Political Law Part VII: Article VII – The Executive Department

POLITICAL LAW PART VII

ARTICLE VII – THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines.

1.  a.   Define executive power

b.   May the President refuse to enforce a law on the ground that in his opinion it is unconstitutional?

No. Otherwise, he will be violating the doctrine of separation of powers because by doing so, he will be arrogating unto himself the power to interpret the law, not merely to implement it.

Read:

1)   L.S. MOON & CO. VS. HARRISON, 43 Phil.38

          2)   GOV’T. VS. SPRINGER, 50 Phil. 529, read also the separate opinion.

          3) What is the extent of the executive or administrative orders that may be issued by the President as the Chief Executive, under the Administrative Code of 1987?

BLAS OPLE VS. RUBEN TORRES, ET AL.

G.R. No. 127685, July 23, 1998

Puno, J.

Facts:

          On December 12, 1996, then President FIDEL V. RAMOS issued Administrative Order No. 308 entitled “ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM”.

The AO seeks to have all Filipino citizens and foreign residents to have a Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the National Statistics Office (NSO) through the use of BIOMETRICS TECHNOLOGY .

The AO was questioned by Senator Ople on the following grounds:

1.           The establishment of the PRN without any law is an unconstitutional usurpation of the legislative powers of the Congress of the Philippines;

2.           The appropriation of public funds for the implementation of the said AO is unconstitutional since Congress has the exclusive authority to appropriate funds for such expenditure; and

3.           The AO violates  the citizen’s right to privacy protected by the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.

Held:

1.           The AO establishes a system of identification that is all-encompassing in scope, affects the life and liberty of every Filipino citizens and foreign residents and therefore, it is supposed to be a law passed by Congress that implements it, not by an Administrative Order issued by the President. Administrative Power,  which is supposed to be exercised by the President, is concerned with the work of applying policies and enforcing orders as determined by  proper governmental organs. It enables the President to fix a uniform standard of administrative efficiency and check the official conduct of his agents. Prescinding from the foregoing precepts, AO 308 involves a subject that is  not appropriate to be covered by an Administrative Order. An administrative order is an ordinance issued by the President which relates to specific aspects in the administrative operation of the government. It must be in harmony with the law and should be for the sole purpose of implementing the law and carrying out the legislative policy. The subject of AO 308 therefore is beyond the power of the President to issue and it is a usurpation of legislative power.

2.           The AO likewise violates the right to privacy since its main purpose is to provide a “common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned agencies through the use of BIOMETRICS TECHNOLOGY. Biometry is the science of the application of statistical methods to biological facts; a mathematical analysis of a biological data. It is the confirmation of an individual’s identity through a fingerprint, retinal scan, hand geometry or  facial features. Through the PRN, the government offices has the chance of building a huge and formidable information base through the electronic linkage of the files of every citizen. The data, however, may be gathered for gainful and useful government purposes; but the existence of this vast reservoir of personal information constitutes a covert invitation to misuse, a temptation that may be too great for some of our authorities to resist.

Further, the AO does not even tells us in clear and unequivocal terms how these informations gathered shall be handled. It does not provide who shall control and access the data and under what circumstances and for what purpose. These factors are essential to safeguard the privacy and guaranty the integrity of the information. The computer linkage gives other government agencies access to the information. YET, THERE ARE NO CONTROLS TO GUARD AGAINST LEAKAGE OF INFORMATIONS. WHEN THE ACCESS CODE OF THE CONTROL PROGRAMS OF THE PARTICULAR COMPUTER SYSTEM IS BROKEN, AN INTRUDER, WITHOUT FEAR OF SANCTION OR PENALTY, CAN MAKE USE OF THE DATA FOR WHATEVER PURPOSE, OR WORSE, MANIPULATE THE DATA STORED WITHIN THE SYSTEM.

AO No. 308 is unconstitutional since it falls short of assuring that personal information gathered about our people will be used only for specified purposes thereby violating the citizen’s right to privacy.

 Sections 2. No person shall be elected President unless he is a natural born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years o f age on the day of the election, and a resident o f the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding the election.

Section 3. There shall be a Vice President who shall have the same qualifications and term of office and be elected with and in the same manner as the President. He may be removed from Office in the same manner as the President.

          The Vice President may be appointed as a Member of the cabinet. Such appointment requires no confirmation.

Note: Section 13, Art. VII.  The President, Vice President, the members of the cabinet, and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure…

Section 8, Article VIII. The Judicial and Bar Council—–Secretary of Justice..

Section 2, Article XI. The President, VP, …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.

Section  4. The President and the Vice   President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years which shall begin at noon on the 30th day of June next following their election and shall end at noon of the same date six years thereafter. The President shall not be eligible for any reelection. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than 4 years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.

No Vive President shall serve for more than 2 successive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected.

The returns of every election for President and Vice President duly certified by the Board of canvassers of each province or city shall be transmitted to the congress….

The candidate having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected, but in case two or more  shall have an equal number of votes, one of them shall forthwith be chosen by the vote of a majority of all the members of both Houses of Congress voting separately.

Section 5…Oath

Section 6. Residence…Salary may not be decreased…not increased until after the expiration of his terms…shall not received any other emolument from the government of from any source during their tenure.

Section 7. ..shall assume office at the beginning of their terms.

…P & VP not qualified, the Senate President shall act as President or the Speaker, if SP is not yet qualified..

Congress shall pass a law if the SP & Speaker are not qualified to act as President…

Section 9. VP is vacant, the President shall nominate from the Senate of HR and who shall become VP upon confirmation of majority vote of the members of the Senate & H of R voting separately.

Section 10. …In  case of vacancy in the office of the President and VP, Congress shall convene on the 3rd day after the vacancy to enact a law calling for special election to be held not later than 60 days…the law is deemed certified under Section 26, par. 2 of Art. VI and shall become a law upon 3rd reading.. Special elections cannot be postponed but no special election if the vacancy occurs within 18 months before the next presidential election.

Section 11.  When President transmits to Congress his written declaration of inability to perform his duties, the VP shall be acting President until the President transmits another declaration to the contrary.

          When majority of the members of the cabinet transmit to the Senate President a written declaration that the President is unable to perform his duties, the VP shall act as the President.

If the President transmits to the SP his declaration that there is no disability, he shall reassume his post but if the majority of all the members of the Cabinet still insists that the President is unable to discharge his powers, CONGRESS SHALL DECIDE THE ISSUE. IT MUST CONVENE WITHIN 48 HOURS if not in session without need of a call.

If 2/3 of both Houses, voting separately, determines that the President is unable to discharge his powers, the VP shall act as President. Otherwise, the President shall continue exercising his powers and duties of his office.

Section 12. In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The members  of the cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of the AFP shall not be denied access to the President.

a.   Qualifications, disqualifications, term of office, etc., of the President and Vice-President.

b.   See:  Sec. 17 of Art. XVIII.

c.   Read:     PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION VS. COMELEC, 140 SCRA 453 (The snap presidential election case)

3.  Sections 7-12

a.  Note the order of succession to the office of the President and Vice President

b. Query: Is President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a de jure or a de facto President? If de jure, how did she succeed? Resignation or permanent disability of  former President Estrada?

JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA VS. DESIERTO, G.R. Nos.  146710-15 and 146738, March 2, 2001

Puno, J [En Banc]

F A C T S:

1.           On 13 November 2000, the Speaker of the House of Representatives transmitted to the Senate the Articles of Impeachment charging petitioner Joseph Estrada with bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution. The impeachment of petitioner resulted from disclosures made by Ilocos Sur Governor, Luis Chavit Singson in October, 2000 that petitioner had received payments from illegal jueteng operations and excise taxes;

The impeachment trial began on 07 December 2000. A highlight of the December 2000 hearings was the testimony of CLARISSA OCAMPO of the Equitable – PCI Bank that she witnessed petitioner affixing the signature of “JOSE VELARDE” on bank documents involving a P500 M investment agreement;

2.           On 16 January 2001, the issue of whether or not to open what has been dubbed as the “Second Envelope” arose before the impeachment court. The envelope allegedly contained proof that petitioner held P3.3 B in a secret bank account under the name “JOSE VELARDE”. The motion to open the said envelope was struck down by the senator-judges by a vote of 11-10. The public and private prosecutors walked out of the trial to protect the ruling. Hours after the controversial ruling, the public began to rally at the EDSA SHRINE; the rally continued in the following days;

3.           On January 17, 2001, the public prosecutors tendered their collective resignation to the Speaker. They also filed a Manifestation of WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE with the Impeachment Court. Thereafter, Senator Roco moved for the indefinite postponement of the impeachment proceedings. Chief Justice Davide granted the same;

4.           In the afternoon of 19 January, 2001, the Chief of Staff of the AFP withdrew his support to President Estrada. The same is true with the PNP Chief and majority of the members of the Estrada Cabinet;

5.           In early hours of 20 January 2001, negotiations for the peaceful and orderly transfer of power began between petitioner’s representatives and that of respondent GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, then Vice President. Later in the morning, Arroyo reportedly requested the Chief Justice to administer her oath. The letter, sent through fax was quoted thus by Justice Vitug in his concurring opinion, as follows:

“The undersigned respectfully informs this Honorable Court that Joseph Ejercito Estrada is permanently incapable of performing  the duties of his office resulting in his permanent disability to govern and serve his unexpired term. Almost all of his cabinet members have resigned and the Philippine National Police have withdrawn their support for Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Civil society has likewise refused to recognize him as President.

“In view of this, I am assuming the position of the President of the Philippines. Accordingly, I would like to take my oath as President of the Republic before the Honorable Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. today, 20 January 2001, 12:00 noon at EDSA SHRINE, Quezon City, Metro Manila.

“May I have the honor to invite the members of the Honorable Court to attend the oath-taking”.

6.           At 12 noon, Arroyo was sworn in by Chief Justice Davide as the 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines. At 2:30 p.m., petitioner and his family left Malacanang Palace. Petitioner issued the following statement:

“At 12 o’clock noon today, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took her oath as President of the Republic of the Philippines. While along with many other legal minds of our country, I have strong and serious doubts about the legality and constitutionality of her Proclamation as President, I do not wish to be a factor that will prevent the restoration of unity and order in our civil society.

It is for this reason that I now leave Malacanang Palace, the seat of the Presidency of this country, for the sake of peace and in order to begin the healing process of our nation. I leave the palace of our people with gratitude for the opportunities given to me for service to our people. I will not shirk from any future challenges that may come ahead in the same service of our country.

I call all my supporters and followers to join me in the promotion of a constructive national spirit of reconciliation and solidarity.

May the Almighty bless our country and beloved people.

Mabuhay”

“(Sgd.) Joseph Ejercito Estrada”

7.           Petitioner also sent copies of the following letter to the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives on 20 January 2001. The copy for the House Speaker was sent at 8:30 a.m.. Another copy was transmitted to the Senate President and received only at 9:00 p.m.

“Sir:

By virtue of the provisions of Section 11, Art. VII of the Constitution, I am hereby transmitting this declaration that I am unable to exercise the powers and duties of my office. By operation of law and the Constitution, the Vice President shall be Acting President.

(Sgd.) Joseph Ejercito Estrada”

8.           Prior to the events of January, 2001, 6 cases had been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman Aniano Desierto. A special panel was created to investigate these cases. On January 22, 2001, petitioner was directed to file his counter-affidavit and affidavit of his witnesses;

9.           On February 5, 2001, petitioner filed these cases to prohibit the respondent from investigating the charges of plunder, bribery and graft and corruption  on the ground that he is immune from suit;

10.        On February 6, 2001, the petitioner filed the petition docketed as GR No. 146738 for quo warranto against Arroyo praying that he be declared the lawful President of the Philippines and respondent GMA merely as acting President on account of his temporary disability.

I  S  S  U  E  S:

1.           DO THE CASES AT BAR INVOLVE A POLITICAL QUESTION AND ARE BEYOND THE JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE?

2.           DID PETITIONER ESTRADA RESIGN AS PRESIDENT?

3.           IS THE PETITIONER TEMPORARILY UNABLE TO ACT AS PRESIDENT?

4.           DOES THE PETITIONER ENJOY IMMUNITY FROM SUIT? IF SO, TO WHAT EXTENT?

5.           SHOULD THE PROSECUTION OF ESTRADA BE ENJOINED DUE TO PREJUDICIAL PUBLICITY?

H E L D:

I

No,  the cases do not involve political question. In Tanada vs. Cuenco, 103 Phil. 1051 [1957], it was held that political questions refer 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 legislative and executive branches of the government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not the legality of a particular measure.”

The  1987 Constitution narrowed the reach of the political question doctrine when it expanded the power of judicial review of the court, not only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, but also 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 government.

IN support of the contention that the cases involve political questions, the respondents cited the cases of LAWYER’’ LEAGE FOR A BETTER PHILIPPINES VS. PRESIDENT CORAZON AQUINO, May 22, 1986 and related cases. The court pointed out that in those cases, it held that the government of President Aquino was the result of a successful but peaceful revolution by the Filipino people. The Freedom Constitution itself declared that the Aquino government was installed through the direct exercise of the power of the Filipino people “in defiance of the 1973 Constitution, as amended.” IN contrast, the Arroyo government is not revolutionary in character. The oath of President Arroyo took at the EDSA Shrine is an oath under the 1987 Constitution where she swore to preserve and defend the 1987 Constitution.

The EDSA 1 that installed President Aquino and EDSA II which installed Arroyo are different because the first involves the exercise of the people power of revolution which overthrew the whole government. EDSA II is an exercise of people power of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to petition the government for redress of grievances which only affected the Office of the President. EDSA I is extra constitutional and the legitimacy of the new government that resulted from it cannot be the subject of judicial review, but EDSA II is intra constitutional and the resignation of the  sitting President that it caused and the succession of the Vice President as President are subject to judicial review. EDSA I presented a political question, EDSA II involves legal questions.

