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THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 116719. January 18, 1996]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. PATRICIO AMIGO alias


BEBOT, accused-appellant.

DECISION
MELO, J.:
Initially, Patricio Amigo was charged with frustrated murder in an Information reading as
follows:

The undersigned accuses the above-named accused of the crime of FRUSTRATED MURDER,
under Art. 248, in relation to Art. 5 of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:

That on or about December 29, 1989, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-mentioned accused, armed with a knife, with
treachery and evident premeditation and with intent to kill wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attacked, assaulted and stab with said weapon one Benito Ng Suy, thereby inflicting injuries
upon the latter, the following injuries, to wit:

MULTIPLE STAB WOUNDS-LEFT ARM, LEFT CHEST, ABDOMEN AND LEFT THIGH WITH
PENETRATION TO LEFT PLEURAL CAVITY, DIAPHRAGM STOMACH, DUODENUM,
PANCREAS AND MIDTRANVERSE COLON.

thus performing all the acts of execution which should have produced the crime of murder as a
consequence but nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of causes independent of his will,
that is, because of the timely and able medical assistance immediately rendered to the said Benito
Ng Suy.
(p.1, Rollo.)
to which he pleaded not guilty.
Subsequently, due to the death of the victim, an amended Information was filed charging now
the crime of murder, to wit:

That on or about December 29, 1989, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-mentioned accused, armed with a knife, with
treachery and evident premeditation and with intent to kill wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attacked, assaulted and stabbed with said weapon one Benito Ng Say, thereby inflicting upon
the latter multiple wounds which caused his death and the consequent loss and damage to the
heirs of the victim.

(p. 3, Rollo.)
After trial on the merits, the court a quo rendered a decision, disposing:

WHEREFORE, finding the accused Patricio Amigo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of MURDER punishable under Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, with no modifying
circumstance present, the accused is hereby sentenced to the penalty of reclusion
perpetua, which is the medium period of the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum to
death and to pay the cost; to indemnify the offended party the amount of P93,214.70 as actual
damages and P50,000.00 as compensatory damages and P50,000.00 as moral damages.

(p. 32, Rollo.)

Reversal thereof is now sought, with accused-appellant arguing that error was committed by
the trial court in imposing or meting out the penalty of reclusion perpetua against him despite the
fact that Sec. 19 (1), Article III of the 1987 Constitution was already in effect when the offense
was committed.
The facts of the case, as briefly summarized in the brief submitted by the Office of the Solicitor
General and as borne out by the evidence, are as follows:

On December 29, 1989, at around 1:00 P.M., after having spent half-day at their store, located
at No. 166-A, Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, Davao City, Benito Ng Suy was driving their gray
Ford Fiera back home, situated at the back of Car Asia, Bajada, Davao City. With him during
that time were his daughters, Jocelyn Ng Suy and a younger one together with his two year old
son, who were all seated at the front seat beside him while a five year old boy was also seated
at the back of the said vehicle. (TSN, April 29, 1991, pp. 3-5; TSN, March 31, 1992)

On their way home and while traversing the National Highway of Bajada, Davao City, an
orange Toyota Tamaraw driven by one Virgilio Abogada, suddenly made a left turn in front of the
Regional Hospital, Bajada, Davao City, without noticing the Ford Fiera coming from the opposite
direction. This Tamaraw was heading for Sterlyn Kitchenette, which was situated at the corner of
the said hospital. (TSN, April 29, 1991, p. 4; TSN, March 31, 1992, pp. 3 and 13)
With Virgilio was Patricio Amigo alias Bebot, a vulcanizer at Linglings vulcanizing shop owned
and operated by a certain Galadua. He was also seated at the right front seat beside Virgilio.
Due to the unexpected veer made by Virgilio, an accidental head on collision occurred
between the Fiera and the Tamaraw, causing a slight damage to the right bumper of the latter.
(TSN, March 31, 1992, p. 4)
Right after the collision, Benito immediately alighted from the drivers seat and confronted
Virgilio Abogada who also went down from his vehicle. (TSN, April 29, 1991, p. 5)
Benito, who was a big man with a loud voice told Virgilio, You were not looking, to which
Virgilio retorted, I did not see you. (TSN, April 29, 1991, p.16)
While the two drivers where having this verbal confrontation, Patricio who was merely a
passenger of Virgilio also alighted from the front seat of the Tamaraw and instantaneously
approached Benito and advised the latter to leave since it was merely a small and minor accident.
(TSN, April 29, 1991, pp. 16-18)
A bit irritated with the actuation exhibit by Patricio, Benito rebuked the former and told him
not to interfere, since he had nothing to do with the accident. (Ibid., p. 7)
Irked by the comment made by Benito, Patricio sarcastically asked; You are Chinese, is it
you? With a ready answer Benito said; Yes, I am a Chinese and why? Patricio in turn replied; So,
you are a Chinese, wait for a while, then left. (Ibid., pp. 7 and 19)
Immediately thereafter, Benito ordered Jocelyn to call a policeman, but after a lapse of about
one minute, Patricio returned and arrogantly approached Benito, asking the latter once again,
You are a Chinese, is it not? To this Benito calmly responded in the affirmative.
(Ibid., pp. 7, 19-20)
Upon hearing the response, Patricio mumbled Ah, so you are a Chinese, and suddenly took
a five inch knife from his waist and simultaneously stabbed Benito hitting him twice on the
chest. (ibid., p. 20)
After being hit, Benito wounded and sensing that his life was in peril, tried to evade his
assailant by pushing Patricio away and run around the Tamaraw but Patricio wielding the same
knife and not content with the injuries he had already inflicted, still chased Benito and upon
overtaking the latter embraced him and thrusted his knife on the victim several times, the last of
which hit Benito on the left side of his body. (Ibid., pp. 8, 10, 22)
It was at this juncture that Jocelyn who was still inside the Ford Fiera, pleading for mercy to
spare her father tried to get out of the vehicle but it was very unfortunate that she could not open
its door. (Ibid., p. 10)
Knowing that Patricio was really determined to kill her father by refusing to heed her pleas,
Joselyn shouted for help, since there were already several people around witnessing that fatal
incident, but to her consternation nobody lifted a single finger to help them. (Ibid., pp. 6, 10, 18,
21-22) Only after her father lay seated on the floor of their Ford Fiera after being hit on the left
side of his body that she was able to open the door of the said vehicle. (Ibid., p. 12)
After this precise moment, her younger sister, upon seeing their father bathing with his own
blood, embraced him, causing Patricio to cease from his ferocious assault and noticing the
presence of several people, he fled. (Ibid., p. 22)
Thereafter, an enraged Jocelyn chased him, but since the assailant ran faster than her, she
was not able to overtake him, thus, she instead decided to go back to where her father was and
carried him inside the Tamaraw who bumped them and consequently brought him
to San Pedro Hospital where he was attended to at the Emergency Room. (Ibid., p. 13)
While at the Emergency Room, Benito who was on a very critical condition, due to multiple
(13) stabbed wounds, was operated by Dr. Rolando Chiu. After the operation, he was
subsequently brought to the ICU and stayed there for three (3) weeks. (July 12, 1991, pp. 3 and
4)
In a last ditch effort to save his life, having only 10 to 20 percent survival, Benito was airlifted
to Manila and was directly confined at the Chinese General Hospital. After three (3) weeks of
confinement, Benito expired. CAUSE OF DEATH - SEPSIS (an overwhelming infection). This
means that the infection has already circulated in the blood all over the body. (Ibid., pp.6-7)
(pp. 59-65, Rollo.)
Accused-appellant contends that under the 1987 Constitution and prior to the promulgation
of Republic Act No. 7659, the death penalty had been abolished and hence, the penalty that
should have been imposed for the crime of murder committed by accused-appellant without the
attendance of any modifying circumstances, should be reclusion temporal in its medium period or
17 years, 4 months and 1 day, to 20 years of reclusion temporal.
Reasons out accused-appellant:
. . . Since the death penalty (or capital punishment) is not imposable when the stabbing and
killing happened, the computation of the penalty should be regarded from reclusion
perpetua down and not from death penalty. Indeed, the appropriate penalty is deducible
from reclusion perpetua down to reclusion temporal in its medium period. Hence, there being no
modifying circumstances present (p. 5 Decision, ibid.), the correct penalty should be in the
medium period (Art. 64, par. 1, Revised Penal Code) which is 17 years, 4 months and 1 day to
20 years of reclusion temporal.
(p. 10, Appellants Brief, ff. p. 50, Rollo.)
The question raised by accused-appellant was settled by this Court in People vs. Muoz (170
SCRA 107 [1989]) thusly:
In People vs. Gavarra, Justice Pedro L. Yap declared for the Court that in view of the abolition
of the death penalty under Section 19, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the penalty that may be
imposed for murder is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua, thereby
eliminating death as the original maximum period. Later, without categorically saying so, the
Court, through Justice Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera in People vs. Masangkay and through
Justice Andres R. Narvasa in People vs. Atencio, divided the modified penalty into three new
periods, the limits of which were specified by Justice Edgardo L. Paras in People vs. Intino, as
follows: the lower half of reclusion temporal maximum as the minimum; the upper half of reclusion
temporal maximum as the medium; and reclusion perpetua as the maximum.
The Court has reconsidered the above cases and, after extended discussion, come to the
conclusion that the doctrine announced therein does not reflect the intention of the framers as
embodied in Article III, Section 19(1) of the Constitution. This conclusion is not unanimous, to be
sure. Indeed, there is much to be said of the opposite view, which was in fact shared by many of
those now voting for its reversal. The majority of the Court, however, is of the belief that the
original interpretation should be restored as the more acceptable reading of the constitutional
provision in question.
The advocates of the Masangkay ruling argue that the Constitution abolished the death
penalty and thereby limited the penalty for murder to the remaining periods, to wit, the minimum
and the medium. These should now be divided into three new periods in keeping with the three-
grade scheme intended by the legislature. Those who disagree feel that Article III, Section 19(1)
merely prohibits the imposition of the death penalty and has not, by reducing it to reclusion
perpetua, also correspondingly reduced the remaining penalties. These should be maintained
intact.
A reading of Section 19(1) of Article III will readily show that there is really nothing therein
which expressly declares the abolition of the death penalty. The provision merely says that the
death penalty shall not be imposed unless for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes the
Congress hereafter provides for it and, if already imposed, shall be reduced to reclusion
perpetua. The language, while rather awkward, is still plain enough. And it is a settled rule of legal
hermeneutics that if the language under consideration is plain, it is neither necessary nor
permissible to resort to extrinsic aids, like the records of the constitutional convention, for its
interpretation.
xxx xxx xxx
The question as we see it is not whether the framers intended to abolish the death penalty or
merely to prevent its imposition. Whatever the intention was, what we should determine is whether
or not they also meant to require a corresponding modification in the other periods as a result of
the prohibition against the death penalty.
It is definite that such a requirement, if there really was one, is not at all expressed in Article
III, Section 19(1) of the Constitution or indicated therein by at least clear and unmistakable
implication. It would have been so easy, assuming such intention, to state it categorically and
plainly, leaving no doubts as to its meaning. One searches in vain for such a statement, express
or even implied. The writer of this opinion makes the personal observation that this might be still
another instance where the framers meant one thing and said another or - strangely, considering
their loquacity elsewhere - did not say enough.
The original ruling as applied in the Gavarra, Masangkay, Atencio and Intino cases
represented the unanimous thinking of the Court as it was then constituted. All but two members
at that time still sit on the Court today. If we have seen fit to take a second look at the doctrine on
which we were all agreed before, it is not because of a change in the composition of this body. It
is virtually the same Court that is changing its mind after reflecting on the question again in the
light of new perspectives. And well it might, and tan, for the tenets it lays down are not immutable.
The decisions of this Court are not petrified rules grown rigid once pronounced but vital, growing
things subject to change as all life is. While we are told that the trodden path is best, this should
not prevent us from opening a fresh trial or exploring the other side or testing a new idea in a spirit
of continuing inquiry.
Accordingly, with the hope that as judges, (we) will be equal to (our) tasks, whatever that
means, we hereby reverse the current doctrine providing for three new periods for the penalty for
murder as reduced by the Constitution. Instead, we return to our original interpretation and hold
that Article III, Section 19(1) does not change the periods of the penalty prescribed by Article 248
of the Revised Penal Code except only insofar as it prohibits the imposition of the death penalty
and reduces it to reclusion perpetua. The range of the medium and minimum penalties remains
unchanged.
The Court realizes that this interpretation may lead to certain inequities that would not have
arisen under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code before its modification. Thus, a person
originally subject to the death penalty and another who committed the murder without the
attendance of any modifying circumstance will now be both punishable with the same medium
period although the former is concededly more guilty than the latter. True enough. But that is the
will not of this Court but of the Constitution. That is a question of wisdom, not construction. Of
some relevance perhaps is the parable in the Bible of the workman who was paid the stipulated
daily wage of one penny although he had worked longer than others hired later in the day also
paid the same amount. When he complained because he felt unjustly treated by the householder,
the latter replied: Friend, I do you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a penny?
The problem in any event is addressed not to this Court but to the Congress. Penalties are
prescribed by statute and are essentially and exclusively legislative. As judges, we can only
interpret and apply them and have no authority to modify them or revise their range as determined
exclusively by the legislature. We should not encroach on this prerogative of the lawmaking body.
Coming back to the case at bar, we find that there being no generic aggravating or mitigating
circumstance attending the commission of the offenses, the applicable sentence is the medium
period of the penalty prescribed by Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code which, conformably to
the new doctrine here adopted and announced, is still reclusion perpetua. This is the penalty we
imposed on all the accused-appellants for each of the three murders they have committed in
conspiracy with the others. The award of civil indemnity for the heirs of each of the victims is
affirmed but the amount thereof is hereby increased to P30,000.00 in line with the present policy.
(at pp. 120-125.)
The above ruling was reiterated in People vs. Parojinog (203 SCRA 673 [1991]) and
in People vs. De la Cruz (216 SCRA 476 [1992]).
Finally, accused-appellant claims that the penalty of reclusion perpetua is too cruel and harsh
a penalty and pleads for sympathy. Courts are not the forum to plead for sympathy. The duty of
courts is to apply the law, disregarding their feeling of sympathy or pity for an accused. DURA
LEX SED LEX. The remedy is elsewhere - clemency from the executive or an amendment of the
law by the legislative, but surely, at this point, this Court can but apply the law.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J. (Chairman), Davide, Jr., Francisco, and Panganiban, JJ., concur.
[Syllabus]
FIRST DIVISON

[G.R. No. 113926. October 23, 1996]

SECURITY BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, petitioner, vs. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
MAKATI, BRANCH 61, MAGTANGGOL EUSEBIO and LEILA
VENTURA, respondents.

DECISION
HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:

Questions of law which are the first impression are sought to be resolved in this case: Should
the rate of interest on a loan or forbearance of money, goods or credits, as stipulated in a contract,
far in excess of the ceiling prescribed under or pursuant to the Usury Law, prevail over Section 2
of Central Bank Circular No. 905 which prescribes that the rate of interest thereof shall continue
to be 12% per annum? Do the Courts have the discretion to arbitrarily override stipulated interest
rates of promissory notes and stipulated interest rates of promissory notes and thereby impose a
12% interest on the loans, in the absence of evidence justifying the impositions of a higher rate?
This is a petition for review on certiorari for the purpose of assailing the decision of Honorable
Judge Fernando V. Gorospe of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 61, dated March 30,
1993, which found private respondent Eusebio liable to petitioner for a sum of money. Interest
was lowered by the court a quo from 23% per annum as agreed upon by the parties to 12% per
annum.
The undisputed facts are as follows:
On April 27, 1983, private respondent Magtanggol Eusebio executed Promissory Note No.
TL/74/178/83 in favor of petitioner Security Bank and Trust Co. (SBTC) in the total amount of One
Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) payable in six monthly installments with a stipulated
interest of 23% per annum up to the fifth installments.[1]
On July 28, 1983, respondent Eusebio again executed Promissory note No TL/74/1296/83 in
favor of petitioner SBTC. Respondent bound himself to pay the sum of One Hundred Thousand
Pesos (P100.000.00) in six (6) monthly installments plus 23% interest per annum.[2]
Finally, another Promissory Note No. TL74/1491/83 was executed on August 31, 1983 in the
amount of Sixty Five Thousand Pesos (P65,000.00). Respondent agreed to pay this note in six
(6) monthly installments plus interest at the rate of 23% per annum.[3]
On all the abovementioned notes, private respondents Leila Ventura had signed as co-
maker.[4]
Upon maturity which fell on the different dates below, the principal balance remaining on the
notes stood at:

1) PN No. TL/74/748/83 P16,665.00 as of September 1983.


2) PN No. TL/74/1296/83 P83,333.00 as of August 1983

3) PN No. TL/74/1991/83 P65,000.00 as of August 1983.

Upon the failure and refusal of respondent Eusebio to pay the aforestated balance payable,
a collectible case was filed in court by petitioner SBTC.[5] On March 30, 1993, the court a
quo rendered a judgment in favor of petitioner SBTC, the dispositive portion which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises above-considered, and plaintiffs claim having been duly proven,
judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff and as against defendant Eusebio who is
hereby ordered to:

1. Pay the sum of P16,665.00, plus interest of 12% per annum starting 27 September 1983,
until fully paid;

2. Pay the sum of P83,333.00, plus interest of 12% per annum starting 28 August 1983, until
fully paid;

3. Pay the sum of P65,000.00, plus interest of 12% per annum starting 31 August 1983, until
fully paid;

4. Pay the sum equivalent to 20% of the total amount due and payable to plaintiff as and by way
of attorneys fees; and to

5. Pay the cost of this suit.

SO ORDERED.[6]

On August 6, 1993, a motion for partial reconsideration was filed by petitioner SBTC
contending that:
(1) the interest rate agreed upon by the parties during the signing of the promissory notes
was 23% per annum;
(2) the interests awarded should be compounded quarterly from due date as provided in
three (3) promissory notes;
(3) defendant Leila Ventura should likewise be held liable to pay the balance on the
promissory notes since she has signed as co-maker and as such, is liable jointly and severally
with defendant Eusebio without a need for demand upon her.[7]
Consequently, an Order was issued by the court a quo denying the motion to grant the rates
of interest beyond 12% per annum; and holding defendant Leila Ventura jointly and severally
liable with co-defendant Eusebio.
Hence, this petition.
The sole issue to be settled in this petition is whether or not the 23% rate of interest per
annum agreed upon by petitioner bank and respondents is allowable and not against the Usury
Law.
We find merit in this petition.
From the examination of the records, it appears that indeed the agreed rate of interest as
stipulated on the three (3) promissory notes is 23% per annum.[8] The applicable provision of law
is the Central Bank Circular No. 905 which took effect on December 22, 1982, particularly
Sections 1 and 2 which state:[9]

Sec. 1. The rate of interest, including commissions, premiums, fees and other charges, on a
loan or forbearance of any money, goods or credits, regardless of maturity and whether secured
or unsecured, that may be charged or collected by any person, whether natural or judicial, shall
not be subject to any ceiling prescribed under or pursuant to the Usury Law, as amended.

Sec. 2. The rate of interest for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods or credits and the
rate allowed in judgments, in the absence of express contract as to such rate of interest, shall
continue to be twelve per cent (12%) per annum.

CB Circular 905 was issued by the Central Banks Monetary Board pursuant to P.D. 1684
empowering them to prescribe the maximum rates of interest for loans and certain forbearances,
to wit:

SECTION 1. Section 1-a of Act No. 2655, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:

SEC. 1-a The Monetary Board is hereby authorized to prescribed the maximum rate or rates of
interest for the loan or renewal thereof or the forbearance of any money, goods or credits, and
to change such rate or rates whenever warranted by prevailing economic and social
conditions: Provided, That changes in such rates or rates may be effected gradually on
scheduled dates announced in advance.

In the exercise of the authority herein granted, the Monetary Board may prescribed higher
maximum rates for loans of low priority, such as consumer loans or renewals thereof as well as
such loans made by pawnshops, finance companies and other similar credit institutions
although the rates prescribed for these institutions need not necessarily be uniform. The
Monetary Board is also authorized to prescribed different maximum rate or rates for different
types of borrowings, including deposits and deposit substitutes, or loans of financial
intermediaries.[10]

This court has ruled in the case of Philippine National Bank v. Court of Appeals[11] that:

P.D. No. 1684 and C.B. Circular No. 905 no more than allow contracting parties to stipulate
freely regarding any subsequent adjustment in the interest rate that shall accrue on a loan or
forbearance of money, goods or credits. In fine, they can agree to adjust, upward or downward,
the interest previously stipulated.

All the promissory notes were signed in 1983 and, therefore, were already covered by CB
Circular No. 905. Contrary to the claim of respondent court, this circular did not repeal nor in
anyway amend the Usury Law but simply suspended the latters effectivity.
Basic is the rule of statutory construction that when the law is clear and unambiguous, the
court is left with no alternative but to apply the same according to its clear language. As we have
held in the case of Quijano v. Development Bank of the Philippines:[12]
xxx We cannot see any room for interpretation or construction in the clear and unambiguous
language of the above-quoted provision of law. This Court had steadfastly adhered to the
doctrine that its first and fundamental duty is the application of the law according to its express
terms, interpretation being called for only when such literal application is impossible. No process
of interpretation or construction need be resorted to where a provision of law peremptorily calls
for application. Where a requirement or condition is made in explicit and unambiguous terms, no
discretion is left to the judiciary. It must see to it that its mandate is obeyed.

The rate of interest was agreed upon by the parties freely. Significantly, respondent did not
question that rate. It is not for respondent court a quo to change the stipulations in the contract
where it is not illegal.Furthermore, Article 1306 of the New Civil code provides that contracting
parties may establish such stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem
convenient, provided they are not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public
policy. We find no valid reason for the respondent court a quo to impose a 12% rate of interest on
the principal balance owing to petitioner by respondent in the presence of a valid stipulation. In a
loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be that stipulated in writing, and in the
absence thereof, the rate shall be 12% per annum.[13] Hence, only in the absence of a stipulation
can the court impose the 12% rate of interest.
The promissory notes were signed by both parties voluntarily. Therefore, stipulations therein
are binding between them. Respondent Eusebio, likewise, did not question any of the stipulations
therein. In fact, in the Comment file by respondent Eusebio to this court, he chose not to question
the decision and instead expressed his desire to negotiate with the petitioner bank for terms within
which to settle his obligation.[14]
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the respondent court a quo, is hereby
AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the rate of interest that should be imposed be 23% per
annum.
SO ORDERED.
Padilla (Chairman), Bellosillo, Vitug, and Kapunan, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. L-50999 March 23, 1990

JOSE SONGCO, ROMEO CIPRES, and AMANCIO MANUEL, petitioners,


vs
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (FIRST DIVISION), LABOR ARBITER
FLAVIO AGUAS, and F.E. ZUELLIG (M), INC., respondents.

Raul E. Espinosa for petitioners.

Lucas Emmanuel B. Canilao for petitioner A. Manuel.

Atienza, Tabora, Del Rosario & Castillo for private respondent.

MEDIALDEA, J.:

This is a petition for certiorari seeking to modify the decision of the National Labor Relations
Commission in NLRC Case No. RB-IV-20840-78-T entitled, "Jose Songco and Romeo Cipres,
Complainants-Appellants, v. F.E. Zuellig (M), Inc., Respondent-Appellee" and NLRC Case No.
RN- IV-20855-78-T entitled, "Amancio Manuel, Complainant-Appellant, v. F.E. Zuellig (M), Inc.,
Respondent-Appellee," which dismissed the appeal of petitioners herein and in effect affirmed
the decision of the Labor Arbiter ordering private respondent to pay petitioners separation pay
equivalent to their one month salary (exclusive of commissions, allowances, etc.) for every year
of service.

The antecedent facts are as follows:

Private respondent F.E. Zuellig (M), Inc., (hereinafter referred to as Zuellig) filed with the
Department of Labor (Regional Office No. 4) an application seeking clearance to terminate the
services of petitioners Jose Songco, Romeo Cipres, and Amancio Manuel (hereinafter referred
to as petitioners) allegedly on the ground of retrenchment due to financial losses. This
application was seasonably opposed by petitioners alleging that the company is not suffering
from any losses. They alleged further that they are being dismissed because of their
membership in the union. At the last hearing of the case, however, petitioners manifested that
they are no longer contesting their dismissal. The parties then agreed that the sole issue to be
resolved is the basis of the separation pay due to petitioners. Petitioners, who were in the sales
force of Zuellig received monthly salaries of at least P40,000. In addition, they received
commissions for every sale they made.

The collective Bargaining Agreement entered into between Zuellig and F.E. Zuellig Employees
Association, of which petitioners are members, contains the following provision (p. 71, Rollo):
ARTICLE XIV — Retirement Gratuity

Section l(a)-Any employee, who is separated from employment due to old age,
sickness, death or permanent lay-off not due to the fault of said employee shall
receive from the company a retirement gratuity in an amount equivalent to one
(1) month's salary per year of service. One month of salary as used in this
paragraph shall be deemed equivalent to the salary at date of retirement; years
of service shall be deemed equivalent to total service credits, a fraction of at least
six months being considered one year, including probationary employment.
(Emphasis supplied)

On the other hand, Article 284 of the Labor Code then prevailing provides:

Art. 284. Reduction of personnel. — The termination of employment of any


employee due to the installation of labor saving-devices, redundancy,
retrenchment to prevent losses, and other similar causes, shall entitle the
employee affected thereby to separation pay. In case of termination due to the
installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the separation pay shall be
equivalent to one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of
service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and other
similar causes, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at
least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A
fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.
(Emphasis supplied)

In addition, Sections 9(b) and 10, Rule 1, Book VI of the Rules Implementing the Labor Code
provide:

xxx

Sec. 9(b). Where the termination of employment is due to retrechment initiated


by the employer to prevent losses or other similar causes, or where the
employee suffers from a disease and his continued employment is prohibited by
law or is prejudicial to his health or to the health of his co-employees, the
employee shall be entitled to termination pay equivalent at least to his one month
salary, or to one-half month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher, a
fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one whole year.

xxx

Sec. 10. Basis of termination pay. — The computation of the termination pay of
an employee as provided herein shall be based on his latest salary rate, unless
the same was reduced by the employer to defeat the intention of the Code, in
which case the basis of computation shall be the rate before its deduction.
(Emphasis supplied)

On June 26,1978, the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads
(p. 78, Rollo):
RESPONSIVE TO THE FOREGOING, respondent should be as it is hereby,
ordered to pay the complainants separation pay equivalent to their one month
salary (exclusive of commissions, allowances, etc.) for every year of service that
they have worked with the company.

SO ORDERED.

The appeal by petitioners to the National Labor Relations Commission was dismissed for lack of
merit.

Hence, the present petition.

On June 2, 1980, the Court, acting on the verified "Notice of Voluntary Abandonment and
Withdrawal of Petition dated April 7, 1980 filed by petitioner Romeo Cipres, based on the
ground that he wants "to abide by the decision appealed from" since he had "received, to his full
and complete satisfaction, his separation pay," resolved to dismiss the petition as to him.

The issue is whether or not earned sales commissions and allowances should be included in
the monthly salary of petitioners for the purpose of computation of their separation pay.

The petition is impressed with merit.

