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Ting vs. Velez-Ting, G.R. No.

166562, March 31, 2009

This doctrine of adherence to precedents or stare decisis was applied by

the English courts and was later adopted by the United States. Associate
Justice (now Chief Justice) Reynato S. Punos discussion on the historical
development of this legal principle in his dissenting opinion in Lambino v.
Commission on Elections[52] is enlightening:
The latin phrase stare decisis et non quieta movere means
stand by the thing and do not disturb the calm. The doctrine
started with the English Courts. Blackstone observed that at the
beginning of the 18th century, it is an established rule to abide by
former precedents where the same points come again in litigation.
As the rule evolved, early limits to its application were recognized:
(1) it would not be followed if it were plainly unreasonable; (2)
where courts of equal authority developed conflicting decisions;
and, (3) the binding force of the decision was the actual principle
or principles necessary for the decision; not the words or reasoning
used to reach the decision.
The doctrine migrated to the United States. It was recognized
by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. According to Hamilton,
strict rules and precedents are necessary to prevent arbitrary
discretion in the courts. Madison agreed but stressed that x x x
once the precedent ventures into the realm of altering or repealing
the law, it should be rejected. Prof. Consovoy well noted that
Hamilton and Madison disagree about the countervailing policy
considerations that would allow a judge to abandon a precedent.
He added that their ideas reveal a deep internal conflict between
the concreteness required by the rule of law and the flexibility
demanded in error correction. It is this internal conflict that the
Supreme Court has attempted to deal with for over two centuries.
Indeed, two centuries of American case law will confirm Prof.
Consovoy's observation although stare decisis developed its own life
in the United States. Two strains of stare decisishave been isolated
by legal scholars. The first, known as vertical stare decisis deals

with the duty of lower courts to apply the decisions of the higher
courts to cases involving the same facts. The second, known
as horizontal stare decisis requires that high courts must follow
its own precedents. Prof. Consovoy correctly observes that
vertical stare decisis has been viewed as an obligation, while
horizontal stare decisis, has been viewed as a policy, imposing
choice but not a command. Indeed, stare decisis is not one of the
precepts set in stone in our Constitution.
It is also instructive to distinguish the two kinds of
horizontal stare
decisis constitutional stare
decisis and
statutory stare
decisis. Constitutional stare
decisis involves
judicial interpretations of the Constitution while statutory stare
decisis involves interpretations of statutes. The distinction is
important for courts enjoy more flexibility in refusing to apply stare
decisisin constitutional litigations. Justice Brandeis' view on the
binding effect of the doctrine in constitutional litigations still holds
sway today. In soothing prose, Brandeis stated: Stare decisis is
not . . . a universal and inexorable command. The rule of stare
decisis is not inflexible. Whether it shall be followed or departed
from, is a question entirely within the discretion of the court,
which is again called upon to consider a question once decided. In
the same vein, the venerable Justice Frankfurter opined: the
ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself
and not what we have said about it. In contrast, the application
of stare decisis on judicial interpretation of statutes is more
inflexible. As Justice Stevens explains: after a statute has been
construed, either by this Court or by a consistent course of
decision by other federal judges and agencies, it acquires a
meaning that should be as clear as if the judicial gloss had been
drafted by the Congress itself. This stance reflects both respect for
Congress' role and the need to preserve the courts' limited
In general, courts follow the stare decisis rule for an
ensemble of reasons, viz.: (1) it legitimizes judicial institutions; (2)
it promotes judicial economy; and, (3) it allows for predictability.
Contrariwise, courts refuse to be bound by the stare decisis rule

unconstitutional holdings; (2) it cannot accommodate changing

social and political understandings; (3) it leaves the power to
overturn bad constitutional law solely in the hands of Congress;
and, (4) activist judges can dictate the policy for future courts
while judges that respect stare decisis are stuck agreeing with
In its 200-year history, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused
to follow the stare decisis rule and reversed its decisions in 192
cases. The most famous of these reversals is Brown v. Board of
Education which junked Plessy v. Ferguson's separate but equal
doctrine. Plessy upheld as constitutional a state law requirement
that races be segregated on public transportation. In Brown, the
U.S. Supreme Court, unanimously held that separate . . . is
inherently unequal. Thus, by freeing itself from the shackles
of stare decisis, the U.S. Supreme Court freed the colored
Americans from the chains of inequality. In the Philippine setting,
this Court has likewise refused to be straitjacketed by the stare
decisis rule in order to promote public welfare. In La Bugal-B'laan
Tribal Association, Inc. v. Ramos, we reversed our original ruling
that certain provisions of the Mining Law are unconstitutional.
Similarly, in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, we overturned our first
ruling and held, on motion for reconsideration, that a private
respondent is bereft of the right to notice and hearing during the
evaluation stage of the extradition process.
An examination of decisions on stare decisis in major
countries will show that courts are agreed on the factors that
should be considered before overturning prior rulings. These are
workability, reliance, intervening developments in the law and
changes in fact. In addition, courts put in the balance the following
determinants: closeness of the voting, age of the prior decision and
its merits.
The leading case in deciding whether a court should follow
the stare decisis rule in constitutional litigations is Planned
Parenthood v. Casey. It established a 4-pronged test. The court
should (1) determine whether the rule has proved to be intolerable
simply in defying practical workability; (2) consider whether the
rule is subject to a kind of reliance that would lend a special

