Você está na página 1de 377

G.R. No. 160261 November 10, 2003 TEODORO, JR.

, REPRESENTA-TIVE FELIX OF THE SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF


WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE THE PHILIPPINES, GILBERT TEODORO,
ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR., petitioner, OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS JR., FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA,
NAGMAMALASAKIT NA MGA PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT JULIO LEDESMA IV, HENRY LANOT, KIM
MANANANGGOL NG MGA FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents, BERNARDO-LOKIN, MARCELINO
MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO, INC., ITS JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in- LIBANAN, EMMYLOU TALIO-SANTOS,
OFFICERS AND MEMBERS, petitioner-in- intervention, DOUGLAS CAGAS, SHERWIN
intervention, SENATOR AQUILINO Q. GATCHALIAN, LUIS BERSAMIN, JR.,
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention. NERISSA SOON-RUIZ, ERNESTO NIEVA,
OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in- EDGAR ERICE, ISMAEL MATHAY,
intervention, x---------------------------------------------------------x SAMUEL DANGWA, ALFREDO MARAON,
vs. JR., CECILIA CARREON-JALOSJOS,
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, G.R. No. 160263 November 10, 2003 AGAPITO AQUINO, FAUSTO SEACHON,
REPRESENTED BY SPEAKER JOSE G. DE JR., GEORGILU YUMUL-HERMIDA, JOSE
VENECIA, THE SENATE, REPRESENTED CARLOS LACSON, MANUEL ORTEGA,
ARTURO M. DE CASTRO AND SOLEDAD
BY SENATE PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. ULIRAN JUAQUIN, SORAYA JAAFAR,
M. CAGAMPANG, petitioners,
DRILON, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO C. WILHELMINO SY-ALVARADO, CLAUDE
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES
TEODORO, JR. AND REPRESENTATIVE BAUTISTA, DEL DE GUZMAN, ZENAIDA
OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioners-in-
FELIX WILLIAM B. CRUZ-DUCUT, AUGUSTO BACULIO,
intervention,
FUENTEBELLA, respondents. FAUSTINO DY III, AUGUSTO SYJUCO,
vs.
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in- ROZZANO RUFINO BIAZON, LEOVIGILDO
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY
Intervention, BANAAG, ERIC SINGSON, JACINTO
AS SENATE PRESIDENT, AND JOSE G. DE
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. PARAS, JOSE SOLIS, RENATO MATUBO,
VENECIA, JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS
PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention. HERMINO TEVES, AMADO ESPINO, JR.,
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF
EMILIO MACIAS, ARTHUR PINGOY, JR.,
REPRESENTATIVES, respondents,
x---------------------------------------------------------x FRANCIS NEPOMUCENO, CONRADO
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in-
ESTRELLA III, ELIAS BULUT, JR., JURDIN
intervention,
ROMUALDO, JUAN PABLO BONDOC,
G.R. No. 160262 November 10, 2003 SENATOR AQUILINO Q.
GENEROSO TULAGAN, PERPETUO
PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
YLAGAN, MICHAEL DUAVIT, JOSEPH
SEDFREY M. CANDELARIA, CARLOS P. DURANO, JESLI LAPUS, CARLOS
MEDINA, JR. AND HENEDINA RAZON- x---------------------------------------------------------x COJUANGCO, GIORGIDI AGGABAO,
ABAD, petitioners, FRANCIS ESCUDERRO, RENE VELARDE,
ATTYS. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL AND G.R. No. 160277 November 10, 2003 CELSO LOBREGAT, ALIPIO BADELLES,
PETE QUIRINO QUADRA, petitioners-in- DIDAGEN DILANGALEN, ABRAHAM
intervention, FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner, MITRA, JOSEPH SANTIAGO, DARLENE
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES ANTONIO-CUSTODIO, ALETA SUAREZ,
OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in- OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in- RODOLF PLAZA, JV BAUTISTA,
intervention, intervention, GREGORIO IPONG, GILBERT REMULLA,
vs. vs. ROLEX SUPLICO, CELIA LAYUS, JUAN
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JOSE G. DE VENECIA, IN HIS CAPACITY MIGUEL ZUBIRI, BENASING
THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF MACARAMBON, JR., JOSEFINA JOSON,
SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, REPRESENTATIVES, FRANKLIN M. MARK COJUANGCO, MAURICIO
SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, DRILON, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT DOMOGAN, RONALDO ZAMORA, ANGELO
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G.
MONTILLA, ROSELLER BARINAGA, NOEL ISORENA, MAU RESTRIVERA, MAX
JESNAR FALCON, REYLINA NICOLAS, vs. VILLAESTER, AND EDILBERTO
RODOLFO ALBANO, JOAQUIN CHIPECO, THE HOUSE OF REPRESEN-TATIVES, GALLOR, petitioners,
JR., AND RUY ELIAS LOPEZ, respondents, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in- SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in-
intervention, SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, intervention,
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. vs.
PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE REPRESENTED BY HON. SPEAKER JOSE
x---------------------------------------------------------x OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH ITS C. DE VENECIA, JR., THE SENATE,
PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT REPRESENTED BY HON. SENATE
G.R. No. 160292 November 10, 2003 FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents, PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, HON.
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in- FELIX FUENTEBELLA, ET AL., respondents.
intervention,
HERMINIO HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. x---------------------------------------------------------x
RUIZ BUTUYAN, MA. CECILIA PAPA,
PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention.
NAPOLEON C. REYES, ANTONIO H. ABAD,
JR., ALFREDO C. LIGON, JOAN P. G.R. No. 160318 November 10, 2003
SERRANO AND GARY S. x---------------------------------------------------------x
MALLARI, petitioners, PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, INC., CRISPIN
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES G.R. No. 160310 November 10, 2003 T. REYES, petitioners,
OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in- vs.
intervention, LEONILO R. ALFONSO, PETER ALVAREZ, HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
vs. SAMUEL DOCTOR, MELVIN MATIBAG, ALL MEMBERS, HOUSE OF
HON. SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, JR. RAMON MIQUIBAS, RODOLFO MAGSINO, REPRESENTATIVES, HON. SENATE
AND ROBERTO P. NAZARENO, IN HIS EDUARDO MALASAGA, EDUARDO PRESIDENT FRANKLIN M. DRILON, AND
CAPACITY AS SECRETARY GENERAL OF SARMIENTO, EDGARDO NAOE, ALL MEMBERS, PHILIPPINE
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND LEONARDO GARCIA, EDGARD SMITH, SENATE, respondents.
THE HOUSE OF EMETERIO MENDIOLA, MARIO TOREJA,
REPRESENTATIVES,respondents, GUILLERMO CASTASUS, NELSON A. x---------------------------------------------------------x
JAIME N. SORIANO, respondent-in- LOYOLA, WILFREDO BELLO, JR., RONNIE
intervention, TOQUILLO, KATE ANN VITAL, ANGELITA G.R. No. 160342 November 10, 2003
SENATOR AQUILINO Q. Q. GUZMAN, MONICO PABLES, JR., JAIME
PIMENTEL, respondent-in-intervention. BOAQUINA, LITA A. AQUINO, MILA P.
ATTY. FERNANDO P.R. PERITO, IN HIS
GABITO, JANETTE ARROYO, RIZALDY
CAPACITY AS A MEMBER OF THE
x---------------------------------------------------------x EMPIG, ERNA LAHUZ, HOMER CALIBAG,
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES,
DR. BING ARCE, SIMEON ARCE, JR., EL
MANILA III, AND ENGR. MAXIMO N.
G.R. No. 160295 November 10, 2003 DELLE ARCE, WILLIE RIVERO, DANTE
MENEZ JR., IN HIS CAPACITY AS A
DIAZ, ALBERTO BUENAVISTA, FAUSTO
TAXPAYER AND MEMBER OF THE
BUENAVISTA, EMILY SENERIS, ANNA
SALACNIB F. BATERINA AND DEPUTY ENGINEERING PROFESSION, petitioners,
CLARISSA LOYOLA, SALVACION
SPEAKER RAUL M. GONZALES, petitioners, vs.
LOYOLA, RAINIER QUIROLGICO, JOSEPH
WORLD WAR II VETERANS LEGIONARIES THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES
LEANDRO LOYOLA, ANTONIO LIBREA,
OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner-in- REPRESENTED BY THE 83 HONORABLE
FILEMON SIBULO, MANUEL D. COMIA,
intervention, MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE LED BY HON.
JULITO U. SOON, VIRGILIO LUSTRE, AND
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM ARQUILLANO, SYLVA G. AGUIRRE- IMPEACHMENT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE
FUENTEBELLA, respondents. PADERANGA, FOR THEMSELVES AND IN HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. AND THE HOUSE
BEHALF OF OTHER CITIZENS OF THE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CONGRESS OF
x---------------------------------------------------------x REPUBLIC OF THE THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ITS
PHILIPPINES, petitioners, SPEAKER, HON. JOSE G. DE
G.R. No. 160343 November 10, 2003 vs. VENECIA, respondents.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES,
SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, THE x---------------------------------------------------------x
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, SENATE
PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DRILON, HOUSE G.R. No. 160392 November 10, 2003
vs.
REPRESENTATIVES FELIX FUENTEBELLA
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES,
AND GILBERTO TEODORO, BY
THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR ACTING VENICIO S. FLORES AND HECTOR L.
THEMSELVES AND AS
SPEAKER OR PRESIDING OFFICER, HOFILEA, petitioners,
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GROUP OF
SPEAKER JOSE G. DE VENECIA, vs.
MORE THAN 80 HOUSE
REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
REPRESENTATIVES WHO SIGNED AND
TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX THROUGH SPEAKER JOSE G. DE
FILED THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT
WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELLA, THE SENATE VENECIA, AND THE SENATE OF THE
AGAINST SUPREME COURT CHIEF
OF THE PHILIPPINES THROUGH ITS PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE
JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE,
PRESIDENT, SENATE PRESIDENT PRESIDENT FRANKLIN
JR. respondents.
FRANKLIN M. DRILON, respondents. DRILON, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x
x---------------------------------------------------------x x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160370 November 10, 2003
G.R. No. 160360 November 10, 2003 G.R. No. 160397 November 10, 2003
FR. RANHILIO CALLANGAN
CLARO B. FLORES, petitioner, IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT
AQUINO, petitioner,
vs. COMPLAINT AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE
vs.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR., ATTY.
THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT OF THE
THROUGH THE SPEAKER, AND THE DIOSCORO U. VALLEJOS, JR., petitioner.
SENATE, THE HONORABLE SPEAKER OF
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH
THE HOUSE OF
THE SENATE PRESIDENT, respondents. x---------------------------------------------------------x
REPRESENTATIVES, respondents.
x---------------------------------------------------------x G.R. No. 160403 November 10, 2003
x---------------------------------------------------------x
G.R. No. 160365 November 10, 2003 PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, petitioner,
G.R. No. 160376 November 10, 2003
vs.
U.P. LAW ALUMNI CEBU FOUNDATION, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
NILO A. MALANYAON, petitioner,
INC., GOERING G.C. PADERANGA, THROUGH THE SPEAKER OR PRESIDING
vs.
DANILO V. ORTIZ, GLORIA C. ESTENZO- OFFICER, HON. JOSE G. DE VENECIA,
HON. FELIX WILLIAM FUENTEBELLA AND
RAMOS, LIZA D. CORRO, LUIS V. DIORES, REPRESENTATIVE GILBERTO G.
GILBERT TEODORO, IN
SR., BENJAMIN S. RALLON, ROLANDO P. TEODORO, JR., REPRESENTATIVE FELIX
REPRESENTATION OF THE 86
NONATO, DANTE T. RAMOS, ELSA R. WILLIAM B. FUENTEBELA, THE SENATE
SIGNATORIES OF THE ARTICLES OF
DIVINAGRACIA, KAREN B. CAPARROS- OF THE PHILIPPINES, THROUGH SENATE
PRESIDENT, HON. FRANKLIN There can be no constitutional crisis arising In passing over the complex issues arising
DRILON, respondents. from a conflict, no matter how passionate and from the controversy, this Court is ever
seemingly irreconcilable it may appear to be, mindful of the essential truth that the inviolate
x---------------------------------------------------------x over the determination by the independent doctrine of separation of powers among the
branches of government of the nature, scope legislative, executive or judicial branches of
G.R. No. 160405 November 10, 2003 and extent of their respective constitutional government by no means prescribes for
powers where the Constitution itself provides absolute autonomy in the discharge by each
for the means and bases for its resolution. of that part of the governmental power
DEMOCRITO C. BARCENAS, PRESIDENT
assigned to it by the sovereign people.
OF IBP, CEBU CITY CHAPTER, MANUEL
M. MONZON, PRESIDING OF IBP, CEBU Our nation's history is replete with vivid
PROVINCE, VICTOR A. MAAMBONG, illustrations of the often frictional, at times At the same time, the corollary doctrine of
PROVINCIAL BOARD MEMBER, ADELINO turbulent, dynamics of the relationship among checks and balances which has been carefully
B. SITOY, DEAN OF THE COLLEG EOF these co-equal branches. This Court is calibrated by the Constitution to temper the
LAW, UNIVERSITY OF CEBU, YOUNG confronted with one such today involving the official acts of each of these three branches
LAWYERS ASSOCAITION OF CEBU, INC. legislature and the judiciary which has drawn must be given effect without destroying their
[YLAC], REPRSEENTED BY ATTY. legal luminaries to chart antipodal courses indispensable co-equality.
MANUEL LEGASPI, CONFEDERATION OF and not a few of our countrymen to vent
ACCREDITED MEDIATORS OF THE cacophonous sentiments thereon. Taken together, these two fundamental
PHILIPPINES, INC. [CAMP, INC], doctrines of republican government, intended
REPRESENTED BY RODERIC R. POCA, There may indeed be some legitimacy to the as they are to insure that governmental power
MANDAUE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, characterization that the present controversy is wielded only for the good of the people,
[MANLAW], REPRESENTED BY FELIPE subject of the instant petitions whether the mandate a relationship of interdependence
VELASQUEZ, FEDERACION filing of the second impeachment complaint and coordination among these branches
INTERNACIONAL DE ABOGADAS [FIDA], against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. where the delicate functions of enacting,
REPRESENTED BY THELMA L. JORDAN, with the House of Representatives falls within interpreting and enforcing laws are
CARLOS G. CO, PRESIENT OF CEBU the one year bar provided in the Constitution, harmonized to achieve a unity of governance,
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND and whether the resolution thereof is a guided only by what is in the greater interest
INDUSTRY AND CEBU LADY LAWYERS political question has resulted in a political and well-being of the people. Verily, salus
ASSOCIATION, INC. [CELLA, INC.], crisis. Perhaps even more truth to the view populi est suprema lex.
MARIBELLE NAVARRO AND BERNARDITO that it was brought upon by a political crisis of
FLORIDO, PAST PRESIDENT CEBU conscience. Article XI of our present 1987 Constitution
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND provides:
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, In any event, it is with the absolute certainty
CEBU CHAPTER, petitioners, that our Constitution is sufficient to address all ARTICLE XI
vs. the issues which this controversy spawns that
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTA-TIVES, this Court unequivocally pronounces, at the Accountability of Public Officers
REPRESENTED BY REP. JOSE G. DE first instance, that the feared resort to extra-
VENECIA, AS HOUSE SPEAKER AND THE constitutional methods of resolving it is neither
SECTION 1. Public office is a public
SENATE, REPRESENTED BY SENATOR necessary nor legally permissible. Both its
trust. Public officers and employees
FRANKLIN DRILON, AS SENATE resolution and protection of the public interest
must at all times be accountable to the
PRESIDENT, respondents. lie in adherence to, not departure from, the
people, serve them with utmost
Constitution.
responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
efficiency, act with patriotism and necessary either to affirm a favorable carry out the purpose of this
justice, and lead modest lives. resolution with the Articles of section. (Emphasis and underscoring
Impeachment of the Committee, or supplied)
SECTION 2. The President, the Vice- override its contrary resolution. The
President, the Members of the vote of each Member shall be Following the above-quoted Section 8 of
Supreme Court, the Members of the recorded. Article XI of the Constitution, the 12th
Constitutional Commissions, and the Congress of the House of Representatives
Ombudsman may be removed from (4) In case the verified complaint or adopted and approved the Rules of Procedure
office, on impeachment for, and resolution of impeachment is filed by in Impeachment Proceedings (House
conviction of, culpable violation of the at least one-third of all the Members of Impeachment Rules) on November 28, 2001,
Constitution, treason, bribery, graft the House, the same shall constitute superseding the previous House
and corruption, other high crimes, or the Articles of Impeachment, and trial Impeachment Rules1 approved by the 11th
betrayal of public trust. All other public by the Senate shall forthwith proceed. Congress. The relevant distinctions between
officers and employees may be these two Congresses' House Impeachment
removed from office as provided by (5) No impeachment Rules are shown in the following tabulation:
law, but not by impeachment. proceedings shall be initiated against
the same official more than once
11TH CONGRESS RULES 12TH C
SECTION 3. (1) The House of within a period of one year.
Representatives shall have
the exclusive power to initiate all (6) The Senate shall have RULE II RULE V
cases of impeachment. the sole power to try and decide all
cases of impeachment. When sitting INITIATING IMPEACHMENT BAR A
(2) A verified complaint for for that purpose, the Senators shall be IMPEAC
impeachment may be filed by any on oath or affirmation. When the Section 2. Mode of Initiating AGAINS
Member of the House of President of the Philippines is on trial, Impeachment. Impeachment shall
Representatives or by any citizen the Chief Justice of the Supreme be initiated only by a verified Section
upon a resolution of endorsement by Court shall preside, but shall not vote. complaint for impeachment filed by Procee
any Member thereof, which shall be No person shall be convicted without any Member of the House of In case
included in the Order of Business the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Representatives or by any citizen House
within ten session days, and referred Members of the Senate. upon a resolution of endorsement by impeach
to the proper Committee within three any Member thereof or by a verified verified
session days thereafter. The (7) Judgment in cases of complaint or resolution of by a Me
Committee, after hearing, and by a impeachment shall not extend further impeachment filed by at least one- a reso
majority vote of all its Members, shall than removal from office and third (1/3) of all the Members of the against
submit its report to the House within disqualification to hold any office House. impeach
sixty session days from such referral, under the Republic of the Philippines, such of
together with the corresponding but the party convicted shall on the
resolution. The resolution shall be nevertheless be liable and subject to Justice
calendared for consideration by the prosecution, trial, and punishment complai
House within ten session days from according to law. such of
receipt thereof. is suffic
(8) The Congress shall promulgate its date the
(3) A vote of at least one-third of all rules on impeachment to effectively or affirm
the Members of the House shall be
CommitteeOn June that 2, 2003,
the former President Joseph E.
verified Four months and three weeks since the filing
complaint and/or resolution, as the complaint (first
Estrada filed an impeachment on June 2, 2003 of the first complaint or on
4