Therefore, the present cases involve legal questions requiring the proper interpretation of provisions of the 1987 Constitution on the scope of presidential immunity from suit and the correct calibration of the right of petitioner against prejudicial publicity.

II

Using the totality test, the SC held that petitioner Estrada resigned as President.

Resignation is not a high level abstraction. It is a factual question and its elements are beyond quibble: there must be an intent to resign and the intent must be coupled by acts of relinquishment. The validity of a resignation is not governed by any formal requirement as to form. It can be written. It can be express. It can be implied. As long as the resignation is clear, it must be given legal effect.

Since Estrada did not write a letter of resignation before evacuating the Malacanang Palace on January 20, 2001, the determination of whether he resigned should be based on his acts and omission before, during and after 20 January 2001. THIS IS THE TOTALITY TEST, THE TOTALITY OF PRIOR, CONTEMPORANEOUS AND POSTERIOR FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE BEARING MATERIAL RELEVANCE TO THE ISSUE.

The diary of former Executive Secretary Angara as serialized in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 4-6, 2001 gives an “authoritative window on the state of mind of the petitioner.” These are:

a.            On January 19, 2001 at the height of the EDSA protest, Estrada  called for a snap presidential election in May 2001 and made it on record that he will not be a candidate. It is an indication that he had given up the presidency even at that time since his term is supposed to be up to 2004;

b.            Estrada did not object to the  suggestion that he consider a “dignified exit” and that he be allowed to go abroad with enough funds;

c.            Estrada’s statement that he was guaranteed by Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes that he would be given a 5-day grace period in the palace which shows that he had reconciled himself to the reality that he had to resign;

d.           During the negotiations between the Estrada and Arroyo groups in the early morning of January 20, 2001, the resignation of the petitioner was treated as a fact;

e.            During the 1st round of negotiations, Estrada said “Pagod na pagod na ako. Ayoko masyado nang masakit. Pagod na ako sa red tape, intriga”. The court held that this was a “high grade evidence” that he had resigned. The SC held that “ayoko na” are words of resignation.

f.             The President’s act of leaving the palace on January 20, 2001 confirmed his resignation. Petitioner’s press release, “his final act and farewell”, acknowledged the  oath-taking of Arroyo as President, his reservation about its legality. He said he was leaving the palace for the sake of peace and order. He did not say that he was leaving as a result of a disability and was going to re-assume the presidency as soon as the disability appears

III

NO.

The court held that the petitioner has in fact resigned and his claim of inability was laid to rest by Congress. The decision that respondent Arroyo is the de jure President, made by a co-equal branch of the government, cannot be reviewed by the Court.

Both Houses of Congress had recognized that Arroyo is the President when they passed Resolution “expressing their support to the administration of Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President of the Philippines” which was passed on January 24, 2001;  another resolution dated January 24, 2001 “expressing full support to the assumption into office by VP Arroyo as President of the Philippines”; and the Resolution dated February 7, 2001 “confirming President Arroyo’s nomination of Senator Teopisto Guingona, Jr. as Vice President of the Philippines.”

Both Houses also sent bills for the New President (GMA)  to sign into law. Therefore, the Court has no jurisdiction to review the claim of temporary disability and could not revise the decision of Congress recognizing Arroyo as President without transgressing the principle of separation of powers.

IV

NO.

As a non-sitting President, Estrada enjoys no immunity from the criminal charges of plunder, bribery and graft and corruption filed against him. Likewise, the argument that he should first be convicted in the impeachment proceedings before he could be charged criminally is without merit since the impeachment court has adjourned indefinitely insofar as the case against him is concerned. To follow his line of argument  would put a perpetual bar against his prosecution. In fact, the Constitutional Commission in its deliberations   show that even if the case against an impeachable officer has become moot as a result of his resignation, the proper criminal and civil cases may be filed against him.

Also, as held in RE: SATURNINO BERMUDEZ, 145 SCRA 160, an incumbent President is immune from suit or from being brought to court BUT NOT BEYOND. In NIXON  VS. FITSGERALD, 457 US 731, the US Supreme Court held that the immunity  of the President from civil damages covers only official acts. In the 1997 case of CLINTON VS. JONES, 520 US 681, the US Supreme Court held that the president’s immunity from suits for money damages arising out of official acts is inapplicable to unofficial conduct.

Finally, the constitutional provision that a public office is a public trust would be “devalued if we sustain petitioner’s claim that a non-sitting President enjoys immunity from suit for criminal acts committed during his incumbency.”

V

NO.

The SC held that the evidence presented by the petitioner is insufficient for the Court to rule that the preliminary investigation by respondent Desierto be enjoined. The claim of the petitioner, based on news reports, that the Ombudsman had prejudged his case is not sufficient ground to stop the investigation. As held in MARTELINO VS. ALEJANDRO, 32 SCRA 106, “to warrant a finding of prejudicial publicity, there must be an actual prejudice—there must be allegation  and proof that the judges have been unduly influenced. The accuracy of the reports cited by the petitioner could not be the subject of judicial notice since the Ombudsman is entitled to the presumption of good faith and regularity in the performance of official duty.

(NOTE: On April 7, 2001, the Motion for Reconsideration of Estrada of the above decision was denied for lack of merit.)

4.  Section 13. The President, VP, Members of the Cabinet or their assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure.. They shall not during their tenure, directly or indirectly practice any profession, participate in any business or be financially interested in any contract with…the government or any government owned or controlled corporation or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.

 

Read:  1. PUNZALAN VS. MENDOZA, 140 SCRA 153

               2. ADAZA VS. PACANA, 135 SCRA 431

3. Opinion No. 155, Series of 1988 by the Secretary of Justice

4. Executive Order No. 284

5. Civil Liberties Union vs. Exec. Sec., February 22, 1991

Sections 14  Appointments extended by an Acting President shall remain effective, unless revoked by the elected President within 90 days from his assumption of office.

Section 15. Two months immediately before the next presidential election and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

(NOTE: Section 9, Article VIII. The President shall issue the appointments within 90 days from the submission of the list)

Read:

1)   AYTONA VS. CASTILLO, 4 SCRA 1

     2)   PAMANTASAN VS. IAC, 140 SCRA 22

6.           Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers are vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the government whose appointments are not otherwise provided by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint…

          The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.

a.            Read:

Temporary Appointments for members of the Cabinet; Ad interim appointments.

SEN. AQUILINO PIMENTEL, et al., vs. EXEC. SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, et al., 472 SCRA 587

Carpio, J.

Facts:

1.           On July 26, 2004, Congress commenced its Regular Session. On August 25, 2004, the Commission on appointments was constituted;

2.           While Congress was in session, the President issued   appointments as Acting Secretaries to the following:

a.            Arthur Yap  to the Department of Agriculture;

b.            Alberto Romulo to the Department of Foreign affairs;

c.            Raul Gonzales to the Department of Justice;

d.           Florencio Abad to the Department of Education;

e.            Avelino Cruz, Jr. to the Department of National Defense;

f.             Rene Villa to the Department of Agrarian Reform;

g.           Joseph Durano to the Department of Tourism; and

h.           Michael Defensor to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

3.           On September  8, 2004, the petitioners questioned said appointments as “Acting Secretary” as UNCONSTITUTIONAL since Congress was in session and it was an act of circumventing the power of the Commission on Appointments confirm the said appointments. They claimed that “while Congress is in session, there can be no appointments, whether regular or acting, to a vacant position of an office needing confirmation by the Commission on Appointments, without first having obtained its consent.”

4.           On September 22, 2004, Congress adjourned its session;

5.           On September 23, 2004, the president issued “ad-interim appointments” to the above-named appointees to the departments to which they were previously appointed in an acting capacity;

6.           Thereafter, the respondents moved for the dismissal of this case on the ground that it is now moot and academic considering the issuance of ad-interim appointments and subsequent submission of the appointments of the above-named members of the cabinet to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation.

I s s u e s:

1.           Shall the case be dismissed since it is already moot and academic?

2.           Do all the petitioners have the personality to sue?

3.           Were the temporary appointments made while Congress was in session to positions subject of confirmation by the Commission on Appointments unconstitutional?

H e l d:

1.           While it is a rule that courts should not decide moot cases, the courts, as an exception, will rule on it if it is capable of repetition yet evading review (TOLENTINO VS. COMELEC, 420 SCRA 438; ACOP VS. SECRETARY GUINGONA, 383 SCRA 577; VIOLA VS. HON. ALUNAN III, 277 SCRA 409; ALUNAN III VS. MIRASOL, 276 SCRA 501).

2.           Only those members of the Commission on Appointments have the personality to sue and not the other petitioners who are not. While it was held in SANLAKAS VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, 421 SCRA 656 that members of Congress have the personality to sue if the President’s act has the effect of impairing the powers of Congress, the same is not applicable in this case. This is so because the Commission on Appointments is independent from Congress itself. President Arroyo’s issuance of acting appointments while Congress is in session impairs no power of Congress.

3.           The temporary appointments are valid. The power to appoint is essentially executive in nature and the legislature may not interfere with the exercise of this executive power except in those instances when the Constitution expressly allows it to interfere. The essence of an appointment in an acting capacity is its temporary nature. It is a stop-gap measure intended to fill an office for a limited time until the appointment of a permanent occupant to the office. In case of vacancy in an office occupied by an alter ego of the President, such as the office of a department secretary, the President must necessarily appoint an alter ego of her choice as acting secretary before the permanent appointee of her choice could assume office. Congress, through a law cannot impose on the President the obligation of automatically appointing the Undersecretary as her alter ego. He must be of the President’s confidence and provided that the temporary appointment does not exceed one (1) year.

There is a need to distinguish ad interim appointments and appointments in an acting capacity. While both are effective upon acceptance, ad interim appointments are extended only during the recess of Congress, whereas acting appointments may be extended any time that there is a vacancy. Moreover, ad interim appointments are submitted to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation or rejection; acting appointments are not submitted to the Commission on appointments. Acting appointments are a way of temporarily circumventing the need of confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.

1. CALDERON VS. CARALE, April 23, 11992    

          1-a)   ULPIANO SARMIENTO III VS. SALVADOR  MISON, G.R. No. 79774, Dec. 17, 1987,   156 SCRA 549

          2. MARY CONCEPCION-BAUTISTA VS. THE COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS, April,                 13,1989

          2-A TERESITA DELES, ET AL. VS. COMMISSION ON                     APPOINTMENTS, September 4, 1989

          3   RAFAEL VS. EMBROIDERY AND APPAREL CONTROL BOARD, 21 SCRA 336

4             OLIVEROS-TORRE VS. BAYOT, 58 SCRA 272;

5             . TARROSA VS. SINGSON, May 25, 1994;

6              NIERE VS. CFI, 54 SCRA 165

b.   Distinguish adjournment from recess.

c.   Differentiate the status of an appointment made by the President while Congress is in session compared to that when it is in recess.

7.  Section 17, The President shall have control of all the executive departments , bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully  executed.

President’s Control over the executive department; usurpation of legislative powers and infringement on the citizen’s right to privacy

KILUSANG MAYO UNO VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, ET AL., April 19, 2006 & June 20, 2006

BAYAN MUNA VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, ET AL., April 19, 2006 & June 20, 2006

Carpio, J.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation No. 420 that mandates the Adoption of a Unified, Multi-purpose Identification System by all Government Agencies in the Executive Department. This is so despite the fact that the Supreme Court held in an En Banc decision in 1998 OPLE VS. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY RUBEN TORRES Administrative Order No. 308[National computerized Identification Reference System] issued by then President Fidel V. Ramos that the same is unconstitutional because “a national ID card system requires legislation because it creates a new national data collection and  card issuance system, where none existed before”. The Supreme Court likewise held that EO 308 as unconstitutional for it violates the citizen’s right to privacy.

Based on the Ople ruling, the petitioners claimed that Proclamation No. 420 is unconstitutional on two (2) grounds:

a.            usurpation of legislative powers; and

b.            it infringes on the citizen’s right to privacy

Held:

1.           The issuance by the President of Proclamation No. 420 is not a usurpation of legislative powers. This is so because EO 420 applies only to government entities that already maintain ID systems and issue ID cards pursuant to their regular functions…and does not grant such government entities any power that they do not already posses under existing laws. It is not similar to AO 308 because it does not create a notional ID system since it  the same applies only to the executive branch of the government, including government owned and controlled corporations but not the judiciary nor the independent constitutional commissions. This only shows that EO 420 does not establish a national ID system because legislation is needed to establish a single ID system which is compulsory to all branches of the government. EO 420 makes existing sectoral card systems of the government entities like the GSIS, SSS, Philhealth and Land Transportation Office less costly, more efficient, reliable and user-friendly to the public. Finally, the issuance of Proclamation No. 420 is a proper subject of executive issuance under the President’ constitutional power of control over government entities in the executive department as well as under the President’s constitutional  duty to ensure that laws are faithfully executed.

2.           The said Executive Order No. 420 does not violate the citizen’s right to privacy since it does not require all the citizens to be issued a national ID as what happened in AO 308. Only those dealing or employed with the said government entities who are required to provide the required information for the issuance of the said ID.

a.   Distinguish the power of control over the power of supervision

b.   Read:

1. Santos vs. Exec. Sec., April 10, 1992

          1-a. Maceda vs. Macaraig, Jr., 197 SCRA 771

          1-b. Echeche vs. CA, 198 SCRA 577

          The act of the Executive Secretary in reversing the decision of the Secretary of the DENR allowing the payment of the backwages of petitioner is considered an act of the President and therefore valid in accordance with the doctrine of qualified political agency.