Petitioners' position was that in arriving at the correct and legal amount of separation pay due
them, whether under the Labor Code or the CBA, their basic salary, earned sales commissions
and allowances should be added together. They cited Article 97(f) of the Labor Code which
includes commission as part on one's salary, to wit;

(f) 'Wage' paid to any employee shall mean the remuneration or earnings,
however designated, capable of being expressed in terms of money, whether
fixed or ascertained on a time, task, piece, or commission basis, or other method
of calculating the same, which is payable by an employer to an employee under
a written or unwritten contract of employment for work done or to be done, or for
services rendered or to be rendered, and includes the fair and reasonable value,
as determined by the Secretary of Labor, of board, lodging, or other facilities
customarily furnished by the employer to the employee. 'Fair reasonable value'
shall not include any profit to the employer or to any person affiliated with the
employer.

Zuellig argues that if it were really the intention of the Labor Code as well as its implementing
rules to include commission in the computation of separation pay, it could have explicitly said so
in clear and unequivocal terms. Furthermore, in the definition of the term "wage", "commission"
is used only as one of the features or designations attached to the word remuneration or
earnings.

Insofar as the issue of whether or not allowances should be included in the monthly salary of
petitioners for the purpose of computation of their separation pay is concerned, this has been
settled in the case of Santos v. NLRC, et al., G.R. No. 76721, September 21, 1987, 154 SCRA
166, where We ruled that "in the computation of backwages and separation pay, account must
be taken not only of the basic salary of petitioner but also of her transportation and emergency
living allowances." This ruling was reiterated in Soriano v. NLRC, et al., G.R. No. 75510,
October 27, 1987, 155 SCRA 124 and recently, in Planters Products, Inc. v. NLRC, et al., G.R.
No. 78524, January 20, 1989.

We shall concern ourselves now with the issue of whether or not earned sales commission
should be included in the monthly salary of petitioner for the purpose of computation of their
separation pay.

Article 97(f) by itself is explicit that commission is included in the definition of the term "wage". It
has been repeatedly declared by the courts that where the law speaks in clear and categorical
language, there is no room for interpretation or construction; there is only room for application
(Cebu Portland Cement Co. v. Municipality of Naga, G.R. Nos. 24116-17, August 22, 1968, 24
SCRA 708; Gonzaga v. Court of Appeals, G.R.No. L-2 7455, June 28,1973, 51 SCRA 381). A
plain and unambiguous statute speaks for itself, and any attempt to make it clearer is vain labor
and tends only to obscurity. How ever, it may be argued that if We correlate Article 97(f) with
Article XIV of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 284 of the Labor Code and Sections
9(b) and 10 of the Implementing Rules, there appears to be an ambiguity. In this regard, the
Labor Arbiter rationalized his decision in this manner (pp. 74-76, Rollo):

The definition of 'wage' provided in Article 96 (sic) of the Code can be correctly
be (sic) stated as a general definition. It is 'wage ' in its generic sense. A careful
perusal of the same does not show any indication that commission is part of
salary. We can say that commission by itself may be considered a wage. This is
not something novel for it cannot be gainsaid that certain types of employees like
agents, field personnel and salesmen do not earn any regular daily, weekly or
monthly salaries, but rely mainly on commission earned.

Upon the other hand, the provisions of Section 10, Rule 1, Book VI of the
implementing rules in conjunction with Articles 273 and 274 (sic) of the Code
specifically states that the basis of the termination pay due to one who is sought
to be legally separated from the service is 'his latest salary rates.

x x x.

Even Articles 273 and 274 (sic) invariably use 'monthly pay or monthly salary'.

The above terms found in those Articles and the particular Rules were
intentionally used to express the intent of the framers of the law that for purposes
of separation pay they mean to be specifically referring to salary only.

.... Each particular benefit provided in the Code and other Decrees on Labor has
its own pecularities and nuances and should be interpreted in that light. Thus, for
a specific provision, a specific meaning is attached to simplify matters that may
arise there from. The general guidelines in (sic) the formation of specific rules for
particular purpose. Thus, that what should be controlling in matters concerning
termination pay should be the specific provisions of both Book VI of the Code
and the Rules. At any rate, settled is the rule that in matters of conflict between
the general provision of law and that of a particular- or specific provision, the
latter should prevail.

On its part, the NLRC ruled (p. 110, Rollo):


From the aforequoted provisions of the law and the implementing rules, it could
be deduced that wage is used in its generic sense and obviously refers to the
basic wage rate to be ascertained on a time, task, piece or commission basis or
other method of calculating the same. It does not, however, mean that
commission, allowances or analogous income necessarily forms part of the
employee's salary because to do so would lead to anomalies (sic), if not absurd,
construction of the word "salary." For what will prevent the employee from
insisting that emergency living allowance, 13th month pay, overtime, and
premium pay, and other fringe benefits should be added to the computation of
their separation pay. This situation, to our mind, is not the real intent of the Code
and its rules.

We rule otherwise. The ambiguity between Article 97(f), which defines the term 'wage' and
Article XIV of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 284 of the Labor Code and Sections
9(b) and 10 of the Implementing Rules, which mention the terms "pay" and "salary", is more
apparent than real. Broadly, the word "salary" means a recompense or consideration made to a
person for his pains or industry in another man's business. Whether it be derived from
"salarium," or more fancifully from "sal," the pay of the Roman soldier, it carries with it the
fundamental idea of compensation for services rendered. Indeed, there is eminent authority for
holding that the words "wages" and "salary" are in essence synonymous (Words and Phrases,
Vol. 38 Permanent Edition, p. 44 citing Hopkins vs. Cromwell, 85 N.Y.S. 839,841,89 App. Div.
481; 38 Am. Jur. 496). "Salary," the etymology of which is the Latin word "salarium," is often
used interchangeably with "wage", the etymology of which is the Middle English word "wagen".
Both words generally refer to one and the same meaning, that is, a reward or recompense for
services performed. Likewise, "pay" is the synonym of "wages" and "salary" (Black's Law
Dictionary, 5th Ed.). Inasmuch as the words "wages", "pay" and "salary" have the same
meaning, and commission is included in the definition of "wage", the logical conclusion,
therefore, is, in the computation of the separation pay of petitioners, their salary base should
include also their earned sales commissions.

The aforequoted provisions are not the only consideration for deciding the petition in favor of the
petitioners.

We agree with the Solicitor General that granting, in gratia argumenti, that the commissions
were in the form of incentives or encouragement, so that the petitioners would be inspired to put
a little more industry on the jobs particularly assigned to them, still these commissions are direct
remuneration services rendered which contributed to the increase of income of Zuellig .
Commission is the recompense, compensation or reward of an agent, salesman, executor,
trustees, receiver, factor, broker or bailee, when the same is calculated as a percentage on the
amount of his transactions or on the profit to the principal (Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., citing
Weiner v. Swales, 217 Md. 123, 141 A.2d 749, 750). The nature of the work of a salesman and
the reason for such type of remuneration for services rendered demonstrate clearly that
commission are part of petitioners' wage or salary. We take judicial notice of the fact that some
salesmen do not receive any basic salary but depend on commissions and allowances or
commissions alone, are part of petitioners' wage or salary. We take judicial notice of the fact
that some salesman do not received any basic salary but depend on commissions and
allowances or commissions alone, although an employer-employee relationship exists. Bearing
in mind the preceeding dicussions, if we adopt the opposite view that commissions, do not form
part of wage or salary, then, in effect, We will be saying that this kind of salesmen do not
receive any salary and therefore, not entitled to separation pay in the event of discharge from
employment. Will this not be absurd? This narrow interpretation is not in accord with the liberal
spirit of our labor laws and considering the purpose of separation pay which is, to alleviate the
difficulties which confront a dismissed employee thrown the the streets to face the harsh
necessities of life.

Additionally, in Soriano v. NLRC, et al., supra, in resolving the issue of the salary base that
should be used in computing the separation pay, We held that:

The commissions also claimed by petitioner ('override commission' plus 'net


deposit incentive') are not properly includible in such base figure since such
commissions must be earned by actual market transactions attributable to
petitioner.

Applying this by analogy, since the commissions in the present case were earned by actual
market transactions attributable to petitioners, these should be included in their separation pay.
In the computation thereof, what should be taken into account is the average commissions
earned during their last year of employment.

The final consideration is, in carrying out and interpreting the Labor Code's provisions and its
implementing regulations, the workingman's welfare should be the primordial and paramount
consideration. This kind of interpretation gives meaning and substance to the liberal and
compassionate spirit of the law as provided for in Article 4 of the Labor Code which states that
"all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code
including its implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor" (Abella v.
NLRC, G.R. No. 71812, July 30,1987,152 SCRA 140; Manila Electric Company v. NLRC, et al.,
G.R. No. 78763, July 12,1989), and Article 1702 of the Civil Code which provides that "in case
of doubt, all labor legislation and all labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the safety and
decent living for the laborer.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the respondent National
Labor Relations Commission is MODIFIED by including allowances and commissions in the
separation pay of petitioners Jose Songco and Amancio Manuel. The case is remanded to the
Labor Arbiter for the proper computation of said separation pay.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa (Chairman), Cruz, Gancayco and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 160261 November 10, 2003

ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner,


NAGMAMALASAKIT NA MGA MANANANGGOL NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO,
INC., ITS OFFICERS AND MEMBERS, petitioner-in-intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER JOSE G. DE
VENECIA, THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M.
DRILON, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO C. TEODORO, JR. AND REPRESENTATIVE FELIX
WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, respondents.
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-Intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160262 November 10, 2003

SEDFREY M. CANDELARIA, CARLOS P. MEDINA, JR. AND HENEDINA RAZON-


ABAD, petitioners,
ATTYS. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL AND PETE QUIRINO QUADRA, petitioners-in-
intervention,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER
OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE
GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTA-TIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA,
THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160263 November 10, 2003

ARTURO M. DE CASTRO AND SOLEDAD M. CAGAMPANG, petitioners,


WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioners-in-
intervention,
vs.
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SENATE PRESIDENT, AND JOSE G. DE
VENECIA, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160277 November 10, 2003

FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner,


WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
JOSE G. DE VENECIA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT OF THE
SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, GILBERT TEODORO, JR., FELIX
WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA, JULIO LEDESMA IV, HENRY LANOT, KIM BERNARDO-LOKIN,
MARCELINO LIBANAN, EMMYLOU TALIÑO-SANTOS, DOUGLAS CAGAS, SHERWIN
GATCHALIAN, LUIS BERSAMIN, JR., NERISSA SOON-RUIZ, ERNESTO NIEVA, EDGAR
ERICE, ISMAEL MATHAY, SAMUEL DANGWA, ALFREDO MARAÑON, JR., CECILIA
CARREON-JALOSJOS, AGAPITO AQUINO, FAUSTO SEACHON, JR., GEORGILU YUMUL-
HERMIDA, JOSE CARLOS LACSON, MANUEL ORTEGA, ULIRAN JUAQUIN, SORAYA
JAAFAR, WILHELMINO SY-ALVARADO, CLAUDE BAUTISTA, DEL DE GUZMAN,
ZENAIDA CRUZ-DUCUT, AUGUSTO BACULIO, FAUSTINO DY III, AUGUSTO SYJUCO,
ROZZANO RUFINO BIAZON, LEOVIGILDO BANAAG, ERIC SINGSON, JACINTO PARAS,
JOSE SOLIS, RENATO MATUBO, HERMINO TEVES, AMADO ESPINO, JR., EMILIO
MACIAS, ARTHUR PINGOY, JR., FRANCIS NEPOMUCENO, CONRADO ESTRELLA III,
ELIAS BULUT, JR., JURDIN ROMUALDO, JUAN PABLO BONDOC, GENEROSO
TULAGAN, PERPETUO YLAGAN, MICHAEL DUAVIT, JOSEPH DURANO, JESLI LAPUS,
CARLOS COJUANGCO, GIORGIDI AGGABAO, FRANCIS ESCUDERRO, RENE VELARDE,
CELSO LOBREGAT, ALIPIO BADELLES, DIDAGEN DILANGALEN, ABRAHAM MITRA,
JOSEPH SANTIAGO, DARLENE ANTONIO-CUSTODIO, ALETA SUAREZ, RODOLF PLAZA,
JV BAUTISTA, GREGORIO IPONG, GILBERT REMULLA, ROLEX SUPLICO, CELIA LAYUS,
JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI, BENASING MACARAMBON, JR., JOSEFINA JOSON, MARK
COJUANGCO, MAURICIO DOMOGAN, RONALDO ZAMORA, ANGELO MONTILLA,
ROSELLER BARINAGA, JESNAR FALCON, REYLINA NICOLAS, RODOLFO ALBANO,
JOAQUIN CHIPECO, JR., AND RUY ELIAS LOPEZ, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160292 November 10, 2003

HERMINIO HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ BUTUYAN, MA. CECILIA PAPA,
NAPOLEON C. REYES, ANTONIO H. ABAD, JR., ALFREDO C. LIGON, JOAN P. SERRANO
AND GARY S. MALLARI, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR. AND ROBERTO P. NAZARENO, IN HIS
CAPACITY AS SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160295 November 10, 2003

SALACNIB F. BATERINA AND DEPUTY SPEAKER RAUL M. GONZALES, petitioners,


WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,

vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESEN-TATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER
OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE
GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA,
THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents,
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160310 November 10, 2003

LEONILO R. ALFONSO, PETER ALVAREZ, SAMUEL DOCTOR, MELVIN MATIBAG,


RAMON MIQUIBAS, RODOLFO MAGSINO, EDUARDO MALASAGA, EDUARDO
SARMIENTO, EDGARDO NAOE, LEONARDO GARCIA, EDGARD SMITH, EMETERIO
MENDIOLA, MARIO TOREJA, GUILLERMO CASTASUS, NELSON A. LOYOLA, WILFREDO
BELLO, JR., RONNIE TOQUILLO, KATE ANN VITAL, ANGELITA Q. GUZMAN, MONICO
PABLES, JR., JAIME BOAQUINA, LITA A. AQUINO, MILA P. GABITO, JANETTE ARROYO,
RIZALDY EMPIG, ERNA LAHUZ, HOMER CALIBAG, DR. BING ARCE, SIMEON ARCE, JR.,
EL DELLE ARCE, WILLIE RIVERO, DANTE DIAZ, ALBERTO BUENAVISTA, FAUSTO
BUENAVISTA, EMILY SENERIS, ANNA CLARISSA LOYOLA, SALVACION LOYOLA,
RAINIER QUIROLGICO, JOSEPH LEANDRO LOYOLA, ANTONIO LIBREA, FILEMON
SIBULO, MANUEL D. COMIA, JULITO U. SOON, VIRGILIO LUSTRE, AND NOEL ISORENA,
MAU RESTRIVERA, MAX VILLAESTER, AND EDILBERTO GALLOR, petitioners,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REPRESENTED BY HON. SPEAKER JOSE C. DE
VENECIA, JR., THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN
DRILON, HON. FELIX FUENTEBELLA, ET AL., respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160318 November 10, 2003

PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, INC., CRISPIN T. REYES, petitioners,


vs.
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, ALL MEMBERS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
HON. SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, AND ALL MEMBERS, PHILIPPINE
SENATE, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160342 November 10, 2003

ATTY. FERNANDO P.R. PERITO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS A MEMBER OF THE INTEGRATED


BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, MANILA III, AND ENGR. MAXIMO N. MENEZ JR., IN HIS
CAPACITY AS A TAXPAYER AND MEMBER OF THE ENGINEERING
PROFESSION, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES REPRESENTED BY THE 83 HONORABLE
MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE LED BY HON. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM
FUENTEBELLA, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160343 November 10, 2003

INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING SPEAKER
OR PRESIDING OFFICER, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE
GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA,
THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES THROUGH ITS PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160360 November 10, 2003

CLARO B. FLORES, petitioner,


vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE SPEAKER, AND THE SENATE OF
THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH THE SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160365 November 10, 2003

U.P. LAW ALUMNI CEBU FOUNDATION, INC., GOERING G.C. PADERANGA, DANILO V.
ORTIZ, GLORIA C. ESTENZO-RAMOS, LIZA D. CORRO, LUIS V. DIORES, SR., BENJAMIN
S. RALLON, ROLANDO P. NONATO, DANTE T. RAMOS, ELSA R. DIVINAGRACIA, KAREN
B. CAPARROS-ARQUILLANO, SYLVA G. AGUIRRE-PADERANGA, FOR THEMSELVES
AND IN BEHALF OF OTHER CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE SENATE OF
THE PHILIPPINES, SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, HOUSE
REPRESENTATIVES FELIX FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERTO TEODORO, BY
THEMSELVES AND AS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GROUP OF MORE THAN 80 HOUSE
REPRESENTATIVES WHO SIGNED AND FILED THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT
AGAINST SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160370 November 10, 2003

FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, THE HONORABLE SPEAKER OF THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160376 November 10, 2003

NILO A. MALANYAON, petitioner,


vs.
HON. FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA AND GILBERT TEODORO, IN REPRESENTATION
OF THE 86 SIGNATORIES OF THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST CHIEF
JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ITS SPEAKER, HON. JOSE G. DE
VENECIA, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160392 November 10, 2003

VENICIO S. FLORES AND HECTOR L. HOFILEÑA, petitioners,


vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, AND
THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN
DRILON, respondents.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160397 November 10, 2003

IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE


HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., ATTY. DIOSCORO U. VALLEJOS, JR., petitioner.

x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160403 November 10, 2003

PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, petitioner,


vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR PRESIDING
OFFICER, HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. TEODORO, JR.,
REPRESENTATIVE FELIX WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELA, THE SENATE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE PRESIDENT, HON. FRANKLIN DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x

G.R. No. 160405 November 10, 2003

DEMOCRITO C. BARCENAS, PRESIDENT OF IBP, CEBU CITY CHAPTER, MANUEL M.


MONZON, PRESIDING OF IBP, CEBU PROVINCE, VICTOR A. MAAMBONG, PROVINCIAL
BOARD MEMBER, ADELINO B. SITOY, DEAN OF THE COLLEG EOF LAW, UNIVERSITY
OF CEBU, YOUNG LAWYERS ASSOCAITION OF CEBU, INC. [YLAC], REPRSEENTED BY
ATTY. MANUEL LEGASPI, CONFEDERATION OF ACCREDITED MEDIATORS OF THE
PHILIPPINES, INC. [CAMP, INC], REPRESENTED BY RODERIC R. POCA, MANDAUE
LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, [MANLAW], REPRESENTED BY FELIPE VELASQUEZ,
FEDERACION INTERNACIONAL DE ABOGADAS [FIDA], REPRESENTED BY THELMA L.
JORDAN, CARLOS G. CO, PRESIENT OF CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND
INDUSTRY AND CEBU LADY LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, INC. [CELLA, INC.], MARIBELLE
NAVARRO AND BERNARDITO FLORIDO, PAST PRESIDENT CEBU CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE AND INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, CEBU CHAPTER, petitioners,
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, REPRESENTED BY REP. JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
AS HOUSE SPEAKER AND THE SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATOR FRANKLIN
DRILON, AS SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents.

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

There can be no constitutional crisis arising from a conflict, no matter how passionate and
seemingly irreconcilable it may appear to be, over the determination by the independent
branches of government of the nature, scope and extent of their respective constitutional
powers where the Constitution itself provides for the means and bases for its resolution.

Our nation's history is replete with vivid illustrations of the often frictional, at times turbulent,
dynamics of the relationship among these co-equal branches. This Court is confronted with one
such today involving the legislature and the judiciary which has drawn legal luminaries to chart
antipodal courses and not a few of our countrymen to vent cacophonous sentiments thereon.

There may indeed be some legitimacy to the characterization that the present controversy
subject of the instant petitions – whether the filing of the second impeachment complaint against
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives falls within the one year
bar provided in the Constitution, and whether the resolution thereof is a political question – has
resulted in a political crisis. Perhaps even more truth to the view that it was brought upon by a
political crisis of conscience.

In any event, it is with the absolute certainty that our Constitution is sufficient to address all the
issues which this controversy spawns that this Court unequivocally pronounces, at the first
instance, that the feared resort to extra-constitutional methods of resolving it is neither
necessary nor legally permissible. Both its resolution and protection of the public interest lie in
adherence to, not departure from, the Constitution.

In passing over the complex issues arising from the controversy, this Court is ever mindful of the
essential truth that the inviolate doctrine of separation of powers among the legislative,
executive or judicial branches of government by no means prescribes for absolute autonomy in
the discharge by each of that part of the governmental power assigned to it by the sovereign
people.

At the same time, the corollary doctrine of checks and balances which has been carefully
calibrated by the Constitution to temper the official acts of each of these three branches must be
given effect without destroying their indispensable co-equality.

Taken together, these two fundamental doctrines of republican government, intended as they
are to insure that governmental power is wielded only for the good of the people, mandate a
relationship of interdependence and coordination among these branches where the delicate
functions of enacting, interpreting and enforcing laws are harmonized to achieve a unity of
governance, guided only by what is in the greater interest and well-being of the people.
Verily, salus populi est suprema lex.

Article XI of our present 1987 Constitution provides:

ARTICLE XI

Accountability of Public Officers

SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all
times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity,
loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.

SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the
Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed
from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution,
treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All
other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but
not by impeachment.

SECTION 3. (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power
to initiate all cases of impeachment.

(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of
Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member
thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and
referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee,
after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the
House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding
resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten
session days from receipt thereof.

(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either
to affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or
override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.

(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-
third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of
Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than
once within a period of one year.

(6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment.
When sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation. When the
President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall
preside, but shall not vote. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-
thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office
and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party
convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment
according to law.

(8) The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out
the purpose of this section. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Following the above-quoted Section 8 of Article XI of the Constitution, the 12th Congress of the
House of Representatives adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment
Proceedings (House Impeachment Rules) on November 28, 2001, superseding the previous
House Impeachment Rules1 approved by the 11th Congress. The relevant distinctions between
these two Congresses' House Impeachment Rules are shown in the following tabulation:

11TH CONGRESS RULES 12TH CONGRESS NEW


RULES
RULE II RULE V

INITIATING BAR AGAINST


IMPEACHMENT INITIATION OF
IMPEACHMENT
Section 2. Mode of PROCEEDINGS
Initiating Impeachment. – AGAINST THE SAME
Impeachment shall be OFFICIAL
initiated only by a verified
complaint for impeachment Section 16.
filed by any Member of the – Impeachment
House of Representatives Proceedings Deemed
or by any citizen upon a Initiated. – In cases
resolution of endorsement where a Member of the
by any Member thereof or House files a verified
by a verified complaint or complaint of impeachment
resolution of impeachment or a citizen files a verified
filed by at least one-third complaint that is endorsed
(1/3) of all the Members of by a Member of the House
the House. through a resolution of
endorsement against an
impeachable officer,
impeachment proceedings
against such official are
deemed initiated on the
day the Committee on
Justice finds that the
verified complaint and/or
resolution against such
official, as the case may
be, is sufficient in
substance, or on the date
the House votes to
overturn or affirm the
finding of the said
Committee that the
verified complaint and/or
resolution, as the case
may be, is not sufficient in
substance.

In cases where a verified


complaint or a resolution
of impeachment is filed or
endorsed, as the case
may be, by at least one-
third (1/3) of the Members
of the
House, impeachment
proceedings are deemed
initiated at the time of
the filing of such verified
complaint or resolution
of impeachment with the
Secretary General.

RULE V Section 17. Bar Against


Initiation Of
BAR AGAINST Impeachment
IMPEACHMENT Proceedings. – Within a
period of one (1) year from
Section 14. Scope of the date impeachment
Bar. – No impeachment proceedings are deemed
proceedings shall be initiated as provided in
initiated against the same Section 16 hereof, no
official more than once impeachment
within the period of one (1) proceedings, as such, can
year. be initiated against the
same official. (Italics in the
original; emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution,2 sponsored by
Representative Felix William D. Fuentebella, which directed the Committee on Justice "to
conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures
by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)." 3

On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an impeachment complaint4 (first
impeachment complaint) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate
Justices5 of this Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and
other high crimes."6 The complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico, Ronaldo
B. Zamora and Didagen Piang Dilangalen,7 and was referred to the House Committee on
Justice on August 5, 20038 in accordance with Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution
which reads:

Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the
House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any
Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session
days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The
Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its
report to the House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the
corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the
House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

The House Committee on Justice ruled on October 13, 2003 that the first impeachment
complaint was "sufficient in form,"9 but voted to dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for being
insufficient in substance.10 To date, the Committee Report to this effect has not yet been sent to
the House in plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution.

Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on
October 23, 2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second
impeachment complaint11 was filed with the Secretary General of the House12 by
Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. (First District, Tarlac) and Felix William B. Fuentebella
(Third District, Camarines Sur) against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the
alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. This
second impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of
Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the House
of Representatives.13

Thus arose the instant petitions against the House of Representatives, et. al., most of which
petitions contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it
violates the provision of Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that "[n]o impeachment
proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one
year."

In G.R. No. 160261, petitioner Atty. Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr., alleging that he has a duty as a
member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to use all available legal remedies to stop an
unconstitutional impeachment, that the issues raised in his petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and
Mandamus are of transcendental importance, and that he "himself was a victim of the capricious
and arbitrary changes in the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings introduced by the
12th Congress,"14 posits that his right to bring an impeachment complaint against then
Ombudsman Aniano Desierto had been violated due to the capricious and arbitrary changes in
the House Impeachment Rules adopted and approved on November 28, 2001 by the House of
Representatives and prays that (1) Rule V, Sections 16 and 17 and Rule III, Sections 5, 6, 7, 8,
and 9 thereof be declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue a writ of mandamus directing
respondents House of Representatives et. al. to comply with Article IX, Section 3 (2), (3) and (5)
of the Constitution, to return the second impeachment complaint and/or strike it off the records
of the House of Representatives, and to promulgate rules which are consistent with the
Constitution; and (3) this Court permanently enjoin respondent House of Representatives from
proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160262, petitioners Sedfrey M. Candelaria, et. al., as citizens and taxpayers,
alleging that the issues of the case are of transcendental importance, pray, in their petition for
Certiorari/Prohibition, the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondent House of
Representatives from filing any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice with the
Senate; and for the issuance of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondents Senate and Senate
President Franklin Drilon from accepting any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice
or, in the event that the Senate has accepted the same, from proceeding with the impeachment
trial.

In G.R. No. 160263, petitioners Arturo M. de Castro and Soledad Cagampang, as citizens,
taxpayers, lawyers and members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that their
petition for Prohibition involves public interest as it involves the use of public funds necessary to
conduct the impeachment trial on the second impeachment complaint, pray for the issuance of a
writ of prohibition enjoining Congress from conducting further proceedings on said second
impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160277, petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, alleging that this Court has recognized that
he has locus standi to bring petitions of this nature in the cases of Chavez v.
PCGG15 and Chavez v. PEA-Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation,16 prays in his
petition for Injunction that the second impeachment complaint be declared unconstitutional.

In G.R. No. 160292, petitioners Atty. Harry L. Roque, et. al., as taxpayers and members of the
legal profession, pray in their petition for Prohibition for an order prohibiting respondent House
of Representatives from drafting, adopting, approving and transmitting to the Senate the second
impeachment complaint, and respondents De Venecia and Nazareno from transmitting the
Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.