hardship to the consequences of overruling and add inequity to the

cost of repudiation; (3) determine whether related principles of law
have so far developed as to have the old rule no more than a
remnant of an abandoned doctrine; and, (4) find out whether facts
have so changed or come to be seen differently, as to have robbed
the old rule of significant application or justification.[53]

De Castro vs. JBC, April 20, 2010

We deny the motions for reconsideration for lack of merit, for all the matters
being thereby raised and argued, not being new, have all been resolved by the
decision of March 17, 2010.
Nonetheless, the Court opts to dwell on some matters only for the
purpose of clarification and emphasis.
First: Most of the movants contend that the principle of stare decisis is
controlling, and accordingly insist that the Court has erred in disobeying or
abandoning Valenzuela.[1]
The contention has no basis.
Stare decisis derives its name from the Latin maxim stare decisis et non quieta
movere, i.e., to adhere to precedent and not to unsettle things that are settled.
It simply means that a principle underlying the decision in one case is deemed
of imperative authority, controlling the decisions of like cases in the same court
and in lower courts within the same jurisdiction, unless and until the decision
in question is reversed or overruled by a court of competent authority. The
decisions relied upon as precedents are commonly those of appellate courts,
because the decisions of the trial courts may be appealed to higher courts and
for that reason are probably not the best evidence of the rules of law laid
down. [2]
Judicial decisions assume the same authority as a statute itself and,
until authoritatively abandoned, necessarily become, to the extent that they
are applicable, the criteria that must control the actuations, not only of those

called upon to abide by them, but also of those duty-bound to enforce

obedience to them.[3] In a hierarchical judicial system like ours, the decisions of
the higher courts bind the lower courts, but the courts of co-ordinate authority
do not bind each other. The one highest court does not bind itself, being
invested with the innate authority to rule according to its best lights.[4]
The Court, as the highest court of the land, may be guided but is not
controlled by precedent. Thus, the Court, especially with a new membership, is
not obliged to follow blindly a particular decision that it determines, after reexamination, to call for a rectification. [5] The adherence to precedents is strict
and rigid in a common-law setting like theUnited Kingdom, where judges make
law as binding as an Act of Parliament. [6] But ours is not a common-law system;
hence, judicial precedents are not always strictly and rigidly followed. A judicial
pronouncement in an earlier decision may be followed as a precedent in a
subsequent case only when its reasoning and justification are relevant, and the
court in the latter case accepts such reasoning and justification to be
applicable to the case. The application of the precedent is for the sake of
convenience and stability.
For the intervenors to insist that Valenzuela ought not to be disobeyed, or
abandoned, or reversed, and that its wisdom should guide, if not control, the
Court in this case is, therefore, devoid of rationality and foundation. They seem
to conveniently forget that the Constitution itself recognizes the innate
authority of the Court en banc to modify or reverse a doctrine or principle of
law laid down in any decision rendered en banc or in division.
Tan Chong vs. Secretary of Labor
The pinciple of stare decisis does not mean blind adherence to precedents. The
doctrines or rule laid down, which has been followed for years, no matter how
sound it may be, if found to be contrary to law, must be abandoned. The
principleof stare decisis does not and should not apply when there is conflict
between the precedent and the law. The duty of this Court is to forsake and
abandon any doctrine or rule found to be in violation of the law in force.
What are the types of Stare Decisis?
It is worth noting that Black further specifies the doctrine into three types:

1. Horizontal Stare Decisis the doctrine that a court, especially an appellate,

must adhere to its own prior decisions, unless it finds compelling reasons to
overrule itself; requires that high courts must follow its own precedents.
2. Vertical Stare Decisis the doctrine that a court must strictly follow the
decisions handed down by higher courts within the same jurisdiction; deals
with the duty of lower courts to apply the decisions of the higher courts to
cases involving the same facts.
3. Strict Stare Decisis the theory that courts must follow earlier court
decisions without considering whether those decisions were correct.

