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OASAN, Wendy Louise M.


SARMIENTO vs. MISON | G.R. No. 79974 December 17, 1987

Topic: General Principles of Constitutional Construction

FACTS: The Petitioners seek to enjoin the respondent Salvador Mison from
performing the functions of the Office of Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs
and the respondent Guillermo Carague, as Secretary of the Department of Budget,
from effecting disbursements in payment of Mison's salaries and emoluments, on
the ground that Mison's appointment as Commissioner is unconstitutional by
reason of its not having been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. The
respondents, on the other hand, maintain the constitutionality of appointment
without the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments.
ISSUE: Whether or not Mison’s appointment is unconstitutional
HELD: No. Petition is dismissed.
The fundamental principle of constitutional construction is to give effect
to the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it.
The intention to which force is to be given is that which is embodied and
expressed in the constitutional provisions themselves.
The Court will thus construe the applicable constitutional provisions, not in
accordance with how the executive or the legislative department may want them
construed, but in accordance with what they say and provide.
Given the two previous constitutions, it is not difficult for the Court to state
that the framers of the 1987 Constitution and the people adopting it, struck a
"middle ground" by requiring the consent (confirmation) of the Commission on
Appointments for the first group of appointments and leaving to the President,
without such confirmation, the appointment of other officers, i.e., those in the
second and third groups as well as those in the fourth group, i.e., officers of lower
rank. It should be borne in mind that a constitutional provision must be presumed
to have been framed and adopted in the light and understanding of prior and
existing laws and with reference to them.
SEPARATE OPINIONS – Concurring justices Teehankee, Melencio Herrera,
Sarmiento stated that it is a justiciable case to determine the intent of the framers of
the constitution, as the review is a safeguard against abuse regarding those
appointments. On the other hand, dissenting opinions of Justices Gutierrez and
Cruz provide that the provisions must be read together and deduced that it was
never interpreted in a manner that results in absurd or irrational
consequences. The framers never intended the discrepancies.