In G.R. No. 160295, petitioners Representatives Salacnib F. Baterina and Deputy Speaker Raul
M. Gonzalez, alleging that, as members of the House of Representatives, they have a legal
interest in ensuring that only constitutional impeachment proceedings are initiated, pray in their
petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that the second impeachment complaint and any act
proceeding therefrom be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso et al., claiming that they have a right to be
protected against all forms of senseless spending of taxpayers' money and that they have an
obligation to protect the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, and the integrity of the Judiciary,
allege in their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition that it is instituted as "a class suit" and pray
that (1) the House Resolution endorsing the second impeachment complaint as well as all
issuances emanating therefrom be declared null and void; and (2) this Court enjoin the Senate
and the Senate President from taking cognizance of, hearing, trying and deciding the second
impeachment complaint, and issue a writ of prohibition commanding the Senate, its prosecutors
and agents to desist from conducting any proceedings or to act on the impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160318, petitioner Public Interest Center, Inc., whose members are citizens and
taxpayers, and its co-petitioner Crispin T. Reyes, a citizen, taxpayer and a member of the
Philippine Bar, both allege in their petition, which does not state what its nature is, that the filing
of the second impeachment complaint involves paramount public interest and pray that Sections
16 and 17 of the House Impeachment Rules and the second impeachment complaint/Articles of
Impeachment be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160342, petitioner Atty. Fernando P. R. Perito, as a citizen and a member of the
Philippine Bar Association and of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and petitioner Engr.
Maximo N. Menez, Jr., as a taxpayer, pray in their petition for the issuance of a Temporary
Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction to enjoin the House of Representatives from
proceeding with the second impeachment complaint.

In G.R. No. 160343, petitioner Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that it is mandated by
the Code of Professional Responsibility to uphold the Constitution, prays in its petition for
Certiorari and Prohibition that Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Rule III
of the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional and that the House of
Representatives be permanently enjoined from proceeding with the second impeachment
complaint.

In G.R. No. 160360, petitioner-taxpayer Atty. Claro Flores prays in his petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition that the House Impeachment Rules be declared unconstitutional.

In G.R. No. 160365, petitioners U.P. Law Alumni Cebu Foundation Inc., et. al., in their petition
for Prohibition and Injunction which they claim is a class suit filed in behalf of all citizens,
citing Oposa v. Factoran17 which was filed in behalf of succeeding generations of Filipinos, pray
for the issuance of a writ prohibiting respondents House of Representatives and the Senate
from conducting further proceedings on the second impeachment complaint and that this Court
declare as unconstitutional the second impeachment complaint and the acts of respondent
House of Representatives in interfering with the fiscal matters of the Judiciary.

In G.R. No. 160370, petitioner-taxpayer Father Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, alleging that the
issues in his petition for Prohibition are of national and transcendental significance and that as
an official of the Philippine Judicial Academy, he has a direct and substantial interest in the
unhampered operation of the Supreme Court and its officials in discharging their duties in
accordance with the Constitution, prays for the issuance of a writ prohibiting the House of
Representatives from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate and the Senate
from receiving the same or giving the impeachment complaint due course.

In G.R. No. 160376, petitioner Nilo A. Malanyaon, as a taxpayer, alleges in his petition for
Prohibition that respondents Fuentebella and Teodoro at the time they filed the second
impeachment complaint, were "absolutely without any legal power to do so, as they acted
without jurisdiction as far as the Articles of Impeachment assail the alleged abuse of powers of
the Chief Justice to disburse the (JDF)."

In G.R. No. 160392, petitioners Attorneys Venicio S. Flores and Hector L. Hofileña, alleging that
as professors of law they have an abiding interest in the subject matter of their petition for
Certiorari and Prohibition as it pertains to a constitutional issue "which they are trying to
inculcate in the minds of their students," pray that the House of Representatives be enjoined
from endorsing and the Senate from trying the Articles of Impeachment and that the second
impeachment complaint be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160397, petitioner Atty. Dioscoro Vallejos, Jr., without alleging his locus standi, but
alleging that the second impeachment complaint is founded on the issue of whether or not the
Judicial Development Fund (JDF) was spent in accordance with law and that the House of
Representatives does not have exclusive jurisdiction in the examination and audit thereof, prays
in his petition "To Declare Complaint Null and Void for Lack of Cause of Action and Jurisdiction"
that the second impeachment complaint be declared null and void.

In G.R. No. 160403, petitioner Philippine Bar Association, alleging that the issues raised in the
filing of the second impeachment complaint involve matters of transcendental importance, prays
in its petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment complaint and all
proceedings arising therefrom be declared null and void; (2) respondent House of
Representatives be prohibited from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate; and
(3) respondent Senate be prohibited from accepting the Articles of Impeachment and from
conducting any proceedings thereon.

In G.R. No. 160405, petitioners Democrit C. Barcenas et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, pray in
their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second impeachment complaint as well as the
resolution of endorsement and impeachment by the respondent House of Representatives be
declared null and void and (2) respondents Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon be
prohibited from accepting any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief Justice or, in the event
that they have accepted the same, that they be prohibited from proceeding with the
impeachment trial.

Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262 and 160263, the first three of the
eighteen which were filed before this Court,18 prayed for the issuance of a Temporary
Restraining Order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the House of Representatives from
transmitting the Articles of Impeachment arising from the second impeachment complaint to the
Senate. Petition bearing docket number G.R. No. 160261 likewise prayed for the declaration of
the November 28, 2001 House Impeachment Rules as null and void for being unconstitutional.

Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos. 160277, 160292 and 160295, which were filed on
October 28, 2003, sought similar relief. In addition, petition bearing docket number G.R. No.
160292 alleged that House Resolution No. 260 (calling for a legislative inquiry into the
administration by the Chief Justice of the JDF) infringes on the constitutional doctrine of
separation of powers and is a direct violation of the constitutional principle of fiscal autonomy of
the judiciary.

On October 28, 2003, during the plenary session of the House of Representatives, a motion
was put forth that the second impeachment complaint be formally transmitted to the Senate, but
it was not carried because the House of Representatives adjourned for lack of quorum, 19 and as
reflected above, to date, the Articles of Impeachment have yet to be forwarded to the Senate.

Before acting on the petitions with prayers for temporary restraining order and/or writ of
preliminary injunction which were filed on or before October 28, 2003, Justices Puno and Vitug
offered to recuse themselves, but the Court rejected their offer. Justice Panganiban inhibited
himself, but the Court directed him to participate.

Without necessarily giving the petitions due course, this Court in its Resolution of October 28,
2003, resolved to (a) consolidate the petitions; (b) require respondent House of Representatives
and the Senate, as well as the Solicitor General, to comment on the petitions not later than 4:30
p.m. of November 3, 2003; (c) set the petitions for oral arguments on November 5, 2003, at
10:00 a.m.; and (d) appointed distinguished legal experts as amici curiae.20 In addition, this
Court called on petitioners and respondents to maintain the status quo, enjoining all the parties
and others acting for and in their behalf to refrain from committing acts that would render the
petitions moot.

Also on October 28, 2003, when respondent House of Representatives through Speaker Jose
C. De Venecia, Jr. and/or its co-respondents, by way of special appearance, submitted a
Manifestation asserting that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear, much less prohibit or enjoin
the House of Representatives, which is an independent and co-equal branch of government
under the Constitution, from the performance of its constitutionally mandated duty to initiate
impeachment cases. On even date, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, filed a
Motion to Intervene (Ex Abudante Cautela)21 and Comment, praying that "the consolidated
petitions be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction of the Court over the issues affecting the
impeachment proceedings and that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate as
the impeachment court to try and decide impeachment cases, including the one where the Chief
Justice is the respondent, be recognized and upheld pursuant to the provisions of Article XI of
the Constitution."22

Acting on the other petitions which were subsequently filed, this Court resolved to (a)
consolidate them with the earlier consolidated petitions; (b) require respondents to file their
comment not later than 4:30 p.m. of November 3, 2003; and (c) include them for oral arguments
on November 5, 2003.

On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the Philippines, through Senate President Franklin M.
Drilon, filed a Manifestation stating that insofar as it is concerned, the petitions are plainly
premature and have no basis in law or in fact, adding that as of the time of the filing of the
petitions, no justiciable issue was presented before it since (1) its constitutional duty to
constitute itself as an impeachment court commences only upon its receipt of the Articles of
Impeachment, which it had not, and (2) the principal issues raised by the petitions pertain
exclusively to the proceedings in the House of Representatives.

On October 30, 2003, Atty. Jaime Soriano filed a "Petition for Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos.
160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, and 160295, questioning the status quo Resolution
issued by this Court on October 28, 2003 on the ground that it would unnecessarily put
Congress and this Court in a "constitutional deadlock" and praying for the dismissal of all the
petitions as the matter in question is not yet ripe for judicial determination.

On November 3, 2003, Attorneys Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra filed in G.R.
No. 160262 a "Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and to Admit the Herein Incorporated
Petition in Intervention."

On November 4, 2003, Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang


Pilipino, Inc. filed a Motion for Intervention in G.R. No. 160261. On November 5, 2003, World
War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. also filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with
Leave to Intervene" in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277, 160292, 160295, and
160310.

The motions for intervention were granted and both Senator Pimentel's Comment and Attorneys
Macalintal and Quadra's Petition in Intervention were admitted.

On November 5-6, 2003, this Court heard the views of the amici curiae and the arguments of
petitioners, intervenors Senator Pimentel and Attorney Makalintal, and Solicitor General Alfredo
Benipayo on the principal issues outlined in an Advisory issued by this Court on November 3,
2003, to wit:

Whether the certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may be invoked; who can invoke
it; on what issues and at what time; and whether it should be exercised by this Court at
this time.

In discussing these issues, the following may be taken up:

a) locus standi of petitioners;

b) ripeness(prematurity; mootness);

c) political question/justiciability;

d) House's "exclusive" power to initiate all cases of impeachment;

e) Senate's "sole" power to try and decide all cases of impeachment;

f) constitutionality of the House Rules on Impeachment vis-a-vis Section 3(5) of


Article XI of the Constitution; and

g) judicial restraint (Italics in the original)

In resolving the intricate conflux of preliminary and substantive issues arising from the instant
petitions as well as the myriad arguments and opinions presented for and against the grant of
the reliefs prayed for, this Court has sifted and determined them to be as follows: (1) the
threshold and novel issue of whether or not the power of judicial review extends to those arising
from impeachment proceedings; (2) whether or not the essential pre-requisites for the exercise
of the power of judicial review have been fulfilled; and (3) the substantive issues yet remaining.
These matters shall now be discussed in seriatim.

Judicial Review

As reflected above, petitioners plead for this Court to exercise the power of judicial review to
determine the validity of the second impeachment complaint.

This Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in
Section 1, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution:
SECTION 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. (Emphasis supplied)

Such power of judicial review was early on exhaustively expounded upon by Justice Jose P.
Laurel in the definitive 1936 case of Angara v. Electoral Commission23 after the effectivity of the
1935 Constitution whose provisions, unlike the present Constitution, did not contain the present
provision in Article VIII, Section 1, par. 2 on what judicial power includes. Thus, Justice Laurel
discoursed:

x x x In times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the


Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of
conflict, the judicial department is the only constitutional organ which can be
called upon to determine the proper allocation of powers between the several
departments and among the integral or constituent units thereof.

As any human production, our Constitution is of course lacking perfection and


perfectibility, but as much as it was within the power of our people, acting through their
delegates to so provide, that instrument which is the expression of their sovereignty
however limited, has established a republican government intended to operate and
function as a harmonious whole, under a system of checks and balances, and subject to
specific limitations and restrictions provided in the said instrument. The Constitution
sets forth in no uncertain language the restrictions and limitations upon
governmental powers and agencies. If these restrictions and limitations are
transcended it would be inconceivable if the Constitution had not provided for a
mechanism by which to direct the course of government along constitutional
channels,for then the distribution of powers would be mere verbiage, the bill of rights
mere expressions of sentiment, and the principles of good government mere political
apothegms. Certainly, the limitations and restrictions embodied in our Constitution are
real as they should be in any living constitution. In the United States where no express
constitutional grant is found in their constitution, the possession of this moderating
power of the courts, not to speak of its historical origin and development there, has
been set at rest by popular acquiescence for a period of more than one and a half
centuries. In our case, this moderating power is granted, if not expressly, by clear
implication from section 2 of article VIII of our Constitution.

The Constitution is a definition of the powers of government. Who is to determine the


nature, scope and extent of such powers? The Constitution itself has provided for
the instrumentality of the judiciary as the rational way. And when the judiciary
mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority
over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the
legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the
Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the
Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights
which that instrument secures and guarantees to them. This is in truth all that is
involved in what is termed "judicial supremacy" which properly is the power of judicial
review under the Constitution. Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to
actual cases and controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the
parties, and limited further to the constitutional question raised or the very lis
mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal
questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is
in this manner, the judiciary does not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or
expediency of legislation. More than that, courts accord the presumption of
constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed
to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual
cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed
through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the
government.24 (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)

As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of
powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of government along
constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts25 as a necessary consequence of the judicial
power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights which
are legally demandable and enforceable."26

Thus, even in the United States where the power of judicial review is not explicitly conferred
upon the courts by its Constitution, such power has "been set at rest by popular acquiescence
for a period of more than one and a half centuries." To be sure, it was in the 1803 leading case
of Marbury v. Madison27 that the power of judicial review was first articulated by Chief Justice
Marshall, to wit:

It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the
supreme law of the land, the constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of the
United States generally, but those only which shall be made in pursuance of the
constitution, have that rank.

Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms
and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions,
that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other
departments, are bound by that instrument.28(Italics in the original; emphasis
supplied)

In our own jurisdiction, as early as 1902, decades before its express grant in the 1935
Constitution, the power of judicial review was exercised by our courts to invalidate
constitutionally infirm acts.29 And as pointed out by noted political law professor and former
Supreme Court Justice Vicente V. Mendoza,30 the executive and legislative branches of our
government in fact effectively acknowledged this power of judicial review in Article 7 of the Civil
Code, to wit:

Article 7. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-
observance shall not be excused by disuse, or custom or practice to the contrary.

When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the Constitution, the former
shall be void and the latter shall govern.
Administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when
they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution. (Emphasis supplied)

As indicated in Angara v. Electoral Commission,31 judicial review is indeed an integral


component of the delicate system of checks and balances which, together with the corollary
principle of separation of powers, forms the bedrock of our republican form of government and
insures that its vast powers are utilized only for the benefit of the people for which it serves.

The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government.


It obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each
department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction,
and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three
powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be
absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided
for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the
workings of the various departments of the government. x x x And the judiciary in
turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other
departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to
declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the
Constitution.32 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano, "x x x judicial
review is essential for the maintenance and enforcement of the separation of powers and the
balancing of powers among the three great departments of government through the definition
and maintenance of the boundaries of authority and control between them."33 To him, "[j]udicial
review is the chief, indeed the only, medium of participation – or instrument of intervention – of
the judiciary in that balancing operation."34

To ensure the potency of the power of judicial review to curb grave abuse of discretion by "any
branch or instrumentalities of government," the afore-quoted Section 1, Article VIII of the
Constitution engraves, for the first time into its history, into block letter law the so-called
"expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this Court, the nature of and rationale for which are mirrored
in the following excerpt from the sponsorship speech of its proponent, former Chief Justice
Constitutional Commissioner Roberto Concepcion:

xxx

The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as
may be established by law.

I suppose nobody can question it.

The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.

Judicial power includes the duty of 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 or instrumentality of the government.
Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience
during martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the
role of the judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the
circumstance that in a number of cases against the government, which then had
no legal defense at all, the solicitor general set up the defense of political
questions and got away with it. As a consequence, certain principles concerning
particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is, the authority of courts to order the release
of political detainees, and other matters related to the operation and effect of martial law
failed because the government set up the defense of political question. And the
Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is political, we have no authority to pass upon
it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a proper solution of the
questions involved. It did not merely request an encroachment upon the rights of
the people, but it, in effect, encouraged further violations thereof during the
martial law regime. x x x

xxx

Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and
offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the
judiciary is the final arbiter on the question 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 or lack 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 a political question.35 (Italics in the original; emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

To determine the merits of the issues raised in the instant petitions, this Court must necessarily
turn to the Constitution itself which employs the well-settled principles of constitutional
construction.

First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible, the words used in the Constitution must be given
their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. Thus, in J.M. Tuason & Co.,
Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration,36 this Court, speaking through Chief Justice Enrique
Fernando, declared:

We look to the language of the document itself in our search for its meaning. We
do not of course stop there, but that is where we begin. It is to be assumed that
the words in which constitutional provisions are couched express the objective
sought to be attained. They are to be given their ordinary meaning except where
technical terms are employed in which case the significance thus attached to
them prevails. As the Constitution is not primarily a lawyer's document, it being
essential for the rule of law to obtain that it should ever be present in the people's
consciousness, its language as much as possible should be understood in the sense
they have in common use. What it says according to the text of the provision to be
construed compels acceptance and negates the power of the courts to alter it, based
on the postulate that the framers and the people mean what they say. Thus these are
the cases where the need for construction is reduced to a minimum.37 (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis est anima. The words of the Constitution should be
interpreted in accordance with the intent of its framers. And so did this Court apply this principle
in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary38 in this wise:

A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the intention underlying the


provision under consideration. Thus, it has been held that the Court in construing a
Constitution should bear in mind the object sought to be accomplished by its adoption,
and the evils, if any, sought to be prevented or remedied. A doubtful provision will be
examined in the light of the history of the times, and the condition and circumstances
under which the Constitution was framed. The object is to ascertain the reason which
induced the framers of the Constitution to enact the particular provision and the
purpose sought to be accomplished thereby, in order to construe the whole as to
make the words consonant to that reason and calculated to effect that
purpose.39 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on Internal Revenue40 where, speaking through Madame


Justice Amuerfina A. Melencio-Herrera, it declared:

x x x The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental


principle of constitutional construction that the intent of the framers of the
organic law and of the people adopting it should be given effect. The primary task
in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter assure the realization of the
purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. It may also
be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly
by the explanation offered by the framers.41 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. Thus,
in Chiongbian v. De Leon,42 this Court, through Chief Justice Manuel Moran declared:

x x x [T]he members of the Constitutional Convention could not have dedicated a


provision of our Constitution merely for the benefit of one person without
considering that it could also affect others.When they adopted subsection 2, they
permitted, if not willed, that said provision should function to the full extent of its
substance and its terms, not by itself alone, but in conjunction with all other
provisions of that great document.43 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Likewise, still in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary,44 this Court affirmed that:

It is a well-established rule in constitutional construction that no one provision of


the Constitution is to be separated from all the others, to be considered alone, but
that all the provisions bearing upon a particular subject are to be brought into
view and to be so interpreted as to effectuate the great purposes of the
instrument. Sections bearing on a particular subject should be considered and
interpreted together as to effectuate the whole purpose of the Constitution and
one section is not to be allowed to defeat another, if by any reasonable
construction, the two can be made to stand together.
In other words, the court must harmonize them, if practicable, and must lean in favor of a
construction which will render every word operative, rather than one which may make
the words idle and nugatory.45 (Emphasis supplied)

If, however, the plain meaning of the word is not found to be clear, resort to other aids is
available. In still the same case of Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, this Court
expounded:

While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult the debates and proceedings of the
constitutional convention in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting
Constitution, resort thereto may be had only when other guides fail as said
proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the
meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention "are of value as showing the
views of the individual members, and as indicating the reasons for their votes, but they
give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk, much less of the
mass of our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of
fundamental law. We think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears
upon its face." The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was
understood by the people adopting it than in the framers's understanding
thereof.46 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

It is in the context of the foregoing backdrop of constitutional refinement and jurisprudential


application of the power of judicial review that respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and
intervenor Senator Pimentel raise the novel argument that the Constitution has excluded
impeachment proceedings from the coverage of judicial review.

Briefly stated, it is the position of respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. that impeachment is a
political action which cannot assume a judicial character. Hence, any question, issue or incident
arising at any stage of the impeachment proceeding is beyond the reach of judicial review.47

For his part, intervenor Senator Pimentel contends that the Senate's "sole power to
try" impeachment cases48 (1) entirely excludes the application of judicial review over it; and (2)
necessarily includes the Senate's power to determine constitutional questions relative to
impeachment proceedings.49

In furthering their arguments on the proposition that impeachment proceedings are outside the
scope of judicial review, respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and intervenor Senator
Pimentel rely heavily on American authorities, principally the majority opinion in the case
of Nixon v. United States.50 Thus, they contend that the exercise of judicial review over
impeachment proceedings is inappropriate since it runs counter to the framers' decision to
allocate to different fora the powers to try impeachments and to try crimes; it disturbs the system
of checks and balances, under which impeachment is the only legislative check on the judiciary;
and it would create a lack of finality and difficulty in fashioning relief.51 Respondents likewise
point to deliberations on the US Constitution to show the intent to isolate judicial power of review
in cases of impeachment.

Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon American jurisprudence, the American Constitution
and American authorities cannot be credited to support the proposition that the Senate's "sole
power to try and decide impeachment cases," as provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the
Constitution, is a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of all issues pertaining to
impeachment to the legislature, to the total exclusion of the power of judicial review to check
and restrain any grave abuse of the impeachment process. Nor can it reasonably support the
interpretation that it necessarily confers upon the Senate the inherently judicial power to
determine constitutional questions incident to impeachment proceedings.

Said American jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of
dubious application for these are no longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only
limited persuasive merit insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned. As held in the
case of Garcia vs. COMELEC,52 "[i]n resolving constitutional disputes, [this Court] should not be
beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable because they have been
dictated by different constitutional settings and needs."53 Indeed, although the Philippine
Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United States, their paths of development have
long since diverged. In the colorful words of Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the umbilical cord."

The major difference between the judicial power of the Philippine Supreme Court and that of the
U.S. Supreme Court is that while the power of judicial review is only impliedly granted to the
U.S. Supreme Court and is discretionary in nature, that granted to the Philippine Supreme Court
and lower courts, as expressly provided for in the Constitution, is not just a power but also
a duty, and it was given an expanded definition to include the power to correct any grave
abuse of discretion on the part of any government branch or instrumentality.

There are also glaring distinctions between the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine Constitution
with respect to the power of the House of Representatives over impeachment proceedings.
While the U.S. Constitution bestows sole power of impeachment to the House of
Representatives without limitation,54 our Constitution, though vesting in the House of
Representatives the exclusive power to initiate impeachment cases,55 provides for several
limitations to the exercise of such power as embodied in Section 3(2), (3), (4) and (5), Article XI
thereof. These limitations include the manner of filing, required vote to impeach, and the one
year bar on the impeachment of one and the same official.

Respondents are also of the view that judicial review of impeachments undermines their finality
and may also lead to conflicts between Congress and the judiciary. Thus, they call upon this
Court to exercise judicial statesmanship on the principle that "whenever possible, the Court
should defer to the judgment of the people expressed legislatively, recognizing full well the
perils of judicial willfulness and pride."56

But did not the people also express their will when they instituted the above-mentioned
safeguards in the Constitution? This shows that the Constitution did not intend to leave the
matter of impeachment to the sole discretion of Congress. Instead, it provided for certain well-
defined limits, or in the language of Baker v. Carr,57"judicially discoverable standards" for
determining the validity of the exercise of such discretion, through the power of judicial review.

The cases of Romulo v. Yniguez58 and Alejandrino v. Quezon,59 cited by respondents in support
of the argument that the impeachment power is beyond the scope of judicial review, are not in
point. These cases concern the denial of petitions for writs of mandamus to compel the
legislature to perform non-ministerial acts, and do not concern the exercise of the power of
judicial review.

There is indeed a plethora of cases in which this Court exercised the power of judicial review
over congressional action. Thus, in Santiago v. Guingona, Jr.,60 this Court ruled that it is well
within the power and jurisdiction of the Court to inquire whether the Senate or its officials
committed a violation of the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of their
functions and prerogatives. In Tanada v. Angara,61 in seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine
Senate on the ground that it contravened the Constitution, it held that the petition raises a
justiciable controversy and that when an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to
have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary
to settle the dispute. In Bondoc v. Pineda,62 this Court declared null and void a resolution of the
House of Representatives withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding the election, of a
congressman as a member of the House Electoral Tribunal for being violative of Section 17,
Article VI of the Constitution. In Coseteng v. Mitra,63 it held that the resolution of whether the
House representation in the Commission on Appointments was based on proportional
representation of the political parties as provided in Section 18, Article VI of the Constitution is
subject to judicial review. In Daza v. Singson,64 it held that the act of the House of
Representatives in removing the petitioner from the Commission on Appointments is subject to
judicial review. In Tanada v. Cuenco,65 it held that although under the Constitution, the
legislative power is vested exclusively in Congress, this does not detract from the power of the
courts to pass upon the constitutionality of acts of Congress. In Angara v. Electoral
Commission,66 it ruled that confirmation by the National Assembly of the election of any
member, irrespective of whether his election is contested, is not essential before such member-
elect may discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges of a member of the National Assembly.

Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for the contention that the exercise of judicial review
over impeachment proceedings would upset the system of checks and balances. Verily, the
Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole and "one section is not to be allowed to defeat
another."67 Both are integral components of the calibrated system of independence and
interdependence that insures that no branch of government act beyond the powers assigned to
it by the Constitution.

Essential Requisites for Judicial Review

As clearly stated in Angara v. Electoral Commission, the courts' power of judicial review, like
almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, is subject to several limitations, namely: (1) an
actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging
the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a personal and substantial interest in
the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement;
(3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4)
the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.

x x x Even then, this power of judicial review is limited to actual cases and controversies
to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties, and limited further to the
constitutional question raised or the very lis mota presented. Any attempt at abstraction
could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions
unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as its function is in this manner, the judiciary does not
pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. More than that,
courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only
because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the
judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom
and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and
legislative departments of the government.68 (Italics in the original)
Standing

Locus standi or legal standing or has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the
case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the
governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question of standing is whether a
party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete
adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for
illumination of difficult constitutional questions.69

Intervenor Soriano, in praying for the dismissal of the petitions, contends that petitioners do not
have standing since only the Chief Justice has sustained and will sustain direct personal
injury. Amicus curiae former Justice Minister and Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza similarly
contends.

Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General asserts that petitioners have standing since this
Court had, in the past, accorded standing to taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, legislators in
cases involving paramount public interest70 and transcendental importance,71 and that
procedural matters are subordinate to the need to determine whether or not the other branches
of the government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and
that they have not abused the discretion given to them.72 Amicus curiae Dean Raul
Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law is of the same opinion, citing transcendental
importance and the well-entrenched rule exception that, when the real party in interest is unable
to vindicate his rights by seeking the same remedies, as in the case of the Chief Justice who, for
ethical reasons, cannot himself invoke the jurisdiction of this Court, the courts will grant
petitioners standing.

There is, however, a difference between the rule on real-party-in-interest and the rule on
standing, for the former is a concept of civil procedure73 while the latter has constitutional
underpinnings.74 In view of the arguments set forth regarding standing, it behooves the Court to
reiterate the ruling in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato75 to clarify what is meant by locus standi and to
distinguish it from real party-in-interest.