          1-c. Ganzon vs. CA, 200 SCRA 271

The petitions of Mayor Ganzon originated from a series of administrative complaints, ten in number, filed against him by various city officials sometime in 1988, on various charges, among them, abuse of authority, oppression, grave misconduct, disgraceful and immoral conduct, intimidation, culpable violation of the Constitution, and arbitrary detention. 1 The personalities involved are Joceleehn Cabaluna, a clerk at the city health office; Salvador Cabaluna, her husband; Dr. Felicidad Ortigoza, Assistant City Health Officer; Mansueto Malabor, Vice-Mayor; Rolando Dabao, Dan Dalido, German Gonzales, Larry Ong, and Eduardo Pefia Redondo members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod; and Pancho Erbite, a barangay tanod.

Another administrative case was filed by Pancho Erbite, a barangay tanod, appointed by former mayor Rosa O. Caram. On March 13, 1988, without the benefit of charges filed against him and no warrant of arrest was issued, Erbite was arrested and detained at the City Jail of Iloilo City upon orders of petitioner. In jail, he was allegedly mauled by other detainees thereby causing  injuries He was released only the following day.

Finding probable grounds and reasons, the respondent issued a preventive suspension order on August 11, 1988 to last until October 11,1988 for a period of sixty (60) days.

Then the next investigation was set on September 21, 1988 and the petitioner again asked for a postponement to September 26,1988. On September 26, 1988, the complainants and petitioner were present, together with their respective counsel. The petitioner sought for a postponement which was denied. In these hearings which were held in  Mala the petitioner testified in Adm. Case No. C-10298 and 10299. He was again ordered suspended.

We come to the core question: Whether or not the Secretary of Local Government, as the President’s alter ego, can suspend and/or remove local officials.

It is the petitioners’ argument that the 1987 Constitution  no longer allows the President, as the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions did, to exercise the power of suspension and/or removal over local officials. According to both petitioners, the Constitution is meant, first, to strengthen self-rule by local government units and second, by deleting the phrase 21 as may be provided by law to strip the President of the power of control over local governments. It is a view, so they contend, that finds support in the debates of the Constitutional Commission. The provision in question reads as follows:

Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to component cities and municipalities, and cities and municipalities with respect to component barangays shall ensure that the acts of their  component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and            functions.

It modifies a counterpart provision appearing in the 1935 Constitution, which we quote:

Sec. 10. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, exercise general supervision over all Local governments as may be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

The petitioners submit that the deletion (of “as may be provided by law”) is significant, as their argument goes, since: (1) the power of the President is “provided by law” and (2) hence, no law may provide for it any longer.

It is to be noted that in  meting out the suspensions under question, the Secretary of Local Government acted in consonance with the specific legal provisions of Batas Blg. 337, the Local Government Code, we quote:

Sec. 62.       Notice of Hearing.    Within seven days after the complaint is filed, the Minister of local Government, or the sanggunian concerned, as the case may be, shall require the respondent to submit his verified answer within seven days from receipt of said complaint, and commence the hearing and investigation of the case within ten days after receipt of such answer of the respondent. No investigation shall be held within ninety days immediately prior to an election, and no preventive suspension shall be imposed with the said period. If preventive suspension has been imposed prior to the aforesaid period, the preventive suspension shall be lifted.

Sec. 63.       Preventive Suspension.   (1)     Preventive suspension may be imposed by the Minister of Local Government if the respondent is a provincial or city official, by the provincial governor if the respondent is an elective municipal official, or by the city or municipal mayor if the respondent is an elective barangay official.

The issue, as the Court understands it, consists of three questions: (1) Did the 1987 Constitution, in deleting the phrase “as may be provided by law” intend to divest the President of the power to investigate, suspend, discipline, and/or remove local officials? (2) Has the Constitution repealed Sections 62 and 63 of the Local Government Code? (3) What is the significance of the change in the constitutional language?

It is the considered opinion of the Court that notwithstanding the change in the constitutional language, the charter did not intend to divest the legislature of its right or the President of her prerogative as conferred by existing legislation to provide administrative sanctions against local officials. It is our opinion that the omission (of “as may be provided by law”) signifies nothing more than to underscore local governments’ autonomy from congress and to break Congress’ “control” over local government affairs. The Constitution did not, however, intend, for the sake of local autonomy, to deprive the legislature of all authority over municipal corporations, in particular, concerning discipline.

The petitioners are under the impression that the Constitution has left the President mere supervisory powers, which supposedly excludes the power of investigation, and denied her control, which allegedly embraces disciplinary authority. It is a mistaken impression because legally, “supervision” is not incompatible with disciplinary authority as this Court has held

It is true that in the case of Mondano vs. Silvosa, 51 Off. Gaz., No. 6 p. 2884, this Court had occasion to discuss the scope and extent of the power of supervision by the President over local government officials in contrast to the power of control given to him over executive officials of our government wherein it was emphasized that the two terms, control and supervision, are two different things which differ one from the other in meaning and extent. Thus in that case the Court has made the following digression: “In administration law supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify of set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.” But from this pronouncement it cannot be reasonably inferred that the power of supervision of the President over local government officials does not include the power of investigation when in his opinion the good of the public service so requires, as postulated in Section 64(c) of the Revised Administrative Code. …

xxx                       xxx                       xxx

“Control” has been defined as “the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for test of the latter.” 36 “Supervision” on the other hand means “overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. 37 As we held, 38 however, “investigating” is not inconsistent with “overseeing”, although it is a lesser power than “altering”. The impression is apparently exacerbated by the Court’s pronouncements in at least three cases, Lacson v. Roque, 39 Hebron v. Reyes,  40 and Mondano v. Silvosa, 41 and possibly, a fourth one, Pelaez v. Auditor General.42 In Lacson, this Court said that the President enjoyed no control powers but only supervision “as may be provided by law,” 43 a rule we reiterated in Hebron, and Mondano. In Pelaez, we stated that the President “may not . . . suspend an elective official of a regular municipality or take any disciplinary action against him, except on appeal from a decision of the corresponding provincial board.” 44 However, neither Lacson nor Hebron nor Mondano categorically banned the Chief Executive from exercising acts of disciplinary authority because she did not exercise control powers, but because no law allowed her to exercise disciplinary authority. Thus, according to Lacson:

The contention that the President has inherent power to remove or suspend municipal officers is without doubt not well taken. Removal and suspension of public officers are always controlled by the particular law applicable and its proper construction subject to constitutional limitations.

In Hebron we stated:

Accordingly, when the procedure for the suspension of an officer is specified by law, the same must be deemed mandatory and adhered to strictly, in the absence of express or clear provision to the contrary-which does not  et with respect to municipal officers …

In Mondano, the Court held:

…  The Congress has expressly and specifically lodged the provincial supervision over municipal officials in the provincial governor who is authorized to “receive and investigate complaints made under oath against municipal officers for neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or other form of maladministration of office, and conviction by final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude.” And if the charges are serious, “he shall submit written charges touching the matter to the provincial board, furnishing a copy of such charges to the accused either personally or by registered mail, and he may in such case suspend the officer (not being the municipal treasurer) pending action by the board, if in his opinion the charge by one affecting the official integrity of the officer in question.” Section 86 of the Revised Administration Code adds nothing to the power of supervision to be exercised by the Department Head over the administration of …  municipalities … . If it be construed that it does and such additional power is the same authority as that vested in the Department Head by section 79(c) of the Revised Administrative Code, then such additional power must be deemed to have been abrogated by Section 110(l), Article  VII of the Constitution.

The Court does not believe that the petitioners can rightfully point to the debates of the Constitutional Commission to defeat the President’s powers. The Court believes that the deliberations are by themselves inconclusive, because although Commissioner Jose Nolledo would exclude the power of removal from the President,  Commissioner Blas Ople would not.

The Court is consequently reluctant to say that the new Constitution has repealed the Local Government Code, Batas Blg. 37. As we said, “supervision” and “removal” are not incompatible terms and one may stand with the other notwithstanding the stronger expression of local autonomy under the new Charter. We have indeed held that in spite of the approval of the Charter, Batas Blg. 337 is still in force and effect.

As the Constitution itself declares, local autonomy means “a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization.” 

NOTE: The successive suspensions of the Mayor, however, was  declared invalid by the Supreme Court.

          1-d)   MONDANO VS. SILVOSA, 97 Phil. 143

The petitioner is the duly elected and qualified mayor of the municipality of Mainit, province of Surigao. On 27 February 1954 Consolacion Vda. de Mosende filed a sworn complaint with the Presidential Complaints and Action Committee accusing him of (1) rape committed on her daughter Caridad Mosende; and (2) concubinage for cohabiting with her daughter in a place other than the conjugal dwelling. On 6 March the Assistant Executive Secretary indorsed the complaint to the respondent provincial governor for immediate investigation, appropriate action and report. On 10 April the petitioner appeared before the provincial governor in obedience to his summons and was served with a copy of the complaint filed by the provincial governor with provincial board. On the same day, the provincial governor issued Administrative Order No. 8 suspending the petitioner from office. Thereafter, the Provincial Board proceeded to hear the charges preferred against the petitioner over his objection.

The  Constitution provides: “The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, exercise general supervision over all local governments as may be provided by law, and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Under this constitutional provision the President has been invested with the power of control of all the executive departments, bureaus, or offices, but not of all local governments over which he has been granted only the power of general supervision as may be provided by law.

The Department head as agent of the President has direct control and supervision over all bureaus and offices under his jurisdiction as provided for in section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code, but he does not have the same control of local governments as that exercised by him over bureaus and offices under his jurisdiction. Likewise, his authority to order the investigation of any act or conduct of any person in the service of any bureau or office under his department is confined to bureaus or offices under his jurisdiction and does not extend to local governments over which, as already stated, the President exercises only general supervision as may be provided by law. If the provisions of section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code are to be construed as conferring upon the corresponding department head direct control, direction, and supervision over all local governments and that for the reason he may order the investigation of an official of a local government for malfeasance in office, such interpretation would be contrary to the provisions of paragraph 1, section 10, Article VII, of the Constitution.

If “general supervision over all local governments” is to be construed as the same power granted to the Department Head in section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code, then there would no longer be a distinction or difference between the power of control and that of supervision.

In administrative law supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.

Such is the import of the provisions of section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code and 37 of Act No. 4007. The Congress has expressly and specifically lodged the provincial supervision over municipal officials in the provincial governor who is authorized to “receive and investigate complaints made under oath against municipal officers for neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or other form of maladministration of office, and conviction by final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude.” 2 And if the charges are serious, “he shall submit written charges touching the matter to the provincial board, furnishing a copy of such charges to the accused either personally or by registered mail, and he may in such case suspend the officer (not being the municipal treasurer) pending action by the board, if in his opinion the charge be one affecting the official integrity of the officer in question.”  3 Section 86 of the Revised Administrative Code adds nothing to the power of supervision to be exercised by the Department Head over the administration of . . . municipalities . . .. If it be construed that it does and such additional power is the same authority as that vested in the Department Head by section 79 (c) of the Revised Administrative Code, then such additional power must be deemed to have been abrogated by section 10 (1), Article VII, of the Constitution.

In Lacson vs. Roque, 49 Off. Gaz. 93, this Court held that the power of the President to remove officials from office as provided for in section 64 (b) of the Revised Administrative Code must be done “conformably to law;” and only for disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines he “may at any time remove a person from any position of trust or authority under the Government of the (Philippine Islands) Philippines.” Again, this power of removal must be exercised conformably to law.

In the endorsement to the provincial governor the Assistant Executive Secretary requested immediate investigation, appropriate action and report on the complaint indorsed to him, and called his attention to section 2193 of the Revised Administrative Code which provides for the institution of judicial proceedings by the provincial fiscal upon direction of the provincial governor.

If the endorsement of the Assistant Executive Secretary be taken as a designation of the provincial governor to investigate the petitioner, then he would only be acting as agent of the Executive, but the investigation to be conducted by him would not be that which is provided for in sections 2188, 2189 and 2190 of the Revised Administrative Code. The charges preferred against the respondent are not malfeasances or any of those enumerated or specified in section 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, because rape and concubinage have nothing to do with the performance of his duties as mayor nor do they constitute or involve” neglect of duty, oppression, corruption or any other form of maladministration of office.”

True, they may involve moral turpitude, but before the provincial governor and board may act and proceed in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Administrative Code referred to, a conviction by final judgment must precede the filing by the provincial governor of charges and trial by the provincial board. Even the provincial fiscal cannot file an information for rape without a sworn complaint of the offended party who is 28 years of age and the crime of concubinage cannot be prosecuted but upon sworn complaint of the offended spouse. 4 The charges preferred against the petitioner, municipal mayor of Mainit, province of Surigao, not being those or any of those specified in section 2188 of the Revised Administrative Code, the investigation of such charges by the provincial board is unauthorized and illegal. The suspension of the petitioner as mayor of the municipality of Mainit is, consequently, unlawful and without authority of law.

          1-e. Carpio vs. Exec. Sec., 206 SCRA 290

1-f. Malayan vs. CA, 213 SCRA 640

1)           LACSON-MAGALLANES VS. PANO, 21 SCRA 895

Sec. 10.      The President shall have control of the ministries. (1973 Constitution, Art. VII)

Control means “the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify, or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.” (Hebron vs. Reyes, 104 Phil. 175) The President can, by virtue of his power of control, review, modify, alter or nullify any action, or decision of his subordinate in the executive departments, bureaus or offices under him. (Oliveros-Torre vs. Bayot, 58 SCRA 272; Ang-Angco vs. Castillo, et al., 118 Phil. 1468). He can exercise this power motu proprio without need of any appeal from any party. (Oliveros-Torre vs. Bayot, supra).

The President is not expected to perform in person an the multifarious executive and administrative functions. The Office of the Executive Secretary is an auxillary unit which assists the President. Under our constitutional set-up, the Executive Secretary acts for and in behalf of the President: and by authority of the President, he has undisputed jurisdiction to affirm, modify, or even reverse any order of the Secretary of Natural Resources and other Cabinet Secretaries. Where the Executive Secretary acts “by authority of the President” his decision is that of the President. (Lacson-Magallanes Co., Inc. vs. Pano, 21 SCRA 895).