case may impeachment


be, is notcomplaint)
sufficient against
in Chief Justice October 23, 2003, a day after the House
Hilario G. Davide Jr. and seven Associate Committee on Justice voted to dismiss it, the
substance.
Justices5 of this Court for "culpable violation of second impeachment complaint11 was filed
the Constitution, betrayal of the public trust with the Secretary General of the House12 by
In cases where
and other high acrimes."
verified
6 The complaint was Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. (First
complaint or a resolution
endorsed by Representatives of Rolex T. District, Tarlac) and Felix William B.
impeachment is filed or endorsed,
Suplico, Ronaldo B. Zamora and Didagen Fuentebella (Third District, Camarines Sur)
as the Piang
case may be, by7 at
Dilangalen, andleast
was referred to the against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr.,
one-third (1/3) of the Members
House Committee on Justice of on August 5, founded on the alleged results of the
the House, impeachment
2003 in accordance with Section 3(2) of
8 legislative inquiry initiated by above-
proceedings
Article XI ofare deemed which reads:
the Constitution mentioned House Resolution. This second
initiated at the time of the filing impeachment complaint was accompanied by
of such verified complaint or a "Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment"
Section 3(2) Awith
resolution of impeachment verified complaint for
impeachment may be filed by any signed by at least one-third (1/3) of all the
the Secretary General. Members of the House of Representatives.13
Member of the House of
Representatives or by any citizen
upon a resolution of endorsement by Thus arose the instant petitions against the
any Member thereof, which shall be House of Representatives, et. al., most of
RULE V Section 17. Bar Against
included in the Order of Business which petitions contend that the filing of the
Initiation Of Impeachment
within ten session days, and referred second impeachment complaint is
BAR AGAINST IMPEACHMENT Proceedings. Within a period of
to the proper Committee within three unconstitutional as it violates the provision of
one (1) year from the date
session days thereafter. The Section 5 of Article XI of the Constitution that
Section 14. Scope of Bar. No impeachment Committee, proceedings are
after hearing, and by a "[n]o impeachment proceedings shall be
impeachment proceedings shall be deemed initiated as provided in
majority vote of all its Members, shall initiated against the same official more than
initiated against the same official Section 16 hereof, no
submit its report to the House within once within a period of one year."
more than once within the period of impeachment proceedings, as
sixty session days from such referral,
one (1) year. such, can be initiated against the
together with the corresponding In G.R. No. 160261, petitioner Atty. Ernesto B.
same official. (Italics in the original;
resolution. The resolution shall be Francisco, Jr., alleging that he has a duty as a
emphasis and underscoring
calendared for consideration by the member of the Integrated Bar of the
supplied)
House within ten session days from Philippines to use all available legal remedies
receipt thereof. to stop an unconstitutional impeachment, that
On July 22, 2002, the House of the issues raised in his petition for Certiorari,
Representatives adopted a The House Committee on Justice ruled on Prohibition and Mandamus are of
Resolution,2 sponsored by Representative October 13, 2003 that the first impeachment transcendental importance, and that he
Felix William D. Fuentebella, which directed complaint was "sufficient in form,"9 but voted "himself was a victim of the capricious and
the Committee on Justice "to conduct an to dismiss the same on October 22, 2003 for arbitrary changes in the Rules of Procedure in
investigation, in aid of legislation, on the being insufficient in substance.10 To date, the Impeachment Proceedings introduced by the
manner of disbursements and expenditures by Committee Report to this effect has not yet 12th Congress,"14 posits that his right to bring
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the been sent to the House in plenary in an impeachment complaint against then
Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)."3 accordance with the said Section 3(2) of Ombudsman Aniano Desierto had been
Article XI of the Constitution. violated due to the capricious and arbitrary
changes in the House Impeachment Rules
adopted and approved on November 28, 2001 proceedings on said second impeachment "a class suit" and pray that (1) the House
by the House of Representatives and prays complaint. Resolution endorsing the second
that (1) Rule V, Sections 16 and 17 and Rule impeachment complaint as well as all
III, Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 thereof be In G.R. No. 160277, petitioner Francisco I. issuances emanating therefrom be declared
declared unconstitutional; (2) this Court issue Chavez, alleging that this Court has null and void; and (2) this Court enjoin the
a writ of mandamus directing respondents recognized that he has locus standi to bring Senate and the Senate President from taking
House of Representatives et. al. to comply petitions of this nature in the cases of Chavez cognizance of, hearing, trying and deciding
with Article IX, Section 3 (2), (3) and (5) of the v. PCGG15 and Chavez v. PEA-Amari Coastal the second impeachment complaint, and issue
Constitution, to return the second Bay Development Corporation,16 prays in his a writ of prohibition commanding the Senate,
impeachment complaint and/or strike it off the petition for Injunction that the second its prosecutors and agents to desist from
records of the House of Representatives, and impeachment complaint be declared conducting any proceedings or to act on the
to promulgate rules which are consistent with unconstitutional. impeachment complaint.
the Constitution; and (3) this Court
permanently enjoin respondent House of In G.R. No. 160292, petitioners Atty. Harry L. In G.R. No. 160318, petitioner Public Interest
Representatives from proceeding with the Roque, et. al., as taxpayers and members of Center, Inc., whose members are citizens and
second impeachment complaint. the legal profession, pray in their petition for taxpayers, and its co-petitioner Crispin T.
Prohibition for an order prohibiting respondent Reyes, a citizen, taxpayer and a member of
In G.R. No. 160262, petitioners Sedfrey M. House of Representatives from drafting, the Philippine Bar, both allege in their petition,
Candelaria, et. al., as citizens and taxpayers, adopting, approving and transmitting to the which does not state what its nature is, that
alleging that the issues of the case are of Senate the second impeachment complaint, the filing of the second impeachment
transcendental importance, pray, in their and respondents De Venecia and Nazareno complaint involves paramount public interest
petition for Certiorari/Prohibition, the issuance from transmitting the Articles of Impeachment and pray that Sections 16 and 17 of the
of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondent to the Senate. House Impeachment Rules and the second
House of Representatives from filing any impeachment complaint/Articles of
Articles of Impeachment against the Chief In G.R. No. 160295, petitioners Impeachment be declared null and void.
Justice with the Senate; and for the issuance Representatives Salacnib F. Baterina and
of a writ "perpetually" prohibiting respondents Deputy Speaker Raul M. Gonzalez, alleging In G.R. No. 160342, petitioner Atty. Fernando
Senate and Senate President Franklin Drilon that, as members of the House of P. R. Perito, as a citizen and a member of the
from accepting any Articles of Impeachment Representatives, they have a legal interest in Philippine Bar Association and of the
against the Chief Justice or, in the event that ensuring that only constitutional impeachment Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and
the Senate has accepted the same, from proceedings are initiated, pray in their petition petitioner Engr. Maximo N. Menez, Jr., as a
proceeding with the impeachment trial. for Certiorari/Prohibition that the second taxpayer, pray in their petition for the issuance
impeachment complaint and any act of a Temporary Restraining Order and
In G.R. No. 160263, petitioners Arturo M. de proceeding therefrom be declared null and Permanent Injunction to enjoin the House of
Castro and Soledad Cagampang, as citizens, void. Representatives from proceeding with the
taxpayers, lawyers and members of the second impeachment complaint.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, alleging that In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R.
their petition for Prohibition involves public Alfonso et al., claiming that they have a right In G.R. No. 160343, petitioner Integrated Bar
interest as it involves the use of public funds to be protected against all forms of senseless of the Philippines, alleging that it is mandated
necessary to conduct the impeachment trial spending of taxpayers' money and that they by the Code of Professional Responsibility to
on the second impeachment complaint, pray have an obligation to protect the Supreme uphold the Constitution, prays in its petition for
for the issuance of a writ of prohibition Court, the Chief Justice, and the integrity of Certiorari and Prohibition that Sections 16 and
enjoining Congress from conducting further the Judiciary, allege in their petition for 17 of Rule V and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Rule
Certiorari and Prohibition that it is instituted as III of the House Impeachment Rules be
declared unconstitutional and that the House In G.R. No. 160376, petitioner Nilo A. Certiorari/Prohibition that (1) the second
of Representatives be permanently enjoined Malanyaon, as a taxpayer, alleges in his impeachment complaint and all proceedings
from proceeding with the second petition for Prohibition that respondents arising therefrom be declared null and void;
impeachment complaint. Fuentebella and Teodoro at the time they filed (2) respondent House of Representatives be
the second impeachment complaint, were prohibited from transmitting the Articles of
In G.R. No. 160360, petitioner-taxpayer Atty. "absolutely without any legal power to do so, Impeachment to the Senate; and (3)
Claro Flores prays in his petition for Certiorari as they acted without jurisdiction as far as the respondent Senate be prohibited from
and Prohibition that the House Impeachment Articles of Impeachment assail the alleged accepting the Articles of Impeachment and
Rules be declared unconstitutional. abuse of powers of the Chief Justice to from conducting any proceedings thereon.
disburse the (JDF)."
In G.R. No. 160365, petitioners U.P. Law In G.R. No. 160405, petitioners Democrit C.
Alumni Cebu Foundation Inc., et. al., in their In G.R. No. 160392, petitioners Attorneys Barcenas et. al., as citizens and taxpayers,
petition for Prohibition and Injunction which Venicio S. Flores and Hector L. Hofilea, pray in their petition for Certiorari/Prohibition
they claim is a class suit filed in behalf of all alleging that as professors of law they have an that (1) the second impeachment complaint as
citizens, citing Oposa v. Factoran17 which was abiding interest in the subject matter of their well as the resolution of endorsement and
filed in behalf of succeeding generations of petition for Certiorari and Prohibition as it impeachment by the respondent House of
Filipinos, pray for the issuance of a writ pertains to a constitutional issue "which they Representatives be declared null and void and
prohibiting respondents House of are trying to inculcate in the minds of their (2) respondents Senate and Senate President
Representatives and the Senate from students," pray that the House of Franklin Drilon be prohibited from accepting
conducting further proceedings on the second Representatives be enjoined from endorsing any Articles of Impeachment against the Chief
impeachment complaint and that this Court and the Senate from trying the Articles of Justice or, in the event that they have
declare as unconstitutional the second Impeachment and that the second accepted the same, that they be prohibited
impeachment complaint and the acts of impeachment complaint be declared null and from proceeding with the impeachment trial.
respondent House of Representatives in void.
interfering with the fiscal matters of the Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos.
Judiciary. In G.R. No. 160397, petitioner Atty. Dioscoro 160261, 160262 and 160263, the first three of
Vallejos, Jr., without alleging his locus standi, the eighteen which were filed before this
In G.R. No. 160370, petitioner-taxpayer but alleging that the second impeachment Court,18 prayed for the issuance of a
Father Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, alleging complaint is founded on the issue of whether Temporary Restraining Order and/or
that the issues in his petition for Prohibition or not the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) preliminary injunction to prevent the House of
are of national and transcendental was spent in accordance with law and that the Representatives from transmitting the Articles
significance and that as an official of the House of Representatives does not have of Impeachment arising from the second
Philippine Judicial Academy, he has a direct exclusive jurisdiction in the examination and impeachment complaint to the Senate.
and substantial interest in the unhampered audit thereof, prays in his petition "To Declare Petition bearing docket number G.R. No.
operation of the Supreme Court and its Complaint Null and Void for Lack of Cause of 160261 likewise prayed for the declaration of
officials in discharging their duties in Action and Jurisdiction" that the second the November 28, 2001 House Impeachment
accordance with the Constitution, prays for the impeachment complaint be declared null and Rules as null and void for being
issuance of a writ prohibiting the House of void. unconstitutional.
Representatives from transmitting the Articles
of Impeachment to the Senate and the Senate In G.R. No. 160403, petitioner Philippine Bar Petitions bearing docket numbers G.R. Nos.
from receiving the same or giving the Association, alleging that the issues raised in 160277, 160292 and 160295, which were filed
impeachment complaint due course. the filing of the second impeachment on October 28, 2003, sought similar relief. In
complaint involve matters of transcendental addition, petition bearing docket number G.R.
importance, prays in its petition for No. 160292 alleged that House Resolution
No. 260 (calling for a legislative inquiry into Also on October 28, 2003, when respondent (2) the principal issues raised by the petitions
the administration by the Chief Justice of the House of Representatives through Speaker pertain exclusively to the proceedings in the
JDF) infringes on the constitutional doctrine of Jose C. De Venecia, Jr. and/or its co- House of Representatives.
separation of powers and is a direct violation respondents, by way of special appearance,
of the constitutional principle of fiscal submitted a Manifestation asserting that this On October 30, 2003, Atty. Jaime Soriano
autonomy of the judiciary. Court has no jurisdiction to hear, much less filed a "Petition for Leave to Intervene" in G.R.
prohibit or enjoin the House of Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277,
On October 28, 2003, during the plenary Representatives, which is an independent and 160292, and 160295, questioning the status
session of the House of Representatives, a co-equal branch of government under the quo Resolution issued by this Court on
motion was put forth that the second Constitution, from the performance of its October 28, 2003 on the ground that it would
impeachment complaint be formally constitutionally mandated duty to initiate unnecessarily put Congress and this Court in
transmitted to the Senate, but it was not impeachment cases. On even date, Senator a "constitutional deadlock" and praying for the
carried because the House of Representatives Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., in his own behalf, dismissal of all the petitions as the matter in
adjourned for lack of quorum,19 and as filed a Motion to Intervene (Ex Abudante question is not yet ripe for judicial
reflected above, to date, the Articles of Cautela)21 and Comment, praying that "the determination.
Impeachment have yet to be forwarded to the consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of
Senate. jurisdiction of the Court over the issues On November 3, 2003, Attorneys Romulo B.
affecting the impeachment proceedings and Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra filed in
Before acting on the petitions with prayers for that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction G.R. No. 160262 a "Motion for Leave of Court
temporary restraining order and/or writ of of the Senate as the impeachment court to try to Intervene and to Admit the Herein
preliminary injunction which were filed on or and decide impeachment cases, including the Incorporated Petition in Intervention."
before October 28, 2003, Justices Puno and one where the Chief Justice is the respondent,
Vitug offered to recuse themselves, but the be recognized and upheld pursuant to the
On November 4, 2003, Nagmamalasakit na
Court rejected their offer. Justice Panganiban provisions of Article XI of the Constitution."22
mga Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang
inhibited himself, but the Court directed him to Pilipino, Inc. filed a Motion for Intervention in
participate. Acting on the other petitions which were G.R. No. 160261. On November 5, 2003,
subsequently filed, this Court resolved to (a) World War II Veterans Legionnaires of the
Without necessarily giving the petitions due consolidate them with the earlier consolidated Philippines, Inc. also filed a "Petition-in-
course, this Court in its Resolution of October petitions; (b) require respondents to file their Intervention with Leave to Intervene" in G.R.
28, 2003, resolved to (a) consolidate the comment not later than 4:30 p.m. of Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263, 160277,
petitions; (b) require respondent House of November 3, 2003; and (c) include them for 160292, 160295, and 160310.
Representatives and the Senate, as well as oral arguments on November 5, 2003.
the Solicitor General, to comment on the The motions for intervention were granted and
petitions not later than 4:30 p.m. of November On October 29, 2003, the Senate of the both Senator Pimentel's Comment and
3, 2003; (c) set the petitions for oral Philippines, through Senate President Franklin Attorneys Macalintal and Quadra's Petition in
arguments on November 5, 2003, at 10:00 M. Drilon, filed a Manifestation stating that Intervention were admitted.
a.m.; and (d) appointed distinguished legal insofar as it is concerned, the petitions are
experts as amici curiae.20 In addition, this plainly premature and have no basis in law or
On November 5-6, 2003, this Court heard the
Court called on petitioners and respondents to in fact, adding that as of the time of the filing
views of the amici curiae and the arguments
maintain the status quo, enjoining all the of the petitions, no justiciable issue was
of petitioners, intervenors Senator Pimentel
parties and others acting for and in their presented before it since (1) its constitutional
and Attorney Makalintal, and Solicitor General
behalf to refrain from committing acts that duty to constitute itself as an impeachment
Alfredo Benipayo on the principal issues
would render the petitions moot. court commences only upon its receipt of the
Articles of Impeachment, which it had not, and
outlined in an Advisory issued by this Court on the power of judicial review extends to those the present provision in Article VIII, Section 1,
November 3, 2003, to wit: arising from impeachment proceedings; (2) par. 2 on what judicial power includes. Thus,
whether or not the essential pre-requisites for Justice Laurel discoursed:
Whether the certiorari jurisdiction of the exercise of the power of judicial review
the Supreme Court may be invoked; have been fulfilled; and (3) the substantive x x x In times of social disquietude or
who can invoke it; on what issues and issues yet remaining. These matters shall now political excitement, the great
at what time; and whether it should be be discussed in seriatim. landmarks of the Constitution are apt
exercised by this Court at this time. to be forgotten or marred, if not
Judicial Review entirely obliterated. In cases of
In discussing these issues, the conflict, the judicial department is
following may be taken up: As reflected above, petitioners plead for this the only constitutional organ which
Court to exercise the power of judicial review can be called upon to determine the
a) locus standi of petitioners; to determine the validity of the second proper allocation of powers
impeachment complaint. between the several departments
and among the integral or
b) ripeness(prematurity;
This Court's power of judicial review is constituent units thereof.
mootness);
conferred on the judicial branch of the
government in Section 1, Article VIII of our As any human production, our
c) political
present 1987 Constitution: Constitution is of course lacking
question/justiciability;
perfection and perfectibility, but as
SECTION 1. The judicial power shall much as it was within the power of our
d) House's "exclusive" power people, acting through their delegates
to initiate all cases of be vested in one Supreme Court and
in such lower courts as may be to so provide, that instrument which is
impeachment; the expression of their sovereignty
established by law.
however limited, has established a
e) Senate's "sole" power to try republican government intended to
and decide all cases of Judicial power includes the duty of
operate and function as a harmonious
impeachment; the courts of justice to settle actual
whole, under a system of checks and
controversies involving rights which
balances, and subject to specific
are legally demandable and
f) constitutionality of the House limitations and restrictions provided in
enforceable, and to determine
Rules on Impeachment vis-a- the said instrument. The Constitution
whether or not there has been a
vis Section 3(5) of Article XI of sets forth in no uncertain language
grave abuse of discretion
the Constitution; and the restrictions and limitations
amounting to lack or excess of
upon governmental powers and
jurisdiction on the part of any
g) judicial restraint (Italics in agencies. If these restrictions and
branch or instrumentality of the
the original) limitations are transcended it would
government. (Emphasis supplied)
be inconceivable if the Constitution
In resolving the intricate conflux of preliminary had not provided for a mechanism
Such power of judicial review was early on by which to direct the course of
and substantive issues arising from the instant exhaustively expounded upon by Justice Jose
petitions as well as the myriad arguments and government along constitutional
P. Laurel in the definitive 1936 case of Angara channels,for then the distribution of
opinions presented for and against the grant v. Electoral Commission23 after the effectivity
of the reliefs prayed for, this Court has sifted powers would be mere verbiage, the
of the 1935 Constitution whose provisions, bill of rights mere expressions of
and determined them to be as follows: (1) the unlike the present Constitution, did not contain
threshold and novel issue of whether or not sentiment, and the principles of good
government mere political apothegms. of judicial review is limited to actual and a half centuries." To be sure, it was in the
Certainly, the limitations and cases and controversies to be 1803 leading case of Marbury v.
restrictions embodied in our exercised after full opportunity of Madison27 that the power of judicial review
Constitution are real as they should be argument by the parties, and limited was first articulated by Chief Justice Marshall,
in any living constitution. In the United further to the constitutional question to wit:
States where no express constitutional raised or the very lis mota presented.
grant is found in their constitution, the Any attempt at abstraction could only It is also not entirely unworthy of
possession of this moderating lead to dialectics and barren legal observation, that in declaring what
power of the courts, not to speak of questions and to sterile conclusions shall be the supreme law of the land,
its historical origin and development unrelated to actualities. Narrowed as the constitution itself is first
there, has been set at rest by popular its function is in this manner, the mentioned; and not the laws of the
acquiescence for a period of more judiciary does not pass upon United States generally, but those only
than one and a half centuries. In our questions of wisdom, justice or which shall be made in pursuance of
case, this moderating power is expediency of legislation. More than the constitution, have that rank.
granted, if not expressly, by clear that, courts accord the presumption of
implication from section 2 of article constitutionality to legislative Thus, the particular phraseology of
VIII of our Constitution. enactments, not only because the the constitution of the United States
legislature is presumed to abide by the confirms and strengthens the
The Constitution is a definition of the Constitution but also because the principle, supposed to be essential
powers of government. Who is to judiciary in the determination of actual to all written constitutions, that a
determine the nature, scope and cases and controversies must reflect law repugnant to the constitution is
extent of such powers? The the wisdom and justice of the people void; and that courts, as well as
Constitution itself has provided for as expressed through their other departments, are bound by
the instrumentality of the judiciary representatives in the executive and that instrument.28(Italics in the
as the rational way. And when the legislative departments of the original; emphasis supplied)
judiciary mediates to allocate government.24 (Italics in the original;
constitutional boundaries, it does emphasis and underscoring supplied)
In our own jurisdiction, as early as 1902,
not assert any superiority over the decades before its express grant in the 1935
other departments; it does not in As pointed out by Justice Laurel, this Constitution, the power of judicial review was
reality nullify or invalidate an act of the "moderating power" to "determine the proper exercised by our courts to invalidate
legislature, but only asserts the allocation of powers" of the different branches constitutionally infirm acts.29 And as pointed
solemn and sacred obligation of government and "to direct the course of out by noted political law professor and former
assigned to it by the Constitution to government along constitutional channels" is Supreme Court Justice Vicente V.
determine conflicting claims of inherent in all courts25 as a necessary Mendoza,30 the executive and legislative
authority under the consequence of the judicial power itself, which branches of our government in fact effectively
Constitution and to establish for is "the power of the court to settle actual acknowledged this power of judicial review in
the parties in an actual controversy controversies involving rights which are legally Article 7 of the Civil Code, to wit:
the rights which that instrument demandable and enforceable."26
secures and guarantees to them.
Article 7. Laws are repealed only by
This is in truth all that is involved Thus, even in the United States where the subsequent ones, and their violation
in what is termed "judicial supremacy" power of judicial review is not explicitly or non-observance shall not be
which properly is the power of conferred upon the courts by its Constitution, excused by disuse, or custom or
judicial review under the such power has "been set at rest by popular practice to the contrary.
Constitution. Even then, this power acquiescence for a period of more than one
When the courts declare a law to be power to determine the law, and The next provision is new in our
inconsistent with the Constitution, hence to declare executive and constitutional law. I will read it first and
the former shall be void and the legislative acts void if violative of explain.
latter shall govern. the Constitution.32 (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied) Judicial power includes the duty of
Administrative or executive acts, courts of justice to settle actual
orders and regulations shall be In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme controversies involving rights which
valid only when they are not Court Justice Florentino Feliciano, "x x x are legally demandable and
contrary to the laws or the judicial review is essential for the maintenance enforceable and to determine whether
Constitution. (Emphasis supplied) and enforcement of the separation of powers or not there has been a grave abuse
and the balancing of powers among the three of discretion amounting to lack or
As indicated in Angara v. Electoral great departments of government through the excess of jurisdiction on the part or
Commission,31 judicial review is indeed an definition and maintenance of the boundaries instrumentality of the government.
integral component of the delicate system of of authority and control between them."33 To
checks and balances which, together with the him, "[j]udicial review is the chief, indeed the Fellow Members of this
corollary principle of separation of powers, only, medium of participation or instrument Commission, this is actually a
forms the bedrock of our republican form of of intervention of the judiciary in that product of our experience during
government and insures that its vast powers balancing operation."34 martial law. As a matter of fact, it has
are utilized only for the benefit of the people some antecedents in the past, but the
for which it serves. To ensure the potency of the power of judicial role of the judiciary during the
review to curb grave abuse of discretion by deposed regime was marred
The separation of powers is a "any branch or instrumentalities of considerably by the circumstance
fundamental principle in our government," the afore-quoted Section 1, that in a number of cases against
system of government. It obtains not Article VIII of the Constitution engraves, for the government, which then had no
through express provision but by the first time into its history, into block letter legal defense at all, the solicitor
actual division in our Constitution. law the so-called general set up the defense of
Each department of the government "expanded certiorari jurisdiction" of this Court, political questions and got away
has exclusive cognizance of matters the nature of and rationale for which are with it. As a consequence, certain
within its jurisdiction, and is supreme mirrored in the following excerpt from the principles concerning particularly the
within its own sphere. But it does not sponsorship speech of its proponent, former writ of habeas corpus, that is, the
follow from the fact that the three Chief Justice Constitutional Commissioner authority of courts to order the release
powers are to be kept separate and Roberto Concepcion: of political detainees, and other
distinct that the Constitution intended matters related to the operation and
them to be absolutely unrestrained xxx effect of martial law failed because the
and independent of each other. The government set up the defense of
Constitution has provided for an The first section starts with a sentence copied political question. And the Supreme
elaborate system of checks and from former Constitutions. It says: Court said: "Well, since it is political,
balances to secure coordination in we have no authority to pass upon
the workings of the various it." The Committee on the Judiciary
The judicial power shall be vested in
departments of the government. x x feels that this was not a proper
one Supreme Court and in such lower
x And the judiciary in turn, with the solution of the questions involved.
courts as may be established by law.
Supreme Court as the final arbiter, It did not merely request an
effectively checks the other encroachment upon the rights of
I suppose nobody can question it. the people, but it, in effect,
departments in the exercise of its
encouraged further violations Administration,36 this Court, speaking through Thus, it has been held that the Court
thereof during the martial law Chief Justice Enrique Fernando, declared: in construing a Constitution should
regime. x x x bear in mind the object sought to be
We look to the language of the accomplished by its adoption, and the
xxx document itself in our search for its evils, if any, sought to be prevented or
meaning. We do not of course stop remedied. A doubtful provision will be
Briefly stated, courts of justice there, but that is where we begin. It examined in the light of the history of
determine the limits of power of the is to be assumed that the words in the times, and the condition and
agencies and offices of the which constitutional provisions are circumstances under which the
government as well as those of its couched express the objective Constitution was framed. The object
officers. In other words, the sought to be attained. They are to is to ascertain the reason which
judiciary is the final arbiter on the be given their ordinary induced the framers of the
question whether or not a branch of meaning except where technical Constitution to enact the particular
government or any of its officials terms are employed in which case provision and the purpose sought
has acted without jurisdiction or in the significance thus attached to to be accomplished thereby, in
excess of jurisdiction, or so them prevails. As the Constitution order to construe the whole as to
capriciously as to constitute an is not primarily a lawyer's document, it make the words consonant to that
abuse of discretion amounting to being essential for the rule of law to reason and calculated to effect that
excess of jurisdiction or lack of obtain that it should ever be present in purpose.39 (Emphasis and
jurisdiction. This is not only a the people's consciousness, its underscoring supplied)
judicial power but a duty to pass language as much as possible should
judgment on matters of this nature. be understood in the sense they have As it did in Nitafan v. Commissioner on
in common use. What it says Internal Revenue40 where, speaking through
This is the background of paragraph 2 according to the text of the Madame Justice Amuerfina A. Melencio-
of Section 1, which means that the provision to be construed compels Herrera, it declared:
courts cannot hereafter evade the acceptance and negates the power of
duty to settle matters of this nature, the courts to alter it, based on the x x x The ascertainment of that
by claiming that such matters postulate that the framers and the intent is but in keeping with the
constitute a political people mean what they say. Thus fundamental principle of
question.35 (Italics in the original; these are the cases where the need constitutional construction that the
emphasis and underscoring supplied) for construction is reduced to a intent of the framers of the organic
minimum.37 (Emphasis and law and of the people adopting it
underscoring supplied) should be given effect. The primary
To determine the merits of the issues raised in
the instant petitions, this Court must task in constitutional construction is to
necessarily turn to the Constitution itself which Second, where there is ambiguity, ratio legis ascertain and thereafter assure the
employs the well-settled principles of est anima. The words of the Constitution realization of the purpose of the
constitutional construction. should be interpreted in accordance with the framers and of the people in the
intent of its framers. And so did this Court adoption of the Constitution. It may
apply this principle in Civil Liberties Union v. also be safely assumed that the
First, verba legis, that is, wherever possible,
Executive Secretary38 in this wise: people in ratifying the Constitution
the words used in the Constitution must be
were guided mainly by the
given their ordinary meaning except where
A foolproof yardstick in constitutional explanation offered by the
technical terms are employed. Thus, in J.M.
construction is the intention underlying framers.41 (Emphasis and
Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure
the provision under consideration. underscoring supplied)
Finally, ut magis valeat quam pereat. The In other words, the court must It is in the context of the foregoing backdrop of
Constitution is to be interpreted as a whole. harmonize them, if practicable, and constitutional refinement and jurisprudential
Thus, in Chiongbian v. De Leon,42 this Court, must lean in favor of a construction application of the power of judicial review that
through Chief Justice Manuel Moran declared: which will render every word respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and
operative, rather than one which may intervenor Senator Pimentel raise the novel
x x x [T]he members of the make the words idle and argument that the Constitution has excluded
Constitutional Convention could nugatory.45 (Emphasis supplied) impeachment proceedings from the coverage
not have dedicated a provision of of judicial review.
our Constitution merely for the If, however, the plain meaning of the word is
benefit of one person without not found to be clear, resort to other aids is Briefly stated, it is the position of respondents
considering that it could also affect available. In still the same case of Civil Speaker De Venecia et. al. that impeachment
others.When they adopted Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, this is a political action which cannot assume a
subsection 2, they permitted, if not Court expounded: judicial character. Hence, any question, issue
willed, that said provision should or incident arising at any stage of the
function to the full extent of its While it is permissible in this impeachment proceeding is beyond the reach
substance and its terms, not by jurisdiction to consult the debates and of judicial review.47
itself alone, but in conjunction with proceedings of the constitutional
all other provisions of that great convention in order to arrive at the For his part, intervenor Senator Pimentel
document.43 (Emphasis and reason and purpose of the resulting contends that the Senate's "sole power to
underscoring supplied) Constitution, resort thereto may be try" impeachment cases48 (1) entirely excludes
had only when other guides fail as the application of judicial review over it; and
Likewise, still in Civil Liberties Union v. said proceedings are powerless to (2) necessarily includes the Senate's power to
Executive Secretary,44 this Court affirmed that: vary the terms of the determine constitutional questions relative to
Constitution when the meaning is impeachment proceedings.49
It is a well-established rule in clear. Debates in the constitutional
constitutional construction that no convention "are of value as showing In furthering their arguments on the
one provision of the Constitution is the views of the individual members, proposition that impeachment proceedings are
to be separated from all the others, and as indicating the reasons for their outside the scope of judicial review,
to be considered alone, but that all votes, but they give us no light as to respondents Speaker De Venecia, et. al. and
the provisions bearing upon a the views of the large majority who did intervenor Senator Pimentel rely heavily on
particular subject are to be brought not talk, much less of the mass of our American authorities, principally the majority
into view and to be so interpreted fellow citizens whose votes at the polls opinion in the case of Nixon v. United
as to effectuate the great purposes gave that instrument the force of States.50 Thus, they contend that the exercise
of the instrument. Sections bearing fundamental law. We think it safer to of judicial review over impeachment
on a particular subject should be construe the constitution from what proceedings is inappropriate since it runs
considered and interpreted appears upon its face." The proper counter to the framers' decision to allocate to
together as to effectuate the whole interpretation therefore depends different fora the powers to try impeachments
purpose of the Constitution and more on how it was understood by and to try crimes; it disturbs the system of
one section is not to be allowed to the people adopting it than in the checks and balances, under which
defeat another, if by any reasonable framers's understanding impeachment is the only legislative check on
construction, the two can be made thereof.46 (Emphasis and the judiciary; and it would create a lack of
to stand together. underscoring supplied) finality and difficulty in fashioning
relief.51 Respondents likewise point to
deliberations on the US Constitution to show
the intent to isolate judicial power of review in the power of judicial review is the matter of impeachment to the sole
cases of impeachment. only impliedly granted to the U.S. Supreme discretion of Congress. Instead, it provided for
Court and is discretionary in nature, that certain well-defined limits, or in the language
Respondents' and intervenors' reliance upon granted to the Philippine Supreme Court and of Baker v. Carr,57"judicially discoverable
American jurisprudence, the American lower courts, as expressly provided for in the standards" for determining the validity of the
Constitution and American Constitution, is not just a power but also exercise of such discretion, through the power
authorities cannot be credited to support the a duty, and it was given an expanded of judicial review.
proposition that the Senate's "sole power to definition to include the power to correct any
try and decide impeachment cases," as grave abuse of discretion on the part of any The cases of Romulo v.
provided for under Art. XI, Sec. 3(6) of the government branch or instrumentality. Yniguez58 and Alejandrino v. Quezon,59 cited
Constitution, is a textually demonstrable by respondents in support of the argument
constitutional commitment of all issues There are also glaring distinctions between that the impeachment power is beyond the
pertaining to impeachment to the legislature, the U.S. Constitution and the Philippine scope of judicial review, are not in point.
to the total exclusion of the power of judicial Constitution with respect to the power of the These cases concern the denial of petitions
review to check and restrain any grave abuse House of Representatives over impeachment for writs of mandamus to compel the
of the impeachment process. Nor can it proceedings. While the U.S. Constitution legislature to perform non-ministerial acts, and
reasonably support the interpretation that it bestows sole power of impeachment to the do not concern the exercise of the power of
necessarily confers upon the Senate the House of Representatives without judicial review.
inherently judicial power to determine limitation,54 our Constitution, though vesting in
constitutional questions incident to the House of Representatives the exclusive There is indeed a plethora of cases in which
impeachment proceedings. power to initiate impeachment this Court exercised the power of judicial
cases,55 provides for several limitations to the review over congressional action. Thus,
Said American jurisprudence and authorities, exercise of such power as embodied in in Santiago v. Guingona, Jr.,60 this Court ruled
much less the American Constitution, are of Section 3(2), (3), (4) and (5), Article XI that it is well within the power and jurisdiction
dubious application for these are no longer thereof. These limitations include the manner of the Court to inquire whether the Senate or
controlling within our jurisdiction and have of filing, required vote to impeach, and the one its officials committed a violation of the
only limited persuasive merit insofar as year bar on the impeachment of one and the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion in
Philippine constitutional law is concerned. As same official. the exercise of their functions and
held in the case of Garcia vs. prerogatives. In Tanada v. Angara,61 in
COMELEC,52 "[i]n resolving constitutional Respondents are also of the view that judicial seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine
disputes, [this Court] should not be beguiled review of impeachments undermines their Senate on the ground that it contravened the
by foreign jurisprudence some of which are finality and may also lead to conflicts between Constitution, it held that the petition raises a
hardly applicable because they have been Congress and the judiciary. Thus, they call justiciable controversy and that when an
dictated by different constitutional settings and upon this Court to exercise judicial action of the legislative branch is seriously
needs."53 Indeed, although the Philippine statesmanship on the principle that "whenever alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it
Constitution can trace its origins to that of the possible, the Court should defer to the becomes not only the right but in fact the duty
United States, their paths of development judgment of the people expressed of the judiciary to settle the dispute. In Bondoc
have long since diverged. In the colorful words legislatively, recognizing full well the perils of v. Pineda,62 this Court declared null and void a
of Father Bernas, "[w]e have cut the umbilical judicial willfulness and pride."56 resolution of the House of Representatives
cord." withdrawing the nomination, and rescinding
But did not the people also express their will the election, of a congressman as a member
The major difference between the judicial when they instituted the above-mentioned of the House Electoral Tribunal for being
power of the Philippine Supreme Court and safeguards in the Constitution? This shows violative of Section 17, Article VI of the
that of the U.S. Supreme Court is that while that the Constitution did not intend to leave Constitution. In Coseteng v. Mitra,63 it held
that the resolution of whether the House the person challenging the act must have governmental act that is being challenged.
representation in the Commission on "standing" to challenge; he must have a The gist of the question of standing is whether
Appointments was based on proportional personal and substantial interest in the case a party alleges such personal stake in the
representation of the political parties as such that he has sustained, or will sustain, outcome of the controversy as to assure that
provided in Section 18, Article VI of the direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) concrete adverseness which sharpens the
Constitution is subject to judicial review. the question of constitutionality must be raised presentation of issues upon which the court
In Daza v. Singson,64 it held that the act of the at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the depends for illumination of difficult
House of Representatives in removing the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis constitutional questions.69
petitioner from the Commission on mota of the case.
Appointments is subject to judicial review. Intervenor Soriano, in praying for the
In Tanada v. Cuenco,65 it held that although x x x Even then, this power of judicial dismissal of the petitions, contends that
under the Constitution, the legislative power is review is limited to actual cases and petitioners do not have standing since only the
vested exclusively in Congress, this does not controversies to be exercised after full Chief Justice has sustained and will sustain
detract from the power of the courts to pass opportunity of argument by the parties, direct personal injury. Amicus curiae former
upon the constitutionality of acts of Congress. and limited further to the constitutional Justice Minister and Solicitor General Estelito
In Angara v. Electoral Commission,66 it ruled question raised or the very lis Mendoza similarly contends.
that confirmation by the National Assembly of mota presented. Any attempt at
the election of any member, irrespective of abstraction could only lead to Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General
whether his election is contested, is not dialectics and barren legal questions asserts that petitioners have standing since
essential before such member-elect may and to sterile conclusions unrelated to this Court had, in the past, accorded standing
discharge the duties and enjoy the privileges actualities. Narrowed as its function is to taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens,
of a member of the National Assembly. in this manner, the judiciary does not legislators in cases involving paramount public
pass upon questions of wisdom, interest70 and transcendental
Finally, there exists no constitutional basis for justice or expediency of legislation. importance,71 and that procedural matters are
the contention that the exercise of judicial More than that, courts accord the subordinate to the need to determine whether
review over impeachment proceedings would presumption of constitutionality to or not the other branches of the government
upset the system of checks and balances. legislative enactments, not only have kept themselves within the limits of the
Verily, the Constitution is to be interpreted as because the legislature is presumed to Constitution and the laws and that they have
a whole and "one section is not to be allowed abide by the Constitution but also not abused the discretion given to
to defeat another."67 Both are integral because the judiciary in the them.72 Amicus curiae Dean Raul
components of the calibrated system of determination of actual cases and Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law is of
independence and interdependence that controversies must reflect the wisdom the same opinion, citing transcendental
insures that no branch of government act and justice of the people as expressed importance and the well-entrenched rule
beyond the powers assigned to it by the through their representatives in the exception that, when the real party in interest
Constitution. executive and legislative departments is unable to vindicate his rights by seeking the
of the government.68 (Italics in the same remedies, as in the case of the Chief
Essential Requisites for Judicial Review original) Justice who, for ethical reasons, cannot
himself invoke the jurisdiction of this Court,
As clearly stated in Angara v. Electoral Standing the courts will grant petitioners standing.
Commission, the courts' power of judicial
review, like almost all powers conferred by the Locus standi or legal standing or has been There is, however, a difference between the
Constitution, is subject to several limitations, defined as a personal and substantial interest rule on real-party-in-interest and the rule on
namely: (1) an actual case or controversy in the case such that the party has sustained standing, for the former is a concept of civil
calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) or will sustain direct injury as a result of the procedure73 while the latter has constitutional
underpinnings.74 In view of the arguments set On the other hand, the question as to In the case of a taxpayer, he is allowed to sue
forth regarding standing, it behooves the "real party in interest" is whether he is where there is a claim that public funds are
Court to reiterate the ruling in Kilosbayan, Inc. "the party who would be benefited or illegally disbursed, or that public money is
v. Morato75 to clarify what is meant by locus injured by the judgment, or the 'party being deflected to any improper purpose, or
standi and to distinguish it from real party-in- entitled to the avails of the that there is a wastage of public funds through
interest. suit.'"76 (Citations omitted) the enforcement of an invalid or
unconstitutional law.79 Before he can invoke
The difference between the rule on While rights personal to the Chief Justice may the power of judicial review, however, he must
standing and real party in interest has have been injured by the alleged specifically prove that he has sufficient
been noted by authorities thus: "It is unconstitutional acts of the House of interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of
important to note . . . that standing Representatives, none of the petitioners money raised by taxation and that he would
because of its constitutional and public before us asserts a violation of the personal sustain a direct injury as a result of the
policy underpinnings, is very different rights of the Chief Justice. On the contrary, enforcement of the questioned statute or
from questions relating to whether a they invariably invoke the vindication of their contract. It is not sufficient that he has merely
particular plaintiff is the real party in own rights as taxpayers; members of a general interest common to all members of
interest or has capacity to sue. Congress; citizens, individually or in a class the public.80
Although all three requirements are suit; and members of the bar and of the legal
directed towards ensuring that only profession which were supposedly violated At all events, courts are vested with discretion
certain parties can maintain an action, by the alleged unconstitutional acts of the as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should
standing restrictions require a partial House of Representatives. be entertained.81 This Court opts to grant
consideration of the merits, as well as standing to most of the petitioners, given their
broader policy concerns relating to the In a long line of cases, however, concerned allegation that any impending transmittal to
proper role of the judiciary in certain citizens, taxpayers and legislators when the Senate of the Articles of Impeachment and
areas. specific requirements have been met have the ensuing trial of the Chief Justice will
been given standing by this Court. necessarily involve the expenditure of public
Standing is a special concern in funds.
constitutional law because in some When suing as a citizen, the interest of the
cases suits are brought not by parties petitioner assailing the constitutionality of a As for a legislator, he is allowed to sue to
who have been personally injured by statute must be direct and personal. He must question the validity of any official action
the operation of a law or by official be able to show, not only that the law or any which he claims infringes his prerogatives as
action taken, but by concerned government act is invalid, but also that he a legislator.82 Indeed, a member of the House
citizens, taxpayers or voters who sustained or is in imminent danger of of Representatives has standing to maintain
actually sue in the public interest. sustaining some direct injury as a result of its inviolate the prerogatives, powers and
Hence the question in standing is enforcement, and not merely that he suffers privileges vested by the Constitution in his
whether such parties have "alleged thereby in some indefinite way. It must appear office.83
such a personal stake in the outcome that the person complaining has been or is
of the controversy as to assure that about to be denied some right or privilege to While an association has legal personality to
concrete adverseness which sharpens which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about represent its members,84 especially when it is
the presentation of issues upon which to be subjected to some burdens or penalties composed of substantial taxpayers and the
the court so largely depends for by reason of the statute or act complained outcome will affect their vital interests,85 the
illumination of difficult constitutional of.77 In fine, when the proceeding involves the mere invocation by the Integrated Bar of the
questions." assertion of a public right,78 the mere fact that Philippines or any member of the legal
he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of profession of the duty to preserve the rule of
xxx personal interest. law and nothing more, although undoubtedly
true, does not suffice to clothe it with standing. public respondent agency or instrumentality of petitioners Candelaria, et. al. has been
Its interest is too general. It is shared by other the government; and (3) the lack of any other interposed, this Court as earlier stated,
groups and the whole citizenry. However, a party with a more direct and specific interest in granted the Motion for Leave of Court to
reading of the petitions shows that it has raising the questions being raised.90 Applying Intervene and Petition-in-Intervention.
advanced constitutional issues which deserve these determinants, this Court is satisfied that
the attention of this Court in view of their the issues raised herein are indeed of Nagmamalasakit na mga Manananggol ng
seriousness, novelty and weight as transcendental importance. mga Manggagawang Pilipino, Inc., et.
precedents.86 It, therefore, behooves this al. sought to join petitioner Francisco in G.R.
Court to relax the rules on standing and to In not a few cases, this Court has in fact No. 160261. Invoking their right as citizens to
resolve the issues presented by it. adopted a liberal attitude on the locus intervene, alleging that "they will suffer if this
standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is insidious scheme of the minority members of
In the same vein, when dealing with class able to craft an issue of transcendental the House of Representatives is successful,"
suits filed in behalf of all citizens, persons significance to the people, as when the issues this Court found the requisites for intervention
intervening must be sufficiently numerous to raised are of paramount importance to the had been complied with.
fully protect the interests of all concerned87 to public.91 Such liberality does not, however,
enable the court to deal properly with all mean that the requirement that a party should Alleging that the issues raised in the petitions
interests involved in the suit,88 for a judgment have an interest in the matter is totally in G.R. Nos. 160261, 160262, 160263,
in a class suit, whether favorable or eliminated. A party must, at the very least, still 160277, 160292, 160295, and 160310 were of
unfavorable to the class, is, under the res plead the existence of such interest, it not transcendental importance, World War II
judicata principle, binding on all members of being one of which courts can take judicial Veterans Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc.
the class whether or not they were before the notice. In petitioner Vallejos' case, he failed to filed a "Petition-in-Intervention with Leave to
court.89 Where it clearly appears that not all allege any interest in the case. He does not Intervene" to raise the additional issue of
interests can be sufficiently represented as thus have standing. whether or not the second impeachment
shown by the divergent issues raised in the complaint against the Chief Justice is valid
numerous petitions before this Court, G.R. No. With respect to the motions for intervention, and based on any of the grounds prescribed
160365 as a class suit ought to fail. Since Rule 19, Section 2 of the Rules of Court by the Constitution.
petitioners additionallyallege standing as requires an intervenor to possess a legal
citizens and taxpayers, however, their petition interest in the matter in litigation, or in the Finding that Nagmamalasakit na mga
will stand. success of either of the parties, or an interest Manananggol ng mga Manggagawang
against both, or is so situated as to be Pilipino, Inc., et al. and World War II Veterans
The Philippine Bar Association, in G.R. No. adversely affected by a distribution or other Legionnaires of the Philippines, Inc. possess a
160403, invokes the sole ground of disposition of property in the custody of the legal interest in the matter in litigation the
transcendental importance, while Atty. court or of an officer thereof. While respective motions to intervene were hereby
Dioscoro U. Vallejos, in G.R. No. 160397, is intervention is not a matter of right, it may be granted.
mum on his standing. permitted by the courts when the applicant
shows facts which satisfy the requirements of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, on the other hand,
There being no doctrinal definition of the law authorizing intervention.92 sought to intervene for the limited purpose of
transcendental importance, the following making of record and arguing a point of view
instructive determinants formulated by former In Intervenors Attorneys Romulo Macalintal that differs with Senate President Drilon's. He
Supreme Court Justice Florentino P. Feliciano and Pete Quirino Quadra's case, they seek to alleges that submitting to this Court's
are instructive: (1) the character of the funds join petitioners Candelaria, et. al. in G.R. No. jurisdiction as the Senate President does will
or other assets involved in the case; (2) the 160262. Since, save for one additional issue, undermine the independence of the Senate
presence of a clear case of disregard of a they raise the same issues and the same which will sit as an impeachment court once
constitutional or statutory prohibition by the standing, and no objection on the part of the Articles of Impeachment are transmitted to
it from the House of Representatives. Clearly, Ripeness and Prematurity withdraw their signatures and opines that the
Senator Pimentel possesses a legal interest in House Impeachment Rules provide for an
the matter in litigation, he being a member of In Tan v. Macapagal,95 this Court, through opportunity for members to raise constitutional
Congress against which the herein petitions Chief Justice Fernando, held that for a case to questions themselves when the Articles of
are directed. For this reason, and to fully be considered ripe for adjudication, "it is a Impeachment are presented on a motion to
ventilate all substantial issues relating to the prerequisite that something had by then been transmit to the same to the Senate. The dean
matter at hand, his Motion to Intervene was accomplished or performed by either branch maintains that even assuming that the Articles
granted and he was, as earlier stated, allowed before a court may come into the are transmitted to the Senate, the Chief
to argue. picture."96 Only then may the courts pass on Justice can raise the issue of their
the validity of what was done, if and when the constitutional infirmity by way of a motion to
Lastly, as to Jaime N. Soriano's motion to latter is challenged in an appropriate legal dismiss.
intervene, the same must be denied for, while proceeding.
he asserts an interest as a taxpayer, he failed The dean's position does not persuade. First,
to meet the standing requirement for bringing The instant petitions raise in the main the the withdrawal by the Representatives of their
taxpayer's suits as set forth in Dumlao v. issue of the validity of the filing of the second signatures would not, by itself, cure the House
Comelec,93 to wit: impeachment complaint against the Chief Impeachment Rules of their constitutional
Justice in accordance with the House infirmity. Neither would such a withdrawal, by
x x x While, concededly, the elections Impeachment Rules adopted by the 12th itself, obliterate the questioned second
to be held involve the expenditure of Congress, the constitutionality of which is impeachment complaint since it would only
public moneys, nowhere in their questioned. The questioned acts having been place it under the ambit of Sections 3(2) and
Petition do said petitioners allege that carried out, i.e., the second impeachment (3) of Article XI of the Constitution97 and,
their tax money is "being extracted complaint had been filed with the House of therefore, petitioners would continue to suffer
and spent in violation of specific Representatives and the 2001 Rules have their injuries.
constitutional protection against already been already promulgated and
abuses of legislative power," or that enforced, the prerequisite that the alleged Second and most importantly, the futility of
there is a misapplication of such funds unconstitutional act should be accomplished seeking remedies from either or both Houses
by respondent COMELEC, or that and performed before suit, as Tan v. of Congress before coming to this Court is
public money is being deflected to any Macapagal holds, has been complied with. shown by the fact that, as previously
improper purpose. Neither do discussed, neither the House of
petitioners seek to restrain respondent Related to the issue of ripeness is the Representatives nor the Senate is clothed
from wasting public funds through the question of whether the instant petitions are with the power to rule with definitiveness on
enforcement of an invalid or premature. Amicus curiae former Senate the issue of constitutionality, whether
unconstitutional law.94 (Citations President Jovito R. Salonga opines that there concerning impeachment proceedings or
omitted) may be no urgent need for this Court to render otherwise, as said power is exclusively vested
a decision at this time, it being the final arbiter in the judiciary by the earlier quoted Section I,
In praying for the dismissal of the petitions, on questions of constitutionality anyway. He Article VIII of the Constitution. Remedy cannot
Soriano failed even to allege that the act of thus recommends that all remedies in the be sought from a body which is bereft of
petitioners will result in illegal disbursement of House and Senate should first be exhausted. power to grant it.
public funds or in public money being
deflected to any improper purpose. Taking a similar stand is Dean Raul Justiciability
Additionally, his mere interest as a member of Pangalangan of the U.P. College of Law who
the Bar does not suffice to clothe him with suggests to this Court to take judicial notice of In the leading case of Tanada v.
standing. on-going attempts to encourage signatories to Cuenco,98 Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion
the second impeachment complaint to defined the term "political question," viz:
[T]he term "political question" Constitutional Commissioner, to clarify this excess of jurisdiction on the part or
connotes, in legal parlance, what it Court's power of judicial review and its instrumentality of the government.
means in ordinary parlance, namely, a application on issues involving political
question of policy. In other words, in questions, viz: Fellow Members of this Commission,
the language of Corpus Juris this is actually a product of our
Secundum, it refers to "those MR. CONCEPCION. Thank you, Mr. experience during martial law. As a
questions which, under the Presiding Officer. matter of fact, it has some
Constitution, are to be decided by the antecedents in the past, but the role
people in their sovereign capacity, or I will speak on the judiciary. Practically, of the judiciary during the deposed
in regard to which full discretionary everybody has made, I suppose, the usual regime was marred considerably by
authority has been delegated to the comment that the judiciary is the weakest the circumstance that in a number
Legislature or executive branch of the among the three major branches of the of cases against the government,
Government." It is concerned with service. Since the legislature holds the purse which then had no legal defense at
issues dependent upon the wisdom, and the executive the sword, the judiciary has all, the solicitor general set up the
not legality, of a particular nothing with which to enforce its decisions or defense of political questions and
measure.99(Italics in the original) commands except the power of reason and got away with it. As a consequence,
appeal to conscience which, after all, reflects certain principles concerning
Prior to the 1973 Constitution, without the will of God, and is the most powerful of all particularly the writ of habeas
consistency and seemingly without any rhyme other powers without exception. x x x And so, corpus, that is, the authority of
or reason, this Court vacillated on its stance of with the body's indulgence, I will proceed to courts to order the release of
taking cognizance of cases which involved read the provisions drafted by the Committee political detainees, and other
political questions. In some cases, this Court on the Judiciary. matters related to the operation and
hid behind the cover of the political question effect of martial law failed because
doctrine and refused to exercise its power of The first section starts with a sentence copied the government set up the defense
judicial review.100 In other cases, however, from former Constitutions. It says: of political question. And the
despite the seeming political nature of the Supreme Court said: "Well, since it is
therein issues involved, this Court assumed political, we have no authority to pass
The judicial power shall be vested in
jurisdiction whenever it found constitutionally upon it." The Committee on the
one Supreme Court and in such lower
imposed limits on powers or functions Judiciary feels that this was not a
courts as may be established by law.
conferred upon political bodies.101 Even in the proper solution of the questions
landmark 1988 case of Javellana v. Executive involved. It did not merely request
Secretary102 which raised the issue of whether I suppose nobody can question it. an encroachment upon the rights of
the 1973 Constitution was ratified, hence, in the people, but it, in effect,
force, this Court shunted the political question The next provision is new in our encouraged further violations
doctrine and took cognizance thereof. constitutional law. I will read it first and thereof during the martial law
Ratification by the people of a Constitution is a explain. regime. I am sure the members of the
political question, it being a question decided Bar are familiar with this situation. But
by the people in their sovereign capacity. Judicial power includes the duty of for the benefit of the Members of the
courts of justice to settle actual Commission who are not lawyers,
The frequency with which this Court invoked controversies involving rights which allow me to explain. I will start with a
the political question doctrine to refuse to take are legally demandable and decision of the Supreme Court in 1973
jurisdiction over certain cases during the enforceable and to determine whether on the case of Javellana vs. the
Marcos regime motivated Chief Justice or not there has been a grave abuse Secretary of Justice, if I am not
Concepcion, when he became a of discretion amounting to lack or mistaken. Martial law was announced
on September 22, although the free discussion on the draft of the room where the case was being
proclamation was dated September Constitution on which a plebiscite was heard. I then informed the Court and
21. The obvious reason for the delay to be held sometime in January 1973. the parties the presidential
in its publication was that the If I may use a word famous by our proclamation declaring that the 1973
administration had apprehended and colleague, Commissioner Ople, during Constitution had been ratified by the
detained prominent newsmen on the interregnum, however, the draft of people and is now in force.
September 21. So that when martial the Constitution was analyzed and
law was announced on September 22, criticized with such a telling effect that A number of other cases were filed to
the media hardly published anything Malacaang felt the danger of its declare the presidential proclamation
about it. In fact, the media could not approval. So, the President null and void. The main defense put
publish any story not only because our suspended indefinitely the holding of up by the government was that the
main writers were already the plebiscite and announced that he issue was a political question and that
incarcerated, but also because those would consult the people in a the court had no jurisdiction to
who succeeded them in their jobs referendum to be held from January entertain the case.
were under mortal threat of being the 10 to January 15. But the questions to
object of wrath of the ruling party. The be submitted in the referendum were xxx
1971 Constitutional Convention had not announced until the eve of its
begun on June 1, 1971 and by scheduled beginning, under the
The government said that in a
September 21 or 22 had not finished supposed supervision not of the
referendum held from January 10 to
the Constitution; it had barely agreed Commission on Elections, but of what
January 15, the vast majority ratified
in the fundamentals of the was then designated as "citizens
the draft of the Constitution. Note that
Constitution. I forgot to say that upon assemblies or barangays." Thus the
all members of the Supreme Court
the proclamation of martial law, some barangays came into existence. The
were residents of Manila, but none of
delegates to that 1971 Constitutional questions to be propounded were
them had been notified of any
Convention, dozens of them, were released with proposed answers
referendum in their respective places
picked up. One of them was our very thereto, suggesting that it was
of residence, much less did they
own colleague, Commissioner unnecessary to hold a plebiscite
participate in the alleged referendum.
Calderon. So, the unfinished draft of because the answers given in the
None of them saw any referendum
the Constitution was taken over by referendum should be regarded as the
proceeding.
representatives of Malacaang. In 17 votes cast in the plebiscite.
days, they finished what the delegates Thereupon, a motion was filed with the
to the 1971 Constitutional Convention Supreme Court praying that the In the Philippines, even local gossips
had been unable to accomplish for holding of the referendum be spread like wild fire. So, a majority of
about 14 months. The draft of the suspended. When the motion was the members of the Court felt that
1973 Constitution was presented to being heard before the Supreme there had been no referendum.
the President around December 1, Court, the Minister of Justice delivered
1972, whereupon the President issued to the Court a proclamation of the Second, a referendum cannot
a decree calling a plebiscite which President declaring that the new substitute for a plebiscite. There is a
suspended the operation of some Constitution was already in force big difference between a
provisions in the martial law decree because the overwhelming majority of referendum and a plebiscite. But
which prohibited discussions, much the votes cast in the referendum another group of justices upheld
less public discussions of certain favored the Constitution. Immediately the defense that the issue was a
matters of public concern. The after the departure of the Minister of political question. Whereupon, they
purpose was presumably to allow a Justice, I proceeded to the session dismissed the case. This is not the
only major case in which the plea of involving rights which are legally I have made these extended remarks
"political question" was set up. demandable or enforceable . . . to the end that the Commissioners
There have been a number of other may have an initial food for thought on
cases in the past. The courts, therefore, cannot the subject of the judiciary.103 (Italics in
entertain, much less decide, the original; emphasis supplied)
x x x The defense of the political hypothetical questions. In a
question was rejected because the presidential system of government, During the deliberations of the Constitutional
issue was clearly justiciable. the Supreme Court has, also Commission, Chief Justice Concepcion further
another important function. The clarified the concept of judicial power, thus:
xxx powers of government are
generally considered divided into MR. NOLLEDO. The Gentleman
x x x When your Committee on the three branches: the Legislative, the used the term "judicial power" but
Judiciary began to perform its Executive and the Judiciary. Each judicial power is not vested in the
functions, it faced the following one is supreme within its own Supreme Court alone but also in
questions: What is judicial power? sphere and independent of the other lower courts as may be
What is a political question? others. Because of that supremacy created by law.
power to determine whether a given
law is valid or not is vested in MR. CONCEPCION. Yes.
The Supreme Court, like all other
courts of justice.
courts, has one main function: to settle
actual controversies involving conflicts MR. NOLLEDO. And so, is this only
of rights which are demandable and Briefly stated, courts of justice an example?
enforceable. There are rights which determine the limits of power of the
are guaranteed by law but cannot be agencies and offices of the
MR. CONCEPCION. No, I know this
enforced by a judiciary party. In a government as well as those of its
is not. The Gentleman seems to
decided case, a husband complained officers. In other words, the
identify political questions with
that his wife was unwilling to perform judiciary is the final arbiter on the
jurisdictional questions. But there
her duties as a wife. The Court said: question whether or not a branch of
is a difference.
"We can tell your wife what her duties government or any of its officials
as such are and that she is bound to has acted without jurisdiction or in
excess of jurisdiction, or so MR. NOLLEDO. Because of the
comply with them, but we cannot force expression "judicial power"?
her physically to discharge her main capriciously as to constitute an
marital duty to her husband. There are abuse of discretion amounting to
excess of jurisdiction or lack of MR. CONCEPCION. No. Judicial
some rights guaranteed by law, but
jurisdiction. This is not only a power, as I said, refers to ordinary
they are so personal that to enforce
judicial power but a duty to pass cases but where there is a question
them by actual compulsion would be
judgment on matters of this nature. as to whether the government had
highly derogatory to human dignity."
authority or had abused its
This is the background of authority to the extent of lacking
This is why the first part of the second jurisdiction or excess of
paragraph of Section I provides that: paragraph 2 of Section 1, which
means that the courts cannot jurisdiction, that is not a political
hereafter evade the duty to settle question. Therefore, the court has
Judicial power includes the duty of the duty to decide.
matters of this nature, by claiming
courts to settle actual controversies
that such matters constitute a
political question. xxx
FR. BERNAS. Ultimately, therefore, it the pale of judicial In Bengzon v. Senate Blue Ribbon
will always have to be decided by the power.104 (Emphasis supplied) Committee,107 through Justice Teodoro
Supreme Court according to the new Padilla, this Court declared:
numerical need for votes. From the foregoing record of the proceedings
of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, it is The "allocation of constitutional
On another point, is it the intention clear that judicial power is not only a power; it boundaries" is a task that this Court
of Section 1 to do away with the is also a duty, a duty which cannot be must perform under the Constitution.
political question doctrine? abdicated by the mere specter of this creature Moreover, as held in a recent
called the political question doctrine. Chief case, "(t)he political question
MR. CONCEPCION. No. Justice Concepcion hastened to clarify, doctrine neither interposes an
however, that Section 1, Article VIII was not obstacle to judicial determination of
FR. BERNAS. It is not. intended to do away with "truly political the rival claims. The jurisdiction
questions." From this clarification it is to delimit constitutional boundaries
gathered that there are two species of political has been given to this Court. It
MR. CONCEPCION. No, because
questions: (1) "truly political questions" and (2) cannot abdicate that
whenever there is an abuse of
those which "are not truly political questions." obligation mandated by the 1987
discretion, amounting to a lack of
Constitution, although said
jurisdiction. . .
Truly political questions are thus beyond provision by no means does away
judicial review, the reason for respect of the with the applicability of the
FR. BERNAS. So, I am satisfied with principle in appropriate
doctrine of separation of powers to be
the answer that it is not intended to cases."108 (Emphasis and
maintained. On the other hand, by virtue of
do away with the political question underscoring supplied)
Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution,
doctrine.
courts can review questions which are not
truly political in nature. And in Daza v. Singson,109 speaking through
MR. CONCEPCION. No, certainly Justice Isagani Cruz, this Court ruled:
not.
As pointed out by amicus curiae former dean
Pacifico Agabin of the UP College of Law, this In the case now before us, the
When this provision was originally Court has in fact in a number of cases taken jurisdictional objection becomes even
drafted, it sought to define what is jurisdiction over questions which are not truly less tenable and decisive. The reason
judicial power. But the Gentleman political following the effectivity of the present is that, even if we were to assume that
will notice it says, "judicial power Constitution. the issue presented before us was
includes" and the reason being that political in nature, we would still not be
the definition that we might make precluded from resolving it under
In Marcos v. Manglapus,105 this Court,
may not cover all possible areas. the expanded jurisdiction conferred
speaking through Madame Justice Irene
Cortes, held: upon us that now covers, in proper
FR. BERNAS. So, this is not an cases, even the political question.110 x
attempt to solve the problems x x (Emphasis and underscoring
The present Constitution limits resort
arising from the political question supplied.)
to the political question doctrine and
doctrine.
broadens the scope of judicial inquiry
into areas which the Court, under Section 1, Article VIII, of the Court does not
MR. CONCEPCION. It definitely previous constitutions, would have define what are justiciable political questions
does not eliminate the fact that normally left to the political and non-justiciable political questions,
truly political questions are beyond departments to decide.106 x x x however. Identification of these two species of
political questions may be problematic. There
has been no clear standard. The American current concept, for Section 1, Article VIII of V. Whether the second impeachment
case of Baker v. Carr111 attempts to provide the Constitution provides our courts with far complaint is barred under Section 3(5)
some: less discretion in determining whether they of Article XI of the Constitution.
should pass upon a constitutional issue.
x x x Prominent on the surface of any The first issue goes into the merits of
case held to involve a political In our jurisdiction, the determination of a truly the second impeachment complaint
question is found a textually political question from a non-justiciable over which this Court has no
demonstrable constitutional political question lies in the answer to the jurisdiction. More importantly, any
commitment of the issue to question of whether there are constitutionally discussion of this issue would require
a coordinate political department; or imposed limits on powers or functions this Court to make a determination of
a lack of judicially discoverable and conferred upon political bodies. If there are, what constitutes an impeachable
manageable standards for resolving it; then our courts are duty-bound to examine offense. Such a determination is a
or the impossibility of deciding without whether the branch or instrumentality of the purely political question which the
an initial policy determination of a kind government properly acted within such limits. Constitution has left to the sound
clearly for non-judicial discretion; or This Court shall thus now apply this standard discretion of the legislation. Such an
the impossibility of a court's to the present controversy. intent is clear from the deliberations of
undertaking independent resolution the Constitutional Commission.113
without expressing lack of the respect These petitions raise five substantial issues:
due coordinate branches of Although Section 2 of Article XI of the
government; or an unusual need for I. Whether the offenses alleged in the Constitution enumerates six grounds for
questioning adherence to a political Second impeachment complaint impeachment, two of these, namely, other
decision already made; or constitute valid impeachable offenses high crimes and betrayal of public trust, elude
the potentiality of embarrassment from under the Constitution. a precise definition. In fact, an examination of
multifarious pronouncements by the records of the 1986 Constitutional
various departments on one Commission shows that the framers could find
II. Whether the second impeachment
question.112(Underscoring supplied) no better way to approximate the boundaries
complaint was filed in accordance with
Section 3(4), Article XI of the of betrayal of public trust and other high
Of these standards, the more reliable have Constitution. crimes than by alluding to both positive and
been the first three: (1) a textually negative examples of both, without arriving at
demonstrable constitutional commitment of their clear cut definition or even a standard
III. Whether the legislative inquiry by
the issue to a coordinate political department; therefor.114 Clearly, the issue calls upon this
the House Committee on Justice into
(2) the lack of judicially discoverable and court to decide a non-justiciable political
the Judicial Development Fund is an
manageable standards for resolving it; and (3) question which is beyond the scope of its
unconstitutional infringement of the
the impossibility of deciding without an initial judicial power under Section 1, Article VIII.
constitutionally mandated fiscal
policy determination of a kind clearly for non-
autonomy of the judiciary.
judicial discretion. These standards are not Lis Mota
separate and distinct concepts but are
interrelated to each in that the presence of IV. Whether Sections 15 and 16 of
Rule V of the Rules on Impeachment It is a well-settled maxim of adjudication that
one strengthens the conclusion that the others an issue assailing the constitutionality of a
are also present. adopted by the 12th Congress are
unconstitutional for violating the governmental act should be avoided
provisions of Section 3, Article XI of whenever possible. Thus, in the case of Sotto
The problem in applying the foregoing v. Commission on Elections,115 this Court held:
the Constitution.
standards is that the American concept of
judicial review is radically different from our
x x x It is a well-established rule that a As noted earlier, the instant consolidated would not be adversely affected by the Court's
court should not pass upon a petitions, while all seeking the invalidity of the ruling.
constitutional question and decide a second impeachment complaint, collectively
law to be unconstitutional or invalid, raise several constitutional issues upon which En passant, this Court notes that a standard
unless such question is raised by the the outcome of this controversy could possibly for the conduct of legislative inquiries has
parties and that when it is raised, if be made to rest. In determining whether one, already been enunciated by this Court
the record also presents some some or all of the remaining substantial issues in Bengzon, Jr. v. Senate Blue Ribbon
other ground upon which the court should be passed upon, this Court is guided Commttee,122 viz:
may rest its judgment, that course by the related cannon of adjudication that "the
will be adopted and the court should not form a rule of constitutional The 1987 Constitution expressly
constitutional question will be left law broader than is required by the precise recognizes the power of both houses
for consideration until a case arises facts to which it is applied."119 of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid
in which a decision upon such of legislation. Thus, Section 21, Article
question will be In G.R. No. 160310, petitioners Leonilo R. VI thereof provides:
unavoidable.116 [Emphasis and Alfonso, et al. argue that, among other
underscoring supplied] reasons, the second impeachment complaint The Senate or the House of
is invalid since it directly resulted from a Representatives or any of its
The same principle was applied in Luz Farms Resolution120 calling for a legislative inquiry respective committees may conduct
v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform,117 where this into the JDF, which Resolution and legislative inquiries in aid of legislation in
Court invalidated Sections 13 and 32 of inquiry petitioners claim to likewise be accordance with its duly published
Republic Act No. 6657 for being confiscatory unconstitutional for being: (a) a violation of the rules of procedure. The rights of
and violative of due process, to wit: rules and jurisprudence on investigations in persons appearing in or affected by
aid of legislation; (b) an open breach of the such inquiries shall be respected.
It has been established that this doctrine of separation of powers; (c) a
Court will assume jurisdiction over violation of the constitutionally mandated fiscal
The power of both houses of
a constitutional question only if it is autonomy of the judiciary; and (d) an assault
Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of
shown that the essential requisites on the independence of the judiciary.121
legislation is not, therefore absolute or
of a judicial inquiry into such a unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed
question are first satisfied. Thus, Without going into the merits of petitioners by the afore-quoted provision of the
there must be an actual case or Alfonso, et. al.'s claims, it is the studied Constitution. Thus, as provided
controversy involving a conflict of legal opinion of this Court that the issue of the therein, the investigation must be "in
rights susceptible of judicial constitutionality of the said Resolution and aid of legislation in accordance with its
determination, the constitutional resulting legislative inquiry is too far removed duly published rules of procedure" and
question must have been opportunely from the issue of the validity of the second that "the rights of persons appearing
raised by the proper party, and the impeachment complaint. Moreover, the in or affected by such inquiries shall
resolution of the question is resolution of said issue would, in the Court's be respected." It follows then that the
unavoidably necessary to the opinion, require it to form a rule of right rights of persons under the Bill of
decision of the case constitutional law touching on the separate Rights must be respected, including
itself.118 [Emphasis supplied] and distinct matter of legislative inquiries in the right to due process and the right
general, which would thus be broader than is not be compelled to testify against
Succinctly put, courts will not touch the issue required by the facts of these consolidated one's self.123
of constitutionality unless it is truly cases. This opinion is further strengthened by
unavoidable and is the very lis mota or crux of the fact that said petitioners have raised other
the controversy. grounds in support of their petition which
In G.R. No. 160262, intervenors Romulo B. Impeachment and for trial in the Senate to impeachment contemplated by the
Macalintal and Pete Quirino Quadra, while begin "forthwith," is that the verified complaint Constitution, such resolution of endorsement
joining the original petition of petitioners be "filed," not merely endorsed, by at least being necessary only from at least one
Candelaria, et. al., introduce the new one-third of the Members of the House of Member whenever a citizen files a verified
argument that since the second impeachment Representatives. Not having complied with impeachment complaint.
complaint was verified and filed only by this requirement, they concede that the
Representatives Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and second impeachment complaint should have While the foregoing issue, as argued by
Felix William Fuentebella, the same does not been calendared and referred to the House intervenors Macalintal and Quadra, does
fall under the provisions of Section 3 (4), Committee on Justice under Section 3(2), indeed limit the scope of the constitutional
Article XI of the Constitution which reads: Article XI of the Constitution, viz: issues to the provisions on impeachment,
more compelling considerations militate
Section 3(4) In case the verified Section 3(2) A verified complaint for against its adoption as the lis mota or crux of
complaint or resolution of impeachment may be filed by any the present controversy. Chief among this is
impeachment is filed by at least one- Member of the House of the fact that only Attorneys Macalintal and
third of all the Members of the House, Representatives or by any citizen Quadra, intervenors in G.R. No. 160262, have
the same shall constitute the Articles upon a resolution of endorsement by raised this issue as a ground for invalidating
of Impeachment, and trial by the any Member thereof, which shall be the second impeachment complaint. Thus, to
Senate shall forthwith proceed. included in the Order of Business adopt this additional ground as the basis for
within ten session days, and referred deciding the instant consolidated petitions
They assert that while at least 81 members of to the proper Committee within three would not only render for naught the efforts of
the House of Representatives signed a session days thereafter. The the original petitioners in G.R. No. 160262, but
Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment, the Committee, after hearing, and by a the efforts presented by the other petitioners
same did not satisfy the requisites for the majority vote of all its Members, shall as well.
application of the afore-mentioned section in submit its report to the House within
that the "verified complaint or resolution of sixty session days from such referral, Again, the decision to discard the resolution of
impeachment" was not filed "by at least one- together with the corresponding this issue as unnecessary for the
third of all the Members of the House." With resolution. The resolution shall be determination of the instant cases is made
the exception of Representatives Teodoro and calendared for consideration by the easier by the fact that said intervenors
Fuentebella, the signatories to said Resolution House within ten session days from Macalintal and Quadra have joined in the
are alleged to have verified the same merely receipt thereof. petition of Candelaria, et. al., adopting the
as a "Resolution of Endorsement." Intervenors latter's arguments and issues as their own.
point to the "Verification" of the Resolution of Intervenors' foregoing position is echoed by Consequently, they are not unduly prejudiced
Endorsement which states that: Justice Maambong who opined that for by this Court's decision.
Section 3 (4), Article XI of the Constitution to
"We are the proponents/sponsors of apply, there should be 76 or more In sum, this Court holds that the two
the Resolution of Endorsement of the representatives who signed and verified the remaining issues, inextricably linked as they
abovementioned Complaint of second impeachment complaint are, constitute the very lis mota of the instant
Representatives Gilberto Teodoro and as complainants, signed and verified the controversy: (1) whether Sections 15 and 16
Felix William B. Fuentebella x x x"124 signatories to a resolution of impeachment. of Rule V of the House Impeachment Rules
Justice Maambong likewise asserted that the adopted by the 12th Congress are
Intervenors Macalintal and Quadra further Resolution of Endorsement/Impeachment unconstitutional for violating the provisions of
claim that what the Constitution requires in signed by at least one-third of the members of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution; and
order for said second impeachment complaint the House of Representatives (2) whether, as a result thereof, the second
to automatically become the Articles of as endorsers is not the resolution of
impeachment complaint is barred under Even in cases where it is an interested party, competence, the proposed mass
Section 3(5) of Article XI of the Constitution. the Court under our system of government disqualification, if sanctioned and
cannot inhibit itself and must rule upon the ordered, would leave the Tribunal no
Judicial Restraint challenge because no other office has the alternative but to abandon a duty that
authority to do so.128 On the occasion that this no other court or body can perform,
Senator Pimentel urges this Court to exercise Court had been an interested party to the but which it cannot lawfully discharge
judicial restraint on the ground that the controversy before it, it has acted upon the if shorn of the participation of its entire
Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, has matter "not with officiousness but in the membership of Senators.
the sole power to try and decide all cases of discharge of an unavoidable duty and, as
impeachment. Again, this Court reiterates that always, with detachment and To our mind, this is the overriding
the power of judicial review includes the fairness."129 After all, "by [his] appointment to consideration that the Tribunal be
power of review over justiciable issues in the office, the public has laid on [a member of not prevented from discharging a duty
impeachment proceedings. the judiciary] their confidence that [he] is which it alone has the power to
mentally and morally fit to pass upon the perform, the performance of which is
merits of their varied contentions. For this in the highest public interest as
On the other hand, respondents Speaker De
reason, they expect [him] to be fearless in evidenced by its being expressly
Venecia et. al. argue that "[t]here is a moral
[his] pursuit to render justice, to be unafraid to imposed by no less than the
compulsion for the Court to not assume
displease any person, interest or power and to fundamental law.
jurisdiction over the impeachment because all
be equipped with a moral fiber strong enough
the Members thereof are subject to
to resist the temptations lurking in [his] It is aptly noted in the first of the
impeachment."125But this argument is very
office."130 questioned Resolutions that the
much like saying the Legislature has a moral
compulsion not to pass laws with penalty framers of the Constitution could not
clauses because Members of the House of The duty to exercise the power of adjudication have been unaware of the possibility
Representatives are subject to them. regardless of interest had already been settled of an election contest that would
in the case of Abbas v. Senate Electoral involve all Senatorselect, six of
Tribunal.131 In that case, the petitioners filed whom would inevitably have to sit in
The exercise of judicial restraint over
with the respondent Senate Electoral Tribunal judgment thereon. Indeed, such
justiciable issues is not an option before this
a Motion for Disqualification or Inhibition of the possibility might surface again in the
Court. Adjudication may not be declined,
Senators-Members thereof from the hearing wake of the 1992 elections when once
because this Court is not legally disqualified.
and resolution of SET Case No. 002-87 on the more, but for the last time, all 24 seats
Nor can jurisdiction be renounced as there is
ground that all of them were interested parties in the Senate will be at stake. Yet the
no other tribunal to which the controversy may
to said case as respondents therein. This Constitution provides no scheme or
be referred."126 Otherwise, this Court would be
would have reduced the Tribunal's mode for settling such unusual
shirking from its duty vested under Art. VIII,
membership to only its three Justices- situations or for the substitution of
Sec. 1(2) of the Constitution. More than being
Members whose disqualification was not Senators designated to the Tribunal
clothed with authority thus, this Court is duty-
sought, leaving them to decide the matter. whose disqualification may be sought.
bound to take cognizance of the instant
This Court held: Litigants in such situations must
petitions.127 In the august words of amicus
curiae Father Bernas, "jurisdiction is not just a simply place their trust and hopes of
power; it is a solemn duty which may not be Where, as here, a situation is created vindication in the fairness and sense
renounced. To renounce it, even if it is which precludes the substitution of of justice of the Members of the
vexatious, would be a dereliction of duty." any Senator sitting in the Tribunal by Tribunal. Justices and Senators, singly
any of his other colleagues in the and collectively.
Senate without inviting the same
objections to the substitute's
Let us not be misunderstood as saying which it cannot lawfully discharge if 4. The Court will not pass upon a
that no Senator-Member of the Senate shorn of the participation of its entire constitutional question although
Electoral Tribunal may inhibit or membership of Justices.133 (Italics in properly presented by the record, if
disqualify himself from sitting in the original) there is also present some other
judgment on any case before said ground upon which the case may be
Tribunal. Every Member of the Besides, there are specific safeguards already disposed of. This rule has found most
Tribunal may, as his conscience laid down by the Court when it exercises its varied application. Thus, if a case can
dictates, refrain from participating in power of judicial review. be decided on either of two grounds,
the resolution of a case where he one involving a constitutional question,
sincerely feels that his personal In Demetria v. Alba,134 this Court, through the other a question of statutory
interests or biases would stand in the Justice Marcelo Fernan cited the "seven construction or general law, the Court
way of an objective and impartial pillars" of limitations of the power of judicial will decide only the latter. Appeals
judgment. What we are merely saying review, enunciated by US Supreme Court from the highest court of a state
is that in the light of the Constitution, Justice Brandeis in Ashwander v. TVA135 as challenging its decision of a question
the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot follows: under the Federal Constitution are
legally function as such, absent its frequently dismissed because the
entire membership of Senators and judgment can be sustained on an
1. The Court will not pass upon the
that no amendment of its Rules can independent state ground.
constitutionality of legislation in a
confer on the three Justices-Members
friendly, non-adversary proceeding,
alone the power of valid adjudication 5. The Court will not pass upon the
declining because to decide such
of a senatorial election contest. validity of a statute upon complaint of
questions 'is legitimate only in the last
resort, and as a necessity in the one who fails to show that he is
More recently in the case of Estrada v. determination of real, earnest and vital injured by its operation. Among the
Desierto,132 it was held that: controversy between individuals. It many applications of this rule, none is
never was the thought that, by means more striking than the denial of the
Moreover, to disqualify any of the of a friendly suit, a party beaten in the right of challenge to one who lacks a
members of the Court, particularly a legislature could transfer to the courts personal or property right. Thus, the
majority of them, is nothing short an inquiry as to the constitutionality of challenge by a public official interested
of pro tanto depriving the Court itself the legislative act.' only in the performance of his official
of its jurisdiction as established by the duty will not be entertained . . .
fundamental law. Disqualification of a In Fairchild v. Hughes, the Court
2. The Court will not 'anticipate a
judge is a deprivation of his judicial affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought
question of constitutional law in
power. And if that judge is the one by a citizen who sought to have the
advance of the necessity of deciding
designated by the Constitution to Nineteenth Amendment declared
it.' . . . 'It is not the habit of the Court to
exercise the jurisdiction of his court, unconstitutional. In Massachusetts v.
decide questions of a constitutional
as is the case with the Justices of this Mellon, the challenge of the federal
nature unless absolutely necessary to
Court, the deprivation of his or their Maternity Act was not entertained
a decision of the case.'
judicial power is equivalent to the although made by the Commonwealth
deprivation of the judicial power of the on behalf of all its citizens.
3. The Court will not 'formulate a rule
court itself. It affects the very heart of
of constitutional law broader than is
judicial independence. The proposed 6. The Court will not pass upon the
required by the precise facts to which
mass disqualification, if sanctioned constitutionality of a statute at the
it is to be applied.'
and ordered, would leave the Court no instance of one who has availed
alternative but to abandon a duty himself of its benefits.
7. When the validity of an act of the 2. the person challenging the act must Justice Feliciano warned against the dangers
Congress is drawn in question, and have "standing" to challenge; he must when this Court refuses to act.
even if a serious doubt of have a personal and substantial
constitutionality is raised, it is a interest in the case such that he has x x x Frequently, the fight over a
cardinal principle that this Court will sustained, or will sustain, direct injury controversial legislative or executive
first ascertain whether a construction as a result of its enforcement act is not regarded as settled until the
of the statute is fairly possible by Supreme Court has passed upon the
which the question may be avoided 3. the question of constitutionality constitutionality of the act involved, the
(citations omitted). must be raised at the earliest possible judgment has not only juridical effects
opportunity but also political consequences.
The foregoing "pillars" of limitation of judicial Those political consequences may
review, summarized in Ashwander v. 4. the issue of constitutionality must follow even where the Court fails to
TVA from different decisions of the United be the very lis mota of the case.136 grant the petitioner's prayer to nullify
States Supreme Court, can be encapsulated an act for lack of the necessary
into the following categories: Respondents Speaker de Venecia, et. number of votes. Frequently, failure to
al. raise another argument for judicial restraint act explicitly, one way or the other,
1. that there be absolute necessity of the possibility that "judicial review of itself constitutes a decision for the
deciding a case impeachments might also lead to respondent and validation, or at least
embarrassing conflicts between the Congress quasi-validation, follows." 138
2. that rules of constitutional law shall and the [J]udiciary." They stress the need to
be formulated only as required by the avoid the appearance of impropriety or Thus, in Javellana v. Executive
facts of the case conflicts of interest in judicial hearings, and Secretary139 where this Court was split and "in
the scenario that it would be confusing and the end there were not enough votes either to
3. that judgment may not be sustained humiliating and risk serious political instability grant the petitions, or to sustain respondent's
on some other ground at home and abroad if the judiciary claims,"140 the pre-existing constitutional order
countermanded the vote of Congress to was disrupted which paved the way for the
remove an impeachable official.137 Intervenor establishment of the martial law regime.
4. that there be actual injury sustained
by the party by reason of the operation Soriano echoes this argument by alleging that
of the statute failure of this Court to enforce its Resolution Such an argument by respondents and
against Congress would result in the intervenor also presumes that the coordinate
diminution of its judicial authority and erode branches of the government would behave in
5. that the parties are not in estoppel
public confidence and faith in the judiciary. a lawless manner and not do their duty under
the law to uphold the Constitution and obey
6. that the Court upholds the the laws of the land. Yet there is no reason to
Such an argument, however, is specious, to
presumption of constitutionality. believe that any of the branches of
say the least. As correctly stated by the
Solicitor General, the possibility of the government will behave in a precipitate
As stated previously, parallel guidelines have occurrence of a constitutional crisis is not a manner and risk social upheaval, violence,
been adopted by this Court in the exercise of reason for this Court to refrain from upholding chaos and anarchy by encouraging disrespect
judicial review: the Constitution in all impeachment cases. for the fundamental law of the land.
Justices cannot abandon their constitutional
1. actual case or controversy calling duties just because their action may start, if Substituting the word public officers for
for the exercise of judicial power not precipitate, a crisis. judges, this Court is well guided by the
doctrine in People v. Veneracion, to wit:141
Obedience to the rule of law forms the concludes that the one year bar prohibiting the Briefly then, an impeachment
bedrock of our system of justice. If initiation of impeachment proceedings against proceeding is not a single act. It is a
[public officers], under the guise of the same officials could not have been comlexus of acts consisting of a
religious or political beliefs were violated as the impeachment complaint beginning, a middle and an end. The
allowed to roam unrestricted beyond against Chief Justice Davide and seven end is the transmittal of the articles of
boundaries within which they are Associate Justices had not been initiated as impeachment to the Senate. The
required by law to exercise the duties the House of Representatives, acting as middle consists of those deliberative
of their office, then law becomes the collective body, has yet to act on it. moments leading to the formulation of
meaningless. A government of laws, the articles of impeachment. The
not of men excludes the exercise of The resolution of this issue thus hinges on the beginning or the initiation is the filing
broad discretionary powers by those interpretation of the term "initiate." Resort to of the complaint and its referral to the
acting under its authority. Under this statutory construction is, therefore, in order. Committee on Justice.
system, [public officers] are guided by
the Rule of Law, and ought "to protect That the sponsor of the provision of Section Finally, it should be noted that the
and enforce it without fear or favor," 3(5) of the Constitution, Commissioner House Rule relied upon by
resist encroachments by Florenz Regalado, who eventually became an Representatives Cojuangco and
governments, political parties, or even Associate Justice of this Court, agreed on the Fuentebella says that impeachment is
the interference of their own personal meaning of "initiate" as "to file," as proffered "deemed initiated" when the Justice
beliefs.142 and explained by Constitutional Commissioner Committee votes in favor of
Maambong during the Constitutional impeachment or when the House
Constitutionality of the Rules of Procedure Commission proceedings, which he reverses a contrary vote of the
for Impeachment Proceedings (Commissioner Regalado) as amicus Committee. Note that the Rule does
adopted by the 12th Congress curiae affirmed during the oral arguments on not say "impeachment proceedings"
the instant petitions held on November 5, are initiated but rather are "deemed
Respondent House of Representatives, 2003 at which he added that the act of initiated." The language is recognition
through Speaker De Venecia, argues that "initiating" included the act of taking initial that initiation happened earlier, but by
Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the House action on the complaint, dissipates any doubt legal fiction there is an attempt to
Impeachment Rules do not violate Section 3 that indeed the word "initiate" as it twice postpone it to a time after actual
(5) of Article XI of our present Constitution, appears in Article XI (3) and (5) of the initiation. (Emphasis and underscoring
contending that the term "initiate" does not Constitution means to file the complaint and supplied)
mean "to file;" that Section 3 (1) is clear in that take initial action on it.
it is the House of Representatives, as a As stated earlier, one of the means of
collective body, which has the exclusive "Initiate" of course is understood by ordinary interpreting the Constitution is looking into the
power to initiate all cases of impeachment; men to mean, as dictionaries do, to begin, to intent of the law. Fortunately, the intent of the
that initiate could not possibly mean "to file" commence, or set going. As Webster's Third framers of the 1987 Constitution can be pried
because filing can, as Section 3 (2), Article XI New International Dictionary of the English from its records:
of the Constitution provides, only be Language concisely puts it, it means "to
accomplished in 3 ways, to wit: (1) by a perform or facilitate the first action," which MR. MAAMBONG. With reference to
verified complaint for impeachment by any jibes with Justice Regalado's position, and Section 3, regarding the procedure
member of the House of Representatives; or that of Father Bernas, who elucidated during and the substantive provisions on
(2) by any citizen upon a resolution of the oral arguments of the instant petitions on impeachment, I understand there have
endorsement by any member; or (3) by at November 5, 2003 in this wise: been many proposals and, I think,
least 1/3 of all the members of the House. these would need some time for
Respondent House of Representatives Committee action.
However, I would just like to indicate starts on the floor. If we only have THE ARTICLES, and then capitalize
that I submitted to the Committee a time, I could cite examples in the case the letter "i" in "impeachment" and
resolution on impeachment of the impeachment proceedings of replace the word "by" with OF, so that
proceedings, copies of which have President Richard Nixon wherein the the whole section will now read: "A
been furnished the Members of this Committee on the Judiciary submitted vote of at least one-third of all the
body. This is borne out of my the recommendation, the resolution, Members of the House shall be
experience as a member of the and the Articles of Impeachment to the necessary either to affirm a resolution
Committee on Justice, Human Rights body, and it was the body who WITH THE ARTICLES of
and Good Government which took approved the resolution. It is not the Impeachment OF the Committee or to
charge of the last impeachment body which initiates it. It only override its contrary resolution. The
resolution filed before the First approves or disapproves the vote of each Member shall be
Batasang Pambansa. For the resolution. So, on that score, recorded."
information of the Committee, the probably the Committee on Style
resolution covers several steps in could help in rearranging these words I already mentioned earlier
the impeachment because we have to be very technical yesterday that the initiation, as far
proceedings starting with initiation, about this. I have been bringing with as the House of Representatives of
action of the Speaker committee me The Rules of the House of the United States is concerned, really
action, calendaring of report, voting Representatives of the U.S. Congress. starts from the filing of the verified
on the report, transmittal referral to The Senate Rules are with me. The complaint and every resolution to
the Senate, trial and judgment by proceedings on the case of Richard impeach always carries with it the
the Senate. Nixon are with me. I have submitted Articles of Impeachment. As a matter
my proposal, but the Committee has of fact, the words "Articles of
xxx already decided. Nevertheless, I just Impeachment" are mentioned on line
want to indicate this on record. 25 in the case of the direct filing of a
MR. MAAMBONG. Mr. Presiding verified compliant of one-third of all
Officer, I am not moving for a xxx the Members of the House. I will
reconsideration of the approval of the mention again, Madam President, that
amendment submitted by MR. MAAMBONG. I would just like to my amendment will not vary the
Commissioner Regalado, but I will just move for a reconsideration of the substance in any way. It is only in
make of record my thinking that we do approval of Section 3 (3). My keeping with the uniform procedure of
not really initiate the filing of the reconsideration will not at all affect the the House of Representatives of the
Articles of Impeachment on the substance, but it is only in keeping United States Congress. Thank you,
floor. The procedure, as I have with the exact formulation of the Rules Madam President.143 (Italics in the
pointed out earlier, was that the of the House of Representatives of the original; emphasis and udnerscoring
initiation starts with the filing of the United States regarding impeachment. supplied)
complaint. And what is actually
done on the floor is that the I am proposing, Madam President, This amendment proposed by Commissioner
committee resolution containing without doing damage to any of this Maambong was clarified and accepted by the
the Articles of Impeachment is the provision, that on page 2, Section 3 Committee on the Accountability of Public
one approved by the body. (3), from lines 17 to 18, we delete the Officers.144
words which read: "to initiate
As the phraseology now runs, which impeachment proceedings" and the It is thus clear that the framers intended
may be corrected by the Committee comma (,) and insert on line 19 after "initiation" to start with the filing of the
on Style, it appears that the initiation the word "resolution" the phrase WITH complaint. In his amicus curiae brief,
Commissioner Maambong explained that "the refers to two objects, "impeachment case" and Members upholds the complaint, Articles of
obvious reason in deleting the phrase "to "impeachment proceeding." Impeachment are prepared and transmitted to
initiate impeachment proceedings" as the Senate. It is at this point that the House
contained in the text of the provision of Father Bernas explains that in these two "initiates an impeachment case." It is at this
Section 3 (3) was to settle and make it provisions, the common verb is "to initiate." point that an impeachable public official is
understood once and for all that the The object in the first sentence is successfully impeached. That is, he or she is
initiation of impeachment proceedings "impeachment case." The object in the second successfully charged with an impeachment
starts with the filing of the complaint, and sentence is "impeachment proceeding." "case" before the Senate as impeachment
the vote of one-third of the House in a Following the principle of reddendo singuala court.
resolution of impeachment does not sinuilis, the term "cases" must be
initiate the impeachment proceedings which distinguished from the term "proceedings." An Father Bernas further explains: The
was already initiated by the filing of a impeachment case is the legal controversy "impeachment proceeding" is not initiated
verified complaint under Section 3, that must be decided by the Senate. Above- when the complaint is transmitted to the
paragraph (2), Article XI of the quoted first provision provides that the House, Senate for trial because that is the end of the
Constitution."145 by a vote of one-third of all its members, can House proceeding and the beginning of
bring a case to the Senate. It is in that sense another proceeding, namely the trial. Neither
Amicus curiae Constitutional Commissioner that the House has "exclusive power" to is the "impeachment proceeding" initiated
Regalado is of the same view as is Father initiate all cases of impeachment. No other when the House deliberates on the resolution
Bernas, who was also a member of the 1986 body can do it. However, before a decision is passed on to it by the Committee, because
Constitutional Commission, that the word made to initiate a case in the Senate, a something prior to that has already been
"initiate" as used in Article XI, Section 3(5) "proceeding" must be followed to arrive at a done. The action of the House is already a
means to file, both adding, however, that the conclusion. A proceeding must be "initiated." further step in the proceeding, not its initiation
filing must be accompanied by an action to set To initiate, which comes from the Latin or beginning. Rather, the proceeding is
the complaint moving. word initium, means to begin. On the other initiated or begins, when a verified complaint
hand, proceeding is a progressive noun. It has is filed and referred to the Committee on
During the oral arguments before this Court, a beginning, a middle, and an end. It takes Justice for action. This is the initiating step
Father Bernas clarified that the word "initiate," place not in the Senate but in the House and which triggers the series of steps that follow.
appearing in the constitutional provision on consists of several steps: (1) there is the filing
impeachment, viz: of a verified complaint either by a Member of The framers of the Constitution also
the House of Representatives or by a private understood initiation in its ordinary meaning.
Section 3 (1) The House of citizen endorsed by a Member of the House of Thus when a proposal reached the floor
Representatives shall have the the Representatives; (2) there is the proposing that "A vote of at least one-third of
exclusive power to initiate all cases of processing of this complaint by the proper all the Members of the House shall be
impeachment. Committee which may either reject the necessary to initiate impeachment
complaint or uphold it; (3) whether the proceedings," this was met by a proposal to
resolution of the Committee rejects or upholds delete the line on the ground that the vote of
xxx
the complaint, the resolution must be the House does not initiate impeachment
forwarded to the House for further processing; proceeding but rather the filing of a complaint
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall and (4) there is the processing of the same does.146 Thus the line was deleted and is not
be initiated against the same official complaint by the House of Representatives found in the present Constitution.
more than once within a period of one which either affirms a favorable resolution of
year, (Emphasis supplied) the Committee or overrides a contrary Father Bernas concludes that when Section 3
resolution by a vote of one-third of all the (5) says, "No impeachment proceeding shall
members. If at least one third of all the be initiated against the same official more
than once within a period of one year," it not be filed against the same official within a at present only two members of this Court
means that no second verified complaint may one year period. who participated in the 1986 Constitutional
be accepted and referred to the Committee on Commission Chief Justice Davide and
Justice for action. By his explanation, this Under Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V of the Justice Adolf Azcuna. Chief Justice Davide
interpretation is founded on the common House Impeachment Rules, impeachment has not taken part in these proceedings for
understanding of the meaning of "to initiate" proceedings are deemed initiated (1) if there obvious reasons. Moreover, this Court has not
which means to begin. He reminds that the is a finding by the House Committee on simply relied on the personal opinions now
Constitution is ratified by the people, both Justice that the verified complaint and/or given by members of the Constitutional
ordinary and sophisticated, as they resolution is sufficient in substance, or (2) Commission, but has examined the records of
understand it; and that ordinary people read once the House itself affirms or overturns the the deliberations and proceedings thereof.
ordinary meaning into ordinary words and not finding of the Committee on Justice that the
abstruse meaning, they ratify words as they verified complaint and/or resolution is not Respondent House of Representatives
understand it and not as sophisticated lawyers sufficient in substance or (3) by the filing or counters that under Section 3 (8) of Article XI,
confuse it. endorsement before the Secretary-General of it is clear and unequivocal that it and only it
the House of Representatives of a verified has the power to make and interpret its rules
To the argument that only the House of complaint or a resolution of impeachment by governing impeachment. Its argument is
Representatives as a body can initiate at least 1/3 of the members of the House. premised on the assumption that Congress
impeachment proceedings because Section 3 These rules clearly contravene Section 3 (5) has absolute power to promulgate its rules.
(1) says "The House of Representatives shall of Article XI since the rules give the term This assumption, however, is misplaced.
have the exclusive power to initiate all cases "initiate" a meaning different meaning from
of impeachment," This is a misreading of said filing and referral. Section 3 (8) of Article XI provides that "The
provision and is contrary to the principle Congress shall promulgate its rules on
of reddendo singula singulis by equating In his amicus curiae brief, Justice Hugo impeachment to effectively carry out the
"impeachment cases" with "impeachment Gutierrez posits that this Court could not use purpose of this section." Clearly, its power to
proceeding." contemporaneous construction as an aid in promulgate its rules on impeachment is limited
the interpretation of Sec.3 (5) of Article XI, by the phrase "to effectively carry out the
From the records of the Constitutional citing Vera v. Avelino147 wherein this Court purpose of this section." Hence, these rules
Commission, to the amicus curiae briefs of stated that "their personal opinions (referring cannot contravene the very purpose of the
two former Constitutional Commissioners, it is to Justices who were delegates to the Constitution which said rules were intended to
without a doubt that the term "to initiate" refers Constitution Convention) on the matter at effectively carry out. Moreover, Section 3 of
to the filing of the impeachment complaint issue expressed during this Court's our Article XI clearly provides for other specific
coupled with Congress' taking initial action of deliberations stand on a different footing from limitations on its power to make rules, viz:
said complaint. the properly recorded utterances of debates
and proceedings." Further citing said case, he Section 3. (1) x x x
Having concluded that the initiation takes states that this Court likened the former
place by the act of filing and referral or members of the Constitutional Convention to (2) A verified complaint for
endorsement of the impeachment complaint to actors who are so absorbed in their emotional impeachment may be filed by any
the House Committee on Justice or, by the roles that intelligent spectators may know Member of the House of
filing by at least one-third of the members of more about the real meaning because of the Representatives or by any citizen
the House of Representatives with the latter's balanced perspectives and upon a resolution of endorsement by
Secretary General of the House, the meaning disinterestedness.148 any Member thereof, which shall be
of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. included in the Order of Business
Once an impeachment complaint has been Justice Gutierrez's statements have no within ten session days, and referred
initiated, another impeachment complaint may application in the present petitions. There are to the proper Committee within three
session days thereafter. The the best judge of what constituted "disorderly Rightly, the ponencia uses the 1891
Committee, after hearing, and by a behavior" of its members. However, in Paceta case of US v Ballin (144 US 1) as a
majority vote of all its Members, shall v. Secretary of the Commission on window to view the issues before the
submit its report to the House within Appointments,150 Justice (later Chief Justice) Court. It is in Ballin where the US
sixty session days from such referral, Enrique Fernando, speaking for this Court and Supreme Court first defined the
together with the corresponding quoting Justice Brandeis in United States v. boundaries of the power of the
resolution. The resolution shall be Smith,151 declared that where the construction judiciary to review congressional rules.
calendared for consideration by the to be given to a rule affects persons other It held:
House within ten session days from than members of the Legislature, the question
receipt thereof. becomes judicial in nature. In Arroyo v. De "x x x
Venecia,152 quoting United States v. Ballin,
(3) A vote of at least one-third of all Joseph & Co.,153 Justice Vicente Mendoza, "The Constitution, in the same section,
the Members of the House shall be speaking for this Court, held that while the provides, that each house may
necessary to either affirm a favorable Constitution empowers each house to determine the rules of its
resolution with the Articles of determine its rules of proceedings, it may not proceedings." It appears that in
Impeachment of the Committee, or by its rules ignore constitutional restraints or pursuance of this authority the House
override its contrary resolution. The violate fundamental rights, and further that had, prior to that day, passed this as
vote of each Member shall be there should be a reasonable relation between one of its rules:
recorded. the mode or method of proceeding
established by the rule and the result which is
Rule XV
(4) In case the verified complaint or sought to be attained. It is only within these
resolution of impeachment is filed by limitations that all matters of method are open
to the determination of the Legislature. In the 3. On the demand of any member, or
at least one-third of all the Members of at the suggestion of the Speaker, the
the House, the same shall constitute same case of Arroyo v. De Venecia, Justice
Reynato S. Puno, in his Concurring and names of members sufficient to make
the Articles of Impeachment, and trial a quorum in the hall of the House who
by the Senate shall forthwith proceed. Dissenting Opinion, was even more emphatic
as he stressed that in the Philippine setting do not vote shall be noted by the clerk
there is even more reason for courts to inquire and recorded in the journal, and
(5) No impeachment proceedings shall reported to the Speaker with the
into the validity of the Rules of Congress, viz:
be initiated against the same official names of the members voting, and be
more than once within a period of one counted and announced in
year. With due respect, I do not agree
determining the presence of a quorum
that the issues posed by the
to do business. (House Journal, 230,
petitioner are non-justiciable. Nor
It is basic that all rules must not contravene Feb. 14, 1890)
do I agree that we will trivialize the
the Constitution which is the fundamental law.
principle of separation of power if
If as alleged Congress had absolute rule The action taken was in direct
we assume jurisdiction over he
making power, then it would by necessary compliance with this rule. The
case at bar. Even in the United
implication have the power to alter or amend question, therefore, is as to
States, the principle of separation of
the meaning of the Constitution without need the validity of this rule, and not what
power is no longer an impregnable
of referendum. methods the Speaker may of his own
impediment against the interposition of
judicial power on cases involving motion resort to for determining the
In Osmea v. Pendatun,149 this Court held that breach of rules of procedure by presence of a quorum, nor what
it is within the province of either House of legislators. matters the Speaker or clerk may of
Congress to interpret its rules and that it was their own volition place upon the
journal. Neither do the advantages or Rule XV, the Court did not allow its The Constitution cannot be any
disadvantages, the wisdom or folly, of jurisdiction to be defeated by the mere clearer. What it granted to this Court
such a rule present any matters for invocation of the principle of is not a mere power which it can
judicial consideration. With the courts separation of powers.154 decline to exercise. Precisely to
the question is only one of power. The deter this disinclination, the
Constitution empowers each house xxx Constitution imposed it as a duty of
to determine its rules of this Court to strike down any act of
proceedings. It may not by its rules In the Philippine setting, there is a branch or instrumentality of
ignore constitutional restraints or a more compelling reason for government or any of its officials
violate fundamental rights, and courts to categorically reject the done with grave abuse of discretion
there should be a reasonable political question defense when its amounting to lack or excess of
relation between the mode or interposition will cover up abuse of jurisdiction. Rightly or wrongly, the
method of proceedings established power. For section 1, Article VIII of Constitution has elongated the
by the rule and the result which is our Constitution checking powers of this Court against
sought to be attained. But within was intentionally cobbled to the other branches of government
these limitations all matters of empower courts "x x x to determine despite their more democratic
method are open to the determination whether or not there has been a character, the President and the
of the House, and it is no grave abuse of discretion legislators being elected by the
impeachment of the rule to say that amounting to lack or excess of people.156
some other way would be better, more jurisdiction on the part of any
accurate, or even more just. It is no branch or instrumentality of the xxx
objection to the validity of a rule that a government." This power is new and
different one has been prescribed and was not granted to our courts in the The provision defining judicial power
in force for a length of time. The power 1935 and 1972 Constitutions. It was as including the 'duty of the courts of
to make rules is not one which once not also xeroxed from the US justice. . . to determine whether or not
exercised is exhausted. It is a Constitution or any foreign state there has been a grave abuse of
continuous power, always subject to constitution. The CONCOM granted discretion amounting to lack or excess
be exercised by the House, and within this enormous power to our courts of jurisdiction on the part of any
the limitations suggested, absolute in view of our experience under branch or instrumentality of the
and beyond the challenge of any other martial law where abusive Government' constitutes the capstone
body or tribunal." exercises of state power were of the efforts of the Constitutional
shielded from judicial scrutiny by Commission to upgrade the powers of
Ballin, clearly confirmed the the misuse of the political question this court vis--vis the other branches
jurisdiction of courts to pass upon doctrine. Led by the eminent former of government. This provision was
the validity of congressional rules, Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, the dictated by our experience under
i.e, whether they are CONCOM expanded and sharpened martial law which taught us that a
constitutional. Rule XV was the checking powers of the judiciary stronger and more independent
examined by the Court and it was vis--vis the Executive and the judiciary is needed to abort abuses in
found to satisfy the test: (1) that it did Legislative departments of government. x x x
not ignore any constitutional restraint; government.155
(2) it did not violate any fundamental xxx
right; and (3) its method had a xxx
reasonable relationship with the result
In sum, I submit that in imposing to
sought to be attained. By examining
this Court the duty to annul acts of
government committed with grave lessons of our own history should Secretary-General of the House of
abuse of discretion, the new provide us the light and not the Representatives of a verified complaint or a
Constitution transformed this Court experience of foreigners.157 (Italics in resolution of impeachment by at least 1/3 of
from passivity to activism. This the original emphasis and the members of the House thus clearly
transformation, dictated by our distinct underscoring supplied) contravene Section 3 (5) of Article XI as they
experience as nation, is not merely give the term "initiate" a meaning different
evolutionary but revolutionary.Under Thus, the ruling in Osmena v. Pendatun is not from "filing."
the 1935 and the 1973 Constitutions, applicable to the instant petitions. Here, the
this Court approached constitutional third parties alleging the violation of private Validity of the Second Impeachment
violations by initially determining what rights and the Constitution are involved. Complaint
it cannot do; under the 1987
Constitution, there is a shift in Neither may respondent House of Having concluded that the initiation takes
stress this Court is mandated to Representatives' rely on Nixon v. US158 as place by the act of filing of the impeachment
approach constitutional violations basis for arguing that this Court may not complaint and referral to the House
not by finding out what it should decide on the constitutionality of Sections 16 Committee on Justice, the initial action taken
not do but what it must do. The and 17 of the House Impeachment Rules. As thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of
Court must discharge this solemn duty already observed, the U.S. Federal Article XI becomes clear. Once an
by not resuscitating a past that Constitution simply provides that "the House impeachment complaint has been initiated in
petrifies the present. of Representatives shall have the sole power the foregoing manner, another may not be
of impeachment." It adds nothing more. It filed against the same official within a one
I urge my brethren in the Court to give gives no clue whatsoever as to how this "sole year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of
due and serious consideration to this power" is to be exercised. No limitation the Constitution.
new constitutional provision as the whatsoever is given. Thus, the US Supreme
case at bar once more calls us to Court concluded that there was a textually In fine, considering that the first impeachment
define the parameters of our power to demonstrable constitutional commitment of a complaint, was filed by former President
review violations of the rules of the constitutional power to the House of Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario G.
House. We will not be true to our Representatives. This reasoning does not Davide, Jr., along with seven associate
trust as the last bulwark against hold with regard to impeachment power of the justices of this Court, on June 2, 2003 and
government abuses if we refuse to Philippine House of Representatives since our referred to the House Committee on Justice
exercise this new power or if we Constitution, as earlier enumerated, furnishes on August 5, 2003, the second impeachment
wield it with timidity. To be sure, it several provisions articulating how that complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C.
is this exceeding timidity to "exclusive power" is to be exercised. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella
unsheathe the judicial sword that against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003
has increasingly emboldened other The provisions of Sections 16 and 17 of Rule violates the constitutional prohibition against
branches of government to V of the House Impeachment Rules which the initiation of impeachment proceedings
denigrate, if not defy, orders of our state that impeachment proceedings are against the same impeachable officer within a
courts. In Tolentino, I endorsed the deemed initiated (1) if there is a finding by the one-year period.
view of former Senator Salonga that House Committee on Justice that the verified
this novel provision stretching the complaint and/or resolution is sufficient in Conclusion
latitude of judicial power is distinctly substance, or (2) once the House itself affirms
Filipino and its interpretation should or overturns the finding of the Committee on
not be depreciated by undue reliance If there is anything constant about this
Justice that the verified complaint and/or country, it is that there is always a
on inapplicable foreign jurisprudence. resolution is not sufficient in substance or (3)
In resolving the case at bar, the phenomenon that takes the center stage of
by the filing or endorsement before the
our individual and collective consciousness as complaint against Chief Justice Davide is It is suggested that by our taking cognizance
a people with our characteristic flair for human concerned. To reiterate what has been of the issue of constitutionality of the
drama, conflict or tragedy. Of course this is already explained, the Court found the impeachment proceedings against the Chief
not to demean the seriousness of the existence in full of all the requisite conditions Justice, the members of this Court have
controversy over the Davide impeachment. for its exercise of its constitutionally vested actually closed ranks to protect a brethren.
For many of us, the past two weeks have power and duty of judicial review over an That the members' interests in ruling on said
proven to be an exasperating, mentally and issue whose resolution precisely called for the issue is as much at stake as is that of the
emotionally exhausting experience. Both sides construction or interpretation of a provision of Chief Justice. Nothing could be farther from
have fought bitterly a dialectical struggle to the fundamental law of the land. What lies in the truth.
articulate what they respectively believe to be here is an issue of a genuine constitutional
the correct position or view on the issues material which only this Court can properly The institution that is the Supreme Court
involved. Passions had ran high as and competently address and adjudicate in together with all other courts has long held
demonstrators, whether for or against the accordance with the clear-cut allocation of and been entrusted with the judicial power to
impeachment of the Chief Justice, took to the powers under our system of government. resolve conflicting legal rights regardless of
streets armed with their familiar slogans and Face-to-face thus with a matter or problem the personalities involved in the suits or
chants to air their voice on the matter. Various that squarely falls under the Court's actions. This Court has dispensed justice over
sectors of society - from the business, retired jurisdiction, no other course of action can be the course of time, unaffected by whomsoever
military, to the academe and denominations of had but for it to pass upon that problem head stood to benefit or suffer therefrom, unfraid by
faith offered suggestions for a return to a on. whatever imputations or speculations could be
state of normalcy in the official relations of the made to it, so long as it rendered judgment
governmental branches affected to obviate The claim, therefore, that this Court by according to the law and the facts. Why can it
any perceived resulting instability upon areas judicially entangling itself with the process of not now be trusted to wield judicial power in
of national life. impeachment has effectively set up a regime these petitions just because it is the highest
of judicial supremacy, is patently without basis ranking magistrate who is involved when it is
Through all these and as early as the time in fact and in law. an incontrovertible fact that the fundamental
when the Articles of Impeachment had been issue is not him but the validity of a
constituted, this Court was specifically asked, This Court in the present petitions subjected government branch's official act as tested by
told, urged and argued to take no action of to judicial scrutiny and resolved on the merits the limits set by the Constitution? Of course,
any kind and form with respect to the only the main issue of whether the there are rules on the inhibition of any
prosecution by the House of Representatives impeachment proceedings initiated against member of the judiciary from taking part in a
of the impeachment complaint against the the Chief Justice transgressed the case in specified instances. But to disqualify
subject respondent public official. When the constitutionally imposed one-year time bar this entire institution now from the suit at bar is
present petitions were knocking so to speak at rule. Beyond this, it did not go about assuming to regard the Supreme Court as likely
the doorsteps of this Court, the same clamor jurisdiction where it had none, nor incapable of impartiality when one of its
for non-interference was made through what indiscriminately turn justiciable issues out of members is a party to a case, which is simply
are now the arguments of "lack of jurisdiction," decidedly political questions. Because it is not a non sequitur.
"non-justiciability," and "judicial self-restraint" at all the business of this Court to assert
aimed at halting the Court from any move that judicial dominance over the other two great No one is above the law or the Constitution.
may have a bearing on the impeachment branches of the government. Rather, the This is a basic precept in any legal system
proceedings. raison d'etre of the judiciary is to complement which recognizes equality of all men before
the discharge by the executive and legislative the law as essential to the law's moral
This Court did not heed the call to adopt a of their own powers to bring about ultimately authority and that of its agents to secure
hands-off stance as far as the question of the the beneficent effects of having founded and respect for and obedience to its commands.
constitutionality of initiating the impeachment ordered our society upon the rule of law. Perhaps, there is no other government branch
or instrumentality that is most zealous in SO ORDERED. which owns the historic Manila
protecting that principle of legal equality other
than the Supreme Court which has discerned
Hotel. Opposing, respondents
its real meaning and ramifications through its maintain that the provision is not
application to numerous cases especially of [G.R. No. 122156. February 3, self-executing but requires an
the high-profile kind in the annals of implementing legislation for its
jurisprudence. The Chief Justice is not above
1997]
the law and neither is any other member of enforcement. Corollarily, they ask
this Court. But just because he is the Chief whether the 51% shares form part
Justice does not imply that he gets to have of the national economy and
less in law than anybody else. The law is MANILA PRINCE
patrimony covered by the protective
solicitous of every individual's rights HOTEL, petitioner, vs.
irrespective of his station in life. mantle of the Constitution.
GOVERNMENT SERVICE
The Filipino nation and its democratic INSURANCE SYSTEM, The controversy arose when
institutions have no doubt been put to test MANILA HOTEL respondent Government Service
once again by this impeachment case against CORPORATION, Insurance System (GSIS), pursuant
Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Accordingly, this to the privatization program of the
Court has resorted to no other than the COMMITTEE ON
Constitution in search for a solution to what PRIVATIZATION and Philippine Government under
many feared would ripen to a crisis in OFFICE OF THE Proclamation No. 50 dated 8
government. But though it is indeed December 1986, decided to sell
immensely a blessing for this Court to have GOVERNMENT
found answers in our bedrock of legal CORPORATE through public bidding 30% to 51%
principles, it is equally important that it went COUNSEL, respondents. of the issued and outstanding
through this crucible of a democratic process, shares of respondent MHC. The
if only to discover that it can resolve winning bidder, or the eventual
differences without the use of force and DECISION
aggression upon each other. strategic partner, is to provide
BELLOSILLO, J.:
management expertise and/or an
WHEREFORE, Sections 16 and 17 of Rule V international marketing/reservation
of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment The Filipino First
system, and financial support to
Proceedings which were approved by the Policy enshrined in the 1987
House of Representatives on November 28, strengthen the profitability and
Constitution, i.e., in the grant of
2001 are unconstitutional. Consequently, the performance of the Manila
second impeachment complaint against Chief rights, privileges, and concessions
Hotel. In a close bidding held on
[2]

Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. which was filed covering the national economy and
18 September 1995 only two (2)
by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. patrimony, the State shall give
and Felix William B. Fuentebella with the bidders participated: petitioner
preference to qualified Filipinos, is
[1]
Office of the Secretary General of the House Manila Prince Hotel Corporation, a
of Representatives on October 23, 2003 is invoked by petitioner in its bid to
Filipino corporation, which offered
barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article acquire 51% of the shares of the
XI of the Constitution. to buy 51% of the MHC or
Manila Hotel Corporation (MHC)
15,300,000 shares at P41.58 per
share, and Renong Berhad, a b. The Highest Bidder must execute the Thirty-three Million Pesos
Malaysian firm, with ITT-Sheraton Stock Purchase and Sale Agreement (P33,000,000.00) as Bid Security to
as its hotel operator, which bid for with GSIS x x x x match the bid of the Malaysian
the same number of shares Group, Messrs. Renong Berhad x x
at P44.00 per share, or P2.42 more K. DECLARATION OF THE x x which respondent GSIS
[5]

than the bid of petitioner. WINNING BIDDER/STRATEGIC refused to accept.


PARTNER -
Pertinent provisions of the On 17 October 1995, perhaps
bidding rules prepared by The Highest Bidder will be declared the apprehensive that respondent GSIS
respondent GSIS state - Winning Bidder/Strategic Partner after has disregarded the tender of the
the following conditions are met: matching bid and that the sale of
I. EXECUTION OF THE 51% of the MHC may be hastened
NECESSARY CONTRACTS WITH a. Execution of the necessary contracts by respondent GSIS and
GSIS/MHC - with GSIS/MHC not later than October consummated with Renong Berhad,
23, 1995 (reset to November 3, 1995); petitioner came to this Court on
1. The Highest Bidder must comply and prohibition and mandamus. On 18
with the conditions set forth below by October 1995 the Court issued a
October 23, 1995 (reset to November 3, b. Requisite approvals from the temporary restraining order
1995) or the Highest Bidder will lose GSIS/MHC and COP (Committee on enjoining respondents from
the right to purchase the Block of Privatization)/ OGCC (Office of the perfecting and consummating the
Shares and GSIS will instead offer the Government Corporate Counsel) are sale to the Malaysian firm.
Block of Shares to the other Qualified obtained.[3]

Bidders: On 10 September 1996 the


instant case was accepted by the
Pending the declaration of Court En Banc after it was referred
a. The Highest Bidder must negotiate Renong Berhard as the winning
and execute with the GSIS/MHC the to it by the First Division. The case
bidder/strategic partner and the was then set for oral arguments
Management Contract, International execution of the necessary
Marketing/Reservation System with former Chief Justice Enrique
contracts, petitioner in a letter to M. Fernando and Fr. Joaquin G.
Contract or other type of contract respondent GSIS dated 28
specified by the Highest Bidder in its Bernas, S.J., as amici curiae.
September 1995 matched the bid
strategic plan for the Manila Hotel x x price of P44.00 per share tendered In the main, petitioner invokes
xx by Renong Berhad. In[4]
a Sec. 10, second par., Art. XII, of the
subsequent letter dated 10 October 1987 Constitution and submits that
1995 petitioner sent a managers the Manila Hotel has been identified
check issued by Philtrust Bank for with the Filipino nation and has
practically become a historical the bid offer of the Malaysian cited in the first and second
monument which reflects the firm. For the bidding rules mandate paragraphs of Sec. 2, Art. XII, 1987
vibrancy of Philippine heritage and that if for any reason, the Highest Constitution. According to
culture. It is a proud legacy of an Bidder cannot be awarded the respondents, while petitioner
earlier generation of Filipinos who Block of Shares, GSIS may offer speaks of the guests who have
believed in the nobility and this to the other Qualified Bidders slept in the hotel and the events
sacredness of independence and that have validly submitted bids that have transpired therein which
its power and capacity to release provided that these Qualified make the hotel historic, these alone
the full potential of the Filipino Bidders are willing to match the do not make the hotel fall under
people.To all intents and purposes, highest bid in terms of price per the patrimony of the nation. What is
it has become a part of the national share.[8]
more, the mandate of the
patrimony. Petitioner also argues
[6]
Constitution is addressed to the
Respondents except. They
that since 51% of the shares of the State, not to respondent GSIS
maintain that: First, Sec. 10, second
MHC carries with it the ownership which possesses a personality of its
par., Art. XII, of the 1987
of the business of the hotel which is own separate and distinct from the
Constitution is merely a statement
owned by respondent GSIS, a Philippines as a State.
of principle and policy since it is not
government-owned and controlled
a self-executing provision and Third, granting that the Manila
corporation, the hotel business of
requires implementing legislation(s) Hotel forms part of the national
respondent GSIS being a part of
x x x x Thus, for the said provision patrimony, the constitutional
the tourism industry is
to operate, there must be existing provision invoked is still
unquestionably a part of the
laws to lay down conditions under inapplicable since what is being
national economy. Thus, any
which business may be done. [9]
sold is only 51% of the outstanding
transaction involving 51% of the
shares of the corporation, not the
shares of stock of the MHC is Second, granting that this
hotel building nor the land upon
clearly covered by the term national provision is self-executing, Manila
which the building stands. Certainly,
economy, to which Sec. 10, second Hotel does not fall under the
51% of the equity of the MHC
par., Art. XII, 1987 Constitution, term national patrimonywhich only
cannot be considered part of
applies.[7] refers to lands of the public domain,
the national patrimony. Moreover, if
waters, minerals, coal, petroleum
It is also the thesis of petitioner the disposition of the shares of the
and other mineral oils, all forces of
that since Manila Hotel is part of the MHC is really contrary to the
potential energy, fisheries, forests
national patrimony and its business Constitution, petitioner should have
or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna
also unquestionably part of the questioned it right from the
and all marine wealth in its territorial
national economy petitioner should beginning and not after it had lost in
sea, and exclusive marine zone as
be preferred after it has matched the bidding.
Fourth, the reliance by petitioner virtual refusal to perform a duty whether promulgated by the
on par. V., subpar. J. 1., of the enjoined by law. Similarly, the legislative or by the executive
bidding rules which provides that if petition for mandamus should fail branch or entered into by private
for any reason, the Highest Bidder as petitioner has no clear legal right persons for private purposes is null
cannot be awarded the Block of to what it demands and and void and without any force and
Shares, GSIS may offer this to the respondents do not have an effect. Thus, since the Constitution
other Qualified Bidders that have imperative duty to perform the act is the fundamental, paramount and
validly submitted bids provided that required of them by petitioner. supreme law of the nation, it is
these Qualified Bidders are willing deemed written in every statute and
We now resolve. A constitution
to match the highest bid in terms of contract.
is a system of fundamental laws for
price per share, is
the governance and administration Admittedly, some constitutions
misplaced. Respondents postulate
of a nation. It is supreme, are merely declarations of policies
that the privilege of submitting a
imperious, absolute and unalterable and principles. Their provisions
matching bid has not yet arisen
except by the authority from which it command the legislature to enact
since it only takes place if for any
emanates. It has been defined laws and carry out the purposes of
reason, the Highest Bidder cannot
as the fundamental and paramount the framers who merely establish
be awarded the Block of
law of the nation. It prescribes the
[10]
an outline of government providing
Shares. Thus the submission by
permanent framework of a system for the different departments of the
petitioner of a matching bid is
of government, assigns to the governmental machinery and
premature since Renong Berhad
different departments their securing certain fundamental and
could still very well be awarded the
respective powers and duties, and inalienable rights of citizens. A[12]

block of shares and the condition


establishes certain fixed principles provision which lays down a
giving rise to the exercise of the
on which government is general principle, such as those
privilege to submit a matching bid
founded. The fundamental found in Art. II of the 1987
had not yet taken place.
conception in other words is that it Constitution, is usually not self-
Finally, the prayer for prohibition is a supreme law to which all other executing. But a provision which is
grounded on grave abuse of laws must conform and in complete in itself and becomes
discretion should fail since accordance with which all private operative without the aid of
respondent GSIS did not exercise rights must be determined and all supplementary or enabling
its discretion in a capricious, public authority legislation, or that which supplies
whimsical manner, and if ever it did administered. Under the doctrine
[11]
sufficient rule by means of which
abuse its discretion it was not so of constitutional supremacy, if a law the right it grants may be enjoyed or
patent and gross as to amount to or contract violates any norm of the protected, is self-executing. Thus a
an evasion of a positive duty or a constitution that law or contract constitutional provision is self-
executing if the nature and extent of prevailing view is, as it has always make it clear? To qualified
the right conferred and the liability been, that - Filipinos as against aliens?
imposed are fixed by the THE PRESIDENT. What is the
constitution itself, so that they can x x x x in case of doubt, the question of Commissioner
Constitution should be considered self- Rodrigo? Is it to remove the
be determined by an examination word QUALIFIED?
and construction of its terms, and executing rather than non-self-
there is no language indicating that executing x x x x Unless the contrary is MR. RODRIGO. No, no, but say
definitely TO QUALIFIED
the subject is referred to the clearly intended, the provisions of the FILIPINOS as against
legislature for action. [13] Constitution should be considered self- whom? As against aliens or
executing, as a contrary rule would over aliens ?
As against constitutions of the give the legislature discretion to
past, modern constitutions have MR. NOLLEDO. Madam President,
determine when, or whether, they shall I think that is understood. We
been generally drafted upon a be effective. These provisions would be use the word QUALIFIED
different principle and have often subordinated to the will of the because the existing laws or
become in effect extensive codes of lawmaking body, which could make prospective laws will always
laws intended to operate directly lay down conditions under
them entirely meaningless by simply which business may be
upon the people in a manner similar refusing to pass the needed done. For example,
to that of statutory enactments, and implementing statute. [15] qualifications on capital,
the function of constitutional qualifications on the setting up
conventions has evolved into one Respondents argue that Sec.
of other financial structures, et
more like that of a legislative cetera (underscoring supplied
10, second par., Art. XII, of the by respondents).
body. Hence, unless it is expressly 1987 Constitution is clearly not self-
provided that a legislative act is MR. RODRIGO. It is just a matter
executing, as they quote from of style.
necessary to enforce a discussions on the floor of the 1986
constitutional mandate, the Constitutional Commission -
MR. NOLLEDO. Yes.[16]
presumption now is that all Quite apparently, Sec. 10,
provisions of the constitution are MR. RODRIGO. Madam President,
I am asking this question as second par., of Art XII is couched in
self-executing. If the constitutional the Chairman of the such a way as not to make it
provisions are treated as requiring Committee on Style. If the appear that it is non-self-executing
legislation instead of self-executing, wording of PREFERENCE is
but simply for purposes of
the legislature would have the given to QUALIFIED
FILIPINOS, can it be style. But, certainly, the legislature
power to ignore and practically understood as a preference to is not precluded from enacting
nullify the mandate of the qualified Filipinos vis-a- further laws to enforce the
fundamental law. This can be
[14]
vis Filipinos who are not constitutional provision so long as
cataclysmic. That is why the qualified. So, why do we not
the contemplated statute squares
with the Constitution. Minor details the constitution, further the exercise constitutional provision may be self-
may be left to the legislature without of constitutional right and make it executing in one part and non-self-
impairing the self-executing nature more available. Subsequent
[17]
executing in another. [19]

of constitutional provisions. legislation however does not


Even the cases cited by
necessarily mean that the subject
In self-executing constitutional respondents holding that certain
constitutional provision is not, by
provisions, the legislature may still constitutional provisions are merely
itself, fully enforceable.
enact legislation to facilitate the statements of principles and
exercise of powers directly granted Respondents also argue that policies, which are basically not
by the constitution, further the the non-self-executing nature of self-executing and only placed in
operation of such a provision, Sec. 10, second par., of Art. XII is the Constitution as moral incentives
prescribe a practice to be used for implied from the tenor of the first to legislation, not as judicially
its enforcement, provide a and third paragraphs of the same enforceable rights - are simply not
convenient remedy for the section which undoubtedly are not in point. Basco v. Philippine
protection of the rights secured or self-executing. The argument is
[18]
Amusements and Gaming
the determination thereof, or place flawed. If the first and third Corporation speaks
[20]
of
reasonable safeguards around the paragraphs are not self-executing constitutional provisions on
exercise of the right. The mere fact because Congress is still to enact personal dignity, the sanctity of
[21]

that legislation may supplement and measures to encourage the family life, the vital role of the
[22]

add to or prescribe a penalty for the formation and operation of youth in nation-building, the [23]

violation of a self-executing enterprises fully owned by Filipinos, promotion of social justice, and [24]

constitutional provision does not as in the first paragraph, and the the values of education. Tolentino [25]

render such a provision ineffective State still needs legislation to v. Secretary of Finance refers to [26]

in the absence of such regulate and exercise authority over constitutional provisions on social
legislation. The omission from a foreign investments within its justice and human rights and on [27]

constitution of any express national jurisdiction, as in the third education. Lastly, Kilosbayan, Inc.
[28]

provision for a remedy for enforcing paragraph, then a fortiori, by the v. Morato cites provisions on the
[29]

a right or liability is not necessarily same logic, the second paragraph promotion of general welfare, the [30]

an indication that it was not can only be self-executing as it sanctity of family life, the vital role
[31]

intended to be self-executing. The does not by its language require of the youth in nation-building and [32]

rule is that a self-executing any legislation in order to give the promotion of total human
provision of the constitution does preference to qualified Filipinos in liberation and development. A [33]

not necessarily exhaust legislative the grant of rights, privileges and reading of these provisions indeed
power on the subject, but any concessions covering the national clearly shows that they are not
legislation must be in harmony with economy and patrimony. A judicially enforceable constitutional
rights but merely guidelines for enforces itself by its own inherent but also to the cultural heritage of
legislation. The very terms of the potency and puissance, and from the Filipinos.
provisions manifest that they are which all legislations must take their
Manila Hotel has become a
only principles upon which bearings. Where there is a right
landmark - a living testimonial of
legislations must be based. Res there is a remedy. Ubi jus ibi
Philippine heritage. While it was
ipsa loquitur. remedium.
restrictively an American hotel
On the other hand, Sec. 10, As regards our national when it first opened in 1912, it
second par., Art. XII of the 1987 patrimony, a member of the 1986 immediately evolved to be truly
Constitution is a mandatory, Constitutional Filipino. Formerly a concourse for
positive command which is Commission explains -
[34]
the elite, it has since then become
complete in itself and which needs the venue of various significant
no further guidelines or The patrimony of the Nation events which have shaped
implementing laws or rules for its that should be conserved and Philippine history. It was called
enforcement. From its very words developed refers not only to our the Cultural Center of the 1930s. It
the provision does not require any rich natural resources but also was the site of the festivities during
legislation to put it in operation. It to the cultural heritage of our the inauguration of the Philippine
is per se judicially race. It also refers to our Commonwealth. Dubbed as
enforceable. When our Constitution intelligence in arts, sciences and the Official Guest House of the
mandates that [i]n the grant of letters. Therefore, we should Philippine Government it plays host
rights, privileges, and concessions develop not only our lands, to dignitaries and official visitors
covering national economy and forests, mines and other natural who are accorded the traditional
patrimony, the State shall give resources but also the mental Philippine hospitality.
[36]

preference to qualified Filipinos, it ability or faculty of our people.