Stare Decisis in the Philippines

The first two specific types (horizontal and vertical) of the doctrine of stare
decisis are generally and wholly accepted in the international stage. However,
the third variation, strict stare decisis, is put under question as critics argue
that strict adherence to old decisions can give rise to grave injustices.
In arguing against strict stare decisis, Pineda reiterates that the doctrine does
not mean blind adherence to precedents. There are certain exceptions when it
must be softened. Thus, if a rule which has been followed as a precedent is
found contrary to law, it must be abandoned. The law is higher than a
precedent. The precedent may also be abandoned, if it has ceased to be
beneficial and useful to society in the light of the changing conditions.
His argument is evidently a critical hit against the third principle of strict stare
decisis, further adding that, certainly, the rule of stare decisis is entitled to
respect because stability in jurisprudence is desirable, but, nonetheless,
reverence for precedent, simply as precedent, cannot prevail when
constitutionalism and the public interest demand otherwise.

Philippine Guardians Brotherhood vs. Comelec

G.R. No. 190529, April 29, 2010

Our Minero ruling is an erroneous application of Section 6(8) of RA 7941;

hence, it cannot sustain PGBIs delisting from the roster of registered national,
regional or sectoral parties, organizations or coalitions under the party-list
The doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere (to adhere to precedents
and not to unsettle things which are established) is embodied in Article 8 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines which provides, thus:
ART. 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws
or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of
the Philippines.

The doctrine enjoins adherence to judicial precedents. It requires courts in a

country to follow the rule established in a decision of its Supreme
Court. That decision becomes a judicial precedent to be followed in subsequent
cases by all courts in the land. The doctrine of stare decisis is based on the
principle that once a question of law has been examined and decided, it should
be deemed settled and closed to further argument. [11] The doctrine is
grounded on the necessity for securing certainty and stability of judicial
decisions, thus:
Time and again, the court has held that it is a very desirable and
necessary judicial practice that when a court has laid down a
principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will
adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases in which
the facts are substantially the same. Stare decisis et non quieta
movere. Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is
settled.Stare decisis simply means that for the sake of certainty,
a conclusion reached in one case should be applied to those

that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though
the parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of
justice that, absent any powerful countervailing considerations,
like cases ought to be decided alike. Thus, where the same
questions relating to the same event have been put forward by the
parties similarly situated as in a previous case litigated and
decided by a competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a bar to
any attempt to relitigate the same issue.[12]
The doctrine though is not cast in stone for upon a showing that
circumstances attendant in a particular case override the great benefits derived
by our judicial system from the doctrine of stare decisis, the Court is justified
in setting it aside.[13]
As our discussion above shows, the most compelling reason to
abandon Minero exists; it was clearly an erroneous application of the law an
application that the principle of stability or predictability of decisions alone
cannot sustain. Minero did unnecessary violence to the language of the law, the
intent of the legislature, and to the rule of law in general. Clearly, we cannot
allow PGBI to be prejudiced by the continuing validity of an erroneous
ruling. Thus, we now abandon Minero and strike it out from our ruling case

Starke vs. Cuenca

Belgica vs. Social Justice Society

G.R. No. 208566

November 19, 2013

On the other hand, the focal point of stare decisis is the doctrine created. The
principle, entrenched under Article 8152 of the Civil Code, evokes the general
rule that, for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be
doctrinally applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same,

even though the parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of
justice that, absent any powerful countervailing considerations, like cases
ought to be decided alike. Thus, where the same questions relating to the same
event have been put forward by the parties similarly situated as in a previous
case litigated and decided by a competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a
bar to any attempt to re-litigate the same issue.153
Philconsa was the first case where a constitutional challenge against a Pork
Barrel provision, i.e., the 1994 CDF Article, was resolved by the Court. To
properly understand its context, petitioners posturing was that "the power
given to the Members of Congress to propose and identify projects and
activities to be funded by the CDF is an encroachment by the legislature on
executive power, since said power in an appropriation act is in implementation
of the law" and that "the proposal and identification of the projects do not
involve the making of laws or the repeal and amendment thereof, the only
function given to the Congress by the Constitution."154 In deference to the
foregoing submissions, the Court reached the following main conclusions: one,
under the Constitution, the power of appropriation, or the "power of the purse,"
belongs to Congress; two, the power of appropriation carries with it the power
to specify the project or activity to be funded under the appropriation law and
it can be detailed and as broad as Congress wants it to be; and, three, the
proposals and identifications made by Members of Congress are merely
recommendatory. At once, it is apparent that the Philconsa resolution was a
limited response to a separation of powers problem, specifically on the
propriety of conferring post-enactment identification authority to Members of
Congress. On the contrary, the present cases call for a more holistic
examination of (a) the inter-relation between the CDF and PDAF Articles with
each other, formative as they are of the entire "Pork Barrel System" as well as
(b) the intra-relation of post-enactment measures contained within a particular
CDF or PDAF Article, including not only those related to the area of project
identification but also to the areas of fund release and realignment. The
complexity of the issues and the broader legal analyses herein warranted may
be, therefore, considered as a powerful countervailing reason against a
wholesale application of the stare decisis principle.

