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Petition arose from a controversy over a parcel of land. Lot 5-A, registered under the name Holy
See, was contiguous to Lot 5-B and 5-D under the name of Philippine Realty Corporation (PRC).
The land was donated by the Archdiocese of Manila to the Papal Nuncio, which represents the
Holy See, who exercises sovereignty over the Vatican City, Rome, Italy, for his residence.

Said lots were sold through an agent to Ramon Licup who assigned his rights to respondents
Starbright Sales Enterprises, Inc.

When the squatters refuse to vacate the lots, a dispute arose between the two parties because
both were unsure whose responsibility was it to evict the squatters from said lots. Respondent
Starbright Sales Enterprises Inc. insists that Holy See should clear the property while Holy See
says that respondent corporation should do it or the earnest money will be returned. With this,
Msgr. Cirilios, the agent, subsequently returned the P100,000 earnest money.

The same lots were then sold to Tropicana Properties and Development Corporation.

Starbright Sales Enterprises, Inc. filed a suit for annulment of the sale, specific performance and
damages against Msgr. Cirilios, PRC as well as Tropicana Properties and Development
Corporation. The Holy See and Msgr. Cirilos moved to dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction
based on sovereign immunity from suit. RTC denied the motion on ground that petitioner
already "shed off" its sovereign immunity by entering into a business contract. The subsequent
Motion for Reconsideration was also denied hence this special civil action for certiorari was
forwarded to the Supreme Court.


Whether or not Holy See can invoke sovereign immunity.


The Court held that Holy See may properly invoke sovereign immunity for its non-suability. As
expressed in Sec. 2 Art II of the 1987 Constitution, generally accepted principles of International
Law are adopted by our Courts and thus shall form part of the laws of the land as a condition
and consequence of our admission in the society of nations.

It was noted in Article 31(A) of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that
diplomatic envoy shall be granted immunity from civil and administrative jurisdiction of the
receiving state over any real action relating to private immovable property. The Department of
Foreign Affairs (DFA) certified that the Embassy of the Holy See is a duly accredited diplomatic
missionary to the Republic of the Philippines and is thus exempted from local jurisdiction and is
entitled to the immunity rights of a diplomatic mission or embassy in this Court.
Furthermore, it shall be understood that in the case at bar, the petitioner has bought and sold
lands in the ordinary course of real estate business, surely, the said transaction can be
categorized as an act jure gestionis. However, petitioner has denied that the acquisition and
subsequent disposal of the lot were made for profit but claimed that it acquired said property
for the site of its mission or the Apostolic Nunciature in the Philippines.

The Holy See is immune from suit because the act of selling the lot of concern is non-propriety
in nature. The lot was acquired through a donation from the Archdiocese of Manila, not for a
commercial purpose, but for the use of petitioner to construct the official place of residence of
the Papal Nuncio thereof. The transfer of the property and its subsequent disposal are likewise
clothed with a governmental (non-proprietal) character as petitioner sold the lot not for profit
or gain rather because it merely cannot evict the squatters living in said property.


Arturo Tolentino et al are questioning the constitutionality of RA 7716 otherwise known as the
Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) Law. Tolentino averred that this revenue bill did not
exclusively originate from the House of Representatives as required by Section 24, Article 6 of
the Constitution. Even though RA 7716 originated as HB 11197 and that it passed the 3 readings
in the HoR, the same did not complete the 3 readings in Senate for after the 1st reading it was
referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee thereafter Senate passed its own version
known as Senate Bill 1630. Tolentino averred that what Senate could have done is amend HB
11197 by striking out its text and substituting it with the text of SB 1630 in that way “the bill
remains a House Bill and the Senate version just becomes the text (only the text) of the HB”.
(It’s ironic however to note that Tolentino and co-petitioner Raul Roco even signed the said
Senate Bill.)


Whether or not the EVAT law is procedurally infirm.


No. By a 9-6 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge, holding that such consolidation
was consistent with the power of the Senate to propose or concur with amendments to the
version originated in the HoR. What the Constitution simply means, according to the 9 justices,
is that the initiative must come from the HoR. Note also that there were several instances
before where Senate passed its own version rather than having the HoR version as far as
revenue and other such bills are concerned. This practice of amendment by substitution has
always been accepted. The proposition of Tolentino concerns a mere matter of form. There is
no showing that it would make a significant difference if Senate were to adopt his over what
has been done.