The history of the hotel has
means just that - qualified Filipinos
We agree. In its plain and been chronicled in the book The
shall be preferred.And when our
ordinary meaning, the Manila Hotel: The Heart and
Constitution declares that a right
term patrimony pertains to Memory of a City. During World
[37]

exists in certain specified


heritage. When the Constitution War II the hotel was converted by
circumstances an action may be [35]

speaks of national patrimony, it the Japanese Military


maintained to enforce such right
refers not only to the natural Administration into a military
notwithstanding the absence of any
resources of the Philippines, as the headquarters. When the American
legislation on the subject;
Constitution could have very well forces returned to recapture Manila
consequently, if there is no statute
used the term natural resources, the hotel was selected by the
especially enacted to enforce such
Japanese together with Intramuros
constitutional right, such right
as the two (2) places for their final be disassociated from the hotel and MR. MONSOD. Madam President,
stand. Thereafter, in the 1950s and the land on which the hotel edifice apparently the proponent is
agreeable, but we have to
1960s, the hotel became the center stands. Consequently, we cannot raise a question. Suppose it is
of political activities, playing host to sustain respondents claim that a corporation that is 80-
almost every political convention. In the Filipino First Policy provision is percent Filipino, do we not
1970 the hotel reopened after a not applicable since what is being give it preference?
renovation and reaped numerous sold is only 51% of the outstanding MR. DAVIDE. The Nolledo
international recognitions, an shares of the corporation, not the amendment would refer to an
acknowledgment of the Filipino Hotel building nor the land upon individual Filipino. What about
a corporation wholly owned by
talent and ingenuity. In 1986 the which the building stands. [38]
Filipino citizens?
hotel was the site of a failed coup
The argument is pure MR. MONSOD. At least 60
d etat where an aspirant for vice-
sophistry. The term qualified percent, Madam President.
president was proclaimed President
Filipinos as used in our Constitution MR. DAVIDE. Is that the intention?
of the Philippine Republic.
also includes corporations at least
MR. MONSOD. Yes, because, in
For more than eight (8) decades 60% of which is owned by fact, we would be limiting it if
Manila Hotel has bore mute witness Filipinos. This is very clear from the we say that the preference
to the triumphs and failures, loves proceedings of the 1986 should only be 100-percent
and frustrations of the Filipinos; its Constitutional Commission - Filipino.
existence is impressed with public THE PRESIDENT. Commissioner MR. DAVIDE. I want to get that
interest; its own historicity Davide is recognized. meaning clear because
QUALIFIED FILIPINOS may
associated with our struggle for MR. DAVIDE. I would like to refer only to individuals and
sovereignty, independence and introduce an amendment to not to juridical personalities or
nationhood. Verily, Manila Hotel the Nolledo amendment. And entities.
has become part of our national the amendment would consist
in substituting the words MR. MONSOD. We agree, Madam
economy and patrimony. For sure, President.[39]
QUALIFIED FILIPINOS with
51% of the equity of the MHC the following: CITIZENS OF
comes within the purview of the xxxx
THE PHILIPPINES OR
constitutional shelter for it CORPORATIONS OR MR. RODRIGO. Before we vote,
comprises the majority and ASSOCIATIONS WHOSE may I request that the
CAPITAL OR CONTROLLING amendment be read again.
controlling stock, so that anyone STOCK IS WHOLLY OWNED
who acquires or owns the 51% will MR. NOLLEDO. The amendment
BY SUCH CITIZENS.
will read: IN THE GRANT OF
have actual control and
xxxx RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES AND
management of the hotel. In this CONCESSIONS COVERING
instance, 51% of the MHC cannot THE NATIONAL ECONOMY
AND PATRIMONY, THE MR. NOLLEDO. The answer is because of credible competence and
STATE SHALL GIVE yes. efficiency. It certainly does NOT
PREFERENCE TO
QUALIFIED FILIPINOS. And MR. FOZ. Thank you.[41] mandate the pampering and preferential
the word Filipinos here, as Expounding further on treatment to Filipino citizens or
intended by the proponents,
the Filipino First Policy provision organizations that are incompetent or
will include not only individual inefficient, since such an indiscriminate
Filipinos but also Filipino- Commissioner Nolledo continues
controlled entities or entities
preference would be counterproductive
MR. NOLLEDO. Yes, Madam and inimical to the common good.
fully-controlled by Filipinos.[40] President. Instead of MUST, it
The phrase preference to will be SHALL - THE STATE
SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE In the granting of economic rights,
qualified Filipinos was explained TO QUALIFIED privileges, and concessions, when a
thus - FILIPINOS. This embodies the choice has to be made between a
MR. FOZ. Madam President, I so-called Filipino First qualified foreigner and a qualified
policy. That means that
would like to request Filipino, the latter shall be chosen over
Commissioner Nolledo to Filipinos should be given
preference in the grant of the former.
please restate his amendment
so that I can ask a question. concessions, privileges and
rights covering the national Lastly, the word qualified is also
MR. NOLLEDO. IN THE GRANT patrimony.[42] determinable. Petitioner was so
OF RIGHTS, PRIVILEGES
AND CONCESSIONS The exchange of views in the considered by respondent GSIS
COVERING THE NATIONAL sessions of the Constitutional and selected as one of the qualified
ECONOMY AND Commission regarding the subject bidders. It was pre-qualified by
PATRIMONY, THE STATE provision was still further clarified respondent GSIS in accordance
SHALL GIVE PREFERENCE
TO QUALIFIED FILIPINOS. by Commissioner Nolledo - [43] with its own guidelines so that the
sole inference here is that petitioner
MR. FOZ. In connection with that Paragraph 2 of Section 10 explicitly has been found to be possessed of
amendment, if a foreign
enterprise is qualified and a mandates the Pro-Filipino bias in all proven management expertise in
Filipino enterprise is also economic concerns. It is better known the hotel industry, or it has
qualified, will the Filipino as the FILIPINO FIRST Policy x x x significant equity ownership in
enterprise still be given a x This provision was never found in another hotel company, or it has an
preference?
previous Constitutions x x x x overall management and marketing
MR. NOLLEDO. Obviously. proficiency to successfully operate
MR. FOZ. If the foreigner is more The term qualified Filipinos simply the Manila Hotel. [44]

qualified in some aspects than means that preference shall be given to


the Filipino enterprise, will the those citizens who can make a viable The penchant to try to whittle
Filipino still be preferred? contribution to the common good, away the mandate of the
Constitution by arguing that the understanding the Constitution and the make the government responsible
subject provision is not self- laws is not the sole prerogative of for his action; and, (3) when the
executory and requires Congress. If it were, the executive government has approved or
implementing legislation is quite would have to ask Congress, or perhaps authorized the action. It is evident
disturbing. The attempt to violate a the Court, for an interpretation every that the act of respondent GSIS in
clear constitutional provision - by time the executive is confronted by a selling 51% of its share in
the government itself - is only too constitutional command. That is not respondent MHC comes under the
distressing. To adopt such a line of how constitutional government second and third categories of state
reasoning is to renounce the duty to operates.
[45]
action. Without doubt therefore the
ensure faithfulness to the transaction, although entered into
Constitution. For, even some of the Respondents further argue that by respondent GSIS, is in fact a
provisions of the Constitution which the constitutional provision is transaction of the State and
evidently need implementing addressed to the State, not to therefore subject to the
legislation have juridical life of their respondent GSIS which by itself constitutional command. [46]

own and can be the source of a possesses a separate and distinct


When the Constitution
judicial remedy. We cannot simply personality. This argument again is
addresses the State it refers not
afford the government a defense at best specious. It is undisputed
that the sale of 51% of the MHC only to the people but also to the
that arises out of the failure to enact
government as elements of the
further enabling, implementing or could only be carried out with the
prior approval of the State acting State. After all, government is
guiding legislation. In fine, the
composed of three (3) divisions of
discourse of Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, through respondent Committee on
power - legislative, executive and
S.J., on constitutional government Privatization. As correctly pointed
out by Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., judicial.Accordingly, a constitutional
is apt -
mandate directed to the State is
this fact alone makes the sale of the
correspondingly directed to the
The executive department has a assets of respondents GSIS and
constitutional duty to implement laws, MHC a state action. In three (3) branches of government. It
is undeniable that in this case the
including the Constitution, even before constitutional jurisprudence, the
subject constitutional injunction is
Congress acts - provided that there are acts of persons distinct from the
discoverable legal standards for government are considered state addressed among others to the
Executive Department and
executive action. When the executive action covered by the Constitution
acts, it must be guided by its own (1) when the activity it engages in is respondent GSIS, a government
instrumentality deriving its authority
understanding of the constitutional a public function; (2) when the
from the State.
command and of applicable laws. The government is so significantly
responsibility for reading and involved with the private actor as to
It should be stressed that while of the Constitution. It is a basic will have to be allowed to match the
the Malaysian firm offered the principle in constitutional law that all bid of the foreign entity. And if the
higher bid it is not yet the winning laws and contracts must conform Filipino matches the bid of a foreign
bidder. The bidding rules expressly with the fundamental law of the firm the award should go to the
provide that the highest bidder shall land. Those which violate the Filipino. It must be so if we are to
only be declared the winning bidder Constitution lose their reason for give life and meaning to the Filipino
after it has negotiated and executed being. First Policy provision of the 1987
the necessary contracts, and Constitution. For, while this may
Paragraph V. J. 1 of the bidding
secured the requisite neither be expressly stated nor
rules provides that [i]f for any
approvals. Since the Filipino First contemplated in the bidding rules,
reason the Highest Bidder cannot
Policy provision of the Constitution the constitutional fiat is omnipresent
be awarded the Block of Shares,
bestows preference to be simply disregarded. To ignore
GSIS may offer this to other
on qualified Filipinos the mere it would be to sanction a perilous
Qualified Bidders that have validly
tending of the highest bid is not an skirting of the basic law.
submitted bids provided that these
assurance that the highest bidder
Qualified Bidders are willing to This Court does not discount the
will be declared the winning
match the highest bid in terms of apprehension that this policy may
bidder. Resultantly, respondents
price per share. Certainly, the
[47]
discourage foreign investors. But
are not bound to make the award
constitutional mandate itself the Constitution and laws of the
yet, nor are they under obligation to
is reason enough not to award the Philippines are understood to be
enter into one with the highest
block of shares immediately to the always open to public
bidder. For in choosing the awardee
foreign bidder notwithstanding its scrutiny. These are given factors
respondents are mandated to abide
submission of a higher, or even the which investors must consider
by the dictates of the 1987
highest, bid. In fact, we cannot when venturing into business in a
Constitution the provisions of which
conceive of a stronger reason than foreign jurisdiction. Any person
are presumed to be known to all the
the constitutional injunction itself. therefore desiring to do business in
bidders and other interested
the Philippines or with any of its
parties. In the instant case, where a
agencies or instrumentalities is
foreign firm submits the highest bid
Adhering to the doctrine of presumed to know his rights and
in a public bidding concerning the
constitutional supremacy, the obligations under the Constitution
grant of rights, privileges and
subject constitutional provision is, and the laws of the forum.
concessions covering the national
as it should be, impliedly written in
economy and patrimony, thereby The argument of respondents
the bidding rules issued by
exceeding the bid of a Filipino, that petitioner is now estopped from
respondent GSIS, lest the bidding
there is no question that the Filipino questioning the sale to Renong
rules be nullified for being violative
Berhad since petitioner was well ordinary market player, and bound is embodied in the 1987
aware from the beginning that a by its mistakes or gross errors of Constitution not merely to be used
foreigner could participate in the judgment, regardless of the as a guideline for future legislation
bidding is meritless. Undoubtedly, consequences to the Filipino but primarily to be enforced; so
Filipinos and foreigners alike were people. The miscomprehension of must it be enforced. This Court as
invited to the bidding. But foreigners the Constitution is regrettable. Thus the ultimate guardian of the
may be awarded the sale only if no we would rather remedy the Constitution will never shun, under
Filipino qualifies, or if the qualified indiscretion while there is still an any reasonable circumstance, the
Filipino fails to match the highest opportunity to do so than let the duty of upholding the majesty of the
bid tendered by the foreign entity. In government develop the habit of Constitution which it is tasked to
the case before us, while petitioner forgetting that the Constitution lays defend. It is worth emphasizing that
was already preferred at the down the basic conditions and it is not the intention of this Court to
inception of the bidding because of parameters for its actions. impede and diminish, much less
the constitutional mandate, undermine, the influx of foreign
Since petitioner has already
petitioner had not yet matched the investments. Far from it, the Court
matched the bid price tendered by
bid offered by Renong encourages and welcomes more
Renong Berhad pursuant to the
Berhad. Thus it did not have the business opportunities but
bidding rules, respondent GSIS is
right or personality then to compel avowedly sanctions the preference
left with no alternative but to award
respondent GSIS to accept its for Filipinos whenever such
to petitioner the block of shares of
earlier bid. Rightly, only after it had preference is ordained by the
MHC and to execute the necessary
matched the bid of the foreign firm Constitution. The position of the
agreements and documents to
and the apparent disregard by Court on this matter could have not
effect the sale in accordance not
respondent GSIS of petitioners been more appropriately articulated
only with the bidding guidelines and
matching bid did the latter have a by Chief Justice Narvasa -
procedures but with the Constitution
cause of action.
as well. The refusal of respondent As scrupulously as it has tried to
Besides, there is no time frame GSIS to execute the corresponding observe that it is not its function to
for invoking the constitutional documents with petitioner as substitute its judgment for that of the
safeguard unless perhaps the provided in the bidding rules after legislature or the executive about the
award has been finally made. To the latter has matched the bid of the wisdom and feasibility of legislation
insist on selling the Manila Hotel to Malaysian firm clearly constitutes economic in nature, the Supreme Court
foreigners when there is a Filipino grave abuse of discretion. has not been spared criticism for
group willing to match the bid of the decisions perceived as obstacles to
The Filipino First Policy is a
foreign group is to insist that economic progress and development x
product of Philippine nationalism. It
government be treated as any other
x x x in connection with a temporary pride and dignity. For the talking about a historic relic that has
injunction issued by the Courts First Constitution enshrines higher and hosted many of the most important
Division against the sale of the Manila nobler non-material values. Indeed, events in the short history of the
Hotel to a Malaysian Firm and its the Court will always defer to the Philippines as a nation. We are
partner, certain statements were Constitution in the proper talking about a hotel where heads
published in a major daily to the effect governance of a free society; after of states would prefer to be housed
that that injunction again demonstrates all, there is nothing so sacrosanct in as a strong manifestation of their
that the Philippine legal system can be any economic policy as to draw desire to cloak the dignity of the
a major obstacle to doing business here. itself beyond judicial review when highest state function to their official
the Constitution is involved.[49]
visits to the Philippines. Thus the
Let it be stated for the record once Manila Hotel has played and
again that while it is no business of the Nationalism is inherent in the
continues to play a significant role
Court to intervene in contracts of the very concept of the Philippines
as an authentic repository of
kind referred to or set itself up as the being a democratic and republican
twentieth century Philippine history
judge of whether they are viable or state, with sovereignty residing in
and culture. In this sense, it has
attainable, it is its bounden duty to the Filipino people and from whom
become truly a reflection of the
make sure that they do not violate the all government authority
Filipino soul - a place with a history
Constitution or the laws, or are not emanates. In nationalism, the
of grandeur; a most historical
adopted or implemented with grave happiness and welfare of the
setting that has played a part in the
abuse of discretion amounting to lack people must be the goal. The
shaping of a country. [51]

or excess of jurisdiction. It will never nation-state can have no higher


shirk that duty, no matter how buffeted purpose. Any interpretation of any This Court cannot extract rhyme
by winds of unfair and ill-informed constitutional provision must adhere nor reason from the determined
criticism.
[48]
to such basic concept. Protection of efforts of respondents to sell the
foreign investments, while laudible, historical landmark - this Grand Old
Privatization of a business asset is merely a policy. It cannot override Dame of hotels in Asia - to a total
for purposes of enhancing its the demands of nationalism. [50]
stranger. For, indeed, the
business viability and preventing conveyance of this epic exponent of
The Manila Hotel or, for that
further losses, regardless of the the Filipino psyche to alien hands
matter, 51% of the MHC, is not just
character of the asset, should not cannot be less than
any commodity to be sold to the
take precedence over non-material mephistophelian for it is, in
highest bidder solely for the sake of
values. A commercial, nay even a whatever manner viewed, a
privatization. We are not talking
budgetary, objective should not be veritable alienation of a nations soul
about an ordinary piece of property
pursued at the expense of national for some pieces of foreign
in a commercial district. We are
silver. And so we ask: What
advantage, which cannot be equally petitioner MANILA PRINCE HOTEL KONSTITUSYON (DIK),
drawn from a qualified Filipino, can CORPORATION to purchase the MOVEMENT OF
be gained by the Filipinos if Manila subject 51% of the shares of the ATTORNEYS FOR
Hotel - and all that it stands for - is Manila Hotel Corporation at P44.00 BROTHERHOOD
sold to a non-Filipino? How much of per share and thereafter to execute INTEGRITY AND
national pride will vanish if the the necessary agreements and NATIONALISM, INC.
nations cultural heritage is documents to effect the sale, to (MABINI), INTEGRATED
entrusted to a foreign entity?On the issue the necessary clearances and BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES
other hand, how much dignity will to do such other acts and deeds as (IBP) and LABAN NG
be preserved and realized if the may be necessary for the purpose. DEMOKRATIKONG
national patrimony is safekept in the PILIPINO
SO ORDERED.
hands of a qualified, zealous and
(LABAN), petitioners-
well-meaning Filipino? This is the
intervenors.
plain and simple meaning of
the Filipino First Policy provision of [G.R. No. 127325. March 19, 1997]
DECISION
the Philippine Constitution. And this
Court, heeding the clarion call of DAVIDE, JR., J.:

the Constitution and accepting the MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO,


duty of being the elderly watchman The heart of this controversy
ALEXANDER PADILLA brought to us by way of a petition
of the nation, will continue to and MARIA ISABEL
respect and protect the sanctity of for prohibition under Rule 65 of the
ONGPIN, petitioners, Rules of Court is the right of the
the Constitution. vs. COMMISSION ON people to directly propose
WHEREFORE, respondents ELECTIONS, JESUS amendments to the Constitution
GOVERNMENT SERVICE DELFIN, ALBERTO through the system
INSURANCE SYSTEM, MANILA PEDROSA & CARMEN of initiative under Section 2 of
HOTEL CORPORATION, PEDROSA, in their Article XVII of the 1987
COMMITTEE ON PRIVATIZATION capacities as founding Constitution. Undoubtedly, this
and OFFICE OF THE members of the Peoples demands special attention, as this
GOVERNMENT CORPORATE Initiative for Reforms, system of initiative was unknown to
COUNSEL are directed to CEASE Modernization and Action the people of this country, except
and DESIST from selling 51% of (PIRMA), respondents, SE perhaps to a few scholars, before
the shares of the Manila Hotel NATOR RAUL S. ROCO, the drafting of the 1987
Corporation to RENONG BERHAD, DEMOKRASYA- Constitution.The 1986
and to ACCEPT the matching bid of IPAGTANGGOL ANG Constitutional Commission itself,
through the original proponent and [1] 3. Instructing Municipal Election COMELEC; and that to adequately
the main sponsor of the proposed
[2] Registrars in all Regions of the inform the people of the electoral
Philippines, to assist Petitioners
Article on Amendments or Revision and volunteers, in process involved, it is likewise
of the Constitution, characterized establishing signing stations at necessary that the said order, as
this system as innovative. Indeed it
[3] the time and on the dates well as the Petition on which the
is, for both under the 1935 and designated for the purpose. signatures shall be affixed, be
1973 Constitutions, only two Delfin alleged in his petition that published in newspapers of general
methods of proposing amendments he is a founding member of the and local circulation, under the
to, or revision of, the Constitution Movement for Peoples Initiative, a [6] control and supervision of the
were recognized, viz., (1) by group of citizens desirous to avail of COMELEC.
Congress upon a vote of three- the system intended to The Delfin Petition further
fourths of all its members and (2) by institutionalize people power; that alleged that the provisions sought
a constitutional convention. For [4]
he and the members of the to be amended are Sections 4 and
this and the other reasons hereafter Movement and other volunteers 7 of Article VI, Section 4 of Article
[7]

discussed, we resolved to give due intend to exercise the power to VII, and Section 8 of Article X of
[8] [9]

course to this petition. directly propose amendments to the the Constitution. Attached to the
On 6 December 1996, private Constitution granted under Section petition is a copy of a Petition for
respondent Atty. Jesus S. Delfin 2, Article XVII of the Constitution; Initiative on the 1987
filed with public respondent that the exercise of that power shall Constitution embodying
[10]
the
Commission on Elections be conducted in proceedings under proposed amendments which
(hereafter, COMELEC) a Petition to the control and supervision of the consist in the deletion from the
Amend the Constitution, to Lift COMELEC; that, as required in aforecited sections of the provisions
Term Limits of Elective Officials, by COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, concerning term limits, and with the
Peoples Initiative (hereafter, Delfin signature stations shall be following proposition:
Petition) wherein Delfin asked the
[5] established all over the country,
COMELEC for an order with the assistance of municipal DO YOU APPROVE OF LIFTING
election registrars, who shall verify THE TERM LIMITS OF ALL
1. Fixing the time and dates for
signature gathering all over the
the signatures affixed by individual ELECTIVE GOVERNMENT
country; signatories; that before the OFFICIALS, AMENDING FOR THE
Movement and other volunteers can PURPOSE SECTIONS 4 AND 7 OF
2. Causing the necessary
publications of said Order and gather signatures, it is necessary ARTICLE VI, SECTION 4 OF
the attached Petition for that the time and dates to be ARTICLE VII, AND SECTION 8 OF
Initiative on the 1987 designated for the purpose be first ARTICLE X OF THE 1987
Constitution, in newspapers of fixed in an order to be issued by the
general and local circulation;
PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION?
According to Delfin, the said S. Roco, together with his two other Prescribing and Regulating
Petition for Initiative will first be lawyers; and representatives of, or Constitutional Amendments by Peoples
submitted to the people, and after it counsel for, the Integrated Bar of Initiative, which petitioner Senator
is signed by at least twelve per cent the Philippines (IBP), Demokrasya- Santiago filed on 24 November 1995, is
of the total number of registered Ipagtanggol ang Konstitusyon still pending before the Senate
voters in the country it will be (DIK), Public Interest Law Center, Committee on Constitutional
formally filed with the COMELEC. and Laban ng Demokratikong Amendments.
Pilipino (LABAN). Senator Roco,
[12]

Upon the filing of the Delfin (2) It is true that R.A. No. 6735
on that same day, filed a Motion to
Petition, which was forthwith given provides for three systems of initiative,
Dismiss the Delfin Petition on the
the number UND 96-037 namely, initiative on the Constitution,
ground that it is not the initiatory
(INITIATIVE), the COMELEC, on statutes, and on local
petition properly cognizable by the
through its Chairman, issued an legislation. However, it failed to
COMELEC.
Order (a) directing Delfin to cause
[11]
provide any subtitle on initiative on the
the publication of the petition, After hearing their arguments, Constitution, unlike in the other modes
together with the attached Petition the COMELEC directed Delfin and of initiative, which are specifically
for Initiative on the 1987 the oppositors to file their provided for in Subtitle II and Subtitle
Constitution (including the proposal, memoranda and/or III. This deliberate omission indicates
proposed constitutional oppositions/memoranda within five that the matter of peoples initiative to
amendment, and the signature days.[13]
amend the Constitution was left to
form), and the notice of hearing in some future law. Former Senator
On 18 December 1996, the
three (3) daily newspapers of Arturo Tolentino stressed this
petitioners herein -- Senator Miriam
general circulation at his own deficiency in the law in his privilege
Defensor Santiago, Alexander
expense not later than 9 December speech delivered before the Senate in
Padilla, and Maria Isabel Ongpin --
1996; and (b) setting the case for 1994: There is not a single word in that
filed this special civil action for
hearing on 12 December 1996 at law which can be considered as
prohibition raising the following
10:00 a.m. implementing [the provision on
arguments:
At the hearing of the Delfin constitutional initiative]. Such
Petition on 12 December 1996, the (1) The constitutional provision on implementing provisions have been
following appeared: Delfin and Atty. peoples initiative to amend the obviously left to a separate law.
Pete Q. Quadra; representatives of Constitution can only be implemented
the Peoples Initiative for Reforms, by law to be passed by Congress. No (3) Republic Act No. 6735 provides for
Modernization and Action (PIRMA); such law has been passed; in fact, the effectivity of the law after
intervenor-oppositor Senator Raul Senate Bill No. 1290 entitled An Act publication in print media. This
indicates that the Act covers only laws To justify their recourse to us via enjoining public respondent
and not constitutional amendments the special civil action for COMELEC from proceeding with
because the latter take effect only upon prohibition, the petitioners allege the Delfin Petition, and private
ratification and not after publication. that in the event the COMELEC respondents Alberto and Carmen
grants the Delfin Petition, the Pedrosa from conducting a
(4) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, peoples initiative spearheaded by signature drive for peoples initiative
adopted on 16 January 1991 to govern PIRMA would entail expenses to to amend the Constitution.
the conduct of initiative on the the national treasury for general re-
Constitution and initiative and On 2 January 1997, private
registration of voters amounting to
referendum on national and local laws, respondents, through Atty Quadra,
at least P180 million, not to mention
is ultra vires insofar as initiative on filed their Comment on the[15]

the millions of additional pesos in


amendments to the Constitution is petition. They argue therein that:
expenses which would be incurred
concerned, since the COMELEC has no in the conduct of the initiative 1. IT IS NOT TRUE THAT IT
power to provide rules and regulations itself. Hence, the transcendental WOULD ENTAIL EXPENSES TO
for the exercise of the right of initiative importance to the public and the THE NATIONAL TREASURY FOR
to amend the Constitution. Only nation of the issues raised GENERAL REGISTRATION OF
Congress is authorized by the demands that this petition for VOTERS AMOUNTING TO AT
Constitution to pass the implementing prohibition be settled promptly and LEAST PESOS: ONE HUNDRED
law. definitely, brushing aside EIGHTY MILLION (P180,000,000.00)
technicalities of procedure and IF THE COMELEC GRANTS THE
(5)The peoples initiative is limited calling for the admission of a
to amendments to the Constitution, not PETITION FILED BY RESPONDENT
taxpayers and legislators DELFIN BEFORE THE COMELEC.
to revision thereof. Extending or lifting suit. Besides, there is no other
[14]

of term limits constitutes a revision and plain, speedy, and adequate 2. NOT A SINGLE CENTAVO
is, therefore, outside the power of the remedy in the ordinary course of WOULD BE SPENT BY THE
peoples initiative. law. NATIONAL GOVERNMENT IF THE
On 19 December 1996, this COMELEC GRANTS THE PETITION
(6) Finally, Congress has not yet
Court (a) required the respondents OF RESPONDENT DELFIN. ALL
appropriated funds for peoples
initiative; neither the COMELEC nor to comment on the petition within a EXPENSES IN THE SIGNATURE
non-extendible period of ten days GATHERING ARE ALL FOR THE
any other government department,
agency, or office has realigned funds from notice; and (b) issued a ACCOUNT OF RESPONDENT
temporary restraining order, DELFIN AND HIS VOLUNTEERS
for the purpose.
effective immediately and PER THEIR PROGRAM OF
continuing until further orders, ACTIVITIES AND EXPENDITURES
SUBMITTED TO THE PROVIDED FOR IN REP. ACT NO. 7. THE LIFTING OF THE
COMELEC. THE ESTIMATED COST 6735; LIMITATION ON THE TERM OF
OF THE DAILY PER DIEM OF THE OFFICE OF ELECTIVE OFFICIALS
SUPERVISING SCHOOL 5. COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. PROVIDED UNDER THE 1987
TEACHERS IN THE SIGNATURE 2300 PROMULGATED ON CONSTITUTION IS NOT A
GATHERING TO BE DEPOSITED JANUARY 16, 1991 PURSUANT TO REVISION OF THE
and TO BE PAID BY DELFIN AND REP. ACT 6735 WAS UPHELD BY CONSTITUTION. IT IS ONLY AN
HIS VOLUNTEERS IS P2,571, THE HONORABLE COURT IN THE AMENDMENT. AMENDMENT
200.00; RECENT SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 ENVISAGES AN ALTERATION OF
DECISION IN THE CASE OF SUBIC ONE OR A FEW SPECIFIC
3. THE PENDING PETITION BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY PROVISIONS OF THE
BEFORE THE COMELEC IS ONLY VS. COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. NO. CONSTITUTION. REVISION
ON THE SIGNATURE GATHERING 125416 WHERE THE HONORABLE CONTEMPLATES A RE-
WHICH BY LAW COMELEC IS COURT SAID: THE COMMISSION EXAMINATION OF THE ENTIRE
DUTY BOUND TO SUPERVISE ON ELECTIONS CAN DO NO LESS DOCUMENT TO DETERMINE HOW
CLOSELY PURSUANT TO ITS BY SEASONABLY AND AND TO WHAT EXTENT IT
INITIATORY JURISDICTION JUDICIOUSLY PROMULGATING SHOULD BE ALTERED. (PP. 412-
UPHELD BY THE HONORABLE GUIDELINES AND RULES FOR 413, 2ND. ED. 1992, 1097 PHIL.
COURT IN ITS RECENT BOTH NATIONAL AND LOCAL CONSTITUTION, BY JOAQUIN G.
SEPTEMBER 26, 1996 DECISION IN USE, IN IMPLEMENTING OF BERNAS, S.J.).
THE CASE OF SUBIC BAY THESE LAWS.
METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY VS. Also on 2 January 1997, private
COMELEC, ET AL. G.R. NO. 125416; 6. EVEN SENATOR DEFENSOR- respondent Delfin filed in his own
SANTIAGOS SENATE BILL NO. behalf a Comment which starts off
[16]

4. REP. ACT NO. 6735 APPROVED 1290 CONTAINS A PROVISION with an assertion that the instant
ON AUGUST 4, 1989 IS THE DELEGATING TO THE COMELEC petition is a knee-jerk reaction to a
ENABLING LAW IMPLEMENTING THE POWER TO PROMULGATE draft Petition for Initiative on the
THE POWER OF PEOPLE SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS 1987 Constitution ... which is not
INITIATIVE TO PROPOSE AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO formally filed yet. What he filed on 6
AMENDMENTS TO THE CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF December 1996 was an Initiatory
CONSTITUTION. SENATOR THIS ACT. (SEC. 12, S.B. NO. 1290, Pleading or Initiatory Petition, which
DEFENSOR-SANTIAGOS SENATE ENCLOSED AS ANNEX E, was legally necessary to start the
BILL NO. 1290 IS A DUPLICATION PETITION); signature campaign to amend the
OF WHAT ARE ALREADY Constitution or to put the movement
to gather signatures under as may be necessary to carry out the of Policy explicitly affirms, recognizes,
COMELEC power and function. On purposes of the Act. and guarantees that power; and its
the substantive allegations of the Section 3, which enumerates the three
petitioners, Delfin maintains as (4) The proposed initiative does not systems of initiative, includes initiative
follows: involve a revision of, but on the Constitution and defines the
mere amendment to, the Constitution same as the power to propose
(1) Contrary to the claim of the because it seeks to alter only a few amendments to the Constitution.
petitioners, there is a law, R.A. No. specific provisions of the Constitution, Likewise, its Section 5 repeatedly
6735, which governs the conduct or more specifically, only those which mentions initiative on the Constitution.
of initiative to amend the Constitution. lay term limits. It does not seek to
The absence therein of a subtitle for reexamine or overhaul the entire (2) A separate subtitle on initiative on
such initiative is not fatal, since document. the Constitution is not necessary in
subtitles are not requirements for the R.A. No. 6735 because, being national
validity or sufficiency of laws. As to the public expenditures for in scope, that system of initiative is
registration of voters, Delfin deemed included in the subtitle on
(2) Section 9(b) of R.A. No. 6735 considers petitioners estimate National Initiative and Referendum;
specifically provides that the of P180 million as unreliable, for and Senator Tolentino simply
proposition in an initiative to amend the only the COMELEC can give the overlooked pertinent provisions of the
Constitution approved by the majority exact figure. Besides, if there will be law when he claimed that nothing
of the votes cast in the plebiscite shall a plebiscite it will be simultaneous therein was provided for initiative on
become effective as of the day of the with the 1997 Barangay the Constitution.
plebiscite. Elections. In any event, fund
requirements for initiative will be a (3) Senate Bill No. 1290 is neither a
(3) The claim that COMELEC priority government expense competent nor a material proof that
Resolution No. 2300 is ultra vires is because it will be for the exercise of R.A. No. 6735 does not deal
contradicted by (a) Section 2, Article the sovereign power of the people. with initiative on the Constitution.
IX-C of the Constitution, which grants
the COMELEC the power to enforce In the Comment for the public
[17]
(4) Extension of term limits of elected
and administer all laws and regulations respondent COMELEC, filed also officials constitutes a mere amendment
relative to the conduct of an election, on 2 January 1997, the Office of the to the Constitution, not a revision
plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and Solicitor General contends that: thereof.
recall; and (b) Section 20 of R.A. 6735,
(1) R.A. No. 6735 deals with, inter (5) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300
which empowers the COMELEC to
alia, peoples initiative to amend the was validly issued under Section 20 of
promulgate such rules and regulations
Constitution. Its Section 2 on Statement
R.A. No. 6735 and under the Omnibus
Election Code.The rule-making power the motion was their Petition in of political and economic powers in the
of the COMELEC to implement the Intervention, which was later hands of a few, and to promote
provisions of R.A. No. 6735 was in fact replaced by an Amended Petition in effective proper empowerment for
upheld by this Court in Subic Bay Intervention wherein they contend participation in policy and decision-
Metropolitan Authority vs. that: making for the common good; hence,
COMELEC . to remove the term limits is to negate
(1) The Delfin proposal does not and nullify the noble vision of the 1987
On 14 January 1997, this Court involve a mere amendment to, but Constitution.
(a) confirmed nunc pro tunc the a revision of, the Constitution because,
temporary restraining order; (b) in the words of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, (3) The Delfin proposal runs counter to
noted the aforementioned S.J., it would involve a change from a
[18]
the purpose of initiative, particularly in
Comments and the Motion to Lift political philosophy that rejects a conflict-of-interest
Temporary Restraining Order filed unlimited tenure to one that accepts situation. Initiative is intended as a
by private respondents through unlimited tenure; and although the fallback position that may be availed of
Atty. Quadra, as well as the latters change might appear to be an isolated by the people only if they are
Manifestation stating that he is the one, it can affect other provisions, such dissatisfied with the performance of
counsel for private respondents as, on synchronization of elections and their elective officials, but not as a
Alberto and Carmen Pedrosa only on the State policy of guaranteeing premium for good performance. [20]

and the Comment he filed was for equal access to opportunities for public
the Pedrosas; and (c) granted the service and prohibiting political (4) R.A. No. 6735 is deficient and
Motion for Intervention filed on 6 dynasties. A revision cannot be done
[19] inadequate in itself to be called the
January 1997 by Senator Raul by initiative which, by express enabling law that implements the
Roco and allowed him to file his provision of Section 2 of Article XVII peoples initiative on amendments to the
Petition in Intervention not later of the Constitution, is limited Constitution. It fails to state (a) the
than 20 January 1997; and (d) set to amendments. proper parties who may file the
the case for hearing on 23 January petition, (b) the appropriate agency
1997 at 9:30 a.m. (2) The prohibition against reelection before whom the petition is to be filed,
of the President and the limits provided (c) the contents of the petition, (d) the
On 17 January 1997, for all other national and local elective publication of the same, (e) the ways
the Demokrasya-Ipagtanggol ang officials are based on the philosophy of and means of gathering the signatures
Konstitusyon (DIK) and the governance, to open up the political of the voters nationwide and 3% per
Movement of Attorneys for arena to as many as there are Filipinos legislative district, (f) the proper parties
Brotherhood Integrity and qualified to handle the demands of who may oppose or question the
Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI), filed a leadership, to break the concentration veracity of the signatures, (g) the role
Motion for Intervention. Attached to
of the COMELEC in the verification of delivered a sponsorship speech The following day, the IBP filed
the signatures and the sufficiency of the thereon. He likewise submits that a Motion for Intervention to which it
petition, (h) the appeal from any the COMELEC was empowered attached a Petition in Intervention
decision of the COMELEC, (I) the under Section 20 of that law to raising the following arguments:
holding of a plebiscite, and (g) the promulgate COMELEC Resolution
appropriation of funds for such peoples No. 2300. Nevertheless, he (1) Congress has failed to enact an
initiative.Accordingly, there being no contends that the respondent enabling law mandated under Section
enabling law, the COMELEC has no Commission is without jurisdiction 2, Article XVII of the 1987
jurisdiction to hear Delfins petition. to take cognizance of the Delfin Constitution.
Petition and to order its publication
(5) The deficiency of R.A. No. 6735 because the said petition is not the (2) COMELEC Resolution No. 2300
cannot be rectified or remedied by initiatory pleading contemplated cannot substitute for the required
COMELEC Resolution No. 2300, since under the Constitution, Republic Act implementing law on the initiative to
the COMELEC is without authority to No. 6735, and COMELEC amend the Constitution.
legislate the procedure for a Resolution No. 2300. What vests
peoples initiative under Section 2 of jurisdiction upon the COMELEC in (3) The Petition for Initiative suffers
Article XVII of the Constitution. That an initiative on the Constitution is from a fatal defect in that it does not
function exclusively pertains to the filing of a petition for initiative have the required number of signatures.
Congress. Section 20 of R.A. No. 6735 which is signedby the required
does not constitute a legal basis for the number of registered voters. He (4) The petition seeks, in effect a
Resolution, as the former does not set a also submits that the proponents of revision of the Constitution, which can
sufficient standard for a valid a constitutional amendment cannot be proposed only by Congress or a
delegation of power. avail of the authority and resources constitutional convention.
[22]

of the COMELEC to assist them is


On 20 January 1997, Senator On 21 January 1997, we
securing the required number of
Raul Roco filed his Petition in promulgated a Resolution (a)
signatures, as the COMELECs role
Intervention. He avers that R.A. granting the Motions for
[21]
in an initiative on the Constitution is
No. 6735 is the enabling law that Intervention filed by the DIK and
limited to the determination of the
implements the peoples right to MABINI and by the IBP, as well
sufficiency of the initiative petition
initiate constitutional as the Motion for Leave to
and the call and supervision of a
amendments. This law is a Intervene filed by LABAN; (b)
plebiscite, if warranted.
consolidation of Senate Bill No. 17 admitting the Amended Petition in
and House Bill No. 21505; he co- On 20 January 1997, LABAN Intervention of DIK and MABINI,
authored the House Bill and even filed a Motion for Leave to and the Petitions in Intervention of
Intervene. Senator Roco and of the IBP; (c)
requiring the respondents to file of initiative on amendments to the twenty days and requested
within a nonextendible period of five Constitution is valid, considering the intervenor Senator Roco to submit
days their Consolidated Comments absence in the law of specific copies of the deliberations on
on the aforesaid Petitions in provisions on the conduct of such House Bill No. 21505.
Intervention; and (d) requiring initiative.
On 27 January 1997, LABAN
LABAN to file its Petition in
3. Whether the lifting of term limits of filed its Petition in Intervention
Intervention within a nonextendible
elective national and local officials, as wherein it adopts the allegations
period of three days from notice,
proposed in the draft Petition for and arguments in the main
and the respondents to comment
Initiative on the 1987 Constitution, Petition. It further submits that the
thereon within a nonextendible
would constitute a revision of, or an COMELEC should have dismissed
period of five days from receipt
amendment to, the Constitution. the Delfin Petition for failure to state
of the said Petition in Intervention.
a sufficient cause of action and that
At the hearing of the case on 23 4. Whether the COMELEC can take the Commissions failure or refusal
January 1997, the parties argued cognizance of, or has jurisdiction over, to do so constituted grave abuse of
on the following pivotal issues, a petition solely intended to obtain an discretion amounting to lack of
which the Court formulated in light order (a) fixing the time and dates for jurisdiction.
of the allegations and arguments signature gathering; (b) instructing On 28 January 1997, Senator
raised in the pleadings so far filed: municipal election officers to assist Roco submitted copies of portions
Delfin's movement and volunteers in of both the Journal and the Record
1. Whether R.A. No. 6735, entitled An establishing signature stations; and (c)
Act Providing for a System of Initiative of the House of Representatives
directing or causing the publication relating to the deliberations of
and Referendum and Appropriating
of, inter alia, the unsigned proposed House Bill No. 21505, as well as
Funds Therefor, was intended to
Petition for Initiative on the 1987 the transcripts of stenographic
include or cover initiative on Constitution.
amendments to the Constitution; and if notes on the proceedings of the
so, whether the Act, as worded, Bicameral Conference Committee,
5. Whether it is proper for the Supreme Committee on Suffrage and
adequately covers such initiative. Court to take cognizance of the petition Electoral Reforms, of 6 June 1989
when there is a pending case before the on House Bill No. 21505 and
2. Whether that portion of COMELEC COMELEC.
Resolution No. 2300 (In re: Rules and Senate Bill No. 17.
Regulations Governing the Conduct of After hearing them on the Private respondents Alberto and
Initiative on the Constitution, and issues, we required the parties to Carmen Pedrosa filed their
Initiative and Referendum on National submit simultaneously their Consolidated Comments on the
and Local Laws) regarding the conduct respective memoranda within Petitions in Intervention of Senator
Roco, DIK and MABINI, and private respondent Delfin. This being the COMELEC has no jurisdiction
IBP. The parties thereafter filed, in
[23]
so, it becomes imperative to stop the or authority to entertain the
due time, their separate Comelec from proceeding any further, petition. The COMELEC made no
[26]

memoranda. [24]
and under the Rules of Court, Rule 65, ruling thereon evidently because
Section 2, a petition for prohibition is after having heard the arguments of
As we stated in the beginning,
the proper remedy. Delfin and the oppositors at the
we resolved to give due course to
hearing on 12 December 1996, it
this special civil action. 29. The writ of prohibition is an required them to submit within five
For a more logical discussion of extraordinary judicial writ issuing out days their memoranda or
the formulated issues, we shall first of a court of superior jurisdiction and oppositions/memoranda. Earlier,
[27]

take up the fifth issue which directed to an inferior court, for the or specifically on 6 December 1996,
appears to pose a prejudicial purpose of preventing the inferior it practically gave due course to the
procedural question. tribunal from usurping a jurisdiction Delfin Petition by ordering Delfin to
I with which it is not legally vested. cause the publication of the petition,
(People v. Vera, supra., p. 84). In this together with the attached Petition
case the writ is an urgent necessity, in for Initiative, the signature form, and
THE INSTANT PETITION IS view of the highly divisive and adverse the notice of hearing; and by setting
VIABLE DESPITE THE environmental consequences on the the case for hearing. The
PENDENCY IN THE COMELEC body politic of the questioned Comelec COMELECs failure to act on Rocos
OF THE DELFIN order. The consequent climate of legal motion to dismiss and its insistence
PETITION. confusion and political instability begs to hold on to the petition rendered
for judicial statesmanship. ripe and viable the instant petition
under Section 2 of Rule 65 of the
Except for the petitioners and 30. In the final analysis, when the Rules of Court, which provides:
intervenor Roco, the parties paid no system of constitutional law is
serious attention to the fifth threatened by the political ambitions of SEC. 2. Petition for prohibition. --
issue, i.e., whether it is proper for man, only the Supreme Court can save Where the proceedings of any tribunal,
this Court to take cognizance of this a nation in peril and uphold the corporation, board, or person, whether
special civil action when there is a paramount majesty of the exercising functions judicial or
pending case before the Constitution.[25]
ministerial, are without or in excess of
COMELEC. The petitioners provide its or his jurisdiction, or with grave
an affirmative answer. Thus: It must be recalled that abuse of discretion, and there is no
intervenor Roco filed with the appeal or any other plain, speedy and
28. The Comelec has no jurisdiction to COMELEC a motion to dismiss the adequate remedy in the ordinary course
take cognizance of the petition filed by Delfin Petition on the ground that
of law, a person aggrieved thereby may A partys standing before this Court is a legislative district must be represented
file a verified petition in the proper procedural technicality which it may, in by at least three per centum of the
court alleging the facts with certainty the exercise of its discretion, set aside registered voters therein. No
and praying that judgment be rendered in view of the importance of issues amendment under this section shall be
commanding the defendant to desist raised. In the landmark Emergency authorized within five years following
from further proceedings in the action Powers Cases, this Court brushed aside the ratification of this Constitution nor
or matter specified therein. this technicality because the oftener than once every five years
transcendental importance to the public thereafter.
It must also be noted that of these cases demands that they be
intervenor Roco claims that the settled promptly and definitely, The Congress shall provide for the
COMELEC has no jurisdiction over brushing aside, if we must, implementation of the exercise of this
the Delfin Petition because the said technicalities of procedure. right.
petition is not supported by the
required minimum number of II This provision is not self-
signatures of registered executory. In his book, Joaquin
[29]

voters. LABANalso asserts that the Bernas, a member of the 1986


COMELEC gravely abused its R.A. NO. 6735 INTENDED TO Constitutional Commission, stated:
discretion in refusing to dismiss the INCLUDE THE SYSTEM
Delfin Petition, which does not OF INITIATIVE ON AMENDMENTS Without implementing legislation
contain the required number of TO THE Section 2 cannot operate. Thus,
signatures. In light of these claims, CONSTITUTION, BUT IS, although this mode of amending the
the instant case may likewise be UNFORTUNATELY, Constitution is a mode of amendment
treated as a special civil action INADEQUATE TO COVER THAT which bypasses congressional action, in
for certiorari under Section I of Rule SYSTEM. the last analysis it still is dependent on
65 of the Rules of Court. congressional action.
In any event, as correctly Section 2 of Article XVII of the
Constitution provides: Bluntly stated, the right of the
pointed out by intervenor Roco in people to directly propose
his Memorandum, this Court may amendments to the Constitution
SEC. 2. Amendments to this
brush aside technicalities of through the system of initiative
Constitution may likewise be directly
procedure in cases of would remain entombed in the cold
proposed by the people through
transcendental importance. As we niche of the Constitution until
initiative upon a petition of at least
stated in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Congress provides for its
twelve per centum of the total number
Guingona, Jr.: [28]
implementation. Stated otherwise,
of registered voters, of which every
while the Constitution has
recognized or granted that right, the formulation of the concept of First, on Section 1 on the matter of
people cannot exercise it if initiative which it denominated as initiative upon petition of at least 10
Congress, for whatever reason, Section 2; thus: percent, there are no details in the
does not provide for its provision on how to carry this out. Do
implementation. MR. SUAREZ. Thank you, Madam we understand, therefore, that we are
President. May we respectfully call leaving this matter to the legislature?
This system of initiative was attention of the Members of the
originally included in Section 1 of Commission that pursuant to the MR. SUAREZ. That is right, Madam
the draft Article on Amendment or mandate given to us last night, we President.
Revision proposed by the submitted this afternoon a complete
Committee on Amendments and Committee Report No. 7 which FR. BERNAS. And do we also
Transitory Provisions of the 1986 embodies the proposed provision understand, therefore, that for as long
Constitutional Commission in its governing the matter of initiative. This as the legislature does not pass the
Committee Report No. 7 (Proposed is now covered by Section 2 of the necessary implementing law on this,
Resolution No. 332). That section
[30]
complete committee report. With the this will not operate?
reads as follows: permission of the Members, may I
quote Section 2: MR. SUAREZ. That matter was also
SECTION 1. Any amendment to, or taken up during the committee hearing,
revision of, this Constitution may be especially with respect to the budget
The people may, after five years from
proposed: appropriations which would have to be
the date of the last plebiscite held,
directly propose amendments to this legislated so that the plebiscite could be
(a) by the National Assembly upon a
Constitution thru initiative upon called. We deemed it best that this
vote of three-fourths of all its members;
petition of at least ten percent of the matter be left to the legislature.The
or Gentleman is right. In any event, as
registered voters.
envisioned, no amendment through the
(b) by a constitutional convention; or
This completes the blanks appearing in power of initiative can be called until
(c) directly by the people themselves the original Committee Report No. 7. [32]
after five years from the date of the
thru initiative as provided for in Article ratification of this
The interpellations on Section 2 Constitution. Therefore, the first
____ Section ____ of the
showed that the details for carrying amendment that could be proposed
Constitution.[31]

out Section 2 are left to the through the exercise of this initiative
After several interpellations, but legislature. Thus: power would be after five years. It is
before the period of amendments, reasonably expected that within that
FR. BERNAS. Madam President, just five-year period, the National
the Committee submitted a new
two simple, clarificatory questions. Assembly can come up with the
appropriate rules governing the terms of institutionalizing popular MS. AQUINO. Therefore, is the
exercise of this power. participation in the drafting of the sponsor inclined, as the provisions are
Constitution or in the amendment drafted now, to again concede to the
FR. BERNAS. Since the matter is left thereof, but I would have a lot of legislature the process or the
to the legislature - the details on how difficulties in terms of accepting the requirement of determining the
this is to be carried out - is it possible draft of Section 2, as written. Would mechanics of amending the
that, in effect, what will be presented to the sponsor agree with me that in the Constitution by people's initiative?
the people for ratification is the work of hierarchy of legal mandate, constituent
the legislature rather than of the power has primacy over all other legal MR. SUAREZ. The matter of
people? Does this provision exclude mandates? implementing this could very well be
that possibility? placed in the hands of the National
MR. SUAREZ. The Commissioner is Assembly, not unless we can
MR. SUAREZ. No, it does not exclude right, Madam President. incorporate into this provision the
that possibility because even the mechanics that would adequately cover
legislature itself as a body could MS. AQUINO. And would the sponsor all the conceivable situations.
[33]

propose that amendment, maybe agree with me that in the hierarchy of


individually or collectively, if it fails to legal values, the Constitution is source It was made clear during the
muster the three-fourths vote in order to of all legal mandates and that therefore interpellations that the
constitute itself as a constituent we require a great deal of aforementioned Section 2 is limited
assembly and submit that proposal to circumspection in the drafting and in to proposals to AMEND -- not to
the people for ratification through the the amendments of the Constitution? REVISE -- the Constitution; thus:
process of an initiative.
MR. SUAREZ. That proposition is MR. SUAREZ. ... This proposal was
xxx nondebatable. suggested on the theory that this matter
of initiative, which came about because
MS. AQUINO. Do I understand from MS. AQUINO. Such that in order to of the extraordinary developments this
the sponsor that the intention in the underscore the primacy of constituent year, has to be separated from the
proposal is to vest constituent power in power we have a separate article in the traditional modes of amending the
the people to amend the Constitution? constitution that would specifically Constitution as embodied in Section
cover the process and the modes of 1. The committee members felt that this
MR. SUAREZ. That is absolutely amending the Constitution? system of initiative should not extend
correct, Madam President. to the revision of the entire
MR. SUAREZ. That is right, Madam Constitution, so we removed it from the
MS. AQUINO. I fully concur with the President. operation of Section 1 of the proposed
underlying precept of the proposal in Article on Amendment or Revision. [34]
xxx Amendments to the proposed UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE
Section 2 were thereafter AUTHORIZED WITHIN FIVE
MS. AQUINO. In which case, I am introduced by then Commissioner YEARS FOLLOWING THE
seriously bothered by providing this Hilario G. Davide, Jr., which the RATIFICATION OF THIS
process of initiative as a separate Committee accepted. Thus: CONSTITUTION NOR OFTENER
section in the Article on THAN ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS
Amendment. Would the sponsor be MR. DAVIDE. Thank you Madam THEREAFTER.
amenable to accepting an amendment President. I propose to substitute the
in terms of realigning Section 2 as entire Section 2 with the following: THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
another subparagraph (c) of Section 1, SHALL BY LAW PROVIDE FOR
instead of setting it up as another xxx THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
separate section as if it were a self- EXERCISE OF THIS RIGHT.
executing provision? MR. DAVIDE. Madam President, I
have modified the proposed MR. SUAREZ. Madam President,
MR. SUAREZ. We would be amenable amendment after taking into account considering that the proposed
except that, as we clarified a while the modifications submitted by the amendment is reflective of the sense
ago, this process of initiative is limited sponsor himself and the honorable contained in Section 2 of our completed
to the matter of amendment and should Commissioners Guingona, Monsod, Committee Report No. 7, we accept the
not expand into a revision which Rama, Ople, de los Reyes and proposed amendment. [36]

contemplates a total overhaul of the Romulo. The modified amendment in


Constitution. That was the sense that substitution of the proposed Section 2 The interpellations which
was conveyed by the Committee. will now read as follows: "SECTION 2. ensued on the proposed modified
-- AMENDMENTS TO THIS amendment to Section 2 clearly
MS. AQUINO. In other words, the CONSTITUTION MAY LIKEWISE showed that it was a legislative act
Committee was attempting to BE DIRECTLY PROPOSED BY THE which must implement the exercise
distinguish the coverage of modes (a) PEOPLE THROUGH INITIATIVE of the right. Thus:
and (b) in Section 1 to include the UPON A PETITION OF AT LEAST
process of revision; whereas TWELVE PERCENT OF THE MR. ROMULO. Under Commissioner
the process of initiation to amend, TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED Davide's amendment, is it possible for
which is given to the public, would VOTERS, OF WHICH EVERY the legislature to set forth certain
only apply to amendments? LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MUST BE procedures to carry out the initiative...?
REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST
MR. SUAREZ.That is right. Those THREE PERCENT OF THE MR. DAVIDE. It can.
were the terms envisioned in the REGISTERED VOTERS
Committee. [35]
THEREOF. NO AMENDMENT xxx
MR. ROMULO. But the confines initiative to would ordinarily require a proposal by
Commissioners amendment does not AMENDMENTS to -- NOT the National Assembly by a vote of
prevent the legislature from asking REVISION of -- the three-fourths; and to call a
another body to set the proposition in Constitution. Thus: constitutional convention would require
proper form. a higher number. Moreover, just to
MR. DAVIDE. With pleasure, Madam submit the issue of calling a
MR. DAVIDE. The Commissioner is President. constitutional convention, a majority of
correct. In other words, the the National Assembly is required, the
implementation of this particular right MR. MAAMBONG. My first question: import being that the process of
would be subject to legislation, Commissioner Davide's proposed amendment must be made more
provided the legislature amendment on line 1 refers to rigorous and difficult than probably
cannot determine anymore the "amendment." Does it not cover the initiating an ordinary legislation or
percentage of the requirement. word "revision" as defined by putting an end to a law proposed by the
Commissioner Padilla when he made National Assembly by way of a
MR. ROMULO. But the procedures, the distinction between the words referendum. I cannot agree to reducing
including the determination of the "amendments" and "revision"? the requirement approved by the
proper form for submission to the Committee on the Legislative because
people, may be subject to legislation. MR. DAVIDE. No, it does not, because it would require another voting by the
"amendments" and "revision" should be Committee, and the voting as precisely
MR. DAVIDE. As long as it will not covered by Section 1. So insofar as based on a requirement of 10
destroy the substantive right to initiative is concerned, it can only percent. Perhaps, I might present such a
initiate. In other words, none of the relate to "amendments" not proposal, by way of an amendment,
procedures to be proposed by the "revision."[38]
when the Commission shall take up the
legislative body must diminish or Article on the Legislative or on the
impair the right conceded here. Commissioner Davide further National Assembly on plenary
emphasized that the process of sessions.
[39]

MR. ROMULO. In that provision of proposing amendments


the Constitution can the procedures through initiative must be more The Davide modified
which I have discussed be legislated? rigorous and difficult than the amendments to Section 2 were
initiative on legislation. Thus: subjected to amendments, and the
MR. DAVIDE. Yes. [37]
final version, which the Commission
MR. DAVIDE. A distinction has to be approved by a vote of 31 in favor
Commissioner Davide also made that under this proposal, what is and 3 against, reads as follows:
reaffirmed that his modified involved is an amendment to the
amendment strictly Constitution. To amend a Constitution
MR. DAVIDE. Thank you Madam to introduce an amendment to There is, of course, no other
President. Section 2, as amended, reads Section 2 which, nevertheless, was better way for Congress to
as follows: "AMENDMENT TO THIS withdrawn. In view thereof, the implement the exercise of the right
CONSTITUTION MAY LIKEWISE Article was again approved than through the passage of a
BE DIRECTLY PROPOSED BY THE on Second and Third Readings on statute or legislative act. This is the
PEOPLE THROUGH INITIATIVE 1 August 1986. [42]
essence or rationale of the last
UPON A PETITION OF AT LEAST minute amendment by the
However, the Committee on
TWELVE PERCENT OF THE Constitutional Commission to
Style recommended that the
TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED substitute the last paragraph of
approved Section 2 be amended by
VOTERS, OF WHICH EVERY Section 2 of Article XVII then
changing percent to per centum
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MUST BE reading:
and thereof to therein and deleting
REPRESENTED BY AT LEAST
the phrase by law in the second The Congress[45] shall by law provide for the
THREE PERCENT OF THE
paragraph so that said paragraph implementation of the exercise of this right.
REGISTERED VOTERS
reads:The Congress shall provide
[43]

THEREOF. NO AMENDMENT
for the implementation of the with
UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE
exercise of this right. This
[44]

AUTHORIZED WITHIN FIVE


amendment was approved and is The Congress shall provide for the
YEARS FOLLOWING THE
the text of the present second implementation of the exercise of this
RATIFICATION OF THIS
paragraph of Section 2. right.
CONSTITUTION NOR OFTENER
THAN ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS The conclusion then is
This substitute amendment was
THEREAFTER. inevitable that, indeed, the system
an investiture on Congress of a
of initiative on the Constitution
power to provide for the rules
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY under Section 2 of Article XVII of
implementing the exercise of the
SHALL BY LAW PROVIDE FOR the Constitution is not self-
right. The rules means the details
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE executory.
on how [the right] is to be carried
EXERCISE OF THIS RIGHT. [40]

Has Congress provided for the out.[46]

