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Arroyo vs. De Venecia G.R. No.

127255, August 14, 1997


Facts: A petition was filed challenging the validity of RA 8240,
which amends certain provisions of the National Internal Revenue
Code. Petitioners, who are members of the House of
Representatives, charged that there is violation of the rules of the
House which petitioners claim are constitutionally-mandated so
that their violation is tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.
The law originated in the House of Representatives. The Senate
approved it with certain amendments. A bicameral conference
committee was formed to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of
the House and Senate versions of the bill. The bicameral
committee submitted its report to the House.
During the interpellations, Rep. Arroyo moved to adjourn for lack
of quorum. But after a roll call, the Chair declared the presence of
a quorum. Leader Albano moved for the approval and ratification
of the conference committee report. The Chair called out for
objections to the motion. Then the Chair declared: There being
none, approved. At the same time the Chair was saying this,
Rep. Arroyo was asking, What is thatMr. Speaker? The Chair
and Rep. Arroyo were talking simultaneously. Thus, although Rep.
Arroyo subsequently objected to the Majority Leaders motion, the
approval of the conference committee report had by then already
been declared by the Chair.
On the same day, the bill was signed by the Speaker of the House
of Representatives and the President of the Senate and certified
by the respective secretaries of both Houses of Congress. The
enrolled bill was signed into law by President Ramos.
Issue: WN RA 8240 is null & void because it was passed in
violation of the rules of the House
Held: NO
Rules of each House of Congress are hardly permanent in
character. They are subject to revocation, modification or waiver
at the pleasure of the body adopting them as they are primarily
procedural. Courts ordinarily have no concern with their
observance. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative
body. Consequently, mere failure to conform to them does not
have the effect of nullifying the act taken if the requisite number

of members has agreed to a particular measure. But this is


subject to qualification. Where the construction to be given to a
rule affects person other than members of the legislative body,
the question presented is necessarily judicial in character. Even its
validity is open to question in a case where private rights are
involved.
In the case, no rights of private individuals are involved but only
those of a member who, instead of seeking redress in the House,
chose to transfer the dispute to the Court.
The matter complained of concerns a matter of internal procedure
of the House with which the Court should not be concerned. The
claim is not that there was no quorum but only that Rep. Arroyo
was effectively prevented from questioning the presence of a
quorum. Rep. Arroyos earlier motion to adjourn for lack of
quorum had already been defeated, as the roll call established the
existence of a quorum. The question of quorum cannot be raised
repeatedly especially when the quorum is obviously present for
the purpose of delaying the business of the House.
In view of the enrolled bill doctrine
Under the enrolled bill doctrine, the signing of H. No. 7198 by the Speaker
of the House and the President of the Senate and the certification by the
secretaries of both Houses of Congress that it was passed on November
21, 1996 are conclusive of its due enactment.
Arturo Tolentino vs Secretary of Finance
The value-added tax (VAT) is levied on the sale, barter or exchange of goods and
properties as well as on the sale or exchange of services. RA 7716 seeks to
widen the tax base of the existing VAT system and enhance its administration by
amending the National Internal Revenue Code. Arturo Tolentino et al are
questioning the constitutionality of RA 7716 (Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT)
Law). Tolentino averred that this revenue bill did not exclusively originate from
the House of Representatives as required by Section 24, Article 6 of the
Constitution. Even though RA 7716 originated as HB 11197 and that it passed the
3 readings in the HoR, the same did not complete the 3 readings in Senate for
after the 1st reading it was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee
thereafter Senate passed its own version known as Senate Bill 1630. Tolentino
averred that what Senate could have done is amend HB 11197 by striking out its
text and substituting it with the text of SB 1630 in that way the bill remains a
House Bill and the Senate version just becomes the text (only the text) of the

HB. (Its ironic however to note that Tolentino and co-petitioner Raul Roco even
signed the said Senate Bill.)
ISSUE: Whether or not the EVAT law is procedurally infirm.
HELD: No. By a 9-6 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge,
In Sec 24, Art 6 of the Constitution Court said that it is not the law which should
originate from the House of Rep, but the revenue bill which was required to
originate from the House of Rep. The inititiative must come from the Lower
House because they are elected in the district level meaning they are expected
to be more sensitive to the needs of the locality.
Also, a bill originating from the Lower House may undergo extensive changes
while in the Senate. Senate can introduce a separate and distinct bill other than
the one the Lower House proposed. The Constitution does not prohibit the filing
in the Senate of a substitute bill in anticipation of its receipt of the House bill, so
long as action by Senate is withheld pending the receipt of the House bill.
Note also that there were several instances before where Senate passed its own
version rather than having the HoR version as far as revenue and other such bills
are concerned. This practice of amendment by substitution has always been
accepted. The proposition of Tolentino concerns a mere matter of form. There is
no showing that it would make a significant difference if Senate were to adopt his
over what has been done.