The difference between the rule on standing and real party in interest has been noted by
authorities thus: "It is important to note . . . that standing because of its constitutional and
public policy underpinnings, is very different from questions relating to whether a
particular plaintiff is the real party in interest or has capacity to sue. Although all three
requirements are directed towards ensuring that only certain parties can maintain an
action, standing restrictions require a partial consideration of the merits, as well as
broader policy concerns relating to the proper role of the judiciary in certain areas.

Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because in some cases suits are
brought not by parties who have been personally injured by the operation of a law or by
official action taken, but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in
the public interest. Hence the question in standing is whether such parties have "alleged
such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete
adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely
depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions."

xxx
On the other hand, the question as to "real party in interest" is whether he is "the party
who would be benefited or injured by the judgment, or the 'party entitled to the avails of
the suit.'"76 (Citations omitted)

While rights personal to the Chief Justice may have been injured by the alleged unconstitutional
acts of the House of Representatives, none of the petitioners before us asserts a violation of the
personal rights of the Chief Justice. On the contrary, they invariably invoke the vindication of
their own rights – as taxpayers; members of Congress; citizens, individually or in a class suit;
and members of the bar and of the legal profession – which were supposedly violated by the
alleged unconstitutional acts of the House of Representatives.

In a long line of cases, however, concerned citizens, taxpayers and legislators when specific
requirements have been met have been given standing by this Court.

When suing as a citizen, the interest of the petitioner assailing the constitutionality of a statute
must be direct and personal. He must be able to show, not only that the law or any government
act is invalid, but also that he sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury
as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It
must appear that the person complaining has been or is about to be denied some right or
privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or
penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of.77 In fine, when the proceeding involves
the assertion of a public right,78 the mere fact that he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of
personal interest.

In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are
illegally disbursed, or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that
there is a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional
law.79 Before he can invoke the power of judicial review, however, he must specifically prove
that he has sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation
and that he would sustain a direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the questioned statute
or contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely a general interest common to all members of
the public.80

At all events, courts are vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be
entertained.81 This Court opts to grant standing to most of the petitioners, given their allegation
that any impending transmittal to the Senate of the Articles of Impeachment and the ensuing
trial of the Chief Justice will necessarily involve the expenditure of public funds.

As for a legislator, he is allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which he
claims infringes his prerogatives as a legislator.82 Indeed, a member of the House of
Representatives has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives, powers and privileges
vested by the Constitution in his office.83

While an association has legal personality to represent its members,84 especially when it is
composed of substantial taxpayers and the outcome will affect their vital interests,85 the mere
invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any member of the legal profession of the
duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, although undoubtedly true, does not suffice to
clothe it with standing. Its interest is too general. It is shared by other groups and the whole
citizenry. However, a reading of the petitions shows that it has advanced constitutional issues
which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as
precedents.86 It, therefore, behooves this Court to relax the rules on standing and to resolve the
issues presented by it.

In the same vein, when dealing with class suits filed in behalf of all citizens, persons intervening
must be sufficiently numerous to fully protect the interests of all concerned87 to enable the court
to deal properly with all interests involved in the suit,88 for a judgment in a class suit, whether
favorable or unfavorable to the class, is, under the res judicata principle, binding on all members
of the class whether or not they were before the court.89 Where it clearly appears that not all
interests can be sufficiently represented as shown by the divergent issues raised in the
numerous petitions before this Court, G.R. No. 160365 as a class suit ought to fail. Since
petitioners additionallyallege standing as citizens and taxpayers, however, their petition will
stand.

The Philippine Bar Association, in G.R. No. 160403, invokes the sole ground of transcendental
importance, while Atty. Dioscoro U. Vallejos, in G.R. No. 160397, is mum on his standing.

There being no doctrinal definition of transcendental importance, the following instructive


determinants formulated by former Supreme Court Justice Florentino P. Feliciano are
instructive: (1) the character of the funds or other assets involved in the case; (2) the presence
of a clear case of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent
agency or instrumentality of the government; and (3) the lack of any other party with a more
direct and specific interest in raising the questions being raised.90 Applying these determinants,
this Court is satisfied that the issues raised herein are indeed of transcendental importance.

In not a few cases, this Court has in fact adopted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a
petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the
people, as when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public.91 Such liberality
does not, however, mean that the requirement that a party should have an interest in the matter
is totally eliminated. A party must, at the very least, still plead the existence of such interest, it
not being one of which courts can take judicial notice. In petitioner Vallejos' case, he failed to
allege any interest in the case. He does not thus have standing.

With respect to the motions for intervention, Rule 19, Section 2 of the Rules of Court requires an
intervenor to possess a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the
parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution
or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof. While
intervention is not a matter of right, it may be permitted by the courts when the applicant shows
facts which satisfy the requirements of the law authorizing intervention.92

In Intervenors Attorneys Romulo Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra's case, they seek to join
petitioners Candelaria, et. al. in G.R. No. 160262. Since, save for one additional issue, they
raise the same issues and the same standing, and no objection on the part of petitioners
Candelaria, et. al. has been interposed, this Court as earlier stated, granted the Motion for
Leave of Court to Intervene and Petition-in-Intervention.

Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et. al. sought to
join petitioner Francisco in G.R. No. 160261. Invoking their right as citizens to intervene,
alleging that "they will suffer if this insidious scheme of the minority members of the House of
Representatives is successful," this Court found the requisites for intervention had been
complied with.
Alleging that the issues raised in the petitions in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277,
160292, 160295, and 160310 were of transcendental importance, World War II Veterans
Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to Intervene" to
raise the additional issue of whether or not the second impeachment complaint against the
Chief Justice is valid and based on any of the grounds prescribed by the Constitution.

Finding that Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et


al. and World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. possess a legal interest in
the matter in litigation the respective motions to intervene were hereby granted.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel, on the other hand, sought to intervene for the limited purpose of
making of record and arguing a point of view that differs with Senate President Drilon's. He
alleges that submitting to this Court's jurisdiction as the Senate President does will undermine
the independence of the Senate which will sit as an impeachment court once the Articles of
Impeachment are transmitted to it from the House of Representatives. Clearly, Senator Pimentel
possesses a legal interest in the matter in litigation, he being a member of Congress against
which the herein petitions are directed. For this reason, and to fully ventilate all substantial
issues relating to the matter at hand, his Motion to Intervene was granted and he was, as earlier
stated, allowed to argue.

Lastly, as to Jaime N. Soriano's motion to intervene, the same must be denied for, while he
asserts an interest as a taxpayer, he failed to meet the standing requirement for bringing
taxpayer's suits as set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec,93 to wit:

x x x While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure of public


moneys, nowhere in their Petition do said petitioners allege that their tax money is "being
extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional protection against abuses of
legislative power," or that there is a misapplication of such funds by respondent
COMELEC, or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do
petitioners seek to restrain respondent from wasting public funds through the
enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.94 (Citations omitted)

In praying for the dismissal of the petitions, Soriano failed even to allege that the act of
petitioners will result in illegal disbursement of public funds or in public money being deflected to
any improper purpose. Additionally, his mere interest as a member of the Bar does not suffice to
clothe him with standing.

Ripeness and Prematurity

In Tan v. Macapagal,95 this Court, through Chief Justice Fernando, held that for a case to be
considered ripe for adjudication, "it is a prerequisite that something had by then been
accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture." 96 Only
then may the courts pass on the validity of what was done, if and when the latter is challenged
in an appropriate legal proceeding.

The instant petitions raise in the main the issue of the validity of the filing of the second
impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice in accordance with the House Impeachment
Rules adopted by the 12th Congress, the constitutionality of which is questioned. The
questioned acts having been carried out, i.e., the second impeachment complaint had been filed
with the House of Representatives and the 2001 Rules have already been already promulgated
and enforced, the prerequisite that the alleged unconstitutional act should be accomplished and
performed before suit, as Tan v. Macapagal holds, has been complied with.

Related to the issue of ripeness is the question of whether the instant petitions are
premature. Amicus curiae former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga opines that there may be
no urgent need for this Court to render a decision at this time, it being the final arbiter on
questions of constitutionality anyway. He thus recommends that all remedies in the House and
Senate should first be exhausted.

Taking a similar stand is Dean Raul Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law who suggests to
this Court to take judicial notice of on-going attempts to encourage signatories to the second
impeachment complaint to withdraw their signatures and opines that the House Impeachment
Rules provide for an opportunity for members to raise constitutional questions themselves when
the Articles of Impeachment are presented on a motion to transmit to the same to the Senate.
The dean maintains that even assuming that the Articles are transmitted to the Senate, the
Chief Justice can raise the issue of their constitutional infirmity by way of a motion to dismiss.

The dean's position does not persuade. First, the withdrawal by the Representatives of their
signatures would not, by itself, cure the House Impeachment Rules of their constitutional
infirmity. Neither would such a withdrawal, by itself, obliterate the questioned second
impeachment complaint since it would only place it under the ambit of Sections 3(2) and (3) of
Article XI of the Constitution97 and, therefore, petitioners would continue to suffer their injuries.

Second and most importantly, the futility of seeking remedies from either or both Houses of
Congress before coming to this Court is shown by the fact that, as previously discussed, neither
the House of Representatives nor the Senate is clothed with the power to rule with
definitiveness on the issue of constitutionality, whether concerning impeachment proceedings or
otherwise, as said power is exclusively vested in the judiciary by the earlier quoted Section I,
Article VIII of the Constitution. Remedy cannot be sought from a body which is bereft of power
to grant it.

Justiciability

In the leading case of Tanada v. Cuenco,98 Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion defined the term
"political question," viz:

[T]he term "political question" connotes, in legal parlance, what it means in ordinary
parlance, namely, a question of policy. In other words, in the language of Corpus Juris
Secundum, it refers to "those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided
by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary
authority has been delegated to the Legislature or executive branch of the Government."
It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular
measure.99(Italics in the original)

Prior to the 1973 Constitution, without consistency and seemingly without any rhyme or reason,
this Court vacillated on its stance of taking cognizance of cases which involved political
questions. In some cases, this Court hid behind the cover of the political question doctrine and
refused to exercise its power of judicial review.100 In other cases, however, despite the seeming
political nature of the therein issues involved, this Court assumed jurisdiction whenever it found
constitutionally imposed limits on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies.101 Even in
the landmark 1988 case of Javellana v. Executive Secretary102 which raised the issue of
whether the 1973 Constitution was ratified, hence, in force, this Court shunted the political
question doctrine and took cognizance thereof. Ratification by the people of a Constitution is a
political question, it being a question decided by the people in their sovereign capacity.

The frequency with which this Court invoked the political question doctrine to refuse to take
jurisdiction over certain cases during the Marcos regime motivated Chief Justice Concepcion,
when he became a Constitutional Commissioner, to clarify this Court's power of judicial review
and its application on issues involving political questions, viz:

MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.

I will speak on the judiciary. Practically, everybody has made, I suppose, the usual comment
that the judiciary is the weakest among the three major branches of the service. Since the
legislature holds the purse and the executive the sword, the judiciary has nothing with which to
enforce its decisions or commands except the power of reason and appeal to conscience which,
after all, reflects the will of God, and is the most powerful of all other powers without exception.
x x x And so, with the body's indulgence, I will proceed to read the provisions drafted by the
Committee on the Judiciary.

The first section starts with a sentence copied from former Constitutions. It says:

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as
may be established by law.

I suppose nobody can question it.

The next provision is new in our constitutional law. I will read it first and explain.

Judicial power includes the duty of 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 or instrumentality of the government.

Fellow Members of this Commission, this is actually a product of our experience during
martial law. As a matter of fact, it has some antecedents in the past, but the role of the
judiciary during the deposed regime was marred considerably by the
circumstance that in a number of cases against the government, which then had
no legal defense at all, the solicitor general set up the defense of political
questions and got away with it. As a consequence, certain principles concerning
particularly the writ of habeas corpus, that is, the authority of courts to order the
release of political detainees, and other matters related to the operation and effect
of martial law failed because the government set up the defense of political
question. And the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is political, we have no authority
to pass upon it." The Committee on the Judiciary feels that this was not a proper
solution of the questions involved. It did not merely request an encroachment
upon the rights of the people, but it, in effect, encouraged further violations
thereof during the martial law regime. I am sure the members of the Bar are familiar
with this situation. But for the benefit of the Members of the Commission who are not
lawyers, allow me to explain. I will start with a decision of the Supreme Court in 1973 on
the case of Javellana vs. the Secretary of Justice, if I am not mistaken. Martial law was
announced on September 22, although the proclamation was dated September 21. The
obvious reason for the delay in its publication was that the administration had
apprehended and detained prominent newsmen on September 21. So that when martial
law was announced on September 22, the media hardly published anything about it. In
fact, the media could not publish any story not only because our main writers were
already incarcerated, but also because those who succeeded them in their jobs were
under mortal threat of being the object of wrath of the ruling party. The 1971
Constitutional Convention had begun on June 1, 1971 and by September 21 or 22 had
not finished the Constitution; it had barely agreed in the fundamentals of the
Constitution. I forgot to say that upon the proclamation of martial law, some delegates to
that 1971 Constitutional Convention, dozens of them, were picked up. One of them was
our very own colleague, Commissioner Calderon. So, the unfinished draft of the
Constitution was taken over by representatives of Malacañang. In 17 days, they finished
what the delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention had been unable to
accomplish for about 14 months. The draft of the 1973 Constitution was presented to the
President around December 1, 1972, whereupon the President issued a decree calling a
plebiscite which suspended the operation of some provisions in the martial law decree
which prohibited discussions, much less public discussions of certain matters of public
concern. The purpose was presumably to allow a free discussion on the draft of the
Constitution on which a plebiscite was to be held sometime in January 1973. If I may use
a word famous by our colleague, Commissioner Ople, during the interregnum, however,
the draft of the Constitution was analyzed and criticized with such a telling effect that
Malacañang felt the danger of its approval. So, the President suspended indefinitely the
holding of the plebiscite and announced that he would consult the people in a
referendum to be held from January 10 to January 15. But the questions to be submitted
in the referendum were not announced until the eve of its scheduled beginning, under
the supposed supervision not of the Commission on Elections, but of what was then
designated as "citizens assemblies or barangays." Thus the barangays came into
existence. The questions to be propounded were released with proposed answers
thereto, suggesting that it was unnecessary to hold a plebiscite because the answers
given in the referendum should be regarded as the votes cast in the plebiscite.
Thereupon, a motion was filed with the Supreme Court praying that the holding of the
referendum be suspended. When the motion was being heard before the Supreme
Court, the Minister of Justice delivered to the Court a proclamation of the President
declaring that the new Constitution was already in force because the overwhelming
majority of the votes cast in the referendum favored the Constitution. Immediately after
the departure of the Minister of Justice, I proceeded to the session room where the case
was being heard. I then informed the Court and the parties the presidential proclamation
declaring that the 1973 Constitution had been ratified by the people and is now in force.

A number of other cases were filed to declare the presidential proclamation null and
void. The main defense put up by the government was that the issue was a political
question and that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the case.

xxx

The government said that in a referendum held from January 10 to January 15, the vast
majority ratified the draft of the Constitution. Note that all members of the Supreme Court
were residents of Manila, but none of them had been notified of any referendum in their
respective places of residence, much less did they participate in the alleged referendum.
None of them saw any referendum proceeding.

In the Philippines, even local gossips spread like wild fire. So, a majority of the members
of the Court felt that there had been no referendum.

Second, a referendum cannot substitute for a plebiscite. There is a big difference


between a referendum and a plebiscite. But another group of justices upheld the
defense that the issue was a political question. Whereupon, they dismissed the
case. This is not the only major case in which the plea of "political question" was
set up. There have been a number of other cases in the past.

x x x The defense of the political question was rejected because the issue was
clearly justiciable.

xxx

x x x When your Committee on the Judiciary began to perform its functions, it faced the
following questions: What is judicial power? What is a political question?

The Supreme Court, like all other courts, has one main function: to settle actual
controversies involving conflicts of rights which are demandable and enforceable. There
are rights which are guaranteed by law but cannot be enforced by a judiciary party. In a
decided case, a husband complained that his wife was unwilling to perform her duties as
a wife. The Court said: "We can tell your wife what her duties as such are and that she is
bound to comply with them, but we cannot force her physically to discharge her main
marital duty to her husband. There are some rights guaranteed by law, but they are so
personal that to enforce them by actual compulsion would be highly derogatory to
human dignity."

This is why the first part of the second paragraph of Section I provides that:

Judicial power includes the duty of courts to settle actual controversies involving rights
which are legally demandable or enforceable . . .

The courts, therefore, cannot entertain, much less decide, hypothetical questions. In a
presidential system of government, the Supreme Court has, also another
important function. The powers of government are generally considered divided
into three branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Each one is
supreme within its own sphere and independent of the others. Because of that
supremacy power to determine whether a given law is valid or not is vested in
courts of justice.

Briefly stated, courts of justice determine the limits of power of the agencies and
offices of the government as well as those of its officers. In other words, the
judiciary is the final arbiter on the question 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 or lack 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 a political question.

I have made these extended remarks to the end that the Commissioners may have an
initial food for thought on the subject of the judiciary.103 (Italics in the original; emphasis
supplied)

During the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, Chief Justice Concepcion further
clarified the concept of judicial power, thus:

MR. NOLLEDO. The Gentleman used the term "judicial power" but judicial power
is not vested in the Supreme Court alone but also in other lower courts as may be
created by law.

MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.

MR. NOLLEDO. And so, is this only an example?

MR. CONCEPCION. No, I know this is not. The Gentleman seems to identify
political questions with jurisdictional questions. But there is a difference.

MR. NOLLEDO. Because of the expression "judicial power"?

MR. CONCEPCION. No. Judicial power, as I said, refers to ordinary cases but
where there is a question as to whether the government had authority or had
abused its authority to the extent of lacking jurisdiction or excess of jurisdiction,
that is not a political question. Therefore, the court has the duty to decide.

xxx

FR. BERNAS. Ultimately, therefore, it will always have to be decided by the Supreme
Court according to the new numerical need for votes.

On another point, is it the intention of Section 1 to do away with the political


question doctrine?

MR. CONCEPCION. No.

FR. BERNAS. It is not.

MR. CONCEPCION. No, because whenever there is an abuse of discretion,


amounting to a lack of jurisdiction. . .

FR. BERNAS. So, I am satisfied with the answer that it is not intended to do away
with the political question doctrine.

MR. CONCEPCION. No, certainly not.


When this provision was originally drafted, it sought to define what is judicial
power. But the Gentleman will notice it says, "judicial power includes" and the
reason being that the definition that we might make may not cover all possible
areas.

FR. BERNAS. So, this is not an attempt to solve the problems arising from the
political question doctrine.

MR. CONCEPCION. It definitely does not eliminate the fact that truly political
questions are beyond the pale of judicial power.104 (Emphasis supplied)

From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is clear
that judicial power is not only a power; it is also a duty, a duty which cannot be abdicated by the
mere specter of this creature called the political question doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion
hastened to clarify, however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not intended to do away with "truly
political questions." From this clarification it is gathered that there are two species of political
questions: (1) "truly political questions" and (2) those which "are not truly political questions."

Truly political questions are thus beyond judicial review, the reason for respect of the doctrine of
separation of powers to be maintained. On the other hand, by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII of
the Constitution, courts can review questions which are not truly political in nature.

As pointed out by amicus curiae former dean Pacifico Agabin of the UP College of Law, this
Court has in fact in a number of cases taken jurisdiction over questions which are not truly
political following the effectivity of the present Constitution.

In Marcos v. Manglapus,105 this Court, speaking through Madame Justice Irene Cortes, held:

The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the
scope of judicial inquiry into areas which the Court, under previous constitutions, would
have normally left to the political departments to decide.106 x x x

In Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,107 through Justice Teodoro Padilla, this Court
declared:

The "allocation of constitutional boundaries" is a task that this Court must perform under
the Constitution. Moreover, as held in a recent case, "(t)he political question doctrine
neither interposes an obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The
jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court. It
cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by the 1987 Constitution, although said
provision by no means does away with the applicability of the principle in
appropriate cases."108 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

And in Daza v. Singson,109 speaking through Justice Isagani Cruz, this Court ruled:

In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and
decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue presented before
us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from resolving it under
the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the
political question.110 x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
Section 1, Article VIII, of the Court does not define what are justiciable political questions and
non-justiciable political questions, however. Identification of these two species of political
questions may be problematic. There has been no clear standard. The American case of Baker
v. Carr111 attempts to provide some:

x x x Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found
a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political
department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving
it; or the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly
for non-judicial discretion; or the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent
resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of
government; or an unusual need for questioning adherence to a political decision
already made; or the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements
by various departments on one question.112(Underscoring supplied)

Of these standards, the more reliable have been the first three: (1) a textually demonstrable
constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; (2) the lack of
judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; and (3) the impossibility of
deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for non-judicial discretion. These
standards are not separate and distinct concepts but are interrelated to each in that the
presence of one strengthens the conclusion that the others are also present.

The problem in applying the foregoing standards is that the American concept of judicial review
is radically different from our current concept, for Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution
provides our courts with far less discretion in determining whether they should pass upon a
constitutional issue.

In our jurisdiction, the determination of a truly political question from a non-justiciable political
question lies in the answer to the question of whether there are constitutionally imposed limits
on powers or functions conferred upon political bodies. If there are, then our courts are duty-
bound to examine whether the branch or instrumentality of the government properly acted within
such limits. This Court shall thus now apply this standard to the present controversy.

These petitions raise five substantial issues:

I. Whether the offenses alleged in the Second impeachment complaint constitute valid
impeachable offenses under the Constitution.

II. Whether the second impeachment complaint was filed in accordance with Section
3(4), Article XI of the Constitution.

III. Whether the legislative inquiry by the House Committee on Justice into the Judicial
Development Fund is an unconstitutional infringement of the constitutionally mandated
fiscal autonomy of the judiciary.

IV. Whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the Rules on Impeachment adopted by the
12th Congress are unconstitutional for violating the provisions of Section 3, Article XI of
the Constitution.
V. Whether the second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI
of the Constitution.

The first issue goes into the merits of the second impeachment complaint over which this
Court has no jurisdiction. More importantly, any discussion of this issue would require
this Court to make a determination of what constitutes an impeachable offense. Such a
determination is a purely political question which the Constitution has left to the sound
discretion of the legislation. Such an intent is clear from the deliberations of the
Constitutional Commission.113

Although Section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution enumerates six grounds for impeachment,
two of these, namely, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust, elude a precise definition. In
fact, an examination of the records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission shows that the
framers could find no better way to approximate the boundaries of betrayal of public trust and
other high crimes than by alluding to both positive and negative examples of both, without
arriving at their clear cut definition or even a standard therefor.114 Clearly, the issue calls upon
this court to decide a non-justiciable political question which is beyond the scope of its judicial
power under Section 1, Article VIII.

Lis Mota

It is a well-settled maxim of adjudication that an issue assailing the constitutionality of a


governmental act should be avoided whenever possible. Thus, in the case of Sotto v.
Commission on Elections,115 this Court held:

x x x It is a well-established rule that a court should not pass upon a constitutional


question and decide a law to be unconstitutional or invalid, unless such question is
raised by the parties and that when it is raised, if the record also presents some other
ground upon which the court may rest its judgment, that course will be adopted
and the constitutional question will be left for consideration until a case arises in
which a decision upon such question will be unavoidable.116 [Emphasis and
underscoring supplied]

The same principle was applied in Luz Farms v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform,117 where this
Court invalidated Sections 13 and 32 of Republic Act No. 6657 for being confiscatory and
violative of due process, to wit:

It has been established that this Court will assume jurisdiction over a constitutional
question only if it is shown that the essential requisites of a judicial inquiry into
such a question are first satisfied. Thus, there must be an actual case or controversy
involving a conflict of legal rights susceptible of judicial determination, the constitutional
question must have been opportunely raised by the proper party, and the resolution of
the question is unavoidably necessary to the decision of the case
itself.118 [Emphasis supplied]

Succinctly put, courts will not touch the issue of constitutionality unless it is truly unavoidable
and is the very lis mota or crux of the controversy.

As noted earlier, the instant consolidated petitions, while all seeking the invalidity of the second
impeachment complaint, collectively raise several constitutional issues upon which the outcome
of this controversy could possibly be made to rest. In determining whether one, some or all of
the remaining substantial issues should be passed upon, this Court is guided by the related
cannon of adjudication that "the court should not form a rule of constitutional law broader than is
required by the precise facts to which it is applied."119

In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. Alfonso, et al. argue that, among other reasons, the
second impeachment complaint is invalid since it directly resulted from a Resolution120 calling
for a legislative inquiry into the JDF, which Resolution and legislative inquiry petitioners claim to
likewise be unconstitutional for being: (a) a violation of the rules and jurisprudence on
investigations in aid of legislation; (b) an open breach of the doctrine of separation of powers;
(c) a violation of the constitutionally mandated fiscal autonomy of the judiciary; and (d) an
assault on the independence of the judiciary.121

Without going into the merits of petitioners Alfonso, et. al.'s claims, it is the studied opinion of
this Court that the issue of the constitutionality of the said Resolution and resulting legislative
inquiry is too far removed from the issue of the validity of the second impeachment complaint.
Moreover, the resolution of said issue would, in the Court's opinion, require it to form a rule of
constitutional law touching on the separate and distinct matter of legislative inquiries in general,
which would thus be broader than is required by the facts of these consolidated cases. This
opinion is further strengthened by the fact that said petitioners have raised other grounds in
support of their petition which would not be adversely affected by the Court's ruling.

En passant, this Court notes that a standard for the conduct of legislative inquiries has already
been enunciated by this Court in Bengzon, Jr. v. Senate Blue Ribbon Commttee,122 viz:

The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof provides:

The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may
conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of
procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be
respected.

The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not,
therefore absolute or unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-quoted
provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein, the investigation must be "in aid
of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure" and that "the
rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It follows
then that the right rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including
the right to due process and the right not be compelled to testify against one's self.123

In G.R. No. 160262, intervenors Romulo B. Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra, while joining
the original petition of petitioners Candelaria, et. al., introduce the new argument that since the
second impeachment complaint was verified and filed only by Representatives Gilberto
Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella, the same does not fall under the provisions of
Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution which reads:

Section 3(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at


least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of
Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.
They assert that while at least 81 members of the House of Representatives signed a
Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment, the same did not satisfy the requisites for the
application of the afore-mentioned section in that the "verified complaint or resolution of
impeachment" was not filed "by at least one-third of all the Members of the House." With the
exception of Representatives Teodoro and Fuentebella, the signatories to said Resolution are
alleged to have verified the same merely as a "Resolution of Endorsement." Intervenors point to
the "Verification" of the Resolution of Endorsement which states that:

"We are the proponents/sponsors of the Resolution of Endorsement of the


abovementioned Complaint of Representatives Gilberto Teodoro and Felix William B.
Fuentebella x x x"124

Intervenors Macalintal and Quadra further claim that what the Constitution requires in order for
said second impeachment complaint to automatically become the Articles of Impeachment and
for trial in the Senate to begin "forthwith," is that the verified complaint be "filed," not merely
endorsed, by at least one-third of the Members of the House of Representatives. Not having
complied with this requirement, they concede that the second impeachment complaint should
have been calendared and referred to the House Committee on Justice under Section 3(2),
Article XI of the Constitution, viz:

Section 3(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the
House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any
Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session
days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The
Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its
report to the House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the
corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the
House within ten session days from receipt thereof.

