miss 512 (1886).

18 Op cit, pp. 729-732 (1994).


19 Sutherland, op. cit., pp. 224-225.
20 78 Phil. 1 (1947).
21 7 SCRA 374.
22 27 SCRA 131, 134-135.
23 56 SCRA 714.
24 227 SCRA 703.
25 Supra.
26 Justices Cruz, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo and Puno dissented.
27 See writer's dissenting opinion in Tolentino, supra, p. 818.
28 Op cit.
29 Section 28 of Article II of the Constitution.

G.R. No. 115455 October 30, 1995


ARTURO M. TOLENTINO, petitioner,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE and THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
REVENUE, respondents.
G.R. No. 115525 October 30, 1995
JUAN T. DAVID, petitioner,
vs.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., as Executive Secretary; ROBERTO DE OCAMPO, as Secretary
of Finance; LIWAYWAY VINZONS-CHATO, as Commissioner of Internal Revenue; and their
AUTHORIZED AGENTS OR REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.
G.R. No. 115543 October 30, 1995
RAUL S. ROCO and the INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners,
vs.
THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE; THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE
BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE AND BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, respondents.
G.R. No. 115544 October 30, 1995
PHILIPPINE PRESS INSTITUTE, INC.; EGP PUBLISHING CO., INC.; KAMAHALAN PUBLISHING
CORPORATION; PHILIPPINE JOURNALISTS, INC.; JOSE L. PAVIA; and OFELIA L.
DIMALANTA, petitioners,
vs.
HON. LIWAYWAY V. CHATO, in her capacity as Commissioner of Internal Revenue; HON.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary; and HON. ROBERTO B.
DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance, respondents.
G.R. No. 115754 October 30, 1995
CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE AND BUILDERS ASSOCIATIONS, INC., (CREBA), petitioner,
vs.
THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondent.
G.R. No. 115781 October 30, 1995
KILOSBAYAN, INC., JOVITO R. SALONGA, CIRILO A. RIGOS, ERME CAMBA, EMILIO C.
CAPULONG, JR., JOSE T. APOLO, EPHRAIM TENDERO, FERNANDO SANTIAGO, JOSE
ABCEDE, CHRISTINE TAN, FELIPE L. GOZON, RAFAEL G. FERNANDO, RAOUL V.
VICTORINO, JOSE CUNANAN, QUINTIN S. DOROMAL, MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR
BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. ("MABINI"), FREEDOM FROM DEBT
COALITION, INC., and PHILIPPINE BIBLE SOCIETY, INC. and WIGBERTO TAADA,petitioners,
vs.
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE, THE COMMISSIONER OF
INTERNAL REVENUE and THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, respondents.
G.R. No. 115852 October 30, 1995

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., petitioner,


vs.
THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE and COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondents.
G.R. No. 115873 October 30, 1995
COOPERATIVE UNION OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. LIWAYWAY V. CHATO, in her capacity as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, HON.
TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary, and HON. ROBERTO B.
DE OCAMPO, in his capacity as Secretary of Finance, respondents.
G.R. No. 115931 October 30, 1995
PHILIPPINE EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, INC. and ASSOCIATION OF
PHILIPPINE BOOK SELLERS, petitioners,
vs.
HON. ROBERTO B. DE OCAMPO, as the Secretary of Finance; HON. LIWAYWAY V. CHATO, as
the Commissioner of Internal Revenue; and HON. GUILLERMO PARAYNO, JR., in his capacity
as the Commissioner of Customs, respondents.
RESOLUTION
MENDOZA, J.:
These are motions seeking reconsideration of our decision dismissing the petitions filed in these
cases for the declaration of unconstitutionality of R.A. No. 7716, otherwise known as the Expanded
Value-Added Tax Law. The motions, of which there are 10 in all, have been filed by the several
petitioners in these cases, with the exception of the Philippine Educational Publishers Association,
Inc. and the Association of Philippine Booksellers, petitioners in G.R. No. 115931.
The Solicitor General, representing the respondents, filed a consolidated comment, to which the
Philippine Airlines, Inc., petitioner in G.R. No. 115852, and the Philippine Press Institute, Inc.,
petitioner in G.R. No. 115544, and Juan T. David, petitioner in G.R. No. 115525, each filed a reply. In
turn the Solicitor General filed on June 1, 1995 a rejoinder to the PPI's reply.
On June 27, 1995 the matter was submitted for resolution.
I. Power of the Senate to propose amendments to revenue bills. Some of the petitioners (Tolentino,
Kilosbayan, Inc., Philippine Airlines (PAL), Roco, and Chamber of Real Estate and Builders
Association (CREBA)) reiterate previous claims made by them that R.A. No. 7716 did not "originate
exclusively" in the House of Representatives as required by Art. VI, 24 of the Constitution. Although
they admit that H. No. 11197 was filed in the House of Representatives where it passed three
readings and that afterward it was sent to the Senate where after first reading it was referred to the
Senate Ways and Means Committee, they complain that the Senate did not pass it on second and
third readings. Instead what the Senate did was to pass its own version (S. No. 1630) which it
approved on May 24, 1994. Petitioner Tolentino adds that what the Senate committee should have
done was to amend H. No. 11197 by striking out the text of the bill and substituting it with the text of
S. No. 1630. That way, it is said, "the bill remains a House bill and the Senate version just becomes
the text (only the text) of the House bill."
The contention has no merit.

The enactment of S. No. 1630 is not the only instance in which the Senate proposed an amendment
to a House revenue bill by enacting its own version of a revenue bill. On at least two occasions during
the Eighth Congress, the Senate passed its own version of revenue bills, which, in consolidation with
House bills earlier passed, became the enrolled bills. These were:
R.A. No. 7369 (AN ACT TO AMEND THE OMNIBUS INVESTMENTS CODE OF 1987 BY
EXTENDING FROM FIVE (5) YEARS TO TEN YEARS THE PERIOD FOR TAX AND DUTY
EXEMPTION AND TAX CREDIT ON CAPITAL EQUIPMENT) which was approved by the President
on April 10, 1992. This Act is actually a consolidation of H. No. 34254, which was approved by the
House on January 29, 1992, and S. No. 1920, which was approved by the Senate on February 3,
1992.
R.A. No. 7549 (AN ACT GRANTING TAX EXEMPTIONS TO WHOEVER SHALL GIVE REWARD TO
ANY FILIPINO ATHLETE WINNING A MEDAL IN OLYMPIC GAMES) which was approved by the
President on May 22, 1992. This Act is a consolidation of H. No. 22232, which was approved by the
House of Representatives on August 2, 1989, and S. No. 807, which was approved by the Senate on
October 21, 1991.
On the other hand, the Ninth Congress passed revenue laws which were also the result of the
consolidation of House and Senate bills. These are the following, with indications of the dates on
which the laws were approved by the President and dates the separate bills of the two chambers of
Congress were respectively passed:
1. R.A. NO. 7642
AN ACT INCREASING THE PENALTIES FOR TAX EVASION, AMENDING FOR THIS
PURPOSE THE PERTINENT SECTIONS OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE
CODE (December 28, 1992).
House Bill No. 2165, October 5, 1992
Senate Bill No. 32, December 7, 1992
2. R.A. NO. 7643
AN ACT TO EMPOWER THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE TO
REQUIRE THE PAYMENT OF THE VALUE-ADDED TAX EVERY MONTH AND TO
ALLOW LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS TO SHARE IN VAT REVENUE, AMENDING
FOR THIS PURPOSE CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL
REVENUE CODE (December 28, 1992)
House Bill No. 1503, September 3, 1992
Senate Bill No. 968, December 7, 1992
3. R.A. NO. 7646
AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE TO
PRESCRIBE THE PLACE FOR PAYMENT OF INTERNAL REVENUE TAXES BY
LARGE TAXPAYERS, AMENDING FOR THIS PURPOSE CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF
THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED (February 24, 1993)

House Bill No. 1470, October 20, 1992


Senate Bill No. 35, November 19, 1992
4. R.A. NO. 7649
AN ACT REQUIRING THE GOVERNMENT OR ANY OF ITS POLITICAL
SUBDIVISIONS, INSTRUMENTALITIES OR AGENCIES INCLUDING GOVERNMENTOWNED OR CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS (GOCCS) TO DEDUCT AND
WITHHOLD THE VALUE-ADDED TAX DUE AT THE RATE OF THREE PERCENT
(3%) ON GROSS PAYMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF GOODS AND SIX PERCENT
(6%) ON GROSS RECEIPTS FOR SERVICES RENDERED BY CONTRACTORS (April
6, 1993)
House Bill No. 5260, January 26, 1993
Senate Bill No. 1141, March 30, 1993
5. R.A. NO. 7656
AN ACT REQUIRING GOVERNMENT-OWNED OR CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS
TO DECLARE DIVIDENDS UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS TO THE NATIONAL
GOVERNMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES (November 9, 1993)
House Bill No. 11024, November 3, 1993
Senate Bill No. 1168, November 3, 1993
6. R.A. NO. 7660
AN ACT RATIONALIZING FURTHER THE STRUCTURE AND ADMINISTRATION OF
THE DOCUMENTARY STAMP TAX, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE CERTAIN
PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED,
ALLOCATING FUNDS FOR SPECIFIC PROGRAMS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
(December 23, 1993)
House Bill No. 7789, May 31, 1993
Senate Bill No. 1330, November 18, 1993
7. R.A. NO. 7717
AN ACT IMPOSING A TAX ON THE SALE, BARTER OR EXCHANGE OF SHARES
OF STOCK LISTED AND TRADED THROUGH THE LOCAL STOCK EXCHANGE OR
THROUGH INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE THE
NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED, BY INSERTING A NEW
SECTION AND REPEALING CERTAIN SUBSECTIONS THEREOF (May 5, 1994)
House Bill No. 9187, November 3, 1993
Senate Bill No. 1127, March 23, 1994

Thus, the enactment of S. No. 1630 is not the only instance in which the Senate, in the exercise of its
power to propose amendments to bills required to originate in the House, passed its own version of a
House revenue measure. It is noteworthy that, in the particular case of S. No. 1630, petitioners
Tolentino and Roco, as members of the Senate, voted to approve it on second and third readings.
On the other hand, amendment by substitution, in the manner urged by petitioner Tolentino, concerns
a mere matter of form. Petitioner has not shown what substantial difference it would make if, as the
Senate actually did in this case, a separate bill like S. No. 1630 is instead enacted as a substitute
measure, "taking into Consideration . . . H.B. 11197."
Indeed, so far as pertinent, the Rules of the Senate only provide:
RULE XXIX
AMENDMENTS
xxx xxx xxx
68. Not more than one amendment to the original amendment shall be considered.
No amendment by substitution shall be entertained unless the text thereof is submitted
in writing.
Any of said amendments may be withdrawn before a vote is taken thereon.
69. No amendment which seeks the inclusion of a legislative provision foreign to the
subject matter of a bill (rider) shall be entertained.
xxx xxx xxx
70-A. A bill or resolution shall not be amended by substituting it with another which
covers a subject distinct from that proposed in the original bill or resolution. (emphasis
added).
Nor is there merit in petitioners' contention that, with regard to revenue bills, the Philippine Senate
possesses less power than the U.S. Senate because of textual differences between constitutional
provisions giving them the power to propose or concur with amendments.
Art. I, 7, cl. 1 of the U.S. Constitution reads:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the
Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.
Art. VI, 24 of our Constitution reads:
All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills
of local application, and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of
Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.
The addition of the word "exclusively" in the Philippine Constitution and the decision to drop the
phrase "as on other Bills" in the American version, according to petitioners, shows the intention of the

framers of our Constitution to restrict the Senate's power to propose amendments to revenue bills.
Petitioner Tolentino contends that the word "exclusively" was inserted to modify "originate" and "the
words 'as in any other bills' (sic) were eliminated so as to show that these bills were not to be like
other bills but must be treated as a special kind."
The history of this provision does not support this contention. The supposed indicia of constitutional
intent are nothing but the relics of an unsuccessful attempt to limit the power of the Senate. It will be
recalled that the 1935 Constitution originally provided for a unicameral National Assembly. When it
was decided in 1939 to change to a bicameral legislature, it became necessary to provide for the
procedure for lawmaking by the Senate and the House of Representatives. The work of proposing
amendments to the Constitution was done by the National Assembly, acting as a constituent
assembly, some of whose members, jealous of preserving the Assembly's lawmaking powers, sought
to curtail the powers of the proposed Senate. Accordingly they proposed the following provision:
All bills appropriating public funds, revenue or tariff bills, bills of local application, and
private bills shall originate exclusively in the Assembly, but the Senate may propose or
concur with amendments. In case of disapproval by the Senate of any such bills, the
Assembly may repass the same by a two-thirds vote of all its members, and thereupon,
the bill so repassed shall be deemed enacted and may be submitted to the President for
corresponding action. In the event that the Senate should fail to finally act on any such
bills, the Assembly may, after thirty days from the opening of the next regular session of
the same legislative term, reapprove the same with a vote of two-thirds of all the
members of the Assembly. And upon such reapproval, the bill shall be deemed enacted
and may be submitted to the President for corresponding action.
The special committee on the revision of laws of the Second National Assembly vetoed the proposal.
It deleted everything after the first sentence. As rewritten, the proposal was approved by the National
Assembly and embodied in Resolution No. 38, as amended by Resolution No. 73. (J. ARUEGO,
KNOW YOUR CONSTITUTION 65-66 (1950)). The proposed amendment was submitted to the
people and ratified by them in the elections held on June 18, 1940.
This is the history of Art. VI, 18 (2) of the 1935 Constitution, from which Art. VI, 24 of the present
Constitution was derived. It explains why the word "exclusively" was added to the American text from
which the framers of the Philippine Constitution borrowed and why the phrase "as on other Bills" was
not copied. Considering the defeat of the proposal, the power of the Senate to propose amendments
must be understood to be full, plenary and complete "as on other Bills." Thus, because revenue bills
are required to originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, the Senate cannot enact
revenue measures of its own without such bills. After a revenue bill is passed and sent over to it by
the House, however, the Senate certainly can pass its own version on the same subject matter. This
follows from the coequality of the two chambers of Congress.
That this is also the understanding of book authors of the scope of the Senate's power to concur is
clear from the following commentaries:
The power of the Senate to propose or concur with amendments is apparently without
restriction. It would seem that by virtue of this power, the Senate can practically re-write
a bill required to come from the House and leave only a trace of the original bill. For
example, a general revenue bill passed by the lower house of the United States
Congress contained provisions for the imposition of an inheritance tax . This was
changed by the Senate into a corporation tax. The amending authority of the Senate
was declared by the United States Supreme Court to be sufficiently broad to enable it to
make the alteration. [Flint v. Stone Tracy Company, 220 U.S. 107, 55 L. ed. 389].

(L. TAADA AND F. CARREON, POLITICAL LAW OF THE PHILIPPINES 247 (1961))
The above-mentioned bills are supposed to be initiated by the House of
Representatives because it is more numerous in membership and therefore also more
representative of the people. Moreover, its members are presumed to be more familiar
with the needs of the country in regard to the enactment of the legislation involved.
The Senate is, however, allowed much leeway in the exercise of its power to propose or
concur with amendments to the bills initiated by the House of Representatives. Thus, in
one case, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives was changed by the
Senate to make a proposed inheritance tax a corporation tax. It is also accepted
practice for the Senate to introduce what is known as an amendment by substitution,
which may entirely replace the bill initiated in the House of Representatives.
(I. CRUZ, PHILIPPINE POLITICAL LAW 144-145 (1993)).
In sum, while Art. VI, 24 provides that all appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing
increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills must "originate exclusively in the
House of Representatives," it also adds, "but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments."
In the exercise of this power, the Senate may propose an entirely new bill as a substitute measure.
As petitioner Tolentino states in a high school text, a committee to which a bill is referred may do any
of the following:
(1) to endorse the bill without changes; (2) to make changes in the bill omitting or
adding sections or altering its language; (3) to make and endorse an entirely new bill as
a substitute, in which case it will be known as a committee bill; or (4) to make no report
at all.
(A. TOLENTINO, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES 258 (1950))
To except from this procedure the amendment of bills which are required to originate in the House by
prescribing that the number of the House bill and its other parts up to the enacting clause must be
preserved although the text of the Senate amendment may be incorporated in place of the original
body of the bill is to insist on a mere technicality. At any rate there is no rule prescribing this form. S.
No. 1630, as a substitute measure, is therefore as much an amendment of H. No. 11197 as any
which the Senate could have made.
II. S. No. 1630 a mere amendment of H. No. 11197. Petitioners' basic error is that they assume that
S. No. 1630 is an independent and distinct bill. Hence their repeated references to its certification that
it was passed by the Senate "in substitution of S.B. No. 1129, taking into consideration P.S. Res. No.
734 and H.B. No. 11197," implying that there is something substantially different between the
reference to S. No. 1129 and the reference to H. No. 11197. From this premise, they conclude that
R.A. No. 7716 originated both in the House and in the Senate and that it is the product of two "halfbaked bills because neither H. No. 11197 nor S. No. 1630 was passed by both houses of Congress."
In point of fact, in several instances the provisions of S. No. 1630, clearly appear to be mere
amendments of the corresponding provisions of H. No. 11197. The very tabular comparison of the
provisions of H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630 attached as Supplement A to the basic petition of
petitioner Tolentino, while showing differences between the two bills, at the same time indicates that
the provisions of the Senate bill were precisely intended to be amendments to the House bill.

Without H. No. 11197, the Senate could not have enacted S. No. 1630. Because the Senate bill was
a mere amendment of the House bill, H. No. 11197 in its original form did not have to pass the
Senate on second and three readings. It was enough that after it was passed on first reading it was
referred to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. Neither was it required that S. No. 1630 be
passed by the House of Representatives before the two bills could be referred to the Conference
Committee.
There is legislative precedent for what was done in the case of H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630. When
the House bill and Senate bill, which became R.A. No. 1405 (Act prohibiting the disclosure of bank
deposits), were referred to a conference committee, the question was raised whether the two bills
could be the subject of such conference, considering that the bill from one house had not been
passed by the other and vice versa. As Congressman Duran put the question:
MR. DURAN. Therefore, I raise this question of order as to procedure: If a House bill is
passed by the House but not passed by the Senate, and a Senate bill of a similar nature
is passed in the Senate but never passed in the House, can the two bills be the subject
of a conference, and can a law be enacted from these two bills? I understand that the
Senate bill in this particular instance does not refer to investments in government
securities, whereas the bill in the House, which was introduced by the Speaker, covers
two subject matters: not only investigation of deposits in banks but also investigation of
investments in government securities. Now, since the two bills differ in their subject
matter, I believe that no law can be enacted.
Ruling on the point of order raised, the chair (Speaker Jose B. Laurel, Jr.) said:
THE SPEAKER. The report of the conference committee is in order. It is precisely in
cases like this where a conference should be had. If the House bill had been approved
by the Senate, there would have been no need of a conference; but precisely because
the Senate passed another bill on the same subject matter, the conference committee
had to be created, and we are now considering the report of that committee.
(2 CONG. REC. NO. 13, July 27, 1955, pp. 3841-42 (emphasis added))
III. The President's certification. The fallacy in thinking that H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630 are distinct
and unrelated measures also accounts for the petitioners' (Kilosbayan's and PAL's) contention that
because the President separately certified to the need for the immediate enactment of these
measures, his certification was ineffectual and void. The certification had to be made of the version of
the same revenue bill which at the momentwas being considered. Otherwise, to follow petitioners'
theory, it would be necessary for the President to certify as many bills as are presented in a house of
Congress even though the bills are merely versions of the bill he has already certified. It is enough
that he certifies the bill which, at the time he makes the certification, is under consideration. Since on
March 22, 1994 the Senate was considering S. No. 1630, it was that bill which had to be certified. For
that matter on June 1, 1993 the President had earlier certified H. No. 9210 for immediate enactment
because it was the one which at that time was being considered by the House. This bill was later
substituted, together with other bills, by H. No. 11197.
As to what Presidential certification can accomplish, we have already explained in the main decision
that the phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment, etc."
in Art. VI, 26 (2) qualifies not only the requirement that "printed copies [of a bill] in its final form [must
be] distributed to the members three days before its passage" but also the requirement that before a
bill can become a law it must have passed "three readings on separate days." There is not only
textual support for such construction but historical basis as well.

Art. VI, 21 (2) of the 1935 Constitution originally provided:


(2) No bill shall be passed by either House unless it shall have been printed and copies
thereof in its final form furnished its Members at least three calendar days prior to its
passage, except when the President shall have certified to the necessity of its
immediate enactment. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereof shall be
allowed and the question upon its passage shall be taken immediately thereafter, and
the yeas and nays entered on the Journal.
When the 1973 Constitution was adopted, it was provided in Art. VIII, 19 (2):
(2) No bill shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days,
and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to the Members three
days before its passage, except when the Prime Minister certifies to the necessity of its
immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of
a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken
immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.
This provision of the 1973 document, with slight modification, was adopted in Art. VI, 26 (2) of the
present Constitution, thus:
(2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three
readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been
distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President
certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or
emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and
the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeasand nays entered in
the Journal.
The exception is based on the prudential consideration that if in all cases three readings on separate
days are required and a bill has to be printed in final form before it can be passed, the need for a law
may be rendered academic by the occurrence of the very emergency or public calamity which it is
meant to address.
Petitioners further contend that a "growing budget deficit" is not an emergency, especially in a country
like the Philippines where budget deficit is a chronic condition. Even if this were the case, an
enormous budget deficit does not make the need for R.A. No. 7716 any less urgent or the situation
calling for its enactment any less an emergency.
Apparently, the members of the Senate (including some of the petitioners in these cases) believed
that there was an urgent need for consideration of S. No. 1630, because they responded to the call of
the President by voting on the bill on second and third readings on the same day. While the judicial
department is not bound by the Senate's acceptance of the President's certification, the respect due
coequal departments of the government in matters committed to them by the Constitution and the
absence of a clear showing of grave abuse of discretion caution a stay of the judicial hand.
At any rate, we are satisfied that S. No. 1630 received thorough consideration in the Senate where it
was discussed for six days. Only its distribution in advance in its final printed form was actually
dispensed with by holding the voting on second and third readings on the same day (March 24,
1994). Otherwise, sufficient time between the submission of the bill on February 8, 1994 on second
reading and its approval on March 24, 1994 elapsed before it was finally voted on by the Senate on
third reading.

The purpose for which three readings on separate days is required is said to be two-fold: (1) to inform
the members of Congress of what they must vote on and (2) to give them notice that a measure is
progressing through the enacting process, thus enabling them and others interested in the measure
to prepare their positions with reference to it. (1 J. G. SUTHERLAND, STATUTES AND STATUTORY
CONSTRUCTION 10.04, p. 282 (1972)). These purposes were substantially achieved in the case of
R.A. No. 7716.
IV. Power of Conference Committee. It is contended (principally by Kilosbayan, Inc. and the
Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI)) that in violation of
the constitutional policy of full public disclosure and the people's right to know (Art. II, 28 and Art. III,
7) the Conference Committee met for two days in executive session with only the conferees present.
As pointed out in our main decision, even in the United States it was customary to hold such sessions
with only the conferees and their staffs in attendance and it was only in 1975 when a new rule was
adopted requiring open sessions. Unlike its American counterpart, the Philippine Congress has not
adopted a rule prescribing open hearings for conference committees.
It is nevertheless claimed that in the United States, before the adoption of the rule in 1975, at least
staff members were present. These were staff members of the Senators and Congressmen, however,
who may be presumed to be their confidential men, not stenographers as in this case who on the last
two days of the conference were excluded. There is no showing that the conferees themselves did
not take notes of their proceedings so as to give petitioner Kilosbayan basis for claiming that even in
secret diplomatic negotiations involving state interests, conferees keep notes of their meetings.
Above all, the public's right to know was fully served because the Conference Committee in this case
submitted a report showing the changes made on the differing versions of the House and the Senate.
Petitioners cite the rules of both houses which provide that conference committee reports must
contain "a detailed, sufficiently explicit statement of the changes in or other amendments." These
changes are shown in the bill attached to the Conference Committee Report. The members of both
houses could thus ascertain what changes had been made in the original bills without the need of a
statement detailing the changes.
The same question now presented was raised when the bill which became R.A. No. 1400 (Land
Reform Act of 1955) was reported by the Conference Committee. Congressman Bengzon raised a
point of order. He said:
MR. BENGZON. My point of order is that it is out of order to consider the report of the
conference committee regarding House Bill No. 2557 by reason of the provision of
Section 11, Article XII, of the Rules of this House which provides specifically that the
conference report must be accompanied by a detailed statement of the effects of the
amendment on the bill of the House. This conference committee report is not
accompanied by that detailed statement, Mr. Speaker. Therefore it is out of order to
consider it.
Petitioner Tolentino, then the Majority Floor Leader, answered:
MR. TOLENTINO. Mr. Speaker, I should just like to say a few words in connection with
the point of order raised by the gentleman from Pangasinan.
There is no question about the provision of the Rule cited by the gentleman from
Pangasinan, butthis provision applies to those cases where only portions of the bill have
been amended. In this case before us an entire bill is presented; therefore, it can be

easily seen from the reading of the bill what the provisions are. Besides, this procedure
has been an established practice.
After some interruption, he continued:
MR. TOLENTINO. As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, we have to look into the reason for the
provisions of the Rules, and the reason for the requirement in the provision cited by the
gentleman from Pangasinan is when there are only certain words or phrases inserted in
or deleted from the provisions of the bill included in the conference report, and we
cannot understand what those words and phrases mean and their relation to the bill. In
that case, it is necessary to make a detailed statement on how those words and
phrases will affect the bill as a whole; but when the entire bill itself is copied verbatim in
the conference report, that is not necessary. So when the reason for the Rule does not
exist, the Rule does not exist.
(2 CONG. REC. NO. 2, p. 4056. (emphasis added))
Congressman Tolentino was sustained by the chair. The record shows that when the ruling was
appealed, it was upheld by viva voce and when a division of the House was called, it was sustained
by a vote of 48 to 5. (Id.,
p. 4058)
Nor is there any doubt about the power of a conference committee to insert new provisions as long as
these are germane to the subject of the conference. As this Court held in Philippine Judges
Association v. Prado, 227 SCRA 703 (1993), in an opinion written by then Justice Cruz, the
jurisdiction of the conference committee is not limited to resolving differences between the Senate
and the House. It may propose an entirely new provision. What is important is that its report is
subsequently approved by the respective houses of Congress. This Court ruled that it would not
entertain allegations that, because new provisions had been added by the conference committee,
there was thereby a violation of the constitutional injunction that "upon the last reading of a bill, no
amendment thereto shall be allowed."
Applying these principles, we shall decline to look into the petitioners' charges that an
amendment was made upon the last reading of the bill that eventually became R.A. No.
7354 and that copiesthereof in its final form were not distributed among the members of
each House. Both the enrolled bill and the legislative journals certify that the measure
was duly enacted i.e., in accordance with Article VI, Sec. 26 (2) of the Constitution. We
are bound by such official assurances from a coordinate department of the government,
to which we owe, at the very least, a becoming courtesy.
(Id. at 710. (emphasis added))
It is interesting to note the following description of conference committees in the Philippines in a 1979
study:
Conference committees may be of two types: free or instructed. These committees may
be given instructions by their parent bodies or they may be left without instructions.
Normally the conference committees are without instructions, and this is why they are
often critically referred to as "the little legislatures." Once bills have been sent to them,
the conferees have almost unlimited authority to change the clauses of the bills and in
fact sometimes introduce new measures that were not in the original legislation. No
minutes are kept, and members' activities on conference committees are difficult to

determine. One congressman known for his idealism put it this way: "I killed a bill on
export incentives for my interest group [copra] in the conference committee but I could
not have done so anywhere else." The conference committee submits a report to both
houses, and usually it is accepted. If the report is not accepted, then the committee is
discharged and new members are appointed.
(R. Jackson, Committees in the Philippine Congress, in COMMITTEES AND
LEGISLATURES: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS 163 (J. D. LEES AND M. SHAW,
eds.)).
In citing this study, we pass no judgment on the methods of conference committees. We cite it only to
say that conference committees here are no different from their counterparts in the United States
whose vast powers we noted in Philippine Judges Association v. Prado, supra. At all events, under
Art. VI, 16(3) each house has the power "to determine the rules of its proceedings," including those
of its committees. Any meaningful change in the method and procedures of Congress or its
committees must therefore be sought in that body itself.
V. The titles of S. No. 1630 and H. No. 11197. PAL maintains that R.A. No. 7716 violates Art. VI, 26
(1) of the Constitution which provides that "Every bill passed by Congress shall embrace only one
subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof." PAL contends that the amendment of its
franchise by the withdrawal of its exemption from the VAT is not expressed in the title of the law.
Pursuant to 13 of P.D. No. 1590, PAL pays a franchise tax of 2% on its gross revenue "in lieu of all
other taxes, duties, royalties, registration, license and other fees and charges of any kind, nature, or
description, imposed, levied, established, assessed or collected by any municipal, city, provincial or
national authority or government agency, now or in the future."
PAL was exempted from the payment of the VAT along with other entities by 103 of the National
Internal Revenue Code, which provides as follows:
103. Exempt transactions. The following shall be exempt from the value-added tax:
xxx xxx xxx
(q) Transactions which are exempt under special laws or international agreements to
which the Philippines is a signatory.
R.A. No. 7716 seeks to withdraw certain exemptions, including that granted to PAL, by amending
103, as follows:
103. Exempt transactions. The following shall be exempt from the value-added tax:
xxx xxx xxx
(q) Transactions which are exempt under special laws, except those granted under
Presidential Decree Nos. 66, 529, 972, 1491, 1590. . . .
The amendment of 103 is expressed in the title of R.A. No. 7716 which reads:
AN ACT RESTRUCTURING THE VALUE-ADDED TAX (VAT) SYSTEM, WIDENING
ITS TAX BASE AND ENHANCING ITS ADMINISTRATION, AND FOR THESE

PURPOSES AMENDING AND REPEALING THE RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF THE


NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES.
By stating that R.A. No. 7716 seeks to "[RESTRUCTURE] THE VALUE-ADDED TAX (VAT) SYSTEM
[BY] WIDENING ITS TAX BASE AND ENHANCING ITS ADMINISTRATION, AND FOR THESE
PURPOSES AMENDING AND REPEALING THE RELEVANT PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL
INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, AS AMENDED AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," Congress thereby
clearly expresses its intention to amend any provision of the NIRC which stands in the way of
accomplishing the purpose of the law.
PAL asserts that the amendment of its franchise must be reflected in the title of the law by specific
reference to P.D. No. 1590. It is unnecessary to do this in order to comply with the constitutional
requirement, since it is already stated in the title that the law seeks to amend the pertinent provisions
of the NIRC, among which is 103(q), in order to widen the base of the VAT. Actually, it is the bill
which becomes a law that is required to express in its title the subject of legislation. The titles of H.
No. 11197 and S. No. 1630 in fact specifically referred to 103 of the NIRC as among the provisions
sought to be amended. We are satisfied that sufficient notice had been given of the pendency of
these bills in Congress before they were enacted into what is now R.A.
No. 7716.
In Philippine Judges Association v. Prado, supra, a similar argument as that now made by PAL was
rejected. R.A. No. 7354 is entitled AN ACT CREATING THE PHILIPPINE POSTAL CORPORATION,
DEFINING ITS POWERS, FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES, PROVIDING FOR REGULATION
OF THE INDUSTRY AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES CONNECTED THEREWITH. It contained a
provision repealing all franking privileges. It was contended that the withdrawal of franking privileges
was not expressed in the title of the law. In holding that there was sufficient description of the subject
of the law in its title, including the repeal of franking privileges, this Court held:
To require every end and means necessary for the accomplishment of the general
objectives of the statute to be expressed in its title would not only be unreasonable but
would actually render legislation impossible. [Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 8th Ed.,
p. 297] As has been correctly explained:
The details of a legislative act need not be specifically stated in its title, but
matter germane to the subject as expressed in the title, and adopted to the
accomplishment of the object in view, may properly be included in the act.
Thus, it is proper to create in the same act the machinery by which the act
is to be enforced, to prescribe the penalties for its infraction, and to
remove obstacles in the way of its execution. If such matters are properly
connected with the subject as expressed in the title, it is unnecessary that
they should also have special mention in the title. (Southern Pac. Co. v.
Bartine, 170 Fed. 725)
(227 SCRA at 707-708)
VI. Claims of press freedom and religious liberty. We have held that, as a general proposition, the
press is not exempt from the taxing power of the State and that what the constitutional guarantee of
free press prohibits are laws which single out the press or target a group belonging to the press for
special treatment or which in any way discriminate against the press on the basis of the content of the
publication, and R.A. No. 7716 is none of these.

Now it is contended by the PPI that by removing the exemption of the press from the VAT while
maintaining those granted to others, the law discriminates against the press. At any rate, it is averred,
"even nondiscriminatory taxation of constitutionally guaranteed freedom is unconstitutional."
With respect to the first contention, it would suffice to say that since the law granted the press a
privilege, the law could take back the privilege anytime without offense to the Constitution. The
reason is simple: by granting exemptions, the State does not forever waive the exercise of its
sovereign prerogative.
Indeed, in withdrawing the exemption, the law merely subjects the press to the same tax burden to
which other businesses have long ago been subject. It is thus different from the tax involved in the
cases invoked by the PPI. The license tax in Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233, 80 L.
Ed. 660 (1936) was found to be discriminatory because it was laid on the gross advertising receipts
only of newspapers whose weekly circulation was over 20,000, with the result that the tax applied
only to 13 out of 124 publishers in Louisiana. These large papers were critical of Senator Huey Long
who controlled the state legislature which enacted the license tax. The censorial motivation for the
law was thus evident.
On the other hand, in Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Comm'r of Revenue, 460 U.S.
575, 75 L. Ed. 2d 295 (1983), the tax was found to be discriminatory because although it could have
been made liable for the sales tax or, in lieu thereof, for the use tax on the privilege of using, storing
or consuming tangible goods, the press was not. Instead, the press was exempted from both taxes. It
was, however, later made to pay a specialuse tax on the cost of paper and ink which made these
items "the only items subject to the use tax that were component of goods to be sold at retail." The
U.S. Supreme Court held that the differential treatment of the press "suggests that the goal of
regulation is not related to suppression of expression, and such goal is presumptively
unconstitutional." It would therefore appear that even a law that favors the press is constitutionally
suspect. (See the dissent of Rehnquist, J. in that case)
Nor is it true that only two exemptions previously granted by E.O. No. 273 are withdrawn "absolutely
and unqualifiedly" by R.A. No. 7716. Other exemptions from the VAT, such as those previously
granted to PAL, petroleum concessionaires, enterprises registered with the Export Processing Zone
Authority, and many more are likewise totally withdrawn, in addition to exemptions which are partially
withdrawn, in an effort to broaden the base of the tax.
The PPI says that the discriminatory treatment of the press is highlighted by the fact that transactions,
which are profit oriented, continue to enjoy exemption under R.A. No. 7716. An enumeration of some
of these transactions will suffice to show that by and large this is not so and that the exemptions are
granted for a purpose. As the Solicitor General says, such exemptions are granted, in some cases, to
encourage agricultural production and, in other cases, for the personal benefit of the end-user rather
than for profit. The exempt transactions are:
(a) Goods for consumption or use which are in their original state (agricultural, marine
and forest products, cotton seeds in their original state, fertilizers, seeds, seedlings,
fingerlings, fish, prawn livestock and poultry feeds) and goods or services to enhance
agriculture (milling of palay, corn, sugar cane and raw sugar, livestock, poultry feeds,
fertilizer, ingredients used for the manufacture of feeds).
(b) Goods used for personal consumption or use (household and personal effects of
citizens returning to the Philippines) or for professional use, like professional
instruments and implements, by persons coming to the Philippines to settle here.

(c) Goods subject to excise tax such as petroleum products or to be used for
manufacture of petroleum products subject to excise tax and services subject to
percentage tax.
(d) Educational services, medical, dental, hospital and veterinary services, and services
rendered under employer-employee relationship.
(e) Works of art and similar creations sold by the artist himself.
(f) Transactions exempted under special laws, or international agreements.
(g) Export-sales by persons not VAT-registered.
(h) Goods or services with gross annual sale or receipt not exceeding P500,000.00.
(Respondents' Consolidated Comment on the Motions for Reconsideration, pp. 58-60)
The PPI asserts that it does not really matter that the law does not discriminate against the press
because "even nondiscriminatory taxation on constitutionally guaranteed freedom is unconstitutional."
PPI cites in support of this assertion the following statement in Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S.
105, 87 L. Ed. 1292 (1943):
The fact that the ordinance is "nondiscriminatory" is immaterial. The protection afforded
by the First Amendment is not so restricted. A license tax certainly does not acquire
constitutional validity because it classifies the privileges protected by the First
Amendment along with the wares and merchandise of hucksters and peddlers and
treats them all alike. Such equality in treatment does not save the ordinance. Freedom
of press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion are in preferred position.
The Court was speaking in that case of a license tax, which, unlike an ordinary tax, is mainly for
regulation. Its imposition on the press is unconstitutional because it lays a prior restraint on the
exercise of its right. Hence, although its application to others, such those selling goods, is valid, its
application to the press or to religious groups, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, in connection with
the latter's sale of religious books and pamphlets, is unconstitutional. As the U.S. Supreme Court put
it, "it is one thing to impose a tax on income or property of a preacher. It is quite another thing to exact
a tax on him for delivering a sermon."
A similar ruling was made by this Court in American Bible Society v. City of Manila, 101 Phil. 386
(1957) which invalidated a city ordinance requiring a business license fee on those engaged in the
sale of general merchandise. It was held that the tax could not be imposed on the sale of bibles by
the American Bible Society without restraining the free exercise of its right to propagate.
The VAT is, however, different. It is not a license tax. It is not a tax on the exercise of a privilege,
much less a constitutional right. It is imposed on the sale, barter, lease or exchange of goods or
properties or the sale or exchange of services and the lease of properties purely for revenue
purposes. To subject the press to its payment is not to burden the exercise of its right any more than
to make the press pay income tax or subject it to general regulation is not to violate its freedom under
the Constitution.
Additionally, the Philippine Bible Society, Inc. claims that although it sells bibles, the proceeds derived
from the sales are used to subsidize the cost of printing copies which are given free to those who
cannot afford to pay so that to tax the sales would be to increase the price, while reducing the volume

of sale. Granting that to be the case, the resulting burden on the exercise of religious freedom is so
incidental as to make it difficult to differentiate it from any other economic imposition that might make
the right to disseminate religious doctrines costly. Otherwise, to follow the petitioner's argument, to
increase the tax on the sale of vestments would be to lay an impermissible burden on the right of the
preacher to make a sermon.
On the other hand the registration fee of P1,000.00 imposed by 107 of the NIRC, as amended by 7
of R.A. No. 7716, although fixed in amount, is really just to pay for the expenses of registration and
enforcement of provisions such as those relating to accounting in 108 of the NIRC. That the PBS
distributes free bibles and therefore is not liable to pay the VAT does not excuse it from the payment
of this fee because it also sells some copies. At any rate whether the PBS is liable for the VAT must
be decided in concrete cases, in the event it is assessed this tax by the Commissioner of Internal
Revenue.
VII. Alleged violations of the due process, equal protection and contract clauses and the rule on
taxation. CREBA asserts that R.A. No. 7716 (1) impairs the obligations of contracts, (2) classifies
transactions as covered or exempt without reasonable basis and (3) violates the rule that taxes
should be uniform and equitable and that Congress shall "evolve a progressive system of taxation."
With respect to the first contention, it is claimed that the application of the tax to existing contracts of
the sale of real property by installment or on deferred payment basis would result in substantial
increases in the monthly amortizations to be paid because of the 10% VAT. The additional amount, it
is pointed out, is something that the buyer did not anticipate at the time he entered into the contract.
The short answer to this is the one given by this Court in an early case: "Authorities from numerous
sources are cited by the plaintiffs, but none of them show that a lawful tax on a new subject, or an
increased tax on an old one, interferes with a contract or impairs its obligation, within the meaning of
the Constitution. Even though such taxation may affect particular contracts, as it may increase the
debt of one person and lessen the security of another, or may impose additional burdens upon one
class and release the burdens of another, still the tax must be paid unless prohibited by the
Constitution, nor can it be said that it impairs the obligation of any existing contract in its true legal
sense." (La Insular v. Machuca Go-Tauco and Nubla Co-Siong, 39 Phil. 567, 574 (1919)). Indeed not
only existing laws but also "the reservation of the essential attributes of sovereignty, is . . . read into
contracts as a postulate of the legal order." (Philippine-American Life Ins. Co. v. Auditor General, 22
SCRA 135, 147 (1968)) Contracts must be understood as having been made in reference to the
possible exercise of the rightful authority of the government and no obligation of contract can extend
to the defeat of that authority. (Norman v. Baltimore and Ohio R.R., 79 L. Ed. 885 (1935)).
It is next pointed out that while 4 of R.A. No. 7716 exempts such transactions as the sale of
agricultural products, food items, petroleum, and medical and veterinary services, it grants no
exemption on the sale of real property which is equally essential. The sale of real property for
socialized and low-cost housing is exempted from the tax, but CREBA claims that real estate
transactions of "the less poor," i.e., the middle class, who are equally homeless, should likewise be
exempted.
The sale of food items, petroleum, medical and veterinary services, etc., which are essential goods
and services was already exempt under 103, pars. (b) (d) (1) of the NIRC before the enactment of
R.A. No. 7716. Petitioner is in error in claiming that R.A. No. 7716 granted exemption to these
transactions, while subjecting those of petitioner to the payment of the VAT. Moreover, there is a
difference between the "homeless poor" and the "homeless less poor" in the example given by
petitioner, because the second group or middle class can afford to rent houses in the meantime that
they cannot yet buy their own homes. The two social classes are thus differently situated in life. "It is

inherent in the power to tax that the State be free to select the subjects of taxation, and it has been
repeatedly held that 'inequalities which result from a singling out of one particular class for taxation, or
exemption infringe no constitutional limitation.'" (Lutz v. Araneta, 98 Phil. 148, 153 (1955). Accord,
City of Baguio v. De Leon, 134 Phil. 912 (1968); Sison, Jr. v. Ancheta, 130 SCRA 654, 663 (1984);
Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan, 163 SCRA 371 (1988)).
Finally, it is contended, for the reasons already noted, that R.A. No. 7716 also violates Art. VI, 28(1)
which provides that "The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The Congress shall evolve a
progressive system of taxation."
Equality and uniformity of taxation means that all taxable articles or kinds of property of the same
class be taxed at the same rate. The taxing power has the authority to make reasonable and natural
classifications for purposes of taxation. To satisfy this requirement it is enough that the statute or
ordinance applies equally to all persons, forms and corporations placed in similar situation. (City of
Baguio v. De Leon, supra; Sison, Jr. v. Ancheta, supra)
Indeed, the VAT was already provided in E.O. No. 273 long before R.A. No. 7716 was enacted. R.A.
No. 7716 merely expands the base of the tax. The validity of the original VAT Law was questioned
in Kapatiran ng Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan, 163 SCRA 383 (1988) on
grounds similar to those made in these cases, namely, that the law was "oppressive, discriminatory,
unjust and regressive in violation of Art. VI, 28(1) of the Constitution." (At 382) Rejecting the
challenge to the law, this Court held:
As the Court sees it, EO 273 satisfies all the requirements of a valid tax. It is uniform. . .
.
The sales tax adopted in EO 273 is applied similarly on all goods and services sold to
the public, which are not exempt, at the constant rate of 0% or 10%.
The disputed sales tax is also equitable. It is imposed only on sales of goods or services
by persons engaged in business with an aggregate gross annual sales exceeding
P200,000.00. Small corner sari-sari stores are consequently exempt from its
application. Likewise exempt from the tax are sales of farm and marine products, so that
the costs of basic food and other necessities, spared as they are from the incidence of
the VAT, are expected to be relatively lower and within the reach of the general public.
(At 382-383)
The CREBA claims that the VAT is regressive. A similar claim is made by the Cooperative Union of
the Philippines, Inc. (CUP), while petitioner Juan T. David argues that the law contravenes the
mandate of Congress to provide for a progressive system of taxation because the law imposes a flat
rate of 10% and thus places the tax burden on all taxpayers without regard to their ability to pay.
The Constitution does not really prohibit the imposition of indirect taxes which, like the VAT, are
regressive. What it simply provides is that Congress shall "evolve a progressive system of taxation."
The constitutional provision has been interpreted to mean simply that "direct taxes are . . . to be
preferred [and] as much as possible, indirect taxes should be minimized." (E. FERNANDO, THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES 221 (Second ed. (1977)). Indeed, the mandate to Congress
is not to prescribe, but to evolve, a progressive tax system. Otherwise, sales taxes, which perhaps
are the oldest form of indirect taxes, would have been prohibited with the proclamation of Art. VIII,
17(1) of the 1973 Constitution from which the present Art. VI, 28(1) was taken. Sales taxes are also
regressive.