Romulo Macalintal, as a lawyer and a taxpayer, questions the validity of the Overseas Absentee
Voting Act of 2003 (R.A. 9189). He questions the validity of the said act on the following
grounds, among others:

1. That the provision that a Filipino already considered an immigrant abroad can be
allowed to participate in absentee voting provided he executes an affidavit stating his
intent to return to the Philippines is void because it dispenses of the requirement that a
voter must be a resident of the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where
he intends to vote for at least 6 months immediately preceding the election;
2. That the provision allowing the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to proclaim
winning candidates insofar as it affects the canvass of votes and proclamation of
winning candidates for president and vice-president, is unconstitutional because it
violates the Constitution for it is Congress which is empowered to do so.


Whether or not Macalintal’s arguments are correct.



1. There can be no absentee voting if the absentee voters are required to physically reside
in the Philippines within the period required for non-absentee voters. Further, as
understood in election laws, domicile and resident are interchangeably used. Hence,
one is a resident of his domicile (insofar as election laws is concerned). The domicile is
the place where one has the intention to return to. Thus, an immigrant who executes an
affidavit stating his intent to return to the Philippines is considered a resident of the
Philippines for purposes of being qualified as a voter (absentee voter to be exact). If the
immigrant does not execute the affidavit then he is not qualified as an absentee voter.
2. The said provision should be harmonized. It could not be the intention of Congress to
allow COMELEC to include the proclamation of the winners in the vice-presidential and
presidential race. To interpret it that way would mean that Congress allowed COMELEC
to usurp its power. The canvassing and proclamation of the presidential and vice
presidential elections is still lodged in Congress and was in no way transferred to the
COMELEC by virtue of RA 9189.


In 1990, Republic Act No. 6975 was passed. This law created the Department of Interior and
Local Government. Said law, under Sections 26 and 31 thereof, also provided on the manner as
to how officers of the Philippine National Police are to be appointed. It was provided that the
PNP Chief as well as certain police officers including Directors and Chief Superintendents, after
being appointed by the President, must be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments
before said officers can take their office.

In 1992, then president Corazon Aquino appointed Pedro Sistoza et al as Directors and Chief
Superintendents within the PNP. Said appointments were not confirmed by the Commission on
Appointments hence, Jesulito Manalo questioned the validity of the appointments made. He
insists that without the confirmation by the Commission, Sistoza et al are acting without
jurisdiction, their appointment being contrary to the provisions of R.A. 6975.

He then went to the Supreme Court asking the court to carry out the provisions of the said
law. Manalo also insists that the law is a valid law, as it enjoys the presumption of
constitutionality, and hence, it must be carried out by the courts.


Whether or not Sections 26 and 31 of R.A. No. 6975 are valid.


No. Said provisions are unconstitutional. It is true that prior to this case, as with all other laws,
R.A. 6975 enjoys the presumption of constitutionality. As such, laws enacted by Congress must
be respected by courts and as much as possible, courts must avoid delving into the
constitutionality of a law.

However, it is also the duty of the courts, as guardians of the Constitution, to see to it that
every law passed by Congress is not repugnant to the Constitution.

Under Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, there are four groups of officers of the
government to be appointed by the President:

First, the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and
consuls, officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other
officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution;

Second, all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided
for by law;

Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint;

Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the
President alone.
The first group are the only ones whose appointments are required by the Constitution to be
affirmed by the Commission on Appointments. All others need not be confirmed. Officers of the
PNP are not included therein. There is also no merit to the contention that PNP officers are akin
to officers of the armed forces.

Sections 26 and 31 of R.A. 6975 are void for amending the provisions set forth in the

Courts have the inherent authority to determine whether a statute enacted by the legislature
transcends the limit alienated by the fundamental law. When it does the courts will not hesitate
to strike down such unconstitutionality.


[Judicial Review; Civilian supremacy clause]


Invoking his powers as Commander-in-Chief under Sec 18, Art. VII of the Constitution, President
Estrada, in verbal directive, directed the AFP Chief of Staff and PNP Chief to coordinate with
each other for the proper deployment and campaign for a temporary period only. The IBP
questioned the validity of the deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in law


1. WoN the President's factual determination of the necessity of calling the armed forces is
subject to judicial review.
2. WoN the calling of AFP to assist the PNP in joint visibility patrols violate the constitutional
provisions on civilian supremacy over the military.


1. The power of judicial review is set forth in Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, to wit:
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 grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any
branch or instrumentality of the Government.
When questions of constitutional significance are raised, the Court can exercise its power of
judicial review only if the following requisites are complied with, namely: (1) the existence of
an actual and appropriate case; (2) a personal and substantial interest of the party raising the
constitutional question; (3) the exercise of judicial review is pleaded at the earliest opportunity;
and (4) the constitutional question is the lis mota of the case.