Intervenors' foregoing position is echoed by Justice Maambong who opined that for Section 3
(4), Article XI of the Constitution to apply, there should be 76 or more representatives who
signed and verified the second impeachment complaint as complainants, signed and verified the
signatories to a resolution of impeachment. Justice Maambong likewise asserted that the
Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment signed by at least one-third of the members of the
House of Representatives as endorsers is not the resolution of impeachment contemplated by
the Constitution, such resolution of endorsement being necessary only from at least one
Member whenever a citizen files a verified impeachment complaint.

While the foregoing issue, as argued by intervenors Macalintal and Quadra, does indeed limit
the scope of the constitutional issues to the provisions on impeachment, more compelling
considerations militate against its adoption as the lis mota or crux of the present controversy.
Chief among this is the fact that only Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra, intervenors in G.R. No.
160262, have raised this issue as a ground for invalidating the second impeachment complaint.
Thus, to adopt this additional ground as the basis for deciding the instant consolidated petitions
would not only render for naught the efforts of the original petitioners in G.R. No. 160262, but
the efforts presented by the other petitioners as well.

Again, the decision to discard the resolution of this issue as unnecessary for the determination
of the instant cases is made easier by the fact that said intervenors Macalintal and Quadra have
joined in the petition of Candelaria, et. al., adopting the latter's arguments and issues as their
own. Consequently, they are not unduly prejudiced by this Court's decision.

In sum, this Court holds that the two remaining issues, inextricably linked as they are, constitute
the very lis mota of the instant controversy: (1) whether Sections 15 and 16 of Rule V of the
House Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th Congress are unconstitutional for violating the
provisions of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution; and (2) whether, as a result thereof, the
second impeachment complaint is barred under Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution.

Judicial Restraint

Senator Pimentel urges this Court to exercise judicial restraint on the ground that the Senate,
sitting as an impeachment court, has the sole power to try and decide all cases of
impeachment. Again, this Court reiterates that the power of judicial review includes the power of
review over justiciable issues in impeachment proceedings.

On the other hand, respondents Speaker De Venecia et. al. argue that "[t]here is a moral
compulsion for the Court to not assume jurisdiction over the impeachment because all the
Members thereof are subject to impeachment."125But this argument is very much like saying the
Legislature has a moral compulsion not to pass laws with penalty clauses because Members of
the House of Representatives are subject to them.

The exercise of judicial restraint over justiciable issues is not an option before this Court.
Adjudication may not be declined, because this Court is not legally disqualified. Nor can
jurisdiction be renounced as there is no other tribunal to which the controversy may be
referred."126 Otherwise, this Court would be shirking from its duty vested under Art. VIII, Sec.
1(2) of the Constitution. More than being clothed with authority thus, this Court is duty-bound to
take cognizance of the instant petitions.127 In the august words of amicus curiae Father Bernas,
"jurisdiction is not just a power; it is a solemn duty which may not be renounced. To renounce it,
even if it is vexatious, would be a dereliction of duty."

Even in cases where it is an interested party, the Court under our system of government cannot
inhibit itself and must rule upon the challenge because no other office has the authority to do
so.128 On the occasion that this Court had been an interested party to the controversy before it,
it has acted upon the matter "not with officiousness but in the discharge of an unavoidable duty
and, as always, with detachment and fairness."129 After all, "by [his] appointment to the office,
the public has laid on [a member of the judiciary] their confidence that [he] is mentally and
morally fit to pass upon the merits of their varied contentions. For this reason, they expect [him]
to be fearless in [his] pursuit to render justice, to be unafraid to displease any person, interest or
power and to be equipped with a moral fiber strong enough to resist the temptations lurking in
[his] office."130

The duty to exercise the power of adjudication regardless of interest had already been settled in
the case of Abbas v. Senate Electoral Tribunal.131 In that case, the petitioners filed with the
respondent Senate Electoral Tribunal a Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition of the Senators-
Members thereof from the hearing and resolution of SET Case No. 002-87 on the ground that all
of them were interested parties to said case as respondents therein. This would have reduced
the Tribunal's membership to only its three Justices-Members whose disqualification was not
sought, leaving them to decide the matter. This Court held:
Where, as here, a situation is created which precludes the substitution of any Senator
sitting in the Tribunal by any of his other colleagues in the Senate without inviting the
same objections to the substitute's competence, the proposed mass disqualification, if
sanctioned and ordered, would leave the Tribunal no alternative but to abandon a duty
that no other court or body can perform, but which it cannot lawfully discharge if shorn of
the participation of its entire membership of Senators.

To our mind, this is the overriding consideration — that the Tribunal be not prevented
from discharging a duty which it alone has the power to perform, the performance of
which is in the highest public interest as evidenced by its being expressly imposed by no
less than the fundamental law.

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

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


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

More recently in the case of Estrada v. Desierto,132 it was held that:

Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, particularly a majority of them,
is nothing short of pro tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as established by
the fundamental law. Disqualification of a judge is a deprivation of his judicial power. And
if that judge is the one designated by the Constitution to exercise the jurisdiction of his
court, as is the case with the Justices of this Court, the deprivation of his or their judicial
power is equivalent to the deprivation of the judicial power of the court itself. It affects the
very heart of judicial independence. The proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned
and ordered, would leave the Court no alternative but to abandon a duty which it cannot
lawfully discharge if shorn of the participation of its entire membership of
Justices.133 (Italics in the original)

Besides, there are specific safeguards already laid down by the Court when it exercises its
power of judicial review.
In Demetria v. Alba,134 this Court, through Justice Marcelo Fernan cited the "seven pillars" of
limitations of the power of judicial review, enunciated by US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis
in Ashwander v. TVA135 as follows:

1. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of legislation in a friendly, non-
adversary proceeding, declining because to decide such questions 'is legitimate only in
the last resort, and as a necessity in the determination of real, earnest and vital
controversy between individuals. It never was the thought that, by means of a friendly
suit, a party beaten in the legislature could transfer to the courts an inquiry as to the
constitutionality of the legislative act.'

2. The Court will not 'anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the
necessity of deciding it.' . . . 'It is not the habit of the Court to decide questions of a
constitutional nature unless absolutely necessary to a decision of the case.'

3. The Court will not 'formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the
precise facts to which it is to be applied.'

4. The Court will not pass upon a constitutional question although properly presented by
the record, if there is also present some other ground upon which the case may be
disposed of. This rule has found most varied application. Thus, if a case can be decided
on either of two grounds, one involving a constitutional question, the other a question of
statutory construction or general law, the Court will decide only the latter. Appeals from
the highest court of a state challenging its decision of a question under the Federal
Constitution are frequently dismissed because the judgment can be sustained on an
independent state ground.

5. The Court will not pass upon the validity of a statute upon complaint of one who fails
to show that he is injured by its operation. Among the many applications of this rule,
none is more striking than the denial of the right of challenge to one who lacks a
personal or property right. Thus, the challenge by a public official interested only in the
performance of his official duty will not be entertained . . . In Fairchild v. Hughes, the
Court affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought by a citizen who sought to have the
Nineteenth Amendment declared unconstitutional. In Massachusetts v. Mellon, the
challenge of the federal Maternity Act was not entertained although made by the
Commonwealth on behalf of all its citizens.

6. The Court will not pass upon the constitutionality of a statute at the instance of one
who has availed himself of its benefits.

7. When the validity of an act of the Congress is drawn in question, and even 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 (citations omitted).

The foregoing "pillars" of limitation of judicial review, summarized in Ashwander v. TVA from
different decisions of the United States Supreme Court, can be encapsulated into the following
categories:

1. that there be absolute necessity of deciding a case


2. that rules of constitutional law shall be formulated only as required by the facts of the
case

3. that judgment may not be sustained on some other ground

4. that there be actual injury sustained by the party by reason of the operation of the
statute

5. that the parties are not in estoppel

6. that the Court upholds the presumption of constitutionality.

As stated previously, parallel guidelines have been adopted by this Court in the exercise of
judicial review:

1. actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power

2. the person challenging the act must have "standing" to challenge; he must have a
personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain,
direct injury as a result of its enforcement

3. the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity

4. the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.136

Respondents Speaker de Venecia, et. al. raise another argument for judicial restraint the
possibility that "judicial review of impeachments might also lead to embarrassing conflicts
between the Congress and the [J]udiciary." They stress the need to avoid the appearance of
impropriety or conflicts of interest in judicial hearings, and the scenario that it would be
confusing and humiliating and risk serious political instability at home and abroad if the judiciary
countermanded the vote of Congress to remove an impeachable official.137 Intervenor Soriano
echoes this argument by alleging that failure of this Court to enforce its Resolution against
Congress would result in the diminution of its judicial authority and erode public confidence and
faith in the judiciary.

Such an argument, however, is specious, to say the least. As correctly stated by the Solicitor
General, the possibility of the occurrence of a constitutional crisis is not a reason for this Court
to refrain from upholding the Constitution in all impeachment cases. Justices cannot abandon
their constitutional duties just because their action may start, if not precipitate, a crisis.

Justice Feliciano warned against the dangers when this Court refuses to act.

x x x Frequently, the fight over a controversial legislative or executive act is not regarded
as settled until the Supreme Court has passed upon the constitutionality of the act
involved, the judgment has not only juridical effects but also political consequences.
Those political consequences may follow even where the Court fails to grant the
petitioner's prayer to nullify an act for lack of the necessary number of votes. Frequently,
failure to act explicitly, one way or the other, itself constitutes a decision for the
respondent and validation, or at least quasi-validation, follows." 138
Thus, in Javellana v. Executive Secretary139 where this Court was split and "in the end there
were not enough votes either to grant the petitions, or to sustain respondent's claims,"140 the
pre-existing constitutional order was disrupted which paved the way for the establishment of the
martial law regime.

Such an argument by respondents and intervenor also presumes that the coordinate branches
of the government would behave in a lawless manner and not do their duty under the law to
uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. Yet there is no reason to believe that any
of the branches of government will behave in a precipitate manner and risk social upheaval,
violence, chaos and anarchy by encouraging disrespect for the fundamental law of the land.

Substituting the word public officers for judges, this Court is well guided by the doctrine
in People v. Veneracion, to wit:141

Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If [public
officers], under the guise of religious or political beliefs were allowed to roam
unrestricted beyond boundaries within which they are required by law to exercise the
duties of their office, then law becomes meaningless. A government of laws, not of men
excludes the exercise of broad discretionary powers by those acting under its authority.
Under this system, [public officers] are guided by the Rule of Law, and ought "to protect
and enforce it without fear or favor," resist encroachments by governments, political
parties, or even the interference of their own personal beliefs.142

Constitutionality of the Rules of Procedure


for Impeachment Proceedings
adopted by the 12th Congress

Respondent House of Representatives, through Speaker De Venecia, argues that Sections 16


and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules do not violate Section 3 (5) of Article XI of
our present Constitution, contending that the term "initiate" does not mean "to file;" that Section
3 (1) is clear in that it is the House of Representatives, as a collective body, which has the
exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment; that initiate could not possibly mean "to
file" because filing can, as Section 3 (2), Article XI of the Constitution provides, only be
accomplished in 3 ways, to wit: (1) by a verified complaint for impeachment by any member of
the House of Representatives; or (2) by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any
member; or (3) by at least 1/3 of all the members of the House. Respondent House of
Representatives concludes that the one year bar prohibiting the initiation of impeachment
proceedings against the same officials could not have been violated as the impeachment
complaint against Chief Justice Davide and seven Associate Justices had not been initiated as
the House of Representatives, acting as the collective body, has yet to act on it.

The resolution of this issue thus hinges on the interpretation of the term "initiate." Resort to
statutory construction is, therefore, in order.

That the sponsor of the provision of Section 3(5) of the Constitution, Commissioner Florenz
Regalado, who eventually became an Associate Justice of this Court, agreed on the meaning of
"initiate" as "to file," as proffered and explained by Constitutional Commissioner Maambong
during the Constitutional Commission proceedings, which he (Commissioner Regalado)
as amicus curiae affirmed during the oral arguments on the instant petitions held on November
5, 2003 at which he added that the act of "initiating" included the act of taking initial action on
the complaint, dissipates any doubt that indeed the word "initiate" as it twice appears in Article
XI (3) and (5) of the Constitution means to file the complaint and take initial action on it.

"Initiate" of course is understood by ordinary men to mean, as dictionaries do, to begin, to


commence, or set going. As Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English
Language concisely puts it, it means "to perform or facilitate the first action," which jibes with
Justice Regalado's position, and that of Father Bernas, who elucidated during the oral
arguments of the instant petitions on November 5, 2003 in this wise:

Briefly then, an impeachment proceeding is not a single act. It is a comlexus of acts


consisting of a beginning, a middle and an end. The end is the transmittal of the articles
of impeachment to the Senate. The middle consists of those deliberative moments
leading to the formulation of the articles of impeachment. The beginning or the initiation
is the filing of the complaint and its referral to the Committee on Justice.

Finally, it should be noted that the House Rule relied upon by Representatives
Cojuangco and Fuentebella says that impeachment is "deemed initiated" when the
Justice Committee votes in favor of impeachment or when the House reverses a
contrary vote of the Committee. Note that the Rule does not say "impeachment
proceedings" are initiated but rather are "deemed initiated." The language is recognition
that initiation happened earlier, but by legal fiction there is an attempt to postpone it to a
time after actual initiation. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

As stated earlier, one of the means of interpreting the Constitution is looking into the intent of
the law. Fortunately, the intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution can be pried from its
records:

MR. MAAMBONG. With reference to Section 3, regarding the procedure and the
substantive provisions on impeachment, I understand there have been many proposals
and, I think, these would need some time for Committee action.

However, I would just like to indicate that I submitted to the Committee a resolution on
impeachment proceedings, copies of which have been furnished the Members of this
body. This is borne out of my experience as a member of the Committee on Justice,
Human Rights and Good Government which took charge of the last impeachment
resolution filed before the First Batasang Pambansa. For the information of the
Committee, the resolution covers several steps in the impeachment
proceedings starting with initiation, action of the Speaker committee action,
calendaring of report, voting on the report, transmittal referral to the Senate, trial
and judgment by the Senate.

xxx

MR. MAAMBONG. Mr. Presiding Officer, I am not moving for a reconsideration of the
approval of the amendment submitted by Commissioner Regalado, but I will just make of
record my thinking that we do not really initiate the filing of the Articles of Impeachment
on the floor. The procedure, as I have pointed out earlier, was that the initiation
starts with the filing of the complaint. And what is actually done on the floor is
that the committee resolution containing the Articles of Impeachment is the one
approved by the body.
As the phraseology now runs, which may be corrected by the Committee on Style, it
appears that the initiation starts on the floor. If we only have time, I could cite examples
in the case of the impeachment proceedings of President Richard Nixon wherein the
Committee on the Judiciary submitted the recommendation, the resolution, and the
Articles of Impeachment to the body, and it was the body who approved the resolution. It
is not the body which initiates it. It only approves or disapproves the
resolution. So, on that score, probably the Committee on Style could help in
rearranging these words because we have to be very technical about this. I have been
bringing with me The Rules of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress. The
Senate Rules are with me. The proceedings on the case of Richard Nixon are with me. I
have submitted my proposal, but the Committee has already decided. Nevertheless, I
just want to indicate this on record.

xxx

MR. MAAMBONG. I would just like to move for a reconsideration of the approval of
Section 3 (3). My reconsideration will not at all affect the substance, but it is only in
keeping with the exact formulation of the Rules of the House of Representatives of the
United States regarding impeachment.

I am proposing, Madam President, without doing damage to any of this provision, that on
page 2, Section 3 (3), from lines 17 to 18, we delete the words which read: "to initiate
impeachment proceedings" and the comma (,) and insert on line 19 after the word
"resolution" the phrase WITH THE ARTICLES, and then capitalize the letter "i" in
"impeachment" and replace the word "by" with OF, so that the whole section will now
read: "A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary
either to affirm a resolution WITH THE ARTICLES of Impeachment OF the Committee or
to override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded."

I already mentioned earlier yesterday that the initiation, as far as the House of
Representatives of the United States is concerned, really starts from the filing of the
verified complaint and every resolution to impeach always carries with it the Articles of
Impeachment. As a matter of fact, the words "Articles of Impeachment" are mentioned
on line 25 in the case of the direct filing of a verified compliant of one-third of all the
Members of the House. I will mention again, Madam President, that my amendment will
not vary the substance in any way. It is only in keeping with the uniform procedure of the
House of Representatives of the United States Congress. Thank you, Madam
President.143 (Italics in the original; emphasis and udnerscoring supplied)

This amendment proposed by Commissioner Maambong was clarified and accepted by the
Committee on the Accountability of Public Officers.144

It is thus clear that the framers intended "initiation" to start with the filing of the complaint. In
his amicus curiae brief, Commissioner Maambong explained that "the obvious reason in
deleting the phrase "to initiate impeachment proceedings" as contained in the text of the
provision of Section 3 (3) was to settle and make it understood once and for all that the
initiation of impeachment proceedings starts with the filing of the complaint, and the vote
of one-third of the House in a resolution of impeachment does not initiate the impeachment
proceedings which was already initiated by the filing of a verified complaint under Section
3, paragraph (2), Article XI of the Constitution."145
Amicus curiae Constitutional Commissioner Regalado is of the same view as is Father Bernas,
who was also a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, that the word "initiate" as used
in Article XI, Section 3(5) means to file, both adding, however, that the filing must be
accompanied by an action to set the complaint moving.

During the oral arguments before this Court, Father Bernas clarified that the word "initiate,"
appearing in the constitutional provision on impeachment, viz:

Section 3 (1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all
cases of impeachment.

xxx

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than
once within a period of one year, (Emphasis supplied)

refers to two objects, "impeachment case" and "impeachment proceeding."

Father Bernas explains that in these two provisions, the common verb is "to initiate." The object
in the first sentence is "impeachment case." The object in the second sentence is "impeachment
proceeding." Following the principle of reddendo singuala sinuilis, the term "cases" must be
distinguished from the term "proceedings." An impeachment case is the legal controversy that
must be decided by the Senate. Above-quoted first provision provides that the House, by a vote
of one-third of all its members, can bring a case to the Senate. It is in that sense that the House
has "exclusive power" to initiate all cases of impeachment. No other body can do it. However,
before a decision is made to initiate a case in the Senate, a "proceeding" must be followed to
arrive at a conclusion. A proceeding must be "initiated." To initiate, which comes from the Latin
word initium, means to begin. On the other hand, proceeding is a progressive noun. It has a
beginning, a middle, and an end. It takes place not in the Senate but in the House and consists
of several steps: (1) there is the filing of a verified complaint either by a Member of the House of
Representatives or by a private citizen endorsed by a Member of the House of the
Representatives; (2) there is the processing of this complaint by the proper Committee which
may either reject the complaint or uphold it; (3) whether the resolution of the Committee rejects
or upholds the complaint, the resolution must be forwarded to the House for further processing;
and (4) there is the processing of the same complaint by the House of Representatives which
either affirms a favorable resolution of the Committee or overrides a contrary resolution by a
vote of one-third of all the members. If at least one third of all the Members upholds the
complaint, Articles of Impeachment are prepared and transmitted to the Senate. It is at this point
that the House "initiates an impeachment case." It is at this point that an impeachable public
official is successfully impeached. That is, he or she is successfully charged with an
impeachment "case" before the Senate as impeachment court.

Father Bernas further explains: The "impeachment proceeding" is not initiated when the
complaint is transmitted to the Senate for trial because that is the end of the House proceeding
and the beginning of another proceeding, namely the trial. Neither is the "impeachment
proceeding" initiated when the House deliberates on the resolution passed on to it by the
Committee, because something prior to that has already been done. The action of the House is
already a further step in the proceeding, not its initiation or beginning. Rather, the proceeding is
initiated or begins, when a verified complaint is filed and referred to the Committee on Justice
for action. This is the initiating step which triggers the series of steps that follow.
The framers of the Constitution also understood initiation in its ordinary meaning. Thus when a
proposal reached the floor proposing that "A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the
House shall be necessary… to initiate impeachment proceedings," this was met by a proposal
to delete the line on the ground that the vote of the House does not initiate impeachment
proceeding but rather the filing of a complaint does.146 Thus the line was deleted and is not
found in the present Constitution.

Father Bernas concludes that when Section 3 (5) says, "No impeachment proceeding shall be
initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year," it means that no
second verified complaint may be accepted and referred to the Committee on Justice for action.
By his explanation, this interpretation is founded on the common understanding of the meaning
of "to initiate" which means to begin. He reminds that the Constitution is ratified by the people,
both ordinary and sophisticated, as they understand it; and that ordinary people read ordinary
meaning into ordinary words and not abstruse meaning, they ratify words as they understand it
and not as sophisticated lawyers confuse it.

To the argument that only the House of Representatives as a body can initiate impeachment
proceedings because Section 3 (1) says "The House of Representatives shall have the
exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment," This is a misreading of said provision and
is contrary to the principle of reddendo singula singulis by equating "impeachment cases" with
"impeachment proceeding."

From the records of the Constitutional Commission, to the amicus curiae briefs of two former
Constitutional Commissioners, it is without a doubt that the term "to initiate" refers to the filing of
the impeachment complaint coupled with Congress' taking initial action of said complaint.

Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing and referral or endorsement
of the impeachment complaint to the House Committee on Justice or, by the filing by at least
one-third of the members of the House of Representatives with the Secretary General of the
House, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment
complaint has been initiated, another impeachment complaint may not be filed against the same
official within a one year period.

Under Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules, impeachment


proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House Committee on Justice
that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) once the House
itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the verified complaint
and/or resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or endorsement before the
Secretary-General of the House of Representatives of a verified complaint or a resolution of
impeachment by at least 1/3 of the members of the House. These rules clearly contravene
Section 3 (5) of Article XI since the rules give the term "initiate" a meaning different meaning
from filing and referral.

In his amicus curiae brief, Justice Hugo Gutierrez posits that this Court could not use
contemporaneous construction as an aid in the interpretation of Sec.3 (5) of Article XI,
citing Vera v. Avelino147 wherein this Court stated that "their personal opinions (referring to
Justices who were delegates to the Constitution Convention) on the matter at issue expressed
during this Court's our deliberations stand on a different footing from the properly recorded
utterances of debates and proceedings." Further citing said case, he states that this Court
likened the former members of the Constitutional Convention to actors who are so absorbed in
their emotional roles that intelligent spectators may know more about the real meaning because
of the latter's balanced perspectives and disinterestedness.148

Justice Gutierrez's statements have no application in the present petitions. There are at present
only two members of this Court who participated in the 1986 Constitutional Commission – Chief
Justice Davide and Justice Adolf Azcuna. Chief Justice Davide has not taken part in these
proceedings for obvious reasons. Moreover, this Court has not simply relied on the personal
opinions now given by members of the Constitutional Commission, but has examined the
records of the deliberations and proceedings thereof.

Respondent House of Representatives counters that under Section 3 (8) of Article XI, it is clear
and unequivocal that it and only it has the power to make and interpret its rules governing
impeachment. Its argument is premised on the assumption that Congress has absolute power to
promulgate its rules. This assumption, however, is misplaced.

Section 3 (8) of Article XI provides that "The Congress shall promulgate its rules on
impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section." Clearly, its power to
promulgate its rules on impeachment is limited by the phrase "to effectively carry out the
purpose of this section." Hence, these rules cannot contravene the very purpose of the
Constitution which said rules were intended to effectively carry out. Moreover, Section 3 of
Article XI clearly provides for other specific limitations on its power to make rules, viz:

Section 3. (1) x x x

(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of
Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member
thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and
referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee,
after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the
House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding
resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten
session days from receipt thereof.

(3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary to
either affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or
override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded.

(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-
third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of
Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.

(5) No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than
once within a period of one year.

It is basic that all rules must not contravene the Constitution which is the fundamental law. If as
alleged Congress had absolute rule making power, then it would by necessary implication have
the power to alter or amend the meaning of the Constitution without need of referendum.

In Osmeña v. Pendatun,149 this Court held that it is within the province of either House of
Congress to interpret its rules and that it was the best judge of what constituted "disorderly
behavior" of its members. However, in Paceta v. Secretary of the Commission on
Appointments,150 Justice (later Chief Justice) Enrique Fernando, speaking for this Court and
quoting Justice Brandeis in United States v. Smith,151 declared that where the construction to be
given to a rule affects persons other than members of the Legislature, the question becomes
judicial in nature. In Arroyo v. De Venecia,152 quoting United States v. Ballin, Joseph &
Co.,153 Justice Vicente Mendoza, speaking for this Court, held that while 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 further that 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. It is only within these limitations that all matters of method
are open to the determination of the Legislature. In the same case of Arroyo v. De Venecia,
Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion, was even more emphatic
as he stressed that in the Philippine setting there is even more reason for courts to inquire into
the validity of the Rules of Congress, viz:

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 he 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 (144 US 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. It held:

"x x x

"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 had 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.154

xxx

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 "x x x 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-à-vis the Executive
and the Legislative departments of government.155

xxx

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.156

xxx

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-à-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. x x x

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
nation, is not merely evolutionary but revolutionary.Under the 1935 and the 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
unsheathe the judicial sword that has increasingly emboldened other branches of
government to denigrate, if not defy, orders of our courts. In Tolentino, 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.157 (Italics in the original emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Thus, the ruling in Osmena v. Pendatun is not applicable to the instant petitions. Here, the third
parties alleging the violation of private rights and the Constitution are involved.

Neither may respondent House of Representatives' rely on Nixon v. US158 as basis for arguing
that this Court may not decide on the constitutionality of Sections 16 and 17 of the House
Impeachment Rules. As already observed, the U.S. Federal Constitution simply provides that
"the House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment." It adds nothing
more. It gives no clue whatsoever as to how this "sole power" is to be exercised. No limitation
whatsoever is given. Thus, the US Supreme Court concluded that there was a textually
demonstrable constitutional commitment of a constitutional power to the House of
Representatives. This reasoning does not hold with regard to impeachment power of the
Philippine House of Representatives since our Constitution, as earlier enumerated, furnishes
several provisions articulating how that "exclusive power" is to be exercised.

The provisions of Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules which state
that impeachment proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the House
Committee on Justice that the verified complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in substance, or
(2) once the House itself affirms or overturns the finding of the Committee on Justice that the
verified complaint and/or resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or
endorsement before the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives of a verified
complaint or a resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of the members of the House thus
clearly contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI as they give the term "initiate" a meaning different
from "filing."

Validity of the Second Impeachment Complaint

Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint
and referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the meaning of
Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in
the foregoing manner, another may not be filed against the same official within a one year
period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution.

In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada
against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of this Court, on
June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003, the second
impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William
Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition
against the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a
one-year period.

Conclusion

If there is anything constant about this country, it is that there is always a phenomenon that
takes the center stage of our individual and collective consciousness as a people with our
characteristic flair for human drama, conflict or tragedy. Of course this is not to demean the
seriousness of the controversy over the Davide impeachment. For many of us, the past two
weeks have proven to be an exasperating, mentally and emotionally exhausting experience.
Both sides have fought bitterly a dialectical struggle to articulate what they respectively believe
to be the correct position or view on the issues involved. Passions had ran high as
demonstrators, whether for or against the impeachment of the Chief Justice, took to the streets
armed with their familiar slogans and chants to air their voice on the matter. Various sectors of
society - from the business, retired military, to the academe and denominations of faith – offered
suggestions for a return to a state of normalcy in the official relations of the governmental
branches affected to obviate any perceived resulting instability upon areas of national life.