Resort to indirect taxes should be minimized but not avoided entirely because it is difficult, if not
impossible, to avoid them by imposing such taxes according to the taxpayers' ability to pay. In the
case of the VAT, the law minimizes the regressive effects of this imposition by providing for zero
rating of certain transactions (R.A. No. 7716, 3, amending 102 (b) of the NIRC), while
granting exemptions to other transactions. (R.A. No. 7716, 4, amending 103 of the NIRC).
Thus, the following transactions involving basic and essential goods and services are exempted from
the VAT:
(a) Goods for consumption or use which are in their original state (agricultural, marine
and forest products, cotton seeds in their original state, fertilizers, seeds, seedlings,
fingerlings, fish, prawn livestock and poultry feeds) and goods or services to enhance
agriculture (milling of palay, corn sugar cane and raw sugar, livestock, poultry feeds,
fertilizer, ingredients used for the manufacture of feeds).
(b) Goods used for personal consumption or use (household and personal effects of
citizens returning to the Philippines) and or professional use, like professional
instruments and implements, by persons coming to the Philippines to settle here.
(c) Goods subject to excise tax such as petroleum products or to be used for
manufacture of petroleum products subject to excise tax and services subject to
percentage tax.
(d) Educational services, medical, dental, hospital and veterinary services, and services
rendered under employer-employee relationship.
(e) Works of art and similar creations sold by the artist himself.
(f) Transactions exempted under special laws, or international agreements.
(g) Export-sales by persons not VAT-registered.
(h) Goods or services with gross annual sale or receipt not exceeding P500,000.00.
(Respondents' Consolidated Comment on the Motions for Reconsideration, pp. 58-60)
On the other hand, the transactions which are subject to the VAT are those which involve goods and
services which are used or availed of mainly by higher income groups. These include real properties
held primarily for sale to customers or for lease in the ordinary course of trade or business, the right
or privilege to use patent, copyright, and other similar property or right, the right or privilege to use
industrial, commercial or scientific equipment, motion picture films, tapes and discs, radio, television,
satellite transmission and cable television time, hotels, restaurants and similar places, securities,
lending investments, taxicabs, utility cars for rent, tourist buses, and other common carriers, services
of franchise grantees of telephone and telegraph.
The problem with CREBA's petition is that it presents broad claims of constitutional violations by
tendering issues not at retail but at wholesale and in the abstract. There is no fully developed record
which can impart to adjudication the impact of actuality. There is no factual foundation to show in
the concrete the application of the law to actual contracts and exemplify its effect on property rights.
For the fact is that petitioner's members have not even been assessed the VAT. Petitioner's case is
not made concrete by a series of hypothetical questions asked which are no different from those dealt
with in advisory opinions.

The difficulty confronting petitioner is thus apparent. He alleges arbitrariness. A mere


allegation, as here, does not suffice. There must be a factual foundation of such
unconstitutional taint. Considering that petitioner here would condemn such a provision
as void on its face, he has not made out a case. This is merely to adhere to the
authoritative doctrine that where the due process and equal protection clauses are
invoked, considering that they are not fixed rules but rather broad standards, there is a
need for proof of such persuasive character as would lead to such a conclusion. Absent
such a showing, the presumption of validity must prevail.
(Sison, Jr. v. Ancheta, 130 SCRA at 661)
Adjudication of these broad claims must await the development of a concrete case. It may be that
postponement of adjudication would result in a multiplicity of suits. This need not be the case,
however. Enforcement of the law may give rise to such a case. A test case, provided it is an actual
case and not an abstract or hypothetical one, may thus be presented.
Nor is hardship to taxpayers alone an adequate justification for adjudicating abstract issues.
Otherwise, adjudication would be no different from the giving of advisory opinion that does not really
settle legal issues.
We are told that it is our duty under Art. VIII, 1, 2 to decide whenever a claim is made that "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." This duty can only arise if an actual case or controversy
is before us. Under Art . VIII, 5 our jurisdiction is defined in terms of "cases" and all that Art. VIII, 1,
2 can plausibly mean is that in the exercise of that jurisdiction we have the judicial power to
determine questions of grave abuse of discretion by any branch or instrumentality of the government.
Put in another way, what is granted in Art. VIII, 1, 2 is "judicial power," which is "the power of a
court to hear and decide cases pending between parties who have the right to sue and be sued in the
courts of law and equity" (Lamb v. Phipps, 22 Phil. 456, 559 (1912)), as distinguished from legislative
and executive power. This power cannot be directly appropriated until it is apportioned among several
courts either by the Constitution, as in the case of Art. VIII, 5, or by statute, as in the case of the
Judiciary Act of 1948 (R.A. No. 296) and the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P. Blg. 129).
The power thus apportioned constitutes the court's "jurisdiction," defined as "the power conferred by
law upon a court or judge to take cognizance of a case, to the exclusion of all others." (United States
v. Arceo, 6 Phil. 29 (1906)) Without an actual case coming within its jurisdiction, this Court cannot
inquire into any allegation of grave abuse of discretion by the other departments of the government.
VIII. Alleged violation of policy towards cooperatives. On the other hand, the Cooperative Union of the
Philippines (CUP), after briefly surveying the course of legislation, argues that it was to adopt a
definite policy of granting tax exemption to cooperatives that the present Constitution embodies
provisions on cooperatives. To subject cooperatives to the VAT would therefore be to infringe a
constitutional policy. Petitioner claims that in 1973, P.D. No. 175 was promulgated exempting
cooperatives from the payment of income taxes and sales taxes but in 1984, because of the crisis
which menaced the national economy, this exemption was withdrawn by P.D. No. 1955; that in 1986,
P.D. No. 2008 again granted cooperatives exemption from income and sales taxes until December
31, 1991, but, in the same year, E.O. No. 93 revoked the exemption; and that finally in 1987 the
framers of the Constitution "repudiated the previous actions of the government adverse to the
interests of the cooperatives, that is, the repeated revocation of the tax exemption to
cooperatives and instead upheld the policy of strengthening the cooperatives by way of the grant of
tax exemptions," by providing the following in Art. XII:

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 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. Private enterprises, including
corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall be encouraged to
broaden the base of their ownership.
15. The Congress shall create an agency to promote the viability and growth of
cooperatives as instruments for social justice and economic development.
Petitioner's contention has no merit. In the first place, it is not true that P.D. No. 1955 singled out
cooperatives by withdrawing their exemption from income and sales taxes under P.D. No. 175, 5.
What P.D. No. 1955, 1 did was to withdraw the exemptions and preferential treatments theretofore
granted to private business enterprises in general, in view of the economic crisis which then beset the
nation. It is true that after P.D. No. 2008, 2 had restored the tax exemptions of cooperatives in 1986,
the exemption was again repealed by E.O. No. 93, 1, but then again cooperatives were not the only
ones whose exemptions were withdrawn. The withdrawal of tax incentives applied to all, including
government and private entities. In the second place, the Constitution does not really require that
cooperatives be granted tax exemptions in order to promote their growth and viability. Hence, there is
no basis for petitioner's assertion that the government's policy toward cooperatives had been one of
vacillation, as far as the grant of tax privileges was concerned, and that it was to put an end to this
indecision that the constitutional provisions cited were adopted. Perhaps as a matter of policy
cooperatives should be granted tax exemptions, but that is left to the discretion of Congress. If
Congress does not grant exemption and there is no discrimination to cooperatives, no violation of any
constitutional policy can be charged.
Indeed, petitioner's theory amounts to saying that under the Constitution cooperatives are exempt
from taxation. Such theory is contrary to the Constitution under which only the following are exempt
from taxation: charitable institutions, churches and parsonages, by reason of Art. VI, 28 (3), and
non-stock, non-profit educational institutions by reason of Art. XIV, 4 (3).
CUP's further ground for seeking the invalidation of R.A. No. 7716 is that it denies cooperatives the
equal protection of the law because electric cooperatives are exempted from the VAT. The
classification between electric and other cooperatives (farmers cooperatives, producers cooperatives,
marketing cooperatives, etc.) apparently rests on a congressional determination that there is greater
need to provide cheaper electric power to as many people as possible, especially those living in the
rural areas, than there is to provide them with other necessities in life. We cannot say that such
classification is unreasonable.
We have carefully read the various arguments raised against the constitutional validity of R.A. No.
7716. We have in fact taken the extraordinary step of enjoining its enforcement pending resolution of
these cases. We have now come to the conclusion that the law suffers from none of the infirmities
attributed to it by petitioners and that its enactment by the other branches of the government does not

constitute a grave abuse of discretion. Any question as to its necessity, desirability or expediency
must be addressed to Congress as the body which is electorally responsible, remembering that, as
Justice Holmes has said, "legislators are the ultimate guardians of the liberties and welfare of the
people in quite as great a degree as are the courts." (Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. May, 194
U.S. 267, 270, 48 L. Ed. 971, 973 (1904)). It is not right, as petitioner in G.R. No. 115543 does in
arguing that we should enforce the public accountability of legislators, that those who took part in
passing the law in question by voting for it in Congress should later thrust to the courts the burden of
reviewing measures in the flush of enactment. This Court does not sit as a third branch of the
legislature, much less exercise a veto power over legislation.
WHEREFORE, the motions for reconsideration are denied with finality and the temporary restraining
order previously issued is hereby lifted.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Melo, Kapunan, Francisco and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
Padilla and Vitug, JJ., maintained their separate opinion.
Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo and Puno, JJ, maintained their dissenting opinion.
Panganiban, J., took no part.

G.R. No. L-1123

March 5, 1947

ALEJO MABANAG, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
JOSE LOPEZ VITO, ET AL., respondents.
Alejo Mabanag, Jose O. Vera, Jesus G. Barrera, Felixberto Serrano, J. Antonio Araneta, Antonio
Barredo, and Jose W. Diokno for petitioners.
Secretary of Justice Ozaeta, Solicitor General Taada, and First Assistant Solicitor General Reyes for
respondents.
TUASON, J.:
This is a petition for prohibition to prevent the enforcement of a congressional resolution designated
"Resolution of both houses proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines to be
appended as an ordinance thereto." The members of the Commission on Elections, the Treasurer of
the Philippines, the Auditor General, and the Director of the Bureau of Printing are made defendants,
and the petitioners are eight senators, seventeen representatives, and the presidents of the
Democratic Alliance, the Popular Front and the Philippine Youth Party. The validity of the abovementioned resolution is attacked as contrary to the Constitution.
The case was heard on the pleadings and stipulation of facts. In our view of the case it is
unnecessary to go into the facts at length. We will mention only the facts essential for the proper
understanding of the issues. For this purpose it suffices to say that three of the plaintiff senators and
eight of the plaintiff representatives had been proclaimed by a majority vote of the Commission on
Elections as having been elected senators and representatives in the elections held on April 23,
1946. The three senators were suspended by the Senate shortly after the opening of the first session
of Congress following the elections, on account of alleged irregularities in their election. The eight
representatives since their election had not been allowed to sit in the lower House, except to take part
in the election of the Speaker, for the same reason, although they had not been formally suspended.
A resolution for their suspension had been introduced in the House of Representatives, but that
resolution had not been acted upon definitely by the House when the present petition was filed.
As a consequence these three senators and eight representatives did not take part in the passage of
the questioned resolution, nor was their membership reckoned within the computation of the
necessary three-fourths vote which is required in proposing an amendment to the Constitution. If
these members of Congress had been counted, the affirmative votes in favor of the proposed
amendment would have been short of the necessary three-fourths vote in either branch of Congress.
At the threshold we are met with the question of the jurisdiction of this Court. The respondents deny
that this Court has jurisdiction, relying on the conclusiveness on the courts of an enrolled bill or
resolution. There is some merit in the petitioners' contention that this is confusing jurisdiction, which is
a matter of substantive law, with conclusiveness of an enactment or resolution, which is a matter of
evidence and practice. This objection, however, is purely academic. Whatever distinction there is in
the juridical sense between the two concepts, in practice and in their operation they boil down to the
same thing. Basically the two notions are synonymous in that both are founded on the regard which
the judiciary accords a co-equal coordinate, and independent departments of the Government. If a
political question conclusively binds the judges out of respect to the political departments, a duly
certified law or resolution also binds the judges under the "enrolled bill rule" born of that respect.
It is a doctrine too well established to need citation of authorities, that political questions are not within
the province of the judiciary, except to the extent that power to deal with such questions has been

conferred upon the courts by express constitutional or statutory provision. (16 C.J.S., 431.) This
doctrine is predicated on the principle of the separation of powers, a principle also too well known to
require elucidation or citation of authorities. The difficulty lies in determining what matters fall within
the meaning of political question. The term is not susceptible of exact definition, and precedents and
authorities are not always in full harmony as to the scope of the restrictions, on this ground, on the
courts to meddle with the actions of the political departments of the government.
But there is one case approaching this in its circumstances: Coleman vs. Miller, a relatively recent
decision of the United States Supreme Court reported and annotated in 122 A.L.R., 695. The case,
by a majority decision delivered by Mr. Chief Justice Hughes, is authority for the conclusion that the
efficacy of ratification by state legislature of a proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution is a
political question and hence not justiciable. The Court further held that the decision by Congress, in
its control of the Secretary of State, of the questions of whether an amendment has been adopted
within a reasonable time from the date of submission to the state legislature, is not subject to review
by the court.
If ratification of an amendment is a political question, a proposal which leads to ratification has to be a
political question. The two steps complement each other in a scheme intended to achieve a single
objective. It is to be noted that the amendatory process as provided in section 1 of Article XV of the
Philippine Constitution "consists of (only) two distinct parts: proposal and ratification." There is no
logic in attaching political character to one and withholding that character from the other. Proposal to
amend the Constitution is a highly political function performed by the Congress in its sovereign
legislative capacity and committed to its charge by the Constitution itself. The exercise of this power
is even independent of any intervention by the Chief Executive. If on grounds of expediency
scrupulous attention of the judiciary be needed to safeguard public interest, there is less reason for
judicial inquiry into the validity of a proposal than into that of a ratification. As the Mississippi Supreme
Court has once said:
There is nothing in the nature of the submission which should cause the free exercise of it to
be obstructed, or that could render it dangerous to the stability of the government; because the
measure derives all its vital force from the action of the people at the ballot box, and there can
never be danger in submitting in an established form, to a free people, the proposition whether
they will change their fundamental law. The means provided for the exercise of their sovereign
right of changing their constitution should receive such a construction as not to trammel the
exercise of the right. Difficulties and embarrassments in its exercise are in derogation of the
right of free government, which is inherent in the people; and the best security against tumult
and revolution is the free and unobstructed privilege to the people of the State to change their
constitution in the mode prescribed by the instrument. (Green vs. Weller, 32 Miss., 650; note,
10 L.R.A., N.S., 150.)
Mr. Justice Black, in a concurring opinion joined in by Justices Roberts, Frankfurter and Douglas, in
Miller vs.Coleman, supra, finds no basis for discriminating between proposal and ratification. From his
forceful opinion we quote the following paragraphs:
The Constitution grant Congress exclusive power to control submission of constitutional
amendments. Final determination by Congress that ratification by three-fourths of the States
has taken place "is conclusive upon the courts." In the exercise of that power, Congress, of
course, is governed by the Constitution. However, whether submission, intervening procedure
or Congressional determination of ratification conforms to the commands of the Constitution,
call for decisions by a "political department" of questions of a type which this Court has
frequently designated "political." And decision of a "political question" by the "political
department" to which the Constitution has committed it "conclusively binds the judges, as well

as all other officers, citizens and subjects of . . . government." Proclamation under authority of
Congress that an amendment has been ratified will carry with it a solemn assurance by the
Congress that ratification has taken place as the Constitution commands. Upon this assurance
a proclaimed amendment must be accepted as a part of the Constitution, leaving to the
judiciary its traditional authority of interpretation. To the extent that the Court's opinion in the
present case even impliedly assumes a power to make judicial interpretation of the exclusive
constitutional authority of Congress over submission and ratification of amendments, we are
unable to agree.
The State court below assumed jurisdiction to determine whether the proper procedure is
being followed between submission and final adoption. However, it is apparent that judicial
review of or pronouncements upon a supposed limitation of a "reasonable time" within which
Congress may accept ratification; as to whether duly authorized State officials have proceeded
properly in ratifying or voting for ratification; or whether a State may reverse its action once
taken upon a proposed amendment; and kindred questions, are all consistent only with an
intimate control over the amending process in the courts. And this must inevitably embarrass
the course of amendment by subjecting to judicial interference matters that we believe were
intrusted by the Constitution solely to the political branch of government.
The Court here treats the amending process of the Constitution in some respects as subject to
judicial construction, in others as subject to the final authority of the Congress. There is no
disapproval of the conclusion arrived at in Dillon vs. Gloss, that the Constitution impliedly
requires that a properly submitted amendment must die unless ratified within a "reasonable
time." Nor does the Court now disapprove its prior assumption of power to make such a
pronouncement. And it is not made clear that only Congress has constitutional power to
determine if there is any such implication in Article 5 of the Constitution. On the other hand, the
Court's opinion declares that Congress has the exclusive power to decide the "political
questions" of whether as State whose legislature has once acted upon a proposed amendment
may subsequently reverse its position, and whether, in the circumstances of such a case as
this, an amendment is dead because an "unreasonable" time has elapsed. No such division
between the political and judicial branches of the government is made by Article 5 which grants
power over the amending of the Constitution to Congress alone. Undivided control of that
process has been given by the Article exclusively and completely to Congress. The process
itself is "political" in its entirely, from submission until an amendment becomes part of the
Constitution, and is not subject to judicial guidance, control or interference at any point.
Mr. Justice Frankfurter, in another concurring opinion to which the other three justices subscribed,
arrives at the same conclusion. Though his thesis was the petitioner's lack of standing in court a
point which not having been raised by the parties herein we will not decide his reasoning inevitably
extends to a consideration of the nature of the legislative proceeding the legality of which the
petitioners in that case assailed. From a different angle he sees the matter as political, saying:
The right of the Kansas senators to be here is rested on recognition by Leser vs. Garnett, 258
U.S., 130; 66 Law. ed., 505; 42 S. Ct., 217, of a voter's right to protect his franchise. The
historic source of this doctrine and the reasons for it were explained in Nixon vs. Herndon, 273
U.S., 436, 540; 71 Law. ed., 759, 761; 47 S. Ct., 446. That was an action for $5,000 damages
against the Judges of Elections for refusing to permit the plaintiff to vote at a primary election
in Texas. In disposing of the objection that the plaintiff had no cause of action because the
subject matter of the suit was political, Mr. Justice Homes thus spoke for the Court: "Of course
the petition concerns political action, but it alleges and seeks to recover for private damage.
That private damage may be caused by such political action and may be recovered for in a suit
at law hardly has been doubted for over two hundred years, since Ashby vs. White, 2 Ld.

Raym., 938; 92 Eng. Reprint, 126; 1 Eng. Rul. Cas., 521; 3 Ld. Raym., 320; 92 Eng. Reprint,
710, and has been recognized by this Court." "Private damage" is the clue to the famous ruling
in Ashby vs. White, supra, and determines its scope as well as that of cases in this Court of
which it is the justification. The judgment of Lord Holt is permeated with the conception that a
voter's franchise is a personal right, assessable in money damages, of which the exact amount
"is peculiarly appropriate for the determination of a jury," see Wiley vs. Sinkler, 179 U.S., 58,
65; 45 Law. ed., 84, 88; 21 S. Ct., 17, and for which there is no remedy outside the law courts.
"Although this matter relates to the parliament," said Lord Holt, "yet it is an injury
precedaneous to the parliament, as my Lord Hale said in the case of Bernardiston vs. Some, 2
Lev., 114, 116; 83 Eng. Reprint, 175. The parliament cannot judge of this injury, nor give
damage to the plaintiff for it: they cannot make him a recompense." (2 Ld. Raym., 938, 958; 92
Eng. Reprint, 126; 1 Eng. Rul. Cas., 521.)
The reasoning of Ashby vs. White and the practice which has followed it leave intraparliamentary controversies to parliaments and outside the scrutiny of law courts. The
procedures for voting in legislative assemblies who are members, how and when they
should vote, what is the requisite number of votes for different phases of legislative activity,
what votes were cast and how they were counted surely are matters that not merely
concern political action but are of the very essence of political action, if "political" has any
connotation at all. Marshall Field & Co. vs. Clark, 143 U.S., 649, 670, et seq.; 36 Law. ed., 294,
302; 12 S. Ct., 495; Leser vs. Garnett, 258 U.S., 130, 137; 66 Law. ed., 505, 511; 42 S. Ct.,
217. In no sense are they matters of "private damage." They pertain to legislators not as
individuals but as political representatives executing the legislative process. To open the law
courts to such controversies is to have courts sit in judgment on the manifold disputes
engendered by procedures for voting in legislative assemblies. If the doctrine of
Ashby vs. White vindicating the private rights of a voting citizen has not been doubted for over
two hundred years, it is equally significant that for over two hundred years Ashby vs. White has
not been sought to be put to purposes like the present. In seeking redress here these Kansas
senators have wholly misconceived the functions of this Court. The writ of certiorari to the
Kansas Supreme Court should therefore be dismissed.
We share the foregoing views. In our judgment they accord with sound principles of political
jurisprudence and represent liberal and advanced thought on the working of constitutional and
popular government as conceived in the fundamental law. Taken as persuasive authorities, they offer
enlightening understanding of the spirit of the United States institutions after which ours are
patterned.
But these concurring opinions have more than persuasive value. As will be presently shown, they are
the opinions which should operate to adjudicate the questions raised by the pleadings. To make the
point clear, it is necessary, at the risk of unduly lengthening this decision, to make a statement and an
analysis of the Coleman vs. Miller case. Fortunately, the annotation on that case in the American Law
Reports, supra, comes to out aid and lightens our labor in this phase of the controversy.
Coleman vs. Miller was an original proceeding in mandamus brought in the Supreme Court of Kansas
by twenty-one members of the Senate, including twenty senators who had voted against a resolution
ratifying the Child Labor Amendment, and by three members of the House of Representatives, to
compel the Secretary of the Senate to erase in indorsement on the resolution to the effect that it had
been adopted by the Senate and to indorse thereon the words "as not passed." They sought to
restrain the offices of the Senate and House of Representatives from signing the resolution, and the
Secretary of State of Kansas from authenticating it and delivering it to the Governor.

The background of the petition appears to have been that the Child Labor Amendment was proposed
by Congress in June, 1924; that in January, 1925, the legislature of Kansad adopted a resolution
rejecting it and a copy of the resolution was sent to the Secretary of State of the United States; that in
January, 1927, a new resolution was introduced in the Senate of Kansas ratifying the proposed
amendment; that there were forty senators, twenty of whom voted for and twenty against the
resolution; and that as a result of the tie, the Lieutenant Governor cast his vote in favor of the
resolution.
The power of the Lieutenant Governor to vote was challenged, and the petition set forth prior rejection
of the proposed amendment and alleged that in the period from June 1924 to March 1927, the
proposed amendment had been rejected by both houses of the legislatures of twenty-six states and
had been ratified only in five states, and that by reason of that rejection and the failure of ratification
within a reasonable time, the proposed amendment had lost its vitality.
The Supreme Court of Kansas entertained jurisdiction of all the issues but dismissed the petition on
the merits. When the case reached the Supreme Court of the United States the questions were
framed substantially in the following manner:
First, whether the court had jurisdiction; that is, whether the petitioners had standing to seek to have
the judgment of the state court reversed; second, whether the Lieutenant Governor had the right to
vote in case of a tie, as he did, it being the contention of the petitioners that "in the light of the powers
and duties of the Lieutenant Governor and his relation to the Senate under the state Constitution, as
construed by the Supreme Court of the state, the Lieutenant Governor was not a part of the
'legislature' so that under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, he could be permitted to have a
deciding vote on the ratification of the proposed amendment, when the Senate was equally divided";
and third, the effect of the previous rejection of the amendment and of the lapse of time after its
submission.
The first question was decided in the affirmative. The second question, regarding the authority of the
Lieutenant Governor to vote, the court avoided, stating: "Whether this contention presents a
justiciable controversy, or a question which is political in its nature and hence not justiciable, is a
question upon which the Court is equally divided and therefore the court expresses no opinion upon
that point." On the third question, the Court reached the conclusion before referred to, namely, (1)
that the efficacy of ratification by state legislature of a proposed amendment to the Federal
Constitution is a political question, within the ultimate power of Congress in the exercise of its control
and of the promulgation of the adoption of amendment, and (2) that the decision by Congress, in its
control of the action of the Secretary of State, of the questions whether an amendment to the Federal
Constitution has been adopted within a reasonable time, is not subject to review by the court.
The net result was that the judgment of the Supreme Court of Kansas was affirmed but in the grounds
stated in the United States Supreme Court's decision. The nine justices were aligned in three groups.
Justices Roberts, Black, Frankfurter and Douglas opined that the petitioners had no personality to
bring the petition and that all the questions raised are political and non-justiciable Justices Butler and
McReynolds opined that all the questions were justiciable; that the Court had jurisdiction of all such
questions, and that the petition should have been granted and the decision of the Supreme Court of
Kansas reversed on the ground that the proposal to amend had died of old age. The Chief Justice,
Mr. Justice Stone and Mr. Justice Reed regarded some of the issues as political and non-justiciable,
passed by the question of the authority of the Lieutenant Governor to case a deciding vote, on the
ground that the Court was equally divided, and took jurisdiction of the rest of the questions.
The sole common ground between Mr. Justice Butler and Mr. Justice McReynolds, on the one hand
and the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Stone and Mr. Justice Reed, on the other, was on the question of

jurisdiction; on the result to be reached, these two groups were divided. The agreement between
Justices Roberts, Black, Frankfurter and Douglas, on the one hand, and the Chief Justice and
Justices Stone and Reed, on the other, was on the result and on that part of the decision which
declares certain questions political and non-justiciable.
As the annotator in American Law Reports observes, therefore going four opinions "show interestingly
divergent but confusing positions of the Justices on the issues discussed. "It cites an article in 48 Yale
Law Journal, 1455, amusingly entitled "Sawing a Justice in Half," which, in the light of the
divergencies in the opinions rendered, aptly queries" whether the proper procedure for the Supreme
Court would not have been to reverse the judgment below and direct dismissal of the suit for want of
jurisdiction." It says that these divergencies and line-ups of the justices "leave power to dictate the
result and the grounds upon which the decision should be rested with the four justices who concurred
in Mr. Justice Black's opinion." Referring to the failure of the Court to decide the question of the right
of the Lieutenant Governor to vote, the article points out that from the opinions rendered the "equally
divided" court would seem under any circumstances to bean equal division of an odd number of
justices, and asks "What really did happen? Did a justice refuse to vote on this issue? And if he did,
was it because he could not make up his mind, or is it possible to saw a justice vertically in half during
the conference and have him walk away whole?" But speaking in a more serious vein, the
commentator says that decision of the issue could not be avoided on grounds of irrelevance, since if
the court had jurisdiction of the case, decision of the issue in favor of the petitioners would have
required reversal of the judgment below regardless of the disposal of the other issues.
From this analysis the conclusion is that the concurring opinions should be considered as laying down
the rule of the case.
The respondent's other chief reliance is on the contention that a duly authenticated bill or resolution
imports absolute verity and is binding on the courts. This is the rule prevailing in England. In the
United States, "In point of numbers, the jurisdictions are divided almost equally pro and con the
general principle (of these, two or three have changed from their original position), two or three
adopted a special variety of view (as in Illinois), three or four are not clear, and one or two have not
yet made their decisions." (IV Wigmore on Evidence, 3d Edition, 685, footnote.) It is important to bear
in mind, in this connection, that the United States Supreme Court is on the side of those which favor
the rule. (Harwood vs. Wentworth, 40 Law. ed., 1069; Lyon vs. Wood, 38 Law. ed., 854;
Fieldvs. Clark, 36 Law. ed., 294.)
If for no other reason than that it conforms to the expressed policy of our law making body, we
choose to follow the rule. Section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No.
2210, provides: "Official documents may be proved as follows: . . . (2) the proceedings of the
Philippine Commission, or of any legislative body that may be provided for in the Philippine Islands, or
of Congress, by the journals of those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or
resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk or secretary, or printed by their order; Provided, That in
the case of Acts of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, when there is an
existence of a copy signed by the presiding officers and secretaries of said bodies, it shall be
conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof."
But there is more than statutory sanction for conclusiveness.
This topic has been the subject of a great number of decisions and commentaries written with evident
vehemence. Arguments for and against the rule have been extensive and exhaustive. It would be
presumptuous on our part to pretend to add more, even if we could, to what has already been said.
Which such vast mass of cases to guide our judgment and discretion, our labor is reduced to an

intelligent selection and borrowing of materials and arguments under the criterion of adaptability to a
sound public policy.
The reasons adduced in support of enrollment as contrasted with those which opposed it are, in our
opinion, almost decisive. Some of these reasons are summarized in 50 American Jurisprudence,
section 150 as follows:
SEC. 150. Reasons for Conclusiveness. It has been declared that the rule against going
behind the enrolled bill is required by the respect due to a coequal and independent
department of the government, and it would be an inquisition into the conduct of the members
of the legislature, a very delicate power, the frequent exercise of which must lead to endless
confusion in the administration of the law. The rule is also one of convenience, because courts
could not rely on the published session laws, but would be required to look beyond these to the
journals of the legislature and often to any printed bills and amendments which might be found
after the adjournment of the legislature. Otherwise, after relying on the prima facie evidence of
the enrolled bills, authenticated as exacted by the Constitution, for years, it might be
ascertained from the journals that an act theretofore enforced had never become a law. In this
respect, it has been declared that these is quite enough uncertainty as to what the law is
without saying that no one may be certain that an act of the legislature has become such until
the issue has been determined by some court whose decision might not be regarded as
conclusive in an action between the parties.
From other decisions, selected and quoted in IV Wigmore on Evidence, 696, 697, we extract these
passages:
I think the rule thus adopted accords with public policy. Indeed, in my estimation, few things
would be more mischievous than the introduction of the opposite rule. . . . The rule contended
for is that the Court should look at the journals of the Legislature to ascertain whether the copy
of the act attested and filed with the Secretary of State conforms in its contents with the
statements of such journals. This proposition means, if it has any legal value whatever, that, in
the event of a material discrepancy between the journal and the enrolled copy, the former is to
be taken as the standard of veracity and the act is to be rejected. This is the test which is to be
applied not only to the statutes now before the Court, but to all statutes; not only to laws which
have been recently passed, but to laws the most ancient. To my mind, nothing can be more
certain than that the acceptance of this doctrine by the Court would unsettle the entire statute
law of the State. We have before us some evidence of the little reliability of these legislative
journals. . . . Can any one deny that if the laws of the State are to be tested by a comparison
with these journals, so imperfect, so unauthenticated, the stability of all written law will be
shaken to its very foundations? . . . We are to remember the danger, under the prevalence of
such a doctrine, to be apprehended from the intentional corruption of evidences of this
character. It is scarcely too much to say that the legal existence of almost every legislative act
would be at the mercy of all persons having access to these journals. . . . ([1866], Beasley,
C.J., in Pangborn vs. Young, 32 N.J.L., 29, 34.)
But it is argued that if the authenticated roll is conclusive upon the Courts, then less than a
quorum of each House may be the aid of corrupt presiding officers imposed laws upon the
State in defiance of the inhibition of the Constitution. It must be admitted that the consequence
stated would be possible. Public authority and political power must of necessity be confided to
officers, who being human may violate the trusts reposed in them. This perhaps cannot be
avoided absolutely. But it applies also to all human agencies. It is not fit that the Judiciary
should claim for itself a purity beyond all others; nor has it been able at all times with truth to
say that its high places have not been disgraced. The framers of our government have not

constituted it with faculties to supervise coordinate departments and correct or prevent abuses
of their authority. It cannot authenticate a statute; that power does not belong to it; nor can it
keep a legislative journal. (1869, Frazer, J., in Evans vs. Brownem 30 Ind., 514, 524.)
Professor Wigmore in his work on Evidence considered a classic, and described by one who
himself is a noted jurist, author, and scholar, as "a permanent contribution to American law" and
having "put the matured nineteenth-century law in form to be used in a new era of growth"
unequivocally identifies himself with those who believe in the soundness of the rule. The
distinguished professor, in answer to the argument of Constitutional necessity, i.e., the impossibility of
securing in any other way the enforcement of constitutional restrictions on legislative action, says:
(1) In the first place, note that it is impossible of consistent application. If, as it is urged, the
Judiciary are bound to enforce the constitutional requirements of three readings, a two-thirds
vote, and the like, and if therefore an act must be declared no law which in fact was not read
three times or voted upon by two-thirds, this duty is a duty to determine according to the actual
facts of the readings and the votes. Now the journals may not represent the actual facts. That
duty cannot allow us to stop with the journals, if it can be shown beyond doubt that the facts
were otherwise than therein represented. The duty to uphold a law which in fact was
constitutionally voted upon is quite as strong as the duty to repudiate an act unconstitutionally
voted upon. The Court will be going as far wrong in repudiating an act based on proper votes
falsified in the journal as it will be in upholding an act based on improper votes falsified in the
enrollment. This supposed duty, in short, is to see that the constitutional facts did exist; and it
cannot stop short with the journals. Yet, singularly enough, it is unanimously conceded that an
examination into facts as provable by the testimony of members present is not allowable. If to
support that it be said that such an inquiry would be too uncertain and impracticable, then it is
answered that this concedes the supposed constitutional duty not to be inexorable, after all; for
if the duty to get at the facts is a real and inevitable one, it must be a duty to get at them at any
cost; and if it is merely a duty that is limited by policy and practical convenience, then the
argument changes into the second one above, namely, how far it is feasible to push the inquiry
with regard to policy and practical convenience; and from this point of view there can be but
one answer.
(2) In the second place, the fact that the scruple of constitutional duty is treated thus
inconsistently and pushed only up to a certain point suggests that it perhaps is based on some
fallacious assumption whose defect is exposed only by carrying it to its logical consequences.
Such indeed seems to be the case. It rests on the fallacious motion that every constitutional
provision is "per se" capable of being enforced through the Judiciary and must be safeguarded
by the Judiciary because it can be in no other way. Yet there is certainly a large field of
constitutional provision which does not come before the Judiciary for enforcement, and may
remain unenforced without any possibility or judicial remedy. It is not necessary to invoke in
illustration such provisions as a clause requiring the Governor to appoint a certain officer, or
the Legislature to pass a law for a certain purpose; here the Constitution may remain
unexecuted by the failure of Governor or Legislature to act, and yet the Judiciary cannot
safeguard and enforce the constitutional duty. A clearer illustration may be had by imagining
the Constitution to require the Executive to appoint an officer or to call out the militia whenever
to the best of his belief a certain state of facts exists; suppose he appoints or calls out when in
truth he has no such belief; can the Judiciary attempt to enforce the Constitution by inquiring
into his belief? Or suppose the Constitution to enjoin on the Legislators to pass a law upon a
certain subject whenever in their belief certain conditions exist; can the Judiciary declare the
law void by inquiring and ascertaining that the Legislature, or its majority, did not have such a
belief? Or suppose the Constitution commands the Judiciary to decide a case only after

consulting a soothsayer, and in a given case the Judiciary do not consult one; what is to be
done?
These instances illustrate a general situation in which the judicial function of applying and
enforcing the Constitution ceases to operate. That situation exists where the Constitution
enjoins duties which affect the motives and judgment of a particular independent department of
government, Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. Such duties are simply beyond
enforcement by any other department if the one charged fails to perform them. The
Constitution may provide that no legislator shall take a bribe, but an act would not be treated
as void because the majority had been bribed. So far as the Constitution attempts to lay
injunctions in matters leading up to and motivating the action of a department, injunctions must
be left to the conscience of that department to obey or disobey. Now the act of the Legislature
as a whole is for this purpose of the same nature as the vote of a single legislator. The
Constitution may expressly enjoin each legislator not to vote until he has carefully thought over
the matter of legislation; so, too, it may expressly enjoin the whole Legislature not to act finally
until it has three times heard the proposition read aloud. It is for the Legislature alone, in the
latter case as well as in the former, to take notice of this injunction; and it is no more the
function of the Judiciary in the one case than in the other to try to keep the Legislature to its
duty:
xxx

xxx

xxx

The truth is that many have been carried away with the righteous desire to check at any cost
the misdoings of Legislatures. They have set such store by the Judiciary for this purpose that
they have almost made them a second and higher Legislature. But they aim in the wrong
direction. Instead of trusting a faithful Judiciary to check an inefficient Legislature, they should
turn to improve the legislature. The sensible solution is not to patch and mend casual errors by
asking the Judiciary to violate legal principle and to do impossibilities with the Constitution; but
to represent ourselves with competent, careful, and honest legislators, the work of whose
hands on the statute-roll may come to reflect credit upon the name of popular government. (4
Wigmore on Evidence, 699-702.)
The petitioners contend that the enrolled bill rule has not found acceptance in this jurisdiction, citing
the case of United States vs. Pons (34 Phil., 729). It is argued that this Court examined the journal in
that case to find out whether or not the contention of the appellant was right. We think the petitioners
are in error.
It will be seen upon examination of section 313 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act
No. 2210, that, roughly, it provides two methods of proving legislative proceedings: (1) by the
journals, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk or secretary or
printed by their order; and (2) in case of acts of the Legislature, by a copy signed by the presiding
officers and secretaries thereof, which shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of
the due enactment thereof.
The Court looked into the journals in United States vs. Pons because, in all probability, those were
the documents offered in evidence. It does not appear that a duly authenticated copy of the Act was
in existence or was placed before the Court; and it has not been shown that if that had been done,
this Court would not have held the copyconclusive proof of the due enactment of the law. It is to be
remembered that the Court expressly stated that it "passed over the question" of whether the enrolled
bill was conclusive as to its contents and the mode of its passage.