The entire proposed Article on implementation of the exercise of


We agree that R.A. No. 6735
Amendments or Revisions was this right? Those who answer the
was, as its history reveals, intended
approved on second reading on 9 question in the affirmative, like the
to cover initiative to propose
July 1986. Thereafter, upon his private respondents and intervenor
[41]
amendments to the
motion for reconsideration, Senator Roco, point to us R.A. No.
Constitution. The Act is a
Commissioner Gascon was allowed 6735.
consolidation of House Bill No.
21505 and Senate Bill No. 17. The A careful scrutiny of the Act confined only to proposals to
former was prepared by the yields a negative answer. AMEND. The people are not
Committee on Suffrage and accorded the power to directly
First. Contrary to the assertion
Electoral Reforms of the House of propose, enact, approve, or reject,
of public respondent COMELEC,
Representatives on the basis of two in whole or in part, the Constitution
Section 2 of the Act does not
House Bills referred to it, viz., (a) through the system
suggest an initiative on
House Bill No. 497, which dealt
[47]
of initiative. They can only do so
amendments to the
with the initiative and referendum with respect to laws, ordinances, or
Constitution. The said section
mentioned in Sections 1 and 32 of resolutions.
reads:
Article VI of the Constitution; and
The foregoing conclusion is
(b) House Bill No. 988, which dealt
[48]
SECTION 2. Statement and Policy. -- further buttressed by the fact that
with the subject matter of House Bill The power of the people under a this section was lifted from Section
No. 497, as well as with initiative system of initiative and referendum to 1 of Senate Bill No. 17, which solely
and referendum under Section 3 of directly propose, enact, approve or referred to a statement of policy on
Article X (Local Government) and reject, in whole or in part, the local initiative and referendum and
initiative provided for in Section 2 of Constitution, laws, ordinances, or appropriately used the phrases
Article XVII of the resolutions passed by any legislative propose and enact, approve or
Constitution. Senate Bill No. body upon compliance with the reject and in whole or in part. [52]

17 solely dealt with initiative and


[49]
requirements of this Act is hereby
referendum concerning ordinances affirmed, recognized and guaranteed. Second. It is true that Section 3
or resolutions of local government (Underscoring supplied). (Definition of Terms) of the Act
units. The Bicameral Conference defines initiative on amendments to
Committee consolidated Senate Bill The inclusion of the word the Constitution and mentions it as
No. 17 and House Bill No. 21505 Constitution therein was a delayed one of the three systems
into a draft bill, which was afterthought. That word is neither of initiative, and that Section 5
subsequently approved on 8 June germane nor relevant to said (Requirements) restates the
1989 by the Senate and by the
[50]
section, which exclusively relates to constitutional requirements as to
House of Representatives. This [51]
initiative and referendum on the percentage of the registered
approved bill is now R.A. No. 6735. national laws and local laws, voters who must submit the
ordinances, and resolutions. That proposal. But unlike in the case of
But is R.A. No. 6735 a full
section is silent as the other systems of initiative, the
compliance with the power and duty
to amendments on the Act does not provide for the
of Congress to provide for the
Constitution. As pointed out earlier, contents of a petition for initiative on
implementation of the exercise of
initiative on the Constitution is the Constitution. Section 5,
the right?
paragraph (c) requires, among printed at the top of every page of the We cannot accept the argument
other things, statement of petition. (Underscoring supplied). that the initiative on amendments to
the proposed law sought to be the Constitution is subsumed under
enacted, approved or rejected, The use of the clause the subtitle on National Initiative
amended or repealed, as the case proposed laws and Referendum because it is
may be. It does not include, as sought to be enacted, approved or national in scope. Our reading of
among the contents of the petition, rejected, amended or repealed only Subtitle II (National Initiative and
the provisions of the Constitution strengthens the conclusion that Referendum) and Subtitle III (Local
sought to be amended, in the case Section 2, quoted earlier, excludes Initiative and Referendum) leaves
of initiative on the Constitution. Said initiative on amendments to the no room for doubt that the
paragraph (c) reads in full as Constitution. classification is not based on
follows: Third. While the Act provides the scope of the initiative involved,
subtitles for National Initiative and but on its nature and character. It is
(c) The petition shall state the national initiative, if what is
Referendum (Subtitle II) and for
following: proposed to be adopted or enacted
Local Initiative and Referendum
(Subtitle III), no subtitle is provided is a national law, or a law which
c.1 contents or text of the proposed only Congress can pass. It is local
law sought to be enacted, approved or for initiative on the
Constitution. This conspicuous initiative if what is proposed to be
rejected, amended or repealed, as the adopted or enacted is a law,
case may be; silence as to the latter simply
means that the main thrust of the ordinance, or resolution which only
Act is initiative and referendum on the legislative bodies of the
c.2 the proposition; governments of the autonomous
national and local laws. If Congress
intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully regions, provinces, cities,
c.3 the reason or reasons therefor; municipalities, and barangays can
provide for the implementation of
the initiative on amendments to the pass. This classification of initiative
c.4 that it is not one of the exceptions
Constitution, it could have provided into national and local is actually
provided therein;
for a subtitle therefor, considering based on Section 3 of the Act,
c.5 signatures of the petitioners or that in the order of things, the which we quote for emphasis and
registered voters; and primacy of interest, or hierarchy of clearer understanding:
values, the right of the people to
c.6 an abstract or summary proposition SEC. 3. Definition of terms --
directly propose amendments to the
is not more than one hundred (100) Constitution is far more important xxx
words which shall be legibly written or than the initiative on national and
local laws.
There are three (3) systems of plebiscite shall become effective as to Referendum is misplaced, since [54]

initiative, namely: the day of the plebiscite. the provision therein applies to both
national and local initiative and
a.1 Initiative on the Constitution which (c) A national or local referendum. It reads:
refers to a petition proposing initiative proposition approved by
amendments to the Constitution; majority of the votes cast in an election SEC. 18. Authority of Courts. --
called for the purpose shall become Nothing in this Act shall prevent or
a.2 Initiative on Statutes which refers to effective fifteen (15) days after preclude the proper courts from
a petition proposing to enact a national certification and proclamation of the declaring null and void any proposition
legislation; and Commission. (Underscoring supplied). approved pursuant to this Act for
violation of the Constitution or want of
a.3 Initiative on local legislation which (2) that portion of Section 11 capacity of the local legislative body to
refers to a petition proposing to enact a (Indirect Initiative) referring to enact the said measure.
regional, provincial, city, municipal, or indirect initiative with the legislative
barangay law, resolution or ordinance. bodies of local governments; thus: Curiously, too, while R.A. No.
(Underscoring supplied). 6735 exerted utmost diligence and
SEC. 11. Indirect Initiative. -- Any care in providing for the details in
Hence, to complete the duly accredited peoples organization, the implementation of initiative and
classification under subtitles there as defined by law, may file a petition referendum on national and local
should have been a subtitle on for indirect initiative with the House of legislation thereby giving them
initiative on amendments to the Representatives, and other legislative special attention, it failed, rather
Constitution. [53]
bodies.... intentionally, to do so on the system
A further examination of the Act of initiative on amendments to the
and (3) Section 12 on Appeal, since Constitution. Anent the initiative on
even reveals that the subtitling is
it applies to decisions of the national legislation, the Act provides
not accurate. Provisions not
COMELEC on the findings of for the following:
germane to the subtitle on National
sufficiency or insufficiency of the
Initiative and Referendum are
petition for initiative or referendum, (a) The required percentage of
placed therein, like (1) paragraphs
which could be petitions for both registered voters to sign the petition
(b) and (c) of Section 9, which
national and local initiative and and the contents of the petition;
reads:
referendum.
(b) The proposition in an initiative on (b) The conduct and date of the
Upon the other hand, Section 18
the Constitution approved by the initiative;
on Authority of Courts under subtitle
majority of the votes cast in the III on Local Initiative and
(c) The submission to the electorate of (f) The persons before whom the systems of initiative in Section 3; (c)
the proposition and the required petition shall be signed; speaks of plebiscite as the process
number of votes for its approval; by which the proposition in an
(g) The issuance of a certification by initiative on the Constitution may be
(d) The certification by the COMELEC the COMELEC through its official in approved or rejected by the people;
of the approval of the proposition; the local government unit concerned as (d) reiterates the constitutional
to whether the required number of requirements as to the number of
(e) The publication of the approved signatures have been obtained; voters who should sign the petition;
proposition in the Official Gazette or in and (e) provides for the date of
a newspaper of general circulation in (h) The setting of a date by the effectivity of the approved
the Philippines; and COMELEC for the submission of the proposition.
proposition to the registered voters for
(f) The effects of the approval or their approval, which must be within There was, therefore, an
rejection of the proposition.
[55]
the period specified therein; obvious downgrading of the more
important or the paramount system
As regards local initiative, the (i) The issuance of a certification of the of initiative. R.A. No. 6735 thus
Act provides for the following: result; delivered a humiliating blow to the
system of initiative on amendments
(a) The preliminary requirement as to (j) The date of effectivity of the to the Constitution by merely paying
the number of signatures of registered approved proposition; it a reluctant lip service.
[57]

voters for the petition; The foregoing brings us to the


(k) The limitations on local initiative; conclusion that R.A. No. 6735 is
(b) The submission of the petition to and incomplete, inadequate, or wanting
the local legislative body concerned;
in essential terms and conditions
(l) The limitations upon local
(c) The effect of the legislative bodys insofar as initiative on amendments
legislative bodies.
[56]

failure to favorably act thereon, and the to the Constitution is concerned. Its
invocation of the power of initiative as Upon the other hand, as lacunae on this substantive matter
a consequence thereof; to initiative on amendments to the are fatal and cannot be cured by
Constitution, R.A. No. 6735, in all of empowering the COMELEC to
(d) The formulation of the proposition; its twenty-three sections, merely (a) promulgate such rules and
mentions, the word Constitution in regulations as may be necessary to
(e) The period within which to gather Section 2; (b) defines initiative on carry out the purposes of [the] Act. [58]

the signatures; the Constitution and includes it in The rule is that what has been
the enumeration of the three delegated, cannot be delegated or
as expressed in a Latin implemented by the delegate; and amendments to the Constitution
maxim: potestas delegata non (b) fixes a standard -- the limits of through the system of initiative. It
delegari potest. The recognized
[59]
which are sufficiently determinate does not have that power under
exceptions to the rule are as and determinable -- to which the R.A. No. 6735. Reliance on the
follows: delegate must conform in the COMELECs power under Section
performance of his functions. A [61]
2(1) of Article IX-C of the
(1) Delegation of tariff powers to the sufficient standard is one which Constitution is misplaced, for the
President under Section 28(2) of defines legislative policy, marks its laws and regulations referred to
Article VI of the Constitution; limits, maps out its boundaries and therein are those promulgated by
specifies the public agency to apply the COMELEC under (a) Section 3
(2) Delegation of emergency powers to it. It indicates the circumstances of Article IX-C of the Constitution, or
the President under Section 23(2) of under which the legislative (b) a law where subordinate
Article VI of the Constitution; command is to be effected. [62]
legislation is authorized and which
satisfies the completeness and the
(3) Delegation to the people at large; Insofar as initiative to propose
sufficient standard tests.
amendments to the Constitution is
(4) Delegation to local concerned, R.A. No. 6735 IV
governments; and miserably failed to satisfy both COMELEC ACTED WITHOUT
requirements in subordinate JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE
(5) Delegation to administrative legislation. The delegation of the ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN
ENTERTAINING THE DELFIN
bodies.[60]
power to the COMELEC is then PETITION.
invalid.
Empowering the COMELEC, an Even if it be conceded ex
III
administrative body exercising gratia that R.A. No. 6735 is a full
quasi-judicial functions, to COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. compliance with the power of
2300, INSOFAR AS
promulgate rules and regulations is IT PRESCRIBES RULES AND
Congress to implement the right to
a form of delegation of legislative REGULATIONS ON THE initiate constitutional amendments,
authority under no. 5 CONDUCT OF INITIATIVE ON or that it has validly vested upon the
above. However, in every case of AMENDMENTS TO THE COMELEC the power of
CONSTITUTION, IS VOID. subordinate legislation and that
permissible delegation, there must
be a showing that the delegation It logically follows that the COMELEC Resolution No. 2300 is
itself is valid. It is valid only if the COMELEC cannot validly valid, the COMELEC acted without
law (a) is complete in itself, setting promulgate rules and regulations to jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
forth therein the policy to be implement the exercise of the right discretion in entertaining the Delfin
executed, carried out, or of the people to directly propose Petition.
Under Section 2 of Article XVII establishment of signature discretion and merely wasted its
of the Constitution and Section 5(b) stations; and (4) to verify, through
[65]
time, energy, and resources.
of R.A. No. 6735, a petition for its election registrars, the
The foregoing considered,
initiative on the Constitution must signatures on the basis of the
further discussion on the issue of
be signed by at least 12% of the registry list of voters, voters
whether the proposal to lift the term
total number of registered voters of affidavits, and voters identification
limits of the elective national and
which every legislative district is cards used in the immediately
local officials is an amendment to,
represented by at least 3% of the preceding election.[66]

and not a revision of, the


registered voters therein. The Delfin
Since the Delfin Petition is not Constitution is rendered
Petition does not contain signatures
the initiatory petition under R.A. No. unnecessary, if not academic.
of the required number of
6735 and COMELEC Resolution
voters. Delfin himself admits that he
No. 2300, it cannot be entertained
has not yet gathered signatures and CONCLUSION
or given cognizance of by the
that the purpose of his petition is
COMELEC. The latter knew that the
primarily to obtain assistance in his
petition does not fall under any of This petition must then be
drive to gather signatures. Without
the actions or proceedings under granted, and the COMELEC should
the required signatures, the petition
the COMELEC Rules of Procedure be permanently enjoined from
cannot be deemed validly initiated.
or under Resolution No. 2300, for entertaining or taking cognizance of
The COMELEC acquires which reason it did not assign to the any petition for initiative on
jurisdiction over a petition for petition a docket number. Hence, amendments on the Constitution
initiative only after its filing. The the said petition was merely until a sufficient law shall have been
petition then is the initiatory entered as UND, validly enacted to provide for the
pleading. Nothing before its filing is meaning, undocketed. That petition implementation of the system.
cognizable by the COMELEC, was nothing more than a mere
sitting en banc. The only scrap of paper, which should not We feel, however, that the
participation of the COMELEC or its have been dignified by the Order of system of initiative to propose
personnel before the filing of such 6 December 1996, the hearing on amendments to the Constitution
petition are (1) to prescribe the form 12 December 1996, and the order should no longer be kept in the
of the petition; (2) to issue through
[63]
directing Delfin and the oppositors cold; it should be given flesh and
its Election Records and Statistics to file their memoranda or blood, energy and
Office a certificate on the total oppositions. In so dignifying it, the strength. Congress should not tarry
number of registered voters in each COMELEC acted without any longer in complying with the
legislative district; (3) to assist,
[64]
jurisdiction or with grave abuse of constitutional mandate to provide
through its election registrars, in the
for the implementation of the right G.R. No. 174153 October 25, 2006 represented by Chairperson Eleanor de
Guzman, LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS
of the people under that system. represented by Chair Vencer Crisostomo
RAUL L. LAMBINO and ERICO B.
WHEREFORE, judgment is AUMENTADO, TOGETHER WITH 6,327,952 Palabay, JOJO PINEDA of the League of
REGISTERED VOTERS,Petitioners, Concerned Professionals and
hreby rendered vs. Businessmen, DR. DARBY SANTIAGO of
THE COMMISSION ON the Solidarity of Health Against Charter
a) GRANTING the instant Change, DR. REGINALD PAMUGAS of
ELECTIONS, Respondent.
petition; Health Action for Human
x--------------------------------------------------------x Rights,Intervenors.
b) DECLARING R.A. No. 6735
inadequate to cover the system of ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS, x--------------------------------------------------------x
initiative on amendments to the INC., Intervenor.
Constitution, and to have failed to LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, MARIO JOYO
x ------------------------------------------------------ x AGUJA, and ANA THERESA HONTIVEROS-
provide sufficient standard for BARAQUEL,Intervenors.
subordinate legislation;
ONEVOICE INC., CHRISTIAN S.MONSOD,
RENE B. AZURIN, MANUEL L. QUEZON III, x--------------------------------------------------------x
c) DECLARING void those parts
BENJAMIN T. TOLOSA, JR., SUSAN V.
of Resolutions No. 2300 of the OPLE, and CARLOS P. MEDINA, ARTURO M. DE CASTRO, Intervenor.
Commission on Elections JR., Intervenors.
prescribing rules and regulations on x ------------------------------------------------------- x
the conduct of initiative or x------------------------------------------------------ x
TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF THE
amendments to the Constitution; PHILIPPINES, Intervenor.
ATTY. PETE QUIRINO QUADRA, Intervenor.
and
x--------------------------------------------------------x x---------------------------------------------------------x
d) ORDERING the Commission
on Elections to forthwith DISMISS BAYAN represented by its Chairperson Dr. LUWALHATI RICASA
the DELFIN petition (UND-96-037). Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo, BAYAN MUNA ANTONINO, Intervenor.
represented by its Chairperson Dr.
The Temporary Restraining Reynaldo Lesaca, KILUSANG MAYO UNO x ------------------------------------------------------- x
Order issued on 18 December 1996 represented by its Secretary General Joel
is made permanent as against the Maglunsod, HEAD represented by its PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION
Secretary General Dr. Gene Alzona (PHILCONSA), CONRADO F. ESTRELLA,
Commission on Elections, but is Nisperos, ECUMENICAL BISHOPS FORUM TOMAS C. TOLEDO, MARIANO M. TAJON,
LIFTED against private represented by Fr. Dionito Cabillas, FROILAN M. BACUNGAN, JOAQUIN T.
respondents. MIGRANTE represented by its Chairperson VENUS, JR., FORTUNATO P. AGUAS, and
Concepcion Bragas-Regalado, GABRIELA AMADO GAT INCIONG, Intervenors.
Resolution on the matter of represented by its Secretary General
contempt is hereby reserved. Emerenciana de Jesus, GABRIELA x ------------------------------------------------------- x
WOMEN'S PARTY represented by Sec.
SO ORDERED. Gen. Cristina Palabay, ANAKBAYAN
RONALD L. ADAMAT, ROLANDO MANUEL JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA and On 15 February 2006, petitioners in G.R. No.
RIVERA, and RUELO BAYA, Intervenors. PWERSA NG MASANG 174153, namely Raul L. Lambino and Erico B.
PILIPINO, Intervenors. Aumentado ("Lambino Group"), with other
x -------------------------------------------------------- x groups1 and individuals, commenced
x -----------------------------------------------------x gathering signatures for an initiative petition to
PHILIPPINE TRANSPORT AND GENERAL change the 1987 Constitution. On 25 August
WORKERS ORGANIZATION (PTGWO) and G.R. No. 174299 October 25, 2006 2006, the Lambino Group filed a petition with
MR. VICTORINO F. BALAIS, Intervenors. the COMELEC to hold a plebiscite that will
ratify their initiative petition under Section 5(b)
MAR-LEN ABIGAIL BINAY, SOFRONIO
and (c)2 and Section 73 of Republic Act No.
x -------------------------------------------------------- x UNTALAN, JR., and RENE A.V.
6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act
SAGUISAG, Petitioners,
("RA 6735").
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs.
represented by its President, MANUEL COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS,
represented by Chairman BENJAMIN S. The Lambino Group alleged that their petition
VILLAR, JR., Intervenor.
ABALOS, SR., and Commissioners had the support of 6,327,952 individuals
RESURRECCION Z. BORRA, FLORENTINO constituting at least twelve per centum (12%)
x ------------------------------------------------------- x of all registered voters, with each legislative
A. TUASON, JR., ROMEO A. BRAWNER,
RENE V. SARMIENTO, NICODEMO T. district represented by at least three per
SULONG BAYAN MOVEMENT centum (3%) of its registered voters. The
FERRER, and John Doe and Peter
FOUNDATION, INC., Intervenor. Lambino Group also claimed that COMELEC
Doe,, Respondent.
election registrars had verified the signatures
x ------------------------------------------------------- x of the 6.3 million individuals.

JOSE ANSELMO I. CADIZ, BYRON D. The Lambino Group's initiative petition


BOCAR, MA. TANYA KARINA A. LAT, changes the 1987 Constitution by modifying
ANTONIO L. SALVADOR, and RANDALL DECISION Sections 1-7 of Article VI (Legislative
TABAYOYONG, Intervenors. Department)4 and Sections 1-4 of Article VII
(Executive Department)5 and by adding Article
x -------------------------------------------------------- x XVIII entitled "Transitory Provisions."6 These
proposed changes will shift the present
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, CARPIO, J.: Bicameral-Presidential system to a
CEBU CITY AND CEBU PROVINCE Unicameral-Parliamentary form of
CHAPTERS, Intervenors. The Case government. The Lambino Group prayed that
after due publication of their petition, the
These are consolidated petitions on the COMELEC should submit the following
x --------------------------------------------------------x
Resolution dated 31 August 2006 of the proposition in a plebiscite for the voters'
Commission on Elections ("COMELEC") ratification:
SENATE MINORITY LEADER AQUILINO Q.
PIMENTEL, JR. and SENATORS SERGIO R. denying due course to an initiative petition to
OSMENA III, JAMBY MADRIGAL, JINGGOY amend the 1987 Constitution. DO YOU APPROVE THE
ESTRADA, ALFREDO S. LIM and PANFILO AMENDMENT OF ARTICLES VI AND
LACSON, Intervenors. Antecedent Facts VII OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION,
CHANGING THE FORM OF
GOVERNMENT FROM THE
x -----------------------------------------------------x PRESENT BICAMERAL-
PRESIDENTIAL TO A UNICAMERAL- contempt for the COMELEC's verification of receiving the parties' memoranda, the Court
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM, AND signatures and for "entertaining" the Lambino considered the case submitted for resolution.
PROVIDING ARTICLE XVIII AS Group's petition despite the permanent
TRANSITORY PROVISIONS FOR injunction in Santiago. The Court treated the The Issues
THE ORDERLY SHIFT FROM ONE Binay Group's petition as an opposition-in-
SYSTEM TO THE OTHER? intervention. The petitions raise the following issues:

On 30 August 2006, the Lambino Group filed In his Comment to the Lambino Group's 1. Whether the Lambino Group's initiative
an Amended Petition with the COMELEC petition, the Solicitor General joined causes petition complies with Section 2, Article XVII of
indicating modifications in the proposed Article with the petitioners, urging the Court to grant the Constitution on amendments to the
XVIII (Transitory Provisions) of their initiative.7 the petition despite the Santiago ruling. The Constitution through a people's initiative;
Solicitor General proposed that the Court treat
The Ruling of the COMELEC RA 6735 and its implementing rules "as
2. Whether this Court should revisit its ruling
temporary devises to implement the system of
in Santiago declaring RA 6735 "incomplete,
On 31 August 2006, the COMELEC issued its initiative."
inadequate or wanting in essential terms and
Resolution denying due course to the conditions" to implement the initiative clause
Lambino Group's petition for lack of an Various groups and individuals sought on proposals to amend the Constitution; and
enabling law governing initiative petitions to intervention, filing pleadings supporting or
amend the Constitution. The COMELEC opposing the Lambino Group's petition. The
3. Whether the COMELEC committed grave
invoked this Court's ruling in Santiago v. supporting intervenors10 uniformly hold the
abuse of discretion in denying due course to
Commission on Elections8 declaring RA 6735 view that the COMELEC committed grave
the Lambino Group's petition.
inadequate to implement the initiative clause abuse of discretion in relying on Santiago. On
on proposals to amend the Constitution.9 the other hand, the opposing
intervenors11 hold the contrary view and The Ruling of the Court
In G.R. No. 174153, the Lambino Group prays maintain that Santiago is a binding precedent.
The opposing intervenors also challenged (1) There is no merit to the petition.
for the issuance of the writs of certiorari and
mandamus to set aside the COMELEC the Lambino Group's standing to file the
Resolution of 31 August 2006 and to compel petition; (2) the validity of the signature The Lambino Group miserably failed to
the COMELEC to give due course to their gathering and verification process; (3) the comply with the basic requirements of the
initiative petition. The Lambino Group Lambino Group's compliance with the Constitution for conducting a people's
contends that the COMELEC committed grave minimum requirement for the percentage of initiative. Thus, there is even no need to
abuse of discretion in denying due course to voters supporting an initiative petition under revisit Santiago, as the present petition
their petition since Santiago is not a binding Section 2, Article XVII of the 1987 warrants dismissal based alone on the
precedent. Alternatively, the Lambino Group Constitution;12 (4) the nature of the proposed Lambino Group's glaring failure to comply with
claims that Santiago binds only the parties to changes as revisions and not mere the basic requirements of the Constitution. For
that case, and their petition deserves amendments as provided under Section 2, following the Court's ruling in Santiago, no
cognizance as an expression of the "will of the Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution; and (5) grave abuse of discretion is attributable to the
sovereign people." the Lambino Group's compliance with the Commision on Elections.
requirement in Section 10(a) of RA 6735
limiting initiative petitions to only one subject. 1. The Initiative Petition Does Not Comply
In G.R. No. 174299, petitioners ("Binay
Group") pray that the Court require with Section 2, Article XVII of the
respondent COMELEC Commissioners to The Court heard the parties and intervenors in Constitution on Direct Proposal by the
show cause why they should not be cited in oral arguments on 26 September 2006. After People
Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution is MR. RODRIGO: No, because before The full text of the proposed amendments
the governing constitutional provision that they sign there is already a draft may be either written on the face of the
allows a people's initiative to propose shown to them and they are asked petition, or attached to it. If so attached, the
amendments to the Constitution. This section whether or not they want to propose petition must state the fact of such
states: this constitutional amendment. attachment. This is an assurance that every
one of the several millions of signatories to the
Sec. 2. Amendments to this MR. SUAREZ: As it is envisioned, any petition had seen the full text of the proposed
Constitution may likewise be directly Filipino can prepare that proposal amendments before signing. Otherwise, it is
proposed by the people through and pass it around for physically impossible, given the time
initiative upon a petition of at least signature.13 (Emphasis supplied) constraint, to prove that every one of the
twelve per centum of the total number millions of signatories had seen the full text of
of registered voters of which every Clearly, the framers of the Constitution the proposed amendments before signing.
legislative district must be represented intended that the "draft of the proposed
by at least three per centum of the constitutional amendment" should be The framers of the Constitution directly
registered voters therein. x x x x "ready and shown" to the people "before" borrowed14 the concept of people's initiative
(Emphasis supplied) they sign such proposal. The framers plainly from the United States where various State
stated that "before they sign there is constitutions incorporate an initiative clause.
The deliberations of the Constitutional already a draft shown to them." The framers In almost all States15 which allow initiative
Commission vividly explain the meaning of an also "envisioned" that the people should petitions, the unbending requirement is that
amendment "directly proposed by the sign on the proposal itself because the the people must first see the full text of the
people through initiative upon a petition," proponents must "prepare that proposal and proposed amendments before they sign to
thus: pass it around for signature." signify their assent, and that the people
must sign on an initiative petition that
MR. RODRIGO: Let us look at the The essence of amendments "directly contains the full text of the proposed
mechanics. Let us say some voters proposed by the people through initiative amendments.16
want to propose a constitutional upon a petition" is that the entire proposal
amendment. Is the draft of the on its face is a petition by the people. This The rationale for this requirement has been
proposed constitutional means two essential elements must be repeatedly explained in several decisions of
amendment ready to be shown to present. First, the people must author and various courts. Thus, in Capezzuto v. State
the people when they are asked to thus sign the entire proposal. No agent or Ballot Commission, the Supreme Court of
sign? representative can sign on their behalf. Massachusetts, affirmed by the First Circuit
Second, as an initiative upon a petition, the Court of Appeals, declared:
MR. SUAREZ: That can be proposal must be embodied in a petition.
reasonably assumed, Madam [A] signature requirement would be
President. These essential elements are present only if meaningless if the person
the full text of the proposed amendments supplying the signature has not
MR. RODRIGO: What does the is first shown to the people who express their first seen what it is that he or she is
sponsor mean? The draft is ready assent by signing such complete proposal in a signing. Further, and more
and shown to them before they petition. Thus, an amendment is "directly importantly, loose interpretation of the
sign. Now, who prepares the draft? proposed by the people through initiative subscription requirement can pose a
upon a petition" only if the people sign on significant potential for fraud. A person
a petition that contains the full text of the permitted to describe orally the
MR. SUAREZ: The people
proposed amendments. contents of an initiative petition to a
themselves, Madam President.
potential signer, without the signer
having actually examined the petition, Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution does paper that the people signed as their initiative
could easily mislead the signer by, for not expressly state that the petition must set petition. The Lambino Group submitted to this
example, omitting, downplaying, or forth the full text of the proposed Court a copy of a signature sheet20 after the
even flatly misrepresenting, portions of amendments. However, the deliberations of oral arguments of 26 September 2006 when
the petition that might not be to the the framers of our Constitution clearly show they filed their Memorandum on 11 October
signer's liking. This danger seems that the framers intended to adopt the relevant 2006. The signature sheet with this Court
particularly acute when, in this American jurisprudence on people's initiative. during the oral arguments was the signature
case, the person giving the In particular, the deliberations of the sheet attached21 to the opposition in
description is the drafter of the Constitutional Commission explicitly intervention filed on 7 September 2006 by
petition, who obviously has a reveal that the framers intended that the intervenor Atty. Pete Quirino-Quadra.
vested interest in seeing that it gets people must first see the full text of the
the requisite signatures to qualify proposed amendments before they sign, The signature sheet attached to Atty.
for the ballot.17 (Boldfacing and and that the people must sign on a petition Quadra's opposition and the signature sheet
underscoring supplied) containing such full text. Indeed, Section attached to the Lambino Group's
5(b) of Republic Act No. 6735, the Initiative Memorandum are the same. We reproduce
Likewise, in Kerr v. Bradbury,18 the Court of and Referendum Act that the Lambino Group below the signature sheet in full:
Appeals of Oregon explained: invokes as valid, requires that the people must
sign the "petition x x x as signatories."
Province: City/Municipality:
The purposes of "full text" provisions Legislative District: Barangay:
that apply to amendments by initiative The proponents of the initiative secure the
commonly are described in similar signatures from the people. The proponents
terms. x x x (The purpose of the full secure the signatures in their private capacity
text requirement is to provide and not as public officials. The proponents are
sufficient information so that not disinterested parties who can impartially
registered voters can intelligently explain the advantages and disadvantages of PROPOSITION: "DO YOU APPROVE OF
evaluate whether to sign the the proposed amendments to the people. The THE AMENDMENT OF ARTICLES VI AND
initiative petition."); x x x (publication proponents present favorably their proposal to VII OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION,
of full text of amended constitutional the people and do not present the arguments CHANGING THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT
provision required because it is against their proposal. The proponents, or FROM THE PRESENT BICAMERAL-
"essential for the elector to have x x x their supporters, often pay those who gather PRESIDENTIAL TO A UNICAMERAL-
the section which is proposed to be the signatures. PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF
added to or subtracted from. If he is to GOVERNMENT, IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE
vote intelligently, he must have this Thus, there is no presumption that the GREATER EFFICIENCY, SIMPLICITY AND
knowledge. Otherwise in many proponents observed the constitutional ECONOMY IN GOVERNMENT; AND
instances he would be required to vote requirements in gathering the signatures. The PROVIDING AN ARTICLE XVIII AS
in the dark.") (Emphasis supplied) proponents bear the burden of proving that TRANSITORY PROVISIONS FOR THE
they complied with the constitutional ORDERLY SHIFT FROM ONE SYSTEM TO
requirements in gathering the signatures - ANOTHER?"
Moreover, "an initiative signer must be
informed at the time of signing of the nature that the petition contained, or
and effect of that which is proposed" and incorporated by attachment, the full text of I hereby APPROVE the proposed amendment
failure to do so is "deceptive and the proposed amendments. to the 1987 Constitution. My signature herein
misleading" which renders the initiative which shall form part of the petition for
void.19 The Lambino Group did not attach to their initiative to amend the Constitution signifies
present petition with this Court a copy of the my support for the filing thereof.
Precinct Name Address Petitioner Atty. Lambino,
Birthdate however, Verification
Signature explained RESOLUTION NO. 2006-02
Number that during the signature-gathering from
Last Name, First February to August 2006, the Lambino Group
MM/DD/YY RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE
Name, M.I. circulated, together with the signature sheets, PROPOSALS OF THE PEOPLE'S
printed copies of the Lambino Group's draft CONSULTATIVE COMMISSION ON
1
petition which they later filed on 25 August CHARTER CHANGE THROUGH
2 2006 with the COMELEC. When asked if his PEOPLE'S INITIATIVE AND
3 group also circulated the draft of their REFERENDUM AS A MODE OF
4 amended petition filed on 30 August 2006 with AMENDING THE 1987
5 the COMELEC, Atty. Lambino initially replied CONSTITUTION
6 that they circulated both. However, Atty.
Lambino changed his answer and stated that WHEREAS, there is a need for the
7
what his group circulated was the draft of the Union of Local Authorities of the
8 30 August 2006 amended petition, not the Philippines (ULAP) to adopt a
9 draft of the 25 August 2006 petition. common stand on the approach to
10 support the proposals of the People's
The Lambino Group would have this Court Consultative Commission on Charter
_________________ _________________ __________________
believe that they prepared the draft of the 30 Change;
Barangay Official Witness Witness
August 2006 amended petition almost seven
(Print Name and Sign) (Print Name and Sign) (Print Name and Sign)
months earlier in February 2006 when they WHEREAS, ULAP maintains its
started gathering signatures. Petitioner Erico unqualified support to the agenda of
There is not a single word, phrase, or B. Aumentado's "Verification/Certification" of Her Excellency President Gloria
sentence of text of the Lambino Group's the 25 August 2006 petition, as well as of the Macapagal-Arroyo for constitutional
proposed changes in the signature sheet. 30 August 2006 amended petition, filed with reforms as embodied in the ULAP
Neither does the signature sheet state that the COMELEC, states as follows: Joint Declaration for Constitutional
the text of the proposed changes is Reforms signed by the members of
attached to it. Petitioner Atty. Raul Lambino I have caused the preparation of the the ULAP and the majority coalition of
admitted this during the oral arguments before foregoing [Amended] Petition in my the House of Representatives in
this Court on 26 September 2006. personal capacity as a registered Manila Hotel sometime in October
voter, for and on behalf of the Union 2005;
The signature sheet merely asks a question of Local Authorities of the
whether the people approve a shift from the Philippines, as shown by ULAP WHEREAS, the People's Consultative
Bicameral-Presidential to the Unicameral- Resolution No. 2006-02 hereto Commission on Charter Change
Parliamentary system of government. The attached, and as representative of the created by Her Excellency to
signature sheet does not show to the mass of signatories hereto. (Emphasis recommend amendments to the 1987
people the draft of the proposed changes supplied) Constitution has submitted its final
before they are asked to sign the signature report sometime in December 2005;
sheet. Clearly, the signature sheet is not the The Lambino Group failed to attach a copy of
"petition" that the framers of the Constitution ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 to the present WHEREAS, the ULAP is mindful of
envisioned when they formulated the initiative petition. However, the "Official Website of the the current political developments in
clause in Section 2, Article XVII of the Union of Local Authorities of the Congress which militates against the
Constitution. Philippines"22 has posted the full text of use of the expeditious form of
Resolution No. 2006-02, which provides: amending the 1987 Constitution;
WHEREAS, subject to the ratification or 30 August 2006 amended petition filed with 5 of the Transitory Provisions were
of its institutional members and the the COMELEC. inaccurately stated and failed to
failure of Congress to amend the correctly reflect their proposed
Constitution as a constituent For example, the proposed revisions of the amendments.
assembly, ULAP has unanimously Consultative Commission affect all
agreed to pursue the constitutional provisions of the existing Constitution, from The Lambino Group did not allege that they
reform agenda through People's the Preamble to the Transitory Provisions. were amending the petition because the
Initiative and Referendum without The proposed revisions have profound impact amended petition was what they had shown to
prejudice to other pragmatic means to on the Judiciary and the National Patrimony the people during the February to August
pursue the same; provisions of the existing Constitution, 2006 signature-gathering. Instead, the
provisions that the Lambino Group's proposed Lambino Group alleged that the petition of 25
WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS changes do not touch. The Lambino Group's August 2006 "inaccurately stated and failed to
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, proposed changes purport to affect only correctly reflect their proposed amendments."
THAT ALL THE MEMBER-LEAGUES Articles VI and VII of the existing Constitution,
OF THE UNION OF LOCAL including the introduction of new Transitory The Lambino Group never alleged in the 25
AUTHORITIES OF THE Provisions. August 2006 petition or the 30 August 2006
PHILIPPINES (ULAP) SUPPORT amended petition with the COMELEC that
THE PORPOSALS (SIC) OF THE The ULAP adopted Resolution No. 2006-02 they circulated printed copies of the draft
PEOPLE'S CONSULATATIVE (SIC) on 14 January 2006 or more than six months petition together with the signature sheets.
COMMISSION ON CHARTER before the filing of the 25 August 2006 petition Likewise, the Lambino Group did not allege in
CHANGE THROUGH PEOPLE'S or the 30 August 2006 amended petition with their present petition before this Court that
INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM AS the COMELEC. However, ULAP Resolution they circulated printed copies of the draft
A MODE OF AMENDING THE 1987 No. 2006-02 does not establish that ULAP or petition together with the signature sheets.
CONSTITUTION; the Lambino Group caused the circulation of The signature sheets do not also contain any
the draft petition, together with the signature indication that the draft petition is attached to,
DONE, during the ULAP National sheets, six months before the filing with the or circulated with, the signature sheets.
Executive Board special meeting held COMELEC. On the contrary, ULAP
on 14 January 2006 at the Century Resolution No. 2006-02 casts grave doubt It is only in their Consolidated Reply to the
Park Hotel, Manila.23 (Underscoring on the Lambino Group's claim that they Opposition-in-Interventions that the Lambino
supplied) circulated the draft petition together with Group first claimed that they circulated the
the signature sheets. ULAP Resolution No. "petition for initiative filed with the
ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 does not 2006-02 does not refer at all to the draft COMELEC," thus:
authorize petitioner Aumentado to prepare petition or to the Lambino Group's
the 25 August 2006 petition, or the 30 August proposed changes. [T]here is persuasive authority to the
2006 amended petition, filed with the effect that "(w)here there is not (sic)
COMELEC. ULAP Resolution No. 2006-02 In their Manifestation explaining their fraud, a signer who did not read the
"support(s) the porposals (sic) of the amended petition before the COMELEC, the measure attached to a referendum
Consulatative (sic) Commission on Charter Lambino Group declared: petition cannot question his
Change through people's initiative and signature on the ground that he did
referendum as a mode of amending the 1987 After the Petition was filed, Petitioners not understand the nature of the
Constitution." The proposals of the belatedly realized that the proposed act." [82 C.J.S. S128h. Mo. State v.
Consultative Commission24 are vastly amendments alleged in the Petition, Sullivan, 224, S.W. 327, 283 Mo. 546.]
different from the proposed changes of the more specifically, paragraph 3 of Thus, the registered voters who
Lambino Group in the 25 August 2006 petition Section 4 and paragraph 2 of Section signed the signature sheets
circulated together with the petition changes were not incorporated with, or of the proposed changes to the great
for initiative filed with the attached to, the signature sheets. The majority of the people who signed the
COMELEC below, are presumed to Lambino Group's citation of Corpus Juris signature sheets.
have understood the proposition Secundumpulls the rug from under their feet.
contained in the petition. (Emphasis Thus, of the 6.3 million signatories, only
supplied) It is extremely doubtful that the Lambino 100,000 signatories could have received with
Group prepared, printed, circulated, from certainty one copy each of the petition,
The Lambino Group's statement that they February to August 2006 during the signature- assuming a 100 percent distribution with no
circulated to the people "the petition for gathering period, the draft of the petition or wastage. If Atty. Lambino and company
initiative filed with the COMELEC" appears amended petition they filed later with the attached one copy of the petition to each
an afterthought, made after the intervenors COMELEC. The Lambino Group are less than signature sheet, only 100,000 signature
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Cebu City candid with this Court in their belated claim sheets could have circulated with the petition.
Chapter and Cebu Province Chapters) and that they printed and circulated, together with Each signature sheet contains space for ten
Atty. Quadra had pointed out that the the signature sheets, the petition or amended signatures. Assuming ten people signed each
signature sheets did not contain the text of the petition. Nevertheless, even assuming the of these 100,000 signature sheets with the
proposed changes. In their Consolidated Lambino Group circulated the amended attached petition, the maximum number of
Reply, the Lambino Group alleged that they petition during the signature-gathering people who saw the petition before they
circulated "the petition for initiative" but period, the Lambino Group admitted signed the signature sheets would not exceed
failed to mention the amended petition. This circulating only very limited copies of the 1,000,000.
contradicts what Atty. Lambino finally stated petition.
during the oral arguments that what they With only 100,000 printed copies of the
circulated was the draft of the amended During the oral arguments, Atty. petition, it would be physically impossible for
petition of 30 August 2006. Lambino expressly admitted that they all or a great majority of the 6.3 million
printed only 100,000 copies of the draft signatories to have seen the petition before
The Lambino Group cites as authority Corpus petition they filed more than six months they signed the signature sheets. The
Juris Secundum, stating that "a signer who did later with the COMELEC. Atty. Lambino inescapable conclusion is that the
not read the measure attached to a added that he also asked other supporters to Lambino Group failed to show to the 6.3
referendum petition cannot question his print additional copies of the draft petition but million signatories the full text of the
signature on the ground that he did not he could not state with certainty how many proposed changes. If ever, not more than
understand the nature of the act." The additional copies the other supporters one million signatories saw the petition before
Lambino Group quotes an authority that printed. Atty. Lambino could only assure they signed the signature sheets.
cites a proposed change attached to the this Court of the printing of 100,000 copies
petition signed by the people. Even the because he himself caused the printing of In any event, the Lambino Group's signature
authority the Lambino Group quotes requires these 100,000 copies. sheets do not contain the full text of the
that the proposed change must be attached to proposed changes, either on the face of the
the petition. The same authority the Lambino Likewise, in the Lambino Group's signature sheets, or as attachment with an
Group quotes requires the people to sign on Memorandum filed on 11 October 2006, the indication in the signature sheet of such
the petition itself. Lambino Group expressly admits that attachment. Petitioner Atty. Lambino
"petitioner Lambino initiated the printing admitted this during the oral arguments,
Indeed, it is basic in American jurisprudence and reproduction of 100,000 copies of the and this admission binds the Lambino
that the proposed amendment must be petition for initiative x x x."25 This Group. This fact is also obvious from a
incorporated with, or attached to, the initiative admission binds the Lambino Group and mere reading of the signature sheet. This
petition signed by the people. In the present establishes beyond any doubt that the omission is fatal. The failure to so include
initiative, the Lambino Group's proposed Lambino Group failed to show the full text the text of the proposed changes in the
signature sheets renders the initiative void for inferred or divined these proposed changes the word "next" allows the interim Parliament
non-compliance with the constitutional merely from a reading or rereading of the to schedule the elections for the regular
requirement that the amendment must be contents of the signature sheets. Parliament simultaneously with any future
"directly proposed by the people through local elections.
initiative upon a petition." The signature During the oral arguments, petitioner Atty.
sheet is not the "petition" envisioned in the Lambino stated that he and his Thus, the members of the interim Parliament
initiative clause of the Constitution. group assured the people during the will decide the expiration of their own term of
signature-gathering that the elections for office. This allows incumbent members of the
For sure, the great majority of the 6.3 million the regular Parliament would be held House of Representatives to hold office
people who signed the signature sheets did during the 2007 local elections if the beyond their current three-year term of office,
not see the full text of the proposed changes proposed changes were ratified before the and possibly even beyond the five-year term
before signing. They could not have known 2007 local elections. However, the text of the of office of regular members of the
the nature and effect of the proposed proposed changes belies this. Parliament. Certainly, this is contrary to the
changes, among which are: representations of Atty. Lambino and his
The proposed Section 5(2), Article XVIII on group to the 6.3 million people who signed
1. The term limits on members of Transitory Provisions, as found in the the signature sheets. Atty. Lambino and
the legislature will be lifted and thus amended petition, states: his group deceived the 6.3 million
members of Parliament can be re- signatories, and even the entire nation.
elected indefinitely;26 Section 5(2). The interim Parliament
shall provide for the election of the This lucidly shows the absolute need for the
2. The interim Parliament can continue members of Parliament, which shall people to sign an initiative petition that
to function indefinitely until its be synchronized and held contains the full text of the proposed
members, who are almost all the simultaneously with the election of amendments to avoid fraud or
present members of Congress, decide all local government officials. x x x x misrepresentation. In the present initiative, the
to call for new parliamentary elections. (Emphasis supplied) 6.3 million signatories had to rely on
Thus, the members of the interim the verbal representations of Atty. Lambino
Parliament will determine the Section 5(2) does not state that the elections and his group because the signature sheets
expiration of their own term of for the regular Parliament will be held did not contain the full text of the proposed
office; 27 simultaneously with the 2007 local elections. changes. The result is a grand deception on
This section merely requires that the elections the 6.3 million signatories who were led to
3. Within 45 days from the ratification for the regular Parliament shall be held believe that the proposed changes would
of the proposed changes, the interim simultaneously with the local require the holding in 2007 of elections for the
Parliament shall convene to elections without specifying the year. regular Parliament simultaneously with the
propose further amendments or local elections.
revisions to the Constitution.28 Petitioner Atty. Lambino, who claims to be the
principal drafter of the proposed changes, The Lambino Group's initiative springs
These three specific amendments are not could have easily written the word "next" another surprise on the people who signed the
stated or even indicated in the Lambino before the phrase "election of all local signature sheets. The proposed changes
Group's signature sheets. The people who government officials." This would have mandate the interim Parliament to make
signed the signature sheets had no idea that insured that the elections for the regular further amendments or revisions to the
they were proposing these amendments. Parliament would be held in the next local Constitution. The proposed Section 4(4),
These three proposed changes are highly elections following the ratification of the Article XVIII on Transitory Provisions,
controversial. The people could not have proposed changes. However, the absence of provides:
Section 4(4). Within forty-five days what it is voting on - the amendment's initiative from the legislative process.
from ratification of these amendments, proponents' simplistic explanation (Emphasis supplied)
the interim Parliament shall convene reveals only the tip of the iceberg. x x
to propose amendments to, or x x The ballot must give the electorate Thus, the present initiative appears merely a
revisions of, this fair notice of the proposed amendment preliminary step for further amendments or
Constitution consistent with the being voted on. x x x x The ballot revisions to be undertaken by the interim
principles of local autonomy, language in the instant case fails to do Parliament as a constituent assembly. The
decentralization and a strong that. The very broadness of the people who signed the signature sheets could
bureaucracy. (Emphasis supplied) proposal makes it impossible to state not have known that their signatures would be
what it will affect and effect and used to propose an
During the oral arguments, Atty. Lambino violates the requirement that proposed amendment mandating the interim
stated that this provision is a "surplusage" and amendments embrace only one Parliament to propose further amendments or
the Court and the people should simply ignore subject. (Emphasis supplied) revisions to the Constitution.
it. Far from being a surplusage, this provision
invalidates the Lambino Group's initiative. Logrolling confuses and even deceives the Apparently, the Lambino Group inserted the
people. In Yute Air Alaska v. McAlpine,30 the proposed Section 4(4) to compel the interim
Section 4(4) is a subject matter totally Supreme Court of Alaska warned against Parliament to amend or revise again the
unrelated to the shift from the Bicameral- "inadvertence, stealth and fraud" in logrolling: Constitution within 45 days from ratification of
Presidential to the Unicameral-Parliamentary the proposed changes, or before the May
system. American jurisprudence on initiatives Whenever a bill becomes law through the 2007 elections. In the absence of the
outlaws this as logrolling - when the initiative initiative process, all of the problems that the proposed Section 4(4), the interim Parliament
petition incorporates an unrelated subject single-subject rule was enacted to prevent are has the discretion whether to amend or revise
matter in the same petition. This puts the exacerbated. There is a greater danger of again the Constitution. With the proposed
people in a dilemma since they can answer logrolling, or the deliberate intermingling of Section 4(4), the initiative proponents want the
only either yes or no to the entire proposition, issues to increase the likelihood of an interim Parliament mandated to immediately
forcing them to sign a petition that effectively initiative's passage, and there is a greater amend or revise again the Constitution.
contains two propositions, one of which they opportunity for "inadvertence, stealth and
may find unacceptable. fraud" in the enactment-by-initiative However, the signature sheets do not explain
process. The drafters of an initiative operate the reason for this rush in amending or
Under American jurisprudence, the effect of independently of any structured or supervised revising again so soon the Constitution. The
logrolling is to nullify the entire process. They often emphasize particular signature sheets do not also explain what
proposition and not only the unrelated provisions of their proposition, while remaining specific amendments or revisions the initiative
subject matter. Thus, in Fine v. silent on other (more complex or less proponents want the interim Parliament to
Firestone,29 the Supreme Court of Florida appealing) provisions, when communicating to make, and why there is a need for such
declared: the public. x x x Indeed, initiative promoters further amendments or revisions. The people
typically use simplistic advertising to are again left in the dark to fathom the
Combining multiple propositions present their initiative to potential petition- nature and effect of the proposed changes.
into one proposal constitutes signers and eventual voters. Many voters Certainly, such an initiative is not "directly
"logrolling," which, if our judicial will never read the full text of the initiative proposed by the people" because the people
responsibility is to mean anything, before the election. More importantly, there is do not even know the nature and effect of the
we cannot permit. The very no process for amending or splitting the proposed changes.
broadness of the proposed several provisions in an initiative proposal.
amendment amounts to logrolling These difficulties clearly distinguish the There is another intriguing provision inserted
because the electorate cannot know in the Lambino Group's amended petition of
30 August 2006. The proposed Section 4(3) of An initiative that gathers signatures from the propose both amendments and revisions to
the Transitory Provisions states: people without first showing to the people the Constitution. Article XVII of the
the full text of the proposed amendments is Constitution provides:
Section 4(3). Senators whose term of most likely a deception, and can operate as
office ends in 2010 shall be members a gigantic fraud on the people. That is why ARTICLE XVII
of Parliament until noon of the thirtieth the Constitution requires that an initiative must AMENDMENTS OR REVISIONS
day of June 2010. be "directly proposed by the people x x x in
a petition" - meaning that the people must Sec. 1. Any amendment to, or
After 30 June 2010, not one of the present sign on a petition that contains the full text of revision of, this Constitution may be
Senators will remain as member of Parliament the proposed amendments. On so vital an proposed by:
if the interim Parliament does not schedule issue as amending the nation's fundamental
elections for the regular Parliament by 30 law, the writing of the text of the proposed
(1) The Congress, upon a vote of
June 2010. However, there is no counterpart amendments cannot be hidden from the
three-fourths of all its Members, or
provision for the present members of the people under a general or special power of
House of Representatives even if their term of attorney to unnamed, faceless, and unelected
individuals. (2) A constitutional convention.
office will all end on 30 June 2007, three years
earlier than that of half of the present
The Constitution entrusts to the people the Sec. 2. Amendments to this
Senators. Thus, all the present members of
power to directly propose amendments to the Constitution may likewise be directly
the House will remain members of the interim
Constitution. This Court trusts the wisdom of proposed by the people through
Parliament after 30 June 2010.
the people even if the members of this Court initiative x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
The term of the incumbent President ends on do not personally know the people who sign
the petition. However, this trust emanates Article XVII of the Constitution speaks of three
30 June 2010. Thereafter, the Prime Minister
from a fundamental assumption: the full modes of amending the Constitution. The first
exercises all the powers of the President. If
text of the proposed amendment is first mode is through Congress upon three-fourths
the interim Parliament does not schedule
shown to the people before they sign the vote of all its Members. The second mode is
elections for the regular Parliament by 30
petition, not after they have signed the through a constitutional convention. The third
June 2010, the Prime Minister will come only
petition. mode is through a people's initiative.
from the present members of the House of
Representatives to the exclusion of the
present Senators. In short, the Lambino Group's initiative is void Section 1 of Article XVII, referring to the first
and unconstitutional because it dismally fails and second modes, applies to "[A]ny
to comply with the requirement of Section 2, amendment to, or revision of, this
The signature sheets do not explain this
Article XVII of the Constitution that the Constitution." In contrast, Section 2 of Article
discrimination against the Senators. The 6.3
initiative must be "directly proposed by the XVII, referring to the third mode, applies only
million people who signed the signature
people through initiative upon a petition." to "[A]mendments to this Constitution." This
sheets could not have known that their
distinction was intentional as shown by the
signatures would be used to discriminate
2. The Initiative Violates Section 2, Article following deliberations of the Constitutional
against the Senators. They could not have
XVII of the Constitution Disallowing Commission:
known that their signatures would be used
to limit, after 30 June 2010, the interim Revision through Initiatives
Parliament's choice of Prime Minister only MR. SUAREZ: Thank you, Madam
to members of the existing House of A people's initiative to change the Constitution President.
Representatives. applies only to an amendment of the
Constitution and not to its revision. In contrast, May we respectfully call the attention
Congress or a constitutional convention can of the Members of the Commission
that pursuant to the mandate given to amendment in terms of realigning MR. DAVIDE: No, it does not,
us last night, we submitted this Section 2 as another subparagraph (c) because "amendments" and
afternoon a complete Committee of Section 1, instead of setting it up as "revision" should be covered by
Report No. 7 which embodies the another separate section as if it were Section 1. So insofar as initiative is
proposed provision governing the a self-executing provision? concerned, it can only relate to
matter of initiative. This is now "amendments" not "revision."
covered by Section 2 of the complete MR. SUAREZ: We would be
committee report. With the permission amenable except that, as we clarified MR. MAAMBONG: Thank
of the Members, may I quote Section a while ago, this process of initiative you.31 (Emphasis supplied)
2: is limited to the matter of
amendment and should not expand There can be no mistake about it. The framers
The people may, after five years from into a revision which contemplates of the Constitution intended, and wrote, a
the date of the last plebiscite held, a total overhaul of the Constitution. clear distinction between "amendment" and
directly propose amendments to this That was the sense that was "revision" of the Constitution. The
Constitution thru initiative upon conveyed by the Committee. framers intended, and wrote, that only
petition of at least ten percent of the Congress or a constitutional convention may
registered voters. MS. AQUINO: In other words, the propose revisions to the Constitution. The
Committee was attempting to framers intended, and wrote, that a people's
This completes the blanks appearing distinguish the coverage of modes initiative may propose only amendments to
in the original Committee Report No. (a) and (b) in Section 1 to include the Constitution. Where the intent and
7. This proposal was suggested on the the process of revision; whereas, language of the Constitution clearly withhold
theory that this matter of initiative, the process of initiation to amend, from the people the power to propose
which came about because of the which is given to the public, would revisions to the Constitution, the people
extraordinary developments this year, only apply to amendments? cannot propose revisions even as they are
has to be separated from the empowered to propose amendments.
traditional modes of amending the MR. SUAREZ: That is right. Those
Constitution as embodied in Section were the terms envisioned in the This has been the consistent ruling of state
1. The committee members felt that Committee. supreme courts in the United States. Thus,
this system of initiative should be in McFadden v. Jordan,32the Supreme Court
limited to amendments to the MS. AQUINO: I thank the sponsor; of California ruled:
Constitution and should not extend and thank you, Madam President.
to the revision of the entire The initiative power reserved by the
Constitution, so we removed it from people by amendment to the
xxxx
the operation of Section 1 of the Constitution x x x applies only to
proposed Article on Amendment or the proposing and the adopting or
Revision. x x x x MR. MAAMBONG: My first question:
Commissioner Davide's proposed rejecting of 'laws and amendments
amendment on line 1 refers to to the Constitution' and does not
xxxx purport to extend to a
"amendments." Does it not cover
the word "revision" as defined by constitutional revision. x x x x It is
MS. AQUINO: [I] am seriously Commissioner Padilla when he thus clear that a revision of the
bothered by providing this process of made the distinction between the Constitution may be accomplished
initiative as a separate section in the words "amendments" and only through ratification by the people
Article on Amendment. Would the "revision"? of a revised constitution proposed by a
sponsor be amenable to accepting an convention called for that purpose as
outlined hereinabove. Consequently if While differing from that document in x x "While it is universally conceded
the scope of the proposed initiative material respects, the measure that the people are sovereign and that
measure (hereinafter termed 'the sponsored by the plaintiffs is, they have power to adopt a
measure') now before us is so broad nevertheless, a thorough overhauling constitution and to change their own
that if such measure became law a of the present constitution x x x. work at will, they must, in doing so, act
substantial revision of our present in an orderly manner and according to
state Constitution would be effected, To call it an amendment is a the settled principles of constitutional
then the measure may not properly be misnomer. law. And where the people, in
submitted to the electorate until and adopting a constitution, have
unless it is first agreed upon by a Whether it be a revision or a new prescribed the method by which the
constitutional convention, and the writ constitution, it is not such a measure people may alter or amend it, an
sought by petitioner should issue. x x as can be submitted to the people attempt to change the fundamental
x x (Emphasis supplied) through the initiative. If a revision, it is law in violation of the self-imposed
subject to the requirements of Article restrictions, is unconstitutional." x x x x
Likewise, the Supreme Court of Oregon ruled XVII, Section 2(1); if a new (Emphasis supplied)
in Holmes v. Appling:33 constitution, it can only be proposed at
a convention called in the manner This Court, whose members are sworn to
It is well established that when a provided in Article XVII, Section 1. x x defend and protect the Constitution, cannot
constitution specifies the manner in xx shirk from its solemn oath and duty to insure
which it may be amended or revised, it compliance with the clear command of the
can be altered by those who favor Similarly, in this jurisdiction there can be no Constitution that a people's initiative may
amendments, revision, or other dispute that a people's initiative can only only amend, never revise, the Constitution.
change only through the use of one of propose amendments to the Constitution
the specified means. The constitution since the Constitution itself limits initiatives to The question is, does the Lambino Group's
itself recognizes that there is a amendments. There can be no deviation from initiative constitute an amendment or revision
difference between an amendment the constitutionally prescribed modes of the Constitution? If the Lambino Group's
and a revision; and it is obvious from of revising the Constitution. A popular clamor, initiative constitutes a revision, then the
an examination of the measure here in even one backed by 6.3 million signatures, present petition should be dismissed for being
question that it is not an amendment cannot justify a deviation from the specific outside the scope of Section 2, Article XVII of
as that term is generally understood modes prescribed in the Constitution itself. the Constitution.
and as it is used in Article IV, Section
1. The document appears to be based As the Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled in In Courts have long recognized the distinction
in large part on the revision of the re Initiative Petition No. 364:34 between an amendment and a revision of a
constitution drafted by the constitution. One of the earliest cases that
'Commission for Constitutional recognized the distinction described the
It is a fundamental principle that a
Revision' authorized by the 1961 fundamental difference in this manner:
constitution can only be revised or
Legislative Assembly, x x x and
amended in the manner prescribed
submitted to the 1963 Legislative [T]he very term "constitution" implies
by the instrument itself, and that
Assembly. It failed to receive in the an instrument of a permanent and
any attempt to revise a constitution
Assembly the two-third's majority vote abiding nature, and the provisions
in a manner other than the one
of both houses required by Article contained therein for its revision
provided in the instrument is
XVII, Section 2, and hence failed of indicate the will of the people that
almost invariably treated as extra-
adoption, x x x. the underlying principles upon
constitutional and revolutionary. x x
which it rests, as well as the
substantial entirety of the change will "accomplish such far reaching Likewise, the abolition alone of one chamber
instrument, shall be of a like changes in the nature of our basic of Congress alters the system of checks-and-
permanent and abiding nature. On the governmental plan as to amount to a balances within the legislature and constitutes
other hand, the significance of the revision."37 Whether there is an alteration in a revision of the Constitution.
term "amendment" implies such an the structure of government is a proper
addition or change within the lines of subject of inquiry. Thus, "a change in the By any legal test and under any
the original instrument as will effect an nature of [the] basic governmental plan" jurisdiction, a shift from a Bicameral-
improvement, or better carry out the includes "change in its fundamental Presidential to a Unicameral-Parliamentary
purpose for which it was framework or the fundamental powers of its system, involving the abolition of the Office of
framed.35 (Emphasis supplied) Branches."38 A change in the nature of the the President and the abolition of one
basic governmental plan also includes chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a
Revision broadly implies a change that alters changes that "jeopardize the traditional form revision, not a mere amendment. On the face
a basic principle in the constitution, like of government and the system of check and alone of the Lambino Group's proposed
altering the principle of separation of powers balances."39 changes, it is readily apparent that the
or the system of checks-and-balances. There changes will radically alter the framework of
is also revision if the change alters the Under both the quantitative and qualitative government as set forth in the
substantial entirety of the constitution, as tests, the Lambino Group's initiative is a Constitution. Father Joaquin Bernas, S.J., a
when the change affects substantial revision and not merely an amendment. leading member of the Constitutional
provisions of the constitution. On the other Quantitatively, the Lambino Group's proposed Commission, writes:
hand, amendment broadly refers to a change changes overhaul two articles - Article VI on
that adds, reduces, or deletes without the Legislature and Article VII on the An amendment envisages an alteration of one
altering the basic principle involved. Executive - affecting a total of 105 provisions or a few specific and separable provisions.
Revision generally affects several provisions in the entire Constitution.40Qualitatively, the The guiding original intention of an
of the constitution, while amendment generally proposed changes alter substantially the basic amendment is to improve specific parts or to
affects only the specific provision being plan of government, from presidential to add new provisions deemed necessary to
amended. parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a meet new conditions or to suppress specific
unicameral legislature. portions that may have become obsolete or
In California where the initiative clause allows that are judged to be dangerous. In revision,
amendments but not revisions to the A change in the structure of government is a however, the guiding original intention and
constitution just like in our Constitution, courts revision of the Constitution, as when the three plan contemplates a re-examination of the
have developed a two-part test: the great co-equal branches of government in the entire document, or of provisions of the
quantitative test and the qualitative test. The present Constitution are reduced into document which have over-all implications for
quantitative test asks whether the proposed two. This alters the separation of powers in the entire document, to determine how and to
change is "so extensive in its provisions as to the Constitution. A shift from the present what extent they should be altered. Thus, for
change directly the 'substantial entirety' of the Bicameral-Presidential system to a instance a switch from the presidential
constitution by the deletion or alteration of Unicameral-Parliamentary system is a revision system to a parliamentary system would
numerous existing provisions."36 The court of the Constitution. Merging the legislative and be a revision because of its over-all impact
examines only the number of provisions executive branches is a radical change in the on the entire constitutional structure. So
affected and does not consider the degree of structure of government. would a switch from a bicameral system to
the change. a unicameral system be because of its
The abolition alone of the Office of the effect on other important provisions of the
The qualitative test inquires into the qualitative President as the locus of Executive Power Constitution.41 (Emphasis supplied)
effects of the proposed change in the alters the separation of powers and thus
constitution. The main inquiry is whether the constitutes a revision of the Constitution.
In Adams v. Gunter,42 an initiative petition and conflicts which would result, or if Callejo, Sr.44 There is no doubt that the
proposed the amendment of the Florida State after submission of appropriate Lambino Group's present initiative seeks far
constitution to shift from a bicameral to a amendments the people should refuse more radical changes in the structure of
unicameral legislature. The issue turned on to adopt them, simple chaos would government than the initiative in Adams.
whether the initiative "was defective and prevail in the government of this State.
unauthorized where [the] proposed The same result would obtain from an The Lambino Group theorizes that the
amendment would x x x affect several other amendment, for instance, of Section 1 difference between "amendment" and
provisions of [the] Constitution." The Supreme of Article V, to provide for only a "revision" is only one of procedure, not of
Court of Florida, striking down the initiative as Supreme Court and Circuit Courts-and substance. The Lambino Group posits that
outside the scope of the initiative clause, ruled there could be other examples too when a deliberative body drafts and proposes
as follows: numerous to detail. These examples changes to the Constitution, substantive
point unerringly to the answer. changes are called "revisions"
The proposal here to amend Section 1 because members of the deliberative body
of Article III of the 1968 Constitution to The purpose of the long and arduous work full-time on the changes. However, the
provide for a Unicameral work of the hundreds of men and same substantive changes, when proposed
Legislature affects not only many women and many sessions of the through an initiative, are called
other provisions of the Constitution Legislature in bringing about the "amendments" because the changes are
but provides for a change in the Constitution of 1968 was to eliminate made by ordinary people who do not make
form of the legislative branch of inconsistencies and conflicts and to an "occupation, profession, or vocation"
government, which has been in give the State a workable, accordant, out of such endeavor.
existence in the United States homogenous and up-to-date
Congress and in all of the states of the document. All of this could disappear Thus, the Lambino Group makes the following
nation, except one, since the earliest very quickly if we were to hold that it exposition of their theory in their
days. It would be difficult to could be amended in the manner Memorandum:
visualize a more revolutionary proposed in the initiative petition
change. The concept of a House and here.43(Emphasis supplied) 99. With this distinction in mind, we
a Senate is basic in the American form note that the constitutional provisions
of government. It would not only The rationale of the Adams decision applies expressly provide for both
radically change the whole pattern with greater force to the present petition. The "amendment" and "revision" when it
of government in this state and tear Lambino Group's initiative not only seeks a speaks of legislators and constitutional
apart the whole fabric of the shift from a bicameral to a unicameral delegates, while the same provisions
Constitution, but would even affect legislature, it also seeks to merge the expressly provide only for
the physical facilities necessary to executive and legislative departments. The "amendment" when it speaks of the
carry on government. initiative in Adams did not even touch the people. It would seem that the
executive department. apparent distinction is based on the
xxxx actual experience of the people, that
In Adams, the Supreme Court of Florida on one hand the common people in
We conclude with the observation that enumerated 18 sections of the Florida general are not expected to work full-
if such proposed amendment were Constitution that would be affected by the shift time on the matter of correcting the
adopted by the people at the General from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature. constitution because that is not their
Election and if the Legislature at its In the Lambino Group's present initiative, no occupation, profession or vocation;
next session should fail to submit less than 105 provisions of the while on the other hand, the legislators
further amendments to revise and Constitution would be affected based on and constitutional convention
clarify the numerous inconsistencies the count of Associate Justice Romeo J. delegates are expected to work full-
time on the same matter because that havoc by creating inconsistencies in the form on existing fundamental rights and
is their occupation, profession or of government established in the Constitution. radical restructuring of the
vocation. Thus, the difference Such a theory, devoid of any jurisprudential government's relationship with a
between the words "revision" and mooring and inviting inconsistencies in the defined group of citizens. Plaintiffs
"amendment" pertain only to the Constitution, only exposes the flimsiness of assert that, because the proposed
process or procedure of coming up the Lambino Group's position. Any theory ballot measure "will refashion the most
with the corrections, for purposes of advocating that a proposed change involving basic principles of Oregon
interpreting the constitutional a radical structural change in government constitutional law," the trial court
provisions. does not constitute a revision justly deserves correctly held that it violated Article
rejection. XVII, section 2, and cannot appear on
100. Stated otherwise, the the ballot without the prior approval of
difference between "amendment" The Lambino Group simply recycles a theory the legislature.
and "revision" cannot reasonably that initiative proponents in American
be in the substance or extent of the jurisdictions have attempted to advance We first address Mabon's argument
correction. x x x x (Underlining in the without any success. In Lowe v. that Article XVII, section 2(1), does not
original; boldfacing supplied) Keisling,46 the Supreme Court of prohibit revisions instituted by
Oregon rejected this theory, thus: initiative. In Holmes v. Appling, x x
The Lambino Group in effect argues that if x, the Supreme Court concluded that a
Congress or a constitutional convention had Mabon argues that Article XVII, revision of the constitution may not be
drafted the same proposed changes that the section 2, does not apply to changes accomplished by initiative, because of
Lambino Group wrote in the present initiative, to the constitution proposed by the provisions of Article XVII, section
the changes would constitute a revision of the initiative. His theory is that Article 2. After reviewing Article XVII,
Constitution. Thus, the Lambino Group XVII, section 2 merely provides a section1, relating to proposed
concedes that the proposed changes in procedure by which the legislature amendments, the court said:
the present initiative constitute a revision can propose a revision of the
if Congress or a constitutional convention constitution, but it does not affect "From the foregoing it appears that
had drafted the changes. However, since proposed revisions initiated by the Article IV, Section 1, authorizes the
the Lambino Group as private individuals people. use of the initiative as a means of
drafted the proposed changes, the changes amending the Oregon Constitution,
are merely amendments to the Constitution. Plaintiffs argue that the proposed but it contains no similar sanction for
The Lambino Group trivializes the serious ballot measure constitutes a its use as a means of revising the
matter of changing the fundamental law of the wholesale change to the constitution constitution." x x x x
land. that cannot be enacted through the
initiative process. They assert that the It then reviewed Article XVII, section 2,
The express intent of the framers and the distinction between amendment and relating to revisions, and said: "It is the
plain language of the revision is determined by reviewing only section of the constitution which
Constitution contradict the Lambino Group's the scope and subject matter of the provides the means for constitutional
theory. Where the intent of the framers and proposed enactment, and that revision and it excludes the idea that
the language of the Constitution are clear and revisions are not limited to "a formal an individual, through the initiative,
plainly stated, courts do not deviate from such overhauling of the constitution." They may place such a measure before the
categorical intent and language.45 Any theory argue that this ballot measure electorate." x x x x
espousing a construction contrary to such proposes far reaching changes
intent and language deserves scant outside the lines of the original Accordingly, we reject Mabon's
consideration. More so, if such theory wreaks instrument, including profound impacts argument that Article XVII, section
2, does not apply to constitutional affect the structure of government or the In the present initiative, the Lambino Group's
revisions proposed by initiative. system of checks-and-balances among or proposed Section 2 of the Transitory
(Emphasis supplied) within the three branches. These three Provisions states:
examples are located at the far green end of
Similarly, this Court must reject the Lambino the spectrum, opposite the far red end where Section 2. Upon the expiration of the
Group's theory which negates the express the revision sought by the present petition is term of the incumbent President and
intent of the framers and the plain language of located. Vice President, with the exception of
the Constitution. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of
However, there can be no fixed rule on Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
We can visualize amendments and revisions whether a change is an amendment or a which shall hereby be amended and
as a spectrum, at one end green for revision. A change in a single word of one Sections 18 and 24 which shall be
amendments and at the other end red for sentence of the Constitution may be a revision deleted, all other Sections of Article VI
revisions. Towards the middle of the and not an amendment. For example, the are hereby retained and renumbered
spectrum, colors fuse and difficulties arise in substitution of the word "republican" with sequentially as Section 2, ad seriatim
determining whether there is an amendment "monarchic" or "theocratic" in Section 1, up to 26, unless they are
or revision. The present initiative is Article II50 of the Constitution radically inconsistent with the Parliamentary
indisputably located at the far end of the red overhauls the entire structure of government system of government, in which
spectrum where revision begins. The present and the fundamental ideological basis of the case, they shall be amended to
initiative seeks a radical overhaul of the Constitution. Thus, each specific change will conform with a unicameral
existing separation of powers among the three have to be examined case-by-case, parliamentary form of government;
co-equal departments of government, depending on how it affects other provisions, x x x x (Emphasis supplied)
requiring far-reaching amendments in several as well as how it affects the structure of
sections and articles of the Constitution. government, the carefully crafted system of The basic rule in statutory construction is that
checks-and-balances, and the underlying if a later law is irreconcilably inconsistent with
Where the proposed change applies only to a ideological basis of the existing Constitution. a prior law, the later law prevails. This rule
specific provision of the Constitution without also applies to construction of constitutions.
affecting any other section or article, the Since a revision of a constitution affects basic However, the Lambino Group's draft of
change may generally be considered an principles, or several provisions of a Section 2 of the Transitory Provisions turns on
amendment and not a revision. For example, constitution, a deliberative body with its head this rule of construction by stating that
a change reducing the voting age from 18 recorded proceedings is best suited to in case of such irreconcilable inconsistency,
years to 15 years47 is an amendment and not undertake a revision. A revision requires the earlier provision "shall be amended to
a revision. Similarly, a change reducing harmonizing not only several provisions, but conform with a unicameral parliamentary form
Filipino ownership of mass media companies also the altered principles with those that of government." The effect is to freeze the two
from 100 percent to 60 percent is an remain unaltered. Thus, constitutions normally irreconcilable provisions until the earlier one
amendment and not a revision.48 Also, a authorize deliberative bodies like constituent "shall be amended," which requires a future
change requiring a college degree as an assemblies or constitutional conventions to separate constitutional amendment.
additional qualification for election to the undertake revisions. On the other hand,
Presidency is an amendment and not a constitutions allow people's initiatives, which Realizing the absurdity of the need for such
revision.49 do not have fixed and identifiable deliberative an amendment, petitioner Atty. Lambino
bodies or recorded proceedings, to undertake readily conceded during the oral arguments
The changes in these examples do not entail only amendments and not revisions. that the requirement of a future amendment is
any modification of sections or articles of the a "surplusage." In short, Atty. Lambino wants
Constitution other than the specific provision to reinstate the rule of statutory construction
being amended. These changes do not also so that the later provision automatically
prevails in case of irreconcilable In sum, there is no doubt whatsoever that the present initiative must first comply with
inconsistency. However, it is not as simple as Lambino Group's initiative is a revision and Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution even
that. not an amendment. Thus, the present initiative before complying with RA 6735.
is void and unconstitutional because it violates
The irreconcilable inconsistency envisioned in Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution Even then, the present initiative violates
the proposed Section 2 of the Transitory limiting the scope of a people's initiative Section 5(b) of RA 6735 which requires that
Provisions is not between a provision in Article to "[A]mendments to this Constitution." the "petition for an initiative on the 1987
VI of the 1987 Constitution and a provision in Constitution must have at least twelve per
the proposed changes. The inconsistency is 3. A Revisit of Santiago v. COMELEC is Not centum (12%) of the total number of
between a provision in Article VI of the 1987 Necessary registered voters as signatories." Section
Constitution and the "Parliamentary system 5(b) of RA 6735 requires that the people must
of government," and the inconsistency shall The present petition warrants dismissal for sign the "petition x x x as signatories."
be resolved in favor of a "unicameral failure to comply with the basic requirements
parliamentary form of government." of Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution on The 6.3 million signatories did not sign the
the conduct and scope of a people's initiative petition of 25 August 2006 or the amended
Now, what "unicameral parliamentary form to amend the Constitution. There is no need to petition of 30 August 2006 filed with the
of government" do the Lambino Group's revisit this Court's ruling in Santiago declaring COMELEC. Only Atty. Lambino, Atty.
proposed changes refer to the RA 6735 "incomplete, inadequate or wanting Demosthenes B. Donato, and Atty. Alberto
Bangladeshi, Singaporean, Israeli, or New in essential terms and conditions" to cover the C. Agra signed the petition and amended
Zealand models, which are among system of initiative to amend the Constitution. petition as counsels for "Raul L. Lambino
the few countries with unicameral An affirmation or reversal of Santiago will not and Erico B. Aumentado, Petitioners." In
parliaments? The proposed changes change the outcome of the present petition. the COMELEC, the Lambino Group, claiming
could not possibly refer to the traditional and Thus, this Court must decline to to act "together with" the 6.3 million
well-known parliamentary forms of revisit Santiago which effectively ruled that signatories, merely attached the signature
government the British, French, Spanish, RA 6735 does not comply with the sheets to the petition and amended petition.
German, Italian, Canadian, Australian, or requirements of the Constitution to implement Thus, the petition and amended petition filed
Malaysian models, which have the initiative clause on amendments to the with the COMELEC did not even comply with
all bicameral parliaments. Did the people who Constitution. the basic requirement of RA 6735 that the
signed the signature sheets realize that they Lambino Group claims as valid.
were adopting the Bangladeshi, Singaporean, This Court must avoid revisiting a ruling
Israeli, or New Zealand parliamentary form of involving the constitutionality of a statute if the The Lambino Group's logrolling initiative also
government? case before the Court can be resolved on violates Section 10(a) of RA 6735 stating, "No
some other grounds. Such avoidance is a petition embracing more than one (1)
This drives home the point that the people's logical consequence of the well-settled subject shall be submitted to the
initiative is not meant for revisions of the doctrine that courts will not pass upon the electorate; x x x." The proposed Section 4(4)
Constitution but only for amendments. A shift constitutionality of a statute if the case can be of the Transitory Provisions, mandating the
from the present Bicameral-Presidential to a resolved on some other grounds.51 interim Parliament to propose further
Unicameral-Parliamentary system requires amendments or revisions to the Constitution,
harmonizing several provisions in many Nevertheless, even assuming that RA 6735 is is a subject matter totally unrelated to the shift
articles of the Constitution. Revision of the valid to implement the constitutional provision in the form of government. Since the present
Constitution through a people's initiative will on initiatives to amend the Constitution, this initiative embraces more than one subject
only result in gross absurdities in the will not change the result here because the matter, RA 6735 prohibits submission of the
Constitution. present petition violates Section 2, Article XVII initiative petition to the electorate. Thus, even
of the Constitution. To be a valid initiative, the
if RA 6735 is valid, the Lambino Group's waters, to be tossed and turned by every changes by political groups gathering
initiative will still fail. dominant political group of the day. If this signatures through false promises. Then, the
Court allows today a cavalier change in the Constitution ceases to be the bedrock of the
4. The COMELEC Did Not Commit Grave Constitution outside the constitutionally nation's stability.
Abuse of Discretion in Dismissing the prescribed modes, tomorrow the new
Lambino Group's Initiative dominant political group that comes will The Lambino Group claims that their initiative
demand its own set of changes in the same is the "people's voice." However, the Lambino
In dismissing the Lambino Group's initiative cavalier and unconstitutional fashion. A Group unabashedly states in ULAP
petition, the COMELEC en banc merely revolving-door constitution does not augur Resolution No. 2006-02, in the verification of
followed this Court's ruling well for the rule of law in this country. their petition with the COMELEC, that "ULAP
in Santiago and People's Initiative for maintains its unqualified support to the
Reform, Modernization and Action (PIRMA) An overwhelming majority 16,622,111 agenda of Her Excellency President Gloria
v. COMELEC.52 For following this Court's voters comprising 76.3 percent of the total Macapagal-Arroyo for constitutional reforms."
ruling, no grave abuse of discretion is votes cast53 approved our Constitution in a The Lambino Group thus admits that their
attributable to the COMELEC. On this ground national plebiscite held on 11 February "people's" initiative is an "unqualified support
alone, the present petition warrants outright 1987. That approval is the unmistakable to the agenda" of the incumbent President to
dismissal. Thus, this Court should reiterate voice of the people, the full expression of change the Constitution. This forewarns the
its unanimous ruling in PIRMA: the people's sovereign will. That approval Court to be wary of incantations of "people's
included the prescribed modes for voice" or "sovereign will" in the present
The Court ruled, first, by a unanimous amending or revising the Constitution. initiative.
vote, that no grave abuse of discretion
could be attributed to the public No amount of signatures, not even the This Court cannot betray its primordial duty to
respondent COMELEC in dismissing 6,327,952 million signatures gathered by the defend and protect the Constitution. The
the petition filed by PIRMA therein, it Lambino Group, can change our Constitution Constitution, which embodies the people's
appearing that it only complied with contrary to the specific modes that the people, sovereign will, is the bible of this Court. This
the dispositions in the Decisions of in their sovereign capacity, prescribed when Court exists to defend and protect the
this Court in G.R. No. 127325, they ratified the Constitution. The alternative is Constitution. To allow this constitutionally
promulgated on March 19, 1997, and an extra-constitutional change, which infirm initiative, propelled by deceptively
its Resolution of June 10, 1997. means subverting the people's sovereign gathered signatures, to alter basic principles
will and discarding the Constitution. This is in the Constitution is to allow a desecration of
5. Conclusion one act the Court cannot and should never do. the Constitution. To allow such alteration and
As the ultimate guardian of the Constitution, desecration is to lose this Court's raison
this Court is sworn to perform its solemn duty d'etre.
The Constitution, as the fundamental law of
to defend and protect the Constitution, which
the land, deserves the utmost respect and
embodies the real sovereign will of the people. WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition in
obedience of all the citizens of this nation. No
one can trivialize the Constitution by cavalierly G.R. No. 174153.
amending or revising it in blatant violation of Incantations of "people's voice," "people's
the clearly specified modes of amendment sovereign will," or "let the people decide" SO ORDERED.
and revision laid down in the Constitution cannot override the specific modes of
itself. changing the Constitution as prescribed in the Panganiban, C.J., Puno, Quisumbing, Ynares-
Constitution itself. Otherwise, the Constitution Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-
the people's fundamental covenant that Martinez, Corona, Carpio Morales, Callejo,
To allow such change in the fundamental law
provides enduring stability to our society
is to set adrift the Constitution in unchartered
becomes easily susceptible to manipulative
Sr., Azcuna, Tinga, Chico-Nazario, Garcia, Republic Act 6735 and Comelec Resolution "While R.A. 6735 may not be a perfect
and Velasco, Jr., JJ., concur. 2300 provide more than sufficient law, it was as the majority openly
concedes intended by the
____________________ __________________ legislature to cover and, I respectfully
submit, it contains enough provisions
EN BANC 'SEC. 2. Amendments to this to effectuate an initiative on the
Constitution may likewise be directly Constitution. I completely agree with
proposed by the people through the inspired and inspiring opinions of
G.R. No. 174153 October 25, 2006
initiative upon a petition of at least Mr. Justice Reynato S. Puno and Mr.
twelve per centum of the total number Justice Ricardo J. Francisco that RA
RAUL L. LAMBINO AND ERICO B. 6735, the Roco law on initiative,
AUMENTADO, TOGETHER WITH 6,327,952 of registered voters, of which every
legislative district must be represented sufficiently implements the right of the
REGISTERED VOTERS V. COMMISSION people to initiate amendments to the
ON ELECTIONS ET AL. by at least three per centum of the
registered voters therein. No Constitution. Such views, which I shall
amendment under this section shall be no longer repeat nor elaborate on, are
SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION thoroughly consistent with this Court's
authorized within five years following
the ratification of this Constitution nor unanimous en banc rulings in Subic
PANGANIBAN, CJ.: oftener than once every five years Bay Metropolitan Authority vs.
thereafter.' Commission on Elections, that
"provisions for initiative . . . are (to be)
there can be no lasting prosperity and certainly no
liberally construed to effectuate their
"With all due respect, I find the
purposes, to facilitate and not hamper
majority's position all too sweeping
McLachlin 1 the exercise by the voters of the rights
and all too extremist. It is equivalent to
granted thereby"; and in Garcia vs.
burning the whole house to
Comelec, that any "effort to trivialize
exterminate the rats, and to killing the
the effectiveness of people's initiatives
patient to relieve him of pain. What
After a deep reflection on the issues raised ought to be rejected."
Citizen Delfin wants the Comelec to
and a careful evaluation of the parties'
do we should reject. But we should not
respective arguments -- both oral and written - "No law can completely and absolutely
thereby preempt any future effort to
- as well as the enlightened and enlightening cover all administrative details. In
exercise the right of initiative correctly
Opinions submitted by my esteemed recognition of this, R.A. 6735 wisely
and judiciously. The fact that the
colleagues, I am fully convinced that the empowered the Commission on
Delfin Petition proposes a misuse of
present Petition must be dismissed. Election "to promulgate such rules and
initiative does not justify a ban against
its proper use. Indeed, there is a right regulations as may be necessary to
I write, however, to show that my present way to do the right thing at the right carry out the purposes of this Act."
disposition is completely consistent with my time and for the right reason. And pursuant thereto, the Comelec
previous Opinions and votes on the two extant issued its Resolution 2300 on 16
Supreme Court cases involving an initiative to January 1991. Such Resolution, by its
Taken Together and Interpreted
change the Constitution. very words, was promulgated "to
Properly,
govern the conduct of initiative on the
the Constitution, R.A. 6735 and
In my Separate Opinion in Santiago v. Constitution and initiative and
Comelec Resolution
Comelec,2 I opined "that taken together and referendum on national and local
2300 Are Sufficient to Implement
interpreted properly and liberally, the laws," not by the incumbent
Constitutional Initiatives
Constitution (particularly Art. XVII, Sec. 2), Commission on Elections but by one
then composed of Acting Chairperson "I am glad the majority decided to democratic rights of our people to be
Haydee B. Yorac, Comms. Alfredo heed our plea to lift the temporary used as
restraining order issued by this Court
authority to implement, effectuate and realize on 18 December 1996 insofar as it Six months after, in my Separate Opinion
our people's power to amend the prohibited Petitioner Delfin and the in People's Initiative for Reform,
Constitution." Spouses Pedrosa from exercising Modernization and Action (PIRMA) v.
their right of initiative. In fact, I believe Comelec,3 I joined the rest of the members of
__________________ that such restraining order as against the Court in ruling "by a unanimous vote, that
private respondents should not have no grave abuse of discretion could be
been issued, in the first place. While I attributed to the Comelec in dismissing the
E. Abueg, Jr., Leopoldo L. Africa,
agree that the Comelec should be petition filed by
Andres R. Flores, Dario C. Rama and
stopped from using public funds and
Magdara B. Dimaampao. All of these
government resources to help them __________________
Commissioners who signed
gather signatures, I firmly believe that
Resolution 2300 have retired from the
this Court has no power to restrain
Commission, and thus we cannot Constitution x x x." While concededly,
them from exercising their right of
ascribe any vile motive unto them, petitioners in this case were not direct
initiative. The right to propose
other than an honest, sincere and parties in Santiago, nonetheless the
amendments to the Constitution is
exemplary effort to give life to a Court's injunction against the Comelec
really a species of the right of free
cherished right of our people. covered ANY petition, not just the
speech and free assembly. And
Delfin petition which was the
certainly, it would be tyrannical and
"The majority argues that while immediate subject of said case. As a
despotic to stop anyone from speaking
Resolution 2300 is valid in regard to dissenter in Santiago, I believed,
freely and persuading others to
national laws and local legislations, it and still do, that the majority
conform to his/her beliefs. As the
is void in reference to constitutional gravely erred in rendering such a
eminent Voltaire once said, 'I may
amendments. There is no basis for sweeping injunction, but I cannot
disagree with what you say, but I will
such differentiation. The source of and fault the Comelec for complying
defend to the death your right to say
authority for the Resolution is the with the ruling even if it, too,
it.' After all, freedom is not really for
same law, R.A. 6735. disagreed with said decision's ratio
the thought we agree with, but as
decidendi. Respondent Comelec
Justice Holmes wrote, 'freedom for the
"I respectfully submit that taken was directly enjoined by the
thought that we hate.'
together and interpreted properly and highest Court of the land. It had no
liberally, the Constitution (particularly choice but to obey. Its obedience
Epilogue cannot constitute grave abuse of
Art. XVII, Sec. 2), R.A. 6735 and
Comelec Resolution 2300 provide discretion. Refusal to act on the
"By way of epilogue, let me stress the PIRMA petition was the only recourse
more than sufficient authority to
guiding tenet of my Separate Opinion. open to the Comelec. Any other mode
implement, effectuate and realize our
Initiative, like referendum and recall, is of action would have constituted
people's power to amend the
a new and treasured feature of the defiance of the Court and would have
Constitution.
Filipino constitutional system. All three been struck down as grave abuse of
are institutionalized legacies of the discretion and contumacious disregard
Petitioner Delfin and the Pedrosa world-admired EDSA people power. of this Court's supremacy as the final
Spouses Should Not Be Muzzled Like elections and plebiscites, they are arbiter of justiciable controversies.
hallowed expressions of popular
sovereignty. They are sacred
Second Issue: the majority implicitly conceded its "Pursuant to Section 3(f) of the law,
Sufficiency of RA 6735 value and worth in our legal firmament the Comelec shall prescribe the form
when it implored Congress "not to of the petition which shall contain the
"I repeat my firm legal position that tarry any longer in complying with the proposition and the required number
RA 6735 is adequate to cover constitutional mandate to provide for of signatories. Under Sec. 5(c)
initiatives on the Constitution, and implementation of the right (of thereof, the petition shall state the
that whatever administrative details initiative) of the people x x x." Hence, following:
may have been omitted in said law in the en banc case of Subic Bay
are satisfactorily provided by Metropolitan Authority vs. Comelec, 'c.1 contents or text of the
Comelec Resolution 2300. The [G.R. No. 125416, September 26, [provision or provisions]
promulgation of Resolution 2300 is 1996], this Court unanimously held sought to be x x x amended, x
sanctioned by Section 2, Article IX-C that "(l)ike elections, initiative and x x;
of the Constitution, which vests upon referendum are powerful and valuable
the Comelec the power to "enforce modes of expressing popular c.2 the proposition [in full text];
and administer all laws and
regulations relative to the conduct of PIRMA therein," since the Commission had c.3 the reason or reasons
an election, plebiscite, initiative, "only complied" with the Santiago Decision. therefor [fully and clearly
referendum and recall." The Omnibus explained];
Election Code likewise empowers the __________________
electoral body to "promulgate rules
c.4 that it is not one of
and regulations implementing the sovereignty. And this Court as a exceptions provided herein;
provisions of this Code or other laws matter of policy and doctrine will exert
which the Commission is required to every effort to nurture, protect and
enforce and administer x x x." Finally c.5 signatures of the
promote their legitimate exercise." petitioners or registered
and most relevantly, Section 20 of Ra
6735 specifically authorizes Comelec voters; and
The Right Way
"to promulgate rules and regulations
as may be necessary to carry out the c.6 an abstract or summary
purposes of this Act." "From the outset, I have already proposition in not more than
maintained the view that "taken one hundred (100) words
together and interpreted properly and which shall be legibly written
"In my dissent in Santiago, I wrote that
liberally, the Constitution (particularly or printed at the top of every
"there is a right way to do the right
Art. XVII, Sec. 2), RA 6735 and page of the petition.'
thing at the right time and for
Comelec Resolution 2300 provide
the right reason." Let me explain
more than sufficient authority to "Section 8(f) of Comelec Resolution
further.
implement, effectuate and realize our 2300 additionally requires that the
people's power to amend the petition include a formal designation of
The Right Thing Constitution." Let me now the duly authorized representatives of
demonstrate the adequacy of RA 6735 the signatories.
"A people's initiative is direct by outlining, in concrete terms, the
democracy in action. It is the right steps to be taken the right way to
thing that citizens may avail "Being a constitutional requirement,
amend the Constitution through a
themselves of to articulate their will. It the number of signatures becomes a
people's initiative.
is a new and treasured feature of the condition precedent to the filing of the
Filipino constitutional system. Even petition, and is jurisdictional. Without
such requisite signatures, the plebiscite, becomes effective as of the registered voters nationwide, of which
Commission shall motu proprio reject day of the plebiscite. every legislative district is represented
the petition. by at least 3% of the registered voters
"From the foregoing, it should be clear therein?
"Where the initiators have that my position upholding the
substantially complied with the above adequacy of RA 6735 and the validity "I shall expound on the third question
requirements, they may thence file the of Comelec Resolution 2300 will in the next section, The Right Reason.
petition with the Comelec which is not ipso facto validate the PIRMA Question Nos. 1 and 2 above, while
tasked to determine the sufficiency petition and automatically lead to a important, are basically legal in
thereof and to verify the signatures on plebiscite to amend the Constitution. character and can be determined by
the basis of the registry list of voters, Far from it. Among others, PIRMA argumentation and memoranda.
voters' affidavits and voters' must still satisfactorily hurdle the However, Question No. 4 involves not
identification cards. In deciding following searching issues: only legal issues but gargantuan
whether the petition is sufficient, the hurdles of factual determination. This
Comelec shall also determine if the 1. Does the proposed change the to my mind is the crucible, the litmus
proposition is proper for an lifting of the term limits of elective test, of a people's petition for initiative.
initiative, i.e., if it consists of an officials -- constitute a mere If herein petitioners, led by PIRMA,
amendment, not a revision, of the amendment and not a revision of the succeed in proving -- not just alleging -
Constitution. Any decision of the Constitution? - that six million voters of this country
electoral body may be appealed to the indeed want to amend the
Supreme Court within thirty (30) days 2. Which registry of voters will be used Constitution, what power on earth can
from notice. to verify the signatures in the petition? stop them? Not this Court, not the
This question is relevant considering Comelec, not even the President or
I added "that my position upholding the that under RA 8189, the old registry of Congress.
adequacy of RA 6735 and the validity of voters used in the 1995 national
Comelec Resolution 2300 will not ipso elections was voided after the facto validate the PIRMA petition and
barangay elections on May 12, 1997, automatically lead to a plebiscite to amend the
__________________ while the new list may be used starting Constitution. Far from it." I stressed that
only in the elections of May 1998. PIRMA must show the following, among
"Within thirty (30) days from receipt of others:
the petition, and after the 3. Does the clamor for the proposed
determination of its sufficiency, the change in the Constitution really __________________
Comelec shall publish the same in emanate from the people who signed
Filipino and English at least twice in the petition for initiative? Or it is the "It took only one million people to
newspapers of general and local beneficiaries of term extension who stage a peaceful revolution at EDSA,
circulation, and set the date of the are in fact orchestrating such move to and the very rafters and foundations of
plebiscite. The conduct of the advance their own political self- the martial law society trembled,
plebiscite should not be earlier than interest? quaked and crumbled. On the other
sixty (60) days, but not later than hand, PIRMA and its co-petitioners
ninety (90) days after certification by 4. Are the six million signatures are claiming that they have gathered
the Comelec of the sufficiency of the genuine and verifiable? Do they really six million signatures. If, as claimed by
petition. The proposition, if approved belong to qualified warm bodies many, these six million signatures are
by a majority of the votes cast in the comprising at least 12% of the fraudulent, then let them be exposed
and damned for all history in a
signature-verification process representatives.' As ponente or constituting Congress into a
conducted under our open system of of Subic Bay, I stand foursquare on constituent assembly. These are
legal advocacy. this principle: The right to amend officialdom's weapons. But initiative
through initiative belongs only to belongs to the people.
"More than anything else, it is the truth the people not to the government
that I, as a member of this Court and and its minions. This principle finds "In the present case, are PIRMA and
as a citizen of this country, would like clear support from utterances of many its co-petitioners legitimate people's
to seek: Are these six million constitutional commissioners like organizations or are they merely fronts
signatures real? By insisting on an those quoted below: for incumbents who want to extend
entirely new doctrine of statutory their terms? This is a factual question
inadequacy, the majority effectively "[Initiative is] a reserve power of the which, unfortunately, cannot
suppressed the quest for that truth. sovereign people, when they are be judicially answered anymore,
dissatisfied with the National because the Supreme Court majority
The Right Reason Assembly x x x [and] precisely a ruled that the law that implements it,
fallback position of the people in the RA 6735, is inadequate or insufficient
"As mentioned, the third question that event that they are dissatisfied." -- insofar as initiatives to the
must be answered, even if the Commissioner Ople Constitutions are concerned. With
adequacy of RA 6735 and the validity such ruling, the majority effectively
of Comelec Resolution 2300 were "[Initiative is] a check on a legislative abrogated a constitutional right of our
upheld by the majority is: Does the that is not responsive [and resorted to] people. That is why in my Separate
clamor for the proposed change to the only if the legislature is not as Opinion in Santiago, I exclaimed that
Constitution really emanate from the responsive to the vital and urgent such precipitate action "is equivalent
people who signed the petition for needs of people." -- Commissioner to burning the whole house to
initiative? Or is it the beneficiaries of Gascon exterminate the rats, and to killing the
term extension who are in fact patient to relieve him of pain." I firmly
orchestrating such move to advance (1) The proposed change -- the lifting of term maintain that to defeat PIRMA's effort,
their own political self-interests? In limits of elective officials -- "constitute[s] a there is no need to "burn" the
other words, is PIRMA's exercise of mere amendment and not a revision of the constitutional right to initiative. If
the right to initiative being done in Constitution." PIRMA's exercise is not "legitimate," it
accordance with our Constitution and can be exposed as such in the ways I
our laws? Is such attempted exercise have discussed short of abrogating
_________________
legitimate? the right itself. On the other hand, if
PIRMA's position is proven to be
"[Initiative is an] extraordinary power legitimate if it hurdles the four issues
"In Garcia vs. Commission on given to the people [and] reserved for I outlined earlier by all means, we
Elections, we described initiative, the people [which] should not be should allow and encourage it. But the
along with referendum, as the frivolously resorted to." -- majority's theory of statutory
'ultimate weapon of the people to Commissioner Romulo inadequacy has pre-empted
negate government malfeasance and
unnecessarily and invalidly, in my view
misfeasance.' In Subic Bay, we "Indeed, if the powers-that-be desire any judicial determination of such
specified that 'initiative is entirely the to amend the Constitution, or even to legitimacy or illegitimacy. It has
work of the electorate x x x a process revise it, our Charter itself provides silenced the quest for truth into the
of lawmaking by the people them other ways of doing so, namely, interstices of the PIRMA petition.
themselves without the participation by calling a constitutional convention
and against the wishes of their elected
The Right Time "Thus, even if the Court were to rule campaign period for other elective
now in favor of the adequacy of RA officials, on March 17, 1998. This
"The Constitution itself sets a time 6735 as I believe it should and means, by the time PIRMA's
limitation on when changes thereto allow the Comelec to act on the proposition is ready if ever for
may be proposed. Section 2 of Article PIRMA petition, such eight-month submission directly to the voters at
XVII precludes amendments "within period will not be enough to tackle the large, it will have been overcome by
five years following [its] ratification x x four weighty issues I mentioned the elections. Time will simply run out
x nor oftener than once every five earlier, considering that two of them on PIRMA, if the intention is to lift term
years thereafter." Since its ratification, involve tedious factual questions. The limits in time for the 1998 elections.
the 1987 Constitution has never been Comelec's decision on any of these
amended. Hence, the five-year issues can still be elevated to this "That term limits may no longer be
prohibition is now inoperative and Court for review, and reconsiderations lifted prior to the 1998 elections via a
amendments may theoretically be on our decisions on each of those people's initiative does not detract one
proposed at any time. issues may again be sought. whit from (1) my firm conviction that
RA 6735 is sufficient and adequate to
"Be that as it may, I believe given "Comelec's herculean task alone of implement this constitutional right and,
the present circumstances that there verifying each of the six million more important, (2) my faith in the
is no more time to lift term limits to signatures is enormously time- power of the people to initiate changes
enable incumbents to seek reelection consuming, considering that any in local and national laws and the
in the May 11, 1998 polls. Between person may question the authenticity Constitution. In fact, I think the Court
today and the next national of each and every signature, initially can deliberate on these two items
before the election registrar, then even more serenely and wisely now
(2) The "six million signatures are genuine before the Comelec on appeal and that the debates will be free from the
and verifiable"; and they "really belong to finally, before this Court in a separate din and distraction of the 1998
qualified warm bodies comprising at proceeding. Moreover, the plebiscite elections. After all, jurisprudence is not
itself assuming such stage can be merely for the here and now but, more
reached may be scheduled only so, for the hereafter and the morrow.
__________________
after sixty (60) but not more than Let me therefore stress, by way of
ninety (90) days, from the time the epilogue, my unbending credo in favor
elections, less than eight (8) months Comelec and this Court, on appeal, of our people's right to initiative.
remain. Santiago, where the single finally declare the petition to be
issue of the sufficiency of RA 6735 sufficient. least 12% of the registered voters nationwide,
was resolved, took this Court three (3)
of which every legislative district is
months, and another two (2) months
"Meanwhile, under Comelec represented by at least 3% of the registered
to decide the motion for
Resolution 2946, political parties, voters therein."
reconsideration. The instant case,
groups organizations or coalitions may
where the same issue is also raised
start selecting their official candidates __________________
by the petitioners, took two months,
for President, Vice President and
not counting a possible motion for
Senators on November 27, 1997; the Epilogue
reconsideration. These time spans
period for filing certificates of
could not be abbreviated any further,
candidacy is from January 11 to
because due process requires that all "I believe in democracy in our
February 9, 1998; the election period
parties be given sufficient time to file people's natural right to determine our
and campaign for national officials
their pleadings. own destiny.
start on February 10, 1998, while the
"I believe in the process of initiative as conduct a nationwide verification thing is being rushed in the wrong way and
a democratic method of enabling our process as mandated by the for the wrong reasons. Let me explain.
people to express their will and chart Constitution and the law. Such
their history. Initiative is an alternative verification, it bears stressing, is No Grave Abuse
to bloody revolution, internal chaos subject to review by this Court.
and civil strife. It is an inherent right of of Discretion by Comelec
the people as basic as the right to "There were, by the most generous
elect, the right to self-determination estimate, only a million people who As in PIRMA, I find no grave abuse of
and the right to individual liberties. I gathered at EDSA in 1986, and yet discretion in Comelec's dismissal of the
believe that Filipinos have the ability they changed the history of our Lambino Petition. After all, the Commission
and the capacity to rise above country. PIRMA claims six times that merely followed the holding
themselves, to use this right of number, not just from the National in Santiago permanently
initiative wisely and maturely, and to Capital Region but from all over the
choose what is best for themselves country. Is this claim through the
and their posterity. ____________________
invention of its novel theory of
statutory insufficiency, the Court's
"Such beliefs, however, should not be majority has stifled the only legal "In the ultimate, the mission of the
equated with a desire to perpetuate a method of determining whether judiciary is to discover truth and to
particular official or group of officials in PIRMA is real or not, whether there is make it prevail. This mission is
power. Far from it. Such perpetuation indeed a popular clamor to lift term undertaken not only to resolve the
is anathema to democracy. My firm limits of elected officials, and whether vagaries of present events but also to
conviction that there is an adequate six million voters want to initiate build the pathways of tomorrow. The
law implementing the constitutional amendments to their most basic law. sum total of the entire process of
right of initiative does not ipso In suppressing a judicial answer to adversarial litigation is the verity of
facto result in the victory of the PIRMA such questions, the Court may have facts and the application of law
petition or of any proposed unwittingly yielded to PIRMA the thereto. By the majority cop-out in this
constitutional change. There are, after benefit of the legal presumption of mission of discovery, our country and
all, sufficient safeguards to guarantee legality and regularity. In its misplaced our people have been deprived not
the proper use of such constitutional zeal to exterminate the rats, it burned only of a basic constitutional right, as
right and to forestall its misuse and down the whole house. It earlier noted, but also of the judicial
abuse. First, initiative cannot be used unceremoniously divested the people opportunity to verify the truth."
to revise the Constitution, only to of a basic constitutional right.
amend it. Second, the petitioners' enjoining the poll body "from entertaining or
signatures must be validated against In both Opinions, I concluded that we must taking cognizance of any petition for initiative
an existing list of voters and/or voters' implement "the right thing [initiative] in the on amendments to the Constitution until a
identification cards. Third, initiative is a right way at the right time and for the right sufficient law shall have been validly enacted
reverse power of and by the people, reason." to provide for the implementation of the
not of incumbent officials and their system."
machinators. Fourth and most In the present case, I steadfastly stand by my
important of all, the signatures must foregoing Opinions Indeed, the Comelec did not violate the
be verified as real and genuine; not in Santiago and PIRMA. Tested against them, Constitution, the laws or any
concocted, fictitious or fabricated. The the present Petition of Raul Lambino and jurisprudence.4 Neither can whim, caprice,
only legal way to do this is to enable Erico Aumentado must be arbitrariness or personal bias be attributed
the Commission on Elections to DISMISSED. Unfortunately, the right to the Commission.5 Quite the contrary, it
prudently followed this Court's jurisprudence the exercise of the right are substantially under a unicameral-parliamentary system,
in Santiago and PIRMA. Even assuming changed, the Comelec cannot be faulted for "[b]y any legal test and under any jurisdiction,"
arguendo that Comelec erred in ruling on a acting in accord with this Court's will "radically alter the framework of
very difficult and unsettled question of law, pronouncements. Respondent Commission government as set forth in the Constitution."
this Court still cannot attribute grave abuse of has no discretion, under any guise, to Indeed, the proposed changes have an overall
discretion to the poll body with respect to that refuse enforcement of any final decision of implication on the entire Constitution; they
action.6 this Court.8 The refusal of the poll body to act effectively rewrite its most important and basic
on the Lambino Petition was its only recourse. provisions. The prolixity and complexity of the
The present Lambino Petition is in exactly the Any other mode of action would appear not changes cannot be categorized, even by
same situation as that of PIRMA in 1997. The only presumptuous, but also contemptuous. It semantic generosity, as "amendments."
differences pointed out by Justice Reynato S. would have constituted defiance of the Court
Puno are, with due respect, superficial. It is and would have surely been struck down as In addition, may I say that of the three modes
argued that, unlike the present Lambino grave abuse of discretion and contumacious of changing the Constitution, revisions (or
Petition, PIRMA did not contain verified disregard of the supremacy of this Court as amendments) may be proposed only through
signatures. These are distinctions that do not the final arbiter of justiciable controversies. the first two: by Congress or by a
make a difference. Precisely, Justice Puno is constitutional convention. Under the third
urging a remand, because the verification Even assuming further that this Court rules, as mode -- people's initiative -- only amendments
issue is "contentious" and remains unproven I believe it should (for the reasons given in my are allowed. Many of the justices' Opinions
by petitioners. Clearly, both the PIRMA and Opinions in Santiago and PIRMA), that have cited the historical, philosophical and
the Lambino Petitions contain unverified Republic Act 6735 is indeed sufficient to jurisprudential bases of their respective
signatures. Therefore, they both deserve implement an initiative to amend the positions. I will not add to the woes of the
the same treatment: DISMISSAL. Constitution, still, no grave abuse of discretion reader by reiterating them here.
can be attributed to the Comelec for merely
Besides, the only reason given in the following prevailing jurisprudence extant at the Suffice it to say that, to me, the practical test
unanimous Resolution on PIRMA v. time it rendered its ruling in question. to differentiate an amendment from a revision
Comelec was that the Commission had "only is found in the Constitution itself: a revision
complied" with this Court's Decision Only Amendments, may be done only when the proposed
in Santiago, the same reason given by change can be drafted, defined,
Comelec in this case. The Separate Opinions Not Revisions articulated, discussed and agreed upon
in PIRMA gave no other reason. No one after a mature and democratic debate in a
argued, even remotely, that the PIRMA I reiterate that only amendments, not deliberative body like Congress or a
Petition should have been dismissed revisions, may be the proper subject of an Convention. The changes proposed must
because the signatures were unverified. initiative to change the Constitution. This necessarily be scrutinized, as their adoption or
principle is crystal clear from even a non-adoption must result from an informed
To stress, I adhere to my Opinion layperson's reading of the basic law.9 judgment.
in PIRMA that, "[b]eing a constitutional
requirement, the number of signatures I submit that changing the system of Indeed, the constitutional bodies that drafted
becomes a condition precedent to the filing of government from presidential to parliamentary the 1935, the 1972 and the 1987 Constitutions
the petition, and is jurisdictional.7 Without and the form of the legislature from bicameral had to spend many months of purposeful
those signatures, the Comelec shall motu to unicameral contemplates an overhaul of discussions, democratic debates and rounds
