Pre-Bar Quizzer in Political Law – Part I: Constitution of Government 71-80

71. May judicial power be exercised by the Supreme Court in cases of decisions of the House of Representatives Electoral tribunal since Section 16, Art. VI of the Constitution provides that the HRET is the “sole judge” ————-.23..23.of all contestests involving the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives?

          Yes if there is allegation of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction on the part of the HRET (BONDOC VS. PINEDA)


72. What is a political question?

           In    ALMARIO VS. ALBA, 127 SCRA 6, it was defined as a  question which deals with the necessity, expediency and wisdom of a particuar act, the same is political and not justifiable.

In Sanidad vs. Comelec, 73 SCRA 333,  political questions was defined as questions which are neatly associated with the wisdom, not the legality of a particular act. Where the vortex of the controversy refers to the  legality or validity of the contested act, the matter is definitely justiciable or non-political.

In Tanada vs. Cuenco, 103 Phil., political question was defined as questions to be answered by the people in their sovereign capacity or in regard to which full discretionary authority is vested to the executive or legislative branch of the government.

Or in  Gonzales vs. COMELEC, 21 SCRA 774 , when the crux of the problem deals with the wisdom of an act, it is political).


73. What is the extent of the fiscal autonomy granted to the judiciary under the 1987 Constitution?

As provided under   Section 3, At. VIII,  the judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy and as such appropriations for the judiciary may not be reduced by the legislature below the  amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.


 74. What are the cases to be decided by the Supreme Court en banc?

All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement, or law, which shall be heard by the Supreme Court en banc, including those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, shall be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon. Also,  no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the court en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the court sitting en banc.

Also if two (2) divisions of the Supreme Court have conflicting decisions, the same shall be resolved by the Supreme Court en banc. Cases referred to by the division to the banc involving novel questions of law , the same shall be decided by the en banc accepted by the latter.

Finally, dismissal of judges and disbarment of lawyers are also decided by the Supreme Court en banc.


75. What are the powers of the Supreme Court?

As enumerated in Art. VIII,  Section 5, t he Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

(1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.

(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:


(a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question;

(b) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto;

(c)  All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue;

(d) All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or higher;

(e)  All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.


(3) Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed 6 months without the consent of the judge concerned.

(4) Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice.

(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading , practice , and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for  all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.

(6) Appoint all officials and employees of the judiciary in accordance with the civil service law.


76. What is the “writ of amparo”?

It is a writ issued by the courts for the protection and enforcement of the constitutional rights of a person under detention. (Section 5 (5), Art. VIII)


77. What are the 3-fold Functions of Judicial Review?

These are the:

1)   legitimizing function

2)   checking function

3)    symbolic or educational function


78. May inferior courts also exercise the power of judicial review (declaring a law, treaty, etc. unconstitutional) in the light of the requirements of Section 4(2) of Article VIII that not even any of the Supreme Court’s three (3) divisions, sitting separately could not declare a law, treaty, etc., unconstitutional?

Yes because the power of judicial review is just a part of judicial power which is available to all courts (Section 1, Art. VIII). Likewise, as shown by Section 5 [2] (a), the decision of lower courts declaring a law unconstitutional is subject to review by the Supreme Court. (YNOT VS. IAC, March 20, 1987)


79. What is the “operative fact doctrine”?

It simply means that the declaration of unconstitutionality of a law, treaty, etc., is prospective. As such, all acts done in connection with the said law before its declaration of unconstitutionality shall be considered legal, valid and binding. It is only the declaration of unconstitutionality which is the “operative fact” which would stop the people from complying with its provisions. (DE AGBAYANI VS. PNB, 38 SCRA 429)


80. What are the qualities of one aspiring to become a member of the judiciary aside from the citizenship and age qualifications?

          A member of the judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.




Pre-Bar Quizzer in Political Law (Doctrinal Rulings, Requisites and Definitions) July, 2008 by Atty. Larry D. Gacayan

College of Law, University of the Cordilleras

Baguio City


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 June 22, 2011, in Political Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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