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TITLE: Francisco vs. The House of Representatives, G.R. No.

160261, 10 November 2003


On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted a Resolution, sponsored by Representative Felix
William D. Fuentebella, which directed the Committee on Justice "to conduct an investigation, in aid of
legislation, on the manner of disbursements and expenditures by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)." On June 2, 2003, former President Joseph E. Estrada filed an
impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Justices of this
Court for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust and other high crimes." The
complaint was endorsed by Representatives Rolex T. Suplico, Ronaldo B. Zamora and Didagen Piang
Dilangalen, and was referred to the House Committee. The House Committee on Justice ruled on October
13, 2003 that the first impeachment complaint was "sufficient in form," but voted to dismiss the same on
October 22, 2003 for being insufficient in substance. To date, the Committee Report to this effect has not
yet been sent to the House in plenary in accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Article XI of the
Constitution. Four months and three weeks since the filing on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on
October 23, 2003, a day after the House Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the second
impeachment complaint was filed with the Secretary General of the House by Representatives Gilberto C.
Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B. Fuentebella against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., founded on the
alleged results of the legislative inquiry initiated by above-mentioned House Resolution. This second
impeachment complaint was accompanied by a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment" signed by at
least one-third (1/3) of all the Members of the House of Representatives.


1. Whether or not the filing of the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G.
Davide, Jr. with the House of Representatives falls within the one year bar provided in the Constitution.

2. Whether the resolution thereof is a political question has resulted in a political crisis.


1. Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and
referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5)
of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing manner,
another may not be filed against the same official within a one year period following Article XI, Section
3(5) of the Constitution. In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former
President Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of this
Court, on June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003, the second
impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella
against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation
of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a one-year period.

2.From the foregoing record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is clear that
judicial power is not only a power; it is also a duty, a duty which cannot be abdicated by the mere specter
of this creature called the political question doctrine. Chief Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify,
however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not intended to do away with "truly political questions." From
this clarification it is gathered that there are two species of political questions: (1) "truly political
questions" and (2) those which "are not truly political questions." Truly political questions are thus
beyond judicial review, the reason for respect of the doctrine of separation of powers to be maintained.
On the other hand, by virtue of Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, courts can review questions
which are not truly political in nature.