Even if both the journals and an authenticated copy of the Act had been presented, the disposal of
the issue by the Court on the basis of the journals does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory,
for, as already stated, the due enactment of a law may be proved in either of the two ways specified
in section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended. This Court found in the journals no signs of irregularity in
the passage of the law and did not bother itself with considering the effects of an authenticated copy if
one had been introduced. It did not do what the opponents of the rule of conclusiveness advocate,
namely, look into the journals behind the enrolled copy in order to determine the correctness of the
latter, and rule such copy out if the two, the journals and the copy, be found in conflict with each
other. No discrepancy appears to have been noted between the two documents and the court did not
say or so much as give to understand that if discrepancy existed it would give greater weight to the
journals, disregarding the explicit provision that duly certified copies "shall be conclusive proof of the
provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof."
In view of the foregoing consideration, we deem it unnecessary to decide the question of whether the
senators and representatives who were ignored in the computation of the necessary three-fourths
vote were members of Congress within the meaning of section 1 of Article XV of the Philippine
Constitution.
The petition is dismissed without costs.
Moran, C.J., Pablo, and Hontiveros, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
BENGZON, J., with whom concurs PADILLA, J., concurring:
Although I maintain that we have jurisdiction as petitioners contend, I can't vote for them, because the
enrolled copy of the resolution and the legislative journals are conclusive upon us.
A. The overwhelming majority of the state courts are of the opinion that the question whether an
amendment to the existing constitution has been duly proposed in the manner required by such
constitution properly belongs to the judiciary. That is the position taken by Alabama, Arkansas,
California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New
Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin. (See 12 C. J., 880 and 16C.J.S.,
437.) (See also 11 Am. Jur., 639.) Only North Dakota and Oklahoma have adopted a different view.
(16 C.J.S., 437, notes 41 and 43.)
"The authorities are thus practically uniform in holding that whether a constitutional
amendment has been properly adopted according to the requirements of an existing
constitution is a judicial question." (McConaughy vs. Secretary of State, 106 Minn., 392, 409;
119 N.W., 408.) (12 C.J., 880.)
"An examination of the decisions shows that the courts have almost uniformly exercised the
authority to determine the validity of the proposal, submission, or ratification of constitutional
amendments. It has been judicially determined whether a proposed amendment received the
constitutional majority of votes. (Knightvs. Shelton, 134 Fed., 423; Rice vs. Palmer, 78 Ark.,
432; 96 S. W. 396; Green vs. State Canvassers, 5 Ida., 130; 47 P., 259; 95 Am. S.R., 169; In
re Denny, 156 Ind., 104; 59 N.E., 359; 51 L. R. A., 722; Daytonvs. St. Paul, 22 Minn., 400;
Tecumseh Nat. Bank vs. Saunders, 51 Nebr., 801; 71 N.W., 779; Bott vs. Wurts, 63 N.J.L.,
289; 43 A., 744, 881; 45 L.R.A., 251; State vs. Foraker, 46 Oh. St., 677; 23 N.E., 491; 6 L.R.A.,
422.)" (12 C.J., 880.)

As our constitutional system ("limitation" of powers) is more analogous to state systems than to the
Federal theory of "grant" of powers, it is proper to assume that the members of our Constitutional
convention, composed mostly of lawyers, and even the members of the American Congress that
approved the Tydings-McDuffie enabling legislation, contemplated the adoption of such constitutional
practice in this portion of the world. Hence, my conclusion that in Philippine polity, courts may and
should take cognizance of the subject of this controversy.
B. The petitioners' grievance is that, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution (Article XV), the
proposed amendment was not approved "by a vote of three-fourths of all the members of the Senate
and of the House of Representatives." They complain that certain Senators and some members of
the House of Representatives were not allowed to participate and were not considered in determining
the required three fourths vote.
The respondents, besides denying our power to revised the counting, assert that the persons
mentioned, for all practical purposed did not belong to the Congress of the Philippines on the day the
amendment was debated and approved.
Central target of attack is Republic Act No. 73 "to submit to the Filipino people, for approval or
disapproval, the amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines to be appended as an Ordinance
thereto, proposed by the Congress of the Philippines in a Resolution of both Houses, etc."
Petitioners would have a declaration of invalidity of that piece of legislation. Its first section provides
that "the amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines to be appended as an Ordinance thereto,
proposed by the Congress of the Philippines in a Resolution of both Houses, adopted on September
eighteen, nineteen hundred and forty-six, shall be submitted to the people, for approval or
disapproval, at a general election which shall be held on March eleven, nineteen hundred and fortyseven, in accordance with the provisions of this Act."
By this provision, the Legislative Department with the concurrence of the Executive, declares in the
most solemn manner that the resolution proposing the amendment was duly carried. Therefore, it
would be pertinent to inquire whether those petitioners who are members of the Congress that
approved Republic Act No. 73 are not precluded from questioning its validity or veracity, unless they
assert and prove that in Congress they opposed its enactment. In default of a contrary showing, it is
not reasonable to suppose that as members of Congress they endorsed-- or at least are bound by
the declarations of Republic Act No. 73? And if a private party is estopped from challenging the
constitutional efficacy of a law whose enactment he has procured (see 16 C.J.S., 198 and 11 Am.
Jur., 767) should not a member of Congress be estopped from impugning a statute he helped
(presumably) to pass? Parenthetically it should be added that the remaining petitioners, as mere
citizens, would probably have no suable claim. (Cf. 16 C.J.S., 169.)
C. But perhaps these points should be left to future study and decision, because the instant litigation
may be solved by the application of other well-established principles founded mainly on the traditional
respect which one department of the Government entertains for the actions of the others.
On account of the separation of powers, which I firmly believe, I agree to the applicability and binding
effect of section 313 of Act No. 190, as amended by Act No. 2210, which, in my opinion, has not been
abrogated by the Rules of Court. I likewise believe the soundness of the doctrine expounded by the
authoritative Wigmore on a question admittedly within the domain of the law on evidence:
conclusiveness of the enrolled bill of resolution upon the judicial authorities.

D. Withal, should that principle of conclusiveness be denied, the respondents could plausibly fall back
on the time-honored rule that the courts may not go behind the legislative journals to contradict their
veracity. (United Statesvs. Pons, 34 Phil., 729.)
According to the minutes of the joint session Exhibit 3, in the Senate sixteenth (16) senators
approved the resolution against five (5), with no absences; whereas in the house sixty-eight (68)
congressmen voted "yes", eighteen(18) voted "no", one abstained from voting and one was absent.
Therefore, 16 being three-fourths of the total membership of twenty-one of the Senate (16 plus 5),
and 68 being more than three-fourths of the total membership of eighty-eight (88) of the House of
Representatives (68 plus 18 plus 1 plus 1), it is crystal clear that the measure was upheld by the
number of votes prescribed by the Constitution.
True, there are in the said exhibit statements by two Senators and one congressman to the effect that
the votes did not constitute the majority required by the Constitution. However, in the fact of the
incontestable arithmetical computation above shown, those protests must be attributed to their
erroneous counting of votes; none of them having then asserted that "there were absent Senators or
Congressmen who had not been taken into account. "Ford although we might have judicial notice of
the number of proclaimed members of Congress, still we are no better qualified than the Legislature
to determine the number of its actual membership at any given moment, what with demises or
demissions, remotions or suspensions.
HILADO, J., concurring and dissenting:
I concur in the result of the majority opinion as well as in the grounds supporting the same in so far as
they are not inconsistent with the applicable reasons supporting my concurring opinion in Vera vs.
Avelino (77 Phil., 192). But I dissent from that part of the majority opinion (page 3, ante) wherein it is
stated that if the suspended members of the Senate and House of Representatives had been counted
"the affirmative votes in favor of the proposed amendment would have been short of the necessary
three-fourths of vote in either branch of Congress."
The basic theories underlying my aforesaid concurring opinion in Vera vs. Avelino, supra, are, first,
that the questions therein raised were political in nature within the exclusive province of the
legislature, and, second, that the judiciary does not possess jurisdiction over such questions. It is to
me evidence that the questions involved in the present proceeding are no less political than those
involved in that former Senate case. It is deemed unnecessary to dwell at more length upon the
grounds of my said concurring opinion.
The ground for my dissent from the above-quoted statement of the majority opinion in the instant
proceeding is that the suspension of the said members of the Senate and the House of
Representatives being a political question, the judiciary, being without jurisdiction to interfere with the
determination thereof by the proper political department of the government, has perforce to abide by
said determination if it were to go any further in the consideration of the case. In other words, any
further discussion of the case in this Court will have to start from the premise that said members have
been suspended by the respective Houses of Congress and that we, being powerless to interfere with
the matter of said suspension, must consider ourselves bound by the determination of said political
branches of the government. As said by the Supreme Court of the United States in Philipps vs.Payne
(2 Otto. [U.S.], 130; 23 Law. ed., 649), "in cases involving the action of the political departments of the
government, the judiciary is bound by such action." (Williams vs. Insurance Co., 13 Pet., 420;
Garcia vs. Lee, 12 Pet., 511; Kennel vs. Chambers, 14 How., 38; Foster vs. Neilson, 2 Pet., 209;
Nabob of Carnatio vs. East Ind. Co., Ves., Jr., 60; Lucer vs. Barbon, 7 How., 1; R.I. vs. Mass., 12
Pet., 714.)

If, then, we are to proceed, as I think we should, upon the premise that said members have been thus
suspended, there will be to my mind, absolutely no justification, ground nor reason for counting them
in the determination of whether or not the required three-fourths vote was attained. Their case was
entirely different from that of members who, not having been suspended nor otherwise disqualified,
had the right to vote upon the resolution. In the case of the latter, they had, like all other members
similarly situated, three alternatives, namely, to vote in favor of the resolution, to vote against it, or to
abstain from voting. If they voted in favor, of course, their votes had to be counted amount those
supporting the resolution. If they voted against, of course, their votes had to be counted with those
opposing. And if they abstained from voting, there would be sound justification for counting them as
not in favor of the resolution, because by their very abstention they impliedly but necessarily would
signify that they did not favor the resolution, for it is obvious that if they did, they would have voted in
favor of it. On the other hand, those suspended members who, by reason of the suspension, whose
validity or legality we are devoid of jurisdiction to inquire into, cannot be similarly treated. In their case
there would be no way of determining which way their votes would have gone or whether or not they
would have abstained from voting. In this connection, in considering the hypothesis of their voting in
case they had not been suspended, I must go upon the assumption that while those suspended
members may belong to the political party which, as a party, was opposed to the resolution, still they
would have voted independently and following their individual convictions.In this connection, it might
not be amiss to mention that there were quite a number of minority members of the legislature who
voted for the resolution. Hence, we are not in a position to say that said suspended members, if they
had not been suspended, would have voted against the resolution, nor in favor of it either, nor that
they would have abstained from voting. Why then should they bed counted with the members who
voted against the resolution or those who, having the right to vote, abstained from doing so? Why
should we count them as though we knew that they would have voted against the resolution, or even
that they would have abstained from voting? Soundly construed, I submit that the Constitution does
not, and could not, include suspended members in the determination of the required three-fourths
vote.
I take it, that the drafters in providing in Article XV, section 1, of the Constitution that "The Congress in
joint session assembled, by a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House
of Representatives voting (emphasis supplied) separately . . .", advisedly used the vital and allimportant word "voting" therein. I take it, that they meant to refer to the members voting, undoubtedly
expecting that all members not suspended or otherwise disqualified, would cast their votes one way
or the other. But I am here even making a concession in favor of the opponents when I say that those
who, with the right to vote, abstain from voting, may be counted among those not in favor of the
measure. But what I cannot bring myself to conceive is that the quoted provision should have
intended to count suspended or disqualified members as opposed to the measure, or not being in
favor of it, without it being possible to know which way they would have voted or that they would have
abstained from voting that they would never have voted in favor of the measure. If I should ask
why we should not count such suspended or disqualified members among those in favor of the
measure, I am sure those who opine differently would answer, because we do not know that they
would have voted in favor of it. By the same token, if they should ask me why we should not count
them among those against the measure, I would answer that we do not know that they would have
voted against it or that they would have abstained from voting. All this inevitably leads to the
conclusion the only one possible that such suspended or disqualified members should not and
cannot be counted due to that very impossibility of knowing which way they would have voted or
whether they would have abstained from voting. I stand for a sound and rational construction of the
constitutional precept.
PARAS, J.:
I fully concur in the foregoing opinion of Mr. Justice Hilado.

PERFECTO, J., dissenting:


To surrender or not to surrender, that is the question.
The last bastion of democracy is in danger.
Those who are manning it are summoned to give up without the least resistance, and the banner of
the Constitution is silently and meekly hauled down from its pole to be offered as a booty to the
haughty standard bearers of a new brand of Farcism. In t he words of Cicero, "recedere de statu suae
dignitatis."
Cardinal moral bearings have been lost in the psychological chaos suffered by those, throwing
overboard all ideals as burdensome and dangerous ballast, in desperate efforts to attain at all costs
individual survival, even in ignominy, could not stand the impact of initial defeats at the hands of
invading fearsome military hordes.
The present is liable to confusion. Our minds are subjected to determinate and indeterminate
ideological pressures. Very often man walks in the darkness of a blind alley obeying the pullings and
pushings of hidden and unhidden forces, or the arcane predeterminations of the genes of human
chromosomes. A rudderless ship floating in the middle of an ocean without any visible shoreline, is
bound to be wrecked at the advent of the first typhoon. From early youth we begin to hear and learn
about the true ideals. Since then we set them as the guiding stars in our actions and decisions, but in
the long travel of life, many times the clouds dim or completely darken those stars and then we have
only to rely on our faith in their existence and on habit, becoming unerring if long enough followed, of
adjusting our conduct to their guidance in calm and cloudless nights. We are sitting in judgment to
pass upon the conflicts, disputes and disagreements of our fellowmen. Let us not forget that the day
shall come that we will be judged on how are are judging. Posterity shall always have the final say.
When the time solvent has dissolved the human snag, then shall be rendered the final verdict as to
whether we have faced our task fearlessly or whether our hearts have shrunk upon the magnitude of
our duties and have chosen the most comfortable path of retreat. Then it will be conclusively known
whether did keep burning the tripod fire in the temples of old. Some of us will just return into
anonymity, covered by the cold mist of historical oblivion; others will have their names as by words
repeatedly pronounced with popular hate or general contempt; and still others will be remembered
with universal gratefulness, love and veneration, the guard on accorded to all those who remained
faithful to the fundamental tenets of justice. Winnowing time will sift the chaff from the grain.
This is one of the cases upon which future generations will decide if this tribunal has the sturdy
courage to keep its responsibility in proper high level. It will need the passing of decades and perhaps
centuries before a conclusive verdict is rendered, whether we should merit the scorn of our fellow
citizens and our decision shall be cursed as the Dred Scot decision of Chief Justice Taney, the one
that plunged the United States into civil war, or whether in the heart of each future Filipino citizen
there will be a shrine in which our memory will be remembered with gratefulness, because we have
shown the far-reaching judicial statesmanship of Chief Justice Marshall, the legal genius who fixed
and held the rock bottom foundations which made of the American Constitution the veritable supreme
law of the land and established the role of the tribunals as the ultimate keepers of the Constitution.
But for sure it will be rendered, and it will be impartial and unbiased, exacting and pitiless, with
unappealable finality, and for the one condemned Dante wrote this lapidary line: "lasciate ogni
speranza."
Unless the vision of our mental eyes should be shut up by the opaque cornea of stubborn refusal to
see reality or should be impaired by the polaroid visors of prejudice, there is no question that at the
time when the resolution in question, proposing an amendment to the Constitution, was adopted, the

members of the Senate were 24 and the members of the House of Representatives were 96, and that
the 16 members of the Senate who voted in favor of the resolution, by undisputable mathematical
computation, do not constituted three-fourths of the 24 members thereof, and the 68 members of the
House of Representatives who voted for the resolution, by equally simple arithmetical operation, do
not constitute three-fourths of the 96 members of the said chamber. The official certifications made by
the presiding officers of the two houses of Congress to the effect that three-fourths of all the members
of the Senate and three-fourths of all the members of the House of Representatives voted for the
resolution, being untrue, cannot change the facts. Nothing in existence can. The certification, being a
clear falsification of public document punished by article 171 of the Revised Penal Code with prision
mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000, cannot give reality to a fiction based in a narration of facts
that is in conflict with the absolute metaphysical reality of the events.
FACTS OF THE CASE
Petitioners are citizens of the Philippines, taxpayers and electors, and besides some of them are
members of the Senate, others are members of the House of Representatives, and still others are
presidents of political parties, duly registered, with considerable following in all parts of the
Philippines.
The first three respondents are chairman and members, respectively, of the Commission on Elections
and the remaining three are respectively the Treasurer of the Philippines, the Auditor General and the
Director of the Bureau of Printing.
Petitioners alleged that the Senate is actually composed of 24 Senators, 8 elected in 1941 and 16 in
April 23, 1946, and that the House of Representatives is composed of 98 members, elected on April
23, 1946, minus 2d who resigned to assume other positions in the Government.
On September 18, 1946, there was presented for adoption by the Congress of the Philippines a
resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Philippines to be appended as an
ordinance thereto, which reads as follows:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, of the Philippines in joint session
assembled, by a vote of not less than three-fourths of all the Members of each House voting
separately. To propose, as they do hereby propose, the following amendment to the
Constitution of the Philippines to be appended as an Ordinance thereto:
ORDINANCE APPENDED TO THE CONSTITUTION
"Notwithstanding the provisions of section one, Article Thirteen, and section eight, Article
Fourteen, of the foregoing Constitution, during the effectivity of the Executive Agreement
entered into by the President of the Philippines with the President of the United States on the
fourth of July, nineteen hundred and forty-six, pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth Act
Numbered seven hundred and thirty-three, but in no case to extend beyond the third of July,
nineteen hundred and seventy-four, the disposition, exploitation, development, and utilization,
of all agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal,
petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces and sources of potential energy, and other natural
resources of the Philippines, and the operation of public utilities, shall, if open to any person,
be open to citizens of the United States and to all forms of business enterprise owned or
controlled, directly or indirectly, by citizens of the United States in the same manner as to, and
under the same conditions imposed upon, citizens of the Philippines or corporations or
associations owned or controlled by citizens of the Philippines."

This amendment shall be valid as a part of the Constitution when approved by a majority of the
votes cast in an election at which it is submitted to the people for the ratification pursuant to
Article XV of the Constitution.
Sixteen Senators voted in favor of the resolution and 5 against it, and 68 Representatives voted in
favor and 18 against.
Thereafter, Congress passed Republic Act No. 73 calling a plebiscite to be held on March 11, 1947,
for the purpose of submitting to the people the proposed amendment embodied in the resolution, and
appropriating P1,000,000 for said purpose.
Petitioners assail the validity of Republic Act No. 73 as unconstitutional because Congress may not,
by said act, submit to the people for approval or disapproval the proposed amendment to the
Constitution embodied in resolution Exhibit B inasmuch as, to comply with the express provisions of
Article XV of the Constitution, requiring the affirmative votes of three-fourths of all the members of the
Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately, three-fourths of the 24 members of
the Senate is constituted by at least 18 Senators, 2 more than those who actually voted for the
resolution in question, and three-fourths of the 98 members of the House of Representatives should
at least be 72 Representatives, or 4 more than those who actually voted for the resolution.
Respondents deny that the Senate is composed of 24 Senators, by excluding from them petitioners
Jose O. Vera, Ramon Diokno and Jose E. Romero and allege that the House of Representatives is
not composed of 98 members but of only 90. They admit that at the joint session of Congress to
consider the resolution Exhibit B, in favor of the resolution 16 votes were cast in the Senate and in the
House of Representatives 68 and 5 in the Senate and 18 in the House of Representatives had voted
against. They admit the approval of Republic Act No. 73 and that necessary steps to hold the
plebiscite therein provided are being taken, but deny that said act is unconstitutional, and byway of
defense, allege that the resolution Exhibit B was adopted by three-fourths of all the qualified members
of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately and, consequently, Republic Act
No. 73, ordering its submission to the people for approval or disapproval, fixing a date for a general
election, and appropriating public funds for said purpose, is valid and constitutional.
At the hearing of this case both parties submitted the following stipulation:
The parties through their undersigned counsel hereby stipulate the following facts:
1. That Messrs. Jose O. Vera, Ramon Diokno and Jose E. Romero were, by the majority vote
of the Commission on Elections, proclaimed elected senators in the election of April 23, 1946;
2. That when the Senate convened on May 25, 1946, the said senators-elect took part in the
election of the President of that body; but that before the senators-elect were sworn in by the
President of the Senate, a resolution was presented, and subsequently approved, to defer the
administration of oath and the seating of Messrs. Jose O. Vera, Ramon Diokno, and Jose E.
Romero, pending the hearing and decision of the protest lodged against their election;
3. That on the 25th of May, 1946, the said senators individually took their alleged oath of office
before notaries public, and not on the floor, and filed said oaths with the Secretary of the
Senate during the noon recess of the said date;
4. That Messrs. Vera and Romero filed with the Auditor of the Senate other oaths of office
accomplished by them outside of the floor before a notary public and the Secretary of the

Senate, on September 5 and August 31, 1946, respectively; and that their corresponding
salaries from April 23, 1946, were paid on August 31, 1946;
5. That Mr. Diokno, having left for the United States, his son Jose W. Diokno filed a copy of Mr.
Diokno's alleged oath of office dated May 25, 1946, with the Auditor of the Senate on October
15,1946, and on said date his salary was paid corresponding to the period from April 23 to
October 15, 1946;
6. That all three have subsequently received their salaries every fifteen days;
7. That since the approval of the resolution deferring their seating and oaths up to the present
time, the said Messrs. Vera, Diokno, and Romero have not been allowed to sit and take part in
the deliberations of the Senate and to vote therein, not do their names appear in the roll of the
Senate;
8. That before May 25, 1946, the corresponding provincial boards of canvassers certified as
having been elected in the election held on April 23, 1946, ninety-eight representatives, among
them Messrs. Alejo Santos and Jesus B. Lava for Bulacan, Jose Cando and Constancio P.
Padilla for Nueva Ecija, Amado M. Yuson and Luis Taruc for Pampanga, Alejandro Simpauco
for Tarlac, and Vicente F. Gustilo for Negros Occidental;
9. That the aforesaid eight members-elect of the House of Representatives took part in the
election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives held on May 25, 1946;
10. That before the members-elect of the House of Representatives were sworn in by the
Speaker, Mr. Topacio Nueno, representative for Manila, submitted a resolution to defer the
taking of oath and seating of Luis Taruc and Amado Yuson for Pampanga, Constancio P.
Padilla and Jose Cando for Nueva Ecija, Alejandro Simpauco for Tarlac, Alejo Santos and
Jesus Lava for Bulacan, and Vicente F. Gustilo for Negros Occidental "pending the hearing
and decision on the protests lodged against their election," copy of the resolution being
attached to and made part of this stipulation as Exhibit 1 thereof;
11. That the resolution Exhibit 1 was, upon motion of Representative Escareal and approved
by the House, referred for study to a committee of seven, which up to the present has not
reported, as shown by the Congressional Record for the House of Representatives;
12. That the eight representatives-elect included in the resolution were not shown in on the
floor and have not been so sworn in or allowed to sit up to the present time, nor have they
participated in any of the proceedings of the House of Representatives except during the
debate of the Escareal motion referred to in paragraph 11 hereof, nor cast any vote therein
since May 25, 1946, and their names do not appear in the roll of the members of the House
except as shown by the Congressional Record of the House of Representatives, nor in the roll
inserted in the official program for the inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines hereto
attached as Exhibit 2 hereof;
13. That the eight representatives-elect above mentioned took their alleged oaths of office on
the date set opposite their names, as follows:
Jose Cando
Vicente Gustilo
Constancio

May 25, 1946


May 25, 1946
May 22, 1946

Padilla
Alejo Santos
Luis M. Taruc
Amado M. Yuson
Jesus B. Lava
Alejandro
Simpauco

May 23, 1946


May 25, 1946
May 25, 1946
May 25, 1946
May 25, 1946

all of which oaths were taken before notaries public, with the exception of the first four who
took their oaths before Mr. Narciso Pimentel, Secretary of the House;
14. That said oaths were filed with the Auditor through the office of the Secretary of the House
of Representatives;
15. That the persons mentioned in paragraph 13 were paid salaries for the term beginning
April 23, 1946, up to the present, with the exception of Messrs. Luis Taruc and Jesus Lava, to
whom payment was suspended since August 16;
16. That Messrs. Alejo Santos and Vicente F. Gustilo took their oaths before the Speaker of
the House of Representatives and were allowed to sit on September 30, 1946, the last day of
the Special Sessions;
17. That in addition to the eight persons above mentioned, two members of the House,
Representatives Jose C. Zulueta and Narciso Ramos, had resigned before the resolution
proposing an amendment to the Constitution was discussed and passed on September
18,1946;
18. That the voting on the resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution was made
by the Secretary calling the roll of each house and the votes cast were as shown in the
attached certificate of the Secretary of the House of Representatives hereto attached, marked
Exhibit 3 and made a part hereof; and
19. That the Congressional Records for the Senate and House of Representatives and the
alleged oaths of office are made a part of this Stipulation by reference thereto, respondents
reserving the right to question their materiality and admissibility.
Manila, Philippines, November 25, 1946.
For the petitioners:

For the respondents:

JOSE E. ROMERO
ANTONIO BARREDO

ROMAN OZAETA
Secretary of Justice
JOSE B.L. REYES
First Asst. Solicitor General
PETITIONER'S PERSONALITY

Whether petitioners have or have not the personality to file the petition in this case is the first question
we have to consider.

No party raised the question, but it having arisen in the course of the Court's deliberation, we should
not evade deciding it and giving what in law and justice should be the answer.
To our mind there is no doubt that petitioners have the personality to institute the present recourse of
prohibition. If petitioners should lack that personality, such legal defect would not certainly have failed
to be noticed by respondents themselves.
Respondents' failure to raise the question indicates their conviction that petitioners have the
necessary legal personality to file the petition, and we do not see any reason why such personality
should be put in doubt.
Petitioners are divided into three groups: the first is composed of senators; the second, of
representatives; and the third, of presidents of four political parties.
All of the individuals composing the first two groups, with the exception of Senators Jose O. Vera,
Ramon Diokno, and Jose E. Romero, are members of either of the two houses of Congress and took
part in the consideration of Resolution Exhibit B and of Republic Act No. 73, while the above three
excepted senators were the ones who were excluded in the consideration of said resolution and act
and were not counted for purposes of determining the three-fourths constitutional rule in the adoption
of the resolution.
In paragraph eight of the petition it is alleged that respondents have taken all the necessary steps for
the holding of the general election on March 11, 1947, and that the carrying out of said acts
"constitute an attempt to enforce the resolution and act aforementioned in open violation of the
Constitution," is without or in excess of respondents' jurisdiction and powers, "violative of the rights of
the petitioners who are members of the Congress, and will cause the illegal expenditure and
disbursement of public funds and end in an irreparable injury to the taxpayers and the citizens of the
Philippines, among whom are the petitioners and those represented by them in their capacities
mentioned above."
There should not be any question that the petitioners who are either senators or members of the
House of Representatives have direct interest in the legal issues involved in this case as members of
the Congress which adopted the resolution, in open violation of the Constitution, and passed the act
intended to make effective such unconstitutional resolution. Being members of Congress, they are
even duty bound to see that the latter act within the bounds of the Constitution which, as
representatives of the people, they should uphold, unless they are to commit a flagrant betrayal of
public trust. They are representatives of the sovereign people and it is their sacred duty to see to it
that the fundamental law embodying the will of the sovereign people is not trampled upon.
The four political parties represented by the third group of petitioners, represent large groups of our
population, perhaps nearly one-half of the latter, and the numerous persons they represent are
directly interested and will personally be affected by the question whether the Constitution should be
lightly taken and can easily be violated without any relief and whether it can be amended by a
process openly repugnant to the letter of the Constitution itself.
As a matter of fact, the vital questions raised in this case affect directly each and every one of the
citizens and inhabitants of this country. Whether our Constitution is, as it is supposed to be, a
paramount law or just a mere scrap of paper, only good to be thrown into a waste basket, is a matter
of far-reaching importance to the security, property, personal freedom, life, honor, and interests of the
citizens. That vital question will necessarily affect the way of life of the whole people and of its most
unimportant unit. Each and every one of the individuals inhabiting this land of ours shall have to make

plans for the future depending on how the question is finally decided. No one can remain indifferent;
otherwise, it will at his peril.
Our conclusion is that petitioners have full legal personality to institute the present action; and much
more, those who are members of Congress have the legal duty to institute it, lest they should betray
the trust reposed in them by the electorate.
24 SENATORS
The first question raised by respondents' answer refers to the actual number of the members of the
Senate. According to petitioners there are 24 of them while according to respondents there are only
21, excluding Senators Jose O. Vera, Ramon Diokno, and Jose E. Romero, because, according to
them, "they are not duly qualified and sworn in members of the Senate."
This allegation appears to be belied by the first seven paragraphs of the stipulation of facts submitted
by both parties.
No amount of sophism, of mental gymnastics or logo-daedaly may change the meanings and effects
of the words placed by respondents themselves in said seven paragraphs. No amount of argument
may delude anyone into believing that Senators Vera, Diokno, and Romero are not senators
notwithstanding their having been proclaimed as elected senators, their having taken part in the
election of the President of the Senate, their having taken their oaths of office, and their receiving
salaries as senators.
Such a paradoxical proposition could have been driven into acceptance in the undeveloped brains of
the pithecanthropus or gigantopithecus of five hundred millennia ago, but it would be unpardonably
insulting o the human mind of the twentieth century.
Our conclusion is that Senators Vera, Diokno, and Romero should be counted as members of the
Senate, without taking into consideration whatever legal effects the Pendatun resolution may have
produced, a question upon which we have already elaborated in our opinion in Vera vs. Avelino (77
Phil., 192). Suspended or not suspended, they are senators anyway, and there is no way of ignoring
a fact so clear and simple as the presence of the sun at day time. Therefore, counting said three
Senators, there are 24 Senators in all in the present Senate.
96 REPRESENTATIVES
The next question raised by respondents is their denial of petitioners' allegations to the effect that the
present House of Representatives is composed of 98 members and their own allegation to the effect
that at present "only 90 members have qualified, have been fully sworn in, and have taken their seats
as such."
Again respondents' allegations are belied by paragraphs eight to seventeen of the stipulation of facts.
The disagreement between the parties is as to whether or not Representatives Cando, Gustilo,
Padilla, Santos, Taruc, Yuson, Lava and Simpauco, mentioned in paragraph 13 of the stipulation of
facts, are members of the House of Representatives.
The facts stipulated by the parties proved conclusively that said eight persons are actual members of
the House of Representatives. We may even add that the conclusiveness about said eight
representatives is even greater than in the case of Senators Vera, Diokno, and Romero, because no
resolution of suspension has ever been adopted by the House of Representatives against said eight

members, who are being deprived of the exercise of some of their official functions and privileges by
the unipersonal, groundless, dictatorial act of the Speaker.
That illegal deprivation, whose counterpart can only be found in countries where the insolence of
totalitarian rulers have replaced all constitutional guarantees and all concepts of decent government,
raises again a constitutional question: whether it is permissible for the Speaker of the House of
Representatives to exercise the arbitrary power of depriving representatives duly elected by the
people of their constitutional functions, privileges, and prerogatives. To allow the existence of such an
arbitrary power and to permit its exercise unchecked is to make of democracy a mockery.
The exercise of such an arbitrary power constitutes a want on onslaught against the sovereignty itself
of the people, an onslaught which may cause the people sooner or later to take justice in their own
hands. No system of representative government may subsist if those elected by the people may so
easily be silenced or obliterated from the exercise of their constitutional functions.
From the stipulation of facts, there should not be any question that at the last national election, 98
representatives were elected and at the time the resolution Exhibit B was adopted on September 18,
1946, 96 of them were actual members of the House, as two (Representatives Zulueta and Ramos)
has resigned.
Applying the three-fourth rule, if there were 24 senators at the time the resolution was adopted; threefourths of them should at least be 18 and not the 16 who only voted in favor of the resolution, and if
there were 96 representatives, three-fourths of them should certainly be more than the 68 who voted
for the resolution. The necessary consequence is that, since not three-fourths of the senators and
representatives voting separately have voted in favor of the resolution as required by Article XV of the
Constitution, there can be no question that the resolution has not been validly adopted.
We cannot but regret that our brethren, those who have signed or are in agreement with the majority
opinion, have skipped the questions as to the actual membership of the Senate and House of
Representatives, notwithstanding the fact that they are among the first important ones squarely raised
by the pleadings of both parties. If they had taken them into consideration, it would seem clear that
their sense of fairness will bring them to the same conclusion we now arrived at, at least, with respect
to the actual membership of the House of Representatives.
Upon our conclusions as to the membership of the Senate and House of Representatives, it appears
evident that the remedy sought for in the petition should be granted.
JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT
Without judging respondents' own estimate as to the strength of their own position concerning the
questions of the actual membership of the Senate and House of Representatives, it seems that
during the oral and in the written arguments they have retreated to the theory of conclusiveness of the
certification of authenticity made by the presiding officers and secretaries of both House of Congress
as their last redoubt.
The resolution in question begins as follows: "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the Philippines in joint session assembled, by a vote of not less than three-fourths of all the
members of each House voting separately, . . .."
Just because the adoption of the resolution, with the above statement, appears to be certified over
the signatures of the President of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Secretaries
of both Houses, respondents want us to accept blindly as a fact what is not. They want us to accept

unconditionally as a dogma, as absolute as a creed of faith, what, as we have shown, appears to be a


brazen official falsehood.
Our reason revolts against such an unethical proposition.
An intimation or suggestion that we, in the sacred temple of justice, throwing overboard all scruples,
in the administration of justice, could accept as true what we know is not and then perform our official
functions upon that voluntary self-delusion, is too shocking and absurb to be entertained even for a
moment. Anyone who keeps the minimum sense of justice will not fail to feel aghast at the perversion
or miscarriage of justice which necessarily will result from the suggestion.
But the theory is advanced as a basis to attack the jurisdiction of this Court to inquire behind the false
certification made by the presiding officers and the secretaries of the two Houses of Congress.
Respondents rely on the theory of, in the words of the majority opinion, "the conclusiveness on the
courts of an enrolled bill or resolution."
To avoid repeating the arguments advanced by the parties, we have made part of this opinion, as
Appendices A, B, and C,1 the memoranda presented by both petitioners and respondents, where their
attorneys appear to have amply and ably discussed the question. The perusal of the memoranda will
show petitioners' contentions to be standing on stronger ground and, therefore, we generally agree
with their arguments.
In what follows we will try to analyze the positions taken in the majority opinion.
POLITICAL QUESTIONS
The majority enunciates the proposition that "political questions are not within the province of the
judiciary," except "by express constitutional or statutory provision" to the contrary. Then argues that "a
duly certified law or resolution also binds the judges under the 'enrolled bill rule' out of respect to the
political departments."
The doctrine is predicated "on the principle of the separation of powers."
This question of separation of powers is the subject of discussion in the case of Vera vs.
Avelino, supra. We deem unnecessary to repeat what we have already said in our opinion in said
case, where we have elaborated on the question.
Although the majority maintains that what they call the doctrine that political questions are not within
the province of the judiciary is "too well-established to need citation of authorities," they recognize the
difficulty "in determining what matters fall under the meaning of political questions."
This alleged doctrine should not be accepted at its face value. We do not accept it even as a good
doctrine. It is a general proposition made without a full comprehension of its scope and
consequences. No judicial discernment lies behind it.
The confession that the "difficulty lies in determining what matters fall within the meaning of political
question" shows conclusively that the so-called doctrine has recklessly been advanced.
This allegedly "well-established" doctrine is no doctrine at all in view of the confessed difficulty in
determining what matters fall within the designation of political question. The majority itself admits

that the term "is not susceptible of exact definition, and precedents and authorities are not always in
full harmony as to the scope of the restrictions, on this ground, on the courts to meddle with the acts
of the political department of the government."
Doctrine is that "what is taught; what is held; put forth as true, and supported by a teacher, a school,
or a sect; a principle or position, or the body of principles, in any branch of knowledge; tenet; dogma;
principle of faith. "It is a synonym of principle, position, opinion, article, maxim, rule, and axiom. in its
general sense, doctrine applies to any speculative truth or working principle, especially as taught to
others or recommended to their acceptance. Therefore, to be true, it should be expressed on simple
and self-evident terms. A doctrine in which one of the elemental or nuclear terms is the subject of an
endless debate is a misnomer and paradox.
A doctrine is advanced and accepted as an established truth, as a starting point for developing new
propositions, as a guiding principle in the solution of many problems. It is a groundwork for the
building of an intellectual system. It is the basis of a more or less complex legal structure. If not the
cornerstone, it should at least be one of the main columns of an architectonic construction. If that
groundwork, cornerstone or column is supported by a thing whose existence still remains in dispute, it
is liable to fall.
We irrevocably refuse to accept and sanction such a pseudo-doctrine which is based on the unsettled
meaning of political question. The general proposition that "political questions are not within the
province of the judiciary" is just one of the many numerous general pronouncements made as an
excuse for apathetic, indifferent, lazy or uncourageous tribunals to refuse to decide hard or ticklish
legal issues submitted to them.
It belongs to the category of that much-vaunted principle of separation of powers, the handful of sand
with which judicial ostriches blind themselves, as if self-inflicted blindness may solve a problem or
may act as a conjuration to drive away a danger or an evil.
We agree with the majority that the proposal to amend the Constitution and the process to make it
effective, as provided in Article XV of the Constitution, are matters of political nature, but we cannot
agree with their conclusion that a litigation as to whether said article has been complied with a
violated is beyond the jurisdiction of the tribunals, because to arrive at this conclusion we must accept
as a major premise the pseudo-doctrine which we have precisely exposed as erroneous and false.
Is there anything more political in nature than the Constitution? Shall all questions relating to it,
therefore, betaken away from the courts? Then, what about the constitutional provision conferring the
Supreme Court with the power to decide "all cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty or a law?"
COLEMAN versus MILLER
The decision of the United States Supreme Court in Coleman vs. Miller (122 A. L. R., 625) is invoked
as the mainstay of the majority position.
No less than eight pages of the majority opinion are occupied by the exposition and analysis of the
decision of the Supreme Court.
The case is invoked as authority for the conclusion that "the efficacy of ratification by the State
legislature of a proposed amendment to the federal Constitution" and that "the decision by Congress,
in its control of the Secretary of State of the questions of whether an amendment has been adopted
within a reasonable time from the date of submission to the State legislature," are political questions
and not justiciable.