          3)   LACSON VS. ROQUE, 92 Phil. 456

          4)   VILLALUZ VS. ZALDIVAR, 15 SCRA 710

          5)   VILLENA VS. SECRETARY OF INTERIOR, 67 Phil. 451

          6)   ALAJAR VS. ALBA, 100 Phil. 683

          7)   FREE TELEPHONE WORKERS UNION VS. OPLE, 108 SCRA 757

          8)   OLIVEROS TORRE VS. BAYOT, 58 SCRA 272

c.   What is the doctrine of Qualified Political agency? (see the separate opinion of Former Chief Justice FERNANDO in the LACSON- MAGALLANES VS. PANO CASE)

d. Powers which must be exercised personally by the President and could and could not be delegated to any cabinet member?

Doctrine of qualified political agency; personality to sue; when the said doctrine does not apply

CONSTANTINO and the FREEDOM FROM DEBT COALITION VS. CUISIA, et al., 472 SCRA 505

Tinga, J.

F a c t s:

The petition seeks to stop the respondents from executing additional debt-relief contracts or foreign borrowings in connection with the Philippine Comprehensive Financing Program for 1992 and to compel the Secretary of Justice to institute criminal and administrative cases against respondents.

The respondents negotiated with the foreign commercial bank creditors a multi-option financing package in connection with the country’s foreign debt.   This includes a cash buyback of portions of the Philippine foreign debt at a discount. The second option allows creditors to convert existing Philippine debt instruments into bonds or securities. Petitioners characterize the Financing Program as beyond the powers of the President under Section 20, Article VII of the Constitution.

I s s u e s:

1.           Do the petitioners have the personality to sue?

2.           May the respondents contract and guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines? Stated otherwise, may the President delegate such power to her subordinates?

H e l  d:

1.           The petitioners as tax payers have the personality to sue. They are suing as citizens of the Philippines and a s taxpayers. The recent trend on locus standi has veered towards a liberal treatment in taxpayer’s suits. In Tatad vs. Garcia, Jr. [243 SCRA 436]  the supreme Court held that taxpayers are allowed to question contracts entered into by the national government or government owned and controlled corporations ALLEGEDLY IN CONTRAVENTION OF LAW.

2.           The petitioners claim that the President “alone and personally” can validly bind the country in contracting foreign debt under Section 20, Article VII of the Constitution. The contention is without merit. The Secretary of Finance, as alter ego of the President regarding the “sound and efficient management of the financial resources of the government, has the power to implement the policy which was publicly expressed by the president herself. This is in connection with the doctrine of qualified political agency. While there are instances where the President must act personally and not through his secretaries like the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, proclamation of martial law or pardoning power [Villena vs. Secretary of Interior, 67 Phil. 451], negotiation with foreign creditors may be done by the Secretary of Finance or the Governor of Central Bank.

The petition was therefore dismissed.

7.           Section 18. The President shall be the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding 60 days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress voting jointly, , by a vote of at least a majority of all its members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall, within 24 hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the  sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and  must promulgate its decision  thereon within 30 days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within 3 days, otherwise, he shall be released.

a.   Take special notice of the grounds for the suspension of the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus declaration of Martial Law.

b.   Compare it with the provisions of the 1935 and 1973 Constitution on this subject.

What  are the restrictions imposed on the President in the exercise of such emergency powers? What are the effects of exercises of emergency powers to the judicial system?

Commander-in-chief provision; Legal standing to question a presidential proclamation; moot and academic cases when courts still has to decide it;  state of rebellion and state of national emergency distinguished

 PROF. RANDOLF S. DAVID*, LORENZO TAÑADA III, RONALD LLAMAS, H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ BUTUYAN, ROGER R. RAYEL, GARY S. MALLARI,              ROMEL REGALADO BAGARES, CHRISTOPHER F.C. BOLASTIG VS. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO,                  AS PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, HON. AVELINO CRUZ II, SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, GENERAL GENEROSO SENGA, CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO LOMIBAO, CHIEF, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE,

NIÑEZ CACHO-OLIVARES AND TRIBUNE PUBLISHING CO., INC.,

G.R. No. 171396

May 3, 2006

– versus –

HONORABLE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA AND HONORABLE DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO C. LOMIBAO,

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:

The cases:

These seven (7) consolidated petitions for certiorari and prohibition allege that in issuing Presidential Proclamation No. 1017 (PP 1017)  and  General Order No. 5 (G.O. No. 5), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo committed grave abuse of discretion.  Petitioners contend that respondent officials of the Government, in their professed efforts to defend and preserve democratic institutions, are actually trampling upon the very freedom guaranteed and protected by the Constitution.  Hence, such issuances are void for being unconstitutional.

The Facts:

On February 24, 2006, as the nation celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Edsa People Power I, President Arroyo issued PP 1017 declaring a state of national emergency, thus:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: “The President. . . whenever it becomes necessary, . . . may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress. . .rebellion. . .,” and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

She cited the following facts as bases:

WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists – the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State – who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004;

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President;

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State – by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensify their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of the our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

On the same day, the President issued G. O. No. 5 implementing PP 1017, thus:

WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left, represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists – the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State – and who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly-constituted Government elected in May 2004;

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down our republican government;

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, these series of actions is hurting the Philippine State by obstructing governance, including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in the government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces; of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensify their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

WHEREAS, Proclamation 1017 date February 24, 2006 has been issued declaring a State of National Emergency;

NOW, THEREFORE, I GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of the powers vested in me under the Constitution as President of the Republic of the Philippines, and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, do hereby call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), to prevent and suppress acts of terrorism and lawless violence in the country;

I hereby direct the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Chief of the PNP, as well as the officers and men of the AFP and PNP, to immediately carry out the necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism and lawless violence.

On March 3, 2006, exactly one week after the declaration of a state of national emergency and after all these petitions had been filed, the President lifted PP 1017.   She issued Proclamation No. 1021 which reads:

WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 18, Article VII and Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution, Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, was issued declaring a state of national emergency;

WHEREAS, by virtue of General Order No.5 and No.6 dated February 24, 2006, which were issued on the basis of Proclamation No. 1017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), were directed to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent and suppress all form of lawless violence as well as any act of rebellion and to undertake such action as may be necessary;

WHEREAS, the AFP and PNP have effectively prevented, suppressed and quelled the acts lawless violence and rebellion;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, hereby declare that the state of national emergency has ceased to exist.

Immediately, the Office of the President announced the cancellation of all programs and activities related to the 20th anniversary celebration of Edsa People Power I; and revoked the permits to hold rallies issued earlier by the local governments. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales stated that political rallies, which to the President’s mind were organized for purposes of destabilization, are cancelled. Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor announced that “warrantless arrests and take-over of facilities, including media, can already be implemented.”[1]

Undeterred by the announcements that rallies and public assemblies would not be allowed, groups of protesters (members of Kilusang Mayo Uno [KMU] and National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno [NAFLU-KMU]), marched from various parts of Metro Manila with the intention of converging at the EDSA shrine.   Those who were already near the EDSA site were violently dispersed by huge clusters of anti-riot police.   The well-trained policemen used truncheons, big fiber glass shields, water cannons, and tear gas to stop and break up the marching groups, and scatter the massed participants. The same police action was used against the protesters marching forward to Cubao, Quezon City and to the corner of Santolan Street and EDSA.   That same evening, hundreds of riot policemen broke up an EDSA celebration rally held along Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas Street in Makati City.[2]

According to petitioner Kilusang Mayo Uno, the police cited PP 1017 as the ground for the dispersal of their assemblies.

During the dispersal of the rallyists along EDSA, police arrested (without warrant) petitioner Randolf S. David, a professor at the University of the Philippines and newspaper columnist. Also arrested was his companion, Ronald Llamas, president of party-list Akbayan.

At around 12:20 in the early morning of February 25, 2006, operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP, on the basis of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5, raided the Daily Tribune offices in Manila.   The raiding team confiscated news stories by reporters, documents, pictures, and mock-ups of the Saturday issue.   Policemen from Camp Crame in Quezon City were stationed inside the editorial and business offices of the newspaper; while policemen from the Manila Police District were stationed outside the building.[3]

A few minutes after the search and seizure at the Daily Tribune offices, the police surrounded the premises of another pro-opposition paper, Malaya, and its sister publication, the tabloid Abante.

The raid, according to Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor,  is “meant to show a ‘strong presence,’ to tell media outlets not to connive or do anything that would help the rebels in bringing down this government.”   The PNP warned that it would take over any media organization that would not follow “standards set by the government during the state of national emergency.”   Director General Lomibao stated that “if they do not follow the standards – and the standards are – if they would contribute to instability in the government, or if they do not subscribe to what is in General Order No. 5 and Proc. No. 1017 – we will recommend a ‘takeover.’”  National Telecommunications’ Commissioner Ronald Solis urged television and radio networks to “cooperate” with the government for the duration of the state of national emergency.    He asked for “balanced reporting” from broadcasters when covering the events surrounding the coup attempt foiled by the government.   He warned that his agency will not hesitate to recommend the closure of any broadcast outfit that violates rules set out for media coverage when the national security is threatened.[4]

Also, on February 25, 2006, the police arrested Congressman Crispin Beltran, representing the Anakpawis Party and Chairman of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), while leaving his farmhouse in Bulacan.    The police showed a warrant for his arrest dated 1985. Beltran’s lawyer explained that the warrant, which stemmed from a case of inciting to rebellion filed during the Marcos regime, had long been quashed.   Beltran, however, is not a party in any of these petitions.

When members of petitioner KMU went to Camp Crame to visit Beltran, they were told they could not be admitted because of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.   Two members were arrested and detained, while the rest were dispersed by the police.

 

Retired Major General Ramon Montaño, former head of the Philippine Constabulary, was arrested while with his wife and golfmates at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

Attempts were made to arrest Anakpawis Representative Satur Ocampo, Representative Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela Representative Liza Maza.   Bayan Muna Representative Josel Virador was arrested at the PAL Ticket Office in Davao City.  Later, he was turned over to the custody of the House of Representatives where the “Batasan 5” decided to stay indefinitely.   

Hence, these Petitions.

 I  s  s  u  e  s:

A.           PROCEDURAL:

1)      Whether the issuance of PP 1021 renders the petitions moot and academic.

2)      Whether petitioners in 171485 (Escudero et al.), G.R. Nos. 171400 (ALGI), 171483 (KMU et al.), 171489 (Cadiz et al.), and 171424 (Legarda) have legal standing.

B.       SUBSTANTIVE:

1)      Whether the Supreme Court can review the factual bases of PP 1017.

2)      Whether PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are unconstitutional.

a. Facial Challenge

b. Constitutional Basis

c. As Applied Challenge

1.            PROCEDURAL

I-           Moot and Academic Principle

 

 Courts may exercise the power of judicial review only when the following requisites are present: first, there must be an actual case or controversy; second, petitioners have to raise a question of unconstitutionality; third, the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and fourth, the decision of the constitutional question must be necessary to the determination of the case itself.

Respondents maintain that the first and second requisites are absent, hence, we shall limit our discussion thereon.

An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal right, an opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution.  It is “definite and concrete, touching the legal relations of parties having adverse legal    interest;” a real and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief. The Solicitor General refutes the existence of such actual case or controversy, contending that the present petitions were rendered “moot and academic” by President Arroyo’s issuance of PP 1021.

Such contention lacks merit.

A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events,[5] so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. Generally, courts decline jurisdiction over such case[6] or dismiss it on ground of mootness.

The Court holds that President Arroyo’s issuance of PP 1021 did not render the present petitions moot and academic.   During the eight (8) days that PP 1017 was operative, the police officers, according to petitioners, committed illegal acts in implementing it.  Are PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 constitutional or valid?  Do they justify these alleged illegal acts?  These are the vital issues that must be resolved in the present petitions.  It must be stressed that “an unconstitutional act is not a law, it confers no rights, it imposes no duties, it affords no protection; it is in legal contemplation, inoperative.”

The “moot and academic” principle is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case.  Courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if:

First, there is a grave violation of the Constitution (Province of Batangas vs. Romulo, .R. No. 152774, May 27, 2004, 429 SCRA 736).

Second, the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved (Lacson vs. Perez, G.R. No. 147780, May 10, 2001, 357 SCRA 756);

 Third, when constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public (Province of Batangas vs. Romulo); and

Fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet evading review (Albaña v. Commission on  Elections, G.R. No. 163302, July 23, 2004, 435 SCRA 98, Acop v. Guingona, Jr., G.R. No. 134855, July 2, 2002, 383 SCRA 577, Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,      G.R. No. 159085, February 3, 2004, 421 SCRA 656. )

All the foregoing exceptions are present here and justify this Court’s assumption of jurisdiction over the instant petitions.  Petitioners alleged that the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 violates the Constitution.  There is no question that the issues being raised affect the public’s interest, involving as they do the people’s basic rights to freedom of expression, of assembly and of the press.   Moreover, the Court has the duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional precepts, doctrines or rules.  It has the symbolic function of educating the bench and the bar, and in the present petitions, the military and the police, on the extent of the protection given by constitutional guarantees.[7]  And lastly, respondents’ contested actions are capable of repetition.  Certainly, the petitions are subject to judicial    review.

II- Legal Standing

In view of the number of petitioners suing in various personalities, the Court deems it imperative to have a more than passing discussion on legal standing or locus standi.

          Locus standi is defined as “a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question.”[8]   In private suits, standing is governed by the “real-parties-in interest” rule as contained in Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. It provides that “every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest.”  Accordingly, the “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.”[9] Succinctly put, the plaintiff’s standing is based on his own right to the relief sought.

The 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 may be a person who is affected no differently from any other person.  He could be suing as a “stranger,” or in the category of a “citizen,” or ‘taxpayer.”  In either case, he has to adequately show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection.   In other words, 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.

Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both “citizen” and “taxpayer” standing in public actions.   The distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk,[10]  where it was held that the plaintiff in a taxpayer’s suit is in a different category from the plaintiff in a citizen’s suit.  In the former, the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in the latter, he is but the mere instrument of the public concern.   As held by the New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v. Collins:[11]   “In matter of mere public right, however…the people are the real parties…It is at least the right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be remedied.”   With respect to taxpayer’s suits, Terr v. Jordan[12]  held that “the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury cannot be denied.”

However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial interference in any official policy or act with which he disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of governmental agencies engaged in public service, the United State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent “direct injury” test in Ex Parte Levitt,[13] later reaffirmed in Tileston v. Ullman.[14]  The same Court ruled that for a private individual to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity of an executive or legislative action, he must show that he has sustained a direct injury as a result of that action, and it is not sufficient that he has a general interest common to all members of the public.

This Court adopted the “direct injury” test in our jurisdiction.   In People v. Vera,[15]  it held that 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 Vera doctrine was upheld in a litany of cases, such as, Custodio v. President of the Senate,[16] Manila Race Horse Trainers’ Association v. De la Fuente,[17]  Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works[18] and Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines v. Felix.[19]

However, being a mere procedural technicality, the requirement of locus standi may be waived by the Court in the exercise of its discretion. This was done in the 1949 Emergency Powers Cases, Araneta v. Dinglasan,[20] where the “transcendental importance” of the cases prompted the Court to act liberally.   Such liberality was neither a rarity nor accidental.   In Aquino v. Comelec,[21]  this  Court resolved to pass upon the issues raised due to the “far-reaching implications” of the petition notwithstanding its categorical statement that petitioner therein had no personality to file the suit.  Indeed, there is a chain of cases where this liberal policy has been observed, allowing ordinary citizens, members of Congress, and civic organizations to prosecute actions involving the constitutionality or validity of laws, regulations and rulings.[22]

Thus, the Court has adopted a rule that even where the petitioners have failed to show direct injury, they have been allowed to sue under the principle of “transcendental importance.” Pertinent are the following cases:

(1) Chavez v. Public Estates Authority,[23] where the Court ruled that the enforcement of the constitutional right to information and the equitable diffusion of natural resources are matters of transcendental importance which clothe the petitioner with locus standi;

(2) Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v. Zamora,[24]  wherein the Court held that “given the transcendental importance of the issues involved, the Court may relax the standing requirements and allow the suit to prosper despite the lack of direct injury to the parties seeking judicial review” of the Visiting Forces Agreement;

(3) Lim v. Executive Secretary,[25]  while the Court noted that the petitioners may not file suit in their capacity as taxpayers absent a showing that “Balikatan 02-01” involves the exercise of Congress’ taxing or spending powers, it               reiterated its ruling in Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v. Zamora,[26]  that in cases of transcendental importance, the cases must be settled promptly and definitely and standing requirements may be relaxed.

By way of summary, the following rules may be culled from the  cases decided by this Court.   Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, and legislators may be accorded standing to sue, provided that the following requirements are met:

1.           the cases involve constitutional issues;

2.           for taxpayers, there must be a claim of illegal disbursement of public funds or that the tax measure is unconstitutional;

3.           for voters, there must be a showing of obvious interest in the validity of the election law in question;

4.           for concerned citizens, there must be a showing that the issues raised are of transcendental importance which must be settled early; and

5.            for legislators, there must be a claim that the official action complained of infringes upon their prerogatives as legislators.

Significantly, recent decisions show a certain toughening in the Court’s attitude toward legal standing.

In Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato,[27] the Court ruled that the status of Kilosbayan as a people’s organization does not give it the requisite personality to question the validity of the on-line lottery contract, more so where it does not raise any issue of constitutionality.  Moreover, it cannot sue as a taxpayer absent any allegation that public funds are being misused. Nor can it sue as a concerned citizen as it does not allege any specific injury it has suffered.

In Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines, Inc. v. Comelec,[28]  the Court reiterated the “direct injury” test with respect to concerned citizens’ cases involving constitutional issues.   It held that “there must be a showing that the citizen personally suffered some actual or threatened injury arising from the alleged illegal official act.”

In Lacson v. Perez,[29] the Court ruled that one of the petitioners, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), is not a real party-in-interest as it had not demonstrated any injury to itself or to its leaders, members or supporters.

In Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,[30] the Court ruled that only the petitioners who are members of Congress have standing to sue, as they claim that the President’s declaration of a state of rebellion is a usurpation of the emergency powers of Congress, thus impairing their legislative powers. As to petitioners Sanlakas, Partido Manggagawa, and Social Justice Society, the Court declared them to be devoid of standing, equating them with the LDP in Lacson.

Now,  the application of the above principles to the present petitions.

The locus standi of petitioners in G.R. No. 171396, particularly David and Llamas, is beyond doubt.   The same holds true with petitioners in G.R. No. 171409, Cacho-Olivares and Tribune Publishing Co. Inc.  They alleged “direct injury” resulting from “illegal arrest” and “unlawful search” committed by police operatives pursuant to PP 1017.  Rightly so, the Solicitor General does not question their legal standing.

It must always be borne in mind that the question of locus standi is but corollary to the bigger question of proper exercise of judicial power. This is the underlying legal tenet of the “liberality doctrine” on legal standing.   It cannot be doubted that the validity of PP No. 1017 and G.O.  No. 5 is a judicial question which is of paramount importance to the Filipino people.   To paraphrase Justice Laurel, the whole of Philippine society now waits with bated breath the ruling of this Court on this very critical matter. The petitions thus call for the application of the “transcendental importance” doctrine, a relaxation of the standing requirements for the petitioners in the “PP 1017 cases.”

This Court holds that all the petitioners herein have locus standi.

Incidentally, it is not proper to implead President Arroyo as respondent.  Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency,[31] may not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law.  It will degrade the dignity of the high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can be dragged into court litigations while serving as such.   However, this does not mean that the President is not accountable to anyone.  Like any other official, he remains accountable to the people[32] but he may be removed from office only in the mode provided by law and that is by impeachment.[33]

B.  SUBSTANTIVE

I. Review of Factual Bases     

The issue of whether the Court may review the factual bases of the President’s exercise of his Commander-in-Chief power has reached its distilled point – from the indulgent days of Barcelon v. Baker   and Montenegro v. Castaneda to the volatile era of Lansang v.              Garcia,  Aquino, Jr. v. Enrile, and Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile.  The tug-of-war always cuts across the line defining “political questions,” particularly those questions “in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government.”  Barcelon and Montenegro were in unison in declaring that the authority to decide whether an exigency has arisen belongs to the President and his decision is final and conclusive on the courts.  Lansang took the opposite view. There, the members of the Court were unanimous in the conviction that the Court has the authority to inquire into the existence of factual bases in order to determine their constitutional sufficiency.  From the principle of separation of powers, it shifted the focus to the system of checks and balances, “under which the President is supreme, x x x only if and when he acts within the sphere allotted to him by the Basic Law, and             the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted is vested            in the Judicial Department, which in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally supreme.” In 1973, the unanimous Court of Lansang was divided in Aquino v. Enrile.  There, the Court was  almost evenly divided on the issue of whether the validity of the  imposition of Martial Law is a political or justiciable question.  Then came Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile which greatly diluted Lansang.  It declared that there is a need to re-examine the latter case, ratiocinating that “in times of war or national emergency, the President must be given absolute control for the very life of the nation and the government is in great peril.  The President, it intoned, is answerable only to his conscience, the People, and God.”

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora — a recent case most pertinent to these cases at bar — echoed a principle similar to Lansang.  While the Court considered the President’s “calling-out” power as a discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom, it stressed that “this does not prevent an examination of whether such power was exercised within permissible constitutional limits or whether it was exercised in a manner constituting grave abuse of discretion.”    This ruling is mainly a result of the Court’s reliance on Section 1, Article VIII of 1987 Constitution which fortifies the authority of the courts to determine in an appropriate action the validity of the acts of the political departments.   Under the new definition of judicial power, the courts are authorized not only “to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,” but also “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.”   The latter part of the authority represents a broadening of judicial power to enable the courts of justice to review what was before a forbidden territory,    to wit, the discretion of the political departments of the government.   It speaks of judicial prerogative not only in terms of power but also of duty.

As to how the Court may inquire into the President’s exercise of power, Lansang adopted the test that “judicial inquiry can go no further than to satisfy the Court not that the President’s decision is correct,” but that “the President did not act arbitrarily.” Thus, the standard laid down is not correctness, but arbitrariness.  In Integrated Bar of the Philippines, this Court further ruled that “it is incumbent upon the petitioner to show that the President’s decision is totally bereft of factual basis” and that if he fails, by way of proof, to support his assertion, then “this Court cannot undertake an independent investigation beyond the pleadings.”

Petitioners failed to show that President Arroyo’s exercise of the calling-out power, by issuing PP 1017, is totally bereft of factual basis.  A reading of the Solicitor General’s Consolidated Comment and Memorandum shows a detailed narration of the events leading to the issuance of PP 1017, with supporting reports forming part of the records.  Mentioned are the escape of the Magdalo Group, their audacious threat of the Magdalo D-Day, the defections in the military, particularly in the Philippine Marines, and the reproving statements from the communist leaders. There was also the Minutes of the Intelligence Report and Security Group of the Philippine Army showing the growing alliance between the NPA and the military.   Petitioners presented nothing to refute such events.  Thus, absent any contrary allegations, the Court is convinced that the President was justified in issuing PP 1017 calling for military aid.

Indeed, judging the seriousness of the incidents, President Arroyo was not expected to simply fold her arms and do nothing to prevent or suppress what she believed was lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.   However, the exercise of such power or duty must not stifle liberty.

II. Constitutionality of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5

The operative portion of PP 1017 may be divided into three important provisions, thus:

First provision:

“by virtue of the power vested upon me by Section 18, Artilce VII … do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion”

Second provision:

“and to enforce obedience to all the laws  and  to  all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction;”

Third provision:

“as provided in Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.”

First Provision:  Calling-Out Power

The first provision pertains to the President’s calling-out power.  In Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 159085, February 3, 2004, 421 SCRA 656) this Court, through Mr. Justice Dante O. Tinga, held that Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution reproduced as follows:

Sec. 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, a “sequence” of graduated powers.  From the most to the least benign, these are: the calling-out power, the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and the power to declare Martial Law.   Citing Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora,[34]  the Court ruled that the only criterion for the exercise of the calling-out power is that “whenever it becomes necessary,” the President may call the armed forces “to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”  Are these conditions present in the instant cases?  As stated earlier, considering the circumstances then prevailing, President Arroyo found it necessary to issue PP 1017.   Owing to her Office’s vast intelligence network, she is in the best position to determine the actual condition of the country.

Under the calling-out power, the President may summon the armed forces to aid him in suppressing lawless violence, invasion and rebellion.  This involves ordinary police action.  But every act that goes beyond the President’s calling-out power is considered illegal or ultra vires.  For this reason, a President must be careful in the exercise of his powers.   He cannot invoke a greater power when he wishes to act under a lesser power.  There lies the wisdom of our Constitution, the greater the power, the greater are the limitations.

It is pertinent to state, however, that there is a distinction between the President’s authority to declare a “state of rebellion” (in Sanlakas) and the authority to proclaim a state of national emergency.  While President Arroyo’s authority to declare a “state of rebellion” emanates from her powers as Chief Executive, the statutory authority cited in Sanlakas was Section 4, Chapter 2, Book II of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, which provides:

SEC. 4. – Proclamations. – Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order.

President Arroyo’s declaration of a “state of rebellion” was merely an act declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest, a declaration allowed under Section 4 cited above.  Such declaration, in the words of Sanlakas, is harmless, without legal significance, and deemed not written.  In these cases, PP 1017 is more than that.  In declaring a state of national emergency, President Arroyo did not only rely on Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, a provision calling on the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.  She also relied on Section 17, Article XII, a provision on the State’s extraordinary power to take over privately-owned public utility and business affected with public interest.   Indeed, PP 1017 calls for the exercise of an awesome power.  Obviously, such Proclamation cannot be deemed harmless, without legal significance, or not written, as in the case of Sanlakas.

Second Provision:  “Take Care” Power

The second provision pertains to the power of the President to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.  This is based on Section 17, Article VII which reads:

SEC. 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.

As the Executive in whom the executive power is vested,[35] the primary function of the President is to enforce the laws as well as to formulate policies to be embodied in existing laws.  He sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department.  Before assuming office, he is required to take an oath or affirmation to the effect that as President of the Philippines, he will, among others, “execute its laws.”[36]  In the exercise of such function, the President, if needed, may employ the powers attached to his office as the Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces of the country,[37] including the Philippine National Police[38] under the Department of Interior and Local Government.[39]

Petitioners, especially Representatives Francis Joseph G. Escudero, Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, Teodoro Casiño, Liza Maza, and Josel Virador argue that PP 1017 is unconstitutional as it arrogated upon President Arroyo the power to enact laws and decrees in violation of Section 1, Article VI of the Constitution, which vests the power to enact laws in Congress.  They assail the clause “to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.”

Petitioners’ contention is understandable.  A reading of PP 1017 operative clause shows that it was lifted[40] from Former President Marcos’ Proclamation No. 1081, which partly reads:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Article VII, Section 10, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do hereby place the entire Philippines as defined in Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution under martial law and, in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.

We all know that it was PP 1081 which granted President Marcos legislative power.  Its enabling clause states:  “to enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.”  Upon the other hand, the enabling clause of PP 1017 issued by President Arroyo is: to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.”

Is it within the domain of President Arroyo to promulgate “decrees”? 

PP  1017  states in part:   “to  enforce  obedience  to  all  the  laws  and decrees x x x promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.”