In addition, the Court observes that the Philconsa ruling was actually riddled
with inherent constitutional inconsistencies which similarly countervail against
a full resort to stare decisis. As may be deduced from the main conclusions of
the case, Philconsas fundamental premise in allowing Members of Congress to
propose and identify of projects would be that the said identification authority
is but an aspect of the power of appropriation which has been constitutionally
lodged in Congress. From this premise, the contradictions may be easily seen.
If the authority to identify projects is an aspect of appropriation and the power
of appropriation is a form of legislative power thereby lodged in Congress, then
it follows that: (a) it is Congress which should exercise such authority, and not
its individual Members; (b) such authority must be exercised within the
prescribed procedure of law passage and, hence, should not be exercised after
the GAA has already been passed; and (c) such authority, as embodied in the
GAA, has the force of law and, hence, cannot be merely recommendatory.
Justice Vitugs Concurring Opinion in the same case sums up the Philconsa
quandary in this wise: "Neither would it be objectionable for Congress, by law,
to appropriate funds for such specific projects as it may be minded; to give that
authority, however, to the individual members of Congress in whatever guise, I
am afraid, would be constitutionally impermissible." As the Court now largely
benefits from hindsight and current findings on the matter, among others, the
CoA Report, the Court must partially abandon its previous ruling in Philconsa
insofar as it validated the post-enactment identification authority of Members
of Congress on the guise that the same was merely recommendatory. This
postulate raises serious constitutional inconsistencies which cannot be simply
excused on the ground that such mechanism is "imaginative as it is
innovative." Moreover, it must be pointed out that the recent case of Abakada
Guro Party List v. Purisima155 (Abakada) has effectively overturned Philconsas
allowance of post-enactment legislator participation in view of the separation of
powers principle. These constitutional inconsistencies and the Abakada rule
will be discussed in greater detail in the ensuing section of this Decision.
As for LAMP, suffice it to restate that the said case was dismissed on a
procedural technicality and, hence, has not set any controlling doctrine
susceptible of current application to the substantive issues in these cases. In
fine, stare decisis would not apply.




Stability, uniformity, and predictability are the compelling reasons for the value
placed upon judicial precedents. Although in practice the use of precedents
may often be approximately similar in civilian and in common law jurisdictions,
the essential difference lies in the attitude towards them and the sanctity with
which they are regarded1
Under the common law doctrine of stare decisis, judicial precedents are
considered law de jure, while in civil law jurisdiction case-law, when recognized
at all, is merely law de facto.2 The variance in the underlying philosophies in
the two legal systems are rooted in the role they ascribed to their judges. In
the civil law system the traditional role of judges in law-making is very limited, 3
since law-making is considered to be the function solely of the legislators;
judicial decisions must therefore develop within the framework established by

In the civil law system, judicial decisions are therefore not

traditionally considered as sources of law.

1 Tate, Techniques of Judicial Interpretation in Louisiana, XXII LA L. REV. 727, 743
2 Dageett, Dainow, Hebert, and McMahon, A Reappraisal Appraised: A Brief For the
Civil Law of Louisana, XII TUL. L. REV. 13, (1937)
3 Ibid.
4 DAVID, supra note 6, at 136 (underscoring supplied).

On the other hand, the common law theory on judicial precedents has an
opposite premises.

The first principle of hierarchy in the doctrine of stare

decisis, that a lower court is under a duty to accept the position held on any
given issue by its hierarchical superior, 5flows from the theory in common law
that decided cases are, in their own right, sources of law. The fact that the
lower court thinks the decision wrong does not justify its ignoring the
precedent.6 The second principle which provides that a court is bound by its
previous decisions, is not the logical entailment of theory that judicial
decisions are source of law, but flows from the policy of giving the legal systems
structure and coherence in the absence code system, and also because of the
considerations of equality of treatment, predictability, and economy of effort. 7
Although the same considerations operate in the civil law system, but because
of its traditional view that judicial decisions are not formal sources of law, prior
decisions do not enjoy the same standing in civil law as they do in the common
law.8 Although though lower courts in the civil law system have at least in
theory the freedom to depart from previous decisions of hierarchically superior
courts.. as a practical mater in the great majority of case lower court n all
systems accept the position taken by their hierarchical superiors, for fear of

lower courts, when necessitated by the changing demands of the times and
public policy, should be allowed to depart from decisions of superior tribunals
as a direct ways of provoking a re-examination of an important legal question,
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid

and giving the Court of last resort an opportunity of either reaffirming the old
doctrine or abandoning it, and adopting a new one. 10

10 Juco, The Doctrine of Stare Decisis and the Philosophy of Law in Changing
World13 ATENEO L.J. 40, 51 (1963), at 50-51 citing dissent in People v. Santos, 104
Phil. 551, 560 (1958).