At the outset it must be noted that the two above mentioned questions have no similarity or analogy
with the constitutional questions herein discussed. The questions as to the efficacy of the ratification
by the Senate of Kansas of the Child Labor amendment proposed by the United States Congress in
June, 1924, and upon the decision of said Congress, "in its control of the Secretary of State," whether
the amendment has been adopted "within a reasonable time from the date of submission to the State
legislature," either one of them does not raise a controversy of violation of specific provisions of the
Constitution as the ones raised in the present case.
No specific constitutional provision has been mentioned to have been violated because in January,
1925, the Legislature of Kansas rejected the amendment, a copy of the rejection having been sent to
the Secretary of State of the United States, and in January, 1927, a new resolution ratifying the
amendment was adopted by the Senate of Kansas on a 21-20 division, the Lieutenant Governor
casting the deciding vote. Neither was there such mention of constitutional violation as to the effect of
the previous rejection and of the lapse of time after submission of the amendment to the State
legislature.
No constitutional provision has been pointed out to have been violated because the Lieutenant
Governor had cast his vote or because by the lapse of time from June, 1924 to March, 1927, the
proposed amendment had allegedly lost its vitality.
It is only natural that, in the absence of a constitutional provision upon the efficacy of ratification by a
State legislature of a proposed amendment, it was within the ultimate power of the United States
Congress to decide the question, in its decision rendered in the exercise of its constitutional power, to
control the action of the Secretary of State, and the promulgation of the adoption of amendment could
not be controlled by the courts.
Evidently, the invoked authority has no bearing at all with the matters in controversy in the present
case.
We note, as observed in the majority opinion, that the four opinions in Coleman vs. Miller, according
to the American Law Reports, show "interestingly divergent but confusing positions of the justices,"
and are the subject of an amusing article in 48 Yale Law Journal, 1455, entitled "Sawing a Justice in
Half," asking how it happened that the nine-member United States Supreme Court could not reach a
decision on the question of the right of the Lieutenant Governor of Kansas to cast his vote, because
the odd number of justices was "equally divided."
How such a "confusing" and "amusing" four-opinion decision in Coleman vs. Miller could be an
authority is beyond our comprehension.
GREEN versus WELLER
One of the authorities upon which the majority relies is the decision of the Mississippi Supreme Court
in Green vs.Miller (32 Miss., 650), quoting one paragraph thereof.
Here again we have a case of inapplicable authority, unless taken in its reversed effect.
The Mississippi Supreme Court maintains that there is nothing in the nature of the submission to the
people of a proposal to amend the Constitution which should cause the free exercise of it to be
obstructed or that could render it dangerous to the stability of the government, but in making this
pronouncement, it assumes that the submission is made "in a established form," adding that the
means provided for the exercise by the people of their sovereign right of changing the fundamental
law should receive such a construction as not to trample upon the exercise of their right, and that the

best security against tumult and revolution is the free and unobstructed privilege to the people of the
state to change their Constitution "in the mode prescribed by the instrument."
So the authority, if clearly interpreted, will lead us to the conclusion that the majority position is wrong
because the Mississippi Supreme Court, in making the pronouncement, upon the assumption that the
submission to the people is made "in a established form" and "in the mode prescribed" by the
Constitution, namely, in accordance with the provisions of the instrument, the pronouncements would
be the opposite if, as in the present case, the submission of the proposal of amendment to the people
is made through a process flagrantly violative of the Constitution, aggravated by wanton falsification
of public records and tyrannical trampling of the constitutional prerogatives of duly elected
representatives of the people.
MR. JUSTICE BLACK
The concurring opinion of Mr. Justice Black, joined in by Mr. Justice Roberts, Mr. Justice Frankfurter
and Mr. Justice Douglas, in the "confusing" and "amusing" decision in Coleman vs. Miller, is also
invoked by the majority, but this other authority seems equally reluctant to offer its helping hand to a
helpless, desperate position.
The major premise of the concurring opinion is as follows: "The Constitution granted Congress
exclusive power to control submission of constitutional amendments."
Everybody ought to know that no such an unlimited, unchecked, omnipotent power is granted by our
fundamental law to the Congress of the Philippines. Our Congress may propose amendments or call
a convention to make the proposal, but that is all. Nowhere in the Constitution can be found any word,
any grammatical sign, not even the faintest hint that in submitting the proposed amendments to the
people, Congress shall have "exclusive power to control the submission." That submission must be
provided by law, and no law may be enacted and come into effect by the exclusive power of
Congress. It needs the concurring action of the President of the Philippines. And if the law happens to
violate the fundamental law, courts of justice may step in to nullify its effectiveness. After the law is
enacted, its execution devolves upon the Executive Department. As a matter of fact, it is the
Executive Department which actually submits to the people the proposed amendment. Congress fixes
the date of submission, but the President of the Philippines may refuse to submit it in the day fixed by
law if war, rebellion, or insurrection prevents a plebiscite from proceeding.
After showing that Mr. Justice Black started his argument from a major premise not obtainable in the
Philippines, his conclusions cannot help the majority in anyway.
MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER
The concurring opinion of Mr. Justice Frankfurter in the "confusing" and "amusing" case of
Coleman vs. Miller is the next authority invoked by the majority, but the opinion does not offered
much help. The justice maintains that the proceedings for voting in legislative assemblies "are matters
that concern not merely political actions but are also of the very essence of political action," and then
advances the following argument: "To open the law-courts to such controversies is to have courts sit
in judgment on the manifold disputes engendered by procedures for voting in legislative assemblies."
The argument has no weight at all. The argument merely displays an attitude, one of simple distaste
for the idea, but fails to give any sensible reason for the attitude. Ina totalitarian regime, where
decisions are rendered not in answer to the promptings of a sense of justice, but as expressions of
moods, caprices and whims of arbitrary rulers, Mr. Justice Frankfurter's attitude could be taken as the
law, but then it would be necessary to elevate him first to the category of a fuehrer.

In our jurisdiction personal attitudes are not the law. Here, justice must be founded on reason, but
never on passing unreasoned moods, judicial or otherwise.
We regret that we cannot agree with the majority's sharing Mr. Justice Frankfurter's views, which in
their judgment are in accord "with sound principles of political jurisprudence and represent liberal and
advanced thought on the workings of constitutional and popular government. "Our regret is not for
ourselves alone but for those who happen to accept as authority the unreasoned and unexplained
mental attitude of a judicial officer of a foreign country, praising it even with the much-abused label as
"liberal," notwithstanding the fact that it represents the whimsical rule of personal attitudes and not the
rule of well-matured reason.
THE ENROLLED BILL THEORY
This theory is amply discussed in the memoranda of the parties attached hereto as Appendices A, B,
and C. Although we consider it unnecessary to enlarge the discussion, we deem it convenient to
make a little analysis of what is stated in the majority opinion. Respondents contend, with the full
approval of the majority, that a duly authenticated bill or resolution imports absolute verity and is
binding on the courts.
The present case is a conclusive evidence of the absurdity of the theory. How can we accept the
absolute verity of the presiding officers' certification that the resolution in question has been adopted
by three-fourths of all the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives, when as a
matter of undisputable fact the certification is false? How can we accept a theory which elevates a
false-hood to the category of truth?
The majority alleges that the rule is the one prevailing in England. Because the English have
committed the nonsense of accepting the theory, is that reason for Filipinos to follow suit? Why, in the
administration of justice, should our tribunals not think independently? Our temple of justice is not
presided by simians trained in the art of imitation but by human beings, and human beings must act
according to reason, never just to imitate what is wrong, although such mistakes may happen to be
consecrated as a judicial precedent. It would be inconceivable for our courts to commit such a
blunder.
Repeating what Wigmore has said (4 Wigmore on Evidence, 685, footnote), the majority states that in
the United States the jurisdictions are divided almost equally pro and con on the theory, although in
petitioners' memorandum Appendix A there appears more up-to-date evidence to the effect that there
is a great majority for the rejection. But to our mind, mere numbers as to pro and con seem to us
immaterial in the decision as to whether the theory is or is not correct. Numbers do not make reason
nor justice.
The majority contends that the theory conforms to the express policy of our law-making body,
invoking to said effect the now obsolete section 313 of the old Code of Civil Procedure, as amended
by Act No. 2210.
Even if we should follow the anachronistic practice of deciding issues upon the authority of laws
which have been repealed or abolished, still the evidence pointed out by the majority does not
support their contention. Section 313 alluded to enumerates the evidence that may prove the
procedures of the defunct Philippine Commission or of any legislative body that may be provided for
in the Philippines, with the proviso that the existence of a copy of acts of said commission or the
Philippine Legislature, signed by the presiding officers and secretaries of said bodies, is a conclusive
proof "of the provisions of such acts and of the due enactment thereof."

This proviso has been repealed by its non-inclusion in the Rules of Court. Sections 5 and 41 of Rule
123 show conclusively that this Supreme Court, in making the rules effective since July 1, 1940,
rejected the proviso as unreasonable and unjust. Section 5 provides that we may take judicial notice
of the official acts of Congress and section 41 provides what evidence can be used to prove said
official acts, but nowhere in the rules can a provision be found that would make conclusive a
certification by the presiding officers and secretaries of both House of Congress even if we know by
conclusive evidence that the certification is false.
The allegation that the theory in question conforms to the express policy of our lawmaking body, upon
the very evidence used in support thereof, after a little analysis, has to banish as a mid-summer
night's dream.
50 AMERICAN JURISDICTION, SECTION 150
In support of the theory of conclusiveness of the enrollment, the authority of 50 American
Jurisprudence, 150 is invoked as reasons for the theory.
We will analyze the reasons adduced:
1. Respect due to a coequal and independent department of the government. This must be the
strongest one, when it is first mentioned. It is so flimsy to require much discussion. Shall we sacrifice
truth and justice for the sake of a social courtesy, the mutual respect that must be shown between
different departments of the government? Has our sense of evaluation of spiritual values become so
perverted that we can make such a blunder in our choice? Since when have the social or official
amenities become of paramount value to the extent of overshadowing the principles of truth and
justice?
2. Because without the theory, courts would have to make "a n inquisition into the conduct of the
members of the legislature, a very delicate power." This second reason is premised not on a
democratic attitude, but rather on a Fascistic one. It is premised on the false belief that the members
of the majority are a king of emperos of Japan, to be worshipped but never to be discussed. The
ideology depicted by the second reason should be relegated to where it belongs: the archeological
museum.
3. "The rule is also one of convenience." This reason again shows a perverted evaluation of human
values. Is justice to be sacrificed for the sake of convenience?
4. "Otherwise after relying on the prima facie evidence of the enrolled bills authenticated as executed
by the Constitution, for years, it might be ascertained from the journals that an act heretofore
enforced had never become a law." This last reason personifies unreasonableness to the nth degree.
So we leave it as it is, as a perpetual evidence of the extent to which legal stupidity may reach.
WIGMORE ON EVIDENCE
Now let us examine the arguments of the next authority invoked by the majority, Wigmore on
Evidence. We will also analyzed the arguments relied upon.
1. That to go beyond the enrolled bill "would unsettle the entire statute law of the State." This
argument, as it appears quoted in the majority decision, is premised on the unreliability of legislative
journals, and it seems to depict a mind poisoned by prejudice, as shown by the following: "We are to
remember the danger, under the prevalence of such a doctrine, to be apprehended from the
intentional corruption of evidences of this character. It is scarcely too much to say that the legal

existence of almost every legislative action would be at the mercy of all persons having access to
these journals. . . ."
The argument should be taken into consideration in connection with American experience, which
seems not to be too flattering to our former metropolis.
Our own personal experience of more than a decade in legislative processes convinces us that
Wigmore's assumption does not obtain in the Philippines. It is true that in the pre-constitution
legislative enactments we have seen few instances in which there had been disagreement between
what has actually been passed, as shown by the journal, and the authenticated enrolled bill. But the
instances were so few to justify entertaining here the same fears entertained by Wigmore in America.
Although those instances were few, we fought to correct the evil in the Constitutional Convention,
where we were able to introduce the following revolutionary provision in the Constitution: "No bill shall
be passed by either House unless it shall be printed and copies thereof in their final from furnished
each member at least three calendar days prior to its passage, except when the President shall have
certified to the necessity of its immediate enactment. Upon the last reading of a bill no amendment
thereof shall be allowed, and the question upon its passage shall be taken immediately thereafter,
and the yeas and nays entered in the journal." (Section 21 [2], Article VI of the Constitution.)
This provision is an effective guarantee against the situation depicted by Wigmore's fears.
2. To the argument that if the authenticated roll is conclusive upon the courts, then less than a
quorum of each House may by the aid of presiding officers impose laws upon the State in defiance of
the inhibition of the Constitution, Wigmore answers: "This perhaps cannot be avoided absolutely. But
it applies also to all human agencies. It is not fit that the judiciary should claim for itself a purity
beyond all others; nor has it been able at all times with truth to say that its high places have not been
disgraced."
The answer is unconvincing. Because there can be and there have been blundering, disgraceful, or
corrupt judicial officers is no reason why arbitrary presiding officers and members of the legislature
should be allowed to have their way unchecked. Precisely the system of checks and balances
established by the Constitution presupposes the possibility of error and corruption in any department
of government and the system is established to put a check on them.
When the question of an unconstitutional, arbitrary or corrupt action by the legislature is placed at the
bar of justice, the judiciary must not shrink from its duty. If there is corruption in the judiciary, our laws
provide the proper remedy. Even we, the members of the highest tribunal, cannot with impunity
commit "culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, or other high crimes" without being
liable to be removed from office on impeachment, and we hope, if there is such a case, that the
House of Representatives and the Senate will do their duty in accordance with Article IX of the
Constitution, and not follow the uncourageous example which is given under the intellectual tutelage
of Wigmore.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL NUMERICAL RULES
The three-fourth rule has been provided in Article XV of the Constitution as a guarantee against the
adoption of amendments to the fundamental law by mere majorities.
The Constitution must be accorded more stability than ordinary laws and if any change is to be
introduced in it, it must be in answer to a pressing public need so powerful as to sway the will of
three-fourths of all the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives. Said three-fourth
rule has been adopted by the Constitutional Convention, as all the other numerical rules, with the

purpose of avoiding any doubt that it must be complied with mathematical precision, with the same
certainty of all numbers and fractions expressed or expressible in arithmetical figures.
Where the Constitution says three-fourths of all the members of the Senate and of the House of
Representatives voting separately, it means an exact number, not susceptible of any more or less. All
the members means that no single member should be excluded in the counting. It means not
excluding three Senators and eight Representatives as respondents want us to do in order not to
cause any inconvenience to the presiding officers and secretaries of both Houses of Congress who
had the boldness of certifying that the three-fourth rule had been complied within the adoption of the
resolution in question, when such a certification is as false as any falsehood can be.
The three-fourth rule must not be left to the caprice of arbitrary majorities, otherwise it would be the
death knell of constitutionalism in our country. If a constitutional provision can be so trifled with, as
has happened in the adoption of the resolution in question, it would mean breaking faith with the
vitality of a government of laws, to enthrone in its stead a whimsical government of men.
The Constitution contains several numerical provisions. It requires that the Senate shall be composed
of 24 Senators (section 2, Article VI); that Congress shall by law make an apportionment within three
years after the return of every enumeration, and not otherwise (section 5, Article VI); that each House
may expel a member with the concurrence of two-third of all the members (section 10 [3], Article VI);
that electoral tribunals shall each be composed of nine members, three Justices of the Supreme
Court and six legislature members (section 11, Article VI); that to overrun the veto of the President,
the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of each House is necessary (section 20 [1], Article
VI), and in certain cases the concurrence of three-fourths of all the members of each House is
necessary (section 20 [2], Article VI); that Congress shall, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the
members of each House, have the sole power to declare war (section 25, Article VI); that no treaty or
law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of the
Supreme Court (section 10, Article VIII); that the House of Representatives shall have the sole power
of impeachment by a vote of two-thirds of all its members (section 2, Article IX); and that the Senate
shall have the sole power to try all impeachments, but no person shall be convicted without the
concurrence of three-fourths of all the members of the Senate (section 3, Article IX).
So it can be seen that the numerical rules inserted in the Constitution affect matters not of momentary
but of momentous importance. Each and every one of them should be given effect with religious
scruple, not only because our loyalty to the sovereign people so requires, but also because by
inserting them the Constitutional Convention had abided by the wise teachings of experience.
By denying the petition and allowing those responsible for the unconstitutional adoption of the
resolution in question to have their way is to set up a precedent that eventually may lead to the
supremacy of an empire of lawlessness. It will be tantamount to opening Pandora's box of evils and
disasters.
The power to declare was can only be exercised by Congress with the concurrence of two-thirds of all
the members of each House. From now on, by the simple expediency of certification by the presiding
officers and secretaries of both Houses that two-thirds had voted where a bare majority had voted in
fact, said majority may plunge our people into a maelstrome of war.
The Constitution provides that the power of impeachment needs the vote of two-thirds of all the
members of the House of Representatives. From now on, a mere plurality of one will be enough to
put impeachable high officials, including the President, on the carpet.

To convict an impeached officer the fundamental law requires the concurrence of three-fourths of all
the members of the Senate. From now on, that three-fourth rule may be dispensed with or
circumvented by not counting three actual Senators, as has been done in the resolution in question,
and thereby oust the President of the Philippines if he happens not to be in the good graces of a
senatorial majority.
Without entering into the merits of the proposed constitutional amendment, to submit which to the
people high-handed means have been resorted to, there can be no question that it is of vital
importance to the people and it will affect future generations to unimaginable extent. The
Constitutional Convention had thought it wise that before such a momentous proposal could be
submitted to the people the three-fourth rule should be adhered to by Congress.
QUOTATION FROM THE JALANDONI CASE
Months ago we stated: "It is high time to sound the clarion call that will summon all the forces of
liberalism to wage a crusade for human freedom. They should put on the armor of righteousness and
rally behind the banner for the vindication of the principles and guarantees embodied in the
Constitution and the high purposes of the Chapter of the United Nations." This, we said in our
dissenting opinion in People vs. Jalandoni, L-777. Concerning the judgment that the future may pass
upon the actuations of the Supreme Court, in that same opinion we ventured that the historian army,
under the heading of "Epoch of Great Reaction," write as follows:
At no epoch of its history has the Supreme Court shown to be most reactionary and
retrogressive. When the victims of a constitutional violation, perpetrated by a group of the
highest officials of the government, came to if for redress, it adopted a hands-off policy,
showing lack of the necessary vitality to grapple with the situation and finding refuge in a
comfortable retreat, completely disappointing those who have pinned their faith and hope in it
as the first pillar of the Constitution and the inexpugnable bulwark of human fundamental
rights. The issue of human freedom was disposed of by them most discouragingly by nullifying
the right of an accused to be free on bail on appeal, in flagrant violation of a constitutional
guarantee and of one of the fundamental purposes and principles of the Charter of the United
Nations.
Upon touching the decision of this Court in the instant case, the same historian may record that the
highest tribunal of the new Republic of the Philippines has struck the hardest blow to the Philippine
constitutional system, by refusing to do its duty in giving redress in a clear case of violation of the
fundamental law, to the great disappointment, despair and apallment of millions of souls all over the
world who are pinning their hopes on constitutionalism for the survival of humanity.
The ideal of one world oftenly enunciated by progressive leaders in the deliberations of the several
organs of the United Nations is predicated in the adoption of a single standard of laws, compulsory
within all jurisdictions of our planet. The ethology of all mankind must be shaped under the pattern of
that single legal standard. But the whole system is liable to crash if it is not founded on the rock bed
of the elemental principle that the majesty of the law must always be held supreme.
To keep inviolate this primary principle it is necessary that some of the existing social organs, moral
attitudes and habits of thinking should undergo reforms and overhauling, and many fixed traditional
ideas should be discarded to be replaced with more progressive ones and inconsonance with truth
and reason. Among these ideas are the wrong ones which are used as premises for the majority
opinion in this case.

The role of innovators and reformers is hard and often thankless, but innovation and reform should
continuously be undertaken if death by stagnation is to be avoided. New truths must be discovered
and new ideas created. New formulas must be devised and invented, and those outworn discarded.
Good and useful traditions must be preserved, but those hampering the progressive evolution of
cultured should be stored in the museum of memory. The past and the present are just stepping
stones for the fulfilment of the promises of the future.
Since the last decade of the nineteenth century, physical science had progressed by leaps and
bounds. Polonium and radium were discovered by Madam Curie, Rontgen discovered the X-ray, and
Rutherford the alpha, beta and gamma particles. Atom ceased to be the smallest unit of matter to
become an under-microscopic planetarian system of neutrons, protons, and electrons.
Ion exchangers are utilized to make of electrons veritable lamps of Aladdin. Plants are grown in plain
water, without any soil, but only with anions and cations. Sawdust has ceased to be a waste matter,
and from it is produced wood sugar, weighing one-half of the sawdust processed. Inter-stellar space
vacuum, almost absolute, is being achieved to serve ends that contribute to human welfare. Bacteria
and other microbes are harnessed to serve useful human purposes. The aspergillus niger is made to
manufacture the acetic to produce vinegar for the asking. The penicillum notatum and the bacillus
brevis are made to produce penicillin and tyrothricin, two wonder drugs that are saving many lives
from formerly lethal infections. DDT decimates harmful insects, thus checking effectively malaria, an
illness that used to claim more than one million victims a year in the world. The creation of synthetics
had enriched the material treasures offered to man by nature. Means of transportation are developed
to achieve supersonic speeds. Many scientific dreams are fast becoming marvelous realities. Thus,
science marches on. There is no reason why the administration of justice should not progress
onward, synchronized with the rhythm of general human advancement towards a better future.
The fact that the majorities of the two chambers of Congress have without any qualm violated Article
XV of the Constitution and the majority of this Court, instead of granting the proper relief provided by
law, preferred to adopt the comfortable attitude of indifferent by-standers, creates a situation that
seems to be ogling for more violations of the fundamental law. The final results no one is in a position
to foresee.
Our vote is for the granting of the petition.
BRIONES, M., con quien esta conforme FERIA, M., disidente:
Por segunda vez en menos de un ao nos Ilaman a decidiry arbitrar sobre una violacion de la
Constitucion elcodigo fundamental de nuestro pais. A media dos del ao pasado se trataba del
recurso interpuesto ante esta misma Corte Suprema por tres Senadores 1 que se quejaban dehaber
sido privados injusta y arbitrariamente de su derecho a sentarse en el Senado de Filipinas y a
particular y votar en sus deliberaciones, con grave infraccion y detrimento de la Constitucion que
ampara tal derecho. Ahora esos mismos Senadores acuden de nuevo a esta Corte para quejarse de
otra violacion de la Constitucion, pero estavez no vienen solos: les acompaan otros cinco miembros
del Senado, diecisiete miembros de la Camarra de Representantes y tres jefes de aagrupaciones o
partidos politicos Democratic Alliance, Popular Front y Philippine Youth Party. Jose O. Vera es
recurrente en su doble capacidad de miembro del Senado y Presidente del Partido Nacionalista. De
modo que los recurrentes suman veintiocho: 8Senadores, 17 Representantes y 3 particulares.2
Tienenun comun denominador, a saber: que son todos ciudadanos de Filipinas, y, ademas,
contribuyentes y electores.
Los recurridos son el Presidente y miembros de la Comision de Elecciones, el Tesorero de Filipinas,
el Auditor General y el Director del Buro de Imprenta.3

El objeto del recurso es recabar de esta Corte un mandamiento de prohibicion dirigigo a los
recurridos para que estos, sus agentes, empleados, subordinados y otras personas que actuen bajo
su superintendencia o en su nombre "se abstengan y desistan de dar los pasos tendentes haciala
celebracion de un plebiscito e eleccion general el 11 de Marzo, 1947, y de imprimir la resolucion
(sobre reformade los articulos 13. y 14. de la Constitucion), las balotas y otros papeles necesarios
en relacion con dicho plebiscito,y de desembolsar o de autorizar el expendio de fondos publicos para
dicho proposito."
Para la mejor comprension del asunto estimo necesariopublicar integro a continuacion el texto de la
Resolucion conjunta que contiene la propuesta reforma a la Constitucion, resolucion que constituye
la materia u objeto de la consulta popular en el referido plebiscito de 11 de Marzo, y es la misma que
en el lexico corriente de la prensa y del publico se conoce por resolucion sobre paridad o igualdad de
derecdhos constitucionales a favor de los americanos, esdecir, que concede a estos iguales
derechos que a los filipinosen la propiedad y cultivo de terrenos publicos, en la explotacion de
nuestros recursos naturales como bosques,minas, pesca y fuerza hidraulica, y en la propiedad y
operacion de utilidades publicas. He aqui su texto:
RESOLUTION OF BOTH HOUSES PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT
TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES
TO BE APPENDED AS AN ORDINANCE THERETO.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in joint session
assembled, by a vote of not less than three-fourths of all the Members of each House voting
separately, to propose, as they do hereby propose, the following amendment to the
Constitution of the Philippines to be appended as an Ordinance thereto;
ORDINANCE APPENDED TO THE CONSTITUTION
Notwithstanding the provisions of section one, Article Thirteen, and section eight, Article
Fourteen, of the foregoing Constitution, during the effectivity of the Executive Agreement
entered into by the President of the Philippines with the President of the United States on the
Fourth of July, nineteen hundred and forth-six, pursuant to the provisions of Commonwealth
Act Numbered Seven hundred and thirty-three, but in no case to extend beyond the third of
July, nineteen hundred and seventy-four, the disposition, exploitation, development, and
utilization of all agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, waters, minerals,
coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces and sources of potential energy, and other
natural resources of the Philippines, and the operation of public utilities, shall, if open to any
person, be open to citizens of the United States and to all forms of business enterprise owned
or controlled, directly or indirectly, by citizens of the United States in the same manner as to,
and under the same conditions imposed upon, citizens of the Philippines or corporation or
associations owned or controlled by citizens of the Philippines.
This amendment shall be valid as a part of the Constitution when approved by a majority of the
votes cast in an election at which it is submitted to the people for their ratification pursuant to
Article XV of the Constitution.
Adopted,
(Sgd.) JOSE AVELINO
President of the Senate

(Sgd.) EUGENIO PEREZ


Speaker of the House of
Representatives
We hereby certify that the foregoing Resolution was adopted by both Houses in joint session
assembled in the Hall of the House of Representatives on September 18, 1946.
(Sgd.) ANTONIO ZACARIAS
Secretary of the Senate
(Sgd.) NARCISO PIMENTEL
Secretary of the House of
Representatives
Para comprobar la voluntad popular sobre la reforma constitucional propuesta el Congreso de
Filipinas ha aprobadola Ley No. 73 de la Republica que dispone y ordena la celebracion de un
plebiscito para el 11 de Marzo de esteano, provee a la forma de celebrarlo y consigna el presupuesto
necesario para sufragar los gastos del mismo. Siuna mayoria de los electores votare
afirmativamente, la reformaquedara ratificada y estara en vigor por un periodo de 28 aos; en caso
contrario, quedara rechazada.
Los recurrentes alegan y sostiened que la resolucion conjuntade que se trate es ilegal y nula por no
haberse aprobadocon los votos de las tres cuartas-partes (3/4) del Congreso, conforme a lo provisto
en el Articulo XV de la Constitucion, a saber:
SECTION 1. The Congress in joint session assembled, by a vote of three-fourths of all the
Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately, may propose
amendments to this Constitution or call a convention for that purpose. Such amendments shall
be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an
election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification.
Se alega que cuando se considero y aprobo la citada Resolucion conjunta el Senado se componia
actualmente de 24 miembros, es decir, el numero exacto fijado en la Constitucion, y la Camara de
Representantes de 96 miembros, es decir, dos menos que el numero sealado en la Constitucion,
pues does dimitieron despues de las elecciones, uno para aceptar un cargo en el ramo ejecutivo del
gobierno y otro para aceptar un nombramiento en el servicio diplomatico. Sin embargo, segun la
demanda de los recurrentes, en el Senado solo se permitio votar a 21 miembros, excluyen dose de
las deliberaciones y votacionfina l de la Resolucion a tres miembros, a saber; los Senadores Vera,
Diokno y Romero. De los referidos 21 miembros, votaron a favor de la Resolucion 16 y en contra 5;
asi que arguyen los recurrentes la Resolucion no quedo aprobada, por parte del Senado, con el
numero constitucionalde tres cuartas-partes (3/4) de los miembros, elcual debia ser 18.
En la Camara de Representantes, segun los recurrentes, solo se permitio votar a 88 miembros,
excluyen dose de las deliberaciones y votacion final de la resolucion a 8 miembros, a saber:
Representantes Alejo Santos y Jesus B. Lava, de Bulacan; Reps. Jose Cando y Constancio P.
Padilla, de Nueva Ecija; Reps. Amado M. Yuson y Luis Taruc, de Pampanga; Rep. Alejandro
Simpauco, de Tarlac; y Rep. Vicente F. Gustilo, de Negros Occidental. De los referidos 88 miembros
votaron a favor de la Resolucion solo 68; asi que arguyen los recurrentas la Resolucion
tampoco quedo aprobada, por parte de la Camara, con el numero constitucional de tres cuartaspartes (3/4) partes de sus miembros, el cual debia ser 72, por lo menos, y no 68, aun dando por

descontados los dos miembros que despues de las elecciones aceptaron cargos en otros ramosdel
gobierno.
Siendo inconstitucional y nula la Resolucion basica deque se trata, consiguientemente los
recurrentes tachantambien de inconstitucional e invalida la referida Ley de la Republica No. 73 que
convoca una eleccion general o plebiscito para el 11 de Marzo de 1947 a fin de someter alpueblo
para su ratificacion o repudio la enmienda constitucional propuesta, y que consigna la suma de
P1,000,000 para los gastos en que se hubiere de incurrir con motivo dela celebracion de dicho
plebiscito, entre habilitacion deprecintos electorales, pago de dietas de los inspectores y costo de la
a impresion, publicacion, fijacion y distribucion gratuita de copias de la propuesta enmienda en
ingles, espaol y otros dialectos del pais.
Los recurridos, despues de admitir ciertas alegacioneses enciales de la demanda y negar otras,
plantean las siguientes defensas especiales:
Primera defensa especial: que una ley o resolucion impresa (enrolled Act or Resolution) de ambas
Camaras del Congreso, adverada o autenticada con las firmas de los Presidentes de dichas
Camaras, es prueba concluyente deque la misma fue aprobada por el Congreso; que, en virtud del
respeto que se debe a un ramo igual y coordinado del gobierno, no es permisible una investigacion
judicial desi la misma a fue o no aprobada debida y propiamente por el Congreso; y que, por tanto,
esta Corte Suprema carecede jurisdiccion para conocer y enjuiciar los puntos suscitados por los
recurrentes en relacion con la validez y constitucionalidad de la resolucion en cuestion.
Empero si la primera defensa especial no fuese sostenida, los recurridos alegan, por via de segunda
defensa especial, que la resolucion controvertida fue aprobada a conlos votos de tres cuartas-partes
(3/4) de todos los miembros cualificados del Senado y de la Camara de Representantes votando
separadamente, en consonancia con el Articulo XV, apartado 1, de la Constitucion, y que
consiguientementela ley de la Republica No. 73 que ordena suplanteamiento ante el pueblo para su
ratificacion o desaprobacion, senala una fecha para la celebracion de estaconsulta plebiscitaria y
consigna fondos publicos para talfin, es valida y constitucional.
Consta en autos una estipulacion de hechos concertadaentre las partes, pero no se extracta aqui
para no alargar innecesariamente esta disidencia, pero se hara particular referencia a ella mas
adelante a medida que las exigenciasde la argumentacion lo demanden.
Es preciso hacer constar que los abogados de ambas parteshan hecho cumplida justicia a la
tremenda importancia del asunto haciendo extensos estudios y pacientes investigaciones de la
jurisprudencia pertinente, en particular la americana, teniendo en cuenta la influencia profunda y
decisiva de aquel pais en nuestras ideas politicas y constitucionales en virtud de la historica y
estrecha convivenciade casi medio siglo.
Es que la cosa no era para menos. Puede decirse, sinexageracion, que excepto en cuatro momentos
culminantes de su historia el primer grito de rebelion contra Espaa en Agosto de 1896, la ruptura
de hostilidades contra Americaen Febrero de 1899, la aceptacion de la Ley de Independencia en el
plebiscito nacional de 1935, y la guerra contra el Japon en 1941 en ningun momento, en los
ultimos 60 aos, ha sido Ilamado el pueblo filipino a rendiruna decision tan importante, de
trascendencia e implicacionestan graves, tan tremendas, como la que tiene que hacer en el
plebiscito de 11 de Marzo proximo con motivode la Resolucion congresional discutida en el presente
asunto.
Es una de esas decisiones que hacen historia; que parabien o para mal sacuden los cimientos de un
pais tal quesi fuese un fenomeno cosmico; que determinan el curso desu existencia y deytinos

nacionales; que deciden, en una palabra, de la suerte de generaciones ya existentes y


degeneraciones que no han nacido todaviaa. Es una de esas decisiones que para hacerla los
pueblos deben hincarse humildemente de rodillas, de cara al cielo, pidiendo al Dios de los pueblos y
naciones la gracia de una salvadora inspiracion de Su infinita sabiduria . . ..
II
Para los efector de una amplia perspectiva historica quepermita destacar en toda su plenitud los
contornos de losformidables "issues" o puntos constitucionales debatidos en el presente asunto,
parece conveniente que repasemos, siquiera brevemente (en las notas marginales lo que no cabeen
el mismo texto de esta disidencia),4los preceptos basicos de la Constitucion que se trate de reformar
conla Resolucion congresional de que tantas veces se ha hechomerito. Helos aqui:
ARTICLE XIII. CONSERVATION AND UTILIZATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES.
SECTION 1. All agricultural, timber, and mineral lands of the public domain, waters, minerals,
coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, and other natural
resources of the Philippines belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation,
development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations or
associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject
to any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the inauguration of the
Government established under this Constitution. Natural resources, with the exception of
public agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the
exploitation, development, or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a
period exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for another twenty-five years, except as to
water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development
of water power, in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant.
ARTICLE XIV. GENERAL PROVISIONS
xxx

xxx

xxx

SEC. 8. No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public
utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or other entities
organized under the laws of the Philippines, sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned
by citizens of the Philippines, nor shall such franchise, certificate, or authorization be exclusive
in character or for a longer period than fifty years. No franchise or right shall be granted to any
individual, firm, or corporation, except under the condition that it shall be subject to
amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress when the public interest so requires.
Como queda dicho, la reofrma propuesta es en el sentidode que, no obstante lo dispuesto en los
preceptos arribatranscritos, "durante la efectividad del Convencio Ejecutivo perfeccionado entre el
Presidente de Filipinas y el Presidente de los Estados Unidos el 4 de Julio de 1946, al tenorde las
disposiciones de la Ley del Commonwealth No. 733, pero que en ningun case se extendera mas alla
del 3 de Julio de 1974, la disposicion, explotacion, desar rollo y utilizacionde todos los terrenos
agricolas, forestales y minerales de dominio publico, de aguas, minerales, carbon, petroleo y otros
minerales petroliferos, de todas las fuerzasy fuentes de energia potencial, asi como de otros recursos
de Filipinas, y la operacion de utilidades publicas, si abiertos para cualguier persona, quedan
abiertos para los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos y para todas las formas de negocio y empresa
de la propiedad o controladas, directao indirectamente, por ciudad aos de los Estados Unidos, de la
misma manera y bajo las mismas condiciones impuestasa los ciudadanos de Filipinas o a las

corporaciones o asociaciones de la propiedad o controladas por ciudadanos de Filipinas (Resolucion


conjunta del Congreso filipino, supra).
Podemos tomar conocimiento judicial pues, sobre ser historia contemporanea, se trata de las
labores y procesos deliberativos de la misma Asamblea Constituyente de quelos preceptos
capitales arriba transcritos constituyen la expresion acabada de toda la madurez de juicio, de toda
laprudencia y sabiduria de que eran capaces no solo los autores de la Constitucion y los Delegados
que la aprobaron, sino el pueblo filipino que la ratifico en el correspondiente plebiscito nacional
convocado al efecto. En pocas resoluciones ha habido tanta firmeza y tan fuerte unanimidadentre
nuestros partidos politicos y sus caudillos como enesa recia y constructiva afirmacion de
nacionalismo. Nadamejor, creo yo, que las siguientes palabras para definir elespiritu, la filosofia que
informa esas provisiones:
This provision of the Constitution has been criticized as establishing the outworn Regalian
doctrine which, it is suggested, may serve to retard the economic development of the
Philippines. The best encomium on this provision is probably the very criticism launched
against it. It is inconceivable that the Filipinos would liberalize the acquisition, disposition and
exploitation of our natural resources to the extent of permitting their alienation or of depriving
the people of this country of their heritage. The life of any nation depends upon its patrimony
and economic resources. Real freedom, if it is to be lasting, must go hand in hand with
economic security, if not economic prosperity. We are at most usufructuaries of ourdomains
and natural resources and have no power to alienate them even if we should want to do so.
They belong to the generations yet unborn and it would be the height of folly to even think of
opening the door for their untrammelled disposition, exploitation, development or utilization to
the detriment of the Filipinos people. With our natural resources in the hands of foreigners
what would be there left except the idealism of living in a country supposedly free, but where
freedom is, after all, an empty dream? We would be living in a sumptuous palace that it not
ours! We would be beggars in our own homes, strangers in our own land!
Friendship and amity towards all nations are compatible with the protection of the legitimate
interests of the Filipino people. There is no antagonism or hostility towards foreigners but sane
nationalism and self-protection which every country of the world is practising today in the
interest of self-preservation. (The Three Powers of Government, by Laurel, pp. 117-118.)
Los criticos de la enmienda constitucional propuesta pueden discutir libremente, como cumple a los
ciudadanos de un pais democratico, los meritos y demeritos de lamisma. Pueden combatirla con toda
clase de razones morales, politicas, economicas, financieras, internacionales, y hasta de decencia
y naturalmente defenderla tambiensus partidarios desde todos los angulos. Podrian los
opositoreshacer una minuciosa diseccion de su fraseologia yacaso hallar en sus repliegues
peligrosas implicaciones, posibles riesgos, como en ese par de adverbios "directa o indirectamente",
a cuyo socaire podrian acogerse corporacioneso asociaciones extranjeras controladas solo
indirectamente por ciudadanos americanos para concurrir en la explotacion de nuestros terrenos
publicos y recursos naturales, y en la operacion de utilidades publicas. Todo estolo pueden hacer, y
algo mas. Pero es obvio, elemental quesemejante discusion no compete a esta Corte Suprema,
sinoen todo caso a otros poderes constituidos.
Nosotros no estamos para determinar y enjuiciar labondad o maldad de la enmienda propuesta. Lo
unico quenos incumbe hacer, ya que la cuestion se halla propiamente planteada ante nosotros, es
resolver si la enmienda ha sido aprobada por el Congreso de acuerdo con el mandato expreso de la
Constitucion en materia de enmiendas; si losrequisitos que la Constitucion seala para poder
enmendarla requisitos que son mandatorios, categorica menteimperativos y obligatorios se han
cumplido o se han violado. Como se dijo bien en el asunto de Gray vs.Childs ([1934], 156 So., 274,

279), ". . . No podemos decir queel estricto requerimiento relativo a las enmiendas se puede
renunciar a favor de una buena enmienda e invocar encontra de otra mala. . . . No compete a los
tribunales el determinar cuando una enmienda propuesta es sabia y cuando no lo es. Los tribunales
nada tienen que ver conla sabiduria de la politica. Pero es deber de los tribunales, cuando se les pide
que lo hagan, el determinar si o no el procedimiento adoptado para la aprobacion de la enmiendaes
el sealado por los terminos de la ley organica.
Todo lo que se lha dicho hasta aqui para poner de relievela filosofia de nuestra Constitucion en
materia de recursos naturales y utilidades publicas, se ha dicho no como expresion de un criterio
propio, sino tan solo para subrayar todala gravedad, toda la densidad del asunto, y prevenir entodo
caso los peligros de una rutinaria y complacienteliviandad. Como tambien se dijo en el citado asunto
deGray vs. Childs, "la enmienda de la ley organica del Estado o nacion no es una cosa para ser
tomada ligeramente, ni para ser hecha de lance o al azar.Es una cosa seria. Cuando la enmienda es
aprobada, viene a ser parte de laley fundamental del pais y puedesignificar el bienestar omaldicion
de las generaciones de la nacion donde se haceparte del codigo fundamental."
Este pronunciamiento adquiere todo el valor y toda la resonancia de una consigna en el presente
caso en que lareforma propuesta afecta vitalisimamente al patrimonionacional del pueblo filipino.
No son los recursos naturalesy las utilidades publicas el tesoro de una nacion, labase que sustenta
su existencia, la espina dorsal de sueconomia? Por tanto, jamas se podra exagerar el celo, la
vigilancia que el pueblo y sus organos naturales ejercenpara que las salvaguardias impuestas por la
misma Constitucionen relacion con el proceso y tramitacion de todaenmienda constitucional se
cumplan y observen con el maximo rigor.
Aqui no caben excusas ni subterfugios. Ni siquiera cabeescudarse tras la doctrina de la separacion
de poderes quela mayoria de esta Corte invoca para justificar su inaccion, su pasividad, su politica
de "manos fuera", alegando que el presente asunto es coto vedado para nos otros, algo quecae
fuera de nuestra jurisdiccion, eso que en derecho politico y constitucional se llama materia politica
no-justiciable.
III
La mayoria rehusa asumir jurisdiccion sobre el presente caso porque dice que versa sobre una
cuestion politica, ylas cuestiones politicas caen fuera de la competencia de los tribunales de justicia.
Creo que esto es un error, dicho seacon todos los respetos debidos a mis ilustres compaeros que
sostienen tal opinion. Hay acaso algun documento mas politico que la Constitucion? Si la opinion de
lamayoria fuese valida y acertada, practicamente ninguna violacion de la Constitucion podria ser
enjuiciada por los tribunales, pues cual mas, cual menos, casi todas las
transgresionesconstitucionales, sobre todo las que comete elpoder legislativo o el poder ejecutivo,
tienen caracter politico. Bajo esa opinion la Constitucion seria una letramuerta, un simple pedazo de
papel: los poderes constituidos, los individuos que los componen, podrian infringirim punemente la
Constitucion sin que ningun arbitro constitucional pudiera intervenir ordenadamente para restaurarla
suprema majestad de la ley fundamental violada. Esclaro que esto podria conducir facilmente al
caos, a la anarquia, a la revolucion, dependiendo solo el resultado de lamayor o menor docilidad del
pueblo, del grado de elasticidad politica de las masas. Y es claro que ninguno puedequerer este
triste destino para nuestro pais.
Creo sinceramente que una mejor y mas correcta evaluacion de nuestro sistema de gobierno que
esta esencial mentecalcado en el americano, es que bajo la teoria relativa de las eparacion de
poderes, ningun poder es superior al pueblo cuya voluntad esta encarnada en la Constitucion. Los
poderes no son mas que agentes, mandatarios, servidores: el pueblo es el amo, el mandante, el
soberano. Y el pueblo ordena y manda por medio de la Constitucion esta es suvoz el verbo hecho

carne politica y social, el soplo vital quetraduce y transmuts su espiritu en postulados esenciales
deregulacion y gobierno.
Todo eso esta bien, no puede haber seria objecion a ello,dicen los sostenedores absolutistas de la
teoria de la sedparacion de poderes. Pero se pregunta: quien seala lavoluntad del pueblo tal como
esta plasmada en la Constitucion? ?Quien es el profeta que desciende del Sinai para revelar las
tablas de la ley? Quien ha de arbitrar en los conflictos constitucionales, o quien ha de decidir los
litigios propiamente planteados en que se ventilan una infraccion de la Constitucion? Hay un
peligroso vacio en nuestro mecanismo constitucional, o por el contrario, los resorteestan todos bien
situados, capaces de operar y funcionarade cuada y eficientemente? Esto es precisamente el busilis,
la cuestion batallona.
No puede haber duda en la contestacion a tales preguntas. Bajo nuestro sistema de gobierno el
poder judiciales el llamado a sealar, a interpretar la ley; y en los conflictoso transgresiones
constitucionales esta Corte Suprematiene la ultima palabra, le compete el arbitraje supremoy final.
Bajo nuestra mecanica constitucional, igual quebajo la americana, se da la aparente paradoja de que
la superior facultad, el supremo negocio de interpretar la voluntad del pueblo tal como esta
expresada mas o menos permanentemente en la Constitucion, no corresponde propiamentea
ninguno d e los poderes electivos, los que se renuevanperiodicamente, sino al poder que si bien es
denombramiento en su origen, tiene, sin embargo, sentido deperpetuidad, quiero decir, es vitalicio en
la complexion y funcion de los individuos que los componen el poder judicial. La sabiduria
peculiar, la originalidad del sistemaconsiste precisamente en eso: en haber alojado el supremo
arbitraje con relacion a los conflictos y transgresiones constitucionales en un poder del Estado al cual
deliberadamentese le ha dotado de un clima psicologico y moral el maspropicio posible a la
objetividad y desasimiento de lasdisputas politicas y discordias civiles, situandosele por encimade los
vaivenes de la politica al uso y las veleida desde la suerte electora. "Esto es lo que va implicto en la
expresion supremacia judicial, que propiamente es la facultad de revision judicial bajo la
Constitucion" (Angara contra Comision Electoral, 63 Jur. Fil., 171).
The very essence of the American conception of the separation of powers is its insistence
upon the inherent distinction between law-making and law-interpreting, and its assignment of
the latter to the judiciary, a notion which, when brought to bear upon the Constitution, yields
judicial review." (Corwin, The Twilight of the Supreme Court, p. 146.)
En el famoso asunto de Marbury vs. Madison, supra, el Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos, por
boca de sugran Chief Justice John Marshall, en terminos inequivocos definio y explico las facultades
de la judicatura para poneren vigor la Constitucion como la suprema ley del pais, y declaro que es
terminantemente de la competencia y deberdel departamento judicial el decidir cual es la ley querige.
The reasoning of Webster and Kent is substantially the same. Webster says: "The Constitution
being the supreme law, it follows of course, that every act of the Legislature contrary to the law
must be void. But who shall decide this question? Shall the legislature itself decide it? If so,
then the Constitution ceases to be legal and becomes only a moral restraint for the legislature.
If they, and they only, are to judge whether their acts be conformable to the Constitution, then
the Constitution is advisory and accessory only, not legally binding; because, if the
construction of it rest wholly with them, their discretion, in particular cases, may be in favor of
very erroneous constructions. Hence the courts of law, necessarily, when the case arises,
must decide upon the validity of particular acts." Webster, Works, Vol. III, 30. (Willoughby on
the Constitution of the United States, Vol. 1, 2d edition, pp. 4, 5.)
En el citado asunto de Angara contra Comision Electoral dijimos tambien lo siguiente:

. . . Y la judicatura, a su vez, con el Tribunal Supremo por artbitro final, frena a con efectividad
a los demas departament of en elejercicio de su facultad de determinar la ley, y de aqui que
pueda declarar nulos los actos ejecutivos y legislativos que contravengan la Constitucion.
Esta doctrina reafirmo en el asunto de Planas contra Gil (67 Phil., 62), a saaber:
. . . As far as the judiciary is concerned, which it holds' neither the sword nor the purse' it is by
constitutional placement the organ called upon to allocate constitutional boundaries, and to
the Supreme Court is entrusted expressly or by necessary implication the obligation of
determining in appropriate cases the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance,
or executive order or regulation. (Section 2 [1], Art. VIII, Constitution of the Philippines.) In this
sense and to this extent, the judiciary restrains the other departments of the government and
this result is one of the necessary corollaries of the "system of checks and balances" of the
government established.
No es que con esto el poder judicial assume un complejode superioridad sobre los otros poderes del
Estado, no. Setrate simplemente de que, dentro de las limitaciones de todacreacion humana, alguien
tiene que arbitrar y dirimir losconflictos y las transgresiones a gue puede dar lugar la Constitucion, y
se estima que el poder judicial, pro la razonde su ser y de sus funciones, es el mas llamado a ser
esearbitro. Se trate de una propia y graciosa inhibicion delos otros poderes en virtud de una
necesidad impuesta porunas teorias y practicas de gobiernio que han resistido la prueba del tiempo y
el choque con la realidad y la experiencia. En mi disidencia en el asunto de Vera contra Avelino (77
Phil., 192), hablando sobre este particular dijelo siguiente y lo reitero ahora, a saber:
En parte, el argumento expuesto es correcto y acertado. No sepuede discutir que los tres
poderes del Estado son iguales e independientesentre si; que ninguno de ellos es superior al
otro, mucho menos el poder judicial que entre los tres es el menos fuerte y elmas precario en
medios e implementos materiales. Tampoco se puede discutir que bajo la Constitucion cada
poder tiene una zona, una esferade accion propia y privativa, y dentro de esa esfera un
cumulode facultades que le pertenecen exclusivamente; quedentro de esaesfera y en el uso
de esas facultades cada poder tiene absoluta discreciony ningun otro poder puede controlar o
revisar sus actos so pretexto de que alguien los cuestiona o tacha de arbitrarios, injustos,
imprudentes o insensatos. Pero la insularidad, la separacion llegasolo hasta aqui. Desde
Montesquieu que lo proclamo cientificamente hasta nuestros dias, el principio de la separacion
de poderes hasufrido tremendos modificaciones y limitaciones. El consenso doctrinal hoy es
que la teoria es solo relativa y que la separacionde poderes queda condicionada por una
mecanica constitucional lamecanica de los frenos y cortapisas. (Willoughby, On the
Constitution of the United States, tomo 3, pags. 1619, 1620, 2. edicion.) Como queda dicho,
cada poder es absoluto dentro de la esfera quele asigna la Constitucion; alli el juego de sus
facultades y funcionesno se puede coartar. Pero cuando se sale y extravasa de esa
esferainvadiendo otras esferas constitucionales, ejerciendo facultades queno le pertenecen, la
teoria de la separacion ya no le ampara, la Constitucion que es superior a el le sale al
encuentro, le restringe uy leachica dentro de sus fronteras, impidiendo sus incursiones anticonstitucionales. La cuestion ahora a determinar es si bajo nuestrosistema de gobierno hay un
mecanismo que permite restablecer eljuego normal de la Constitucion cuando surgen estos
desbarajustes, estos conflictos que podriamos llamar de fronteras constitucionales; tambien es
cuestion a determinar si cuando surgen esos conflictos, un ciudadano sale perjudicado en sus
derechos, el mismo tiene algun remedio expedito y adecuado bajo la Constitucion y las leyes,
y quien puede concederle ese remedio. Y con esto llegamos a la cuestion basica, cardinal en
este asunto.
Nuestra opinion es que ese mecanismo y ese remedio existen son los tribunales de justicia.

La mayoria no define en su decision lo que llama cuestion politica no-justiciable ni las maaterials o
casos que caen dentro de su significado. "The difficulty lies" dice la ponencia "in determining
what matters fall within the meaning of political question. The term is not susceptible of exact
definition, and precedents and authorities are not always in full harmony as to the scope of the
restrictions, on this ground, on the courts to meddle with the actions of the political departments of the
government." Pero razonando por analogia cita un precedente, una autoridad el caso de
Coleman vs. Miller decidido no hace muchos aos por la Corte Suprema Federal de los Estados
Unidos. La mayoria cree que este es el caso mas semejante al que nos ocupa. Creo que la mayoria
padece error: el caso de Coleman contra Miller es precisamente un buen argumento en favor del
recurso.
Compendiado el caso es como sigue: En Junio, 1924, el Congreso de los Estados Unidos propuso
una reforma ala Constitucion, conocida por "Child Labor Amendment" (enmienda sobre el trabajo
infantil). En Enero, 1925, la Legislatura del Estado de Kansas adopto una resolucion rechazandola
enmienda y una copia certificada de la resolucionse envio al Secretario de Estado de los Estados
Unidos. En Enero, 1937, o sea 12 aos despues, una resolucion conocida como "Resolucion
Concurrente del Senado No. 3" se presento en el Senado del Estado de Kansas pararatificar la
propuesta enmienda. Habia 40 Senadores. Alconsiderarse la resolucion 20 Senadores votaron en
favor y 20 Senadores en contra. El Teniente Gobernador, que era entonces el Presidente del Senado
en virtud de la Constitucion estatal, emitio su voto en favor de la resolucion, rompiendo asi el empate.
La resolucion fue posteriormente adoptada por la Camara de Representantes de Kandas mediante
una mayoria de los votos de sus miembros.
Fued entonces cuando se interpuso ante la Corte Suprema de Kansas un recurso de mandamus por
los 20 Senadores adversos a la resolucion y por otros 3 miembros de la Camarade Representantes.
El objeto del recurso era (a) compeler al Secretario del Senado a borrar el endoso favorable de la
resolucion y poner en su lugar las palabras "no ha sido aprobada"; (b) recabar la expedicion de un
interdicto contra los oficiales del Senado y Camara de Representantes prohibiendo les que firmaran
la resolucion y contra el Secretario de Estado de Kansad prohibiendole que autentic aradicha
resolucion y la entregara la Gobernador. La solicitud cuestionaba el derecho del Teniente
Gobernadora emitir su voto decisivo en el Senado. Tambien se planteabaen la solicitud el hecho de
que la resolucion habiasido rechazada originariamente y se alegaba, ademas, quedurante el periodo
de tiempo comprendido entre Junio,1924, y Mayo, 1927, la enmienda habia sido rechazada
porambas Camaras de las Legislaturas de 26 Estados y solose habia ratificado en 5 Estados, y que
por razon de dicho rechazamiento y por no haberse ratificado dentro de untiempo razonable la
enmienda habia perdido su validez y vitalidad.
La Corte Suprema de Kansas hallo que no habia ninguna disputa sobre los hechos, asumio
competencia sobre el casoy sostuvo que el Teniente Gobernador tenia derecho a emitirvoto decisivo,
que la proyectada enmienda conservabasu vitalidad original a pesar del tiempo transcurrido, y quela
resolucion, "habiendo sido aprobada por la Camara de Representantes y por el Senado, el acto de
ratificacion dela propuesta enmienda por la Legislatura de Kansas erafinal y complete."
Consiguientemente el recurso de mandamus fue denegado.
Elevado el asunto en casacion para ante la Corte Suprema Federal, esta asumio jurisdiccion sobre el
caso, conla concurrencia y disidencia de algunos Magistrados que opinaban que el recurso debia
rechazarse de plano, sin masceremonias, por la razon, segun los disidentes, de que los recurrentes
no tenian personalidad ni derecho de accion para pedir la revision de la sentencia de la Corte
Supremade Kansas, y porque ademas se trataba de una cuestion puramente politica, por tanto nojusticiable. Bajo la ponenciade su Presidente el Sr. Hughes, la Corte Suprema Federal conocio del
caso a fondo, discutiendo y resolviendo las cuestiones planteadas. He aqui sus palabras: "Our
authority to issue the writ of certiorari is challenged upon the ground that the petitioners have no

standing to seek to have the judgment of the state court reviewed and hence itis urged that the writ
of certiorarishould be dismissed.We are unable to accept that view." Esto viene a ser comouna
replica a las siguientes palabras de los disidentes: "It is the view of Mr. Justice Roberts, Mr. Justice
Black, Mr. Justice Douglas and myself (Mr. Justice Frankfurter) that the petitioners have no
standing in the Court." Delo dicho resulta evidente que la Corte Federal no adoptola actitud de
"manos fuera" (hands off), sino que actuo positivamente sobre el caso, encarandolo.
La decision consta de tres partes. La primera parte, que es bastante extensa, esta consagrada
enteramente adiscutir la cuestion de la jurisdiccion de la Corte. Ya hemosvisto que esta cuestion se
ha resuelto enteramente enfavor de la jurisdiction, en virtud de las razones luminosas que alli se
explanan y que no reproduzco por no ser necesario y para no alargar indebidamente esta disidencia.
La segunda parte es bien breve, apenas consta de dos parrafos. Se refiere a la cuestion de si el voto
del Teniente Gobernador, que rompio el empate, era o no valido. La Corte nolo resuelve, por que
dice que sus miembros se dividieron porigual sobre si era una cuestion politica y, por tanto,
nojusticiable. La tercera parte, tan extensa como la primera, esta dedicada a estudiar y discutir las
siguientes proposiciones :(a) Si habiendo sido rechazada originariamentela enmienda, una
ratificacion posterior podia validamente dejar sin efecto dicho rechazamiento y tomarse como
unaratificacion legal al tenor de la Constitucion; (b) si ellargo tiempo transcurrido entre el
rechazamiento y la ratificacion unos 13 aos no habia tenido el efecto de darcaracter final a la
repudiacion de la enmienda, causando estado juridico definitivo.
El analisis que hace el ilustrado ponente de las cuestiones planteadas es muy interesante y desde
luego acabado. Se estudian y comentan luminos amente los precedentes. Sobre la cuestion de si el
rechazamiento de unaenmienda propuesta impide que la misma sea ratificada posteriormente, se
puntualiza lo siguiente: que el articulo V de la Constitucion Federal sobre enmienda esta fraseadoen
terminos positivos, es decir, habla de ratificacion y node rechazamiento, y que por tanto "el poder
para ratificarlo confiera al Estado la Constitucion, y que, como poder ratificante, continua y persiste, a
pesar de un previo rechazamiento. "Luego la Corte dice, examinando los precedentes, que el
Congreso, en el ejercicio de su control sobrela promulgacion de las enmiendas a la Constitucion, ha
resuelto esta cuestion repetidas veces en el sentido indicado, esto es, considerando inefectivo el
previo rechazamientofrente a una positiva ratificacion; y la Corte concluye que esta accion del
Congreso es valida, constitucional; por consiguiente, los tribunales no estan autorizados para
revisarla. Es en este sentido, creo yo, como la Corte dice que se trate de una cuestion politica nojusticiable, es decir una cuestion que cae dentro de la zona constitucional exclusion del Congreso;
por tanto, se trate deuna accion valida, constitucional. Pero no hay nada enesa decision que diga, o
permita inferir, que cuando el Congreso viola un mandato expreso de la Constitucion, como en el
caso que nos ocupa, los tribunales no pueden intervenir, bajo el principio de la supremacia
judicial entratandose de interpretar la Constitucion, para resolver el conflicto o enjuiciar la
transgresion, y conceder el remedio propiamente pedido. En otras palabras, en el caso de
Coleman contra Miller la Corte Suprema Federal hallo que el Congreso, al declarar valida la
ratificacion de la enmienda constitucional sobre trabajo infantil (Child labor), no habia infringibo el
articulo V de la Constitucion, sobre enmiendas, y la Corte lo razona diciendo, con la vista delos
precedentes, que el referido articulo V habla de ratificacion y no de rechazamiento, y que, por
tanto, "el poderpara ratificar continua y persiste a pesar de un previo rechazamiento." De suerte que,
en realidad de verdad, no escierto que la Corte Suprema Federal declaro injusticiablela materia, pues
que mejor prueba de justiciabilidad que ese dictum categorico, positivo y terminante?
Sobre la proposicion de si el largo tiempo transcurrido entre el rechazamiento y la ratificacion unos
136 aos no habia tenido el efecto de dar caracter final a la repudiacion de la enmienda,
causando estado juridico definitivo, la Corte Suprema Federal fallo que no, es decir, declarovalida la
ratificacion no obstante dicho lapso de tiempo, aduciendo razones muy atinadas, entre ellas la de
que las condiciones de caracter moral, medico, social y economico que aconsejaban la prohibicion

del trabajo infantil en las fabricas eran tan validas y existentes, si no mas, cuandose sometio la
enmienda por primera vez para su ratificacion como 13 aos despues. Y luego la Corte cita
autoridades y precedentes en apoyo de su conclusion, entre ellosel caso tipico y decisivo de
Dillon vs.Glass (256 U.S., 368; 65 Law.ed., 994; 41 Sup.Ct., 510). En este caso la Cortedeclaro que
el Congreso, al proponer una enmienda a la Constitucion, pueded fijar un tiempo razonable para su
ratificacion, y sostuvo la accion del Congreso al disponer enla proyectada 18. Enmienda que la
misma seria ineficaza menos que se ratificase dentro de siete aos.
Ahora bien, en el caso de Coleman contra Miller ocurre todo lo contrario: el Congreso no habia fijado
ningun plazopara la ratificacion. En vista de esto, los recurrentes pretendian que la Corte supliera la
omision del Congreso declarandolo que era tiempo razonable, teniendo en cuentalos precedentes
judiciales y el precedente congresional de 7 aos ya sostenido en el caso citado de
Dillon contra Glass; y que desde luego el periodo de 13 aos era demasiado largo para ser
razonable. La Corte Suprema dijo que no, queno eran los tribunales los que debian fijar ese tiempo
razonable; que en esta cuestion entraban muchos factores denaturaleza varia y compleja
politicos, economicos y sociales que solo el Congreso estaba en condiciones de determinar ya
mediante la correspondiente legislacion como enel caso de la 18. Enmienda, ya en cada caso
concreto deratificacion al ejercer su control sobre la promulgacion de las enmiendas. Ahora bien,
pregunto: no es esto un dictum judicial? no es esto justiciar? no esta aqui la Corte Suprema
Federal sentandose en estrados y emitiendo judicialmente su opinion sobre una materia juridica y
constitucional sometida a su consideracion? En realidad, puede decirse que la unica cuestion que la
Corte ha dejado de resolver es la validez o nulidad del voto decisivo del Teniente Gobernador, por la
razon de que sobre este punto, segun se dice en la misma decision, la opinion del Tribunal estaba
igualmente dividida. Todas las demas cuestiones han sido enjuiciadas, resueltes, y esta accion dela
mayoria, asumiendo plena jurisdiccion sobre el caso y las materias en el discutidas, es lo que ha
motivado la disidencia de 4 Magistrados los Sres. Black, Roberts, Frankfurter y Douglas. En efecto,
estos disidentes no disimulansu desagrado al ver que la Corte asume en el caso,
siquier implicitamente, el poder de interpretacion judicial, y aunvan mas alla expresan un notorio
desencanto al ver que la Corte "trata el proceso enmendatorio provisto por la Constitucion, como
sujeto a interpretacion judicial en algunos respectos, y en otros sujeto a la autoridad final del
Congreso", y al ver tambien que en la decision "no hay desaprobacion de la conclusion establecida
en el asunto de Dillon contra Glass, de que la Constitucion requiere tacitamente que una enmienda
propiamente sometida debe darsepor muerta, a menos que se ratifique dentro de un tiempo
razonable." Es decir, los Magistrados disidentes esperaban que la Corte revocase y abrogase lo
hecho por ella en elcitado asunto de Dillo contra Glass en donde la Corte, envez de abstenerse de
conocer del caso por tratarse en el, segun los disidentes, de materia politica no-justiciable, ejercio
plena jurisdiccion sobre el mismo asumiendo supoder tradicional de interpretar la Constitucion y
declarando valida la lay del Congreso que fijaba un plazo de7 aos para la ratificacion de la 18.
Enmienda. No puedo resistir a la tentacion de reproducir las mismas palabrasde la disidencia: ellas,
mejor que todo lo que yo pueda decir, demuestran de modo inconcuso las irreconciliables diferencias
de criterio entre la mayoria, representada porel ilustre ponente Sr. Hughes, y los disidentes, pues
mientraspor un lado el ponente justicia decididamente el caso considerando, discutiendo y
resolviendo todas las cuestionesplanteadas, menos la cuestion del voto del Teniente Gobernador,
citando profusamente autoridades y precedentes, los disidentes, en su opinion, preconizan una
actitudde absoluta abstencion, de "manos fuera" (hands off), portratarse, segun ellos, de una materia
politica no-justiciable que cae exclusivamente bajo el control del Congreso. He aqui las palabras de
los disidentes:
. . . To the extent that the Court's opinion in the present case even impliedly assumes a power
to make judicial interpretation of the exclusive constitutional authority of Congress over
submission and ratification of amendments, we are unable to agree.

The State court below assumed jurisdiction to determine whether the proper procedure is
being followed between submission and final adoption. However, it is apparent that judicial
review of or pronouncements upon a supposed limitation of a "reasonable time" within which
Congress may accept ratification; as to whether duly authorized State officials have proceeded
properly in ratifying or voting for ratification; or whether a State may reverse its action once
taken upon a proposed amendment; and kindred questions,are all consistent only with an
ultimate control over the amending process in the courts. And this must inevitably embarrass
the course of amendment by subjecting to judicial interference matters that we believe were
intrusted by the Constitution solely to the political branch of government.
The Court here treats the amending process of the Constitution in some respects as subject to
judicial construction, in others as subject to the final authority of the Congress. There is no
disapproval of the conclusion arrived at in Dillon vs. Glass, that the Constitution impliedly
requires that a property submitted amendment must die unless ratified within a "reasonable
time." Nor does the Court now disapprove its prior assumption of power to make such a
pronouncement. And it is not made clear that only Congress has constitutional power to
determine if there is any such implication in article 5 of the Constitution. On the other hand, the
Court's opinion declares that Congress has the exclusive power to decide the political
questions of whether a State whose legislature has once acted upon a proposed amendment
may subsequently reverse its position, and whether in the circumstances of such a case as
this, an amendment is dead because an "unreasonable" time has elapsed. No such division
between the political and judicial branches of the government is made by article 5 which grants
power over the amending of the Constitution to Congress alone. Undivided control of that
process has been given by the article exclusively and completely to Congress. The process
itself is "political" in its entirety, from submission until an amendment becomes part of the
Constitution and is not subject to judicial guidance, control or interference at any point.
Since Congress has sole and complete control over the amending process, subject to no
judicial review, the views of any court upon this process cannot be binding upon Congress,
and in so far as Dillon vs. Glass attempts judicially to imposed a limitation upon the right of
Congress to determine final adoption of an amendment, it should be disapproved. . . .
(Coleman vs. Miller, 122 A.L.R., 695, 708, 709.)
La distribucion de los votos con relacion a las cuestiones planteadas en el referido asundo de
Coleman vs. Miller esalgun tanto confusa, como han podido notar los mismos comentaristas; asi que
necesita de alguna explicacion. Escierto que no suscriben la ponencia mas que 3 Magistrados, a
saber: el ponente Sr. Hughes y los Sres. Stone y Reed, pero en cuanto a la jurisdiccion plena que la
Corte asumio sobre el caso y la materia hay que aadir los votos de los Sres. McReynolds y Butler.
Estos dos ultimos no soloconcurrian implicitamente en la accion de la Corte al enjuiciarel caso, sino
que inclusive opinaban que debia concederse el recurso, esto es, que debia anularse la ratificacion
tardia de la Enmienda sobre Trabajo Infantil (Child Labor) hecha por la Legislatura de Kansas. De
modo queen cuanto al "issue" de la jurisdiccion, la justiciabilidad del caso, la votacion era de 5 contra
4 por la jurisdiccion,la justiciabilidad, el ponente Sr. Hughes, y los Magistrados Sres. Stone, Reed,
McReynolds y Butler; por la actitud de absoluta abstencion, de "manos fuera" (hands off), los
Magistrados Sres. Black, Frankfurter, Roberts y Douglas.
Repito lo dicho mas arriba: el caso de Coleman vs. Miller, en vez de ser una autoridad a favor de los
recurridos, juntamente con el caso de Dillon vs. Glass constituyen precedentes decisivos en la
jurisprudencia federal americana a favor de los recurrentes.
V

Pero si la jurisprudencia federal milita en favor de latesis de que tenemos jurisdiccion para enjuiciar y
decidirel presente caso, en el ejercicio de nuestras supremas funciones como interprete de la
Constitucion bajo el principio firmemente establecido de la supremacia judicial en asuntos
propiamente planteados sobre conflictos y transgresiones constitucionales, la jurisprudencia de los
Estados estodavia mas indubitable e inequivoca, mas terminante y decisiva. La importancia de esto
sube de punto si se tieneen cuenta que, mas que con el gobierno federal, nuestra analogia, nuestros
puntos de contacto en lo politico, constitucional y juridico es mas bien con los diferentes Estados de
la Union americana. Nuestro sistema de gobierna es unitario. Aqui nuestras provincias no son
Estados autonomos y semi-independientes como lo son los Estados americanos. Asi que la cedula,
la unidad politica mas semejante a la nuestra no es la federal, sino la estatal. Por eso si bienes cierto
que las constituciones de los Estados, como lanuestra, todas estan fundamentalmente calcadas en
el patron de la Constitucion federal, se vera que en ciertosrasgos caracteristicos del sistema unitario
nuestra Constitucionse aproxima evidentemente mas a las de los Estados que a la federal. Esa
semejanza es sobre todo notabilisimaen la parte que se refiere al proceso enmendatorio de la
Constitucion. Es que, en realidad, los Estados de la Union americana, para todos los efectos de la
vida interior, domestica, son practicamente naciones independientes; asi que nuestra evolucion,
nuestro transitode la condicion de Commonwealth a la de Republicas oberana e independiente si
bien nos distingue de ellos enel derecho internacional, ninguna diferencia, sin embargo, ha operado
en el campo constitucional, ora en la parte dogmatica de la Constitucion, ora en la parte organica. Y
la mejor prueba de esto es que con la independencia nohemos tenido necesidad de cambiar de
Constitucion: lamisma que nos servia cuando eramos simple Commonwealth, es decir, cuando
estabamos sujetos a la soberania americana, es la misma que nos sirve hoy cuando ya somos
Republic; y no cabe duda de que nos serviria perfectamente bien si no la tuvieramos asendereada y
malparada en nuestras pecaadoras manos con repetidas violaciones, confrecuentes asaltos contra
su integridad . . ..
Ahora bien; sin petulancia se puede retar a cualquieraa que seale un caso, un solo caso en la
jurisprudencia de los Estados de la Union americana en que los tribunales de justicia se hayan
negado a conocer y enjuiciaruna violacion constitucional semejante a la que nos ocupapor la razon
de que se trataba de una cuestion politica no-justiciable. No hay absolutamente ninguno; por esoque
los recurridos, a pesar de las pacientes y laboriosas investigaciones que denota su habil y
concienzudo alegato, no han podido citar ni un solo caso.
En cambio, los tomos de jurisprudencia de various Estados dan cuenta de casos indenticosd al que
nos ocupa y entodos ellos se ha declarado invariablemente que la violacion de la Constitucion en lo
que se refiere al precepto que regula el proceso de la enmiendas a la Ley organica esuna cuestion
judicial, y ninguna Corte Suprema de Estados e ha lavado jamas las manos bajo la teoria de la
separacion de poderes. Es mas: creo que in siquiera seha planteado seriamente la objecion fundada
en el argumentod e la injusticiabilidad.
Para no alargar demasiado esta disidencia no voy a citarmas que algunos casos los mas conocidos y
representativos, tomados de la jurisprudencia de algunos Estados, a saber: Florida, Minnesota,
Georgia e Indiana. De la Corte Suprema de Florida tenemos dos casos: el de Crawford vs .Gilchrist y
el de Gray vs. Childs.
En el asunto de Crawford vs. Gilchrist (64 Fla., 41; 59 So., 963l Ann. Cas., 1914B, 916), se trataba
de una accionde prohibicion interpuesta por el Gobernador del Estado, Albert W. Gilchrist, contra el
Secretario de Estado, H. Clay Crawford, para impedir que cierta propuesta enmiendaa la
Constitucion se publicara y se sometiera al electorado en un plebiscito para su ratificacion o
rechazamiento. Esdecir, lo mismo de que se trate en el case que tenemos antenosotros. La
enmienda habia sido aprobada por la Camarade Representantes de Florida con el voto necesario y
constitucional de tres quintas (3/5), y fue enviada al Senado para su concurrencia. El Senado

tambien la aprobo conel voto de tres quintos, pero esta votacion fue reconsiderada posteriormente.
Asi estaba el asunto, pendiente de reconsideracion cuando se clausuro la Legislatura. Despues, sin
embargo, diose por aprobada la propuesta enmienday el Secretario de Estado trato de dar los pasos
parasu publicacion y ratificacion plebiscitaria. De ahi la accionde interdicto prohibitorio, fundada en la
alegacion de quela enmienda no habia sido aprobada debidamente por la Legislatura de acuerdo con
los metodos prescritos en la Constitucion de Florida. Igual que en el presente casetambien hubo alli
una batalla forense colosal, con untremendo despliegue de habilidad y talento por cada lado. El
ponente no se recata en alabar el esfuerzo de las partesy dice: ". . . we think the parties to this
litigationare to be commended, both for taking the proceedings that have brought these unsual
questions before the court for determination and for the great ability with which their counsel have
presented them to this court."
Se lavo las manos la Corte Suprema de Florida declarandose incompetente para conocer del
asunto por la razonde que se trataba de una cuestion politica y, por tanto, nojusticiable? De ninguna
manera. La Corte asumio resueltamente su responsabilidad y poder tradicional de interpretarla
Constitucion y fallo el asunto en su fondo, declarando que la cuestion era propiamente judicial y que
laenmienda constitucional propuesta no se habia aprobada deconformidad con los requisitos
establecidos por la Constitucionpara el proceso y tramitacion de la enmiendas. Por tanto, se denego
la peticion de supersedeas interpuestapor el recurrido para enervar el recurso; es decir, al
recurrentegano su inusitado e historico pleito. Y las esferas politicas de Florida no se desorbitaron
por esta decisivaderrota de la teoria de la separacion de poderes. Vale la pena reproducir algunar de
las doctrinas sentadas en elasunto, a saber:
Constitutional Law Power of Courts to Determine Validity of Action by Legislature in
Proposing Constitutional Amendment.
A determination of whether an amendment to the constitution has been validly proposed and
agreed to by the Legislature is to be had in a judicial forum where the constitution provides no
other means for such determination.
Injunction Subject of Relief Act of Secretary of State in Certifying Proposed
Amendments.
The act of the secretary of state in publishing and certifying to the country commissioners
proposed amendments to the constitution is in its nature ministerial, involving the exercise of
no discretion, and if the act is illegal it may be enjoined in appropriate proceedings by proper
parties, there being no other adequate remedy afforded by law.
Injunction Governor as Complainant, Secretary of State as Defendant.
The governor of the state, suing as such, and also as a citizen, taxpayer, and elector, is a
proper complainant in proceedings brought to enjoin the secretary of state from publishing at
public expense and certifying proposed amendments to the constitution upon the ground that
such proposed amendments are invalid because they have not been duly "agreed to by threefifths of all the members elected to each house" of the legislature.
Amendments to Constitution Effect of Ignoring Mandatory Provisions of Constitution.
If essential mandatory provisions of the organic law are ignored in amending the constitution, it
violates the right of all the people of the state to government regulated by law.
Duty of Court to Enforce Constitution.

It is the duty of the courts in authorized proceedings to give effect to the existing constitution.
Mandatory Provisions of Constitutions as to Manner of Amending Constitution.
The provision of the organic law requiring proposed amendments of the constitution to "be
agreed to by three-fifths of all the members elected to each house" of the legislature is
mandatory, and it clearly contemplates that such amendments shall be agreed to by the
deliberate, final, affirmative vote of the requisite number of the numbers of each house at a
regular session.
Construction of Constitution to Give Intended Effect Mandatory Character of Provisions.
Every word of a state constitution should be given its intended meaning and effect, and
essential provisions of a constitution are to be regarded as being mandatory. (Crawford vs.
Gilchrist, Ann. Cas., 1914 B, pp. 916, 917.)
El asunto de Crawford vs. Gilchrist se decidio en 1912. Enm 1934 otro asunto constitucional
importante, el de Gray contra Childs, se decidio en virtud de la autoridad y sentencia dictada en dicho
asunto de Crawford.
En el caso citado de Gray contra Childs (156 So. Rep., 274; Fla.), tambien se trataba de una
demanda de prohibicion para impedir la publicacion de una propuesta enmienda constitucional que
iba a ser sometida al electorado de Florida para su ratificacion o rechazamiento en una eleccion
general o plebiscito fijado para Noviembre, 1934. La enmienda habia sido aprobada por la Camara
de Representantes con el voto de tres quintos (3/5), pero en el Senado hubo cierta confusion acerca
del texto finalmente aprobado. La Legislatura, antes de clausurarse aprobo unafs resolucion conjunta
autotizando a ciertos oficiales de las Camaras para que despues de la clausura hiciesen ciertas
correciones enlas actas y en el diario de sesiones a fin de formar la verdaderahistoria de los
procedimientos y compulsar el textode la enmienda tal como habia sido aprobada. Se alegabaen la
demanda que esto era ilegal y anticonstitucional. Eltribunal de circuito estimo el recurso de
prohibicion. Elevado el asunto en apelacion para ante la Corte Suprema del Estado, la misma
confirmo la sentencia apelada concediendo el interdicto prohibitorio. Hed aqui los pronunciamientos
de la Corte que parecen estereotipados para el caso que nos ocupa, a saber:
(4,5) Section 1 of article 17 of our Constitution provides the method by which the Constitution
may be amended. It requires that a proposed amendment shall be entered upon the respective
Journals of the House of Representatives and of the Senate with the yeas and nays showing
a three-fifths vote in favor of such amendment by each House. The proposed amendment here
under consideration nowhere appears upon the Journals of the Senate, and therefore it is
unnecessary for us to consider any other questions presented or any authorities cited.
The amendment of the organic law of the state or nation is not a thing to be lightly undertaken
not to be accomplished in a haphazard manner. It is a serious thing. When an amendment is
adopted, it becomes a part of the fundamental law of the land, and it may mean the weal or
woe of the future generations of the state wherein it becomes a part of the fundamental law.
We cannot say that the strict requirements pertaining to amendments may be waived in favor
of a good amendment and invoked as against a bad amendment. If the Constitution may be
amended in one respect without the amendment being spread upon the Journals of one of the
respective House of the Legislature, then it may be ameqnded in any other respect in the
same manner. It is not for the courts to determine what is a wise proposed amendment or what
is an unwise one. With the wisdom of the policy the courts have nothing to do. But it is the duty

of the courts, when called upon so to do, to determine whether or not the procedure attempted
to be adopted is that which is required by the terms of the organic law.
Finding that the organic law has not been complied with, as above pointed out, the decree
appealed from should be, and the same is hereby, affirmed on authority of the opinion and
judgment in the case of Crawford vs. Gilchrist, 64 Fla., 41; 59 So., 953; Ann. Cas., 1914B,
9156. (Gray vs. Childs, 156 Southern Reporter, pp. 274, 279.)
Note se que la clausula sobre enmiendas en la Constitucion de Florida es semejante a la nuestra, a
saber: (1) la propuesta enmienda tiene que ser aprobada por la Legislatura, en Florida con el voto de
tres quintos (3/5) de los miembros, en Filipinas con el voto de tres cuartos (3/4); (2) los sies y los nos
tienen que hacersesd constar en el diario de sesiones (Articulo VI, seccion 10, inciso 4; seccion 20,
inciso 1, Constitucion de Filipinas); (3) despues de aprobada la enmienda por la Legislatura se
somete al electorado en una eleccion o plebiscito, para su ratificacion orechazamiento.
El procedimiento sobre enmiendas prescrito en la Constitucion federal americana es diferente, a
saber: el Congreso puede proponer la enmienda bien (1) mediante la aprobacion de dos tercios (2/3)
de sus miembros; bien (2) mediante una convencion que se convocara al efecto apeticion de las
Legislaturas de dos tercios (2/3) de los diferentes Estados. En cualquiera de ambos casos la
enmiendasera valida para todos los efectos y fines comoparte de la Constitucion siempre que fuera
ratificada porlas Legislaturas de tres cuartos (3/4) de los Estados, o porconvenciones de tres cuartaspartes de los mismos, segun que uno u otro modo de ratificacion hubiera sido propuestopor el
Congreso.
Esta diferencia de procedimientos es la que, segun digomas arriba, me inclina a sostener que la
jurisprudencia constitucional propiamente aplicable a Filipinas es la jurisprudencia de los Estados,
puesto que es con estos con los cuales tenemos analogia o paridad constitucional en lo que toca a la
forma y manera como se puede reformar la Constitucion.
Seguire ahora citando mas casos.
Tenemos un caso de Minnesota, identico a los ya citados de Florida. En el asunto de In
re McConaughy (106 Minn., 392; 119 N.W., 408), tambin se suscito la cuestion de si una propuesta
enmienda constitucional habia sido aprobada de acuerdo con los requisitos sealados en la
Constitucion de Minnesota. Alli como aqui tambien hubo disputa sobre si esto era una cuestion
judicial o una cuestion politica no justiciable. La Corte Suprema deaquel Estado declaro sin ambajes
que era una cuestion judicial. He aqui sus palabras que no tienen desperdicio:
The authorities are thus practically uniform in holding that whether a constitutional amendment
has been properly adopted according to the requirements of an existing constitution is a
judicial question. There can be little doubt that the consensus of judicial opinion is to the effect
that it is the absolute duty of the judiciary to determine whether the constitution has been
amended in the manner required by the constitution, unless a special tribunal has been
created to determine the question; and even then many of the courts hold that the tribunal
cannot be permitted to illegally amend the organic law. There is some authority for the view
that when the constitution itself creates a special tribunal, and confides to it the exclusive
power to canvass votes and declare the results, and makes the amendment a part of the
constitution as a result of such declaration by proclamation or otherwise, the action of such
tribunal is final and conclusive. It may be conceded that this is true when it clearly appears that
such was the intention of the people when they adopted the constitution. The right to provide a
special tribunal is not open to question; but it is very certain that the people of Minnesota have
not done so, and this fact alone eliminates such cases as Worman vs.Hagan, 78 Md., 152; 27

Atl., 616; 21 L. R. A., 716, and Miles vs. Badford, 22 Md., 170; 85 Am. Dec., 643, as authorities
against the jurisdiction of the courts. (In re McConaughy, 106 Minn., 392; 119 N. W., 408.)
Tambien tenemos un caso de Georgia. En el asunto de Hammond vs. Clark (136 Ga., 313; 71 S.E.,
479; 38 L.R.A.[N.S.], 77), se suscito igualmente una disputa sobre siuna enmienda habia sido
aprobada de acuerdo con los requisitos de la Constitucion era una cuestion judicial o no. La Corte
Suprema de aquel Estado declaro afirmativamente. He aqui su inequivoca pronunciamiento:
Counsel for plaintiff in error contended that the proclamation of the governor declaring that the
amendment was adopted was conclusive, and that the courts could not inquire into the
question. To this contention we cannot assent. The constitution is the supreme state law. It
provides how it may be amended. It makes no provision for exclusive determination by the
governor as to whether an amendment has been made in the constitutional method, and for
the issuance by him of a binding proclamation to that effect. Such a proclamation may be both
useful and proper, in order to inform the people whether or not a change has been made in the
fundamental law; but the constitution did not make it conclusive on that subject. When the
constitution was submitted for ratification as a whole, a provision was made for a proclamation
of the result by the governor. Const. art. 13, section 2, par. 2 (Civ. Code 1910, section 6613).
But in reference to amendment there is no such provision. Const. article 13, section 1, par. 1
(Civ. Code 1910, section 6610). In the absence of some other exclusive method of
determination provided by the constitution, the weight of authority is to the effect that whether
an amendment has been properly adopted according to the requirements of the existing
constitution is a judicial question. (Hammond vs. Clark, 136 Ga., 313; 71 S.E., 479;38 L.R.A.
[N.S.], 77.)
Tambien tenemos el siguiente case de Indiana:
(1) In the beginning we are confronted with the contention on the part of appellees that this
court has no jurisdiction to determine the questions in issue here. In the case of
Ellingham vs. Dye, 178 Ind., 336, 391; 99 N.E., 1, 21 (Ann. Cas. 1915C, 200), this court, after
reviewing many decisions as to the power of the courts to determine similar questions, sums
up the whole matter as follows:
"Whether legislative action is void for want of power in that body, or because the constitutional
forms of conditions have not been followed or have been violated (emphasis supplied) may
become a judicial question, and upon the courts the inevasible duty to determine it falls. And
so the power resides in the courts, and they have, with practical uniformity, exercised the
authority to determine the validity of the proposal, submission, or ratification of change in the
organic law. Such is the rule in this state" citing more than 40 decisions of this and other
states.
(2) Appellees further contend that appellant has not made out a case entitling him to equitable
relief. The trial court found that the officers of the state, who were instructed with the execution
of the law, were about to expend more than $500,000 under the law, in carrying out its
provisions; indeed, it was suggested, in the course of the oral argument, that the necessary
expenditures would amount to more than $2,000,000. This court, in the case of
Ellingham vs. Dye, supra, involving the submission to the people of the Constitution prepared
by the Legislature, answered this same question contrary to the contention of
appellees. Seepages 413 and 414 of that opinion. (186 Ind., 533; Bennett vs. Jackson, North
Eastern Reporter, Vol. 116, pp. 921, 922.)