2. The deployment of the Marines does not constitute a breach of the civilian supremacy
clause. The calling of the Marines in this case constitutes permissible use of military assets for
civilian law enforcement. The participation of the Marines in the conduct of joint visibility
patrols is appropriately circumscribed. It is their responsibility to direct and manage the
deployment of the Marines. It is, likewise, their duty to provide the necessary equipment to the
Marines and render logistical support to these soldiers. In view of the foregoing, it cannot be
properly argued that military authority is supreme over civilian authority. Moreover, the
deployment of the Marines to assist the PNP does not unmake the civilian character of the
police force. Neither does it amount to an “insidious incursion” of the military in the task of law
enforcement in violation of Section 5(4), Article XVI of the Constitution.


On September 12, 2007, the Sandiganbayan convicted former President Estrada, a former
President of the Republic of the Philippines, for the crime of plunder and was sentenced to
suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and the accessory penalties of civil interdiction during
the period of sentence and perpetual absolute disqualification.

On October 25, 2007, however, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo extended executive
clemency, by way of pardon, to former President Estrada explicitly states that He is hereby
restored to his civil and political rights.

On November 30, 2009, former President Estrada filed a Certificate of Candidacy[7] for the
position of President but was opposed by three petitions seeking for his disqualification. None
of the cases prospered and MRs were denied by Comelec En Banc. Estrada only managed to
garner the second highest number of votes on the May 10, 2010 synchronized elections.

On October 2, 2012, former President Estrada once more ventured into the political arena, and
filed a Certificate of Candidacy,[10] this time vying for a local elective post, that of the Mayor of
the City of Manila.

Petitioner Risos-Vidal filed a Petition for Disqualification against former President Estrada
before the COMELEC because of Estrada’s Conviction for Plunder by the Sandiganbayan
Sentencing Him to Suffer the Penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with Perpetual Absolute
Disqualification. Petitioner relied on Section 40 of the Local Government Code (LGC), in relation
to Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC)

In a Resolution dated April 1, 2013, the COMELEC, Second Division, dismissed the petition for
disqualification holding that President Estrada’s right to seek public office has been effectively
restored by the pardon vested upon him by former President Gloria M. Arroyo.

Estrada won the mayoralty race in May 13, 2013 elections. Petitioner-intervenor Alfredo Lim
garnered the second highest votes intervene and seek to disqualify Estrada for the same ground
as the contention of Risos-Vidal and praying that he be proclaimed as Mayor of Manila.


Whether or not the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
of jurisdiction in ruling that former President Estrada is qualified to vote and be voted for in
public office as a result of the pardon granted to him by former President Arroyo.


No. The COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Resolutions. The arguments forwarded by Risos-Vidal fail to
adequately demonstrate any factual or legal bases to prove that the assailed COMELEC
Resolutions were issued in a “whimsical, arbitrary or capricious exercise of power that amounts
to an evasion or refusal to perform a positive duty enjoined by law” or were so “patent and
gross” as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.

Former President Estrada was granted an absolute pardon that fully restored all his civil and
political rights, which naturally includes the right to seek public elective office, the focal point of
this controversy. The wording of the pardon extended to former President Estrada is complete,
unambiguous, and unqualified. It is likewise unfettered by Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised
Penal Code. The only reasonable, objective, and constitutional interpretation of the language of
the pardon is that the same in fact conforms to Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.

The proper interpretation of Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code.

A close scrutiny of the text of the pardon extended to former President Estrada shows that both
the principal penalty of reclusion perpetua and its accessory penalties are included in the
pardon. The sentence which states that “(h)e is hereby restored to his civil and political rights,”
expressly remitted the accessory penalties that attached to the principal penalty of reclusion
perpetua. Hence, even if we apply Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, it is indubitable
from the text of the pardon that the accessory penalties of civil interdiction and perpetual
absolute disqualification were expressly remitted together with the principal penalty of
reclusion perpetua.

The disqualification of former President Estrada under Section 40 of the LGC in relation to
Section 12 of the OEC was removed by his acceptance of the absolute pardon granted to him

While it may be apparent that the proscription in Section 40(a) of the LGC is worded in absolute
terms, Section 12 of the OEC provides a legal escape from the prohibition – a plenary pardon or
amnesty. In other words, the latter provision allows any person who has been granted plenary
pardon or amnesty after conviction by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude,
inter alia, to run for and hold any public office, whether local or national position.