proprio reject the petition." the structure of government. The ponencia of voting before they could agree on the
has amply demonstrated that the merger of wordings covering the philosophy, the
So, until and unless Santiago is revisited and the legislative and the executive branches underlying principles, and the structure of
changed by this Court or the legal moorings of government of our Republic.
Verily, even bills creating or changing the Even Justice Puno concedes that the 12 I, too, believe in heeding the people's
administrative structure of local governments percent and 3 percent constitutional voice. I reiterate my Separate Opinion in
take several weeks or even months of requirements involve "contentious facts," PIRMA that "initiative is a democratic method
drafting, reading, and debating before which have not been proven by the Lambino of enabling our people to express their will
Congress can approve them. How much more Petition. Thus, he is urging a remand to the and chart their history. x x x. I believe that
when it comes to constitutional changes? Comelec. Filipinos have the ability and the capacity to
rise above themselves, to use this right of
A change in the form of government of our But a remand is both imprudent and futile. It initiative wisely and maturely, and to choose
country from presidential-bicameral to is imprudent because the Constitution itself what is best for themselves and their
parliamentary-unicameral is monumental. mandates the said requisites of an initiative posterity."
Even the initiative proponents admit this fact. petition. In other words, a petition that does
So, why should a revision be rammed down not show the required percentages is This belief will not, however, automatically and
our people's throats without the benefit of fatally defective and must be dismissed, as blindly result in an initiative to change the
intelligent discussion in a deliberative the Delfin Petition was, in Santiago. Constitution, because the present Petition
assembly? violates the following:
Furthermore, as the ponencia had discussed
Added to the constitutional mandate barring extensively, the present Petition is void and The Constitution (specifically Article XVII,
revisions is the provision of RA 6735 unconstitutional. It points out that the Petition which allows only amendments, not revisions,
expressly prohibiting petitions for initiative dismally fails to comply with the constitutional and requires definite percentages of verified
from "embracing more than one subject requirement that an initiative must be directly signatures)
matter."10 The present initiative covers at least proposed by the people. Specifically, the
two subjects: (1) the shift from a presidential ponencia has amply established that The law (specifically, Republic Act 6735,
to a parliamentary form of government; and petitioners were unable to show that the which prohibits petitions containing more than
(2) the change from a bicameral to a Lambino Petition contained, or incorporated one subject)
unicameral legislature.11 Thus, even under by attachment, the full text of the proposed
Republic Act 6735 -- the law that Justice Puno changes. Jurisprudence (specifically, PIRMA v.
and I hold to be sufficient and valid -- the Comelec, which dismissed the Petition then
Lambino Petition deserves dismissal. So, too, a remand is futile. Even if the under consideration on the ground that, by
required percentages are proven before following the Santiago ruling, the Comelec
12 Percent and 3 Percent Thresholds the Commission, the Petition must still be had not gravely abused its discretion).
Not Proven by Petitioners dismissed for proposing a revision, not an
amendment, in gross violation of the I submit further that a remand of the Lambino
The litmus test of a people's petition for Constitution. At the very least, it proposes Petition is both imprudent and futile. More
initiative is its ability to muster the more than one subject, in violation of Republic tellingly, it is a cop-out, a hand-
constitutional requirement that it be supported Act 6735. washing already discredited 2000 years
by at least 12 percent of the registered voters ago. Instead of finger-pointing, I believe we
nationwide, of which at least 3 percent of the Summation must confront the issues head on, because
registered voters in every legislative district the people expect no less from this august
must be represented. As pointed out by Petitioners plead with this Court to hear the and venerable institution of supreme justice.
Intervenors One Voice, Inc., et al., however, voice of the people because, in the words of
records show that there was a failure to meet Justice Puno who supports them, the Epilogue
the minimum percentages required.12 "people's voice is sovereign in a democracy."
At bottom, the issue in this case is simply from bogus efforts falsely attributed to the nation and the world for its independence,
the Rule of Law.13 Initiative, like referendum sovereign people. integrity, industry and intelligence.
and recall, is a treasured feature of the Filipino
constitutional system. It was born out of our The judiciary may be the weakest branch of WHEREFORE, I vote to DISMISS the Petition.
world-admired and often-imitated People government. Nonetheless, when ranged
Power, but its misuse and abuse must be against incessant voices from the more
resolutely rejected. Democracy must be powerful branches of government, ARTEMIO
it should V. PANGANIBAN
cherished, but mob rule vanquished. never cower in submission. OnChief the Justice
other
hand, I daresay that the same weakness of
The Constitution is a sacred social compact, the Court becomes its strength when it speaks ____________________
forged between the government and the independently through decisions that rightfully
people, between each individual and the rest uphold the supremacy of the Constitution EN BANC
of the citizenry. Through it, the people have and the Rule of Law. The strength of the
solemnly expressed their will that all of them judiciary lies not in its lack of brute power, but
G.R. No. 174153 October 25, 2006
shall be governed by laws, and their rights in its moral courage to perform its
limited by agreed-upon covenants to promote constitutional duty at all times against all
the common good. If we are to uphold the odds. Its might is in its being right.15 RAUL L. LAMBINO and ERICO B.
Rule of Law and reject the rule of the mob, we AUMENTADO, together with 6,327,952
must faithfully abide by the processes the REGISTERED VOTERS, Petitioners,
During the past weeks, media outfits have
Constitution has ordained in order to bring vs.
been ablaze with reports and innuendoes
about a peaceful, just and humane society. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET
about alleged carrots offered and sticks drawn
Assuming arguendo that six million people AL., Respondents.
by those interested in the outcome of this
allegedly gave their assent to the proposed case.16 There being no judicial proof of these
changes in the Constitution, they are allegations, I shall not comment on them for G.R. No. 174299 October 25, 2006
nevertheless still bound by the social the nonce, except to quote the Good Book,
covenant -- the present Constitution -- which which says, "There is nothing hidden that will MAR-LEN ABIGAIL BINAY, SOFRONIO
was ratified by a far greater majority almost not be revealed, and nothing secret that will UNTALAN, JR. and RENE A. Q.
twenty years ago.14 I do not denigrate the not be known and come to light."17 SAGUISAG, Petitioners,
majesty of the sovereign will; rather, I elevate vs.
our society to the loftiest perch, because our Verily, the Supreme Court is now on the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS,
government must remain as one of laws crossroads of history. By its decision, the represented by Chairman BENJAMIN S.
and not of men. Court and each of its members shall be ABALOS, JR. and Commissioners
judged by posterity. Ten years, fifty years, a RESURRECCION Z. BORRA, FLORENTINO
Upon assuming office, each of the justices of hundred years -- or even a thousand years -- A. TUASON, JR., ROMEO A. BRAWNER,
the Supreme Court took a solemn oath to from now, what the Court did here, and how RENE V. SARMIENTO, and John Doe and
uphold the Constitution. Being the protectors each justice opined and voted, will still be Peter Doe, Respondents.
of the fundamental law as the highest talked about, either in shame or in pride.
expression of the sovereign will, they must Indeed, the hand-washing of Pontius Pilate, x -----------------------------------------------------------
subject to the strictest scrutiny any attempt to the abomination of Dred Scott, and the ----------------------------- x
change it, lest it be trivialized and loathing of Javellana still linger and haunt to
degraded by the assaults of the mob and this day. SEPARATE OPINION
of ill-conceived designs. The Court must
single-mindedly defend the Constitution Let not this case fall into the same damnation. YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Rather, let this Court be known throughout the
I agree with the opinion of our esteemed attached to the signature sheets which were during the process of signature gathering.
colleague, Justice Reynato Puno, that the distributed for signing, he said that he merely Thus
Court's ruling in Santiago v. COMELEC1 is not assumed that they were. In other words, he
a binding precedent. However, it is my could not tell the Court for certain whether MR. RODRIGO. Section 2 of the
position that even if Santiago were reversed their representatives complied with this complete committee report provides:
and Republic Act No. 6735 (R.A. 6735) be requirement. "upon petition of at least 10 percent of
held as sufficient law for the purpose of the registered voters." How will we
people's initiative to amend the Constitution, The petition filed with the COMELEC, as well determine that 10 percent has been
the petition for initiative in this case must as that which was shown to this Court, achieved? How will the voters
nonetheless be dismissed. indubitably establish that the full text of the manifest their desire, is it by
proposed changes was not attached to the signature?
There is absolutely no showing here that signature sheets. All that the signature sheets
petitioners complied with R.A. 6735, even as contained was the general proposition and MR. SUAREZ. Yes, by signatures.
they blindly invoke the said law to justify their abstract, which falls short of the full text
alleged people's initiative. Section 5(b) of R.A. requirement of R.A. 6735. MR. RODRIGO. Let us look at the
6735 requires that "[a] petition for an mechanics. Let us say some voters
initiative on the 1987 Constitution must have The necessity of setting forth the text of the want to propose a constitutional
at least twelve per centum (12%) of the total proposed constitutional changes in the petition amendment. Is the draft of the
number of registered voters as signatories, for initiative to be signed by the people cannot proposed constitutional amendment
of which every legislative district must be be seriously disputed. To begin with, Article ready to be shown to the people when
represented by at least three per centum (3%) XVII, Section 2 of the Constitution they are asked to sign?
of the registered voters therein." On the other unequivocally states that "[a]mendments to
hand, Section 5(c)2 of the same law requires this Constitution may likewise be directly MR. SUAREZ. That can be
that the petition should state, among others, proposed by the people through reasonably assumed, Madam
the proposition3 or the "contents or text of the initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per President.
proposed law sought to be enacted, approved centum of the total number of registered
or rejected, amended or repealed." If we were voters, of which every legislative district must
to apply Section 5(c) to an initiative to amend MR. RODRIGO: What does the
be represented by at least three per centum of
the Constitution, as petitioners submit, the sponsor mean? The draft is ready and
the registered voters therein." Evidently, for
petition for initiative signed by the required shown to them before they sign. Now,
the people to propose amendments to the
number of voters should incorporate therein a who prepares the draft?
Constitution, they must, in the first instance,
text of the proposed changes to the know exactly what they are proposing. It is not
Constitution. However, such requirement was enough that they merely possess a general MR. SUAREZ: The people
not followed in the case at bar. idea of the proposed changes, as the themselves, Madam President.4
Constitution speaks of a "direct" proposal by
During the oral arguments, petitioner Lambino the people. It may thus be logically assumed that even
admitted that they printed a mere 100,000 without Section 5(c) of R.A. 6735, the full text
copies of the text of the proposed changes to Although the framers of the Constitution left of the proposed changes must necessarily be
the Constitution. According to him, these were the matter of implementing the constitutional stated in or attached to the initiative petition.
subsequently distributed to their agents all right of initiative to Congress, it might be noted The signatories to the petition must be given
over the country, for attachment to the sheets that they themselves reasonably assumed an opportunity to fully comprehend the
of paper on which the signatures were to be that the draft of the proposed constitutional meaning and effect of the proposed changes
affixed. Upon being asked, however, if he in amendments would be shown to the people to enable them to make a free, intelligent and
fact knew whether the text was actually well-informed choice on the matter.
Needless to say, the requirement of setting adopt the others. By this process of log-rolling, It is not difficult to see that while the proposed
forth the complete text of the proposed the adoption of both provisions could be changes appear to relate only to a shift in the
changes in the petition for initiative is a accomplished and ensured, when neither, if form of government, it actually seeks to affect
safeguard against fraud and deception. If the standing alone, could succeed on its own other subjects that are not reasonably
whole text of the proposed changes is merits. germane to the constitutional alteration that is
contained in or attached to the petition, purportedly sought. For one, a shift to a
intercalations and riders may be duly avoided. As applied to the initiative process, the one parliamentary system of government does not
Only then can we be assured that the subject rule is essentially designed to prevent necessarily result in the adoption of a
proposed changes are truly of the people and surprise and fraud on the electorate. It is unicameral legislature. A parliamentary
that the signatories have been fully apprised meant to safeguard the integrity of the system can exist in many different "hybrid"
of its implications. initiative process by ensuring that no forms of government, which may or may not
unrelated riders are concealed within the embrace unicameralism.11 In other words, the
If a statutory provision is essential to guard terms of the proposed amendment. This in shift from presidential to parliamentary
against fraud, corruption or deception in the turn guarantees that the signatories are fully structure and from a bicameral to a
initiative and referendum process, such aware of the nature, scope and purpose of the unicameral legislature is neither the cause nor
provision must be viewed as an indispensable proposed amendment. effect of the other.
requirement and failure to substantially
comply therewith is fatal.5 The failure of Petitioners insist that the proposed changes I also fail to see the relation of convening a
petitioners in this case to comply with the full embodied in their petition for initiative relate constituent assembly with the proposed
text requirement resultantly rendered their only to one subject matter, that is the shift change in our system of government. As a
petition for initiative fatally defective. from presidential to a parliamentary system of subject matter, the convening of a constituent
government. According to petitioners, all of assembly to amend the Constitution presents
The petition for initiative is likewise the other proposed changes are merely a range of issues that is far removed from the
irretrievably infirm because it violates the one incidental to this main proposal and are subject of a shift in government. Besides, the
subject rule under Section 10(a) of R.A. 6735: reasonably germane and necessary constituent assembly is supposed to convene
thereto.8An examination of the text of the and propose amendments to the
SEC. 10. Prohibited Measures. The proposed changes reveals, however, that this Constitution after the proposed change in the
following cannot be the subject of an is not the case. system of government has already taken
initiative or referendum petition: place. This only goes to show that the
The proposed changes to the Constitution convening of the constituent assembly is not
cover other subjects that are beyond the main necessary to effectuate a change to a
(a) No petition embracing more than
proposal espoused by the petitioners. Apart parliamentary system of government.
one subject shall be submitted to the
electorate; x x x from a shift from the presidential to a
parliamentary form of government, the The omnibus statement that all provisions
proposed changes include the abolition of one under Articles VI and VII which are
The one subject rule, as relating to an
House of Congress,9 and the convening of a inconsistent with a unicameral-parliamentary
initiative to amend the Constitution, has the
constituent assembly to propose additional system of government shall be deemed
same object and purpose as the one subject-
amendments to the Constitution.10 Also amended is equally bothersome. The
one bill rule embodied in Article VI, Section
included within its terms is an omnibus statement does not specify what these
26(1)6 of the Constitution.7 To elaborate, the
declaration that those constitutional provisions inconsistencies and amendments may be,
one subject-one bill rule was designed to do
under Articles VI and VII, which are such that everyone is left to guess the
away with the practice of inserting two or more
inconsistent with the unicameral-parliamentary provisions that could eventually be affected by
unrelated provisions in one bill, so that those
form of government, shall be deemed the proposed changes. The subject and scope
favoring one provision would be compelled to
amended to conform thereto. of these automatic amendments cannot even
be spelled out with certainty. There is thus no add to it provisions deemed essential amendments or revision. The changes
reasonable measure of its impact on the other on account of changed conditions or introduced to both the Constitutions of 1935
constitutional provisions. to suppress portions of it that seem and 1973 could have indeed been deemed an
obsolete, or dangerous, or misleading amendment or revision, but the authority for
The foregoing proposed changes cannot be in their effect."12 effecting either would never have been
the subject of a people's initiative under questioned since the same belonged
Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution. The foregoing traditional exposition of the solely to Congress. In contrast, the 1987
Taken together, the proposed changes difference between amendment and revision Constitution clearly limits the right of the
indicate that the intendment is not simply to has indeed guided us throughout our people to directly propose constitutional
effect substantial amendments to the constitutional history. However, the distinction changes to amendments only. We must
Constitution, but a revision thereof. The between the two terms is not, to my mind, as consequently not be swayed by examples of
distinction between an amendment and significant in the context of our past constitutional changes effected prior to the
revision was explained by Dean Vicente G. constitutions, as it should be now under the present fundamental law, in determining
Sinco, as follows: 1987 Constitution. The reason for this is whether such changes are revisory or
apparent. Under our past constitutions, it was amendatory in nature.
"Strictly speaking, the act of revising a Congress alone, acting either as a constituent
constitution involves alterations of assembly or by calling out a constitutional In this regard, it should be noted that the
different portions of the entire convention, that exercised authority to either distinction laid down by Justice Felix Q.
document. It may result in the amend or revise the Constitution through the Antonio in Javellana v. Executive
rewriting either of the whole procedures therein described. Although the Secretary13 related to the procedure to be
constitution, or the greater portion of it, distinction between the two terms was followed in ratifying a completely new charter
or perhaps only some of its important theoretically recognized under both the 1935 proposed by a constitutional convention. The
provisions. But whatever results the and 1973 Constitutions, the need to highlight authority or right of the constitutional
revision may produce, the factor that the difference was not as material because it convention itself to effect such a revision was
characterizes it as an act of revision is was only Congress that could effect not put in issue in that case. As far as
the original intention and plan constitutional changes by choosing between determining what constitutes "amendments"
authorized to be carried out. That the two modalities. for the purpose of a people's initiative,
intention and plan must contemplate a therefore, we have neither relevant precedent
consideration of all the provisions of However, it is different now under the 1987 nor prior experience. We must thus confine
the constitution to determine which Constitution. Apart from providing for the two ourselves to Dean Sinco's basic articulation of
one should be altered or suppressed modes of either Congress constituting itself as the two terms.
or whether the whole document a constituent assembly or calling out for a
should be replaced with an entirely constitutional convention, a third mode was It is clear from Dean Sinco's explanation that
new one. introduced for proposing changes to the a revision may either be of the whole or only
Constitution. This mode refers to the people's part of the Constitution. The part need not be
The act of amending a constitution, on right to propose amendments to the a substantial part as a change may qualify as
the other hand, envisages a change of fundamental law through the filing of a petition a revision even if it only involves some of the
only a few specific provisions. The for initiative. important provisions. For as long as the
intention of an act to amend is not to intention and plan to be carried out
consider the advisability of changing Otherwise stated, our experience of what contemplate a consideration of all the
the entire constitution or of constitutes amendment or revision under the provisions of the Constitution "to determine
considering that possibility. The past constitutions is not determinative of what which should be altered or suppressed, or
intention rather is to improve specific the two terms mean now, as related to the whether the whole document should be
parts of the existing constitution or to exercise of the right to propose either replaced with an entirely new one," the
proposed change may be deemed a revision would be introduced. However, it went on to revision also[A]n enactment which
and not merely an amendment. consider the qualitative effects that the purported to vest all judicial power in
proposed initiative measure would have on the Legislature would amount to a
Thus, it is not by the sheer number alone of California's basic plan of government. It revision without regard either to the
the proposed changes that the same may be observed that the proposal would alter the length or complexity of the measure or
considered as either an amendment or checks and balances inherent in such the number of existing articles or
revision. In so determining, another overriding plan, by delegating far-reaching and mixed sections affected by such change.'"
factor is the "original intention and plan powers to an independent commission (Underscoring supplied and citations
authorized to be carried out" by the proposed created under the proposed measure. omitted)
changes. If the same relates to a re- Consequently, the proposal in McFadden was
examination of the entire document to see not only deemed as broad and numerous in Thus, in resolving the amendment/revision
which provisions remain relevant or if it has physical scope, but was also held as having a issue, the California Court examines both the
far-reaching effects on the entire document, substantive effect on the fundamental quantitative and qualitative effects of a
then the same constitutes a revision and not a governmental plan of the State of California. proposed measure on its constitutional
mere amendment of the Constitution. scheme. Substantial changes in either respect
The dual aspect of the amendment/revision could amount to a revision.17
From the foregoing, it is readily apparent that analysis was reiterated by the California
a combination of the quantitative and Supreme Court in Raven v. I am persuaded that we can approach the
qualitative test is necessary in assessing what Deukmeijan.15 Proposition 115, as the present issue in the same manner. The
may be considered as an amendment or initiative in that case was called, would vest in experience of the courts in California is not far
revision. It is not enough that we focus simply the United States Supreme Court all judicial removed from the standards expounded on by
on the physical scope of the proposed interpretative powers of the California courts Dean Sinco when he set out to differentiate
changes, but also consider what it means in over fundamental criminal defense rights in between amendment and revision. It is
relation to the entire document. No clear that state. It was observed that although actually consistent, not only with our
demarcation line can be drawn to distinguish quantitatively, the proposition did "not seem traditional concept of the two terms, but also
the two terms and each circumstance must be so extensive as to change directly the with the mindset of our constitutional framers
judged on the basis of its own peculiar substantial entirety of the Constitution by the when they referred to the disquisition of
conditions. The determination lies in deletion or alteration of numerous existing Justice Antonio in Javellana.18 We must thus
assessing the impact that the proposed provisions," the same, nonetheless, "would consider whether the proposed changes in
changes may have on the entire instrument, substantially alter the substance and integrity this case affect our Constitution in both its
and not simply on an arithmetical appraisal of of the state Constitution as a document of substantial physical entirety and in its basic
the specific provisions which it seeks to affect. independent force and effect." plan of government.
Quoting Amador Valley Joint Union High
In McFadden v. Jordan,14 the California School District v. State Board of The question posed is: do the proposed
Supreme Court laid down the groundwork for Equalization,16 the Raven court said: changes, regardless of whether these are
the combination of quantitative and qualitative simple or substantial, amount to a revision
assessment of proposed constitutional ". . . apart from a measure effecting as to be excluded from the people's right
changes, in order to determine whether the widespread deletions, additions and to directly propose amendments to the
same is revisory or merely amendatory. In that amendments involving many fundamental law?
case, the McFadden court found the proposed constitutional articles, 'even a
changes extensive since at least 15 of the 25 relatively simple enactment may As indicated earlier, we may apply the
articles contained in the California Constitution accomplish such far reaching changes quantitative/qualitative test in determining the
would either be repealed in their entirety or in the nature of our basic nature of the proposed changes. These tests
substantially altered, and four new topics governmental plan as to amount to a are consistent with Dean Sinco's traditional
concept of amendment and revision when he there will be a fusion of the executive and overaction, to prevent despotism and obtain
explains that, quantitatively, revision "may legislative departments into one parliament efficiency.19
result in the rewriting either of the whole that will be elected on the basis of proportional
constitution, or the greater part of it, or representation. No term limits are set for the In the proposed parliamentary system, there is
perhaps only some of its provisions." In any members of parliament except for those an obvious lack of formal institutional checks
case, he continues, "the factor that elected under the party-list system whose on the legislative and executive powers of the
characterizes it as an act of revision is the terms and number shall be provided by law. state, since both the Prime Minister and the
original intention and plan authorized to be There will be a President who shall be the members of his cabinet are drawn from
carried out." Unmistakably, the latter head of state, but the head of government is parliament. There are no effective limits to
statement refers to the qualitative effect of the the Prime Minister. The latter and his cabinet what the Prime Minister and parliament can
proposed changes. shall be elected from among the members of do, except the will of the parliamentary
parliament and shall be responsible to majority. This goes against the central
It may thus be conceded that, quantitatively, parliament for the program of government. principle of our present constitutional scheme
the changes espoused by the proponents in that distributes the powers of government and
this case will affect only two (2) out of the The preceding proposal indicates that, under provides for counteraction among the three
eighteen (18) articles of the 1987 Constitution, the proposed system, the executive and branches. Although both the presidential and
namely, Article VI (Legislative Department) legislature shall be one and the same, such parliamentary systems are theoretically
and Article VII (Executive Department), as that parliament will be the paramount consistent with constitutional democracy, the
well as provisions that will ensure the smooth governing institution. What this implies is that underlying tenets and resulting governmental
transition from a presidential-bicameral there will be no separation between the law- framework are nonetheless radically different.
system to a parliamentary-unicameral making and enforcement powers of the state,
structure of government. The quantitative that are traditionally delineated between the Consequently, the shift from presidential to
effect of the proposed changes is neither executive and legislature in a presidential form parliamentary form of government cannot be
broad nor extensive and will not affect the of government. Necessarily, the checks and regarded as anything but a drastic change. It
substantial entirety of the 1987 Constitution. balances inherent in the fundamental plan of will require a total overhaul of our
our U.S.-style presidential system will be governmental structure and involve a re-
However, it is my opinion that the proposed eliminated. The workings of government shall orientation in the cardinal doctrines that
changes will have instead be controlled by the internal political govern our constitutional set-up. As explained
serious qualitative consequences on the dynamics prevailing in the parliament. by Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., a switch from the
Constitution. The initiative petition, if presidential system to a parliamentary system
successful, will undoubtedly alter, not only our Our present governmental system is built on would be a revision because of its over-all
basic governmental plan, but also redefine our the separation of powers among the three impact on the entire constitutional
rights as citizens in relation to government. branches of government. The legislature is structure.20 It cannot, by any standard, be
The proposed changes will set into motion a generally limited to the enactment of laws, the deemed as a mere constitutional amendment.
ripple effect that will strike at the very executive to the enforcement of laws and the
foundation of our basic constitutional plan. It is judiciary to the application of laws. This An amendment envisages an
therefore an impermissible constitutional separation is intended to prevent a alteration of one or a few specific and
revision that may not be effected through a concentration of authority in one person or separable provisions. The guiding
people's initiative. group that might lead to an irreversible error original intention of an amendment is
or abuse in its exercise to the detriment of our to improve specific parts or to add new
Petitioners' main proposal pertains to the republican institutions. In the words of Justice provisions deemed necessary to meet
shifting of our form of government from the Laurel, the doctrine of separation of powers is new conditions or to suppress specific
presidential to the parliamentary system. An intended to secure action, to forestall portions that may have become
examination of their proposal reveals that obsolete or that are judged to be
dangerous. In revision, however, the To say that the proposed changes will affect authorized within five years following
guiding original intention and plan only the constitution of government is the ratification of this Constitution nor
contemplates a re-examination of the therefore a fallacy. To repeat, the combined oftener than once every five years
entire document, or of provisions of effect of the proposed changes to Articles VI thereafter.
the document which have over-all and VII and those pertaining to the Transitory
implications for the entire document, Provisions under Article XVIII indubitably The Congress shall provide for the
to determine how and to what extent establish the intent and plan of the proponents implementation of the exercise of this
they should be to possibly affect even the constitutions of right.
altered.21 (Underscoring supplied) liberty and sovereignty. Indeed, no valid
reason exists for authorizing further xxxx
The inclusion of a proposal to convene a amendments or revisions to the Constitution if
constituent assembly likewise shows the the intention of the proposed changes is truly
SECTION 4. Any amendment to, or
intention of the proponents to effect even what it purports to be.
revision of, this Constitution under
more far-reaching changes in our fundamental Section 1 hereof shall be valid when
law. If the original intent were to simply shift There is no question here that only ratified by a majority of the votes cast
the form of government to the parliamentary amendments to the Constitution may be in a plebiscite which shall be held not
system, then there would have been no need undertaken through a people's initiative and earlier than sixty days nor later than
for the calling out of a constituent assembly to not a revision, as textually reflected in the ninety days after the approval of such
propose further amendments to the Constitution itself. This conclusion is inevitable amendment or revision.
Constitution. It should be noted that, once especially from a comparative examination of
convened, a constituent assembly can do Section 2 in relation to Sections 1 and 4 of
Any amendment under Section
away and replace any constitutional provision Article XVII, which state:
2 hereof shall be valid when ratified by
which may not even have a bearing on the
a majority of the votes cast in a
shift to a parliamentary system of government. SECTION 1. Any amendment to, or plebiscite which shall be held not
The inclusion of such a proposal reveals the revision of, this Constitution may be earlier than sixty days nor later than
proponents' plan to consider all provisions of proposed by: ninety days after the certification by
the constitution, either to determine which of
the Commission of Elections of the
its provisions should be altered or suppressed (1) The Congress, upon a vote sufficiency of the petition.
or whether the whole document should be of three-fourths of all its (Underscoring supplied)
replaced with an entirely new one. Members; or
It is clear that the right of the people to directly
Consequently, it is not true that only Articles (2) A constitutional convention. propose changes to the Constitution is limited
VI and VII are covered by the alleged people's
to amendments and does not include a
initiative. The proposal to convene a
SECTION 2. Amendments to this revision thereof. Otherwise, it would have
constituent assembly, which by its terms is
Constitution may likewise be directly been unnecessary to provide for Section 2 to
mandatory, will practically jeopardize the
proposed by the people through distinguish its scope from the rights vested in
future of the entire Constitution and place it on
initiative upon a petition of at least Congress under Section 1. The latter lucidly
shaky grounds. The plan of the proponents,
twelve per centum of the total number states that Congress may propose both
as reflected in their proposed changes, goes
of registered voters, of which every amendments and a revision of the
beyond the shifting of government from the
legislative district must be represented Constitution by either convening a constituent
presidential to the parliamentary system.
by at least three per centum of the assembly or calling for a constitutional
Indeed, it could even extend to the
registered voters therein. No convention. Section 2, on the other hand,
"fundamental nature of our state as a
amendment under this section shall be
democratic and republican state."
textually commits to the people the right to in the language of the initiative allowed the expression of their sovereign will
propose only amendments by direct action. amendment of 1911 (art. IV, 1) to and have canalized their powers which would
effect a breaking down of that otherwise be plenary. By approving these
To hold, therefore, that Section 2 allows difference. On the contrary, the provisions, the sovereign people have decided
substantial amendments amounting to distinction appears to be x x x to limit themselves and future generations in
revision obliterates the clear distinction in scrupulously preserved by the express the exercise of their sovereign power.23 They
scope between Sections 1 and 2. The declaration in the amendment x x x are thus bound by the constitution and are
intention, as may be seen from a cursory that the power to propose and vote on powerless, whatever their numbers, to change
perusal of the above provisions, is to provide "amendments to the Constitution" is or thwart its mandates, except through the
differing fields of application for the three reserved directly to the people in means prescribed by the Constitution itself.24
modes of effecting changes to the initiative proceedings, while leaving
Constitution. We need not even delve into the unmentioned the power and the It is thus misplaced to argue that the people
intent of the constitutional framers to see that procedure relative to constitutional may propose revisions to the Constitution
the distinction in scope is definitely marked. revision, which revisional power and through people's initiative because their
We should thus apply these provisions with a procedure, it will be remembered, had representatives, whose power is merely
discerning regard for this distinction. already been specifically treated in delegated, may do so. While Section 1 of
Again, McFadden22 is instructive: section 2 of article XVIII. Intervenors' Article XVII may be considered as a
contention--that any change less than provision delegating the sovereign powers
". . . The differentiation required is not a total one is but amendatory--would of amendment and revision to Congress,
merely between two words; more reduce to the rubble of absurdity the Section 2, in contrast, is a self-limitation
accurately it is between two bulwark so carefully erected and on that sovereign power. In the words of
procedures and between their preserved. Each situation involving the Cooley:
respective fields of application. Each question of amendment, as contrasted
procedure, if we follow elementary with revision, of the Constitution must, x x x Although by their constitutions
principles of statutory construction, we think, be resolved upon its own the people have delegated the
must be understood to have a facts." exercise of sovereign powers to the
substantial field of application, not to several departments, they have not
be x x x a mere alternative procedure Thus, our people too have spoken when they thereby divested themselves of the
in the same field. Each of the two overwhelmingly ratified the 1987 Constitution, sovereignty. They retain in their own
words, then, must be understood to with the provisions on amendments and hands, so far as they have thought it
denote, respectively, not only a revisions under Article XVII. The voice and will needful to do so, a power to control
procedure but also a field of of our people cannot be any clearer when they the governments they create, and the
application appropriate to its limited people's initiative to mere amendments three departments are responsible to
procedure. The people of this state of the fundamental law and excluded revisions and subject to be ordered, directed,
have spoken; they made it clear when in its scope. In this regard, the task of the changed or abolished by them. But
they adopted article XVIII and made Court is to give effect to the people's voice, as this control and direction must be
amendment relatively simple but expressed unequivocally through the exercised in the legitimate mode
provided the formidable bulwark of a Constitution. previously agreed upon. The voice of
constitutional convention as a the people, acting in their sovereign
protection against improvident or Article XVII on amendments and revisions is capacity, can be of legal force only
hasty (or any other) revision, that they called a "constitution of sovereignty" because when expressed at the times and
understood that there was a real it defines the constitutional meaning of under the conditions which they
difference between amendment and "sovereignty of the people." It is through these themselves have prescribed and
revision. We find nothing whatsoever provisions that the sovereign people have pointed out by the Constitution, or
which, consistently with the IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, I vote ANAKBAYAN, LEAGUE OF FILIPINO
Constitution, have been prescribed to DISMISS the petition in G.R. No. 174153. STUDENTS,LEONARDO SAN JOSE, JOJO
and pointed out for them by PINEDA, DR. DARBY SANTIAGO, AND DR.
statute; and if by any portion of the REGINALD PAMUGAS, oppositors-
people, however large, CONSUELO
an attempt YNARES-SANTIAGO intervenors,
Associate
should be made to interfere Justice
with the LORETA ANN P. ROSALES, MARIO JOYO
regular working of the agencies of AGUJA, ANA THERESA HONTIVEROS-
government at any other time or in any ____________________ BARAQUEL, oppositors-intervenors,
other mode than as allowed by LUWALHATI ANTONINO, oppositor-
existing law, either constitutional or EN BANC intervenor,
statutory, it would be revolutionary in PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION
character, and must be resisted and (PHILCONSA), CONRADO F.ESTRELLA,
G.R. NO. 174153
repressed by the officers who, for the TOMAS C. TOLEDO, MARIANO M. TAJON,
time being, represent legitimate FROILAN M. BACUNGAN, JOAQUIN T.
government.25 (Underscoring supplied) RAUL L. LAMBINO AND ENRICO B. VENUS, JR., FORTUNATO P. AGUAS AND
AUMENTADO TOGETHER WITH 6,327,952 AMADO GAT INCION, oppositors-
REGISTERED VOTERS, petitioners, intervenors,
Consequently, there is here no case of "the
vs. SENATE MINORITY LEADER AQUILINO P.
spring rising above its source." Nor is it one
THE COMMISSION ON PIMENTEL, JR. AND SENATORS SERGIO
where the people's sovereign power has been
ELECTIONS, respondent. R. OSMENA III, JAMBY A.S. MADRIGAL,
relegated to a lesser plane than that of
TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF THE LUISA P. EJERCIRO-ESTRADA, JINGGOY
Congress. In choosing to exercise self-
PHILIPPINES (TUCP), petitioners- ESTRADA, ALFREDO S. LIM, AND
limitation, there is no absence or lack of even
intervenors, PANFILO M. LACSON, oppositors-
a fraction of the sovereign power of the people
RONALD L. ADAMAT, ROLANDO MANUEL intervenors,
since self-limitation itself is an expression
RIVERA, RUELO BAYA, petitioners- JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA AND
of that sovereign power. The people have
intervenors, PWERSA NG MASANG
chosen to delegate and limit their sovereign
SULONGBAYAN MOVEMENT PILIPINO, oppositors-intervenors,
power by virtue of the Constitution and are
FOUNDATION, INC., petitioner-intervenor, INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES
bound by the parameters that they themselves
PHILIPPINE TRANSPORT AND GENERAL CEBU CITY AND CEBU
have ordained. Otherwise, if the people
WORKERS ORGANIZATION (PTGWO) AND CHAPTER, oppositors-intervenors,
choose to defy their self-imposed
VICTORINO F. BALAIS,petitioners- JOSE ANSELMO I. CADIZ, BYRON D.
constitutional restraints, we will be faced with
intervenors, BOCAR, MA TANYA KARINA A. LAT,
a revolutionary situation.26
ONEVOICE INC., CHRISTIAN S. MONSOD, ANTONIO L. SALVADOR AND RANDALL C.
RENE B. AZURIN, MANUEL L. QUEZON III, TABAYOYONG, oppostors-intervenors,
It has repeatedly been emphasized that ours BENJAMIN T. TOLOSA, JR., SUSAN V.
is a democratic and republican state.27 Even SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
OPLE AND CARLOS P. MEDINA, REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT,
as we affirm, however, that aspect of direct JR., oppositors-intervenors,
democracy, we should not forget that, first and MANUEL VILLAR, JR., oppositor-intervenor;
ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS,
foremost, we are a constitutional democracy. INC., oppositor-intervenor,
To uphold direct democracy at the expense of G.R. NO. 174299
ATTY. PETE QUIRINO-QUADRA, oppositor-
the fundamental law is to sanction, not a intervenor,
constitutional, but an extra-constitutional BAYAN, BAYAN MUNA, KILUSANG MAYO MAR-LEN ABIGAIL BINAY, SOFRONIO
recourse. This is clearly beyond the powers of UNO, HEAD, ECUMENICAL BISHOPS UNTALAN, JR. AND RENE A. Q.
the Court who, by sovereign mandate, is the FROUM, MIGRANTE, GABRIELA, SAGUISAG, petitioners,
guardian and keeper of the Constitution. GABRIELA WOMEN'S PARTY, vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, rallying call, convincing this Court that the People's Initiative for Reforms, Modernization
REPRESENTED BY CHAIRMAN BENJAMIN people's initiative is the "voice of the people" and Action (PIRMA), respondents."2 The case
S. ABALOS, SR. AND COMMISSIONERS and, therefore, the "voice of God." After a was docketed as G.R. No. 127325. On March
RESSURRECCION Z. BORRA, thorough consideration of the petitions, I have 19, 1997, this Court rendered its Decision in
FLORENTINO A. TUASON, JR. ROMEO A. come to realize that man, with his ingenuity favor of petitioners, holding that Republic Act
BRAWNER, RENE V. SARMIENTO AND and arrogance, has perfected the craft of No. 6735 (R.A. No. 6735), An Act Providing
JOHN DOE AND PETER DOE, respondents. imitating the voice of God. It is against this for a System of Initiative and Referendum and
kind of genius that the Court must guard itself. Appropriating Funds Therefor, is "incomplete,
x ----------------------------------------------------------- inadequate, or wanting in essential terms
----------------------------- x The facts of the case are undisputed. and conditions insofar as initiative on
amendments to the Constitution is
CONCURRING OPINION In 1996, the Movement for People's Initiative concerned." A majority of eight (8) Justices
sought to exercise the power of initiative fully concurred with this ruling, while five (5)
under Section 2, Article XVII of the subscribed to the opposite view. One (1)
SANDOVALGUTIERREZ, J.:
Constitution which reads: opined that there is no need to rule on the
adequacy of R.A. No. 6735.
Vox populi vox Dei -- the voice of the people is
the voice of God. Caution should be exercised Section 2. Amendments to this
Constitution may likewise be directly On motion for reconsideration, two (2) of the
in choosing one's battlecry, lest it does more
proposed by the people through eight (8) Justices reconsidered their positions.
harm than good to one's cause. In its original
initiative upon a petition of at least One (1) filed an inhibition and the other one
context, the complete version of this Latin
twelve per centum of the total number (1) joined the minority opinion. As a
phrase means exactly the opposite of what it
of registered voters, of which every consequence, of the thirteen (13) Justices
is frequently taken to mean. It originated from
legislative district must be represented who participated in the deliberation, six (6)
a holy man, the monk Alcuin, who advised
by at least three per centum of the voted in favor of the majority opinion, while the
Charlemagne, "nec audiendi qui solent
registered voters therein. No other six (6) voted in favor of the minority
dicere vox populi vox Dei quum
amendment under this section shall be opinion.3
tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima
sit," meaning, "And those people should not authorized within five years following
be listened to who keep on saying, 'The the ratification of this Constitution nor A few months thereafter, or on September 23,
voice of the people is the voice of God,' oftener than once every five years 1997, the Court dismissed a similar case,
since the riotousness of the crowd is thereafter, entitled People's Initiative for Reform,
always very close to madness."1 Perhaps, it Modernization and Action (PIRMA) v.
is by providence that the true meaning of the The Congress shall provide for the Commission on Elections4 on the ground that
Latin phrase is revealed upon petitioners and implementation of the exercise of the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of
their allies that they may reflect upon this right. discretion when it dismissed PIRMA's Petition
the sincerity and authenticity of their for Initiative to Propose Amendments to the
"people's initiative." Constitution "it appearing that that it only
The exercise was thwarted by a petition for
complied with the dispositions in the
prohibition filed with this Court by Senator
Decision of the Court in G.R. no. 127325
History has been a witness to countless Miriam Defensor Santiago, et al., entitled
(Santiago v. COMELEC) promulgated on
iniquities committed in the name of God. Wars "Miriam Defensor Santiago, Alexander Padilla
March 19, 1997, and its Resolution of June
were waged, despotism tolerated and and Maria Isabel Ongpin, petitioners, v.
10, 1997." Seven (7) Justices voted that there
oppressions justified all these transpired as Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Jesus
was no need to re-examine its ruling, as
man boasted of God's imprimatur. Today, Delfin, Alberto Pedrosa and Carmen Pedrosa,
regards the issue of the sufficiency of R.A. No.
petitioners and their allies hum the same in their capacities as founding members of the
6735. Another Justice concurred, but on the
different premise that the case at bar is not under the party-list system which shall (2) In case of death, permanent
the proper vehicle for such re-examination. be provided for by law and whose disability, resignation or removal from
Five (5) Justice opined otherwise. number shall be equal to twenty per office of the incumbent President, the
centum of the total membership incumbent Vice President shall
This time, another group known as Sigaw ng coming from the parliamentary succeed as President. In case of
Bayan, in coordination with the Union of Local districts. death, permanent disability,
Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), have resignation or removal from office of
gathered signatures in support of the B. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Article both the incumbent President and
proposed amendments to the Constitution, VII of the 1987 Constitution are Vice President, the interim Prime
which entail a change in the form of hereby amended to read, as Minister shall assume all the powers
government from bicameral- follows: and responsibilities of Prime Minister
presidential to unicameral-parliamentary, under Article VII as amended.
thus: Section 1. There shall be a President
who shall be the Head of State. The Section 2. Upon the expiration of the
A. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of executive power shall be exercised by term of the incumbent President and
Article VI shall be amended to read a Prime Minister, with the assistance Vice President, with the exception of
as follows: of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of
shall be elected by a majority of all the Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
Section 1. (1) The legislative and Members of Parliament from among which shall hereby be amended and
executive powers shall be vested in a themselves. He shall be responsible to Sections 18 and 24 which shall be
unicameral Parliament which shall be the Parliament for the program of deleted, all other Sections of Article VI
composed of as many members as government. are hereby retained and renumbered
may be provided by law, to be sequentially as Section 2, ad
apportioned among the provinces, C. For the purpose of insuring an seriatium up to 26, unless they are
representative districts, and cities in orderly transition from the inconsistent with the Parliamentary
accordance with the number of their bicameral-Presidential to a system of government, in which case,
respective inhabitants, with at least unicameral-Parliamentary form of they shall be amended to conform with
three hundred thousand inhabitants government, there shall be a new a unicameral parliamentary form of
per district, and on the basis of a Article XVIII, entitled "Transitory government; provided, however, that
uniform and progressive ratio. Each Provisions," which shall read, as any and all references therein to
district shall comprise, as far as follows: "Congress," "Senate," "House of
practicable, contiguous, compact and Representatives" and "Houses of
adjacent territory, and each province Congress" shall be changed to read
Section 1. (1) The incumbent
must have at least one member. "Parliament;" that any and all
President and Vice President shall
references therein to "Member(s) of
serve until the expiration of their term
Congress," "Senator(s)" or
(2) Each Member of Parliament shall at noon on the thirtieth day of June
"Member(s) of Parliament" and any
be a natural-born citizen of the 2010 and shall continue to exercise
and all references to the "President"
Philippines, at least twenty-five years their powers under the 1987
and/or "Acting President" shall be
old on the day of the election, a Constitution unless impeached by a
changed to read "Prime Minister."
resident of his district for at least one vote of two thirds of all the members
year prior thereto, and shall be elected of the interim parliament.
by the qualified voters of his district for Section 3. Upon the expiration of the
a term of five years without limitation term of the incumbent President and
as to the number thereof, except those Vice President, with the exception of
Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Article VII of day of June 2010. He shall also be a Prime Minister shall continue to
the 1987 Constitution which are member of the cabinet and shall head exercise and perform the powers,
hereby be amended and Sections 7, a ministry. He shall initially convene duties and responsibilities of the
8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 which are hereby the interim Parliament and shall interim Prime Minister until the
deleted, all other Sections of Article preside over its sessions for the expiration of the term of the incumbent
VII shall be retained and renumbered election of the interim Prime Minister President and Vice President.
sequentially as Section 2, ad seriatim and until the Speaker shall have been
up to 14, unless they shall be elected by a majority vote of all the Sigaw ng Bayan prepared signature sheets,
inconsistent with Section 1 hereof, in members of the interim Parliament and written on its upper right hand portion is
which case they shall be deemed from among themselves. the abstract of the proposed amendments,
amended so as to conform to a quoted as follows:
unicameral Parliamentary System of (3) Senators whose term of office
government; provided, however, that ends in 2010 shall be Members of Abstract: Do you approve of the
any and all references therein to Parliament until noon of the thirtieth amendment of Article VI and VII of the
"Congress," "Senate," "House of day of June 2010. 1987 Constitution, changing the form
Representatives" and "Houses of of government from the present
Congress" shall be changed to read (4) Within forty-five days from bicameral-presidential to a
"Parliament;" that any and all ratification of these amendments, the unicameral-parliamentary system of
references therein to "Member(s) of interim Parliament shall convene to government, in order to achieve
Congress," "Senator(s)" or propose amendments to, or revisions greater efficiency, simplicity and
"Member(s) of the House of of, this Constitution consistent with the economy in government; and
Representatives" shall be changed to principles of local autonomy, providing an Article XVIII as Transitory
read as "Member(s) of Parliament" decentralization and a strong Provisions for the orderly shift from
and any and all references to the bureaucracy. one system to another?
"President" and/or "Acting President"
shall be changed to read "Prime
Section 5. (1) The incumbent On August 25, 2006, Raul L. Lambino and
Minister."
President, who is the Chief Executive, Enrico B. Aumentado, herein petitioners, filed
shall nominate, from among the with the COMELEC a Petition for Initiative to
Section 4. (1) There shall exist, upon members of the interim Parliament, an Amend the Constitution.5 Five (5) days
the ratification of these amendments, interim Prime Minister, who shall be thereafter, they filed an Amended Petition
an interim Parliament which shall elected by a majority vote of the alleging that they are filing the petition in their
continue until the Members of the members thereof. The interim Prime own behalf and together with some 6.3
regular Parliament shall have been Minister shall oversee the various million registered voters who have affixed
elected and shall have qualified. It ministries and shall perform such their signatures on the signature sheets
shall be composed of the incumbent powers and responsibilities as may be attached thereto. They claimed that the
Members of the Senate and the delegated to him by the incumbent signatures of registered voters appearing on
House of Representatives and the President." the signature sheets, constituting at least
incumbent Members of the Cabinet twelve per cent (12%) of all registered voters
who are heads of executive in the country, wherein each legislative district
(2) The interim Parliament shall
departments. is represented by at least three per cent (3%)
provide for the election of the
members of Parliament which shall be of all the registered voters, were verified by
(2) The incumbent Vice President synchronized and held simultaneously their respective city or municipal election
shall automatically be a Member of with the election of all local officers.
Parliament until noon of the thirtieth government officials. The duty elected
Several organizations opposed the petition. 6 Without necessarily brushing aside the other law, respondent COMELEC has no alternative
important issues, I believe the resolution of but to adhere to Santiago. Otherwise, it is
In a Resolution dated August 31, 2006, the the present petition hinges on this singular vulnerable to a citation for contempt. As
COMELEC denied due course to the petition, issue -- did the COMELEC commit grave succinctly stated by Chief Justice Artemio V.
citing as basis this Court's ruling in Santiago, abuse of discretion when it denied Lambino, Panganiban (then Associate Justice) in his
permanently enjoining it "from entertaining et al.'s petition for initiative to amend the Separate Opinion in the subsequent case
or taking cognizance of any petition for Constitution on the basis of this Court's of PIRMA vs. COMELEC:9
initiative on amendments to the Decision in Santiago v. COMELEC?
Constitution until a sufficient law shall x x x I cannot fault the Comelec for
have been validly enacted to provide for In other words, regardless of how the other complying with the ruling even if it,
the implementation of the system." remaining issues are resolved, still, the too, disagreed with said decision's
ultimate yardstick is the attendance of "grave ratio decidendi. Respondent Comelec
Hence, the present petition for certiorari and abuse of discretion" on the part of the was directly enjoined by the highest
mandamus praying that this Court set aside COMELEC. Court of the land. It had no choice but
the COMELEC Resolution and direct the latter to obey. Its obedience cannot
tocomply with Section 4, Article XVII of the Jurisprudence teaches that an act of a court constitute grave abuse of discretion.
Constitution, which provides: or tribunal may only be considered as Refusal to act on the PIRMA petition
committed in grave abuse of discretion when was the only recourse open to the
Sec. 4 x x x the same was performed in Comelec. Any other mode of action
a capricious or whimsical exercise of would have constituted defiance of the
judgment. The abuse of discretion must be Court and would have been struck
Any amendment under Section 2
so patent and gross as to amount to down as grave abuse of discretion and
hereof shall be valid when ratified by a
an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual contumacious disregard of this Court's
majority of the votes cast in a
refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, supremacy as the final arbiter of
plebiscite which shall be held not
or to act at all in contemplation of law, as justiciable controversies.
earlier than sixty days nor later than
ninety days after the certification by where the power is exercised in
the Commission on Elections of the an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason It need not be emphasized that in our judicial
sufficiency of the petition. of passion or personal hostility.8 hierarchy, this Court reigns supreme. All
courts, tribunals and administrative bodies
The Resolution of respondent COMELEC exercising quasi-judicial functions are obliged
I vote to dismiss the petition of Lambino, et al.
denying due course to the petition for initiative to conform to its pronouncements. It has the
in G.R. No. 174153 and grant the petition of
on the basis of a case (Santiago) decided by last word on what the law is; it is the final
Mar-len Abigail Binay, et al. in G.R. No.
this Court cannot, in any way, be arbiter of any justifiable controversy. In
174299. Here, petitioners pray that the
characterized as "capricious or whimsical," other words, there is only one Supreme
COMELEC Chairman and Commissioners be
"patent and gross," or "arbitrary and Court from whose decisions all other
required to show why they should not be
despotic." On the contrary, it was the most courts should take their bearings.10 As a
punished for contempt7 of court for
prudent course to take. It must be stressed warning to lower court judges who would not
disregarding the permanent injunction issued
that in Santiago, this Court permanently adhere to its rulings, this Court, in People v.
by this Court in Santiago.
enjoins respondent COMELEC "from Santos,11 held:
entertaining or taking cognizance of any
I
petition for initiative on amendments to the Now, if a judge of a lower Court feels,
Respondent COMELEC did not act with
Constitution until a sufficient law shall in the fulfillment of his mission of
grave abuse of discretion
have been validly enacted." It being a fact deciding cases, that the application of
that Congress has not enacted a sufficient a doctrine promulgated by this
Superiority is against his way of 1997, and its resolution on June 10, state of facts, it would adhere to that
reasoning, or against his conscience, 1997. principle and apply it to all future cases in
he may state his opinion on the which the facts are substantially the same
matter, but rather than disposing of Indeed, I cannot characterize as a "grave as in the earlier controversy."16
the case in accordance with his abuse of discretion" the COMELEC's
personal views he must first think that obedience and respect to the pronouncement There is considerable literature about whether
it is his duty to apply the law as of this Court in Santiago. this doctrine of stare decisis is a good or bad
interpreted by the Highest Court of the one, but the doctrine is usually justified by
Land, and that any deviation from a II arguments which focus on the desirability of
principle laid down by the latter would The doctrine of stare decisis stability and certainty in the law and also by
unavoidably cause, as a sequel, bars the re-examination of Santiago notions of justice and fairness. Justice
unnecessary inconveniences, delays Benjamin Cardozo in his treatise, The Nature
and expenses to the litigants. And if of the Judicial Process stated:
It cannot be denied that in Santiago, a
despite of what is here said, a Judge
majority of the members of this Court or eight
still believes that he cannot follow Our It will not do to decide the same
(8) Justices (as against five (5) Justices)
rulings, then he has no other question one way between one set of
concurred in declaring R.A. No. 6735 an
alternative than to place himself in the litigants and the opposite way
insufficient law. When the motion for
position that he could properly avoid between another. 'If a group of cases
reconsideration was denied via an equally-
the duty of having to render judgment involves the same point, the parties
divided Court or a 6-6 vote, it does not mean
on the case concerned (Art. 9, C.C.), expect the same decision. It would
that the Decision was overturned. It only
and he has only one legal way to do be a gross injustice to decide
shows that the opposite view fails to muster
that. alternate cases on opposite
enough votes to modify or reverse the majority
ruling. Therefore, the original Decision was principles. If a case was decided
Clearly, respondent COMELEC did not upheld.13 In Ortigas and Company against me yesterday when I was a
gravely abuse its discretion in dismissing the Limited Partnership vs. Velasco,14 this Court defendant, I shall look for the same
petition of Lambino, et al. for it merely ruled that the denial of a motion or judgment today if I am plaintiff. To
followed this Court's ruling in Santiago. reconsideration signifies that the ground decide differently would raise a
relied upon have been found, upon due feeling of resentment and wrong in
Significantly, in PIRMA vs. deliberation, to be without merit, as not my breast; it would be an
COMELEC,12 a unanimous Court implicitly being of sufficient weight to warrant a infringement, material and moral, of
recognized that its ruling in Santiago is the modification of the judgment or final order. my rights." Adherence to precedent
established doctrine and that the COMELEC must then be the rule rather than the
did not commit grave abuse of discretion in With Santiago being the only impediment to exception if litigants are to have faith
invoking it, thus: the instant petition for initiative, petitioners in the even-handed administration of
persistently stress that the doctrine of stare justice in the courts.17
The Court ruled, first, by a unanimous decisis does not bar its re-examination.
vote, that no grave abuse of discretion That the doctrine of stare decisis is related to
could be attributed to the public I am not convinced. The maxim stare decisis justice and fairness may be appreciated by
respondent COMELEC in dismissing et non quieta movere translates "stand by the considering the observation of American
the petition filed by PIRMA therein, it decisions and disturb not what is philosopher William K. Frankena as to what
appearing that it only complied with settled."15 As used in our jurisprudence, it constitutes injustice:
the dispositions of this Court in G.R. means that "once this Court has laid down
No. 127325 promulgated on March 19, a principle of law as applicable to a certain The paradigm case of injustice is
that in which there are two similar
individuals in similar Court in the subsequent case of PIRMA. Even centum of the registered voters
circumstances and one of them is the legislature has relied on said Decision, therein. x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
treated better or worse than the thus, several bills have been introduced in
other. In this case, the cry of injustice both Houses of Congress to cure the At the outset, it must be underscored
rightly goes up against the responsible deficiency. I cannot fathom why it should be that initiative and referendum, as means by
agent or group; and unless that agent overturned or set aside merely on the basis of which the people can directly propose
or group can establish that there is the petition of Lambino, et al. Indeed, this changes to the Constitution, were not
some relevant dissimilarity after all Court's conclusion in Santiago that R.A. No. provided for in the 1935 and 1973
between the individuals concerned 6735 is incomplete, inadequate or wanting in Constitutions. Thus, under these two (2)
and their circumstances, he or they essential terms and conditions insofar as Constitutions, there was no demand to draw
will be guilty as charged.18 initiative on amendments to the Constitution is the distinction between an amendment and a
concerned remains a precedent and must be revision, both being governed by a uniform
Although the doctrine of stare decisis does not upheld. process. This is not so under our present
prevent re-examining and, if need be, Constitution. The distinction between an
overruling prior decisions, "It is x x x a III amendment and a revision becomes crucial
fundamental jurisprudential policy that prior The proposed constitutional changes because only amendments are allowed under
applicable precedent usually must be followed constitute revisions and not mere the system of people's
even though the case, if considered anew, amendments initiative. Revisions are within the exclusive
might be decided differently by the current domain of Congress, upon a vote of three-
justices. This policy x x x 'is based on the Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution lays down fourths of all its members, or of a
assumption that certainty, predictability the means for its amendment and revision. Constitutional Convention.
and stability in the law are the major Thus:
objectives of the legal system; i.e., that The deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional
parties should be able to regulate their Section 1. Any amendment to, or Commission is explicit that Section 2, Article
conduct and enter into relationships with revision of, this Constitution may be XVII covers only amendments, thus:
reasonable assurance of the governing proposed by:
rules of law.19 Accordingly, a party urging The sponsor, Commissioner Suarez,
overruling a precedent faces a rightly onerous is recognized.
(1) The Congress, upon a vote
task, the difficulty of which is roughly
of three-fourths of all its
proportional to a number of factors, including
members; or MR. SUAREZ: Thank you, Madam
the age of the precedent, the nature and
President.
extent of public and private reliance on it,
and its consistency or inconsistency with other (2) A Constitutional
related rules of law. Here, petitioners failed to Convention. May we respectfully call the attention
discharge their task. of the Members of the Commission
Section 2. Amendments to this that pursuant to the mandate given us
Constitution may likewise be directly last night, we submitted this afternoon
Santiago v. COMELEC was decided by this
proposed by the people a complete Committee Report No. 7
Court on March 19, 1997 or more than nine
through initiative upon a petition of at which embodies the proposed
(9) years ago. During that span of time, the
least twelve per centum of the total provision governing initiative. This is
Filipino people, specifically the law
number of registered votes, of which now covered by Section 2 of the
practitioners, law professors, law students, the
every legislative district must be complete committee report. With the
entire judiciary and litigants have recognized
represented by at least three per permission of the Members, may I
this Court's Decision as a precedent. In fact,
quote Section 2:
the Santiago doctrine was applied by this
The people may, after five years from words "amendments" and hence, within the coverage of a "people's
the date of the last plebiscite held, "revision?" initiative."
directly propose amendments to this
Constitution thru initiative upon MR. DAVIDE: No, it does not, I disagree.
petition of at least ten percent of the because "amendments" and "revision"
registered voters. should be covered by Section 1. So The noted constitutionalist, Father Joaquin G.
insofar as initiative is concerned, it Bernas, S.J., who was also a member of the
This completes the blanks appearing can only relate to "amendments" 1986 Constitutional Commission,
in the original Committee Report No. not "revision" characterized an amendment and a revision to
7. This proposal was suggested on the the Constitution as follows:
theory that this matter of initiative MR. MAAMBONG: Thank you.20
which came about because of the An amendment envisages an
extraordinary developments this year, Considering that the initiative on the alteration of one or a few specific
has to be separated from the Constitution only permits amendments, it is and separable provisions. The
traditional modes of amending the imperative to examine whether petitioners' guiding original intention of an
Constitution as embodied in Section proposed changes partake of the nature of amendment is to improve specific
1. The committee members felt that amendments, not revisions. parts or to add new provisions
this system of initiative should be deemed necessary to meet new
limited to amendments to the conditions or to suppress specific
The petition for initiative filed with the
Constitution and should not extend portions that may have become
COMELEC by Lambino, et al. sought to
to the revision of the entire obsolete or that are judged to be
amend the following provisions of the 1987
Constitution, so we removed it from dangerous. In revision however, the
Constitution: Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of
the operation of Section 1 of the guiding original intention and plan
Article VI (The Legislative Department);
proposed Article on Amendment or contemplates a re-examination of
Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Article VII (The
Revision. the entire document, or of
Executive Department). It further includes
Article XVIII (Transitory Provisions) for the provisions of the document which
xxx xxx xxx purpose of insuring an orderly transition from have over-all implications for the
the bicameral-presidential to a unicameral- document to determine how and to
MR. MAAMBONG: Madam President, parliamentary form of government. what extent they should be
will the distinguished proponent of the altered.21
amendment yield to a few questions? Succinctly, the proposals envision a change in
the form of government, from bicameral- Obviously, both "revision" and amendment"
MR. DAVIDE: With pleasure, Madam presidential to unicameral-parliamentary; connote change; any distinction between the
President. conversion of the present Congress of the two must be based upon the degree of
Philippines to an Interim National Assembly; change contemplated. In Kelly v. Laing,22 the
MR. MAAMBONG: My first question, change in the terms of Members of Supreme Court of Michigan made the
Commissioner Davide's proposed Parliament; and the election of a Prime following comparison of the two terms:
amendment on line I refers to Minister who shall be vested with executive
"amendments." Does it not cover power. "Revision" and "amendment" have the
the word "revision" as defined by common characteristics of working
Commissioner Padilla when he Petitioners contend that the proposed changes in the charter, and are
made the distinction between the changes are in the nature of amendments, sometimes used in exactly the same
sense but there is an essential provisions only, however, upon careful of a revised constitution proposed by a
difference between them. scrutiny, it becomes clear that the proposed convention called for that purpose x x
changes will alter the very structure of our x. Consequently, if the scope of the
"Revision" implies a reexamination government and create multifarious proposed initiative measure now
of the whole law and a redraft ramifications. In other words, the proposed before us is so broad that if such
without obligation to maintain the changes will have a "domino effect" or, more measure became law a substantial
form, scheme, or structure of the appropriately, "ripple effect" on other revision of our present state
old. As applied to fundamental law, provisions of the Constitution. Constitution would be effected,
such as a constitution or charter, it then the measure may not properly
suggests a convention to examine the At this juncture, it must be emphasized that be submitted to the electorate until
whole subject and to prepare and the power reserved to the people to effect and unless it is first agreed upon by
submit a new instrument whether the changes in the Constitution includes the a constitutional convention. x x x.
desired changes from the old are few power to amend anysection in such a manner
or many. Amendment implies that the proposed change, if approved, Secondly, the shift from a bicameral to a
continuance of the general plan and would "be complete within itself, relate to unicameral form of government is not a mere
purpose of the law, with corrections one subject and not substantially affect amendment, but is in actuality a revision, as
to better accomplish its purpose. any other section or article of the set forth in Adams v. Gunter27:
Basically, revision suggests Constitution or require further
fundamental change, while amendments to the Constitution to The proposal here to amend Section I
amendment is a correction of detail. accomplish its purpose."25 This is clearly not of Article III of the 1968 Constitution to
the case here. provide for a Unicameral
Although there are some authorities which Legislature affects not only many
indicate that a change in a city's form of Firstly, a shift from a presidential to a other provisions of the Constitution
government may be accomplished by a parliamentary form of government affects the but provides for a change in the
process of "amendment," the cases which so well-enshrined doctrine of separation of form of the legislative branch of
hold seem to involve statutes which only powers of government, embodied in our government, which has been in
distinguish between amendment and totally Constitution, by providing for an Executive, existence in the United States
new charters.23 However, as in Maine law, Legislative and Judiciary Branches. In a Congress and in all of the states of the
where the statute authorizing the changes Parliamentary form of government, the nation, except one, since the earliest
distinguishes between "charter amendment" Executive Branch is to a certain degree, days. It would be difficult to
and "charter revision," it has been held dependent on the direct or indirect support of visualize a more revolutionary
that "(a) change in the form of government the Parliament, as expressed through a "vote change. The concept of a House and
of a home rule city may be made only by of confidence." To my mind, this doctrine of a Senate is basic in the American form
revision of the city charter, not by its separation of powers is so interwoven in of government. It would not only
amendment."24 the fabric of our Constitution, that any radically change the whole pattern
change affecting such doctrine must of the government in this state and
In summary, it would seem that any major necessarily be a revision. tear apart the whole fabric of the
change in governmental form and scheme Constitution, but would even affect
would probably be interpreted as a "revision" In McFadden vs. Jordan,26 the California the physical facilities necessary to
and should be achieved through the more Supreme Court ruled as follows: carry on government.
thorough process of deliberation.
It is thus clear that that a revision of Thirdly, the proposed changes, on their face,
Although, at first glance, petitioners' proposed the Constitution may be accomplished signify revisions rather than amendments,
changes appear to cover isolated and specific only through ratification by the people
especially, with the inclusion of the following Constitution to make them conform to the proposed changes cannot be taken in
"omnibus provision": qualities of unicameral-parliamentary form of isolation since these are connected or
government. With one sweeping stroke, these "interlocked" with the other provisions of our
C. For the purpose of insuring an proposed provisions automatically revise Constitution. Accordingly, it has been held
orderly transition from the bicameral- some provisions of the that: "If the changes attempted are so
Presidential to a unicameral- Constitution. In McFadden, the same practice sweeping that it is necessary to include
Parliamnetary form of government, was considered by the Court to be in the the provisions interlocking them, then it is
there shall be a new Article XVIII, nature of substantial revision, necessitating plain that the plan would constitute a
entitled "Transitory Provisions" which a constitutional convention. I quote the recasting of the whole Constitution and
shall read, as follows: pertinent portion of its ruling, thus: this, we think, it was intended to be
accomplished only by a convention under
xxxxxxxxx There is in the measure itself, no Section 2 which has not yet been
attempt to enumerate the various and disturbed."29
Section 3. Upon the expiration of the many articles and sections of our
term of the incumbent President and present Constitution which would be I therefore conclude that since the proposed
Vice-President, with the exceptions of affected, replaced or repealed. It changes partake of the nature of a revision of
Section 1,2,3 and 4 of Article VII of the purports only to add one new article the Constitution, then they cannot be the
1987 Constitution which are hereby but its framers found it necessary to subject of an initiative. On this matter, Father
amended x x x x x x and all other include the omnibus provision Bernas expressed this insight:
Sections of Article VII shall be retained (subdivision (7) of section XII) that "If
and numbered sequentially as Section any section, subsection, sentence, But why limit initiative and referendum
2, ad seriatim up to 14,unless they clause or phrase of the constitution is to simple amendments? The answer,
shall be inconsistent with Section 1 in conflict with any of the provisions of which one can easily glean from the
hereof, in which case they shall be this article, such section, subsection, rather long deliberation on initiative
deemed amended so as to conform sentence, clause, or phrase is to the and referendum in the 1986
to a unicameral Parliamentary extent of such conflict hereby Constitutional Commission, is
system of government x x x x x x . repealed. x x x Consequently, if the practicality. In other words, who is to
scope of the proposed intitiative formulate the revision or how is it to be
measure now before us is so broad formulated? Revision, as concretely
xxxxxxxxx
that if such measure become law a being proposed now, is nothing
substantial revision of our present less than a rebuilding of the
Section 4. (1) x x x state Constitution would be be Philippine constitutional
effected, then the measure may not structure. Who were involved in
(3) Within forty-five days from properly be submitted to the electorate formulating the structure? What
ratification of these amendments, the until and unless it is first agreed upon debates ensued? What records are
Interim Parliament shall convene to by a constitutional convention.28 there for future use in interpreting the
propose amendments to, or revisions provisions which may be found to be
of, this Constitution, consistent with Undoubtedly, the changes proposed by the unclear?
the principles of local autonomy, petitioners are not mere amendments which
decentralization and a strong will only affect the Articles or Sections sought In a deliberative body like Congress or
bureaucracy. to be changed. Rather, they are in the nature a Constitutional Convention, decisions
of revisions which will affect considerable are reached after much purifying
The above provisions will necessarily result in portions of the Constitution resulting in the debate. And while the deliberations
a "ripple effect" on the other provisions of the alteration of our form of government. The proceed, the public has the
opportunity to get involved. It is only essential terms and conditions insofar as implementation,31 however, as regards
after the work of an authorized body initiative on amendments to the Constitution is initiative on the Constitution, the law merely:
has been completed that it is concerned.
presented to the electorate for final (a) mentions the word "Constitution" in
judgment. Careful debate is The passage of time has done nothing to Section 2;32
important because the electorate change the applicability of R.A. No. 6735.
tends to accept what is presented Congress neither amended it nor passed a (b) defines "initiative on the
to it even sight unseen.30 new law to supply its deficiencies. Constitution" and includes it in the
enumeration of the three systems of
IV Notwithstanding so, this Court is being initiative in Section 3;33
R.A. No. 6735 is insufficient to implement persuaded to take a 360-degree turn,
the People's initiative enumerating three (3) justifications why R.A. (c) speaks of "plebiscite" as the
No. 6735 must be considered a sufficient law, process by which the proposition in an
Section 2, Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution thus: initiative on the Constitution may be
reads: approved or rejected by the people;34
1) The text of R.A. No. 6735
Section 2. Amendments to this is replete with references to the (d) reiterates the constitutional
Constitution may likewise be directly right of people to initiate changes to requirements as to the number of
proposed by the people through the Constitution; voters who should sign the
initiative upon a petition of at least petition;35 and
twelve per centum of the total number 2) The legislative history of R.A. No.
of registered voters, of which every 6735 reveals the clear intent of the (e) provides the date for the effectivity
legislative district must be represented lawmakers to use it as instrument to of the approved proposition.36
by at least three per centum of the implement the people's initiative; and
registered voters therein. No
In other words, R.A. No. 6735 does not
amendment under this section shall be 3) The sponsorship speeches by the specify the procedure how initiative on the
authorized within five years following authors of R.A. No. 6735 demonstrate Constitution may be accomplished. This is not
the ratification of this Constitution nor the legislative intent to use it as the enabling law contemplated by the
oftener than once every five years instrument to implement people's Constitution. As pointed out by oppositor-
thereafter, initiative. intervenor Alternative Law Groups Inc., since
the promulgation of the Decision in Santiago,
The Congress shall provide for the I regret to say that the foregoing justifications various bills have been introduced in both
implementation of the exercise of are wanting. Houses of Congress providing for
this right. a complete and adequate process for
A thorough reading of R.A. No. 6735 leads to people's initiative, such as:
On its face, Section 2 is not a self-executory the conclusion that it covers only initiatives
provision. This means that an enabling law is on national and local legislation. Its Names, signatures and addresses of
imperative for its implementation. Thus, references to initiatives on the Constitution petitioners who shall be registered
Congress enacted R.A. No. 6735 in order to are few, isolated and misplaced. Unlike in voters;
breathe life into this constitutional provision. the initiatives on national and local legislation,
However, as previously narrated, this Court where R.A. No. 6735 provides a detailed, A statement of the provision of the
struck the law in Santiago for logical, and exhaustive enumeration on their Constitution or any part thereof sought
being incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in
to be amended and the proposed 2, Article XVII of the Constitution and R.A. 2. The proposed amendments must
amendment; No. 6735 be contained in "a petition of at least
twelve per centum of the total
The manner of initiation - in a I shall discuss the above issues together since number of registered voters;" and
congressional district through a they are interrelated and inseparable. The
petition by any individual, group, determination of whether petitioners are 3. The required minimum of 12% of
political party or coalition with proper parties to file the petition for initiative in the total number of registered voters
members in the congressional district; behalf of the alleged 6.3 million voters will "must be represented by at least
require an examination of whether they three per centum of the registered
The language used: the petition have complied with the provisions of voters" of "every legislative district."
should be printed in English and Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution.
translated in the local language; In this case, however, the above requisites
To reiterate, Section 2, Article XVII of the are not present.
Signature stations to be provided for; Constitution provides:
The petition for initiative was filed with the
Provisions pertaining to the need and Section 2. Amendments to this COMELEC by petitioners Lambino and
manner of posting, that is, after the Constitution may likewise be directly Aumentado, two registered voters. As
signatures shall have been verified by proposed by the people through shown in the "Verification/Certification with
the Commission, the verified initiative upon a petition of at least Affidavit of Non-Forum Shopping" contained in
signatures shall be posted for at least twelve per centum of the total their petition, they alleged under oath that they
thirty days in the respective municipal number of registered voters, of have caused the preparation of the petition in
and city halls where the signatures which every legislative district must be their personal capacity as registered voters
were obtained; represented by at least three per "and as representatives" of the supposed
centum of the registered voters 6.3 million registered voters. This goes to
Provisions pertaining to protests therein. No amendment under this show that the questioned petition was not
allowed any protest as to the section shall be authorized within five initiated directly by the 6.3 million people who
authenticity of the signatures to be years following the ratification of this allegedly comprised at least 12% of the total
filed with the COMELEC and decided Constitution nor oftener than once number of registered voters, as required by
within sixty (60) days from the filing of every five years thereafter. Section 2. Moreover, nowhere in the petition
said protest. itself could be found the signatures of the
The Congress shall provide for the 6.3 million registered voters. Only the
implementation of the exercise of this signatures of petitioners Lambino and
None of the above necessary details is
right. (Underscoring supplied) Aumentado were affixed therein "as
provided by R.A. No. 6735, thus,
representatives" of those 6.3 million people.
demonstrating its incompleteness and
The mandate of the above constitutional Certainly, that is not the petition for
inadequacy.
provisions is definite and categorical. For people's initiative contemplated by the
a people's initiative to prosper, the following Constitution.
V
Petitioners are not Proper Parties to requisites must be present:
Petitioners Lambino and Aumentado have no
File the Petition for Initiative
1. It is "the people" themselves who authority whatsoever to file the petition "as
must "directly propose" representatives" of the alleged 6.3 million
VI registered voters. Such act of
The Petition for Initiative Filed with the "amendments" to the Constitution;
representation is constitutionally
COMELEC Does not Comply with Section proscribed. To repeat, Section 2 strictly
requires that amendments to the Constitution over six million registered voters indicated Independence to "alter or abolish" the
shall be "directly proposed by the people their support of the Petition for initiative is government and to institute a new one. The
through initiative upon a petition of at least a purely political question;" and (2) "[t]he reformers proceeded to call for and hold an
twelve per centum of the total number of power to propose amendments to the extralegal constitutional convention, drafted a
registered voters." Obviously, the phrase Constitution is a right explicitly bestowed upon new State Constitution, submitted the
"directly proposed by the the sovereign people. Hence, the document for popular ratification, and held
people" excludes any person acting as determination by the people to exercise their elections under it. The State government,
representative or agent of the 12% of the total right to propose amendments under the however, refused to cede power, leading to an
number of registered voters. The Constitution system of initiative is a sovereign act and falls anomalous situation in that for a few months
has bestowed upon the people the right squarely within the ambit of a political in 1842, there were two opposing state
to directly propose amendments to the question." governments contending for legitimacy and
Constitution. Such right cannot be usurped by possession of state of offices.
anyone under the guise of being the people's The "political question doctrine" was first
representative. Simply put, Section 2 does not enunciated by the US Supreme Court The Rhode Island militia, under the authority
recognize acts of representation. For it is only in Luther v. Borden.37 Faced with the difficult of martial law, entered and searched the
"the people" (comprising the minimum of 12% question of whether the Supreme Court was house of Martin Luther, a Dorr supporter. He
of the total number of registered voters, of the appropriate institution to define the brought suit against Luther Borden, a
which every legislative district must be substantive content of republicanism, the US militiaman. Before the US Supreme Court,
represented by at least three per centum of Supreme Court, speaking thru Mr. Justice Luther's counsel argued that since the State's
the registered voters therein) who are Roger B. Taney, concluded that "the archaic Constitution prevented a fair and
the proper parties to initiate a petition sovereignty in every State resides in the peaceful address of grievances through
proposing amendments to the Constitution. people, as to how and whether they democratic processes, the people of Rhode
Verily, the petition filed with the COMELEC by exercised it, was under the circumstances Island had instead chosen to exercise their
herein petitioners Lambino and Aumentado is of the case, a political question to be inherent right in popular sovereignty of
not a people's initiative. Necessarily, it must settled by the political power." In other replacing what they saw as an oppressive
fail. words, the responsibility of settling certain government. The US Supreme Court
constitutional questions was left to the deemed the controversy as non-justiciable
Cororarilly, the plea that this Court should legislative and executive branches of the and inappropriate for judicial resolution.
"hear" and "heed" "the people's voice" is government.
baseless and misleading. There is no In Colgrove v. Green,38 Mr. Justice Felix
people's voice to be heard and heeded as The Luther case arose from the so-called Frankfurter, coined the phrase "political
this petition for initiative is not truly theirs, "Dorr Rebellion" in the State of Rhode Island. thicket" to describe situations where Federal
but only of petitioners Lambino and Due to increased migration brought about by courts should not intervene in political
Aumentado and their allies. the Industrial Revolution, the urban population questions which they have neither the
of Rhode Island increased. However, under competence nor the commission to decide.
VII the 1663 Royal Charter which served as the In Colgrove, the US Supreme Court, with a
The issues at bar are not political State Constitution, voting rights were largely narrow 4-3 vote branded the apportionment of
questions. limited to residents of the rural districts. This legislative districts in Illinois "as a political
severe mal-apportionment of suffrage rights question and that the invalidation of the
Lambino and Aumentado, petitioners in G.R. led to the "Dorr Rebellion." Despairing of districts might, in requiring statewide
No. 174153, vehemently argue that: (1) "the obtaining remedies for their elections, create an evil greater than that
validity of the exercise of the right of the disenfranchisement from the state sought to be remedied."
sovereign people to amend the Constitution government, suffrage reformers invoked their
and their will, as expressed by the fact that rights under the American Declaration of
While this Court has adopted the use of coordinate branches of government; they signed. In fact, petitioners admitted that
Frankfurter's "political thicket," nonetheless, it or the Constitutional provisions sought to be
has sought to come up with a definition of the amended and the proposed amendments
term "political question." Thus, in Vera v. 5) there is an unusual need for were not explained to all those registered
Avelino,39 this Court ruled that properly, unquestioning adherence to a political voters. Indeed, there will be no means of
political questions are "those questions decision already made; or knowing, to the point of judicial certainty,
which, under the Constitution, are to be whether they really understood what
decided by the people in their sovereign 6) there exists the potentiality of petitioners and their group asked them to sign.
capacity or in regard to which full embarrassment arising from
discretionary authority has been delegated multifarious pronouncements by Let us not repeat the mistake committed by
to the legislative or executive branch of the various departments on one question. this Court in Javellana v. The Executive
government." In Taada and Macapagal v. Secretary.45 The Court then ruled that "This
Cuenco,40 the Court held that the term political being the vote of the majority, there is no
None of the foregoing standards is present in
question connotes, in legal parlance, what it further judicial obstacle to the new
the issues raised before this Court.
means in ordinary parlance, namely, a Constitution being considered in force and
Accordingly, the issues are justiciable. What
question of policy. It is concerned with effect," although it had notice that the
is at stake here is the legality and not the
issues dependent upon the wisdom, not Constitution proposed by the 1971
wisdom of the act complained of.
legality, of a particular measure. Constitutional Convention was not validly
ratified by the people in accordance with the
Moreover, even assuming arguendo that the
In Aquino v. Enrile,41 this Court adopted the 1935 Constitution. The Court concluded,
issues raised before this Court are political in
following guidelines laid down in Baker v. among others, that the viva voce voting in the
nature, it is not precluded from resolving them
Carr42 in determining whether a question Citizens' Assemblies "was and is null and
under its expanded jurisdiction conferred upon
before it is political, rather than judicial in void ab initio." That was during martial law
it by Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution,
nature, to wit: when perhaps majority of the justices were
following Daza v. Singson.43 As pointed out
scared of the dictator. Luckily at present, we
in Marcos v. Manglapus,44 the present
1) there is a textually demonstrable are not under a martial law regime. There is,
Constitution limits resort to the political
constitutional commitment of the issue therefore, no reason why this Court should
question doctrine and broadens the scope of
to a coordinate political department; or allow itself to be used as a legitimizing
judicial power which the Court, under previous
authority by the so-called people's initiative for
charters, would have normally and ordinarily
2) there is a lack of judicially those who want to perpetuate themselves in
left to the political departments to decide.
discoverable and manageable power.
standards for resolving it; or CONCLUSION
At this point, I can say without fear that there
3) there is the sheer impossibility of is nothing wrong with our present government
In fine, considering the political scenario in our structure. Consequent1y, we must not change
deciding the matter without an initial country today, it is my view that the so-called
policy determination of a kind clearly it. America has a presidential type of
people's initiative to amend our Constitution government. Yet, it thrives ideally and has
for non-judicial discretion; or from bicameral-presidential to unicameral- become a super power. It is then safe to
parliamentary is actually not an initiative of the conclude that what we should change are
4) there is the sheer impossibility of people, but an initiative of some of our some of the people running the
the Court's undertaking an politicians. It has not been shown by government, NOT the SYSTEM.
independent resolution without petitioners, during the oral arguments in this
expressing lack of respect due the case, that the 6.3 million registered voters
According to petitioners, the proposed
who affixed their signatures understood what
amendment would effect a more efficient,
more economical and more responsive ____________________ The Antecedents
government.
EN BANC On August 25, 2006, petitioners Raul L.
Is there hope that a new breed of politicians, Lambino and Erico B. Aumentado filed with
more qualified and capable, may be elected G.R. No. 174153 the COMELEC a petition entitled "IN THE
as members and leaders of the unicameral- MATTER OF PROPOSING AMENDMENTS
parliament? Or will the present members of RAUL L. LAMBINO and ERICO B. TO THE 1987 CONSTITUTION THROUGH A
the Lower House continue to hold their AUMENTADO, together with 6,327,952 PEOPLE'S INITIATIVE: A SHIFT FROM A
respective positions with limitless terms? REGISTERED VOTERS, petitioners, BICAMERAL PRESIDENTIAL TO A
vs. UNICAMERAL PARLIAMENTARY
Will the new government be more responsive THE COMMISSION ON GOVERNMENT BY AMENDING ARTICLES
to the needs of the poor and the ELECTIONS, respondent. VI AND VII; AND PROVIDING TRANSITORY
marginalized? Will it be able to provide homes PROVISIONS FOR THE ORDERLY SHIFT
for the homeless, food for the hungry, jobs for FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL TO THE
G.R. No. 174299
the jobless and protection for the weak? PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM." The case was
docketed as EM (LD)-06-01. On August 30,
MAR-LEN ABIGAIL BINAY, SOFRONIO 2006, petitioners filed an amended petition.
This is a defining moment in our history. The UNTALAN, JR. and RENE A.Q.
issue posed before us is crucial with For brevity, it is referred to as the petition for
SAGUISAG, petitioners, initiative.
transcendental significance. And history will vs.
judge us on how we resolve this issue shall THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS,
we allow the revision of our Constitution, of Petitioners alleged therein, inter alia, that they
represented by Chairman BENJAMIN S.
which we are duty bound to guard and revere, filed their petition in their own behalf and
ABALOS, SR., and Commissioners
on the basis of a doubtful people's initiative? together with those who have affixed their
RESURRECCION Z. BORRA, FLORENTINO
signatures to the signature sheets appended
A. TUASON, JR., ROMEO A. BRAWNER,
Amending the Constitution involving a change thereto who are Filipino citizens, residents and
RENE V. SARMIENTO, and JOHN DOE and
of government system or structure is a registered voters of the Philippines, and they
PETER DOE, respondents.
herculean task affecting the entire Filipino constitute at least twelve percent (12%) of all
people and the future generations. Let us, the registered voters in the country, wherein
x ----------------------------------------------------------- each legislative district is represented by at
therefore, entrust this duty to more ----------------------------- x
knowledgeable people elected as members of least three percent (3%) of all the registered
a Constitutional Convention. voters therein.
SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION
Yes, the voice of the people is the voice of Petitioners further alleged therein that the
CALLEJO, SR., J.: filing of the petition for initiative is based on
God. But under the circumstances in this
case, the voice of God is not audible. their constitutional right to propose
I am convinced beyond cavil that the amendments to the 1987 Constitution by way
respondent Commission on Elections of people's initiative, as recognized in Section
WHEREFORE, I vote to DISMISS the petition
(COMELEC) did not commit an abuse of its 2, Article XVII thereof, which provides:
in G.R. No. 174153 and to GRANT the
discretion in dismissing the amended petition
petition in G.R. No. 174299.
before it. The proposals of petitioners SEC. 2. Amendments to this
incorporated in said amended petition are for Constitution may likewise be directly
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ the revision of the 1987 Constitution. Further, proposed by the people through
ustice the amended petition before the respondent initiative upon a petition of at least
COMELEC is insufficient in substance. twelve per centum of the total number
of registered voters, of which every c.1. contents or text of the Petitioners incorporated in their petition for
legislative district must be represented proposed law sought to be initiative the changes they proposed to be
by at least three per centum of the enacted, approved or rejected, incorporated in the 1987 Constitution and
registered voters therein. No amended or repealed, as the prayed that the COMELEC issue an order:
amendment under this section shall be case may be;
authorized within five years following 1. Finding the Petition to be sufficient
the ratification of this Constitution nor c.2. the proposition; pursuant to Section 4, Article XVII of
oftener than once every five years the 1987 Constitution;
thereafter. c.3. the reason or reasons
therefor; 2. Directing the publication of the
The Congress shall provide for the Petition in Filipino and English at least
implementation of the exercise of this c.4. that it is not one of the twice in newspapers of general and
right." exceptions provided herein; local circulation; and