Creo que la posicion de la jurisprudencia americana tanto federal como de Estado sobre este punto,
esto es, cuandoes judicial la cuestion y cuando no lo es, se halla bien definida en el tomo 12 del
Corpus Juris, en la parte que llevael encabezamiento de "Constitutional Law" y bajo el subepigrafe
que dice: "Adoption of Constitution and Amendments" (12 Corpus Juris, 880, 881). Es un
compendiocuidados amente elaborado en que se da un extracto de la doctrina con las citas sobre
autoridades al pie. Reproducire el compendio, pero omitiendo las citas para no alargar demasiado
esta disidencia: el que desee comprobarlas no tienemas que consultar el tomo. En realidad, leyendo
este extracto se ve que parece un resumen del extenso analisis que llevo hecho sobre la doctrina
tanto federal como estatal. Su meollo es, a saber: la cuestion de si o no una nueva constitucion se ha
adoptado la tienen que decidir los departamentos politicos del gobierno; pero la cuestion de si una
enmienda a una constitucion existente ha sido debidamente propuesta, adoptada y ratificada de
acuerdo con los requisitos provistos por la Constitucion, para que vengaa ser parte de la misma, es
una cuestion que los tribunales de justicia tienen que determinar y resolver, excepto cuandola
materia ha sido referida por la Constitucion a un tribunale special con poder para llegar una
conclusion final. He aqui el sinopsis:
SEC. 382. b. Adoption of Constitution and Amendments. Whether or not a new constitution
has been adopted is a question to be decided by the political departments of the government.
But whether an amendment to the existing constitution has been duly proposed, adopted, and
ratified in the manner required by the constitution, as as to become part thereof, is a question
for the courts to determine, except where the matter has been committed by the constitution to
a special tribunal with power to make a conclusive determination, as where the governor is
vested with the sole right and duty of ascertaining and declaring the result, in which case the
courts have no jurisdiction to revise his decision. But it must be made clearly to appear that the
constitution has been violated before the court is warranted in interfering. In any event,
whether an entire constitution is involved, or merely an amendment, the federal courts will not
attempt to pass on the legality of such constitution or amendment where its validity has been
recognized by the political departments of the state government, and acquiesced in by the
state judiciary. (12 C.J., pp. 880, 881.)
VI
Otra razon que aduce la mayoria para desestimar el recusro es que la copia impresa de la resolucion
en cuestionaparece certificada por los presidentes de ambas Camaras del Congreso; que en esa
certificacion consta que dicha resolucion fue debidamente aprobada por el Congreso conlos votos de
las tres quintas-partes (3/5) de sus miembros; que, por tanto, la debida aprobacion de dicha
resolucion nose puede cuestionar, es una prueba concluyente para todoel mundo y para los
tribunales de justicia particularmente. Este argumento se funda en la doctrina inglesa llamada
"enrolled act doctrine," cuya traduccion mas aproximada al espaol es "doctrina de la ley impresa."
Esto, por unlado.
Por otro lado, la representacion de los recurrentes arguye que lo que rige y prevaleced en esta
jurisdiccion noes la doctrina inglesa o "enrolled act doctrine," sino ladoctrina americana que se
conoce con el nombre de "journalentry doctrine," en virtud de la cual la prueba de siuna ley o una
resolucion ha sido debidamente aprobadapor el Congreso debe buscarse en el diario de sesiones
mismo del Congreso. Lo que diga el diario de sesiones esconcluyente y final.
Los recurrentes tienen la razon de su parte. Este punto legal ya se resolvio por esta Corte en la
causa de los Estados Unidos contra Pons (34 Jur. Fil., 772), que ambaspartes discuten en sus
respectivos informes. Una de las defensas del acusado era que la Ley No. 2381 de la Legislatura
Filipina en virtud de la cual habia sido condenado era nula e ilegal porque so aprobo despues ya del
cierrede las sesiones especiales que tuvo lugar el 28 de Febrero de 1914, a las 12 de la noche; es

decir, que, en realidad de verdad, la aprobacion se efectuo el 1. de Marzo, puesla sesion sine
die del dia anterior se prolongo mediante una ficcion haciendose parar las manecillas del reloj a las
12 en punto de la noche. Esta Corte, sin necesidad deninguna otra prueba, examino el diario de
sesiones correspondientea la referida fecha 28 de Febrero, y habiendo hallado que alli constaba
inequivocamente haberse aprobadola mencionada ley en tal fecha, fallo que esta pruebaera final y
concluyente para las partes, para los tribunales y para todo el mundo. La Corte desatendio por
completoel "enrolled act," la copia impresa de la ley, pues dijo, asaber: "Pasando por alto la cuestion
relativa as si la Ley Impresa (Ley No. 2381), que fue aprobada por autorizacion legal, constituye
prueba concluyente sobre la fecha desu aprobacion, investigaremos si los Tribunales pueden
consultar otras fuestes de informacion, ademas de los diarios de las sesiones legislativas, para
determinar la fecha enque se cerraron las sesiones de la Legislatura, cuando talesdiarios son claros
y explicitos." Y la Corte dijo que nohabia necesidad de consultar otras fuestes, que el diario de
sesiones era terminante, definitivo; y asi fallo la causaen contra del apelante.
Y no era extrao que asi ocurriese: habia en la Corte una mayoria americana, familiarizada y
compenetrada naturalmente con la jurisprudencia pertinente de su pais Quede extrano habia, por
tanto, que aplicasen la doctrina americana, la doctrina del "journal entry," que es mas democratica,
mas republicana, en vez de la doctrina inglesa, el "enrolled act doctrine," que despues de todo tiene
ciertotinte monarquico, producto del caracter peculiar e influencia tradicionalista de las instituciones
inglesas? (Vease Rash vs. Allen, 76 Atl. Rep., 371; Del.) Firman, como se sabe, la decision el
ponente Sr. Trent, y los Magistrados Sres. Torres, Johnson, Moreland y Araullo, sin mingun
disidente.Y notese que cuando se promulgo esta sentencia todavia estaba en vigor el articulo 313 del
Codigo de Procedimiento Civil, tal como estaba reformado por la Ley No. 2210. que entre otras
cosas proveia lo siguiente: ". . . Entendiendose, que en el caso de las Leyes de la Comisionde
Filipinas o de la Legislatura Filipina, cuando existeuna copia firmada por los Presidentes y los
secretarios de dichos cuerpos, sera prueba concluyente de las dispociones de la ley en cuestion y de
la debida aprobacion delas mismas." Que mejor prueba de la voluntad expresa, categorica, de
hacer prevalecer la doctrina americana sobrela doctrina inglesa? Lo mas comodo para esta
Cortehubiera sido aplicar el citado articulo 313 del Codigo de Procedimiento Civil. No lo hizo, paso
por alto sobreel mismo, yendo directamente al diario de sesiones dela Legislatura, tomando
conocimiento judicial del mismo. Si aqui hay algun respeto a la regla del stare decisis, estaes una
magnifica ocasion para demostrarlo. Una regla bien establecida no ha de abrogarse asi como asi;
sobretodo cuando de por medio anda la Constitucion como enel presente caso en que se ha
formulado ante nosotros la queja de que la ley fundamental ha sido violada en unrespecto muy
importante como es el capitulo sobre enmiendas, y la queja no solo no es temeraria sino que se
hallaapoyada en buenas y solidas razones.
Mas todavia: cuando se establecio la doctrina en lacitada causa de los Estados Unidos contra Pons
(1916, Agosto 12) adoptando en esta jurisdiccion la doctrina americana del "journal entry" en lugar de
la inglesa del "enrolled act," en nuestra Ley Organica que, por cierto, no era aun la Ley Jones sino la
Ley del Congreso de 1902, no habia ninguna disposicion que proveyera mandatoriamente que en el
diario de sesiones de la Legislatura sehiciesen constar los sies y los nos en la votacion de cualquier
proyecto de ley o resolucion, consignando especifica mentelos nombres de los miembros que hayan
votado enpro y en contra, ni tampoco habia ninguna disposicione statutoria a dicho efecto. De modo
que en aquella epoca el diario de sesiones de la Legislatura carecia aun de las fuertes garantias de
veracidad que ahora posee en virtud de esa disposicion que hace obligatoria la constancia
oconsignacion de los sies y nos, disposicion incorporada enla Constitucion del Commonwealth,
ahora de la Republica. (Vease Constitucion de Filipinas, Articulo VI, seccion 10, inciso 4; seccion 20,
incico 1; seccion 21, inciso 2.)
Sobre la derogacion del articulo 313 del Codigo de Procedimiento Civil no puede haber duda. Ese
articulo, que equivale a una regla de prueba, no se ha incorporado enel Reglamento de los

Tribunales. No tratandose de una regla fundada en un principio general y unanimemente establecido,


sino de algo peculiar aislado, acerca del cuallas autoridades estan divididas, con una mayoria de los
Estados de la Union americana decididamente en contra, suno inclusion en el Reglamento de los
Tribunales tiene queconsiderarse necesariamente como una derogacion. Indudablemente esta Corte,
al no incluir dicho articulo en el Reglamento de los Tribunales, ha querido derogarlo en vistade los
resuelto en la citada causa de Estados Unidos contraPons y de la novisima disposicion insertada en
la Constitucion del Commonwealth, ahora de la Republica, que exige la consignacion en el diario de
sesiones de los sies y nos en cada votacion final de proyecto de ley o resolucion conjunta, con
especificacion de los nombres de los que hasvotado.
Resulta evidente de lo expuesto que ahora existen masrazones para reafirmar en esta jurisdiccion la
doctrina americana del "journal entry" o "constancia en el diario desesiones" (1) porque el citado
seccion 313 del Codigo de Procedimiento Civil ya no rige con la vigencia del Reglamento de los
Tribunales; (2) porque esa disposicion denuestra Constitucion que hace obligatoria la consignacion
de los sies y nos en la votacion de cada bill o resolucion, con especificacion de los nombres de los
que hayan votado enfavor y en contra, hace del diario de sesiones la mejor prueba sobre
autenticidad de los actos legislativos y es, porconsiguiente, la ley sobre la materia en este pais, con
entera exclusion de la doctrina inglesa o "enrolled act doctrine."Las autoridades americanas son
contestes en que siempreque en un Estado de la Union Federal la Constitucioncontiene una
disposicion semejante a la nuestra sobre sies y nos la regla de prueba no es la copia impresa de la
leyo "enrolled act," sino el "journal entry" o constancia enel diario de sesiones.
(Vease Rash vs. Allen, supra.)
Aqui se podria dar por terminada toda discusion sobre este punto si no fuera porque los abogados de
los recurridos arguyen fuertemente en favor de la doctrina de la copia impresa o "enrolled act
doctrine," y la mayoria de esta Corte acepta sus argumentos. Se cita, sobre todo, el asunto federal
de Field vs. Clark en apoyo de la doctrina.
He examinado la jurisprudencia americana sobre este particular con toda la diligencia de que he sido
capaz y he llegado a la conclusion de que nuestros predecesores enesta Corte merecen todo
encomio por su indubitable aciertoal adoptar en esta jurisdiccion, en la causa de los Estados
Unidos contra Pons, supra, la doctrina americana del "journal entry" o constancia en el diario de
sesiones legislativas. No cabe duda de que esta doctrina es mas democratica, mas liberal, y tambien
mas humana y mas concorde con la realidad. La doctrina inglesa del "enrolled act" ocopia impresa
de la ley esta basada en el derecho comun y se adopto en Inglaterra donde, como se sabe, no hay
constitucion escrita y la forma de gobierno es monarquica,y se adopto en un tiempo en que el poder
del Parlamento que era tambien el mas alto tribunal de justicia, era absoluto y transcendente y las
restricciones sobre el mismo eran muy ligeras. Por eso un tribunal americano ha dicho: "Because
such a rule obtains as to the Parliament of Great Britain, under a monarchial form of government, that
cannot be regarded as a very potent reason for its application in this state, where the will of the
sovereign power hasbeen declared in the organic act." (Vease Rash vs. Allen, supra, pag. 379; cito
con frecuencia este asunto famoso de Delaware porque es en el mismo donde he hallado una
discusion mas acabada y comprensiva sobre ambas doctrinas: la americana del "journal entry" y la
inglesa del "enrolled act.")
Es indudable que el sesgo de la jurisprudencia americana hoy en dia es a favor de la doctrina del
"journal entry." Lo resuelto en el asunto federal de Field contra Clark, enque tanto enfasis ponen los
recurridos, no ha hecho mas que fortalecer ese giro, pues en dicho asunto va en vuelta lainferencia
de que cuando la Constitucion establece ciertos requisitos para la aprobacion de una ley o
resolucion, conla consignacion de los sies y nos y los nombres de los que han votado afirmativa y
negativamente, el diario de sesioneses el que rige y prevalece como modo e instrumento de
autenticacion. Por eso que en el asunto tipico y representativode Union Bank vs.Commissioners of

Oxford (199 N.C., 214; 25 S.E., 966; 34 L.R.A., 487), la Corte Supremade North Carolina ha
declarado lo siguiente.
According to the law it is well settled in nearly 100 well-adjudicated cases in the courts of last
resort in 30 states, and also by the Supreme Court of the United States, that when a state
Constitution prescribes such formalities in the enactment of laws as require a record of
the yeas and nays on the legislative journals,these journals are conclusive as against not only
a printed statute, published by authority of law, but alsoagainst a duly enrolled act. The
following is a list of the authorities, in number 93, sustaining this view either directly or by very
close analogy. . . . It is believed that no federal or state authority can be found in conflict with
them.
Decisions can be found, as, for instance, Carr. vs. Coke (116 N.C., 223; 22 S.E. 16; 28 L.R.A.,
737; 47 Am. St. Rep., 801, supra, to the effect that, where the Constitution contains no
provision requiring entries on the journal of particular matters such, for example, as calles of
the yeas and nays on a measure in question the enrolled act cannot, in such case, be
impeached by the journals. That, however, is very different proposition from the one involved
here, and the distinction is adverted to in Field vs. Clark, 143 U.S., 671 (12 Sup. Ct., 495; 36
Law. ed., 294. (Rash vs. Allen, 76 Atl. Rep., p. 377.)
Y en el asunto de Ottawa vs. Perkins la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos ha dicho lo siguiente:
But the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of South Ottawa vs. Perkins, 94 U.S.,
260; 24 Law., ed., 154, on appeal from the United States court for the Northern district of
Illinois (Mr. Justice Bradley delivering the opinion), said: "When once it became the settled
construction of the Constitution of Illinois that no act can be deemed a valid law, unless by the
journals of the Legislature it appears to have been regularly passed by both houses, it became
the duty of the courts to take judicial notice of the journal entries in that regard. The courts of
Illinois may decline to take that trouble, unless parties bring the matter to their attention, but on
general principles the question as to the existence of a law is a judicial one and must be so
regarded by the courts of the United States." (Rash vs. Allen, 76 Atl. Rep., p. 387.)
Se dice que el interest publico exige que el "enrolled act" o copia impresa de la ley firmada por los
Presidentes deambas Camaras del Congreso de declare concluyente y final, porque de otra manera
habria caos, confusion: cualquierase creeria con derecho a atacar la validez de una ley o resolucion,
impugnando la autenticidad de su aprobacion ode su texto. Pero esto pone en orden las siguientes
preguntas que se contestan por si mismas: ?no es el diariode sesiones un documento constitucional,
exigido por la Constitucion que se lleve por las dos camaras del Congreso, controlado y supervisado
por dichas camaras y por los oficiales de las mismas? que mejor garantia de autenticidad, contra la
falsificacion, que ese requerimiento constitucional de consignar obligatoriamente en el diario, en la
votacionde todo bill o resolucion, los sies y los nos, y haciendoconstar los nombres tanto afirmativos
como negativos? se ha producido por ventura caos y confusion en los Estados americanos que han
adoptado esta regla y que, segun admiten los mismos recurridos, forman una decisiva mayoria? se
acaso posible concebir que el sentido americano, tan practico, tan utilitario, tan, realista, optase
poruna regla que fuese origen de caos y confusion? Prescindiendo ya de la jurisprudencia que, ya
hemos visto, estadecididamente inclinada a favor de la doctrina americana del "journal entry" ?que
dicen los tratadistas mas autorizados, los de nombradia bien establecida, y sobre todolos
especialistas en derecho constitucional?
El Juez Cooley, en su celebrada obra sobre Constitutional Limitations, 7th ed., 193, dice lo siguiente
a favor del "journal entry rule":

Judge Cooley in his work on Constitutional Limitations (7th Ed., 193), says: "Each house keeps
a journal of its proceedings which is a public record, and of which the courts are at liberty to
take judicial notice. If it would appear from these journals that any act did not receive the
requisite majority, or that in respect to it the Legislature did not follow any requirement of the
Constitution or that in any other respect the act was not constitutionally adopted, the courts
may act upon this evidence, and adjudge the statute void. But whenever it is acting in apparent
performance of legal functions, every reasonable presumption is to be made in favor of the
action of a legislative body. It will not be presumed in any case, from the mere silence of the
journals, that either house has exceeded its authority, or disregarded a constitutional
requirement in the passage of legislative acts, unless when the Constitution has expressly
required the journals to show the action taken, as, for instance, where it requires the yeas and
nays to be entered."
Sutherland, en su tambien celebrada obra sobre Statutory Construction, seccion 46 y siguientes,
tambien sedeclara a favofr del "journal entry rule" con el siguiente pronunciamiento:
The presumption is that an act properly authenticated was regularly passed, unless there is
evidence of which the courts take judicial notice showing the contrary. The journals are
records, and, in all respects touching proceedings under the mandatory provisions of the
Constitution, will be effected to impeach and avoid the acts recorded as laws and duly
authenticated, if the journals affirmatively show that these provisions have been disregarded. .
. . The journals by being required by the Constitution or laws, are record . . ..
When required, as is extensively the case in this country, by a paramount law, for the obvious
purpose of showing how the mandatory provisions of that law have been followed in the
methods and forms of legislation, they are thus made records in dignity, and are of great
importance. The legislative acts regularly authenticated are also records. The acts passed,
duly authenticated, and such journals are parallel records; but the latter are superior, when
explicit and conflicting with the other, for the acts authenticated speak decisively only when the
journals are silent, and not even then as to particulars required to be entered therein.
(Rash vs. Allen, 76 Atl. Rep., p. 378.)
Desde luego la opinion de Wigmore, en que se apoya la mayoria, merece toda clase de respetos.
Pero creo no seme tachara de parcial ni ligero si digo que sobre el punto constitucional que estamos
discutiendo, me inclino mas y doy mayor peso a la opinion del Juez Cooley y de Sutherland, por
razones obvias. Wigmore nunca pretendio serespecialista en derecho constitucional. Con mucho tino
elponente en el tantas veces citado asunto de Rash contra Allen dice lo siguiente de la opinion del
celebrado constitucionalista:
We have quoted Judge Cooley's language because of the great respect that his opinions
always command, and also because of the fact that it is upon the authority of his opinion
that many of the decisions in support of the American rule have been based. (Rash vs. Allen,
76 Atl. Rep., p. 378.)
Un detenido y minucioso examen de la jurisprudencia y de los tratados sobre el particular lleva a uno
al convencimiento de que la tendencia actual en America es a tomar la substancia, el fondo mismo
de las cosas en vez de la simpleforma, el caparazon, a prescindir del artificio, de la ficcion legal, para
ir a la realidad misma. Y no cabe duda deque el "enrolled act" se presta a veces a tener mas apoyo
en el artificio y ficcion legal, mientras que el diario desesiones, con las fuertes garantias de
autenticidad como las que se proveen en nuestra Constitucion y en Constituciones similares
americanas, reproduce y refleja la realidad de los hechos relativamente con mas exactitud y
fidelidad. Tomemos como ejemplo el presente caso. La copia impresade la resolucion cuestionada,

firmada por los Presidentes de ambas Camaras del Congreso, reza que la misma fueaprobada
debidamente con los votos de las tres cuartas-partes (3/4) del Congreso, pero esto no es mas que
unaopinion, una conclusion legal de los presidentes, pues noconsta en dicha copia impresa el
numero concreto de votos emitidos, ni el numero concreto de la totalidad de miembros actuales de
cada camara. Tampoco constan en dichacopia impresa, tal como manda la Constitucion, los sies y
nos de la votacion, con los nombres de los que votaron afirmativa y negativamente. Asi que, con solo
esa copiaimpresa a la vista, no podemos resolver la importantisima cuestion constitucional que
plantean los recurrentes, a saber: que la votacion fue anticonstitucional; que arbitrariamente fueron
excluidos de la votacion 11 miembros debidamente cualificados del Congreso 3 Senadores y 8
Representantes; que, por virtud de la exclusion ilegal y arbitraria de estos 11 miembros, el numero
de votos emitidosen cada camara a favor de la resolucion no llegani constituye las tres cuartaspartes (3/4) que requiere la Constitucion; y que, por tanto, la resolucion es ilegal, anti-constitucional y
nula. Para resolver estas cuestiones, todastremendas, todas transcedentales, no hay mas remedio
queir al fondo, a las entraas de la realidad, y todo ello no sepuede hallar en el "enrolled act," en la
copia impresa dela ley, que es incolora, muda sobre el particular, sino enel diario de sesiones donde
con profusion se dan tales detalles. No es verdad que todo esto demuestra graficamentela
evidente, abrumadora superioridad del "journalentry" sobre el "enrolled act," como medio de prueba?
Mi conclusion, pues, sobre este punto es que el giro dela legislacion jurisprudencia en los diferentes
Estados de la Union es decididamente en favor de la doctrina americana del "journal entry"; que en
Filipinas desde 1916 en que se promulgo la sentencia en la causa de Estados Unidos contra Pons la
regla es el "journal entry rule"; que esta regla se adopto por este Supremo Tribunal enun tiempo en
que estaba vigente el articulo 313 del Codigo de Procedimiento Civil y cuando el diario de sesiones
de la Legislatura no gozaba de los prestigios de que goza hoy, en virtud de las rigidas y fuertes
garantias sobre autenticidad de las votaciones legislativas provistas en nuestra Constitucion; que
ahora que el referido articulo 313 del Codigo de Procedimiento Civil ya ha sido derogado porel
Reglamento de los Tribunales y se hallan vigentes esasgarantias constitucionales que
son mandatorias, la reglaindiscutible y exclusiva sobre la materia es el "journal entry rule"' que la
regla americana es mas liberal y mas democratica que la regla inglesa, la cual tiene un evidente
sabormonarquico; que el puebo filipino jamas tolerara un sistemamonarquico o algo semejante; que
el cambiar de regla ahora es un paso muy desafortunado, un injustificado retroceso, un apoyo a la
reaccion y puede dar lugar a la impresionde que las instituciones de la Republica filipina tienden a
ser totalitarias; que la doctrina inglesa del "enrolled act" es un instrumento harto inadecuado,
ineficaz, para resolver conflictos constitucionales que se iran planteando ante los tribunales, e
inclusive puede fomentargroseros asaltos contra la Constitucion; que, por el contrario, la doctrina
americana del "journal entry" es amplia, eficaz, y permite que con toda libertad y desembarazose
puedan resolver los conflictos y transgresiones constitucionales, sin evasivas ni debilidades; y, por
ultimo, que nuestro deber, el deber de esta Corte, es optar por la doctrina que mejor asegure y
fomente los procesos ordenadosde la ley y de la Constitucion y evitef situaciones en que el
ciudadano se sienta como desamparado de la ley y dela Constitucion y busque la justicia por sus
propias manos.
VII
La mayoria, habiendo adoptado en este asunto una posicion inhibitoria, estima innecesario discutir la
cuestion de si los 3 Senadores y 8 Representantes que fueron excluidos de la votacion son o no
miembros del Congreso. Es decir, lo que debiera ser cuestion fundamental el leitmotiff, la
verdadera ratio decidendi en este caso se relegaa termino secundario, se deja sin discutir y sin
resolver. No puedo seguir a la mayoria en esta evasion: tengo que discutir este punto tan
plenamente como los otros puntos, si no mas, porque es precisamente lo principal el meollo del
caso.

Comencemos por el Senado. Los 3 Senadores excluido seran miembros actuales del Senado
cuando se voto la resolucion cuestionada, por las siguientes razones:
(a) Segun la estipulacion de hechos entre las partes y los ejemplares del diario de sesiones que
obran en autoscomo anexos, dichos Senadores fueron proclamados por la Comision de Elecciones
como electos juntamente con sus 21 compaeros. Despues de la proclamacion participaron en la
organizacion del Senado, votando en la eleccion del Presidente de dicho cuerpo. De hecho el
Senador Vera recibio 8 votos para Presidentecontra el Senador Avelino que recibio 10. Tambien
participaron en algunos debates relativos a la organizacion.
(b) Tambien consta en la estipulacion de hechos y enel diario de sesiones que prestaron su
juramento de cargo ante Notarios particulares debidamente autorizados y calificados para
administrarlo, habiendose depositado dicho juramento en la secretaria del Senado. Se dice, sin
embargo, que ese juramento no era valido porque no se presto colectivamente, en union con los
otros Senadores. Esto es unerror. La Ley sobre la materia es el articulo 26 del Codigo Administrativo
Revisado, a saber:
By whom oath of office may be administered. The oath of office may be administered by
any officer generally qualified to administer oath; but the oath of office of the members and
officers ofeither house of the legislature may also be administered by persons designated for
such purpose by the respective houses.
Este articulo es demasiado claro para necesitar mas comentarios. Es evidente que el Senador y
Representante puede calificarse prestando el juramento de su cargo antecualquier funcionario
autorizado para administrarlo; y la disposicion de que tambien pueden administrar ese juramento
personas designadas por cada camara es solo decaracter permisivo, opcional. Y la mejor prueba de
estoes que antes del advenimiento de la Republica el Senadodhabia reconocido la validez del
juramento de cargo prestadoante un Notario Publico por otros Senadores de la minoria los Sres.
Mabanag, Garcia, Confesor y Cabili. Amenos que estas cosas se tomen a broma, o la
arbitrariedadse erija en ley la ley de la selva, del mas fuerte no esconcebible que el juramento
ante Notario se declare validoen un caso y en otro se declared invalido, concurriendo lasmismas
circunstancias;
(c) Tambien consta, en virtud de la estipulacion de hechos y de los ejemplares del diario de sesiones
que obran en autos como anexos, que los Senadores Vera, Diokno y Romero han estado cobrando
todos sus sueldos y emolumentos como tales Senadores desde la inauguracion del Senado hasta
ahora, incluso naturalmente el tiempo en quese aprobo la resolucion cuestionada. Es violentar
demasiadola argucia el sostener que un miembro de una camara legislativa puede cobrar todos sus
haberes y emolumentos y, sin embargo, no ser legalmente miembro de la misma. El vulgo, maestro
en la ironia y en el sarcasmo, tiene unamanera cruda para pintar esta situacion absurda: "Tiene, pero
no hay". Como es posible que las camaras autoricen el desembolso de sus fondos a favor de unos
hombres que, segun se sostiene seriamente, no estan legalmente cualificados para merecer y recibir
tales fondos?
(d) Se arguye, sin embargo, que los Senadores Vera, Diokno y Romero no son miembros del Senado
porque, envirtud de la Resolucion Pendatun, se les suspendio el juramento y el derecho a sus
asientos. Respecto del juramento, ya hemos visto que era valido, segun la ley. Respecto dela
suspension del derecho al asiento, he discutido extensamente este punto en mi disidencia en el
asunto de Vera contra Avelino, supra, calificando de anticonstitucional ynula la suspension. Pero aun
suponiendo que la mismafuera valida, los recurrentes alegan y arguyen que no poreso han dejado de
ser miembros los suspendidos. La alegaciones acertada. La suspension no abate ni anula lacalidad
de miembro; solo la muerte, dimision o expulsion produce ese efecto

(veaseAlejandrino contra Quezon, 46 Jur. Fil., 100, 101; vease tambien United
States vs. Dietrich,126 Fed. Rep., 676). En el asunto de Alejandrino contra Quezon hemos declarado
lo siguiente:
Es cosa digna de observar que el Congreso de los Estados Unidos en toda su larga historia
no ha suspendido a ninguno de sus miembros.Y la razon es obvia. El castigo mediante
reprension o multavindica la dignidad ofendida de la Camara sin privar a los representados de
su representante; la expulsion cuando es permisiblevindica del mismo modo el honor del
Cuerpo Legislativo dando asi oportunidad a los representados de elegir a otro nuevo; pero la
suspension priva al distrito electoral de una representacion sin quese le de a ese distrito un
medio para llenar la vacante. Mediante la suspension el cargo continua ocupado, pero al que
lo ocupa se le ha impuesto silencio. (Alejandrino contra Quezon, 46 Jur. Fil.,100, 101.)
La posicion juridica y constitucional de los 8 Representantes excluidos de la votacion es todavia mas
firme.Consta igualmente, en virtud de la estipulacion de hechos y de los ejemplares del diario de
sesiones obrantes en autos, que dichos 8 Representantes tambien se calificaron, alinaugurarse el
Congreso, prestando el juramento de sucargo ante Notarios Publicos debidamente autorizados;
quesu juramento se deposito en la Secretaria de la Camara; que han estado cobrando desde la
inauguracion hasta ahoratodos sus sueldos y emolumentos, excepto dos los Representantes Taruc y
Lava que han dejado de cobrar desde hacealgun tiempo; que tambien han participado en algunas
deliberaciones, las relativas al proyecto de resolucion parasuspenderlos.
Pero entre su caso y el de los Senadores existe estadiferencia fundamental: mientras con respecto a
estos ultimosla Resolucion Pendatun sobre suspension llego aaprobarse adquiriendo estado
parlamentario, en la Camarade Representantes no ha habido tal cosa, pues la resolucionde
suspension se endoso a un comite especial para su estudioe investigacion, y hasta ahora la Camara
no ha tomadosobre ella ninguna accion, no favorable ni adversa. Demodo que en el caso de los
Representantes hasta ahora nohay suspension, porque de tal no puede calificarse la acciondel
Speaker y del macero privandoles del derecho detomar parte en las deliberaciones y votaciones.
Para queuna suspension produzca efectos legales y, sobre todo, constitucionales, tiene que decret
arla la Camara misma, pormedio de una resolucion debidamente aprobada, de acuerdocon los
requisitos provistos en la Constitucion. Nada deesto se ha hecho en la Camara.
El Articulo XV de nuestra Constitucion, sobre enmiendas, dice que "El Congreso, en sesion conjunta,
por el voto detres cuartas partes de todos los miembros del Senado y dela Camara de
Representantes votando separadamente, puede proponer enmiendas a esta Constitucion o convocar
unaconvencion para dicho efecto." Donde la ley no distingueno debemos distinguir. La frase todos
los miembros debeinterpretarse como que incluye todos los miembros elegidos, no importa que
esten ausentes o esten suspendidos; mas naturalmente cuando no estan suspendidos como en el
casode los ya citados 8 Representantes. El Juez Cooley, ensu ya citada obraConstitutional
Limitations, hace sobreeste particular los siguientes comentarios que son terminantes para la
resolucion de este punto constitucional, a saber:
For the votre required in the passage of any particular law the reader is referred to the
Constitution of his State. A simple majority of a quorum is sufficient, unless the Constitution
establishes some other rule; and where, by the Constitution, a two-thirds of three-fourths vote
is made essential to the passage of any particular class of bills, two-thids or three-fourths of a
quorum will be understood, unless the terms employed clearly indicate that this proportion of
all the members, or of all those elected, is intended. (A constitutional requirement that the
assent of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the legislature shall be requisite
to every bill appropriating the public money or property for localor private purposes, is
mandatory, and cannot be evaded by calling a bill a "joint resolution".)

(Footnote: "Such a requirement is too clear and too valuable to be thus frittered away."
Allen vs. Board of State Auditors, 122 Mich., 324; 47 L.R.A., 117.)
(Footnote: "By most of the constitutions either all the laws, or laws on some particular subjects,
are required to be adopted by a majority voted, or some other proportion of "all the members
elected," or of "the whole representation." These and similar phrases require all the members
to be taken into account whether present or not. Where a majority of all the members elected
is required in the passage of a law, an ineligible person is not on that account to be excluded in
the count. (Satterloo vs. San Francisco, 23 Cal.,314.)" (Cooley on Constitutional Limitations,
Vol. 1, p. 291.)
VIII
Los recurridos no cuestionan la personalidad o derecho de accion de los recurrentes para plantear el
presente litigio. Sin embargo, en nuestras deliberaciones algunos Magistrados han expresado dudas
sbore si los recurrentestien en interes legal suficiente y adecuado para demandar y, por tanto, para
invocar nuestra jurisdiccion en el presentecaso. La duda es si el interes que alegan los recurrentesno
es mas bien el general y abstracto que tiene cualquier otro ciudadano para defender la integridad de
la Constitucion, en cuyo caso seria insuficiente para demandarante los tribunales, los cuales, segun
el consenso de las autoridades, no estan establecidos para considerar y resolver controversias
academicas y doctrinales, sino conflictos positivos, reales, en que hay algun dano y perjuicioo amago
de dano y perjuicio.
Creo que la personalidad o derecho de accion de losrecurrentes es incuestionable. En primer lugar,
11 de ellosson miembros del Congreso, y alegan que se les privo delderecho de votar al
considerarse la resolucion cuestionaday que si se les hubiese permitido votar dicha resolucion no
hubiese obtenido la sancion de las tres cuartas-partes (3/4) que requiere la Constitucion. Que
mayor interes legalque este? Ellos dicen que sus votos hubieran sido decisivos, que con su
intervencion parlamentaria hubies en salvado alpaid de lo que consideran amago de una tremenda
calamidad publica la concesion de iguales derechos a los americanos para explotar nuestros
recursos naturales y utilidades publicas. No es este amago de dano, para ellos individualmente y
para el pais colectivamentem, adecuado y suficiente para crear un interes legal? En el asunto de
Coleman vs. Miller,supra, se suscito esta misma cuestion y se resolvio a favor de los recurrentes.
Como ya hemos visto, estos eran 20 Senadores del Estado de Kansas que alegaban que en la
propuesta ratificacion de la 18. Enmienda a la Constitucion Federal sus votos que daron abatidos
por elvoto decisivo del Teniente Gobernador. La Corte Federal declaro que esto constituia interes
legal suficiente y adecuado.
En segundo lugar, los recurrentes alegan ser ciudadanos, electores y contribuyentes de Filipinas.
Naturalmente, como tales tienen derecho a participar en la explotacion de nuestros recursos
naturales y operacion de utilidades publicas, con exclusion de los americanos y otros extranjeros. De
ello se sigue logicamente que cualguier actolegislativo que anule y abrogue esa exclusividad
afectarapersonalmente a sus derechos, amagandolos de un probable perjuicio. Esto, a mi juicio, crea
un interes legalade cuado u suficiente para litigar. Esto no es un interesmeramente academico,
abstracto. (Vease Hawke vs.Smith, 253 U.S., 221, 227; 64 Law. ed., 871, 875; 40 Sup.Ct., 495; 10 A.
L. R., 1504; veanse tambien Leser vs.Garnett, 258 Ud.S., 130, 137; 66 Law. ed., 505, 571; 42
Sup.Ct., 217; Coleman vs. Miller, 122 A. L. R., 698.)
En el asunto de Hawke vs. Smith, supra, el demandante alegaba ser "ciudadano y elector del Estado
de Ohio, y comoelector y contribuyente del Condado de Hamilton, en sunombre y en el de otros
similarmente situados, presento una solicitud de prohibicion ante el tribunal del Estado para que se
prohibiera al Secretario de Estado a que gastara fondos publicos en la preparacion e impresion de

balotaspara la sumision al electorado de la 18. Enmienda a la Constitucion Federal para su


ratificacion. La Corte Suprema Federal fallo que el demandante tenia intereslegal y, por tanto,
personalidad y derecho de accion para demandar.
En el asunto de Leser vs. Garnett, supra, los demandantes alegaban ser electores cualificados de
Maryland y solicitaban la exclusion de ciertas mujeres del censo electoralpor el fundamento de que la
Constitucion de Maryland limitaba el sufragio a los varones y la 19. Enmiendaa la Constitucion
Federal no habia sido validamente ratificadaa. Lo Corte Suprema Federal fallo tambien que los
demandantes tenian interes legal suficiente y adecuado.
IX
Cuando se celebraron las audiencias en este asunto sele pregunto a uno de los abogados de los
recurridos, creo que el mismo Secretario de Justicia, cual seria el remedio legal para los recurrentes,
ya que se sostiene que en elpresente caso se trate de una materia no judicial, injusticiable, y, que,
por tanto, los tribunales nada tienen que hacer. El Secretario de Justicia contesto: ninguno. Lounico
que los recurrentes pueden hacer es esperar las elecciones y plantear el caso directamente ante el
pueblo, unico juez en las controversias de caracter politico. Esto mismose dijo en el caso de
Vera contra Aveino, supra, y reiterolo que alli he dicho sobre este argumento, a saber:
Solo nos queda por considerar el argumento deprimente, desalentadorde que el caso que nos
ocupa no tiene remedio ni bajo la Constitucion ni bajo las leyes ordinarias. A los recurrentes
se lesdice que no tienen mas que un recurso: esperar laas elecciones y plantear directamente
la cuestion ante el pueblo elector. Si los recurrentes tienen razon, el pueblo les reivindicara
eligiendoles o elevandoa su partido al poder, repudiando, en cambio, a los recurridoso a su
partido. Algunas cosas se podrian decir acerca de este argumento. Se podria decir, por
ejemplo, que el remedio no es expeditoni adecuado porque la mayoria de los recurridos han
sido elegidos para un periodo de seis anos, asi que no se les podra exigir ninguna
responsabilidad por tan largo tiempo. Se podria decir tambien que en una eleccion politica
entran muchos factores, y es posible quela cuestion que se discute hoy, con ser tan fervida y
tan palpitante, quede, cuando llegue el caso, obscurecida por otros "issues" maspresionantes
y decisivos. Tambien se podria decir que, independientemente de la justicia de su cuasa, un
partido minoritario siemprelucha con desventaja contra el partido mayoritario.
Pero, a nuestro juicio, la mejor contestacion al argumento esque no cabe concebir que los
redactores de la Constitucion filipina hayan dejado en medio de nuestro sistema de gobierno
un peligros ovacio en donde quedan paralizados los resortes de la Constituciony de la ley, y el
ciudadano queda inerme, impotente frente a lo que el considera flagrante transgresion de sus
derechos. Los redactoresde la Constitucion conocian muy bien nuestro sistema de gobierno
sistema presidencial. Sabian muy bien que este no tiene la flexibilidaddel tipo ingles el
parlamentario. En Inglaterra y en lospaises que siguen su sistema hay una magnifica valvula
de seguridad politica; cuando surge una grave crisis, de esas que sacudenlos cimientos de la
nacion, el parlamento se disuelve y se convocanelleciones generales para que el pueblo
decida los grandes "issues" del dia. Asi se consuman verdaderas revoluciones, sin sangre, sin
violencia. El sistema presidential no tiene esa valvula. El periodo que media de eleccion a
eleccion es inflexible. Entre nosotros, porejemplo, el periodo es de seis aos para el Senado,
y de cuatro aos para la Camara de Representantes y los gobiernos provinciales y
municipales. Solamente se celebran elecciones especiales para cubrir vacantes que ocurran
entre unas elecciones generalesy otras. Se comprendera facilmente que bajo un sistema asi
esharto peligroso, es jugar con fuego el posibilitar situaciones dondeel individuo y el pueblo no
puedan buscar el amparo de la Constitucion y de las leyes, bajo procesos ordenados y
expeditos, paraprotegar sus derechos. (Vera contra Avelino, pags. 363, 364.)

Fued Jefferson quien dijo que como medida de higiene politicaera conveniente que el pueblo
americano tuviera una revolucion cada veinte aos. Parece que el gran democratadijo esto no por el
simple prurito de jugar con laparadoja, con la frase, sino convencido de que la revoluciones el mejor
antidoto para la tirania o los amagos de tirania.
Grande como es el respeto que merecen las opiniones delinmortal autor de la Decaraction de
Independencia, creoque la revolucion es siempre revolucion, la violencia es siempre violencia: caos,
confusion, desquiciamiento de los resortes politicos y sociales, derramamiento de sangre, perdidade
vidas y haciendas, etcetera, etcetera. Asi que normalmente ninguno puede desear para su pais la
violencia, aun en nombre de la vitalidad, de la salud publica.
Estoy convencido de que el mejor ideal politico es la revolucionsin sangre, esa que no pocas veces
se ha consumado v. gr. en la historia contemporanea de Inglaterra, yaun de America misma. Y ese
ideal es perfectamente realizable permitiendo el amplio juego de la Constitucion y delas leyes,
evitando pretextos a la violencia, y no posibilitando situaciones de desamparo y desesperacion.
Por eso creo sinceramente que la mejor politica, la mejordoctrina judicial es la que en todo tiempo
encauza y fomentalos procesos ordenados de la Constitucion y de la ley.
Footnotes
PERFECTO, J., dissenting:
1

Omitted.

BRIONES, M., con quien esta conforme FERIA, M., dissidente:


1

Jose O. Vera, Ramon Diokno y Jose E. Romero.