Through all these and as early as the time when the Articles of Impeachment had been
constituted, this Court was specifically asked, told, urged and argued to take no action of any
kind and form with respect to the prosecution by the House of Representatives of the
impeachment complaint against the subject respondent public official. When the present
petitions were knocking so to speak at the doorsteps of this Court, the same clamor for non-
interference was made through what are now the arguments of "lack of jurisdiction," "non-
justiciability," and "judicial self-restraint" aimed at halting the Court from any move that may
have a bearing on the impeachment proceedings.

This Court did not heed the call to adopt a hands-off stance as far as the question of the
constitutionality of initiating the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Davide is
concerned. To reiterate what has been already explained, the Court found the existence in full
of all the requisite conditions for its exercise of its constitutionally vested power and duty of
judicial review over an issue whose resolution precisely called for the construction or
interpretation of a provision of the fundamental law of the land. What lies in here is an issue of a
genuine constitutional material which only this Court can properly and competently address and
adjudicate in accordance with the clear-cut allocation of powers under our system of
government. Face-to-face thus with a matter or problem that squarely falls under the Court's
jurisdiction, no other course of action can be had but for it to pass upon that problem head on.

The claim, therefore, that this Court by judicially entangling itself with the process of
impeachment has effectively set up a regime of judicial supremacy, is patently without basis in
fact and in law.

This Court in the present petitions subjected to judicial scrutiny and resolved on the merits only
the main issue of whether the impeachment proceedings initiated against the Chief Justice
transgressed the constitutionally imposed one-year time bar rule. Beyond this, it did not go
about assuming jurisdiction where it had none, nor indiscriminately turn justiciable issues out of
decidedly political questions. Because it is not at all the business of this Court to assert judicial
dominance over the other two great branches of the government. Rather, the raison d'etre of the
judiciary is to complement the discharge by the executive and legislative of their own powers to
bring about ultimately the beneficent effects of having founded and ordered our society upon the
rule of law.

It is suggested that by our taking cognizance of the issue of constitutionality of the impeachment
proceedings against the Chief Justice, the members of this Court have actually closed ranks to
protect a brethren. That the members' interests in ruling on said issue is as much at stake as is
that of the Chief Justice. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The institution that is the Supreme Court together with all other courts has long held and been
entrusted with the judicial power to resolve conflicting legal rights regardless of the personalities
involved in the suits or actions. This Court has dispensed justice over the course of time,
unaffected by whomsoever stood to benefit or suffer therefrom, unfraid by whatever imputations
or speculations could be made to it, so long as it rendered judgment according to the law and
the facts. Why can it not now be trusted to wield judicial power in these petitions just because it
is the highest ranking magistrate who is involved when it is an incontrovertible fact that the
fundamental issue is not him but the validity of a government branch's official act as tested by
the limits set by the Constitution? Of course, there are rules on the inhibition of any member of
the judiciary from taking part in a case in specified instances. But to disqualify this entire
institution now from the suit at bar is to regard the Supreme Court as likely incapable of
impartiality when one of its members is a party to a case, which is simply a non sequitur.

No one is above the law or the Constitution. This is a basic precept in any legal system which
recognizes equality of all men before the law as essential to the law's moral authority and that of
its agents to secure respect for and obedience to its commands. Perhaps, there is no other
government branch or instrumentality that is most zealous in protecting that principle of legal
equality other than the Supreme Court which has discerned its real meaning and ramifications
through its application to numerous cases especially of the high-profile kind in the annals of
jurisprudence. The Chief Justice is not above the law and neither is any other member of this
Court. But just because he is the Chief Justice does not imply that he gets to have less in law
than anybody else. The law is solicitous of every individual's rights irrespective of his station in
life.

The Filipino nation and its democratic institutions have no doubt been put to test once again by
this impeachment case against Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Accordingly, this Court has
resorted to no other than the Constitution in search for a solution to what many feared would
ripen to a crisis in government. But though it is indeed immensely a blessing for this Court to
have found answers in our bedrock of legal principles, it is equally important that it went through
this crucible of a democratic process, if only to discover that it can resolve differences without
the use of force and aggression upon each other.

WHEREFORE, Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment


Proceedings which were approved by the House of Representatives on November 28, 2001 are
unconstitutional. Consequently, the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario
G. Davide, Jr. which was filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B.
Fuentebella with the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives on
October 23, 2003 is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo and Tinga, JJ., see separate opinion.


Puno, and Ynares-Santiago, J., see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Vitug, Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez and Callejo, Sr., JJ., see separate concurring opinion.
Quisumbing, J., concurring separate opinion received.
Carpio, J., concur.
Austria-Martinez, J., concur in the majority opinion and in the separate opinion of J. Vitug.
Corona, J., will write a separate concurring opinion.
Azcuna, J., concur in the separate opinion.
G.R. No. L-23607 May 23, 1967

GO KA TOC SONS and CO., ETC., plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
RICE AND CORN BOARD, defendant-appellant.

Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General A. A. Torres, Solicitor
C. S. Gaddi and Atty. A. J. Gustilo for defendant-appellant.
Antonio C. Sanchez and Vicente Cabahug for plaintiff appellee.

BENGZON, J.P., J.:

Plaintiff-appellee Go Ka Toc Sons & Co. is a duly registered partnership, not wholly owned by
Filipinos, engaged since 1958 in the manufacture, processing and marketing of vegetable oil
extracted from corn, rice, copra, soybean, peanuts, fish, and other vegetable
products. 1äwphï1.ñët

On August 2, 1960, Republic Act 3018 was approved, Section 1 of which prohibited, among
others, partnerships whose capital was not wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines from
engaging, directly or indirectly, in the rice and/or corn industry. The law was to take effect on
January 1, 1951. However, Section 3 (a) allowed such partnerships, upon registration with the
municipal treasurer, to continue business until two years from and after January 1, 1961.

SEC. 3. All such persons, associations, partnerships or corporations that have complied
with the requirements provided in Section two hereof, if they so apply, shall be allowed
to continue to engage in their respective lines of activity in the rice and to and/or corn
industry only for the purpose of liquidation, as follows:

(a) Those engaged in the retail, wholesale, culture, transporting, handling, distribution or
acquisition for the purpose of trade of rice and/or corn and the by-products thereof shall
be allowed to continue to engage therein for a period of two years from the date of
effectivity of this Act;

xxx xxx xxx

On November 21, 1960, the newly created Rice and Corn Board1 issued Resolution No. 10,
pursuant to Section 6 of the law, defining the term "by product" used in the law, as follows:

By-product shall mean the secondary products resulting from the process of husking,
grinding, milling, and cleaning of palay and corn, such as, but not limited to "binlid,"
"darak," "tanop," "tiktik," "corn husk," "corn drips," and "corn meals."

And on July 10, 1961, the RICOB issued Gen. Circular No. 1, as amended, which defined the
term "capital investment" used in Section 3 of Republic Act 3018 which limits the maximum
amount of capital investments of alien persons and entities engaged in the rice and/or corn
industry to the amount stated in their statement made pursuant to Section 2 of the law.

These two circulars have been duly published and translated into the local dialect pursuant to
Section 6 of Republic Act 3018.
Plaintiff-appellee, having been required by agents of RICOB to register in accordance with
Section 2 of the law and the latter's resolution, dated January 3, 1961, ruling that manufacturers
and/or dealers of bijon, noodle, corn starch, gawgaw, rice wine, poultry feeds and other by
products of rice and corn are covered by the law, filed action in the Court of First Instance to
declare the said law and RICOB Resolution No. 10, Nov. 21, 1960 and Gen. Circular No. 1, July
10, 1961, as inapplicable to it. Pending trial on the merits, the lower court issued the writ of
preliminary injunction prayed for.

To abbreviate the proceedings, the parties entered into a stipulation of facts. Thereupon, the
lower court rendered judgment (a) declaring Republic Act 3018 not applicable to plaintiff's
business; (b) declaring null and void RICOB's Resolution No. 10, dated November 21, 1960 and
General Circular No. 10, as amended, dated July 10, 1961 in so far as they were and are being
made applicable to plaintiff's business and (c) making and declaring permanent and perpetual
the preliminary writ of injunction issued in the case.

Not satisfied with the foregoing ruling, defendant RICOB, through the Solicitor General has
taken the instant appeal to raise questions purely of law.

Admittedly, plaintiff-appellee has stopped from engaging in the purchase and sale of rice and/or
corn since the lapse of the two-year period from the effectivity of the law. It has limited its
activities to the trade, processing and manufacture of corn and rice oil from raw materials
consisting of corn germ proper or embryo ("sungo") and "tahup," as well as from rice husk it
secures from others who mill rice and corn. In the processing and manufacture of coin oil,
plaintiff also produces a residue called "corn meal" or "corn meal germ" which it sells and
trades. Are these activities covered by Republic Act 3018?

Section 1 of the law defines "rice and/or corn industry" as including the handling of distribution,
either in wholesale or retail, and the acquisition for purpose of trade, of the by-products of rice
and corn.

SECTION 1. No person who is not a citizen of the Philippines, or association,


partnership or Corporation, the capital or capital stock of which is now wholly owned by
citizens of the Philippines, shall directly or indirectly engage in the rice and/or corn
industry except as provided in Section three of this Act.

As used in this Act, the term rice "and/or corn industry" shall mean and include the
culture, milling, warehousing, transporting, exportation, importation, handling the
distribution, either in wholesale or retail, the provisions of Republic Act Numbered
Eleven hundred and eighty to the contrary notwithstanding, or the acquisition for the
purpose of trade of rice (husked or unhusked) or corn and the by-products
thereof: Provided, That public utilities duly licensed and registered in accordance with
law may transport corn or rice. (Emphasis supplied).

Now, "tahup," "sungo" and "rice husk," which plaintiffs acquires from rice and corn millers and
from which it manufactures the vegetable oil and produces the "corn meal" or "corn germ meal"
that it subsequently distributes and sells are clearly by-products of rice and/or corn.2

Although the term "by-product" is not particularly and by specifically stated in the title of
Republic Act 3018, its inclusion in the body of the law is not invalid, as the lower court held,
since it is germane to the subject matter expressed in the title of the law.3
Neither is the statutory inclusion of said term in the definition of the phrases "rice and/or corn
industry" an invalid legislative usurpation of the court's function to interpret the laws, as the
lower court also ruled. This definition is part of the law itself.

Finally, the lower court determined the purpose and intention behind the law, thus:

x x x In the opinion of the Court, it was never the intention of the Legislature in enacting
Republic Act No. 3018 to include in its purpose or scope the processing of the by-
products of rice and corn because Filipinos do not depend for their survival by eating the
by-products of rice and corn. . . . .

Assuming, without admitting, that the law in question really intended to include in its
object the nationalization not only of the rice and corn industry but also the trade of the
by-products just mentioned above, the business in which the plaintiff has been engaged
and since December 31, 1962, as is at present, engaged, the Court is of the opinion that
in the trade, processing, manufacture of corn and rice oil from the raw materials of corn
germ proper or embryo (sungo) and tahup and from rice husk converting the remaining
parts into "corn meal" or "corn germ meal" which is traded and sold and that it acquired
its raw materials from those engaged milling rice and/or corn. the said Republic Act No.
3018 does not cover the plaintiff's business activities just mentioned.

This is a fair and reasonable interpretation and application of said Republic Act No.
3018, because to include in its control, limitation and prohibition the business of the
plaintiff mentioned above, would be not only to render the said law unconstitutional for
not including in its title "and the by-products thereof," but also to unreasonably stretch
out and expand the scope and intention of the law to include in its context the processing
and extracting of oil from rice and corn and the manufacture of corn meal or corn germ
meal and the selling and trading of the same.

As a logical result of this interpretation of the law spelled out by this Court, it must
necessarily follow that the Resolution No. 10, Annex 1 and the general circular dated
July 10, 1961, quoted under paragraph 3 of the parties' Stipulation of Facts are hereby
declared null and void in so far as they attempted to include in the scope of said law the
defendant's business activities described above in which it engaged since December 31,
1962, and in which it has been engaged partly engaged since its formation in 1959.

What the court a quo did was to resort to statutory construction. But this was improper as well
as incorrect. The law is clear in enunciating the policy that only Filipinos and associations,
partnerships or corporations 100% Filipino can engage even in the trade and acquisition of the
by-products of rice and/or corn. So the court's only duty was to apply the law as it was.4 The
purpose of the Act, as expressed in the introductory note of the bill, can control the language of
the law only in case of ambiguity.5 There is none here. Furthermore, the court below's
interpretation would render the statute nugatory and defeat its aims, rather than apply and
effectuate its provisions,6 since it struck off the phrase "by-products thereof" from the text of the
law.

Since plaintiff-appellee is covered by the statute, there is no necessity for an extensive


discussion regarding the validity of Resolution No. 10 of November 21, 1960. The power and
authority of appellant RICOB to issue such rules and regulations implementing the law,
proceeds from the law itself.7 Said resolution, by enumerating some specific examples of by-
products of rice and/,or corn, merely carried out the provisions of law. And the sole reason why
the lower court invalidated it, was its mistaken stand that the term "by-product" ought not to
have been made a part of the statute.

The foregoing considerations render moot and academic the question regarding the validity of
General Circular No. 1 on July 10, 1961.

Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is reversed and the writ of injunction issued therein is
annulled and set aside. No costs. So ordered.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Zaldivar and Castro JJ., concur.
Makalintal, J., took no part.
Cynthia S. Bolos vs Danilo T. BolosG.R. 186400 October 20. 2010Facts:
On July 10, 2003, petitioner Cynthia Bolos (Cynthia) filed apetition for the declaration of nullity of
her marriage torespondent Danilo Bolos (Danilo) under Article 36 of theFamily Code. Later, the
RTC granted the petition forannulment.Later, a copy of said decision was received by Danilo
and hetimely appealed an appeal. RTC subsequently denied duecourse to the appeal for Danilo

s failure to file the requiredmotion for reconsideration or new trial, in violation of Section20 of the
Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of VoidMarriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages.
His motionfor reconsideration was likewise denied and the RTC issuedthe order declaring the
decision which granted the annulmentas final and executory.This lead to Danilo filing with the
CA a petition for certiorari toannul the orders of the RTC. The CA granted the petition
andreversed the assailed orders of the RTC. The appellate courtstated that the requirement of a
motion for reconsideration asa prerequisite to appeal under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC did notapply
in this case as the marriage between Cynthia and Danilowas solemnized on February 14, 1980
before the Family Codetook effect.
Issue: W/N the phrase

Under the Family Code

in A.M. No.02-11-10-SC pertains to the word

petitions

rather than tothe word

marriages.

Petitioner

s Contention:
Petitioner argues that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is also applicableto marriages solemnized before
the effectivity of the FamilyCode.
Respondent

s Contention:
Danilo, in his Comment, counters that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SCis not applicable because his
marriage with Cynthia wassolemnized on February 14, 1980, years before its effectivity.
Held:
Petitioner insists that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC governs this case.Her stance is unavailing. The
Rule on Declaration of AbsoluteNullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of VoidableMarriages
as contained in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which theCourt promulgated on March 15, 2003, is
explicit in its scope.Section 1 of the Rule, in fact, reads:Section 1. Scope

This Rule shall govern petitions fordeclaration of absolute nullity of void marriages
andannulment of voidable marriages under the FamilyCode of the Philippines.The categorical
language of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC leaves noroom for doubt. The coverage extends only to
those marriagesentered into during the effectivity of the Family Code whichtook effect on August
3, 1988.7 The rule sets a demarcationline between marriages covered by the Family Code and
thosesolemnized under the Civil Code.
The Court finds Itself unable to subscribe to petitioner’s
interpretation that the phrase "under the Family Code" in A.M.No. 02-11-10-SC refers to the
word "petitions" rather than tothe word "marriages." A cardinal rule in statutory construction is
that
when the law isclear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is noroom for
construction or interpretation. There is onlyroom for application. As the statute is clear,
plain, andfree from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaningand applied without
attempted interpretation
. This is whatis known as the
plain-meaning rule or verba legis
. It isexpressed in the
maxim, index animi sermo
, or "
speech isthe index of intention
." Furthermore, there is the
maximverba legis non est recedendum
, or "
from the words of astatute there should be no departure
."
RE: REQUEST OF JUDGE TITO G. GUSTILO THAT THE SECOND 25% GRANT OF THE
SPECIAL ALLOWANCE FOR JUDGES BE INCLUDED IN THE COMPUTATION OF HIS
RETIREMENT BENEFITS.

RESOLUTION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:

In his Letter dated May 26, 2004 addressed to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Judge Tito
G. Gustilo of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 23, avers that he is due to retire at the
age of 70 (compulsory retirement) on September 29, 2004. By then, he would have served the
Judiciary for 21 years; 7 years and 11-and-1/2 months of which as Executive Judge of the RTC
of Iloilo City. Judge Gustilo requests that, considering his retirement is barely one month from
November 2004, the second tranche of the Special Allowance granted to judges under Republic
Act No. 9227[1] be included in the computation of his retirement benefits.
To recall, Rep. Act No. 9227, which took effect on November 11, 2003, [2] granted additional
compensation in the form of Special Allowance to justices, judges and all other positions in the
Judiciary with the equivalent rank of justices of the Court of Appeals and judges of the Regional
Trial Court. Section 2 thereof reads:

Sec. 2. Grant of Special Allowances. All justices, judges and all other positions in the Judiciary
with the equivalent rank of justices of the Court of Appeals and judges of the Regional Trial
Court as authorized under existing laws shall be granted special allowances equivalent to one
hundred percent (100%) of the basic monthly salary specified for their respective salary grades
under Republic Act No. 6758, as amended, otherwise known as the Salary Standardization
Law, to be implemented for a period of four (4) years.

The grant of special allowances shall be implemented uniformly in such sums or amounts
equivalent to twenty-five percent (25%) of the basic salaries of the positions covered
hereof. Subsequent implementation shall be in such sums and amounts and up to the extent
only that can be supported by the funding source specified in Section 3 hereof.

Further, Section 5 of the same law provides:

Sec. 5. Inclusion in the Computation of Retirement Benefits. For purposes of retirement, only
the allowances actually received and the tranche or tranches of the special allowance already
implemented and received pursuant to this Act by the justices, judges and all other positions in
the Judiciary with the equivalent rank of justices of the Court of Appeals and judges of the
Regional Trial Court as authorized under existing laws shall, at the date of their retirement, be
included in the computation of their respective retirement benefits.

On March 9, 2004, in A.M. No. 03-12-04-SC (Re: Possible Means to Implement the Special
Allowance under R.A. 9227 and to Increase the Judiciary Development Fund), the Court
promulgated the GUIDELINES ON THE GRANT OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION IN THE
FORM OF SPECIAL ALLOWANCE FOR JUSTICES AND JUDGES IN THE JUDICIARY AND
ALL OTHER OFFICIALS WITH THE EQUIVALENT RANK OF JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF
APPEALS AND JUDGES OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. The Guidelines provide for the
manner of the implementation in this wise:
4.1 The Special Allowance shall be implemented uniformly in such sums or amounts equivalent
to twenty-five percent (25%) of the actual basic monthly salaries for the positions covered
starting 11 November 2003 until the one hundred percent (100%) special allowance is fully
implemented.

If the source of fund is insufficient to cover the twenty-five percent (25%) special allowance for
any year, it shall be granted in such sums and amounts and up to the extent only that can be
supported by the funding source specified in Section 3 of Rep. Act No. 9227; provided that
annually the special allowance shall always be twenty-five percent (25%) of the actual basic
monthly salary.

The Guidelines, likewise, reiterate that:

4.2 For purposes of computing the retirement benefits, only the special allowance actually
received and that which has accrued at the time of retirement shall be included.

Paragraph 7.0 thereof states that cases not covered thereby shall be referred to the Chief
Justice for resolution.
Judge Gustilo claims that pursuant to OCA Circular No. 48-2004 dated March 3, 2004, the
first tranche of the Special Allowance equivalent to 25% was implemented starting November 11,
2003. The next 25% (second tranche) will be implemented on November 11, 2004. In this
connection, Judge Gustilo appeals to the Chief Justice that, in the computation of his retirement
benefits, the second tranche of the Special Allowance be included since his retirement is only one
(1) month and twelve (12) days before its implementation on November 11, 2004.
In support thereof, Judge Gustilo points out that in the past, Judges who retire in October are
included in the grant of the December 13th month pay. He, thus, invokes the liberal policy of the
Court in granting benefits to the underpaid Trial Court Judges.
In the Memorandum dated June 18, 2004 for the Chief Justice, the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA)[3] recommends that the request of Judge Gustilo be granted. The OCA cites
Judge Gustilos service record in the Judiciary, which started on January 18, 1983, including his
exemplary record of disposing cases at an average of 2.25 cases each month. It also mentions
that Judge Gustilo, as Executive Judge, introduced several innovations in the Iloilo City courts
and was able to manage well the 17 judges under his administrative supervision. Further, Judge
Gustilo was the recipient of several awards and recognitions.[4] Considering the foregoing, the
OCA concludes that it is but just and fair that the second additional Special Allowance of 25% be
granted to him and included in the computation of his retirement benefits.[5]
In compliance with the Courts Resolution dated July 6, 2004, referring Judge Gustilos letter
and the OCAs memorandum to her for study and recommendation, Chief Attorney Edna E. Dio
submitted her Report dated July 15, 2004. The Chief Attorney recommends that Judge Gustilos
request be denied for not being in accord with Rep. Act No. 9227 and the Guidelines promulgated
by the Court.
After a careful evaluation of Judge Gustilos letter, the OCAs memorandum and the Chief
Attorneys report, the Court, regrettably, cannot grant the request of Judge Gustilo.
It is axiomatic that when the law is clear, the function of the courts is simple application, not
interpretation or circumvention.[6] With respect to the manner of computation of the retirement
benefits in light of the Special Allowance granted under Rep. Act No. 9227, Section 5 thereof,
quoted anew below, could not be any clearer:
Sec. 5. Inclusion in the Computation of Retirement Benefits. For purposes of retirement, only
the allowances actually received and the tranche or tranches of the special allowance already
implemented and received pursuant to this Act by the justices, judges and all other positions in
the Judiciary with the equivalent rank of justices of the Court of Appeals and judges of the
Regional Trial Court as authorized under existing laws shall, at the date of their retirement, be
included in the computation of their respective retirement benefits.

A plain reading of the above provision shows that, for purposes of retirement, only the
allowances actually received and the tranche or tranches already received and implemented,
upon the date of retirement, shall be included in the computation of the retirement benefits.
Otherwise put, before the Special Allowance could be considered in the computation of retirement
benefits, it should have been actually received and the tranche or tranches thereof should have
been already implemented and received at the date of retirement.
Section 5 of Rep. Act No. 9227 is clear and unambiguous. There is no room for its
interpretation. Further, the foregoing exchange among the members of the Bicameral Conference
Committee[7] on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill (SB) No. 2018 and House Bill (HB) No.
5178[8] is particularly instructive:

...

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. PANGILINAN). Accepted.

Section 4. No questions? (Silence)

Section 5. (Silence)

Just again for purposes of record and clarification, Section 5, lines 3 and 4, For purposes of
retirement, only the allowances actually received, and so forth and so on, I just like to make it
clear that the computation of retirement would include the salary already being received, plus
the special allowance.

THE CO-CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). Yes.

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. PANGILINAN). Because this seems to suggest that you compute,
rather the computation of retirement will be on the basis only of the special allowance. So, at
least, lets make that on record.

THE CO-CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). Yes. On record, yes.

And I think that first word in the title of Section 5, Inclusion also explains that.

REP. LIBANAN. Mr. Chairman.

THE CO-CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). Congressman Libanan.

REP. LIBANAN. For the sake of further clarification, would it mean that if, for example, a judge
retires on the second year of the implementation, so his retirement benefits would be only
computed.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. PANGILINAN). On the basis of what he is already receiving.

REP. LIBANAN. on the basis of [what] he is receiving, not on the 100 percent.

THE CO-CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). Actually receiving. That is correct.

REP. LIBANAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

...

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. PANGILINAN). Can we now go back to Section 5?

THE CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). Section 5, Mr. Chairman, just a suggestion but in the House
panel

SEN. ARROYO. Kasi kung mandatory, doon sa voluntary, hindi naman dapat iyon.

THE CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). Ill be constrained to withdraw my proposal.

SEN. ARROYO. But your idea is very attractive.

SEN. VILLAR. In fact, its too attractive. In the first place, iyong allowance is already part of the
retirement benefit. Iyon, malaking bagay na iyon, eh.

Mr. Chairman, may add-on pa. Medyo sobra naman yata na iyon.

SEN. ARROYO. No, because by the accident of birth, when they retire, they retire on the
second year, halimbawa, 68 sila ngayon. Pagkatapos, mandatorily they have to retire at the age
of 70, di iyong benefits nila is

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. PANGILINAN). For those born in 1934 up to 1937.

THE CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). But the fact here remains, the allowances they have been
receiving so far which is over and above, kasama na talaga sa retirement. I mean, sobra-sobra
na, eh. Lahat na lang ng allowance na puwedeng gawin, nandoon na, eh. At saka nagre-retire
pa sila sa 70, ibig sabihin talagang marami na iyan.

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. PANGILINAN). Okay?

THE CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). Okay.

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. PANGILINAN). So, as is?

THE CHAIRMAN (REP. ANDAYA). Nandoon na, eh.