President Arroyo’s ordinance power is limited to executive orders, proclamations, administrative orders, etc. She cannot issue decrees similar to those issued by Former President Marcos under PP 1081.   Presidential Decrees are laws which are of the same category and binding force as statutes because they were issued by the President in the exercise of his legislative power during the period of Martial Law under the 1973 Constitution.[41]

This Court rules that the assailed PP 1017 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants President Arroyo the authority to promulgate “decrees.”  Legislative power is peculiarly within the province of the Legislature.  Section 1, Article VI categorically states that “[t]he legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.”  To be sure, neither Martial Law nor a state of rebellion nor a state of emergency can justify President Arroyo’s exercise of legislative power by issuing decrees.

Can President Arroyo enforce obedience to all decrees and laws through the military?

As this Court stated earlier, President Arroyo has no authority to enact decrees. It follows that these decrees are void and, therefore, cannot be enforced.  With respect to “laws,” she cannot call the military to enforce or implement certain laws, such as customs laws, laws governing family and property relations, laws on obligations and contracts and the like.  She can only order the military, under PP 1017, to enforce laws pertinent to its duty to suppress lawless violence.

Third Provision:  Power to Take Over

The pertinent provision of PP 1017 states:

x x x and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders, and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution  do hereby declare a state of national emergency.

The import of this provision is that President Arroyo, during the state of national emergency under PP 1017, can call the military not only to enforce obedience “to all the laws and to all decrees x x x” but also to act pursuant to the provision of Section 17, Article XII which reads:

Sec. 17. In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest.

   During the existence of the state of national emergency, PP 1017 purports to grant the President, without any authority or delegation from Congress, to take over or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest.

This provision was first introduced in the 1973 Constitution, as a product of the “martial law” thinking of the 1971 Constitutional Convention.[42]  In effect at the time of its approval was President Marcos’ Letter of Instruction No. 2 dated September 22, 1972 instructing the Secretary of National Defense to take over “the  management, control and operation of the Manila Electric Company, the Philippine   Long Distance Telephone Company, the National Waterworks and  Sewerage Authority, the Philippine National Railways, the Philippine Air Lines, Air Manila (and) Filipinas Orient Airways . . . for the successful prosecution by the Government of its effort to contain, solve and end the present national emergency.

Petitioners, particularly the members of the House of Representatives, claim that President Arroyo’s inclusion of Section 17, Article XII in PP 1017 is an encroachment on the legislature’s emergency powers.

A distinction must be drawn between the President’s authority to declare “a state of national emergency” and          to exercise emergency powers.  To the first, as elucidated by the Court, Section 18, Article VII grants the President such power, hence, no legitimate constitutional objection can be raised.  But to the second, manifold constitutional issues arise.

Section 23, Article VI of the Constitution reads:

SEC. 23.  (1) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.

(2) In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof.

It may be pointed out that the second paragraph of the above provision refers not only to war but also to “other national emergency.”  If the intention of the Framers of our Constitution was to withhold from the President the authority to declare a “state of national emergency” pursuant to Section 18, Article VII (calling-out power) and grant it to Congress (like the declaration of the existence of a state of war), then the Framers could have provided so.  Clearly, they did not intend that Congress should first authorize the President before he can declare a “state of national emergency.”  The logical conclusion then is that President Arroyo could validly declare the existence of a state of national emergency even in the absence of a Congressional enactment.

But the exercise of emergency powers, such as the taking over of privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest, is a different matter.    This requires a delegation from Congress.

Courts have often said that constitutional provisions in pari materia are to be construed together.  Otherwise stated, different clauses, sections, and provisions of a constitution which relate to the same subject matter will be construed together and considered in the light of each other.[43]  Considering that Section 17 of Article XII and Section 23 of Article VI, previously quoted, relate to national emergencies, they must be read together to determine the limitation of the exercise of emergency powers.

Generally, Congress is the repository of emergency powers.  This is evident in the tenor of Section 23 (2), Article VI authorizing it to delegate such powers to the President.  Certainly, a body cannot delegate a power not reposed upon it.  However, knowing that during grave emergencies, it may not be possible or practicable for Congress to meet and exercise its powers, the Framers of our Constitution deemed it wise to allow Congress to grant emergency powers to the President, subject to certain conditions, thus:

(1)   There must be a war or other emergency.

(2)   The delegation must be for a limited period only.

(3)  The delegation must be subject to such restrictions as the Congress may prescribe.

(4)  The emergency powers must be exercised to carry out a national policy declared by Congress.[44]

Following our interpretation of Section 17, Article XII, invoked by President Arroyo in issuing PP 1017, this Court rules that such Proclamation does not authorize her during the emergency to temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest without authority from Congress.

Let it be emphasized that while the President alone can declare a   state of national emergency, however, without legislation, he has no     power to take over privately-owned public utility or business affected     with public interest. The President cannot decide whether exceptional      circumstances exist warranting the take over of privately-owned           public utility or business affected with public interest.  Nor can he determine when such exceptional circumstances have ceased.  Likewise, without legislation, the President has no power to point out the types of businesses affected with public interest that should be taken over.   In short, the President has no absolute authority to exercise all the powers of the State under Section 17, Article VII in the absence of an emergency powers act passed by Congress.

WHEREFORE, the Petitions are partly granted.  The Court rules that PP 1017 is CONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it constitutes a call by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence.  However, the provisions of PP 1017 commanding the AFP to enforce laws not related to lawless violence, as well as decrees promulgated by the President, are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.   In addition, the provision in PP 1017 declaring national emergency under Section 17,  Article VII of the Constitution is CONSTITUTIONAL, but such declaration does not authorize the President to take over privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest without prior legislation.

The warrantless arrest of Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; the dispersal and warrantless arrest of the KMU and NAFLU-KMU members during their rallies, in the absence of proof that these petitioners were committing acts constituting lawless violence, invasion or rebellion and violating BP 880; the imposition of standards on media or any form of prior restraint on the press, as well as the warrantless search of the Tribune offices and whimsical seizure of its articles for publication and other materials, are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

1) Read:

2)   The Habeas Corpus Cases

a.   BARCELON VS. BAKER, 5 Phil. 87 (1905)

               b.   MONTENEGRO VS. CASTANEDA, 91 Phil. 882 (1952)

               c.   LANSANG VS. GARCIA, 42 SCRA 448

               d.   GARCIA-PADILLA VS. PONCE ENRILE, 121 SCRA 472 April 20, 1983

               e.   MORALES VS. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, 121 SCRA 472 April 26, 1983

               f.   OLAGUER VS. MILITARY COMMISSION, G.R. No. 54558, May 22, 1987

               g.   ROLANDO ABADILLA VS. GEN. RAMOS, 156   SCRA 97

               h.  JUAN PONCE ENRILE VS. JUDGE SALAZAR,   June 5, 1990

               i. People vs. Donato, 198 SCRA 120

2)   The Martial Law cases

a.   AQUINO VS. ENRILE, 59 SCRA 183

               b.   AQUINO VS. MILITARY COMMISSION, 63 SCRA 546

               c.   GUMAUA VS. ESPINO, 96 SCRA 402

               d.   LEGASPI VS. MINISTER 115 SCRA 418 (on the possible options available to the president in case of lawful violence)

8.           Section 19. Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment.

He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the members of Congress.

a.   Define:  reprieve, commutation, pardon, amnesty

b.   See Article IX-C, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution and Article 5 of the Revised Penal (Act 386)

Section 5, Art. IX-C. No pardon, amnesty, parole, or suspension of sentence for violation of election laws, rules and regulations shall be granted by the President without the favorable recommendation of the Commission.

c.   Read:

1)           BARRIOQUINTO VS. FERNANDEZ, 82 Phil. 642

Amnesty must be distinguished from pardon.

[1] Pardon is granted by the Chief Executive and as such it is a private act which must be pleaded and proved by the person pardoned, because the courts take no notice thereof; while amnesty by Proclamation of the Chief Executive with the concurrence of Congress, and it is a public act of which the courts should take judicial notice.

[2] Pardon is granted to one after conviction (of ordinary crimes) ; while amnesty is granted to classes of persons or communities who may be guilty of political offenses, generally before or after the institution of the criminal prosecution and sometimes after conviction.

[3] Pardon looks forward and relieves the offender from the consequences of an offense of which he has been convicted, that is, it abolished or forgives the punishment, and for that reason it does “”nor work the restoration of the rights to hold public office, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of the pardon,” and it “in no case exempts the culprit from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence” article 36, Revised Penal Code). while amnesty looks backward and abolishes and puts into oblivion the offense itself, it so overlooks and obliterates the offense with which he is charged that the person released by amnesty stands before the law precisely as though he had committed no offense. (section 10[6], Article VII, Philippine Constitution; State vs. Blalock, 62 N.C., 242, 247; In re Briggs, 135 N.C., 118; 47 S.E. 402., 403; Ex parte Law, 35 GA., 285, 296; State ex rel AnheuserBusch Brewing Ass’n. vs. Eby, 170 Mo., 497; 71 S.W 52, 61; Burdick vs United States, N.Y., 35 S. Ct., 267; 271; 236 U.S., 79; 59 Law. ed., 476.)

[4] Pardon is complete with the act of the President while Amnesty is valid only with the  concurrence  of the majority of the members of all the members of Congress.

2)           VERA VS. PEOPLE, 7 SCRA 152

Before one may validly apply for executive clemency (pardon or amnesty) he MUST ADMIT HAVING COMMITTED THE ACTS WHICH RESULTED IN HIS IMPRISONMENT.

3)           CRISTOBAL VS. LABRADOR, 71 Phil. 34

4)           PEOPLE VS. JOSE, 75 Phil. 612

5)           PELOBELO VS. PALATINO, 72 Phil. 441

6)           PEOPLE VS. PASILAN, 14 SCRA 694

7)           LEGASPI VS. MINISTER, 115 SCRA 418

8)           MONSANTO VS. FACTORAN,February, 1989

The principal question raised in this petition for review is whether or not a public officer, who has been granted an absolute pardon by the Chief Executive, is entitled to reinstatement to her former position without need of a New appointment.

In a decision rendered on March 25, 1983, the Sandiganbayan convicted petitioner Salvacion A. Monsanto (then assistant treasurer of Calbayog City) and three other accused, of the complex crime of estafa thru falsification of public documents and sentenced them to imprisonment of four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prision correccional as minimum, to ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as maximum, and to pay a fine of P3,500. They were further ordered to jointly and severally indemnify the government in the sum of P4,892.50 representing the balance of the amount defrauded and to pay the costs proportionately.

Petitioner Monsanto appealed her conviction to this Court which subsequently affirmed the same. She then filed a motion for reconsideration but while said motion was pending, she was extended on December 17, 1984 by then President Marcos absolute pardon which she accepted on December 21, 1984.

By reason of said pardon, petitioner wrote the Calbayog City treasurer requesting that she be restored to her former post as assistant city treasurer since the same was still vacant.

Petitioner’s letter-request was referred to the Ministry of Finance for resolution in view of the provision of the Local Government Code transferring the power of appointment of treasurers from the city governments to the said Ministry. In its 4th Indorsement dated March 1, 1985, the Finance Ministry ruled that petitioner may be reinstated to her position without the necessity of a new appointment not earlier than the date she was extended the absolute pardon. It also directed the city treasurer to see to it that the amount of P4,892.50 which the Sandiganbayan had required to be indemnified in favor of the government as well as the costs of the litigation, be satisfied.

Seeking reconsideration of the foregoing ruling, petitioner wrote the Ministry on April 17, 1985 stressing that the full pardon bestowed on her has wiped out the crime which implies that her service in the government has never been interrupted and therefore the date of her reinstatement should correspond to the date of her preventive suspension which is August 1, 1982; that she is entitled to backpay for the entire period of her suspension; and that she should not be required to pay the proportionate share of the amount of P4,892.50. 2

The Ministry of Finance, however, referred petitioner’s letter to the Office of the President for further review and action. On April 15, 1986, said Office, through Deputy Executive Secretary Fulgenio S. Factoran, Jr. held:

We disagree with both the Ministry of Finance and the petitioner because, as borne out by the records, petitioner was convicted of the crime for which she was accused. In line with the government’s crusade to restore absolute honesty in public service, this Office adopts, as a juridical guide (Miranda v. Imperial, 77 Phil. 1966), the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan, 2nd Division, in People v. Lising, Crim. Case No. 6675, October 4, 1985, that acquittal, not absolute pardon, of a former public officer is the only ground for reinstatement to his former position and entitlement to payment of his salaries, benefits and emoluments due to him during the period of his suspension pendente lite.

n fact, in such a situation, the former public official must secure a reappointment before he can reassume his former position. …

Anent the civil liability of Monsanto, the Revised Penal Code expressly provides that “a pardon shall in no case exempt the culprit from payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the sentence.” (Sec. 36, par. 2).

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Office holds that Salvacion A. Monsanto is not entitled to an automatic reinstatement on the basis of the absolute pardon granted her but must secure an appointment to her former position and that, notwithstanding said absolute pardon, she is liable for the civil liability concomitant to her previous conviction.

Her subsequent motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner filed the present petition in her behalf We gave due course on October 13, 1987.

Petitioner’s basic theory is that the general rules on pardon cannot apply to her case by reason of the fact that she was extended executive clemency while her conviction was still pending appeal in this Court. There having been no final judgment of conviction, her employment therefore as assistant city treasurer could not be said to have been terminated or forfeited. In other words, without that final judgment of conviction, the accessory penalty of forfeiture of office did not attach and the status of her employment remained “suspended.” More importantly, when pardon was issued before the final verdict of guilt, it was an acquittal because there was no offense to speak of. In effect, the President has declared her not guilty of the crime charged and has accordingly dismissed the same.

It is well to remember that petitioner had been convicted of the complex crime of estafa thru falsification of public documents and sentenced to imprisonment of four years, two months and one day of prision correccional as minimum, to ten years and one day of prision mayor as maximum. The penalty of prision mayor carries the accessory penalties of temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification from the right of suffrage, enforceable during the term of the principal penalty.  Temporary absolute disqualification bars the convict from public office or employment, such disqualification to last during the term of the sentence.  Even if the offender be pardoned, as to the principal penalty, the accessory penalties remain unless the same have been expressly remitted by the pardon. The penalty of prision correccional carries, as one of its accessory penalties, suspension from public office.