Senadores: Alejo Mabanag, Carlos P. Garcia, Eulogio Rodriguez, Tomas Confesor, Tomas
Cabili, Jose O. Vera, Ramon Diokno, y Jose E. Romero.
Representantes: Juvenal Almendras, Paulino Alonzo, Apolinario Cabigon, Floro Crisologo,
Gabriel Dunuan, Cosme B. Garcia, Agustin Y. Kintanar, Vicente Logarta, Francisco A.
Perfecto, Cipriano P. Primicias, Nicolas Rafols, Jose V. Rodriguez, Juan de G. Rodriguez,
Felixberto M. Serrano, Conrado Singson, George K. Tait, y Leandro A. Tojong.
Presidentes de Partido: Jose O. Vera, Jesus G. Barrera, Emilio Javier y Sofronio Quimson,
Nacionalista Party, Democratic Alliance, Popular Front y Philippine Youth Party,
respectivamente.
3

Comision de Elecciones: Jose Lopez Vito, Francisco Enage y Vicente de Vera,


respectivamente.
Marciano Guevara, Paciano Dizon y Pablo Lucas, Tesorero, Auditor y Director de Imprenta,
respectivamente.
4

La politica de nacionalizacion de la recursos naturales yutilidades publicas incorporada en


nuestra Constitucion no es unapolitica nueva, sino que trae su origen de nuestro pasado
remoto, dela historia colonial misma de Espaa en Filipinas. Los primeros conflictos de los
filipinos con los conquistado es tenian por causala propiedad de la tierra; los filipinos se

esforzaban por reivindicarel dominio del suelo que creian detentado por los colonizadores.
Estos conflictos fueron agravandose con el tiempo condensan dose enla formidable cuestion
agraria que en las postrimerias del siglo diecinueve fue enm gran parte la causa de la
revolucion contra Espaa. Lass campanas de Rizal y de los laborantes, y el Katipunan de
Bonifacio tomaron gran parte de su fuerza, de su valor combativo, delos agravios provocados
por la cuestion agraria. La Liga Filipinade Rizal estaba fundamentalmente basada en un
ideario economico nacionalista, de control y dominio sobre la riqueza y recursos delpais.
"Cuando America establecio aqui su soberania su mayor acierto consistio en echar los
cimientos de su politica fundamental de 'Filipinas para los filipinos.' Primero el Presidente
McKinley, y despues los Presidentes Taft y Wilson, consolidaron esta politica. El
congresoaprobo leyes tendentes a la conservacion de terrenos publicos yrecursos naturales,
entre ellas la Ley de 1. de Julio de 1902 conocida por Ley Cooper. En estas leyes se limitaba
y restringia la adquisiciony uso de bienes de dominio publico por particulares.
"Una pruebaf palmaria del celo del Congreso americano por mantener rigidamente la politica
de conservacion del patrimonio delos filipinos fue la investigacion congresional provocada por
el Congresista Martin, de Colorado, en relacion con la venta de terrenos delos frailes en
Mindoro, a una compaia americana en exceso de las 1,024 hectareas fijadas en las leyes de
terrenos publicos. Esto diolugar a uno de los episodios mas famosos en la carrera del
Comisionado Residente Quezon. Este relata su campaa en su autobiografia 'The Good
Fight,' a saber:
"'My next address to Congress took place when a congressional investigation was being urged
by Congressman Martin of Colorado to determine how the Government of the Philippines was
carrying out the policy laid down by Congress, that limited to 1024 acres the maximum area of
government land that could be sold to corporations or individuals. This law had been enacted
soon after the United States has taken the Philippines to prevent the exploitation of the Filipino
people by capitalists, whether foreigners or natives. American capital interested in the sugar
industry has acquired two very large tracts of land which the Philippine Government had
bought from the friars with the funds bonds issued under the security of the Philippine
Government. The avowed purpose in buying these extensive properties from the Spanish
religious orders was to resell them in small lots to Filipino farmers, and thus to do away with
absentee landlordism which had been the most serious cause of the Philippine rebellion
against Spain. The reason given for the sale of these lands to American capital by the
American official in charge of the execution of the congressional policy were two-fold: First,
that the act of Congress referred only to lands of the public domain not to lands acquired by
the Government in some other way. And second, that the sale of these lands was made in
order to establish the sugar industry in the Philippines on a truly grand scale under modern
methods, as had been done in Cuba. It was further alleged that such a method would bring
great prosperity to the Philippines.
"'I spoke in support of the proposed investigation, contending that the establishment of the
sugar industry under those conditions would mean the debasement of the Filipinos into mere
peons. 'Moreover,' I argued, 'large investments of American capital in the Philippines will
inevitably result in the permanent retention of the Philippines by the United States.' At the
climax of ny speech I roared: If the preordained fate of my country is either to be a subject
people but rich, or free but poor, I am unqualifiedly for the latter.'
"'The investigation was ordered by the House of Representatives, and although the sales
already made were not annulled, no further sales were made in defiance of the Congressional
Act. (The Good Fight, by President Quezon, pp. 117-119.)'

"Para implementar la politica de nacionalizacion el gobierno filipino bajo la Ley Jones y la Ley
del Commonwealth fundo con una gruesa capitalizacion las corporaciones economicas del
Estado comoel Philippine National Bank, National Development Company, National Cement
Company, National Power Corporation, y otras.
"Para reglamentar y supervisar las utilidades y servicios publicos se creo la Comision de
Servicios Publicos."

G.R. No. L-17931

February 28, 1963

CASCO PHILIPPINE CHEMICAL CO., INC., petitioner,


vs.
HON. PEDRO GIMENEZ, in his capacity as Auditor General of the Philippines,
and HON. ISMAEL MATHAY, in his capacity as Auditor of the Central Bank, respondents.
Jalandoni & Jamir for petitioner.
Officer of the Solicitor General for respondents.
CONCEPCION, J.:
This is a petition for review of a decision of the Auditor General denying a claim for refund of
petitioner Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc.
The main facts are not disputed. Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 2609, otherwise
known as the Foreign Exchange Margin Fee Law, the Central Bank of the Philippines issued on July
1, 1959, its Circular No. 95. fixing a uniform margin fee of 25% on foreign exchange transactions. To
supplement the circular, the Bank later promulgated a memorandum establishing the procedure for
applications for exemption from the payment of said fee, as provided in said Republic Act No. 2609.
Several times in November and December 1959, petitioner Casco Philippine Chemical Co., Inc.
which is engaged in the manufacture of synthetic resin glues, used in bonding lumber and veneer by
plywood and hardwood producers bought foreign exchange for the importation of urea and
formaldehyde which are the main raw materials in the production of said glues and paid therefor
the aforementioned margin fee aggregating P33,765.42. In May, 1960, petitioner made another
purchase of foreign exchange and paid the sum of P6,345.72 as margin fee therefor.
Prior thereto, petitioner had sought the refund of the first sum of P33,765.42, relying upon Resolution
No. 1529 of the Monetary Board of said Bank, dated November 3, 1959, declaring that the separate
importation of urea and formaldehyde is exempt from said fee. Soon after the last importation of these
products, petitioner made a similar request for refund of the sum of P6,345.72 paid as margin fee
therefor. Although the Central Bank issued the corresponding margin fee vouchers for the refund of
said amounts, the Auditor of the Bank refused to pass in audit and approve said vouchers, upon the
ground that the exemption granted by the Monetary Board for petitioner's separate importations of
urea and formaldehyde is not in accord with the provisions of section 2, paragraph XVIII of Republic
Act No. 2609. On appeal taken by petitioner, the Auditor General subsequently affirmed said action of
the Auditor of the Bank. Hence, this petition for review.
The only question for determination in this case is whether or not "urea" and "formaldehyde" are
exempt by law from the payment of the aforesaid margin fee. The pertinent portion of Section 2 of
Republic Act No. 2609 reads:
The margin established by the Monetary Board pursuant to the provision of section one hereof
shall not be imposed upon the sale of foreign exchange for the importation of the following:.
xxx

xxx

xxx

XVIII. Urea formaldehyde for the manufacture of plywood and hardboard when imported by
and for the exclusive use of end-users.
Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and
approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to
prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t

Petitioner maintains that the term "urea formaldehyde" appearing in this provision should be
construed as "ureaand formaldehyde" (emphasis supplied) and that respondents herein, the Auditor
General and the Auditor of the Central Bank, have erred in holding otherwise. In this connection, it
should be noted that, whereas "urea" and "formaldehyde" are the principal raw materials in the
manufacture of synthetic resin glues, the National Institute of Science and Technology has
expressed, through its Commissioner, the view that:
Urea formaldehyde is not a chemical solution. It is the synthetic resin formed as a
condensation product from definite proportions of urea and formaldehyde under certain
conditions relating to temperature, acidity, and time of reaction. This produce when applied in
water solution and extended with inexpensive fillers constitutes a fairly low cost adhesive for
use in the manufacture of plywood.
Hence, "urea formaldehyde" is clearly a finished product, which is patently distinct and different from
urea" and "formaldehyde", as separate articles used in the manufacture of the synthetic resin known
as "urea formaldehyde". Petitioner contends, however, that the bill approved in Congress contained
the copulative conjunction "and" between the terms "urea" and "formaldehyde", and that the members
of Congress intended to exempt "urea" and "formaldehyde" separately as essential elements in the
manufacture of the synthetic resin glue called "urea" formaldehyde", not the latter as a finished
product, citing in support of this view the statements made on the floor of the Senate, during the
consideration of the bill before said House, by members thereof. But, said individual statements do
not necessarily reflect the view of the Senate. Much less do they indicate the intent of the House of
Representatives (see Song Kiat Chocolate Factory vs. Central Bank, 54 Off. Gaz., 615; Mayon
Motors Inc. vs. Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue, L-15000 [March 29, 1961]; Manila Jockey
Club, Inc. vs. Games & Amusement Board, L-12727 [February 29, 1960]). Furthermore, it is well
settled that the enrolled bill which uses the term "urea formaldehyde" instead of "urea and
formaldehyde" is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by
Congress and approved by the President (Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil. 118, 120; Mabanag vs.
Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias vs. Comm. on Elections, L-18684, September 14, 1961). If there has
been any mistake in the printing ofthe bill before it was certified by the officers of Congress and
approved by the Executive on which we cannot speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of
separation of powers and undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system the
remedy is by amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitioner. It is
so ordered.
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala
and Makalintal, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-29658

November 29, 1968

ENRIQUE V. MORALES, petitioner,


vs.
ABELARDO SUBIDO, as Commissioner of Civil Service, respondent.
Vicente Rodriguez, for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta, for appellee.
CASTRO, J.:
The question for resolution in this case is whether a person who has served as captain in the police
department of a city for at least three years but does not possess a bachelor's degree, is qualified for
appointment as chief of police. The question calls for an interpretation of the following provisions of
section 10 of the Police Act of 1966 (Republic Act 4864):
Minimum qualification for appointment as Chief of Police Agency. No person may be
appointed chief of a city police agency unless he holds a bachelor's degree from a recognized
institution of learning and has served either in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the
National Bureau of Investigation, or has served as chief of police with exemplary record, or has
served in the police department of any city with the rank of captain or its equivalent therein for
at least three years; or any high school graduate who has served as officer in the Armed
Forces for at least eight years with the rank of captain and/or higher.
The petitioner Enrique V. Morales is the chief of the detective bureau of the Manila Police Department
and holds the rank of lieutenant colonel. He began his career in 1934 as patrolman and gradually
rose to his present position. Upon the resignation of Brig. Gen. Ricardo G. Papa on March 14, 1968,
the petitioner was designated acting chief of police of Manila and, at the same time, given a
provisional appointment to the same position by the mayor of Manila.
On September 24, 1968 the respondent Commissioner of Civil Service Abelardo Subido approved the
designation of the petitioner but rejected his appointment for "failure to meet the minimum educational
and civil service eligibility requirements for the said position." Instead, the respondent certified other
persons as qualified for the post and called the attention of the mayor to section 4 of the
Decentralization Act of 1967 which requires the filling of a vacancy within 30 days after its coming into
existence. Earlier, on September 5, he announced in the metropolitan newspapers that the position of
chief of police of Manila was vacant and listed the qualifications which applicants should possess.
The petitioner's reaction to the announcement was a demand that the respondent include him in a list
of eligible and qualified applicants from which the mayor might appoint one as chief of police of the
city. He contended that his service alone as captain for more than three years in the Manila Police
Department qualified him for appointment. The demand was contained in a letter which he wrote to
the respondent on October 8, 1968. The mayor endorsed the letter favorably, but the respondent
refused to reconsider his stand. Hence this petition for mandamus to compel the respondent to
include the petitioner in a list of "five next ranking eligible and qualified persons."
The petitioner's reading of section 10 of the Police Act of 1966 is, per his own phrasing, as follows:
NO PERSON may be appointed chief of a city police agency unless HE
(1) holds a bachelor's degree from a recognized institution of learning AND has served in the
Armed Forces of the Philippines OR the National Bureau of Investigation, OR
(2) has served as chief of police with exemplary record, OR

(3) has served in the police department of any city with the rank of captain or its equivalent
therein for at least three years; OR
(4) any high school graduate who has served as officer in the Armed Forces for at least eight
years with the rank of captain and/or higher.
As he has served successively as captain, major and lieutenant colonel in the MPD since 1954, the
petitioner's insistence is that he falls under the third class of persons qualified for appointment as
chief of a city police department.
In support of this proposition, he adverts to the policy of the Act "to place the local police service on a
professional level,"1 and contends that a bachelor's degree does not guarantee that one who
possesses it will make a good policeman, but that, on the other hand, one who, like the petitioner, has
risen from patrolman to lieutenant colonel "meets the test of professionalism."
Even if we concede the correctness of the petitioner's view still we do not see how the requirement of
a college degree as additional qualification can run counter to the avowed policy of the Act. On the
contrary, we should think that the requirement of such additional qualification will best carry out that
policy. The fallacy of petitioner's argument lies in its assumption that the choice is between one who
has served long and loyally in a city police agency and another who, not having so served, has only a
bachelor's degree. But that is not the issue in this case. The issue rather is whether, within the
meaning and intendment of the law, in addition to service qualification, one should have educational
qualification as shown by the possession of a bachelor's degree.
The petitioner invokes the last paragraph of section 9 of the Act which provides:
Persons who at the time of the approval of this Act have rendered at least five years of
satisfactory service in a provincial, city or municipal police agency although they have not
qualified in an appropriate civil service examination are considered as civil service eligibles for
the purpose of this Act.
In effect, he contends that if a person who has rendered at least five years of satisfactory service in a
police agency is considered a civil service eligible, so must a person be considered qualified even
though he does not possess a bachelor's degree.
The petitioner's argument is fallacious in two respects. First, it fails to distinguish between eligibility
and qualification. For the statute may allow the compensation of service for a person's lack of
eligibility but not necessarily for his lack of educational qualification. Second, section 9 governs the
appointment of members of apolice agency only. On the other hand, the appointment of chiefs of
police is the precise gravamen of section 10, the last paragraph of which states:
Where no civil service eligible is available, provisional appointment may be made in
accordance with Civil Service Law and rules: Provided, that the appointee possesses the
above educational qualification: Provided, further, That in no case shall such appointment
extend beyond six months, except for a valid cause, and with the approval of the Civil Service
Commission.
Thus, while the Act gives credit for service and allows it to compensate for the lack of civil service
eligibility in the case of a member of a police agency, it gives no such credit for lack of civil service
eligibility in the case of a chief of police. On the contrary, by providing that a person, who is not a civil
service eligible, may be provisionally appointed2 chief of police "[ p]rovided, [t]hat the appointee

possesses the above educational qualification," the Act makes it unequivocal that the possession of a
college degree or a high school diploma (in addition to service) is an indispensable requisite.
It is next contended that to read section 10 as requiring a bachelor's degree, in addition to service
either in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or in the National Bureau of Investigation or as chief of
police with an exemplary record or as a captain in a city police department for at least three years,
would be to create an "absurd situation" in which a person who has served for only one month in the
AFP or the NBI is in law considered the equal of another who has been a chief of police or has been
a captain in a city police agency for at least three years. From this it is concluded that "the only logical
equivalence of these two groups (Chief of Police with exemplary record and Police Captain for at
least 3 years in a City Police Agency) is the bachelor's degree."
Section 10, it must be admitted, does not specify in what capacity service in the AFP or in the NBI
must have been rendered, but an admission of the existence of the ambiguity in the statute does not
necessarily compel acquiescence in the conclusion that it is only in cases where the appointee's
service has been in the AFP or in the NBI that he must be required to have a bachelor's degree. The
logical implication of the petitioner's argument that a person who has served as captain in a city police
department for at least three years need not have a bachelor's degree to qualify, is that such person
need not even be a high school graduate. If such be the case would there still be need for a person to
be at least a high school graduate provided he has had at least eight years of service as captain in
the AFP?
The truth is that, except for the ambiguity referred to (the meaning of which is not in issue in this
case), section 10 of the Act needs no interpretation because its meaning is clear. That the purpose is
to require both educational and service qualifications of those seeking appointment as chief of police
is evidence from a reading of the original provision of House Bill 6951 and the successive revision it
underwent. Thus, section 12 of House Bill 6951 (now section 10 of the Police Act of 1966) read:
Minimum Qualification for Appointment as Chief of a Police Agency. No chief of a police
agency of a province or chartered city shall be appointed unless he is a member of the
Philippine Bar, or a holder of a bachelor's degree in police administration. Any holder of a
bachelor's degree who served either in the Philippine Constabulary or the police department of
any city from the rank of captain or inspector, second class, or its equivalent for at least three
years shall be eligible for appointment to the position of chief of the police agency.
No chief of a municipal police force shall be appointed unless he is a holder of a four-year
college degree course or a holder of a Bachelor's degree in Police Administration or
Criminology.
Where no civil service eligible is available provisional appointment may be made in
accordance with Civil Service Law and rules, provided the appointee possesses the above
educational qualification but in no case shall such appointment exceed beyond six months.
It was precisely because the bill was clearly understood as requiring both educational and service
qualifications that the following exchanges of view were made on the floor of the house of
Representatives:
MR. VELOSO (F.). Section 12, Minimum Qualification for Appointment of Chief of a Police
Agency, provides that the chief of a police agency of a province or a chartered city should be
at least a member of the Philippine Bar or a holder of a bachelor's degree in Police
Administration; and the chief of police of a municipality should be at least a holder of a four
years' college degree or holder of a bachelor's degree in Police Administration or Criminology.

At first blush, there is no reason why I should object to these minimum requirements; but I find
such requirement very rigid because it would not allow a man to rise from the ranks. Take a
policeman who rose from the ranks. He became a corporal, a sergeant, a police lieutenant.
Shouldn't he be allowed to go higher? If he merited it, he should also be appointed chief of
police of a city or municipality.
MR. AMANTE. During our committee discussions, I objected to this provision of the bill
because it is a very high qualification. However, somebody insisted that in order to
professionalize our police system and also to attain a high standard of police efficiency, we
must have a chief of police who has a college degree. The point which the gentleman is now
raising was brought up by one Member in the sense that a policeman who rose from the ranks
through serious hard work, even after serving for fifteen or twenty years in the police force,
cannot become chief of police for lack of a college degree.
The gentleman's objection is a very good and reasonable one. I assure him that if he brings it
up during the period of amendments, I will consider it.
MR. VELOSO (F.). I am glad that the Committee will accept my amendment. My only regret,
however, is that because I made a number of proposed amendments, I will not be ready to
submit them immediately. We should just limit ourselves to the sponsorship this evening. 3
Thus it appears that it was because of the educational requirement contained in the bill that
objections were expressed, but while it was agreed to delete this requirement during the period of
amendment, no motion was ever presented to effect the change. 4
In the Senate, the Committee on Government Reorganization, to which House Bill 6951 was referred,
reported a substitute measure.5 It is to this substitute bill that section 10 of the Act owes its present
form and substance.
Parenthetically, the substitute measure gives light on the meaning of the ambiguous phrase "and who
has served either in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the National Bureau of Investigation." The
provision of the substitute bill reads:
No person may be appointed chief of a city police agency unless he holds a bachelor's degree
and has served either in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the National Bureau of
Investigation or police department of any city and has held the rank of captain or its equivalent
therein for at least three years or any high school graduate who has served the police
department of a city for at least 8 years with the rank of captain and/or higher.
Thus, service in the AFP or the NBI was intended to be in the capacity of captain for at least three
years.
At the behest of Senator Francisco Rodrigo, the phrase "has served as officer in the Armed Forces"
was inserted so as to make the provision read:
No person may be appointed chief of a city police agency unless he holds a bachelor's degree
and has served either in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the National Bureau of
Investigation or police department of any city and has held the rank of captain or its equivalent
therein for at least three years or any high school graduate who has served the police
department of a city or who has served as officer in the Armed Forces for at least 8 years with
the rank of captain and/or higher.6

It is to be noted that the Rodrigo amendment was in the nature of an addition to the phrase, "who has
served the police department of a city for at least 8 years with the rank of captain and/or higher,"
under which the petitioner herein, who is at least a high school graduate (both parties agree that the
petitioner finished the second year of the law course) could possibly qualify. However, somewhere in
the legislative process the phrase was dropped and only the Rodrigo amendment was retained.
Because of the suggested possibility that the deletion was made by mistake, the writer of this opinion
personally and painstakingly read and examined the enrolled bill in the possession of the legislative
secretary of the Office of the President and found that the text of section 10 of the Act is as set forth
in the beginning of this opinion. The text of the Act bears on page 15 thereof the signatures of
President of the Senate Arturo M. Tolentino and Speaker of the House of Representatives Cornelio T.
Villareal, and on page 16 thereof those of Eliseo M. Tenza, Secretary of the Senate, and Inocencio B.
Pareja, Secretary of the House of Representatives, and of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Under the
enrolled bill theory, announced in Mabanag v. Lopez Vito8 this text of the Act must be deemed as
importing absolute verity and as binding on the courts. As the Supreme Court of the United States
said in Marshall Field & Co. v. Clark:9
The signing by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and, by the President of the
Senate, in open session, of an enrolled bill, is an official attestation by the two houses of such
bill as one that has passed Congress. It is a declaration by the two houses, through their
presiding officers, to the President that a bill, thus attested, has received in the form, the
sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that it is delivered to him in
obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bill which pass Congress shall be
presented to him. And when a bill, thus attested, receives his approval, its authentication as a
bill that has passed Congress should be deemed complete and unimpeachable. As the
President has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in the
custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of the
house of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of the United
States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and executive departments
of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of enacting and executing the laws,
that it was passed by Congress. The respect due to co-equal and independent department
requires the judicial department to act upon that assurance, and to accept, as having passed
Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner stated; leaving the courts to determine, when
the question properly arises, whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the
Constitution.10
To proceed with the history of the statute, it appears that, when the two chambers of the legislature
met in conference committee, the phrase "has served as chief of police with exemplary record" was
added, thereby accounting for its presence in section 10 of the Act. 11
What, then, is the significance of this? It logically means that except for that vagrant phrase "who
has served the police department of a city for at least 8 years with the rank of captain and/or higher"
a high school graduate, no matter how long he has served in a city police department, is not
qualified for appointment as chief of police.
Still it is insisted that "if a high school graduate who has served as captain in the Armed Forces of the
Philippines for eight years irrespective of the branch of service where he served can be Chief of
Police of Manila, why not one who holds an A.A. degree, completed two years in Law School, and
served as Chief of the Detective Bureau for 14 years, holding the successive ranks of Captain, Major
and Lt. Colonel? Not to mention the fact that he was awarded three Presidential Awards, and was
given the Congressional Commendation the highest award ever conferred in the history of the
Manila Police Department."

The trouble with such argument is that even if we were to concede its soundness, still we would be
hard put reading it in the law because it is not there. The inclusion of desirable enlargements in the
statute is addressed to the judgment of Congress and unless such enlargements are by it accepted
courts are without power to make them. As Mr. Justice Frankfurter put the matter with lucidity:
An omission at the time of enactment, whether careless or calculated, cannot be judicially
supplied however much later wisdom may recomment the inclusion.
The vital difference between initiating policy, often involving a decided break with the past, and
merely carrying out a formulated policy, indicates the relatively narrow limits within which
choice is fairly open to courts and the extent to which interpreting law is inescapably making
law.12
In conclusion, we hold that, under the present state of the law, the petitioner is neither qualified nor
eligible for appointment as chief of police of the city of Manila. Consequently, the respondent has no
corresponding legal duty and therefore may not be compelled by mandamus to certify the
petitioner as qualified and eligible.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition for mandamus is denied. No pronouncements as to costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Sanchez, Fernando and Capistrano, JJ., concur.
Dizon, J., concurs in the result.
Zaldivar, J., took no part.
Separate Opinions
DIZON, J., concurring:
As stated in the decision penned by Mr. Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, petitioner Enrique V. Morales
began his career in the Manila Police Department in 1934 as patrolman and gradually rose to his
present position that of Chief of the Detective Bureau thereof and holds the rank of LieutenantColonel.
In my opinion, a man bearing such credentials can be reasonably expected to be a good Chief of the
Manila Police Department. But the issue before us is not whether or not his training and experience
justify that expectation, but whether or not, under and in accordance with the pertinent law, he is
qualified for appointment to such office to the extent that he is entitled to the relief sought, namely, the
issuance of a writ of mandamus compelling the respondent Commissioner of Civil Service to include
him in a list of eligible and qualified applicants from which the mayor of the City of Manila might
choose the appointee who will fill the vacant position of Chief of Police of the City of Manila.
Section 10 of Police Act of 1966 (Republic Act 4864) which controls the issue before us, reads as
follows:
Minimum qualification for appointment as Chief of Police Agency. No person may be
appointed chief of a city police agency unless he holds a bachelor's degree from a recognized
institution of learning and has served either in the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the
National Bureau of Investigation, or has served as chief of police with exemplary record, or has
served in the police department of any city with the rank of captain or its equivalent therein for
at least three years; or any high school graduate who has served as officer in the Armed
Forces for at least eight years with the rank of captain and/or higher.

The above legal provision may be construed as providing for two different kinds of academic
qualification, namely, (1) a bachelor's degree from a recognized institution of learning, and (2) a high
school degree, each of which is coupled with separate and distinct service qualifications. Any one of
the latter, joined with either of the aforesaid academic requirements, would qualify a person for
appointment as Chief of a city police agency. In other words, an applicant who is a holder of a
bachelor's degree from a recognized institution of learning and has served either in the Armed Forces
of the Philippines or the National Bureau of Investigation would make the grade, in the same manner
as would another applicant with a similar bachelor's degree who has served as chief of police with
exemplary record, etc.
In the case of an applicant who is a mere high school graduate, the service qualification is not only
different but is higher and more exacting for obvious reasons.
Petitioner, however, would construe and read the law as follows:
NO PERSON may be appointed chief of a city police agency unless HE
(1) holds a bachelor's degree from a recognized institution of learning AND has served
in the Armed Forces of the Philippines OR the National Bureau of Investigation, OR
(2) has served as chief of police with exemplary record, OR
(3) has served in the police department of any city with the rank of captain or its
equivalent therein for at least three years; OR
(4) any high school graduate who has served as officer in the Armed Forces for at least
eight years with the rank of captain and/or higher.
While, in my view, petitioner's interpretation is not unreasonable, it falls short of showing that it is the
true and correct meaning and intent of the law aforesaid. This, in my opinion, must lead to the
conclusion that petitioner is not entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandamus for the purpose stated
in his petition because to be entitled thereto he must show that, in relation to the matter at issue, he
has a clear enforceable right, on the one hand, and that the respondent has an imperative legal duty
to perform, on the other. Because of this I am constrained to concur in the result.
Footnotes
1

Sec. 2.

Section 24(c) of the Civil Service Act of 1959 provides: Provisional Appointment. A
provisional appointment may be issued upon the prior authorization of the Commissioner in
accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules and standards promulgated in
pursuance thereto to a person who has not qualified in an appropriate examination but who
otherwise meets the requirements for appointment to a regular position in the competitive
service, whenever a vacancy occurs and the filling thereof is necessary in the interest of the
service and there is no appropriate register of eligibles at the time of appointment."
3

Cong. R . No. 64, 156-57 (1966) (emphasis added).

See 1 Cong. Rec. No. 65, 28-36 (1966).

See Committee Report 667.

Unpublished Journal of the Proceedings of August 25-26, 1966 of the Senate.

Of three copies of an enrolled bill signed into law, one is kept in the Office of the President, a
second one in the Senate and a third one in the House of Representatives. See Bernal, The
Legislative Process, 27 Phil. L.J. 507, 533 (1952).
8

78 Phil. 1 (1947) (overruled on other points in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, L28196, Nov. 9, 1967).
9

143 U.S. 647 (1891).

10

Id. at 672.

11

1 Cong. Rec. No. 7 (special session, Aug. 27, 1966) 45.

12

Frankfurter, Some Reflections on the Reading of Statutes, 47 Colum. L. Rev. 527, 534
(1947).

G.R. No. L-23475 April 30, 1974


HERMINIO A. ASTORGA, in his capacity as Vice-Mayor of Manila, petitioner,
vs.
ANTONIO J. VILLEGAS, in his capacity as Mayor of Manila, THE HON., THE EXECUTIVE
SECRETARY, ABELARDO SUBIDO, in his capacity as Commissioner of Civil Service,
EDUARDO QUINTOS, in his capacity as Chief of Police of Manila, MANUEL CUDIAMAT, in his

capacity as City Treasurer of Manila, CITY OF MANILA, JOSE SEMBRANO, FRANCISCO


GATMAITAN, MARTIN ISIDRO, CESAR LUCERO, PADERES TINOCO, LEONARDO FUGOSO,
FRANCIS YUSECO, APOLONIO GENER, AMBROCIO LORENZO, JR., ALFONSO MENDOZA,
JR., SERGIO LOYOLA, GERINO TOLENTINO, MARIANO MAGSALIN, EDUARDO QUINTOS, JR.,
AVELINO VILLACORTA, PABLO OCAMPO, FELICISIMO CABIGAO, JOSE BRILLANTES, JOSE
VILLANUEVA and MARINA FRANCISCO, in their capacities as members of the Municipal
Board,respondents.
Artemio V. Panganiban and Renito V. Saguisag and Crispin D. Baizas and Associates for petitioner.
Paredes Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno and Antonio Barredo for respondent Mayor of Manila.
Romeo L. Kahayon for respondents City Treasurer of Manila, etc., et al.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General Pacifico P. de Castro,
Solicitor Jorge R. Coquia and Solicitor Ricardo L. Pronove, Jr. for respondents The Executive
Secretary and Commissioner of Civil Service.
Fortunato de Leon and Antonio V. Raquiza as amici curiae.
MAKALINTAL, C.J.:p
The present controversy revolves around the passage of House Bill No. 9266, which became
Republic Act 4065, "An Act Defining the Powers, Rights and Duties of the Vice-Mayor of the City of
Manila, Further Amending for the Purpose Sections Ten and Eleven of Republic Act Numbered Four
Hundred Nine, as Amended, Otherwise Known as the Revised Charter of the City of Manila."
The facts as set forth in the pleadings appear undisputed:
On March 30, 1964 House Bill No. 9266, a bill of local application, was filed in the House of
Representatives. It was there passed on third reading without amendments on April 21, 1964.
Forthwith the bill was sent to the Senate for its concurrence. It was referred to the Senate Committee
on Provinces and Municipal Governments and Cities headed by Senator Gerardo M. Roxas. The
committee favorably recommended approval with a minor amendment, suggested by Senator Roxas,
that instead of the City Engineer it be the President Protempore of the Municipal Board who should
succeed the Vice-Mayor in case of the latter's incapacity to act as Mayor.
When the bill was discussed on the floor of the Senate on second reading on May 20, 1964,
substantial amendments to Section 1 1 were introduced by Senator Arturo Tolentino. Those
amendments were approved in toto by the Senate. The amendment recommended by Senator Roxas
does not appear in the journal of the Senate proceedings as having been acted upon.
On May 21, 1964 the Secretary of the Senate sent a letter to the House of Representatives that
House Bill No. 9266 had been passed by the Senate on May 20, 1964 "with amendments." Attached
to the letter was a certification of the amendment, which was the one recommended by Senator
Roxas and not the Tolentino amendments which were the ones actually approved by the Senate. The
House of Representatives thereafter signified its approval of House Bill No. 9266 as sent back to it,
and copies thereof were caused to be printed. The printed copies were then certified and attested by
the Secretary of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the
Secretary of the Senate and the Senate President. On June 16, 1964 the Secretary of the House
transmitted four printed copies of the bill to the President of the Philippines, who affixed his signatures
thereto by way of approval on June 18, 1964. The bill thereupon became Republic Act No. 4065.

The furor over the Act which ensued as a result of the public denunciation mounted by respondent
City Mayor drew immediate reaction from Senator Tolentino, who on July 5, 1964 issued a press
statement that the enrolled copy of House Bill No. 9266 signed into law by the President of the
Philippines was a wrong version of the bill actually passed by the Senate because it did not embody
the amendments introduced by him and approved on the Senate floor. As a consequence the Senate
President, through the Secretary of the Senate, addressed a letter dated July 11, 1964 to the
President of the Philippines, explaining that the enrolled copy of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the
secretaries of both Houses as well as by the presiding officers thereof was not the bill duly approved
by Congress and that he considered his signature on the enrolled bill as invalid and of no effect. A
subsequent letter dated July 21, 1964 made the further clarification that the invalidation by the Senate
President of his signature meant that the bill on which his signature appeared had never been
approved by the Senate and therefore the fact that he and the Senate Secretary had signed it did not
make the bill a valid enactment.
On July 31, 1964 the President of the Philippines sent a message to the presiding officers of both
Houses of Congress informing them that in view of the circumstances he was officially withdrawing
his signature on House Bill No. 9266 (which had been returned to the Senate the previous July 3),
adding that "it would be untenable and against public policy to convert into law what was not actually
approved by the two Houses of Congress."
Upon the foregoing facts the Mayor of Manila, Antonio Villegas, issued circulars to the department
heads and chiefs of offices of the city government as well as to the owners, operators and/or
managers of business establishments in Manila to disregard the provisions of Republic Act 4065. He
likewise issued an order to the Chief of Police to recall five members of the city police force who had
been assigned to the Vice-Mayor presumably under authority of Republic Act 4065.
Reacting to these steps taken by Mayor Villegas, the then Vice-Mayor, Herminio A. Astorga, filed a
petition with this Court on September 7, 1964 for "Mandamus, Injunction and/or Prohibition with
Preliminary Mandatory and Prohibitory Injunction" to compel respondents Mayor of Manila, the
Executive Secretary, the Commissioner of Civil Service, the Manila Chief of Police, the Manila City
Treasurer and the members of the municipal board to comply with the provisions of Republic Act
4065.
Respondents' position is that the so-called Republic Act 4065 never became law since it was not the
bill actually passed by the Senate, and that the entries in the journal of that body and not the enrolled
bill itself should be decisive in the resolution of the issue.
On April 28, 1965, upon motion of respondent Mayor, who was then going abroad on an official trip,
this Court issued a restraining order, without bond, "enjoining the petitioner Vice-Mayor Herminio
Astorga from exercising any of the powers of an Acting Mayor purportedly conferred upon the ViceMayor of Manila under the so-called Republic Act 4065 and not otherwise conferred upon said ViceMayor under any other law until further orders from this Court."
The original petitioner, Herminio A. Astorga, has since been succeeded by others as Vice-Mayor of
Manila. Attorneys Fortunato de Leon and Antonio Raquiza, with previous leave of this Court,
appeared as amici curiae, and have filed extensive and highly enlightening memoranda on the issues
raised by the parties.
Lengthy arguments, supported by copious citations of authorities, principally decisions of United
States Federal and State Courts, have been submitted on the question of whether the "enrolled bill"
doctrine or the "journal entry" rule should be adhered to in this jurisdiction. A similar question came up
before this Court and elicited differing opinions in the case of Mabanag, et al. vs. Lopez Vito, et al.

(March 5, 1947), 78 Phil. Reports 1. While the majority of the Court in that case applied the "enrolled
bill" doctrine, it cannot be truly said that the question has been laid to rest and that the decision
therein constitutes a binding precedent.
The issue in that case was whether or not a resolution of both Houses of Congress proposing an
amendment to the (1935) Constitution to be appended as an ordinance thereto (the so-called parity
rights provision) had been passed by "a vote of three-fourths of all the members of the Senate and of
the House of Representatives" pursuant to Article XV of the Constitution.
The main opinion, delivered by Justice Pedro Tuason and concurred in by Justices Manuel V. Moran,
Guillermo F. Pablo and Jose M. Hontiveros, held that the case involved a political question which was
not within the province of the judiciary in view of the principle of separation of powers in our
government. The "enrolled bill" theory was relied upon merely to bolster the ruling on the jurisdictional
question, the reasoning being that "if a political question conclusively binds the judges out of respect
to the political departments, a duly certified law or resolution also binds the judges under the "enrolled
bill rule" born of that respect."
Justice Cesar Bengzon wrote a separate opinion, concurred in by Justice Sabino Padilla, holding that
the Court had jurisdiction to resolve the question presented, and affirming categorically that "the
enrolled copy of the resolution and the legislative journals are conclusive upon us," specifically in view
of Section 313 of Act 190, as amended by Act No. 2210. This provision in the Rules of Evidence in
the old Code of Civil Procedure appears indeed to be the only statutory basis on which the "enrolled
bill" theory rests. It reads:
The proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any legislative body that may be
provided for in the Philippine Islands, or of Congress (may be proved) by the journals of
those bodies or of either house thereof, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by
copies certified by the clerk or secretary, printed by their order; provided, that in the
case of acts of the Philippine Commission or the Philippine Legislature, when there is in
existence a copy signed by the presiding officers and secretaries of said bodies, it shall
be conclusive proof of the provisions of such acts and of the due enactment thereof.
Congress devised its own system of authenticating bills duly approved by both Houses, namely, by
the signatures of their respective presiding officers and secretaries on the printed copy of the
approved bill. 2 It has been held that this procedure is merely a mode of authentication, 3 to signify to
the Chief Executive that the bill being presented to him has been duly approved by Congress and is
ready for his approval or rejection. 4 The function of an attestation is therefore not of approval,
because a bill is considered approved after it has passed both Houses. Even where such attestation
is provided for in the Constitution authorities are divided as to whether or not the signatures are
mandatory such that their absence would render the statute invalid. 5 The affirmative view, it is
pointed out, would be in effect giving the presiding officers the power of veto, which in itself is a
strong argument to the contrary 6 There is less reason to make the attestation a requisite for the
validity of a bill where the Constitution does not even provide that the presiding officers should sign
the bill before it is submitted to the President.
In one case in the United States, where the (State)Constitution required the presiding officers to sign
a bill and this provision was deemed mandatory, the duly authenticated enrolled bill was considered
as conclusive proof of its due enactment. 7 Another case however, under the same circumstances,
held that the enrolled bill was not conclusive evidence. 8 But in the case of Field vs. Clark, 9 the U.S.
Supreme Court held that the signatures of the presiding officers on a bill, although not required by the
Constitution, is conclusive evidence of its passage. The authorities in the United States are thus not
unanimous on this point.