This case is based on multiple cases field with dealt with the controversy that has arisen from
the forthcoming compulsory requirement of Chief Justice Puno on May 17, 2010 or seven days
after the presidential election. On December 22, 2009, Congressman Matias V. Defensor, an ex
officio member of the JBC, addressed a letter to the JBC, requesting that the process for
nominations to the office of the Chief Justice be commenced immediately. In its January 18,
2010 meeting en banc, the JBC passed a resolution which stated that they have unanimously
agreed to start the process of filling up the position of Chief Justice to be vacated on May 17,
2010 upon the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice. As a result, the JBC opened the
position of Chief Justice for application or recommendation, and published for that purpose its
announcement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star. In its meeting of
February 8, 2010, the JBC resolved to proceed to the next step of announcing the names of the
following candidates to invite to the public to file their sworn complaint, written report, or
opposition, if any, not later than February 22, 2010. Although it has already begun the process
for the filling of the position of Chief Justice Puno in accordance with its rules, the JBC is not yet
decided on when to submit to the President its list of nominees for the position due to the
controversy in this case being unresolved. The compiled cases which led to this case and the
petitions of intervenors called for either the prohibition of the JBC to pass the shortlist,
mandamus for the JBC to pass the shortlist, or that the act of appointing the next Chief Justice
by GMA is a midnight appointment. A precedent frequently cited by the parties is the In Re
Appointments Dated March 30, 1998 of Hon. Mateo A. Valenzuela and Hon. Placido B. Vallarta
as Judges of the RTC of Branch 62, Bago City and of Branch 24, Cabanatuan City, respectively,
shortly referred to here as the Valenzuela case, by which the Court held that Section 15, Article
VII prohibited the exercise by the President of the power to appoint to judicial positions during
the period therein fixed.


1. Whether or not the petitioners have legal standing.

2. Whether or not there is justiciable controversy that is ripe for judicial determination.

3. Whether or not the incumbent President can appoint the next Chief Justice.
4. Whether or not mandamus and prohibition will lie to compel the submission of the shortlist
of nominees by the JBC.


1.Petitioners have legal standing because such requirement for this case was waived by the
Court. Legal standing is a peculiar concept in constitutional law because in some cases, suits are
not brought by parties who have been personally injured by the operation of a law or any other
government act but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public
interest.” But even if, strictly speaking, the petitioners “are not covered by the definition, it is
still within the wide discretion of the Court to waive the requirement and so remove the
impediment to its addressing and resolving the serious constitutional questions raised.”

2. There is a justiciable issue. The court holds that the petitions set forth an actual case or
controversy that is ripe for judicial determination. The reality is that the JBC already
commenced the proceedings for the selection of the nominees to be included in a short list to
be submitted to the President for consideration of which of them will succeed Chief Justice
Puno as the next Chief Justice. Although the position is not yet vacant, the fact that the JBC
began the process of nomination pursuant to its rules and practices, although it has yet to
decide whether to submit the list of nominees to the incumbent outgoing President or to the
next President, makes the situation ripe for judicial determination, because the next steps are
the public interview of the candidates, the preparation of the short list of candidates, and the
“interview of constitutional experts, as may be needed.” The resolution of the controversy will
surely settle – with finality – the nagging questions that are preventing the JBC from moving on
with the process that it already began, or that are reasons persuading the JBC to desist from the
rest of the process.

3.Prohibition under section 15, Article VII does not apply to appointments to fill a vacancy in
the Supreme Court or to other appointments to the judiciary. The records of the deliberations
of the Constitutional Commission reveal that the framers devoted time to meticulously
drafting, styling, and arranging the Constitution. Such meticulousness indicates that the
organization and arrangement of the provisions of the Constitution were not arbitrarily or
whimsically done by the framers, but purposely made to reflect their intention and manifest
their vision of what the Constitution should contain. As can be seen, Article VII is devoted to the
Executive Department, and, among others, it lists the powers vested by the Constitution in the
President. The presidential power of appointment is dealt with in Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the
Article. Had the framers intended to extend the prohibition contained in Section 15, Article VII
to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court, they could have explicitly done so. They
could not have ignored the meticulous ordering of the provisions. They would have easily and
surely written the prohibition made explicit in Section 15, Article VII as being equally applicable
to the appointment of Members of the Supreme Court in Article VIII itself, most likely in Section
4 (1), Article VIII.

4.Writ of mandamus does not lie against the JBC. Mandamus shall issue when any tribunal,
corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act that the law
specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station. It is proper when the act
against which it is directed is one addressed to the discretion of the tribunal or officer.
Mandamus is not available to direct the exercise of a judgment or discretion in a particular way.
For mandamus to lie, the following requisites must be complied with: (a) the plaintiff has a clear
legal right to the act demanded; (b) it must be the duty of the defendant to perform the act,
because it is mandated by law; (c) the defendant unlawfully neglects the performance of the
duty enjoined by law; (d) the act to be performed is ministerial, not discretionary; and (e) there
is no appeal or any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.