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. PANGILINAN). So, whether they retire at 60 or 70, whether they opt
for early retirement or mandatory retirement, they will receive the actual. Would it not be a good
idea to encourage them to stay on [9]
Thus, the congressional records as well as the text itself of Rep. Act No. 9227 reveal the
unequivocal intention of the lawmakers that only the Special Allowance actually received at the
date of retirement shall be included in the computation of the retirement benefits.
The Guidelines promulgated by this Court pursuant to Rep. Act No. 9227 is even more
definite as it used the term accrued in this wise: only the special allowance actually received and
that which has accruedat the time of retirement shall be included. As correctly reasoned by the
Chief Attorney:

Notably, the phrase has accrued at the time of retirement is used in the Guidelines instead of
the tranche or tranches of the special allowance already implemented and received which is
used in Section 5 of Rep. Act No. 9227.Nevertheless, the same meaning is conveyed. The word
accrue means to come into existence as an enforceable claim: vest as a right or to come by way
of increase or addition: arise as a growth or result or to be periodically accumulated in the
process of time whether as an increase or a decrease. Hence, a Special Allowance that has not
yet come into existence as an enforceable claim or has not yet vested on the recipient judge as
a matter of right cannot be considered in the computation of retirement benefits.[10]

Indeed, accrue in its past tense is in sense of due and demandable; vested.[11] In the case of
Judge Gustilo, on the date of his retirement, the second tranche of the Special Allowance has not
accrued as yet; hence, it cannot be said that the same is due and demandable or that it has vested
insofar as he is concerned.
The Chief Attorney, likewise, correctly posits that the strict application of Section 5 of Rep.
Act No. 9227 is called for by the fact that, under Section 3 thereof, [12] the source for the Special
Allowance is the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), established under Presidential Decree No.
1949, which basically comes from the docket fees paid by litigants:

... As such, the JDF as a fund source is not constant or fixed in amount, as its amount depends
on the amount collected by the courts and the amount of increase in docket fees that the Court
would impose. The fact of the JDF becoming insufficient has been foreseen by the Court and is
reflected in the second paragraph of 4.1 of the Guidelines quoted above. It is worth noting that
until now, the first tranche of the Special Allowance has been received only for the months of 11
November 2003 until February 2004. The delay in receipt thereof may continue if courts
nationwide do not timely transmit the reports of collections to the OCA, as the JDF should be
disbursed only if the reports of collections and the deposits under the JDF account for the
Special Allowance tally in accordance with accounting and auditing rules.[13]

While this Court had, in certain cases,[14] adopted a liberal stance in interpreting retirement
laws in favor of the retiree, it cannot do so in this case because, as earlier stated, Section 5 of
Rep. Act No. 9227 is quite clear and unambiguous. In other words, there is no room for
interpretation but only simple application of the law.
ACCORDINGLY, the request of Judge Tito G. Gustilo that the second 25% or second tranche
of the Special Allowance granted under Rep. Act No. 9227 be included in the computation of his
retirement benefits is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-
Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., on leave.
THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 125183. September 29, 1997]

MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN, METRO MANILA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS,


DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CORAZON DE
JESUS HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., ADRIANO A. DELAMIDA, SR. CELSO
T. TORRES, TARCILA V. ZATA, QUIRICO T. TORRES, CATALINA BONGAT,
MILAGROS A. HERBOLARIO, ROSALINDA A. PIMENTAL, PURIFICACION
MORELLA, FRANCISCO RENION, SR., MARCELINA CORPUZ, BENEDICTO
FALCON, MAXIMO FALCON, MARIO BOLANOS, VICENTE T. SURIAO, ROSARIO
GREGORIA G. DORADO, JEREMIAS Z. PATRON, ALEX RODRIGUEZ, MARIA LUISA
ALPAPARA, HERMINIA C. RODRIGUEZ, VICTORIANO ESPANOL, MARIO L.
AGUILAR, FREDDIE AMADOR, SILVERIO PURISIMA, JR., PROCOPIO B.
PENARANDA, ELADIO MAGLUYAN, HELENITA GUEI, CELESTINO MONTANO,
ROMEO GOMEZ, OFELIA LOGO, JIMMY MACION, DAISY A. MANGA, MAURO
MANGA, ARTHUR HERBOLARIO, MANOLITO HERBOLARIO, ROSARIO ANCHETA,
TERESITA A. VICTORIA, ROSALINA SAMPAGA, MARIQUITA RUADO, FELIPE
ANCHETA, MAGDALENA CABREZA, MARIA BIANDILLA, NILDA ARENSOL,
LORENZO S. TOLEDO, and NAPOLEON D. VILORIA, SR., respondents.

DECISION
MELO, J.:

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing
and seeking to reverse and set aside: a) the decision dated November 23, 1995 of the Court of
Appeals reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, Branch 159;
and b) the resolution dated May 28, 1996 denying reconsideration of said decision.
The generative facts of the case are as follows:
On February 17, 1978, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1716
reserving for Municipal Government Center Site Purposes certain parcels of land of the public
domain located in the Municipality of San Juan, Metro Manila.
Considering that the land covered by the above-mentioned proclamation was occupied by
squatters, the Municipality of San Juan purchased an 18-hectare land in Taytay, Rizal as
resettlement center for the said squatters. Only after resettling these squatters would the
municipality be able to develop and construct its municipal government center on the subject land.
After hundreds of squatter families were resettled, the Municipality of San Juan started to
develop its government center by constructing the INP Building, which now serves as the PNP
Headquarters, the Fire Station Headquarters, and the site to house the two salas of the Municipal
Trial Courts and the Office of the Municipal Prosecutors. Also constructed thereon are the Central
Post Office Building and the Municipal High School Annex Building.
On October 6, 1987, after Congress had already convened on July 26, 1987, former
President Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation No. 164, amending Proclamation No. 1716. Said
amendatory proclamation pertinently reads as follows:
PROCLAMATION NO. 164
AMENDING PROCLAMATION NO. 1716, DATED FEBRUARY 17, 1978, WHICH
RESERVED FOR MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT CENTER SITE PURPOSES
CERTAIN PARCELS OF LAND OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN SITUATED IN THE
MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN, METROPOLITAN MANILA, ISLAND OF LUZON, BY
EXCLUDING FROM ITS OPERATION THE PARCELS OF LAND NOT BEING
UTILIZED FOR GOVERNMENT CENTER SITES PURPOSES BUT ACTUALLY
OCCUPIED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES AND DECLARING THE LAND OPEN
TO DISPOSITION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE PUBLIC LAND ACT, AS
AMENDED.

Upon recommendation of the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and by virtue of
the powers vested in me by law, I, CORAZON C. AQUINO, President of the Philippines, do
hereby amend Proclamation No. 1716, dated February 17, 1978, which established for
municipal government center site purposes certain parcels of land mentioned therein situated in
the Municipality of San Juan, Metro Manila, by excluding from its operation the parcels of land
not being utilized for government center site purposes but actually occupied for residential
purposes and declaring the land so excluded, together with other parcels of land not covered by
Proclamation No. 1716 but nevertheless occupied for residential purposes, open to disposition
under the provisions of the Public Land Act, as amended, subject to future survey, which are
hereunder particularly described as follows :

Lot 1 (Port.) Psu-73270

xxxxxxxxx

Lot 4 (Port.) Psd-740

and Psd-810

xxxxxxxxx

Lot 5 (Port.) Psu-73270

xxxxxxxxx

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of
the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 6th day of October in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred
and eighty-seven.

(Sgd.) CORAZON C. AQUINO

By the President :
(Sgd.) CATALINO MACARAIG, JR.

Acting Executive Secretary

(Rollo, pp. 148-151.)

On June 1, 1988, the Corazon de Jesus Homeowners Association, Inc., one of herein private
respondents, filed with the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region (Pasig,
Branch 159) a petition for prohibition with urgent prayer for restraining order against the Municipal
Mayor and Engineer of San Juan and the Curator of Pinaglabanan Shrine, to enjoin them from
either removing or demolishing the houses of the association members who were claiming that
the lots they occupied have been awarded to them by Proclamation No. 164.
On September 14, 1990, the regional trial court dismissed the petition, ruling that the property
in question is being utilized by the Municipality of San Juan for government purposes and thus,
the condition set forth in Proclamation No. 164 is absent.
The appeal before the Court of Appeals was dismissed in a decision dated July 17, 1991. This
decision became final and the said judgment was duly entered on April 8, 1992.
Disregarding the ruling of the court in this final judgment, private respondents hired a private
surveyor to make consolidation-subdivision plans of the land in question, submitting the same to
respondent Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in connection with their
application for a grant under Proclamation No. 164.
To prevent DENR from issuing any grant to private respondents, petitioner municipality filed
a petition for prohibition with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order and preliminary
injunction against respondent DENR and private respondent Corazon de Jesus Homeowners
Association.
The regional trial court sustained petitioner municipality, enjoining the DENR from disposing
and awarding the parcels of land covered by Proclamation No. 164.
The Court of Appeals reversed, hence, the present recourse.
Cutting through the other issues, it would appear that ultimately, the central question and
bone of contention in the petition before us boils down to the correct interpretation of Proclamation
No. 164 in relation to Proclamation No. 1716.
Petitioner municipality assails the decision of the Court of Appeals by hammering on the issue
of res judicata in view of the fact that an earlier judgment, which had become final and executory,
had already settled the respective rights of the parties under Proclamation No. 164. This
notwithstanding, petitioner reiterates the reasons why the court had previously ruled in favor of
petitioners rights over the subject property against the claims of private respondents.
We find good legal basis to sustain petitioners position on the issue of res judicata insofar as
the particular area covered by Proclamation No. 164, which was the subject matter of the earlier
case, is concerned.
The basic elements of res judicata are: (a) the former judgment must be final; (b) the court
which rendered it had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (c) it must be a judgment
on the merits; and (d) there must be between the first and second actions identity of parties,
subject matter, and cause of action (Mangoma vs. Court of Appeals, 241 SCRA 21 [1995]).
The existence of the first three elements can not be disputed. As to identity of parties, we
have ruled that only substantial identity is required and not absolute identity of parties (Suarez vs.
Municipality of Naujan, 18 SCRA 682 [1966]). The addition of public respondent DENR in the
second case will thus be of no moment. Likewise, there is identity of cause of action since the
right of the municipality over the subject property, the corresponding obligation of private
respondents to respect such right and the resulting violation of said right all remain to be the same
in both the first and the second actions despite the fact that in the first action, private respondents
were the plaintiff while in the second action, they were the respondents.
The last requisite is identity of subject matter. Res judicata only extends to such portion of
land covered by Proclamation No. 164 which the court ruled may not be automatically segregated
from the land covered by Proclamation No. 1716. It does not include those portions which are
outside the coverage of Proclamation No. 1716.
Withal, reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals would be justified upon the above
premise and our discussion may properly end here. However, there exists a more basic reason
for setting aside the appealed decision and this has reference to a fundamental and gross error
in the issuance of Proclamation No. 164 on October 16, 1987 by then President Aquino.
Proclamation No. 1716 was issued by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos on February
17, 1978 in the due exercise of legislative power vested upon him by Amendment No. 6 introduced
in 1976. Being a valid act of legislation, said Proclamation may only be amended by an equally
valid act of legislation. Proclamation No. 164 is obviously not a valid act of legislation. After the
so-called bloodless revolution of February 1986, President Corazon Aquino took the reigns of
power under a revolutionary government. On March 24, 1986, she issued her historic
Proclamation No. 3, promulgating the Provisional Constitution, or more popularly referred to as
the Freedom Constitution. Under Article II, Section 1 of the Freedom Constitution, the President
shall continue to exercise legislative power until a legislature is elected and convened under a
new constitution. Then came the ratification of the draft constitution, to be known later as the 1987
Constitution. When Congress was convened on July 26, 1987, President Aquino lost this
legislative power under the Freedom Constitution. Proclamation No. 164, amending Proclamation
No. 1716 was issued on October 6, 1987 when legislative power was already solely on Congress.
Although quite lamentably, this matter has escaped the attention of petitioner as well as the
courts before which this case has already passed through, this Court cannot help noticing this
basic flaw in the issuance of Proclamation No. 164. Because this unauthorized act by the then
president constitutes a direct derogation of the most basic principle in the separation of powers
between the three branches of government enshrined in our Constitution, we cannot simply close
our eyes and rely upon the principle of the presumption of validity of a law.
There is a long standing principle that every statute is presumed to be valid (Salas vs.
Jarencio, 46 SCRA 734 [1970]; Peralta vs. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30 [1978]). However, this rests
upon the premise that the statute was duly enacted by legislature. This presumption cannot apply
when there is clear usurpation of legislative power by the executive branch. For this Court to allow
such disregard of the most basic of all constitutional principles by reason of the doctrine of
presumption of validity of a law would be to turn its back to its sacred duty to uphold and defend
the Constitution. Thus, also, it is in the discharge of this task that we take this exception from the
Courts usual practice of not entertaining constitutional questions unless they are specifically
raised, insisted upon, and adequately argued.
We, therefore, hold that the issuance of Proclamation No. 164 was an invalid exercise of
legislative power. Consequently, said Proclamation is hereby declared NULL and VOID.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby SET ASIDE. Public
respondent Department of Environment and Natural Resources is hereby permanently
ENJOINED from enforcing Proclamation No. 164.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J. (Chairman), Romero, Francisco and Panganiban, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. 192935 December 7, 2010
LOUIS “BAROK” C. BIRAOGO
vs.
THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010

x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -x
G.R. No. 193036
REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN, REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP. SIMEON A.
DATUMANONG, and REP. ORLANDO B. FUA, SR.
vs.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND
MANAGEMENT SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD

FACTS:
Pres. Aquino signed E. O. No. 1 establishing Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (PTC) dated
July 30, 2010.

PTC is a mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of the President with the primary task to
investigate reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and
employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration,
and to submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the
Ombudsman. PTC has all the powers of an investigative body. But it is not a quasi-judicial body
as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render awards in disputes between
contending parties. All it can do is gather, collect and assess evidence of graft and corruption
and make recommendations. It may have subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in
contempt, much less order their arrest. Although it is a fact-finding body, it cannot determine
from such facts if probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an information in our courts of
law.

Petitioners asked the Court to declare it unconstitutional and to enjoin the PTC from performing
its functions. They argued that:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to create
a public office and appropriate funds for its operation.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 cannot
legitimize E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally reorganize
the Office of the President to achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not include the
power to create an entirely new public office which was hitherto inexistent like the “Truth
Commission.”

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and statutes when it vested the “Truth
Commission” with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of the
Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution and the DOJ created under the Administrative
Code of 1987.
(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and
prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is their
peculiar species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and present, who
may be indictable.

Respondents, through OSG, questioned the legal standing of petitioners and argued that:

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress because the President’s executive
power and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to conduct investigations to
ensure that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the Constitution, Revised
Administrative Code of 1987, PD No. 141616 (as amended), R.A. No. 9970 and settled
jurisprudence, authorize the President to create or form such bodies.

2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no
appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Ombudsman and
the DOJ, because it is a fact-finding body and not a quasi-judicial body and its functions do not
duplicate, supplant or erode the latter’s jurisdiction.

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly
created for laudable purposes.

ISSUES:
1. WON the petitioners have legal standing to file the petitions and question E. O. No. 1;
2. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by usurping the powers of
Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies and commissions;
3. WON E. O. No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;
4. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause.

RULING:
The power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual case or
controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must
have the standing to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he
must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will
sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be
raised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota
of the case.
1. The petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the Congress as a body to which
they belong as members. To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of
each member thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers
of that institution.

Legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges vested
by the Constitution in their office remain inviolate. Thus, they are allowed to question the validity
of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives as legislators.
With regard to Biraogo, he has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of sustaining, any
personal and direct injury attributable to the implementation of E. O. No. 1.

Locus standi is “a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question.” In private suits,
standing is governed by the “real-parties-in interest” rule. It provides that “every action must be
prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest.” Real-party-in interest is “the
party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the
avails of the suit.”

Difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a
“public right” in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the
general public. He has to show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. He has to make out
a sufficient interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a “citizen”
or “taxpayer.

The person who impugns the validity of a statute must have “a personal and substantial interest
in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result.” The Court,
however, finds reason in Biraogo’s assertion that the petition covers matters of transcendental
importance to justify the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in
the petition which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and
weight as precedents

The Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. The
powers of the President are not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution. One of
the recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated duty
is the power to create ad hoc committees. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts
and determine if laws have been faithfully executed. The purpose of allowing ad hoc
investigating bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry into matters which the President is entitled to
know so that he can be properly advised and guided in the performance of his duties relative to
the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land.

2. There will be no appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already
appropriated. There is no usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to
appropriate funds. There is no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of
the commission because, whatever funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the
President will be the very source of the funds for the commission. The amount that would be
allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules and regulations so there is no
impropriety in the funding.

3. PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. If at all,
the investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two offices. The
function of determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the
courts remains to be with the DOJ and the Ombudsman. PTC’s power to investigate is limited to
obtaining facts so that it can advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties
relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land.
4. Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in view of its
apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1, Article III (Bill of
Rights) of the 1987 Constitution.

Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike,
both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. It requires public bodies and institutions
to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner. The purpose of the equal protection
clause is to secure every person within a state’s jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary
discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper
execution through the state’s duly constituted authorities.

There must be equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Equal
protection clause permits classification. Such classification, however, to be valid must pass the
test of reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial
distinctions; (2) It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions
only; and (4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.

The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are not similarly
treated, both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed.

Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection clause. The
clear mandate of truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth concerning the
reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration only. The intent to
single out the previous administration is plain, patent and manifest.

Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class, that is, a class of past administrations. It is
not a class of its own. Not to include past administrations similarly situated constitutes
arbitrariness which the equal protection clause cannot sanction. Such discriminating
differentiation clearly reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for vindictiveness and
selective retribution. Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.

The PTC must not exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the
authority to investigate all past administrations.

The Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws
must conform and in accordance with which all private rights determined and all public authority
administered. Laws that do not conform to the Constitution should be stricken down for being
unconstitutional.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared
UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it is violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
EN BANC

[G.R. No. 122156. February 3, 1997]

MANILA PRINCE HOTEL, petitioner, vs. GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM,


MANILA HOTEL CORPORATION, COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION and OFFICE OF
THE GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL, respondents.

DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:

The Filipino First Policy enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, i.e., in the grant of rights,
privileges, and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony, the State shall give
preference to qualified Filipinos,[1] is invoked by petitioner in its bid to acquire 51% of the shares
of the Manila Hotel Corporation (MHC) which owns the historic Manila Hotel. Opposing,
respondents maintain that the provision is not self-executing but requires an implementing
legislation for its enforcement. Corollarily, they ask whether the 51% shares form part of the
national economy and patrimony covered by the protective mantle of the Constitution.
The controversy arose when respondent Government Service Insurance System (GSIS),
pursuant to the privatization program of the Philippine Government under Proclamation No. 50
dated 8 December 1986, decided to sell through public bidding 30% to 51% of the issued and
outstanding shares of respondent MHC. The winning bidder, or the eventual strategic partner,
is to provide management expertise and/or an international marketing/reservation system, and
financial support to strengthen the profitability and performance of the Manila Hotel.[2] In a close
bidding held on 18 September 1995 only two (2) bidders participated: petitioner Manila Prince
Hotel Corporation, a Filipino corporation, which offered to buy 51% of the MHC or 15,300,000
shares at P41.58 per share, and Renong Berhad, a Malaysian firm, with ITT-Sheraton as its hotel
operator, which bid for the same number of shares at P44.00 per share, or P2.42 more than the
bid of petitioner.
Pertinent provisions of the bidding rules prepared by respondent GSIS state -

I. EXECUTION OF THE NECESSARY CONTRACTS WITH GSIS/MHC -

1. The Highest Bidder must comply with the conditions set forth below by October 23, 1995
(reset to November 3, 1995) or the Highest Bidder will lose the right to purchase the Block of
Shares and GSIS will instead offer the Block of Shares to the other Qualified Bidders:

a. The Highest Bidder must negotiate and execute with the GSIS/MHC the Management
Contract, International Marketing/Reservation System Contract or other type of contract
specified by the Highest Bidder in its strategic plan for the Manila Hotel x x x x

b. The Highest Bidder must execute the Stock Purchase and Sale Agreement with GSIS x x x x

K. DECLARATION OF THE WINNING BIDDER/STRATEGIC PARTNER -


The Highest Bidder will be declared the Winning Bidder/Strategic Partner after the following
conditions are met:

a. Execution of the necessary contracts with GSIS/MHC not later than October 23, 1995 (reset
to November 3, 1995); and

b. Requisite approvals from the GSIS/MHC and COP (Committee on Privatization)/ OGCC
(Office of the Government Corporate Counsel) are obtained.[3]

Pending the declaration of Renong Berhard as the winning bidder/strategic partner and the
execution of the necessary contracts, petitioner in a letter to respondent GSIS dated 28
September 1995 matched the bid price of P44.00 per share tendered by Renong Berhad.[4] In a
subsequent letter dated 10 October 1995 petitioner sent a managers check issued by Philtrust
Bank for Thirty-three Million Pesos (P33,000,000.00) as Bid Security to match the bid of the
Malaysian Group, Messrs. Renong Berhad x x x x[5] which respondent GSIS refused to accept.
On 17 October 1995, perhaps apprehensive that respondent GSIS has disregarded the
tender of the matching bid and that the sale of 51% of the MHC may be hastened by respondent
GSIS and consummated with Renong Berhad, petitioner came to this Court on prohibition and
mandamus. On 18 October 1995 the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining
respondents from perfecting and consummating the sale to the Malaysian firm.
On 10 September 1996 the instant case was accepted by the Court En Banc after it was
referred to it by the First Division. The case was then set for oral arguments with former Chief
Justice Enrique M. Fernando and Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., as amici curiae.
In the main, petitioner invokes Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution and
submits that the Manila Hotel has been identified with the Filipino nation and has practically
become a historical monument which reflects the vibrancy of Philippine heritage and culture. It is
a proud legacy of an earlier generation of Filipinos who believed in the nobility and sacredness of
independence and its power and capacity to release the full potential of the Filipino people. To all
intents and purposes, it has become a part of the national patrimony.[6] Petitioner also argues that
since 51% of the shares of the MHC carries with it the ownership of the business of the hotel
which is owned by respondent GSIS, a government-owned and controlled corporation, the hotel
business of respondent GSIS being a part of the tourism industry is unquestionably a part of the
national economy. Thus, any transaction involving 51% of the shares of stock of the MHC is
clearly covered by the term national economy, to which Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, 1987
Constitution, applies.[7]
It is also the thesis of petitioner that since Manila Hotel is part of the national patrimony and
its business also unquestionably part of the national economy petitioner should be preferred after
it has matched the bid offer of the Malaysian firm. For the bidding rules mandate that if for any
reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer this to the
other Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are
willing to match the highest bid in terms of price per share.[8]
Respondents except. They maintain that: First, Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987
Constitution is merely a statement of principle and policy since it is not a self-executing provision
and requires implementing legislation(s) x x x x Thus, for the said provision to operate, there must
be existing laws to lay down conditions under which business may be done.[9]
Second, granting that this provision is self-executing, Manila Hotel does not fall under the
term national patrimony which only refers to lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal,
petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife,
flora and fauna and all marine wealth in its territorial sea, and exclusive marine zone as cited in
the first and second paragraphs of Sec. 2, Art. XII, 1987 Constitution. According to respondents,
while petitioner speaks of the guests who have slept in the hotel and the events that have
transpired therein which make the hotel historic, these alone do not make the hotel fall under
the patrimony of the nation. What is more, the mandate of the Constitution is addressed to the
State, not to respondent GSIS which possesses a personality of its own separate and distinct
from the Philippines as a State.
Third, granting that the Manila Hotel forms part of the national patrimony, the constitutional
provision invoked is still inapplicable since what is being sold is only 51% of the outstanding
shares of the corporation, not the hotel building nor the land upon which the building
stands. Certainly, 51% of the equity of the MHC cannot be considered part of the national
patrimony. Moreover, if the disposition of the shares of the MHC is really contrary to the
Constitution, petitioner should have questioned it right from the beginning and not after it had lost
in the bidding.
Fourth, the reliance by petitioner on par. V., subpar. J. 1., of the bidding rules which provides
that if for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer
this to the other Qualified Bidders that have validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified
Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in terms of price per share, is misplaced. Respondents
postulate that the privilege of submitting a matching bid has not yet arisen since it only takes
place if for any reason, the Highest Bidder cannot be awarded the Block of Shares. Thus the
submission by petitioner of a matching bid is premature since Renong Berhad could still very well
be awarded the block of shares and the condition giving rise to the exercise of the privilege to
submit a matching bid had not yet taken place.
Finally, the prayer for prohibition grounded on grave abuse of discretion should fail since
respondent GSIS did not exercise its discretion in a capricious, whimsical manner, and if ever it
did abuse its discretion it was not so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive
duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. Similarly, the petition for mandamus
should fail as petitioner has no clear legal right to what it demands and respondents do not have
an imperative duty to perform the act required of them by petitioner.
We now resolve. A constitution is a system of fundamental laws for the governance and
administration of a nation. It is supreme, imperious, absolute and unalterable except by the
authority from which it emanates. It has been defined as the fundamental and paramount law of
the nation.[10] It prescribes the permanent framework of a system of government, assigns to the
different departments their respective powers and duties, and establishes certain fixed principles
on which government is founded. The fundamental conception in other words is that it is a
supreme law to which all other laws must conform and in accordance with which all private rights
must be determined and all public authority administered.[11] Under the doctrine of constitutional
supremacy, if a law or contract violates any norm of the constitution that law or contract whether
promulgated by the legislative or by the executive branch or entered into by private persons for
private purposes is null and void and without any force and effect. Thus, since the Constitution is
the fundamental, paramount and supreme law of the nation, it is deemed written in every statute
and contract.
Admittedly, some constitutions are merely declarations of policies and principles. Their
provisions command the legislature to enact laws and carry out the purposes of the framers who
merely establish an outline of government providing for the different departments of the
governmental machinery and securing certain fundamental and inalienable rights of citizens.[12] A
provision which lays down a general principle, such as those found in Art. II of the 1987
Constitution, is usually not self-executing. But a provision which is complete in itself and becomes
operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling legislation, or that which supplies sufficient
rule by means of which the right it grants may be enjoyed or protected, is self-executing. Thus a
constitutional provision is self-executing if the nature and extent of the right conferred and the
liability imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can be determined by an
examination and construction of its terms, and there is no language indicating that the subject is
referred to the legislature for action.[13]
As against constitutions of the past, modern constitutions have been generally drafted upon
a different principle and have often become in effect extensive codes of laws intended to operate
directly upon the people in a manner similar to that of statutory enactments, and the function of
constitutional conventions has evolved into one more like that of a legislative body. Hence, unless
it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a constitutional mandate, the
presumption now is that all provisions of the constitution are self-executing. If the constitutional
provisions are treated as requiring legislation instead of self-executing, the legislature would have
the power to ignore and practically nullify the mandate of the fundamental law. [14] This can be
cataclysmic. That is why the prevailing view is, as it has always been, that -

x x x x in case of doubt, the Constitution should be considered self-executing rather than non-
self-executing x x x x Unless the contrary is clearly intended, the provisions of the Constitution
should be considered self-executing, as a contrary rule would give the legislature discretion to
determine when, or whether, they shall be effective. These provisions would be subordinated to
the will of the lawmaking body, which could make them entirely meaningless by simply refusing
to pass the needed implementing statute.[15]

Respondents argue that Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the 1987 Constitution is clearly not
self-executing, as they quote from discussions on the floor of the 1986 Constitutional Commission
-
MR. RODRIGO. Madam President, I am asking this question as the Chairman of the
Committee on Style. If the wording of PREFERENCE is given to QUALIFIED
FILIPINOS, can it be understood as a preference to qualified Filipinos vis-a-
vis Filipinos who are not qualified. So, why do we not make it clear? To qualified
Filipinos as against aliens?
THE PRESIDENT. What is the question of Commissioner Rodrigo? Is it to remove the
word QUALIFIED?
MR. RODRIGO. No, no, but say definitely TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS as against
whom? As against aliens or over aliens ?
MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President, I think that is understood. We use the word
QUALIFIED because the existing laws or prospective laws will always lay down
conditions under which business may be done. For example, qualifications on
capital, qualifications on the setting up of other financial structures, et
cetera (underscoring supplied by respondents).
MR. RODRIGO. It is just a matter of style.
MR. NOLLEDO. Yes.[16]
Quite apparently, Sec. 10, second par., of Art XII is couched in such a way as not to make it
appear that it is non-self-executing but simply for purposes of style. But, certainly, the legislature
is not precluded from enacting further laws to enforce the constitutional provision so long as the
contemplated statute squares with the Constitution. Minor details may be left to the legislature
without impairing the self-executing nature of constitutional provisions.
In self-executing constitutional provisions, the legislature may still enact legislation to
facilitate the exercise of powers directly granted by the constitution, further the operation of such
a provision, prescribe a practice to be used for its enforcement, provide a convenient remedy for
the protection of the rights secured or the determination thereof, or place reasonable safeguards
around the exercise of the right. The mere fact that legislation may supplement and add to or
prescribe a penalty for the violation of a self-executing constitutional provision does not render
such a provision ineffective in the absence of such legislation. The omission from a constitution
of any express provision for a remedy for enforcing a right or liability is not necessarily an
indication that it was not intended to be self-executing. The rule is that a self-executing provision
of the constitution does not necessarily exhaust legislative power on the subject, but any
legislation must be in harmony with the constitution, further the exercise of constitutional right and
make it more available.[17] Subsequent legislation however does not necessarily mean that the
subject constitutional provision is not, by itself, fully enforceable.
Respondents also argue that the non-self-executing nature of Sec. 10, second par., of Art.
XII is implied from the tenor of the first and third paragraphs of the same section which
undoubtedly are not self-executing.[18] The argument is flawed. If the first and third paragraphs
are not self-executing because Congress is still to enact measures to encourage the formation
and operation of enterprises fully owned by Filipinos, as in the first paragraph, and the State still
needs legislation to regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments within its national
jurisdiction, as in the third paragraph, then a fortiori, by the same logic, the second paragraph can
only be self-executing as it does not by its language require any legislation in order to give
preference to qualified Filipinos in the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the
national economy and patrimony. A constitutional provision may be self-executing in one part and
non-self-executing in another.[19]
Even the cases cited by respondents holding that certain constitutional provisions are merely
statements of principles and policies, which are basically not self-executing and only placed in
the Constitution as moral incentives to legislation, not as judicially enforceable rights - are simply
not in point. Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation[20] speaks of constitutional
provisions on personal dignity,[21] the sanctity of family life,[22] the vital role of the youth in nation-
building,[23] the promotion of social justice,[24] and the values of education.[25] Tolentino v.
Secretary of Finance[26] refers to constitutional provisions on social justice and human
rights[27] and on education.[28] Lastly, Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato[29] cites provisions on the
promotion of general welfare,[30] the sanctity of family life,[31] the vital role of the youth in nation-
building[32] and the promotion of total human liberation and development.[33] A reading of these
provisions indeed clearly shows that they are not judicially enforceable constitutional rights but
merely guidelines for legislation. The very terms of the provisions manifest that they are only
principles upon which legislations must be based. Res ipsa loquitur.
On the other hand, Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution is a mandatory,
positive command which is complete in itself and which needs no further guidelines or
implementing laws or rules for its enforcement. From its very words the provision does not require
any legislation to put it in operation. It is per se judicially enforceable. When our Constitution
mandates that [i]n the grant of rights, privileges, and concessions covering national economy and
patrimony, the State shall give preference to qualified Filipinos, it means just that - qualified
Filipinos shall be preferred. And when our Constitution declares that a right exists in certain
specified circumstances an action may be maintained to enforce such right notwithstanding the
absence of any legislation on the subject; consequently, if there is no statute especially enacted
to enforce such constitutional right, such right enforces itself by its own inherent potency and
puissance, and from which all legislations must take their bearings. Where there is a right there
is a remedy. Ubi jus ibi remedium.
As regards our national patrimony, a member of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission[34] explains -

The patrimony of the Nation that should be conserved and developed refers not only
to our rich natural resources but also to the cultural heritage of our race. It also refers to
our intelligence in arts, sciences and letters.Therefore, we should develop not only our
lands, forests, mines and other natural resources but also the mental ability or faculty of
our people.