The rationale of the enrolled bill theory is set forth in the said case of Field vs. Clark as follows:
The signing by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and, by the President of
the Senate, in open session, of an enrolled bill, is an official attestation by the two
houses of such bill as one that has passed Congress. It is a declaration by the two
houses, through their presiding officers, to the President, that a bill, thus attested, has
received, in due form, the sanction of the legislative branch of the government, and that
it is delivered to him in obedience to the constitutional requirement that all bills which
pass Congress shall be presented to him. And when a bill, thus attested, receives his
approval, and is deposited in the public archives, its authentication as a bill that has
passed Congress should be deemed complete and unimpeachable. As the President
has no authority to approve a bill not passed by Congress, an enrolled Act in the
custody of the Secretary of State, and having the official attestations of the Speaker of
the House of Representatives, of the President of the Senate, and of the President of
the United States, carries, on its face, a solemn assurance by the legislative and
executive departments of the government, charged, respectively, with the duty of
enacting and executing the laws, that it was passed by Congress. The respect due to
coequal and independent departments requires the judicial department to act upon that
assurance, and to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the
manner stated; leaving the courts to determine, when the question properly arises,
whether the Act, so authenticated, is in conformity with the Constitution.
It may be noted that the enrolled bill theory is based mainly on "the respect due to coequal and
independent departments," which requires the judicial department "to accept, as having passed
Congress, all billsauthenticated in the manner stated." Thus it has also been stated in other cases
that if the attestation is absent and the same is not required for the validity of a statute, the courts
may resort to the journals and other records of Congress for proof of its due enactment. This was the
logical conclusion reached in a number of decisions, 10although they are silent as to whether the
journals may still be resorted to if the attestation of the presiding officers is present.
The (1935) Constitution is silent as to what shall constitute proof of due enactment of a bill. It does
not require the presiding officers to certify to the same. But the said Constitution does contain the
following provisions:
Sec. 10 (4). "Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time
publish the same, excepting such parts as may in its judgment require secrecy; and the
yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present,
be entered in the Journal."
Sec. 21 (2). "No bill shall be passed by either House unless it shall have been printed
and copies thereof in its final form furnished its Members at least three calendar days
prior to its passage, except when the President shall have certified to the necessity of its
immediate enactment. Upon the last reading of a bill no amendment thereof shall be
allowed, and the question upon its passage shall be taken immediately thereafter, and
the yeas and nays entered on the Journal."
Petitioner's argument that the attestation of the presiding officers of Congress is conclusive proof of a
bill's due enactment, required, it is said, by the respect due to a co-equal department of the
government, 11 is neutralized in this case by the fact that the Senate President declared his signature
on the bill to be invalid and issued a subsequent clarification that the invalidation of his signature
meant that the bill he had signed had never been approved by the Senate. Obviously this declaration

should be accorded even greater respect than the attestation it invalidated, which it did for a reason
that is undisputed in fact and indisputable in logic.
As far as Congress itself is concerned, there is nothing sacrosanct in the certification made by the
presiding officers. It is merely a mode of authentication. The lawmaking process in Congress ends
when the bill is approved by both Houses, and the certification does not add to the validity of the bill
or cure any defect already present upon its passage. In other words it is the approval by Congress
and not the signatures of the presiding officers that is essential. Thus the (1935) Constitution says
that "[e] very bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes law, be presented to the
President. 12 In Brown vs. Morris, supra, the Supreme Court of Missouri, interpreting a similar
provision in the State Constitution, said that the same "makes it clear that the indispensable step is
the final passage and it follows that if a bill, otherwise fully enacted as a law, is not attested by the
presiding officer, of the proof that it has "passed both houses" will satisfy the constitutional
requirement."
Petitioner agrees that the attestation in the bill is not mandatory but argues that the disclaimer thereof
by the Senate President, granting it to have been validly made, would only mean that there was no
attestation at all, but would not affect the validity of the statute. Hence, it is pointed out, Republic Act
No. 4065 would remain valid and binding. This argument begs the issue. It would limit the court's
inquiry to the presence or absence of the attestation and to the effect of its absence upon the validity
of the statute. The inquiry, however, goes farther. Absent such attestation as a result of the
disclaimer, and consequently there being no enrolled bill to speak of, what evidence is there to
determine whether or not the bill had been duly enacted? In such a case the entries in the journal
should be consulted.
The journal of the proceedings of each House of Congress is no ordinary record. The Constitution
requires it. While it is true that the journal is not authenticated and is subject to the risks of misprinting
and other errors, the point is irrelevant in this case. This Court is merely asked to inquire whether the
text of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the Chief Executive was the same text passed by both Houses
of Congress. Under the specific facts and circumstances of this case, this Court can do this and
resort to the Senate journal for the purpose. The journal discloses that substantial and lengthy
amendments were introduced on the floor and approved by the Senate but were not incorporated in
the printed text sent to the President and signed by him. This Court is not asked to incorporate such
amendments into the alleged law, which admittedly is a risky undertaking, 13 but to declare that the bill
was not duly enacted and therefore did not become law. This We do, as indeed both the President of
the Senate and the Chief Executive did, when they withdrew their signatures therein. In the face of
the manifest error committed and subsequently rectified by the President of the Senate and by the
Chief Executive, for this Court to perpetuate that error by disregarding such rectification and holding
that the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction and bring about
mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body.
In view of the foregoing considerations, the petition is denied and the so-called Republic Act No. 4065
entitled "AN ACT DEFINING THE POWERS, RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE VICE-MAYOR OF THE
CITY OF MANILA, FURTHER AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTIONS TEN AND ELEVEN OF
REPUBLIC ACT NUMBERED FOUR HUNDRED NINE, AS AMENDED, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS
THE REVISED CHARTER OF THE CITY OF MANILA" is declared not to have been duly enacted
and therefore did not become law. The temporary restraining order dated April 28, 1965 is hereby
made permanent. No pronouncement as to costs.
Castro, Teehankee, Antonio, Esguerra, Fernandez, Muoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur.
Zaldivar (Chairman), Fernando and Barredo, JJ., took no part.

Makasiar, J., is on leave.


Footnotes
1 Amending Section 10 of R. A. No. 409 defining the powers and duties of the ViceMayor.
2 See Rules of the House of Representatives, Rules II (d) and IV(j) and Rules of the
Senate; Sections 3(e) and 6(h).
3 Brown vs. Morris, 290 SW 2d 160, 164.
4 Taylor vs. Wilson, 22 NW 119, 120.
5 See Annotations in 95 ALR 273.
6 Brown vs. Morris supra, at pp. 164-165.
7 Hammond vs. Lynch, 151 NW 81, 88.
8 Lynch vs. Hutchinson 76 NE 370.
9 143 U. S. 294, 303; 36 L. ed. 294.
10 Gray vs. Taylor, 113 P 588, 591, affirmed in 227 U. S. 51, 57, 57 L. ed. 413, 416;
Pelt vs. Payne, 30 SW 426, 427.
11 Field vs. Clark, supra at p. 303; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1, 13; Morales vs.
Subido, L-29658, Feb. 27, 1969, 27 SCRA 131, 134.
12 Article VI, Section 20(1). The 1973 Constitution similarly provides in Article VIII,
Section 20(1) that "(E)very bill passed by the National Assembly shall, before it
becomes a law, be presented to the Prime Minister ... "
13 See, for example, the decisions of this Court in Casco Phil. Chemical Co. vs.
Gimenez, L-17931, Feb. 28, 1963, 7 SCRA 347 and Morales vs. Subido, supra.

G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985


LORENZO M. TAADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR
BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. [MABINI], petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President, HON.
JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President ,
MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, Malacaang Records Office, and
FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his capacity as Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents.
ESCOLIN, J.:

Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right recognized in Section
6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to be valid and
enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners
seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the
publication in the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general
orders, proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders.
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought:
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, 234,
265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406,
415, 427, 429, 445, 447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594,
599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, 836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030,
1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644,
1772, 1808, 1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, 1842-1847.
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153,
155, 161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, 204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224,
226-228, 231-239, 241-245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289,
291, 293, 297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, 343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362,
367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-440, 444- 445, 473, 486, 488, 498, 501,
399, 527, 561, 576, 587, 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642, 665,
702, 712-713, 726, 837-839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940, 964,997,1149-1178,11801278.
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65.
d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529,
1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, 1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 16061609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 17371742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 18021804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 18391840, 1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876-1889,
1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 20302044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244.
e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471, 474-492, 494-507,
509-510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568,
570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604, 609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788852, 854-857.
f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81,
92, 94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-433, 436-439.
The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case dismissed outright on the
ground that petitioners have no legal personality or standing to bring the instant petition. The view is
submitted that in the absence of any showing that petitioners are personally and directly affected or
prejudiced by the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in question 2 said petitioners
are without the requisite legal personality to institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not being
"aggrieved parties" within the meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we quote:

SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.When any tribunal, corporation, board 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 a rd enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no
other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person
aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant,
immediately or at some other specified time, to do the act required to be done to Protect
the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by
reason of the wrongful acts of the defendant.
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition concerns a public right
and its object is to compel the performance of a public duty, they need not show any specific interest
for their petition to be given due course.
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case of Severino vs. Governor
General, 3 this Court held that while the general rule is that "a writ of mandamus would be granted to
a private individual only in those cases where he has some private or particular interest to be
subserved, or some particular right to be protected, independent of that which he holds with the public
at large," and "it is for the public officers exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be
subserved [Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is one of public
right and the object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public duty, the people are
regarded as the real party in interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are
instituted need not show that he has any legal or special interest in the result, it being sufficient to
show that he is a citizen and as such interested in the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary
Legal Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431].
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private individual, as a proper
party to the mandamus proceedings brought to compel the Governor General to call a special
election for the position of municipal president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for
this Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. Trent said:
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority supports the proposition that
the relator is a proper party to proceedings of this character when a public right is
sought to be enforced. If the general rule in America were otherwise, we think that it
would not be applicable to the case at bar for the reason 'that it is always dangerous to
apply a general rule to a particular case without keeping in mind the reason for the rule,
because, if under the particular circumstances the reason for the rule does not exist, the
rule itself is not applicable and reliance upon the rule may well lead to error'
No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule insisted upon by
counsel for the respondent. The circumstances which surround this case are different
from those in the United States, inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to these
proceedings no other person could be, as we have seen that it is not the duty of the law
officer of the Government to appear and represent the people in cases of this character.
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal personality in the
aforementioned case apply squarely to the present petition. Clearly, the right sought to be enforced
by petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no less than the fundamental law of the land. If
petitioners were not allowed to institute this proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to conceive of any
other person to initiate the same, considering that the Solicitor General, the government officer

generally empowered to represent the people, has entered his appearance for respondents in this
case.
Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua non requirement
for the effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus
submitted that since the presidential issuances in question contain special provisions as to the date
they are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity. The
point stressed is anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code:
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, ...
The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's construction of said article. In a
long line of decisions, 4 this Court has ruled that publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in
those cases where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of
publication is material for determining its date of effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its
publication-but not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect.
Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it equates the effectivity of laws
with the fact of publication. Considered in the light of other statutes applicable to the issue at hand,
the conclusion is easily reached that said Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in
the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of
Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows:
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all important legisiative
acts and resolutions of a public nature of the, Congress of the Philippines; [2] all
executive and administrative orders and proclamations, except such as have no general
applicability; [3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court
of Appeals as may be deemed by said courts of sufficient importance to be so
published; [4] such documents or classes of documents as may be required so to be
published by law; and [5] such documents or classes of documents as the President of
the Philippines shall determine from time to time to have general applicability and legal
effect, or which he may authorize so to be published. ...
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public adequate notice of the
various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and
publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It
would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law
of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has the publication of laws
taken so vital significance that at this time when the people have bestowed upon the President a
power heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature. While the people are kept abreast by the mass
media of the debates and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansaand for the diligent ones, ready
access to the legislative recordsno such publicity accompanies the law-making process of the
President. Thus, without publication, the people have no means of knowing what presidential decrees
have actually been promulgated, much less a definite way of informing themselves of the specific
contents and texts of such decrees. As the Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion
generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones,
Circulares y Reales ordines dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su
potestad. 5

The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There shall be published in the
Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein imposes upon respondent officials an imperative
duty. That duty must be enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of
public concern is to be given substance and reality. The law itself makes a list of what should be
published in the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves respondents with no discretion
whatsoever as to what must be included or excluded from such publication.
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is
mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for
their violation or otherwise impose a burden or. the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall
within this category. Other presidential issuances which apply only to particular persons or class of
persons such as administrative and executive orders need not be published on the assumption that
they have been circularized to all concerned. 6
It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general
applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before a person may be bound by
law, he must first be officially and specifically informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio Teehankee
said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:
In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions which all form part of
the law of the land, the requirement of due process and the Rule of Law demand that
the Official Gazette as the official government repository promulgate and publish the
texts of all such decrees, orders and instructions so that the people may know where to
obtain their official and specific contents.
The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which have not been
published, shall have no force and effect. Some members of the Court, quite apprehensive about the
possible unsettling effect this decision might have on acts done in reliance of the validity of those
presidential decrees which were published only during the pendency of this petition, have put the
question as to whether the Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced or
implemented prior to their publication. The answer is all too familiar. In similar situations in the past
this Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth in Chicot County Drainage District vs.
Baxter Bank 8 to wit:
The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of Congress, having been
found to be unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was inoperative, conferring no rights
and imposing no duties, and hence affording no basis for the challenged decree. Norton
v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559,
566. It is quite clear, however, that such broad statements as to the effect of a
determination of unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. The actual
existence of a statute, prior to such a determination, is an operative fact and may have
consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a
new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to invalidity may have to
be considered in various aspects-with respect to particular conduct, private and official.
Questions of rights claimed to have become vested, of status, of prior determinations
deemed to have finality and acted upon accordingly, of public policy in the light of the
nature both of the statute and of its previous application, demand examination. These
questions are among the most difficult of those which have engaged the attention of
courts, state and federal and it is manifest from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive
statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified.

Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs. Esteban 9 sustained the right of a party
under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law was declared
unconstitutional by this Court.
Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their publication in the
Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences which cannot be justly ignored.
The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that of the presidential
decrees sought by petitioners to be published in the Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees Nos.
1019 to 1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive, have not been so published. 10 Neither the
subject matters nor the texts of these PDs can be ascertained since no copies thereof are available.
But whatever their subject matter may be, it is undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has
ever been implemented or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court, through
Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the public of the contents of
[penal] regulations and make the said penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. " The
cogency of this holding is apparently recognized by respondent officials considering the manifestation
in their comment that "the government, as a matter of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of
criminal laws until the same shall have been published in the Official Gazette or in some other
publication, even though some criminal laws provide that they shall take effect immediately.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all unpublished
presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so published, they shall have no
binding force and effect.
SO ORDERED.
Relova, J., concurs.
Aquino, J., took no part.
Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.
Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):
There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the ably written opinion of
Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the
requirement of publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential issuances" to have
binding force and effect.
I shall explain why.
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process question would arise if
made to apply adversely to a party who is not even aware of the existence of any legislative or
executive act having the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required need not
be confined to the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is an advantage to be
gained. It conduces to certainty. That is too be admitted. It does not follow, however, that failure to do
so would in all cases and under all circumstances result in a statute, presidential decree or any other
executive act of the same category being bereft of any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for

me, raise a constitutional question. Such a pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that
such a legislative or presidential act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in the
Official Gazette. There is no such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly pointed
out. It is true that what is decided now applies only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this
clarification is, to my mind, needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for any
statute or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or effectivity.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Plana. Its first
paragraph sets forth what to me is the constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The
Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity,
unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of due process
requires notice of laws to affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not
necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. 1 I am
likewise in agreement with its closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the
extent that it requires notice before laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a law
without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such
notice shall be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2
3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the command of the government
"must be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed be to reduce it to
the level of mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and
unknowable. 4 Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not prepared to subscribe to is the
doctrine that it must be in the Official Gazette. To be sure once published therein there is the
ascertainable mode of determining the exact date of its effectivity. Still for me that does not dispose of
the question of what is the jural effect of past presidential decrees or executive acts not so published.
For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of their existence could have conducted themselves in
accordance with their provisions. If no legal consequences could attach due to lack of publication in
the Official Gazette, then serious problems could arise. Previous transactions based on such
"Presidential Issuances" could be open to question. Matters deemed settled could still be inquired
into. I am not prepared to hold that such an effect is contemplated by our decision. Where such
presidential decree or executive act is made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its ex
post facto character becomes evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity as such is not conclusive
on the due process aspect. There must still be a showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the
challenged presidential decree or executive act was issued under the police power, the nonimpairment clause of the Constitution may not always be successfully invoked. There must still be
that process of balancing to determine whether or not it could in such a case be tainted by
infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could arise then a question of unconstitutional application.
That is as far as it goes.
4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further than to affirm that publication
is essential to the effectivity of a legislative or executive act of a general application. I am not in
agreement with the view that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code itself in
its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is
otherwise provided." Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment, Republic Act No.
386. It does not and cannot have the juridical force of a constitutional command. A later legislative or
executive act which has the force and effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of Justice Escolin that
presidential decrees and executive acts not thus previously published in the Official Gazette would be
devoid of any legal character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught, as earlier

noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable to yield assent to such a
pronouncement.
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and Alampay concur in this
separate opinion.
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring opinion of Mme. Justice
Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms and laws published and ascertainable and of
equal application to all similarly circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only under
certain set procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that "it is an elementary rule of fair play
and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people who are
commanded to obey before they can be punished for its violation, 1 citing the settled principle based
on due process enunciated in earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially
its penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and
specially informed of said contents and its penalties.
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and the
Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis nor justification for the corollary rule of Article
3 of the Civil Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law are ascertainable from
the public and official repository where they are duly published) that "Ignorance of the law excuses no
one from compliance therewith.
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code that "only laws which
are silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is
manifestly untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws shall take effect after
fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise
provided, " i.e. a different effectivity date is provided by the law itself. This proviso perforce refers to a
law that has been duly published pursuant to the basic constitutional requirements of due process.
The best example of this is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it "shall
take effect [only] one year [not 15 days] after such publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading
that "most laws or decrees specify the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the
Official Gazette is not necessary for their effectivity 3 would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil
Code's indispensable and essential requirement of prior publication in the Official Gazette by the
simple expedient of providing for immediate effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law
itself before the completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period generally fixed by
the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for a date of effectivity, it has
to be published. What I would like to state in connection with that proposition is that when a date of
effectivity is mentioned in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its
publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that the decree can have retroactive effect to the
date of effectivity mentioned in the decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will
run counter to constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.
PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):

The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their
effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may be said though that the guarantee of due
process requires notice of laws to affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice
is not necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise.
Neither is the publication of laws in the Official Gazette required by any statute as a prerequisite for
their effectivity, if said laws already provide for their effectivity date.
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may
be said of this provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in provision as to
when it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may provide not only a different
period for reckoning its effectivity date but also a different mode of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe
that it shall be published elsewhere than in the Official Gazette.
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition that for their
effectivity, laws must be published in the Official Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to Provide
for the Uniform Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably therewith, it
authorizes the publication of the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, provides for its sale and
distribution, and defines the authority of the Director of Printing in relation thereto. It also enumerates
what shall be published in the Official Gazette, among them, "important legislative acts and
resolutions of a public nature of the Congress of the Philippines" and "all executive and administrative
orders and proclamations, except such as have no general applicability." It is noteworthy that not all
legislative acts are required to be published in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a
public nature." Moreover, the said law does not provide that publication in the Official Gazette is
essential for the effectivity of laws. This is as it should be, for all statutes are equal and stand on the
same footing. A law, especially an earlier one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No.
638, cannot nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a provision of its own as
to when and how it will take effect. Only a higher law, which is the Constitution, can assume that role.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become
effective, for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness.
However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official
Gazette.
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:
I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the necessity of such
publication being in the Official Gazette.

DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:


I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and issuances of a public nature or
general applicability ineffective, until due publication thereof.
Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):

There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the ably written opinion of
Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the
requirement of publication in the Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential issuances" to have
binding force and effect.
I shall explain why.
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due process question would arise if
made to apply adversely to a party who is not even aware of the existence of any legislative or
executive act having the force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required need not
be confined to the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is an advantage to be
gained. It conduces to certainty. That is too be admitted. It does not follow, however, that failure to do
so would in all cases and under all circumstances result in a statute, presidential decree or any other
executive act of the same category being bereft of any binding force and effect. To so hold would, for
me, raise a constitutional question. Such a pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that
such a legislative or presidential act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in the
Official Gazette. There is no such requirement in the Constitution as Justice Plana so aptly pointed
out. It is true that what is decided now applies only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this
clarification is, to my mind, needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for any
statute or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or effectivity.
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Plana. Its first
paragraph sets forth what to me is the constitutional doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The
Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity,
unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of due process
requires notice of laws to affected Parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not
necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. 1 I am
likewise in agreement with its closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the
extent that it requires notice before laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a law
without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such
notice shall be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2
3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the command of the government
"must be ascertainable in some form if it is to be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed be to reduce it to
the level of mere futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and
unknowable. 4 Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not prepared to subscribe to is the
doctrine that it must be in the Official Gazette. To be sure once published therein there is the
ascertainable mode of determining the exact date of its effectivity. Still for me that does not dispose of
the question of what is the jural effect of past presidential decrees or executive acts not so published.
For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of their existence could have conducted themselves in
accordance with their provisions. If no legal consequences could attach due to lack of publication in
the Official Gazette, then serious problems could arise. Previous transactions based on such
"Presidential Issuances" could be open to question. Matters deemed settled could still be inquired
into. I am not prepared to hold that such an effect is contemplated by our decision. Where such
presidential decree or executive act is made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its ex
post facto character becomes evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity as such is not conclusive
on the due process aspect. There must still be a showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the
challenged presidential decree or executive act was issued under the police power, the nonimpairment clause of the Constitution may not always be successfully invoked. There must still be
that process of balancing to determine whether or not it could in such a case be tainted by
infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could arise then a question of unconstitutional application.
That is as far as it goes.

4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further than to affirm that publication
is essential to the effectivity of a legislative or executive act of a general application. I am not in
agreement with the view that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code itself in
its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is
otherwise provided." Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment, Republic Act No.
386. It does not and cannot have the juridical force of a constitutional command. A later legislative or
executive act which has the force and effect of law can legally provide for a different rule.
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of Justice Escolin that
presidential decrees and executive acts not thus previously published in the Official Gazette would be
devoid of any legal character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught, as earlier
noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable to yield assent to such a
pronouncement.
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and Alampay concur in this
separate opinion.
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring opinion of Mme. Justice
Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms and laws published and ascertainable and of
equal application to all similarly circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only under
certain set procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that "it is an elementary rule of fair play
and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be afforded to the people who are
commanded to obey before they can be punished for its violation, 1 citing the settled principle based
on due process enunciated in earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, especially
its penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and
specially informed of said contents and its penalties.
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of the Civil Code and the
Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis nor justification for the corollary rule of Article
3 of the Civil Code (based on constructive notice that the provisions of the law are ascertainable from
the public and official repository where they are duly published) that "Ignorance of the law excuses no
one from compliance therewith.
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code that "only laws which
are silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is
manifestly untenable. The plain text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws shall take effect after
fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise
provided, " i.e. a different effectivity date is provided by the law itself. This proviso perforce refers to a
law that has been duly published pursuant to the basic constitutional requirements of due process.
The best example of this is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides otherwise that it "shall
take effect [only] one year [not 15 days] after such publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading
that "most laws or decrees specify the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the
Official Gazette is not necessary for their effectivity 3 would be to nullify and render nugatory the Civil
Code's indispensable and essential requirement of prior publication in the Official Gazette by the
simple expedient of providing for immediate effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law
itself before the completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period generally fixed by
the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:


I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for a date of effectivity, it has
to be published. What I would like to state in connection with that proposition is that when a date of
effectivity is mentioned in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its
publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that the decree can have retroactive effect to the
date of effectivity mentioned in the decree itself. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will
run counter to constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.
PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):
The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their
effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may be said though that the guarantee of due
process requires notice of laws to affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice
is not necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise.
Neither is the publication of laws in the Official Gazette required by any statute as a prerequisite for
their effectivity, if said laws already provide for their effectivity date.
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may
be said of this provision: Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in provision as to
when it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may provide not only a different
period for reckoning its effectivity date but also a different mode of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe
that it shall be published elsewhere than in the Official Gazette.
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition that for their
effectivity, laws must be published in the Official Gazette. The said law is simply "An Act to Provide
for the Uniform Publication and Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably therewith, it
authorizes the publication of the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, provides for its sale and
distribution, and defines the authority of the Director of Printing in relation thereto. It also enumerates
what shall be published in the Official Gazette, among them, "important legislative acts and
resolutions of a public nature of the Congress of the Philippines" and "all executive and administrative
orders and proclamations, except such as have no general applicability." It is noteworthy that not all
legislative acts are required to be published in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a
public nature." Moreover, the said law does not provide that publication in the Official Gazette is
essential for the effectivity of laws. This is as it should be, for all statutes are equal and stand on the
same footing. A law, especially an earlier one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No.
638, cannot nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a provision of its own as
to when and how it will take effect. Only a higher law, which is the Constitution, can assume that role.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become
effective, for no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary fairness.
However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official
Gazette.
Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:
I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the necessity of such
publication being in the Official Gazette.

DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:


I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and issuances of a public nature or
general applicability ineffective, until due publication thereof.
Footnotes
1 Section 6. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shag be
recognized, access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to
official acts, transactions, or decisions, shag be afforded the citizens subject to such
limitation as may be provided by law.
2 Anti-Chinese League vs. Felix, 77 Phil. 1012; Costas vs. Aidanese, 45 Phil. 345;
Almario vs. City Mayor, 16 SCRA 151;Parting vs. San Jose Petroleum, 18 SCRA 924;
Dumlao vs. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392.
3 16 Phil. 366, 378.
4 Camacho vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 80 Phil 848; Mejia vs. Balolong, 81 Phil.
486; Republic of the Philippines vs. Encamacion, 87 Phil. 843; Philippine Blooming
Mills, Inc. vs. Social Security System, 17 SCRA 1077; Askay vs. Cosalan, 46 Phil. 179.
5 1 Manresa, Codigo Civil 7th Ed., p. 146.
6 People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil. 640; Balbuena et al. vs. Secretary of Education, et
al., 110 Phil. 150.
7 82 SCRA 30, dissenting opinion.
8 308 U.S. 371, 374.
9 93 Phil.. 68,.
10 The report was prepared by the Clerk of Court after Acting Director Florendo S.
Pablo Jr. of the Government Printing Office, failed to respond to her letter-request
regarding the respective dates of publication in the Official Gazette of the presidential
issuances listed therein. No report has been submitted by the Clerk of Court as to the
publication or non-publication of other presidential issuances.
11 129 SCRA 174.
Fernando, CJ.:
1 Separate Opinion of Justice Plana, first paragraph. He mentioned in tills connection
Article 7, Sec. 21 of the Wisconsin Constitution and State ex rel. White v. Grand
Superior Ct., 71 ALR 1354, citing the Constitution of Indiana, U.S.A
2 Ibid, closing paragraph.
3 Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty 104 (1960).

4 Cardozo, The Growth of the Law, 3 (1924).


5 Cf. Nunez v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 50581-50617, January 30, 1982, 111 SCRA
433.
6 Cf. Alalayan v. National Power Corporation, L-24396, July 29, 1968, 24 SCRA 172.
Teehankee, J.:
1 People vs. de Dios, G.R. No. 11003, Aug. 3l, 1959, per the late Chief Justice Paras.
2 Notes in brackets supplied.
3 Respondents: comment, pp. 14-15.
Plana, J.:
* See e.g., Wisconsin Constitution, Art. 7, Sec. 21: "The legislature shall provide
publication of all statute laws ... and no general law shall be in force until published."
See also S ate ex rel. White vs. Grand Superior Ct., 71 ALR 1354, citing Constitution of
Indiana, U.S.A.
G.R. No. L-11530

August 12, 1916

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
JUAN PONS, defendant-appellant.
Jose Varela y Calderon for appellant.
Attorney-General Avancea for appellee.
TRENT, J.:
The information in this case reads:
The undersigned charges Gabino Beliso, Juan Pons, and Jacinto Lasarte with the crime of
illegal importation of opium, committed as follows:
That on or about the 10th day of April, 1915, the said accused, conspiring together and plotting
among themselves, did, knowingly, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and fraudulently, bring from
a foreign country, to wit, that of Spain, on board the steamer Lopez y Lopez, and import and
introduce into the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, and within the jurisdiction of the court, 520
tins containing 125 kilograms of opium of the value of P62,400, Philippine currency; and that,
then and there, the said accused, also conspiring together and plotting among themselves, did
receive and conceal the said quantity of opium and aided each other in the transportation,
receipt and concealment of the same after the said opium had been imported, knowing that
said drug had been unlawfully brought, imported and illegally introduced into the Philippine
Islands from a foreign country; an act committed in violation of law."
On motion of counsel Juan Pons and Gabino Beliso were tried separately. (Jacinto Lasarte had not
yet been arrested.) Each were found guilty of the crime charged and sentenced accordingly, the

former to be confined in Bilibid Prison for the period of two years, to pay a fine of P1,000, to suffer the
corresponding subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to the payment of one-half of the
costs. The same penalties were imposed upon the latter, except that he was sentenced to pay a fine
of P3,000. Both appealed. Beliso later withdrew his appeal and the judgment as to him has become
final.
The contentions for reversal are numerous (twenty-five assignments of error) and are greatly
multiplied by their reiteration in a somewhat changed form of statement under the many propositions
embraced in the elaborate printed brief, but their essence, when correctly understood, are these: The
court erred (a) in denying this appellant's motion, dated May 6, 1915, and reproduced on July 27,
1915, and (b) in finding that the legal evidence of record establishes the guilt of the appellant, Juan
Pons, beyond a reasonable doubt.
In his motion above mentioned, counsel alleged and offered to prove that the last day of the special
session of the Philippine Legislature for 1914 was the 28th day of February; that Act No. 2381, under
which Pons must be punished if found guilty, was not passed or approved on the 28th of February but
on March 1 of that year; and that, therefore, the same is null and void. The validity of the Act is not
otherwise questioned. As it is admitted that the last day of the special session was, under the
Governor-General's proclamation, February 28 and that the appellant is charged with having violated
the provisions of Act No. 2381, the vital question is the date of adjournment of the Legislature, and
this reduces itself to two others, namely, (1) how that is to be proved, whether by the legislative
journals or extraneous evidence and (2) whether the court can take judicial notice of the journals.
These questions will be considered in the reversed order.
Act No. 1679 provides that the Secretary of the Commission shall perform the duties which would
properly be required of the Recorder of the Commission under the existing law. And rules 15 and 16
of the Legislative Procedure of the Philippine Commission provides, among other things, "that the
proceedings of the Commission shall be briefly and accurately stated on the journal," and that it shall
be the duty of the Secretary "to keep a correct journal of the proceedings of the Commission." On
page 793 of volume 7 of the Commission Journal for the ordinary and special sessions of the Third
Philippine Legislature, the following appears:
The Journal for Saturday, February 28, 1914, was approved. Adjournment sine die of the
Commission as a Chamber of the Philippine Legislature. The hour of midnight having arrived,
on motion of Commissioner Palma, the Commission, as a Chamber of the Philippine
Legislature, adjourned sine die.
The Act of Congress, approved July 1, 1902, provides, among other things, in section 7, that the
Philippine Assembly "shall keep in journal of its proceedings, which shall be published . . . ." In
obedience to this mandate, the journal of the Assembly's proceedings for the sessions of 1914 was
duly published and it appears therein (vol. 9, p. 1029), that the Assembly adjourned sine die at 12
o'clock midnight on February 28, 1914.
Section 275 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that the existence of the "official acts of the
legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and of the Philippine Islands ...
shall be judicially recognized by the court without the introduction of proof; but the court may receive
evidence upon any of the subjects in this section states, when it shall find it necessary for its own
information, and may resort for its aid to appropriate books, documents, or evidence." And section
313 [as amended by sec. 1 of Act No. 2210], of the same Code also provides that:
Official documents may be proved as follows: . . . .

(2) The proceedings of the Philippine Commission, or of any legislative body that may be
provided for the Philippine Islands, or of Congress, by the journals of those bodies or of either
house thereof, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk or
secretary or printed by their order:Provided, That in the case of Acts of the Philippine
Commission or the Philippine Legislature when there is in existence a copy signed by the
presiding officers and the secretaries of said bodies, it shall be conclusive proof of the
provisions of such Act and of the due enactment thereof.
While there are no adjudicated cases in this jurisdiction upon the exact question whether the courts
may take judicial notice of the legislative journals, it is well settled in the United States that such
journals may be noticed by the courts in determining the question whether a particular bill became a
law or not. (The State ex rel. Herron vs. Smith, 44 Ohio, 348, and cases cited therein.) The result is
that the law and the adjudicated cases make it our duty to take judicial notice of the legislative
journals of the special session of the Philippine Legislature of 1914. These journals are not
ambiguous or contradictory as to the actual time of the adjournment. They show, with absolute
certainty, that the Legislature adjourned sine die at 12 o'clock midnight on February 28, 1914.
Passing over the question whether the printed Act (No. 2381), published by authority of law, is
conclusive evidence as to the date when it was passed, we will inquire whether the courts may go
behind the legislative journals for the purpose of determining the date of adjournment when such
journals are clear and explicit. From the foregoing it is clear that this investigation belongs entirely to
that branch of legal science which embraces and illustrates the laws of evidence. On the one hand, it
is maintained that the Legislature did not, as we have indicated, adjourn at midnight on February 28,
1914, but on March 1st, and that this allegation or alleged fact may be established by extraneous
evidence; while, on the other hand, it is urged that the contents of the legislative journals are
conclusive evidence as to the date of adjournment. In order to understand these opposing positions, it
is necessary to consider the nature and character of the evidence thus involved. Evidence is
understood to be that which proves or disproves "any matter in question or to influence the belief
respecting it," and "conclusive evidence is that which establishes the fact, as in the instance of
conclusive presumptions." (Bouvier's Law Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 701 et seq.) Counsel for the appellant,
in order to establish his contention, must necessarily depend upon the memory or recollection of
witnesses, while the legislative journals are the acts of the Government or sovereign itself. From their
very nature and object the records of the Legislature are as important as those of the judiciary, and to
inquiry into the veracity of the journals of the Philippine Legislature, when they are, as we have said,
clear and explicit, would be to violate both the letter and the spirit of the organic laws by which the
Philippine Government was brought into existence, to invade a coordinate and independent
department of the Government, and to interfere with the legitimate powers and functions of the
Legislature. But counsel in his argument says that the public knows that the Assembly's clock was
stopped on February 28, 1914, at midnight and left so until the determination of the discussion of all
pending matters. Or, in other words, the hands of the clock were stayed in order to enable the
Assembly to effect an adjournment apparently within the time fixed by the Governor's proclamation for
the expiration of the special session, in direct violation of the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902. If the
clock was, in fact, stopped, as here suggested, "the resultant evil might be slight as compared with
that of altering the probative force and character of legislative records, and making the proof of
legislative action depend upon uncertain oral evidence, liable to loss by death or absence, and so
imperfect on account of the treachery of memory. Long, long centuries ago, these considerations of
public policy led to the adoption of the rule giving verity and unimpeachability to legislative records. If
that character is to be taken away for one purpose, it must be taken away for all, and the evidence of
the laws of the state must rest upon a foundation less certain and durable than that afforded by the
law to many contracts between private individuals concerning comparatively trifling matters." (Capito
vs. Topping, W. Va., 22 L. R. A. [N. S.], 1089.) Upon the same point the court, in the State ex rel.
Herron vs. Smith (44 Ohio, 348), decided in 1886, said:

Counsel have exhibited unusual industry in looking up the various cases upon this question;
and, out of a multitude of citations, not one is found in which any court has assumed to go
beyond the proceedings of the legislature, as recorded in the journals required to be kept in
each of its branches, on the question whether a law has been adopted. And if reasons for the
limitation upon judicial inquiry in such matters have not generally been stated, in doubtless
arises from the fact that they are apparent. Imperative reasons of public policy require that the
authenticity of laws should rest upon public memorials of the most permanent character. They
should be public, because all are required to conform to them; they should be permanent, that
right acquired to-day upon the faith of what has been declared to be law shall not be destroyed
to-morrow, or at some remote period of time, by facts resting only in the memory of individuals.
In the case from which this last quotation is taken, the court cited numerous decisions of the various
states in the American Union in support of the rule therein laid down, and we have been unable to
find a single case of a later date where the rule has been in the least changed or modified when the
legislative journals cover the point. As the Constitution of the Philippine Government is modeled after
those of the Federal Government and the various states, we do not hesitate to follow the courts in
that country in the matter now before us. The journals say that the Legislature adjourned at 12
midnight on February 28, 1914. This settles the question, and the court did not err in declining to go
behind these journals.
On or about the 5th or 6th of April, 1915, the Spanish mail steamer Lopez y Lopez arrived at Manila
from Spain, bringing, among other cargo, twenty-five barrels which were manifested as "wine" and
consigned to Jacinto Lasarte. Gabino Beliso had been, prior to the arrival of this cargo, engaged in
the business of a wine merchant, with an office and warehouse located at 203 Calle San Anton in this
city. The shipper's invoice and bill of lading for the twenty-five barrels were delivered to Gregorio
Cansipit, a customs broker, by Beliso. These documents were indorsed as follows: "Deliver to Don
Gabino Beliso" and signed "Jacinto Lasarte." Cansipit conducted the negotiations incident to the
release of the merchandise from the customhouse and the twenty-five barrels were delivered in due
course to the warehouse of Beliso at the aforementioned street and number. Beliso signed the paper
acknowledging delivery. Shortly thereafter the custom authorities, having noticed that shipments of
merchandise manifested as "wine" had been arriving in Manila from Spain, consigned to persons
whose names were not listed as merchants, and having some doubt as to the nature of the
merchandise so consigned, instituted an investigation and traced on the 10th of April, 1915, the
twenty-five barrels to Beliso's warehouse, being aided by the customs registry number of the
shipment, the entry number, and the serial number of each barrel. It was found that the twenty-five
barrels began to arrive on bull carts at Beliso's warehouse about 11 o'clock on the morning of April 9.
Before the merchandise arrived at that place, the appellant, Juan Pons, went to Beliso's warehouse
and joined Beliso in the latter's office, where the two engaged in conversation. Pons then left and
shortly thereafter several of the barrels arrived and were unloaded in Beliso's bodega. He called one
of his employees, Cornelius Sese, and directed him to go out and get a bull cart. This Sese did and
returned with the vehicle. Beliso then carefully selected five barrels out of the shipment of twenty-five
and told Sese to load these five on the cart and to deliver them to Juan Pons at No. 144 Calle
General Solano. This order was complied with by Sese and the barrels delivered to Pons at the place
designated. Pursuing their investigation, which started on the 10th, the customs secret service agents
entered Beliso's bodega on that date before the office was opened and awaited the arrival of Beliso.
Sese was found in the bodega and placed under arrest. The agents then proceeded to separate the
recent shipment from the other merchandise stored in the warehouse, identifying the barrels by the
customs registry and entry numbers. Only twenty of the twenty-five barrels could be found on Beliso's
premises. Upon being questioned or interrogated, Sese informed the customs agents that the five
missing barrels had been delivered by him to Pons at 144 Calle General Solano by order of Beliso.
The agents, accompanied by Sese, proceeded to 144 Calle General Solano and here found the five
missing barrels, which were identified by the registry and entry numbers as well as by the serial

numbers. The five barrels were empty, the staves having been sprung and the iron hoops removed.
Five empty tins, each corresponding in size to the heads of the five barrels, were found on the floor
nearby. The customs officers noticed several baskets of lime scattered about the basement of the
house and on further search they found 77 tins of opium in one of these baskets. There was no one in
the house when this search was made, but some clothing was discovered which bore the initials "J.
P." It then became important to the customs agents to ascertain the owner and occupant of house
No. 144 on Calle General Solano where the five barrels were delivered. The owner was found, upon
investigation, to be Mariano Limjap, and from the latter's agent it was learned that the house was
rented by one F. C. Garcia. When the lease of the house was produced by the agent of the owner,
the agents saw that the same was signed "F. C. Garcia, by Juan Pons." After discovering these facts
they returned to the house of Beliso and selected three of the twenty barrels and ordered them
returned to the customhouse. Upon opening these three barrels each was found to contain a large tin
fitted into the head of the barrel with wooden cleats and securely nailed. Each large tin contained 75
small tins of opium. A comparison of the large tins taken out of the three barrels with the empty ones
found at 144 Calle General Solano show, says the trial court, "that they were in every way identical in
size, form, etc."
While the customs officers were still at the office and warehouse of Beliso on the morning of April 10,
Pons, apparently unaware that anything unusual was going on, arrived there and was placed under
arrest, and taken to the office of Captain Hawkins, chief of the customs secret service, and according
to Hawkins, voluntarily confessed his participation in the smuggling of the opium. He maintained,
however, that the 77 tins of opium found at 144 Calle General Solano represented the entire
importation. Pons, being at the customhouse under arrest at the time the three barrels were opened
and the customs officers appearing to be no doubt as to which end of the barrels contained the
opium, Pons showed the officers how to open the barrels and pointed out that the end of the barrel,
which had the impression of a bottle stamped in the wood, contained the opium. On seeing the 195
tins of opium taken from the three barrels, Pons further stated that he had delivered some 250 tins of
opium of this shipment to a Chinaman at 7.30 a. m. on the morning of April 10, following the
instructions given him by Beliso. On being further questioned, Pons stated that he and Beliso had
been partners in several opium transactions; that the house at No. 144 Calle General Solano had
been leased by him at the suggestion of Beliso for the purpose of handling the prohibited drug; and
that he and Beliso had shared the profits of a previous importation of opium. Sese testified that he
had delivered a previous shipment to 144 Calle General Solano. The customs agents then went with
Pons to his house and found in his yard several large tin receptacles, in every way similar to those
found at 144 Calle General Solano and those taken from the barrels at the customhouse. At first Pons
stated that F. C. Garcia was a tobacco merchant traveling in the between the Provinces of Isabela
and Cagayan, and later he retracted this statement and admitted that Garcia was a fictitious person.
But during the trial of this case in the court below Pons testified that Garcia was a wine merchant and
a resident of Spain, and that Garcia had written him a letter directing him to rent a house for him
(Garcia) and retain it until the arrival in the Philippine Islands of Garcia. According to Pons this letter
arrived on the same steamer which brought the 25 barrels of "wine," but that he had destroyed it
because he feared that it would compromise him. On being asked during the trial why he insisted, in
purchasing wine from Beliso, in receiving a part of the wine which had just arrived on the Lopez y
Lopez, answered, "Naturally because F. C. Garcia told me in this letter that this opium was coming in
barrels of wine sent to Beliso by a man the name of Jacinto Lasarte, and that is the reason I wanted
to get these barrels of wine."
The foregoing are substantially the fats found by the trial court and these fats establish the guilt of the
appellant beyond any question of a doubt, notwithstanding his feeble attempt to show that the opium
as shipped to him from Spain by a childhood fried named Garcia. The appellant took a direct part in
this huge smuggling transaction and profited thereby. The penalty imposed by the trial court is in
accordance with la and the decisions of this court in similar cases.

For the foregoing reasons, the judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs. So ordered.
Torres, Johnson, Moreland, and Araullo, JJ., concur.