The propositions earlier advanced by petitioner reveal her inadequate understanding of the nature of pardon and its legal consequences. This is not totally unexpected considering that the authorities on the subject have not been wholly consistent particularly in describing the effects of pardon.

The benign mercy of pardon is of British origin, conceived to temper the gravity of the King’s wrath. But Philippine jurisprudence on the subject has been largely influenced by American case law.

Pardon is defined as “an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. It is the private, though official act of the executive magistrate, delivered to the individual for whose benefit it is intended, and not communicated officially to the Court. … A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance.”

At the time the antecedents of the present case took place, the pardoning power was governed by the 1973 Constitution as amended in the April 7, 1981 plebiscite. The pertinent provision reads:

The President may, except in cases of impeachment, grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, remit fines and forfeitures, and with the concurrence of the Batasang Pambansa, grant amnesty.

The 1981 amendments had deleted the earlier rule that clemency could be extended only upon final conviction, implying that clemency could be given even before conviction. Thus, petitioner’s unconditional pardon was granted even as her appeal was pending in the High Court. It is worth mentioning that under the 1987 Constitution, the former limitation of final conviction was restored. But be that as it may, it is our view that in the present case, it is not material when the pardon was bestowed, whether before or after conviction, for the result would still be the same. Having accepted the pardon, petitioner is deemed to have abandoned her appeal and her unreversed conviction by the Sandiganbayan assumed the character of finality.

Having disposed of that preliminary point, we proceed to discuss the effects of a full and absolute pardon in relation to the decisive question of whether or not the plenary pardon had the effect of removing the disqualifications prescribed by the Revised Penal Code.

In Pelobello v. Palatino,  We find a reiteration of the stand consistently adopted by the courts on the various consequences of pardon: “… we adopt the broad view expressed in Cristobal v. Labrador, G.R. No. 47941, December 7, 1940, that subject to the limitations imposed by the Constitution, the pardoning power cannot be restricted or controlled by legislative action; that an absolute pardon not only blots out the crime committed but removes all disabilities resulting from the conviction. … (W)e are of the opinion that the better view in the light of the constitutional grant in this jurisdiction is not to unnecessarily restrict or impair the power of the Chief Executive who, after an inquiry into the environmental facts, should be at liberty to atone the rigidity of the law to the extent of relieving completely the party … concerned from the accessory and resultant disabilities of criminal conviction.

A pardon reaches both the punishment prescribed for the offense and the guilt of the offender; and when the pardon is full, it releases the punishment and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offense. If granted before conviction, it prevents any of the penalties and disabilities, consequent upon conviction, from attaching; if granted after conviction, it removes the penalties and disabilities and restores him to all his civil rights; it makes him, as it were, a new man, and gives him a new credit and capacity.

Such generalities have not been universally accepted, recognized or approved.  The modern trend of authorities now rejects the unduly broad language of the Garland case (reputed to be perhaps the most extreme statement which has been made on the effects of a pardon). To our mind, this is the more realistic approach. While a pardon has generally been regarded as blotting out the existence of guilt so that in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as though he never committed the offense, it does not operate for all purposes. The very essence of a pardon is forgiveness or remission of guilt. Pardon implies guilt. It does not erase the fact of the commission of the crime and the conviction thereof. It does not wash out the moral stain. It involves forgiveness and not forgetfulness.

The better considered cases regard full pardon (at least one not based on the offender’s innocence) as relieving the party from all the punitive consequences of his criminal act, including the disqualifications or disabilities based on the finding of guilt.  But it relieves him from nothing more. “To say, however, that the offender is a “new man”, and “as innocent as if he had never committed the offense;” is to ignore the difference between the crime and the criminal. A person adjudged guilty of an offense is a convicted criminal, though pardoned; he may be deserving of punishment, though left unpunished; and the law may regard him as more dangerous to society than one never found guilty of crime, though it places no restraints upon him following his conviction.”

A pardon looks to the future. It is not retrospective.  It makes no amends for the past. It affords no relief for what has been suffered by the offender. It does not impose upon the government any obligation to make reparation for what has been suffered. “Since the offense has been established by judicial proceedings, that which has been done or suffered while they were in force is presumed to have been rightfully done and justly suffered, and no satisfaction for it can be required.” This would explain why petitioner, though pardoned, cannot be entitled to receive backpay for lost earnings and benefits.

Finally, petitioner has sought exemption from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed upon her by the sentence. The Court cannot oblige her. Civil liability arising from crime is governed by the Revised Penal Code. It subsists notwithstanding service of sentence, or for any reason the sentence is not served by pardon, amnesty or commutation of sentence. Petitioner’s civil liability may only be extinguished by the same causes recognized in the Civil Code, namely: payment, loss of the thing due, remission of the debt, merger of the rights of creditor and debtor, compensation and novation .

9. Lllamas vs. Exec. Sec. Orbos, Oct. 15, 1991

The case before Us calls for a determination of whether or not the President of the Philippines has the power to grant executive clemency in administrative cases. In connection therewith, two important questions are also put in issue, namely, whether or not the grant of executive clemency and the reason therefore, are political questions beyond judicial review, and whether or not the questioned act was characterized by grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

Petitioner Rodolfo D. Llamas is the incumbent Vice-Governor of the Province of Tarlac and, on March 1, 1991 he assumed, by virtue of a decision of the Office of the President, the governorship (p. 1, Petition). Private respondent Mariano Un Ocampo III is the incumbent Governor of the Province of Tarlac and was suspended from office for a period of 90 days. Public respondent Oscar Orbos was the Executive Secretary at the time of the filing of this petition and is being impleaded herein in that official capacity for having issued, by authority of the President, the assailed Resolution granting executive clemency to respondent governor.

By virtue of the aforequoted Resolution, respondent governor reassumed the governorship of the province, allegedly without any notification made to the petitioner.

Petitioner posits that the issuance by public respondent of the May 15, 1991 Resolution was “whimsical, capricious and despotic, and constituted grave abuse of discretion amounting lack of jurisdiction,” (p. 6, petition) basically on the ground th executive clemency could be granted by the President only in criminal cases as there is nothing in the statute books or even in the Constitution which allows the grant thereof in administrative cases. Petitioner also contends that since respondent governor refused to recognize his suspension (having reassumed the governorship in gross defiance of the suspension order), executive clemency cannot apply to him; that his rights to due process were violated because the grant of executive clemency was so sudden that he was not even notified thereof; and that despite a finding by public respondent of impropriety in the loan transaction entered into by respondent governor, the former failed to justify the reduction of the penalty of suspension on the latter. Petitioner further alleges that the executive clemency granted by public respondent was “the product of a hocus-pocus strategy” (p. 1, Manifestation with Motion, etc.) because there was allegedly no real petition for the grant of executive clemency filed by respondent governor.

Batas Pambansa Blg. 337 provides:

Sec. 63. Preventive Suspension.  (1)  Preventive suspension may be imposed by the Minister of Local Government if the respondent is a provincial or city official, …

(2)     Preventive suspension may be imposed at any time after the issues are joined, when there is reasonable ground to believe that the respondent has committed the act or acts complained of, when the evidence of culpability is strong, when the gravity of the offense s warrants, or when the continuance in office of the respondent coul influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity the records and other evidence. In all cases, preventive suspension shall not extend beyond sixty days after the start of said suspension.

(3)     At the expiration of sixty days, the suspended official shall be deemed reinstated in office without prejudice to the continuation the proceedings against him until its termination. (Emphasis supplied)

Let us first deal with the issue on jurisdiction. Respondent govemor avers that since under the Constitution  discretionary authority is granted to the President on the exercise of executive clemency, the same constitutes a political question which is beyond judicial review.

Such a rule does not hold true in the case at bar. While it is true that courts cannot inquire into the manner in which the President’s discretionary powers are exercised or into the wisdom for its exercise, it is also a settled rule that when the issue involved concerns the validity of such discretionary powers or whether said powers are within the limits prescribed by the Constitution, We will not decline to exercise our power of judicial review. And such review does not constitute a modification or correction of the act of the President, nor does it constitute interference with the functions of the President. In this connection, the case of Tanada and Macapagal vs. Cuenco, et al., 103 Phil. 1051, is very enlightening, and We quote:

Elsewhere in this treatise the well-known and well-established principle is considered that it is not within the province of the courts to pass judgment upon the policy of legislative or executive action. Where, therefore, discretionary powers are granted by the Constitution or by statute, the manner in which those powers are exercised is not subject to judicial review. The courts, therefore, concern themselves only with the question as to the existence and extent of these discretionary powers.

As distinguished from the judicial, the legislative and executive departments are spoken of as the political departments of government because in very many cases their action is necessarily dictated by considerations of public or political policy. These considerations of public or political policy of course will not permit the legislature to violate constitutional provisions, or the executive to exercise authority not granted him by the Constitution or by statute, but, within these limits, they do permit the departments, separately or together, to recognize that a certain set of facts exists or that a given status exists, and these determinations, together with the consequences that flow therefrom, may not be traversed in the courts. (Willoughby on the Constitution of the United States, Vol. 3, p. 1326).

In the case at bar, the nature of the question for determination is not purely political. Here, we are called upon to decide whether under the Constitution the President may grant executive clemency in administrative cases. We must not overlook the fact that the exercise by the President of her power of executive clemency is subject to constitutional limitations. We will merely check whether the particular measure in question has been in accordance with law. In so doing, We will not concern ourselves with the reasons or motives which actuate the President as such is clearly beyond our power of judicial review.

Petitioner’s main argument is that the President may grant executive clemency only in criminal cases, based on Article VII, Section 19 of the Constitution which reads:

Sec. 19.       Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise pro vided in this Constitution, the President may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment.

He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the members of the Congress. (Emphasis supplied)

According to the petitioner, the qualifying phrase “after conviction by final judgment” applies solely to criminal cases, and no other law allows the grant of executive clemency or pardon to anyone who has been “convicted in an administrative case,” allegedly because the word “conviction” refers only to criminal cases (par. 22-b, c, d, Petition). Petitioner, however, describes in his very own words, respondent governor as one who has been “convicted in an administrative case” (par. 22-a, petition). Thus, petitioner concedes that the word “conviction” may be used either in a criminal case or in an administrative case. In Layno, Sr. vs. Sandiganbayan, 136 SCRA 536, We ruled:

For misfeasance or malfeasance … any [elective official] could … be proceeded against administratively or … criminally. In either case, his culpability must be established …

Moreover, applying the doctrine “Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguire debemos,” We cannot sustain petitioner’s view. In other words, if the law does not distinguish, so We must no distinguish. The Constitution does not distinguish between which cases executive clemency may be exercised by the President, with the sole exclusion of impeachment cases. By the same token, if executive clemency may be exercised only in criminal cases, it would indeed be unnecessary to provide for the exclusion of impeachment cases from the coverage of Article VII, Section 19 of the Constitution. Following petitioner’s proposed interpretation, cases of impeachment are automatically excluded inasmuch as the same do not necessarily involve criminal offenses.

In the same vein, We do not clearly see any valid and convincing reason why the President cannot grant executive clemency in administrative cases. It is Our considered view that if the President can grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures in criminal cases, with much more reason can she grant executive clemency in administrative cases, which are clearly less serious than criminal offenses.

A number of laws impliedly or expressly recognize or support the exercise of the executive clemency in administrative cases.

d.   Is breach of the condition of pardon subject   to judicial review?

Read:     TORRES VS. GONZALES, 152 SCRA 272

On 18 April 1979, a conditional pardon was granted to the petitioner by the President of the Philippines on condition that petitioner would “not again violate any of the penal laws of the Philippines. Should this condition be violated, he will be proceeded against in the manner prescribed by law.”  Petitioner accepted the conditional pardon and was consequently released from confinement.

On 21 May 1986, the Board of Pardons and Parole (the “Board”) resolved to recommend to the President the cancellation of the conditional pardon granted to the petitioner. In making its recommendation to the President, the Board relied upon the decisions of this Court in Tesoro vs. Director of Prisons (68 Phil. 154 [1939]) and Espuelas vs. Provincial Warden of Bohol (108 Phil. 356 [1960]). The evidence before the Board showed that on 22 March 1982 and 24 June 1982, petitioner had been charged with twenty counts of estafa in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-19672 and Q-20756, which cases were then (on 21 May 1986) pending trial before the Regional Trial Court of Rizal (Quezon City). The record before the Board also showed that on 26 June 1985, petitioner had been convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Rizal (Quezon City) of the crime of sedition in Criminal Case No. Q-22926; this conviction was then pending appeal before the Intermediate Appellate Court. The Board also had before it a letter report dated 14 January 1986 from the National Bureau of Investigation (“NBI”), addressed to the Board, on the petitioner. Per this letter, the records of the NBI showed that a long list of charges had been brought against the petitioner during the last twenty years for a wide assortment of crimes including estafa, other forms of swindling, grave threats, grave coercion, illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives, malicious mischief, violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, and violation of Presidential Decree No. 772 (interfering with police functions). Some of these charges were Identified in the NBI report as having been dismissed. The NBI report did not purport to be a status report on each of the charges there listed and Identified.

On 8 September 1986, the President cancelled the conditional pardon of the petitioner.

On 10 October 1986, the respondent Minister of Justice issued “by authority of the President” an Order of Arrest and Recommitment against petitioner. The petitioner was accordingly arrested and confined in Muntinlupa to serve the unexpired portion of his sentence.

Petitioner now impugns the validity of the Order of Arrest and Recommitment. He claims that he did not violate his conditional pardon since he has not been convicted by final judgment of the twenty (20) counts of estafa charged in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-19672 and Q-20756 nor of the crime of sedition in Criminal Case No. Q-22926. 3 Petitioner also contends that he was not given an opportunity to be heard before he was arrested and recommitted to prison, and accordingly claims he has been deprived of his rights under the due process clause of the Constitution.