We agree. In its plain and ordinary meaning, the term patrimony pertains to
heritage.[35] When the Constitution speaks of national patrimony, it refers not only to the natural
resources of the Philippines, as the Constitution could have very well used the term natural
resources, but also to the cultural heritage of the Filipinos.
Manila Hotel has become a landmark - a living testimonial of Philippine heritage. While it was
restrictively an American hotel when it first opened in 1912, it immediately evolved to be truly
Filipino. Formerly a concourse for the elite, it has since then become the venue of various
significant events which have shaped Philippine history. It was called the Cultural Center of the
1930s. It was the site of the festivities during the inauguration of the Philippine
Commonwealth. Dubbed as the Official Guest House of the Philippine Government it plays host
to dignitaries and official visitors who are accorded the traditional Philippine hospitality.[36]
The history of the hotel has been chronicled in the book The Manila Hotel: The Heart and
Memory of a City.[37] During World War II the hotel was converted by the Japanese Military
Administration into a military headquarters. When the American forces returned to recapture
Manila the hotel was selected by the Japanese together with Intramuros as the two (2) places for
their final stand. Thereafter, in the 1950s and 1960s, the hotel became the center of political
activities, playing host to almost every political convention. In 1970 the hotel reopened after a
renovation and reaped numerous international recognitions, an acknowledgment of the Filipino
talent and ingenuity. In 1986 the hotel was the site of a failed coup d etat where an aspirant for
vice-president was proclaimed President of the Philippine Republic.
For more than eight (8) decades Manila Hotel has bore mute witness to the triumphs
and failures, loves and frustrations of the Filipinos; its existence is impressed with public interest;
its own historicity associated with our struggle for sovereignty, independence and
nationhood. Verily, Manila Hotel has become part of our national economy and patrimony. For
sure, 51% of the equity of the MHC comes within the purview of the constitutional shelter for it
comprises the majority and controlling stock, so that anyone who acquires or owns the 51% will
have actual control and management of the hotel. In this instance, 51% of the MHC cannot be
disassociated from the hotel and the land on which the hotel edifice stands. Consequently, we
cannot sustain respondents claim that the Filipino First Policy provision is not applicable since
what is being sold is only 51% of the outstanding shares of the corporation, not the Hotel building
nor the land upon which the building stands.[38]
The argument is pure sophistry. The term qualified Filipinos as used in our Constitution also
includes corporations at least 60% of which is owned by Filipinos. This is very clear from the
proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission -
THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner Davide is recognized.
MR. DAVIDE. I would like to introduce an amendment to the Nolledo amendment. And
the amendment would consist in substituting the words QUALIFIED FILIPINOS with
the following: CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES OR CORPORATIONS OR
ASSOCIATIONS WHOSE CAPITAL OR CONTROLLING STOCK IS WHOLLY
OWNED BY SUCH CITIZENS.
xxxx
MR. MONSOD. Madam President, apparently the proponent is agreeable, but we have
to raise a question. Suppose it is a corporation that is 80-percent Filipino, do we not
give it preference?
MR. DAVIDE. The Nolledo amendment would refer to an individual Filipino. What about
a corporation wholly owned by Filipino citizens?
MR. MONSOD. At least 60 percent, Madam President.
MR. DAVIDE. Is that the intention?
MR. MONSOD. Yes, because, in fact, we would be limiting it if we say that the preference
should only be 100-percent Filipino.
MR. DAVIDE. I want to get that meaning clear because QUALIFIED FILIPINOS may
refer only to individuals and not to juridical personalities or entities.
MR. MONSOD. We agree, Madam President.[39]
xxxx
MR. RODRIGO. Before we vote, may I request that the amendment be read again.
MR. NOLLEDO. The amendment will read: IN THE GRANT OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES
AND CONCESSIONS COVERING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND
PATRIMONY, THE STATE SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED
FILIPINOS. And the word Filipinos here, as intended by the proponents, will include
not only individual Filipinos but also Filipino-controlled entities or entities fully-
controlled by Filipinos.[40]
The phrase preference to qualified Filipinos was explained thus -
MR. FOZ. Madam President, I would like to request Commissioner Nolledo to please
restate his amendment so that I can ask a question.
MR. NOLLEDO. IN THE GRANT OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND CONCESSIONS
COVERING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY, THE STATE SHALL
GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS.
MR. FOZ. In connection with that amendment, if a foreign enterprise is qualified and a
Filipino enterprise is also qualified, will the Filipino enterprise still be given a
preference?
MR. NOLLEDO. Obviously.
MR. FOZ. If the foreigner is more qualified in some aspects than the Filipino enterprise,
will the Filipino still be preferred?
MR. NOLLEDO. The answer is yes.
MR. FOZ. Thank you.[41]
Expounding further on the Filipino First Policy provision Commissioner Nolledo continues
MR. NOLLEDO. Yes, Madam President. Instead of MUST, it will be SHALL - THE
STATE SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS. This embodies
the so-called Filipino First policy. That means that Filipinos should be given
preference in the grant of concessions, privileges and rights covering the national
patrimony.[42]
The exchange of views in the sessions of the Constitutional Commission regarding the
subject provision was still further clarified by Commissioner Nolledo[43] -

Paragraph 2 of Section 10 explicitly mandates the Pro-Filipino bias in all economic concerns. It
is better known as the FILIPINO FIRST Policy x x x x This provision was never found in
previous Constitutions x x x x

The term qualified Filipinos simply means that preference shall be given to those citizens who
can make a viable contribution to the common good, because of credible competence and
efficiency. It certainly does NOT mandate the pampering and preferential treatment to Filipino
citizens or organizations that are incompetent or inefficient, since such an indiscriminate
preference would be counterproductive and inimical to the common good.

In the granting of economic rights, privileges, and concessions, when a choice has to be made
between a qualified foreigner and a qualified Filipino, the latter shall be chosen over the former.

Lastly, the word qualified is also determinable. Petitioner was so considered by respondent
GSIS and selected as one of the qualified bidders. It was pre-qualified by respondent GSIS in
accordance with its own guidelines so that the sole inference here is that petitioner has been
found to be possessed of proven management expertise in the hotel industry, or it has significant
equity ownership in another hotel company, or it has an overall management and marketing
proficiency to successfully operate the Manila Hotel.[44]
The penchant to try to whittle away the mandate of the Constitution by arguing that the subject
provision is not self-executory and requires implementing legislation is quite disturbing. The
attempt to violate a clear constitutional provision - by the government itself - is only too
distressing. To adopt such a line of reasoning is to renounce the duty to ensure faithfulness to the
Constitution. For, even some of the provisions of the Constitution which evidently need
implementing legislation have juridical life of their own and can be the source of a judicial
remedy. We cannot simply afford the government a defense that arises out of the failure to enact
further enabling, implementing or guiding legislation. In fine, the discourse of Fr. Joaquin G.
Bernas, S.J., on constitutional government is apt -

The executive department has a constitutional duty to implement laws, including the
Constitution, even before Congress acts - provided that there are discoverable legal standards
for executive action. When the executive acts, it must be guided by its own understanding of the
constitutional command and of applicable laws. The responsibility for reading and
understanding the Constitution and the laws is not the sole prerogative of Congress. If it were,
the executive would have to ask Congress, or perhaps the Court, for an interpretation every
time the executive is confronted by a constitutional command. That is not how constitutional
government operates.[45]
Respondents further argue that the constitutional provision is addressed to the State, not to
respondent GSIS which by itself possesses a separate and distinct personality. This argument
again is at best specious. It is undisputed that the sale of 51% of the MHC could only be carried
out with the prior approval of the State acting through respondent Committee on Privatization. As
correctly pointed out by Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., this fact alone makes the sale of the assets
of respondents GSIS and MHC a state action. In constitutional jurisprudence, the acts of persons
distinct from the government are considered state action covered by the Constitution (1) when the
activity it engages in is a public function; (2) when the government is so significantly involved with
the private actor as to make the government responsible for his action; and, (3) when the
government has approved or authorized the action. It is evident that the act of respondent GSIS
in selling 51% of its share in respondent MHC comes under the second and third categories
of state action. Without doubt therefore the transaction, although entered into by respondent
GSIS, is in fact a transaction of the State and therefore subject to the constitutional command. [46]
When the Constitution addresses the State it refers not only to the people but also to the
government as elements of the State. After all, government is composed of three (3) divisions of
power - legislative, executive and judicial. Accordingly, a constitutional mandate directed to the
State is correspondingly directed to the three (3) branches of government. It is undeniable that in
this case the subject constitutional injunction is addressed among others to the Executive
Department and respondent GSIS, a government instrumentality deriving its authority from the
State.
It should be stressed that while the Malaysian firm offered the higher bid it is not yet the
winning bidder. The bidding rules expressly provide that the highest bidder shall only be declared
the winning bidder after it has negotiated and executed the necessary contracts, and secured the
requisite approvals. Since the Filipino First Policy provision of the Constitution bestows
preference on qualified Filipinos the mere tending of the highest bid is not an assurance that the
highest bidder will be declared the winning bidder. Resultantly, respondents are not bound to
make the award yet, nor are they under obligation to enter into one with the highest bidder. For
in choosing the awardee respondents are mandated to abide by the dictates of the 1987
Constitution the provisions of which are presumed to be known to all the bidders and other
interested parties.
Adhering to the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, the subject constitutional provision is,
as it should be, impliedly written in the bidding rules issued by respondent GSIS, lest the bidding
rules be nullified for being violative of the Constitution. It is a basic principle in constitutional law
that all laws and contracts must conform with the fundamental law of the land. Those which violate
the Constitution lose their reason for being.
Paragraph V. J. 1 of the bidding rules provides that [i]f for any reason the Highest Bidder
cannot be awarded the Block of Shares, GSIS may offer this to other Qualified Bidders that have
validly submitted bids provided that these Qualified Bidders are willing to match the highest bid in
terms of price per share.[47] Certainly, the constitutional mandate itself is reason enough not to
award the block of shares immediately to the foreign bidder notwithstanding its submission of a
higher, or even the highest, bid. In fact, we cannot conceive of a stronger reason than the
constitutional injunction itself.
In the instant case, where a foreign firm submits the highest bid in a public bidding concerning
the grant of rights, privileges and concessions covering the national economy and patrimony,
thereby exceeding the bid of a Filipino, there is no question that the Filipino will have to be allowed
to match the bid of the foreign entity. And if the Filipino matches the bid of a foreign firm the award
should go to the Filipino. It must be so if we are to give life and meaning to the Filipino First
Policy provision of the 1987 Constitution. For, while this may neither be expressly stated nor
contemplated in the bidding rules, the constitutional fiat is omnipresent to be simply
disregarded. To ignore it would be to sanction a perilous skirting of the basic law.
This Court does not discount the apprehension that this policy may discourage foreign
investors. But the Constitution and laws of the Philippines are understood to be always open to
public scrutiny. These are given factors which investors must consider when venturing into
business in a foreign jurisdiction. Any person therefore desiring to do business in the Philippines
or with any of its agencies or instrumentalities is presumed to know his rights and obligations
under the Constitution and the laws of the forum.
The argument of respondents that petitioner is now estopped from questioning the sale to
Renong Berhad since petitioner was well aware from the beginning that a foreigner could
participate in the bidding is meritless. Undoubtedly, Filipinos and foreigners alike were invited to
the bidding. But foreigners may be awarded the sale only if no Filipino qualifies, or if the qualified
Filipino fails to match the highest bid tendered by the foreign entity. In the case before us, while
petitioner was already preferred at the inception of the bidding because of the constitutional
mandate, petitioner had not yet matched the bid offered by Renong Berhad. Thus it did not have
the right or personality then to compel respondent GSIS to accept its earlier bid. Rightly, only after
it had matched the bid of the foreign firm and the apparent disregard by respondent GSIS of
petitioners matching bid did the latter have a cause of action.
Besides, there is no time frame for invoking the constitutional safeguard unless perhaps the
award has been finally made. To insist on selling the Manila Hotel to foreigners when there is a
Filipino group willing to match the bid of the foreign group is to insist that government be treated
as any other ordinary market player, and bound by its mistakes or gross errors of judgment,
regardless of the consequences to the Filipino people. The miscomprehension of the Constitution
is regrettable. Thus we would rather remedy the indiscretion while there is still an opportunity to
do so than let the government develop the habit of forgetting that the Constitution lays down the
basic conditions and parameters for its actions.
Since petitioner has already matched the bid price tendered by Renong Berhad pursuant to
the bidding rules, respondent GSIS is left with no alternative but to award to petitioner the block
of shares of MHC and to execute the necessary agreements and documents to effect the sale in
accordance not only with the bidding guidelines and procedures but with the Constitution as
well. The refusal of respondent GSIS to execute the corresponding documents with petitioner as
provided in the bidding rules after the latter has matched the bid of the Malaysian firm clearly
constitutes grave abuse of discretion.
The Filipino First Policy is a product of Philippine nationalism. It is embodied in the 1987
Constitution not merely to be used as a guideline for future legislation but primarily to be enforced;
so must it be enforced. This Court as the ultimate guardian of the Constitution will never shun,
under any reasonable circumstance, the duty of upholding the majesty of the Constitution which
it is tasked to defend. It is worth emphasizing that it is not the intention of this Court to impede
and diminish, much less undermine, the influx of foreign investments. Far from it, the Court
encourages and welcomes more business opportunities but avowedly sanctions the preference
for Filipinos whenever such preference is ordained by the Constitution. The position of the Court
on this matter could have not been more appropriately articulated by Chief Justice Narvasa -

As scrupulously as it has tried to observe that it is not its function to substitute its judgment for
that of the legislature or the executive about the wisdom and feasibility of legislation economic in
nature, the Supreme Court has not been spared criticism for decisions perceived as obstacles
to economic progress and development x x x x in connection with a temporary injunction issued
by the Courts First Division against the sale of the Manila Hotel to a Malaysian Firm and its
partner, certain statements were published in a major daily to the effect that that injunction again
demonstrates that the Philippine legal system can be a major obstacle to doing business here.

Let it be stated for the record once again that while it is no business of the Court to intervene in
contracts of the kind referred to or set itself up as the judge of whether they are viable or
attainable, it is its bounden duty to make sure that they do not violate the Constitution or the
laws, or are not adopted or implemented with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction. It will never shirk that duty, no matter how buffeted by winds of unfair and
ill-informed criticism.[48]

Privatization of a business asset for purposes of enhancing its business viability and
preventing further losses, regardless of the character of the asset, should not take precedence
over non-material values. A commercial, nay even a budgetary, objective should not be pursued
at the expense of national pride and dignity. For the Constitution enshrines higher and nobler non-
material values. Indeed, the Court will always defer to the Constitution in the proper governance
of a free society; after all, there is nothing so sacrosanct in any economic policy as to draw itself
beyond judicial review when the Constitution is involved.[49]
Nationalism is inherent in the very concept of the Philippines being a democratic and
republican state, with sovereignty residing in the Filipino people and from whom all government
authority emanates. In nationalism, the happiness and welfare of the people must be the
goal. The nation-state can have no higher purpose. Any interpretation of any constitutional
provision must adhere to such basic concept.Protection of foreign investments, while laudible, is
merely a policy. It cannot override the demands of nationalism.[50]
The Manila Hotel or, for that matter, 51% of the MHC, is not just any commodity to be sold to
the highest bidder solely for the sake of privatization. We are not talking about an ordinary piece
of property in a commercial district. We are talking about a historic relic that has hosted many of
the most important events in the short history of the Philippines as a nation. We are talking about
a hotel where heads of states would prefer to be housed as a strong manifestation of their desire
to cloak the dignity of the highest state function to their official visits to the Philippines. Thus the
Manila Hotel has played and continues to play a significant role as an authentic repository of
twentieth century Philippine history and culture. In this sense, it has become truly a reflection of
the Filipino soul - a place with a history of grandeur; a most historical setting that has played a
part in the shaping of a country.[51]
This Court cannot extract rhyme nor reason from the determined efforts of respondents to
sell the historical landmark - this Grand Old Dame of hotels in Asia - to a total stranger. For,
indeed, the conveyance of this epic exponent of the Filipino psyche to alien hands cannot be less
than mephistophelian for it is, in whatever manner viewed, a veritable alienation of a nations soul
for some pieces of foreign silver. And so we ask: What advantage, which cannot be equally drawn
from a qualified Filipino, can be gained by the Filipinos if Manila Hotel - and all that it stands for -
is sold to a non-Filipino? How much of national pride will vanish if the nations cultural heritage is
entrusted to a foreign entity? On the other hand, how much dignity will be preserved and realized
if the national patrimony is safekept in the hands of a qualified, zealous and well-meaning
Filipino? This is the plain and simple meaning of the Filipino First Policy provision of the Philippine
Constitution. And this Court, heeding the clarion call of the Constitution and accepting the duty of
being the elderly watchman of the nation, will continue to respect and protect the sanctity of the
Constitution.
WHEREFORE, respondents GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA
HOTEL CORPORATION, COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION and OFFICE OF THE
GOVERNMENT CORPORATE COUNSEL are directed to CEASE and DESIST from selling 51%
of the shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation to RENONG BERHAD, and to ACCEPT the
matching bid of petitioner MANILA PRINCE HOTEL CORPORATION to purchase the subject
51% of the shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation at P44.00 per share and thereafter to execute
the necessary agreements and documents to effect the sale, to issue the necessary clearances
and to do such other acts and deeds as may be necessary for the purpose.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Kapunan, Francisco, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ, concur.
Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), and Melo, J., joins J. Puno in his dissent.
Padilla, J., see concurring opinion.
Vitug, J., see separate concurring opinion
Mendoza, J., see concurring opinion
Torres, J., with separate opinion
Puno, J., see dissent.
Panganiban J., with separate dissenting opinion.

[1]
See Sec. 10, par. 2, Art. XII, 1987 Constitution.
[2]
Par. I. Introduction and Highlights, Guidelines and Procedures: Second Prequalifications and
Public Bidding of the MHC Privatization; Annex A, Consolidated Reply to Comments of
Respondents; Rollo, p.142.
[3]
Par. V. Guidelines for the Public Bidding, Id., pp. 153-154.
[4]
Annex A, Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus with Temporary Restraining Order; Rollo,
pp.13-14.
[5]
Annex B, Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus with Temporary Restraining Order; Id., p.15.
[6]
Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus with Temporary Restraining Order, pp. 5-6; Id., pp.6-7.
[7]
Consolidated Reply to Comments of Respondents, p. 17; Id., p.133.
[8]
Par. V. J. 1,Guidelines for Public Bidding, Guidelines and Procedures: Second Prequalifications
and Public Bidding of the MHC Privatization, Annex A, Consolidated Reply to Comments
of Respondents; Id., p. 154.
[9]
Respondents Joint Comment with Urgent Motion to Lift Temporary Restraining Order,
p.9; Rollo, p. 44.
[10]
Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 138 (1803).
[11]
11 Am Jur. 606.
[12]
16 Am Jur. 2d 281.
[13]
Id., p. 282.
[14]
See Note 12.
[15]
Cruz, Isagani A., Constitutional Law, 1993 ed., pp. 8-10.
[16]
Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. 3, 22 August 1986, p. 608.
[17]
16 Am Jur 2d 283-284.
[18]
Sec. 10, first par., reads: The Congress shall, upon recommendation of the economic and
planning agency, when the national interest dictates, reserve to citizens of the Philippines or to
corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens,
or such higher percentage as Congress may prescribe, certain areas of investments. The
Congress shall enact measures that will encourage the formation and operation of enterprises
whose capital is wholly owned by Filipinos.
Sec. 10, third par., reads: The State shall regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments
within its national jurisdiction and in accordance with its national goals and priorities.
[19]
State ex rel. Miller v. OMalley, 342 Mo 641, 117 SW2d 319.
[20]
G.R. No. 91649, 14 May 1991, 197 SCRA 52.
[21]
Sec. 11, Art. II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies), provides that [t]he State values
the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.
[22]
Sec. 12, Art. II, provides that [t]he State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect
and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect
the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary
right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development
of moral character shall receive the support of the government.
[23]
Sec. 13, Art. II, provides that [t]he State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building
and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-
being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their
involvement in public and civic affairs.
[24]
Sec. 1, Art. XIII (Social Justice and Human Rights), provides that [t]he Congress shall give
highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people
to human dignity, reduce social, economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities
by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good.
To this end, the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, and disposition of property
and its increments.
Sec. 2, Art. XIII, provides that [t]he promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to
create economic opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance.
[25]
Sec. 2, Art. XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports), provides that
[t]he State shall:
(1) Establish, maintain, and support a complete, adequate, and integrated system of education
relevant to the needs of the people and society;
(2) Establish and maintain a system of free public education in the elementary and high school
levels. Without limiting the natural right of parents to rear their children, elementary education is
compulsory for all children of school age;
(3) Establish and maintain a system of scholarship grants, student loan programs, subsidies, and
other incentives which shall be available to deserving students in both public and private schools,
especially to the underprivileged;
(4) Encourage non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning, independent, and out-of-
school study programs particularly those that respond to community needs; and
(5) Provide adult citizens, the disabled, and out-of-school youth with training in civics, vocational
efficiency, and other skills.
[26]
G.R. No. 115455, 25 August 1994, 235 SCRA 630.
[27]
See Note 25.
[28]
Sec. 1, Art. XIV, provides that [t]he State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to
quality education at all levels of education and shall take appropriate steps to make such
education accessible to all.
[29]
G.R. No. 118910, 17 July 1995.
[30]
Sec. 5, Art. II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies), provides that [t]he maintenance of
peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the
general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of
democracy.
[31]
See Note 23.
[32]
See Note 24.
[33]
Sec. 17, Art. II, provides that [t]he State shall give priority to education, science and technology,
arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress,
and promote total human liberation and development.
[34]
Nolledo, Jose N., The New Constitution of the Philippines Annotated, 1990 ed., p. 72.
[35]
Websters Third New International Dictionary, 1986 ed., p. 1656.
[36]
The guest list of the Manila Hotel includes Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Duke of Windsor,
President Richard Nixon of U.S.A., Emperor Akihito of Japan, President Dwight
Eisenhower of U.S.A, President Nguyen Van Thieu of Vietnam, President Park Chung
Hee of Korea, Prime Minister Richard Holt of Australia, Prime Minister Keith Holyoake of
New Zealand, President Lyndon Johnson of U.S.A., President Jose Lopez Portillo of
Mexico, Princess Margaret of England, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser of Australia, Prime
Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau of Canada,
President Raul Alfonsin of Argentina, President Felipe Gonzalez of Spain, Prime Minister
Noboru Takeshita of Japan, Prime Minister Hussain Muhammad Ershad of Bangladesh,
Prime Minister Bob Hawke of Australia, Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan,
Premier Li Peng of China, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, President Ramaswami
Venkataraman of India, Prime Minister Go Chok Tong of Singapore, Prime Minister
Enrique Silva Cimma of Chile, Princess Chulaborn and Mahacharri Sirindhorn of Thailand,
Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama of Japan, Sultan Azlan Shah and Raja Permaisuri
Agong of Malaysia, President Kim Young Sam of Korea, Princess Infanta Elena of Spain,
President William Clinton of U.S.A., Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, King
Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain, President Carlos Saul Menem of Argentina,
Prime Ministers Chatichai Choonhavan and Prem Tinsulanonda of Thailand, Prime
Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, President Vaclav Havel of Czech Republic, Gen.
Norman Schwarzkopf of U.S.A., President Ernesto Perez Balladares of Panama, Prime
Minister Adolfas Slezevicius of Lithuania, President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran,
President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyztan, President Ong Teng Cheong of Singapore,
President Frei Ruiz Tagle of Chile, President Le Duc Anh of Vietnam, and Prime Minister
Julius Chan of Papua New Guinea, see Memorandum for Petitioner, pp. 16-19.