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Article VI, Section 17 Case Digest - BANAT v. COMELEC, G.R.

177508, August 7, 2009

BANAT v. COMELEC G.R. 177508 August 7, 2009 FACTS Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) party list petitioned in Court for the constitutionality of RA 9369, enjoining respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from implementing the statute. RA 9369 is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2231 and House Bill No. 5352. Petitioner also assailed the constutionality of Sections 34, 37, 38, and 43 of the said Republic Act and alleged that they were of questionable application and their validity was doubtful. Petitioner raised the issue whether RA 9369, RA 7166 as amended, being a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2231 and House Bill No. 5352, violated Section 26(1) of Article VI of the Constitution which states that "Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof." BANAT also questioned the validity of Sections 37 and 38, whether or not it violated Section 17 or Article VI of the Constitution which specifies that the Senate and the House of Representatives should each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all election, returns, and qualification contests relating to its Members. Petitioner alleged that the title of RA 9369 is misleading because it speaks of poll automation but contains substantial provisions dealing with the manual canvassing of election returns. Petitioner also alleged that Sections 34, 37, 38, and 43 are neither embraced in the title nor pertaining to the subject matter of RA 9369. ISSUE Do Sections 37 and 38 of RA 7166 not violate Section 17, Article VI? HELD No. It is settled that every statute is presumed to be constitutional. The presumption is that the legislature intended to enact a valid, sensible and just law. Those who petition

the Court to declare a law unconstitutional must show that there is a clear an unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful, speculative or argumentative one. Otherwise, the petition must fail. Section 37 and 38 do not violate Section 17, Article VI. The COMELEC maintained that the amendments introduced by Section 37 pertained only to the adoption and application of the procedures on the pre-proclamation controversies. It did not provide Congress and the COMELEC "en banc" may entertain pre-proclamation cases for national elective posts.