The issue that confronts us therefore is whether or not conviction of a crime by final judgment of a court is necessary before the petitioner can be validly rearrested and recommitted for violation of the terms of his conditional pardon and accordingly to serve the balance of his original sentence.

This issue is not novel. It has been raised before this Court three times in the past. This Court was first faced with this issue in Tesoro Director of Prison. Tesoro, who had been convicted of the crime of falsification of public documents, was granted a parole by the then Governor-General. One of the conditions of the parole required the parolee “not [to] commit any other crime and [to] conduct himself in an orderly manner.”  Two years after the grant of parole, Tesoro was charged before the Justice of the Peace Court of San Juan, Rizal, with the crime of adultery said to have been committed with the wife of Tesoro’s brother-in-law. The fiscal filed with the Court of First Instance the corresponding information which, however, was dismissed for non-appearance of the complainant. The complainant then went before the Board of Indeterminate Sentence and charged Tesoro with violation of the conditions of his parole. After investigation by the parole officer, and on the basis of his report, the Board recommended to the President of the Philippines the arrest and recommitment of the petitioner. Tesoro contended, among other things, that a “judicial pronouncement to the effect that he has committed a crime” is necessary before he could properly be adjudged as having violated his conditional parole.

Addressing this point, this Court, speaking through then Mr. Justice Moran, held that the determination of whether the conditions of Tesoro’s parole had been breached rested exclusively in the sound judgment of the Governor-General and that such determination would not be reviewed by the courts. As Tesoro had consented to place his liberty on parole upon the judgment of the power that had granted it, we held that “he [could not] invoke the aid of the courts, however erroneous the findings may be upon which his recommitment was ordered.”  Thus, this Court held that by accepting the terms under which the parole had been granted, Tesoro had in effect agreed that the Governor-General’s determination (rather than that of the regular courts of law) that he had breached one of the conditions of his parole by committing adultery while he was conditionally at liberty, was binding and conclusive upon him.

In Sales vs. Director of Prisons, the petitioner had been convicted of the crime of frustrated murder. After serving a little more than two years of his sentence, he was given a conditional pardon by the President of the Philippines, “the condition being that he shall not again violate any of the penal laws of the Philippines and that, should this condition be violated, he shall be proceeded against in the manner prescribed by law.” 8 Eight years after the grant of his conditional pardon, Sales was convicted of estafa and sentenced to three months and eleven days of arresto mayor. He was thereupon recommitted to prison to serve the unexpired portion of his original sentence. Sales raised before this Court two principal contentions. Firstly, he argued that Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code had been repealed by Article 159 of the Revised Penal Code. He contended, secondly, that Section 64 (i) was in any case repugnant to the due process clause of the Constitution (Article III [1], 1935 Constitution). This Court, through Mr. Justice Ozaeta speaking for the majority, rejected both contentions of Sales.

In Espuelas vs. Provincial Warden of Bohol,  the petitioner had been convicted of the crime of inciting to sedition. While serving his sentence, he was granted by the President a conditional pardon “on condition that he shall not again violate any of the penal laws of the Philippines.”  Espuelas accepted the conditional pardon and was released from confinement. Sometime thereafter, he was convicted by the Justice of the Peace Court in Tagbilaran, Bohol, of the crime of usurpation of authority. He appealed to the Court of First Instance. Upon motion of the provincial fiscal, the Court of First Instance dismissed the case provisionally, an important prosecution witness not having been available on the day set for trial. A few months later, upon recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Parole, the President ordered his recommitment to prison to serve the unexpired period of his original sentence.

The status of our case law on the matter under consideration may be summed up in the following propositions:

1.       The grant of pardon and the determination of the terms and conditions of a conditional pardon are purely executive acts which are not subject to judicial scrutiny.

2.       The determination of the occurrence of a breach of a condition of a pardon, and the proper consequences of such breach, may be either a purely executive act, not subject to judicial scrutiny under Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code; or it may be a judicial act consisting of trial for and conviction of violation of a conditional pardon under Article 159 of the Revised Penal Code. Where the President opts to proceed under Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code, no judicial pronouncement of guilt of a subsequent crime is necessary, much less conviction therefor by final judgment of a court, in order that a convict may be recommended for the violation of his conditional pardon.

3.       Because due process is not semper et unique judicial process, and because the conditionally pardoned convict had already been accorded judicial due process in his trial and conviction for the offense for which he was conditionally pardoned, Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code is not afflicted with a constitutional vice.

CRUZ, J., dissenting:

The petitioner challenges his recommitment, claiming he has not violated the condition of his pardon “that he shall not again violate any of the penal laws of the Philippines.” The government bases its stand on the case of Espuelas v. Provincial Warden of Bohol, 108 Phil. 353, where it was held, in connection with a similar condition, that mere commission of a crime, as determined by the President, was sufficient to justify recommitment. Conviction was considered not necessary.

I would grant the petition.

There is no question that the petitioner is facing a long list of criminal charges, but that certainly is not the issue. The point is that, as many as such charges may be, none of them so far has resulted in a final conviction, without which he cannot be recommitted under the condition of his pardon.

Mere accusation is not synonymous with guilt. (People v. Dramayo, 42 SCRA 59). A prima facie case only justifies the filing of the corresponding information, but proof beyond reasonable doubt is still necessary for conviction. Manifestly, an allegation merely accuses the defendant of a crime: it is the conviction that makes him a criminal. In other words, a person is considered to have committed a crime only if he is convicted thereof, and this is done not by his accuser but by the judge.

That this conviction must be pronounced by the judge and no other is too obvious a proposition to be disputed. The executive can only allege the commission of crime and thereafter try to prove it through indubitable evidence. If the prosecution succeeds, the court will then affirm the allegation of commission in a judgment of conviction.

e. Amnesty to rebels

Read:

Proclamation No. 80, February 28, 1987

10.  Sections 20. The President may contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board, and subject to such limitations as may be provided for by law. The Monetary Board shall, within 30 days from the end of every quarter of the calendar year, submit to the Congress a complete report of its decisions on applications for loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the government or  government owned and controlled corporations which would have the effect of  increasing the foreign debt, and containing other matters as may be provided for by law.

Section 21. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least 2/3 of all the members of the Senate.

(NOTE: Please see Section 25, Art. 18. After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the USA concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when   the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.)

Section 22. The President shall submit to the Congress within 30 days from the opening of every regular session, as the basis of the general appropriations bill, a budget of expenditures and sources of financing, including receipts from existing and proposed revenue measures.

Section 23. The President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session. He may also appear before it at any other time.

Read:     Distinctions between Treaty and executive agreements.

1)   GONZALES VS. HECHANOVA, 9 SCRA 280

     2)   TAN SIN VS. DEPORTATION BOARD, 104 Phil. 868

     3)   COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS VS. EASTERN, 3 SCRA 351

     4. Ichong vs. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155

11. Under the present Constitution, is the president immune from suit in relation to acts performed by him or by his subordinates by virtue of his specific orders during his tenure considering that the immunity from suit provision under the 1973 Constitution was already deleted?

Read:

1)   Section 17, Article VII of the 1973 Constitution with the 1984 amendments.

2)   HIDALGO VS. MARCOS, 80 SCRA 538

     3)   CARILLO VS. MARCOS, April 6, 1981

4.   MAXIMO SOLIVEN VS. JUDGE MAKASIAR, Nov. 15,    1988

 

Reference:

Political Law Reviewer by Atty. Larry D. Gacayan

College of Law, University of the Cordilleras

Baguio City

 


* Consolidated with six (6) other Petitions

[1]     Petition in G.R. No. 171396, p. 5.

[2]     Police action in various parts of Metro Manila and the reactions of the huge crowds being dispersed were broadcast as “breaking news” by the major television stations of this country.

[3]     Petition in G.R. No. 171400, p. 11.

[4]     Ibid.

[5]     Province of Batangas v. Romulo, G.R. No. 152774, May 27, 2004, 429 SCRA 736.

[6]     Royal Cargo Corporation v. Civil Aeronautics Board, G.R. Nos. 103055-56, January 26, 2004, 421 SCRA 21; Vda. De Dabao v. Court of Appeals, supra.

[7]     Salonga v. Cruz  Paño, et  al., No. L- 59524, February 18, 1985, 134 SCRA 438.

[8]     Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Ed. 1991, p. 941.

[9]     Salonga v. Warner Barnes & Co., 88 Phil. 125 (1951).

[10]    275 Ky 91, 120 SW2d 765 (1938).

[11]    19  Wend. 56 (1837).

[12]    232  NC 48, 59 SE2d 359 (1950).

[13]    302 U.S. 633.

[14]    318 U.S. 446.

[15]    65 Phil. 56 (1937).

[16]    G.R. No. 117, November 7, 1945 (Unreported).

[17]    G.R. No. 2947, January 11, 1959 (Unreported).

[18]    110 Phil. 331 (1960).

[19]    77 Phil. 1012 (1947).

[20]    84 Phil. 368 (1949) The Court held: “Above all, the transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure.”

[21]      L-No. 40004, January 31, 1975, 62 SCRA 275.

[22]          Tañada v. Tuvera, G.R. No. 63915, April 24, 1985, 136 SCRA 27, where the Court held that where the question is one of public duty and the enforcement of a public right, the people are the real party in interest, and it is sufficient that the petitioner is a citizen interested in the execution of the law;

       Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission, G.R. No. 72119, May 29, 1987, 150 SCRA 530, where the Court held that in cases involving an assertion of a public right, the requirement of personal interest is satisfied by the mere fact that the petitioner is a citizen and part of the general public which possesses the right.

      Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan, L. No. 81311, June 30, 1988, 163 SCRA 371, where the Court held that objections to taxpayers’ lack of personality to sue may be disregarded in determining the validity of the VAT law;

     Albano v. Reyes, G.R. No. 83551, July 11, 1989, 175 SCRA 264, where the Court held that while no expenditure of public funds was involved under the questioned contract, nonetheless considering its important role in the economic development of the country and the magnitude of the financial consideration involved, public interest was definitely involved and this clothed petitioner with the legal personality under the disclosure provision of the Constitution to question it.

      Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Sec. of Agrarian Reform, G.R. No. 78742, July 14, 1989, 175 SCRA 343, where the Court ruled that while petitioners are strictly speaking, not covered by the definition of a “proper party,” nonetheless, it has the discretion to waive the requirement, in determining the validity of the implementation of the CARP.

     Gonzales v. Macaraig, Jr., G.R. No. 87636, November 19, 1990, 191 SCRA 452, where the Court held that it enjoys the open discretion to entertain  taxpayer’s suit or not and that a member of the Senate has the requisite personality to bring a suit where a constitutional issue is raised.

     Maceda v. Macaraig, Jr., G.R. No. 88291, May 31, 1991, 197 SCRA 771, where the Court held that petitioner as a taxpayer, has the personality to file the instant petition, as the issues involved, pertains to illegal expenditure of public money;

     Osmeña v. Comelec, G.R. No. 100318, 100308, 100417,100420, July 30, 1991, 199 SCRA 750,  where the Court held that where serious constitutional questions are involved, the “transcendental  importance” to the public of the cases involved demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside technicalities of procedures;

      De Guia v. Comelec, G.R. No. 104712, May 6, 1992, 208 SCRA 420, where the Court held that the importance of the issues involved  concerning as it does the political exercise of qualified voters affected by the apportionment, necessitates the brushing aside of the procedural requirement of locus standi.

[23]      G.R. No. 133250, July 9, 2002, 384 SCRA 152.

[24]      G.R. Nos. 138570, 138572, 138587, 138680, 138698, October 10, 2000, 342 SCRA 449.

[25]      G.R. No. 151445, April 11, 2002, 380 SCRA 739.

[26]     Supra.

[27]    G.R. No. 118910, November 16, 1995, 250 SCRA 130.

[28]    G.R. No. 132922, April 21, 1998, 289 SCRA 337.

[29]     G.R. No. 147780, 147781, 147799, 147810, May 10, 2001, 357 SCRA 756.

[30]     G.R. No. 159085, February 3, 2004, 421 SCRA 656.

[31]    From the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, the intent of the framers is clear that the immunity of the President from suit is concurrent only with his tenure and not his term.  (De Leon, Philippine Constitutional Law, Vol. 2, 2004 Ed., p. 302).

[32]   Section 1, Article XI of the Constitution provides: 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.

[33]   Ibid., Sec. 2.

[34]      Supra.

 

[35]      Section 1, Article VII of the Constitution.

[36]      Section 5, Article VII of the Constitution.

[37]      Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution.

[38]      Section 6, Article XVI of the Constitution.

[39]      See Republic Act No. 6975.

[40]   Ironically, even the 7th Whereas Clause of PP 1017 which states that “Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government” replicates more closely Section 2, Article 2 of the 1973 Constitution than Section 4, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution which provides that, “[t[he prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people.”

[41]   Agpalo, Statutory Construction, Fourth Edition, 1998, p. 1, citing Legaspi v. Ministry of Finance, 115 SCRA 418 (1982); Garcia-Padilla v. Ponce-Enrile, supra.  Aquino v. Commission on Election, supra.

[42]     Section 17, Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution reads: “In times of national emergency when the public interest so requires, the State may temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.”

[43]     Antieau, Constitutional Construction, 1982, p.21.

[44]     Cruz, Philippine Political Law, 1998, p. 94.

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About Magz

First of all, I am not a lawyer. I'm a graduate of AB Political Science and went to the College of Law but stopped going to law school for some reasons. I'm a passionate teacher who has been teaching English to speakers of other languages and a person who likes writing and blogging. I lost some important files and software when my computer broke down so the reason I created this website is to preserve the notes, reviewers and digests I collected when I was at the law school and at the same time, I want to help out law students who do not have enough time to go and read books in the library.

Posted on May 9, 2011, in Political Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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