According to petitioners, while the above c.5. signatures of the 3. Calling a plebiscite to be held not
provision states that "(T)he Congress shall petitioners or registered earlier than sixty nor later than ninety
provide for the implementation of the exercise voters; and days after the Certification by this
of this right," the provisions of Section 5(b) Honorable Commission of the
and (c), along with Section 7 of Republic Act sufficiency of this Petition, to allow the
c.6. an abstract or summary in
(RA) 6735,1are sufficient enabling details for Filipino people to express their
not more than one hundred
the people's exercise of the power. The said sovereign will on the proposition.
(100) words which shall be
sections of RA 6735 state:
legibly written or printed at the
top of every page of the Petitioners pray for such other reliefs
Sec. 5. Requirements. (a) To petition. deemed just and equitable in the
exercise the power x x x premises.
xxxx
(b) A petition for an initiative on the The Ruling of the respondent COMELEC
1987 Constitution must have at least
Sec. 7. Verification of Signatures.
twelve per centum (12%) of the total On August 31, 2006, the COMELEC
The Election Registrar shall verify the
number of registered voters as promulgated the assailed Resolution denying
signatures on the basis of the registry
signatories, of which every legislative due course and dismissing the petition for
list of voters, voters' affidavits and
district must be represented by at initiative. The COMELEC ruled that:
voters identification cards used in the
least three per centum (3%) of the
immediately preceding election.
registered voters therein. Initiative on
We agree with the petitioners that this
the Constitution may be exercised
They also alleged that the COMELEC has the Commission has the solemn
only after five (5) years from the
authority, mandate and obligation to give due Constitutional duty to enforce and
ratification of the 1987 Constitution
course to the petition for initiative, in administer all laws and regulations
and only once every five (5) years
compliance with the constitutional directive for relative to the conduct of, as in this
thereafter.
the COMELEC to "enforce and administer all case, initiative.
laws and regulations relative to the conduct of
(c) The petition shall state the
an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum This mandate, however, should be
following:
and recall."2 read in relation to the other provisions
of the Constitution particularly on The Supreme Court, likewise, The Petitioners' Case
initiative. declared that this Commission should
be permanently enjoined from In support of their petition, petitioners
Section 2, Article XVII of the 1987 entertaining or taking cognizance of alleged, inter alia, that:
Constitution provides: any petition for initiative on
amendments to the Constitution until a I.
"Sec. 2. Amendments to this sufficient law shall have been validly
Constitution may, likewise, be enacted to provide for the
THE HONORABLE PUBLIC
directly proposed by the implementation of the system.
RESPONDENT COMELEC
people through initiative, upon COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
a petition of at least twelve per Thus, even if the signatures in the DISCRETION IN REFUSING TO
centum of the total number of instant Petition appear to meet the TAKE COGNIZANCE OF, AND TO
registered voters, of which required minimum per centum of the GIVE DUE COURSE TO THE
every legislative district must total number of registered voters, of PETITION FOR INITIATIVE,
be represented by at least which every legislative district is BECAUSE THE CITED SANTIAGO
three per centum of the represented by at least three per RULING OF 19 MARCH 1997
registered voters therein. x x x. centum of the registered voters CANNOT BE CONSIDERED THE
therein, still the Petition cannot be MAJORITY OPINION OF THE
The Congress shall provide for given due course since the Supreme SUPREME COURT EN BANC,
the implementation of the Court categorically declared RA 6735 CONSIDERING THAT UPON ITS
exercise of this right." as inadequate to cover the system of RECONSIDERATION AND FINAL
initiative on amendments to the VOTING ON 10 JUNE 1997, NO
Constitution. MAJORITY VOTE WAS SECURED
The aforequoted provision of the
Constitution being a non-self- TO DECLARE REPUBLIC ACT NO.
executory provision needed an This Commission is not unmindful of 6735 AS INADEQUATE,
enabling law for its implementation. the transcendental importance of the INCOMPLETE AND INSUFFICIENT
Thus, in order to breathe life into the right of the people under a system of IN STANDARD.
constitutional right of the people under initiative. However, neither can we
a system of initiative to directly turn a blind eye to the pronouncement II.
propose, enact, approve or reject, in of the High Court that in the absence
whole or in part, the Constitution, of a valid enabling law, this right of the
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION,
laws, ordinances, or resolution, people remains nothing but an "empty
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6735,
Congress enacted RA 6735. right," and that this Commission is
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8189 AND
permanently enjoined from
EXISTING APPROPRIATION OF THE
entertaining or taking cognizance of
However, the Supreme Court, in the COMELEC PROVIDE FOR
any petition for initiative on
landmark case of Santiago v. SUFFICIENT DETAILS AND
amendments to the Constitution.
Commission on Elections struck down AUTHORITY FOR THE EXERCISE
(Citations omitted.)
the said law for being incomplete, OF PEOPLE'S INITIATIVE, THUS,
inadequate, or wanting in essential EXISTING LAWS TAKEN
terms and conditions insofar as Aggrieved, petitioners elevated the case to TOGETHER ARE ADEQUATE AND
initiative on amendments to the this Court on a petition COMPLETE.
Constitution is concerned for certiorari and mandamus under Rule 65 of
the Rules of Court.
III.
THE HONORABLE PUBLIC AGO RULING OF 19 THE SANTIAGO RULING OF
RESPONDENT COMELEC MARCH 1997, THE 19 MARCH 1997 IS NOT
COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF RIGHT OF THE APPLICABLE TO THE
DISCRETION IN REFUSING TO PEOPLE TO INSTANT PETITION FOR
TAKE COGNIZANCE OF, AND IN EXERCISE THE INITIATIVE FILED BY THE
REFUSING TO GIVE DUE COURSE SOVEREIGN POWER PETITIONERS
TO THE PETITION FOR INITIATIVE, OF INITIATIVE AND
THEREBY VIOLATING AN EXPRESS RECALL HAS BEEN C.
CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE AND INVARIABLY UPHELD
DISREGARDING AND THE PERMANENT
CONTRAVENING THE WILL OF THE 3. INJUNCTION ISSUED
PEOPLE. IN SANTIAGO V.
THE EXERCISE OF COMELEC ONLY APPLIES
A. THE INITIATIVE TO TO THE DELFIN PETITION.
PROPOSE
THE SANTIAGO RULING OF AMENDMENTS IS A 1.
19 MARCH 1997 IS NOT POLITICAL
APPLICABLE TO THE QUESTION WHICH IT IS THE
INSTANT PETITION FOR SHALL BE DISPOSITIVE
INITIATIVE FILED BY THE DETERMINED PORTION OF THE
PETITIONERS. SOLELY BY THE DECISION AND NOT
SOVEREIGN OTHER
1. PEOPLE. STATEMENTS IN THE
BODY OF THE
THE FRAMERS OF 4. DECISION THAT
THE CONSTITUTION GOVERNS THE
INTENDED TO GIVE BY SIGNING THE RIGHTS IN
THE PEOPLE THE SIGNATURE SHEETS CONTROVERSY.
POWER TO ATTACHED TO THE
PROPOSE PETITION FOR IV.
AMENDMENTS AND INITIATIVE DULY
THE PEOPLE VERIFIED BY THE THE HONORABLE PUBLIC
THEMSELVES ARE ELECTION RESPONDENT FAILED OR
NOW GIVING OFFICERS, THE NEGLECTED TO ACT OR PERFORM
VIBRANT LIFE TO PEOPLE HAVE A DUTY MANDATED BY LAW.
THIS CHOSEN TO
CONSTITUTIONAL PERFORM THIS
A.
PROVISION SACRED EXERCISE
OF THEIR
SOVEREIGN POWER. THE MINISTERIAL DUTY OF
2.
THE COMELEC IS TO SET
THE INITIATIVE FOR
PRIOR TO THE B.
PLEBISCITE.3
QUESTIONED SANTI
Petitioners Failed to Allege and exercising judicial or quasi-judicial correction of errors of jurisdiction and not
Demonstrate All the Essential functions; errors of judgment.7 An error of judgment is
Facts To Establish the Right to a Writ one in which the court may commit in the
of Certiorari (2) such tribunal, board or officer has exercise of its jurisdiction, which error is
acted without or in excess of reversible only by an appeal.8
Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
reads: discretion amounting to lack or excess In the present case, it appears from the
of jurisdiction; and assailed Resolution of the COMELEC that it
Sec. 1. Petition for certiorari. When denied the petition for initiative solely in
any tribunal, board or officer (3) there is no appeal or any plain, obedience to the mandate of this Court
exercising judicial or quasi-judicial speedy and adequate remedy in the in Santiago v. Commission on Elections.9 In
functions has acted without or in ordinary course of law. x x x4 said case, the Court En Banc permanently
excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with enjoined the COMELEC from entertaining or
grave abuse of discretion amounting The Court has invariably defined "grave abuse taking cognizance of any petition for initiative
to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and of discretion," thus: on amendments to the Constitution until a
there is no appeal, or any plain, sufficient law shall have been validly enacted
speedy, and adequate remedy in the to provide for the implementation of the
By grave abuse of discretion is meant
ordinary course of law, a person system. When the COMELEC denied the
such capricious and whimsical
aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition for initiative, there was as yet no valid
exercise of judgment as is equivalent
petition in the proper court, alleging law enacted by Congress to provide for the
to lack of jurisdiction, and it must be
the facts with certainty and praying implementation of the system.
shown that the discretion was
that judgment be rendered annulling exercised arbitrarily or despotically.
or modifying the proceedings of such For certiorari to lie, there must be a It is a travesty for the Court to declare the act
tribunal, board or officer, and granting capricious, arbitrary and whimsical of the COMELEC in denying due course to the
such incidental reliefs as law and exercise of power, the very antithesis petition for initiative as "capricious, despotic,
justice may require. of the judicial prerogative in oppressive or whimsical exercise of judgment
accordance with centuries of both civil as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction." In fact,
The petition shall be accompanied by law and common law traditions.5 in so doing, the COMELEC merely followed or
a certified true copy of the judgment, applied, as it ought to do, the Court's ruling in
order or resolution subject thereof, Santiago to the effect that Section 2, Article
There is thus grave abuse of discretion on the
copies of all pleadings and documents XVII of the Constitution on the system of
part of the COMELEC when it acts in a
relevant and pertinent thereto, and a initiative is a non self-executory provision and
capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic
sworn certification of non-forum requires an enabling law for its
manner in the exercise of its judgment
shopping as provided in the third implementation. In relation thereto, RA 6735
amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Mere abuse
paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46. was found by the Court to be "incomplete,
of discretion is not enough.6 The only question
inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and
involved is jurisdiction, either the lack or
A writ for certiorari may issue only when the conditions" to implement the constitutional
excess thereof, and abuse of discretion
following requirements are set out in the provision on initiative. Consequently, the
warrants the issuance of the extraordinary
petition and established: COMELEC was "permanently enjoined from
remedy of certiorari only when the same is
entertaining or taking cognizance of any
grave, as when the power is exercised in an
petition for initiative on amendments to the
(1) the writ is directed against a arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of
Constitution until a sufficient law shall have
tribunal, a board or any officer passion, prejudice or personal hostility. A writ
been validly enacted to provide for the
of certiorari is a remedy designed for the
implementation of the system." The decision
of the Court En Banc interpreting RA 6735 established by the constitution, and amendments to the Constitution through the
forms part of the legal system of the therefore void.14 system of initiative; and
Philippines.10 And no doctrine or principle laid
down by the Court En Banc may be modified At this point, it is well to recall the factual 3. The Delfin petition insufficient as it did not
or reversed except by the Court En context of Santiago as well as the contain the required number of signatures of
Banc,11 certainly not by the COMELEC. Until pronouncement made by the Court therein. registered voters.
the Court En Banc modifies or reverses its Like petitioners in the instant case,
decision, the COMELEC is bound to follow the in Santiago, Atty. Jesus Delfin, the People's The Court concluded in Santiago that "the
same.12 As succinctly held in Fulkerson v. Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and COMELEC should be permanently enjoined
Thompson:13 Action (PIRMA), et al., invoked Section 2, from entertaining or taking cognizance
Article XVII of the Constitution as they filed of any petition for initiative on amendments to
Whatever was before the Court, and is with the COMELEC a "Petition to Amend the the Constitution until a sufficient law shall
disposed of, is considered as finally Constitution, to Lift Term Limits of Elective have been validly enacted to provide for the
settled. The inferior court is bound by Officials, By People's Initiative" (the Delfin implementation of the system." The
the judgment or decree as the law of petition). They asked the COMELEC to issue dispositive portion of the decision reads:
the case, and must carry it into an order fixing the time and date for signature
execution according to the mandate. gathering all over the country; causing the WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby
The inferior court cannot vary it, or necessary publications of said order and their rendered:
judicially examine it for any other petition in newspapers of general and local
purpose than execution. It can give no circulation and instructing municipal election
a) GRANTING the instant petition;
other or further relief as to any matter registrars in all regions all over the country
decided by the Supreme Court even and to assist petitioners in establishing signing
where there is error apparent; or in stations. Acting thereon, the COMELEC b) DECLARING RA 6735 inadequate
any manner intermeddle with it further issued the order prayed for. to cover the system of initiative on
than to execute the mandate and amendments to the Constitution, and
settle such matters as have been to have failed to provide sufficient
Senator Miriam Santiago, et al. forthwith filed
remanded, not adjudicated by the standard for subordinate legislation;
with this Court a petition for prohibition to
Supreme Court. enjoin the COMELEC from implementing its
order. The Court, speaking through Justice c) DECLARING void those parts of
The principles above stated are, we Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (later Chief Justice), Resolution No. 2300 of the
think, conclusively established by the granted the petition as it declared: Commission on Elections prescribing
authority of adjudged cases. And any rules and regulations on the conduct
further departure from them would of initiative or amendments to the
1. RA 6735 "incomplete, inadequate, or
inevitably mar the harmony of the Constitution; and
wanting in essential terms and conditions
whole judiciary system, bring its parts insofar as initiative on amendments to the
into conflict, and produce therein Constitution is concerned"; d) ORDERING the Commission on
disorganization, disorder, and Elections to forthwith DISMISS the
incalculable mischief and confusion. Delfin petition (UND-96-037).
2. COMELEC Resolution No. 230015 invalid
Besides, any rule allowing the inferior insofar as it prescribed rules and regulations
courts to disregard the adjudications on the conduct of initiative on amendments to The Temporary Restraining Order
of the Supreme Court, or to refuse or the Constitution because the COMELEC is issued on December 18, 1996 is made
omit to carry them into execution without authority to promulgate the rules and permanent as against the Commission
would be repugnant to the principles regulations to implement the exercise of the on Elections, but is LIFTED as against
right of the people to directly propose private respondents.16
The Court reiterated its ruling in Santiago in The Court ruled, first, by a unanimous Order dated December 18, 1996 that was
another petition which was filed with the Court vote, that no grave abuse of discretion made permanent in the dispositive portion
by PIRMA and the spouses Alberto and could be attributed to the public referred only to the Delfin petition.
Carmen Pedrosa (who were parties respondent COMELEC in dismissing
in Santiago) docketed as PIRMA v. the petition filed by PIRMA therein, it The OSG's attempt to isolate the dispositive
Commission on Elections.17 The said appearing that it only complied with portion from the body of the Court's decision
petitioners, undaunted by Santiago and the dispositions in the Decision of this in Santiago is futile. It bears stressing that the
claiming to have gathered 5,793,213 Court in G.R. No. 127325, dispositive portion must not be read
signatures, filed a petition with the COMELEC promulgated on March 19, 1997, and separately but in connection with the other
praying, inter alia, that COMELEC officers be its Resolution of June 10, 1997. portions of the decision of which it forms a
ordered to verify all the signatures collected in part. To get to the true intent and meaning of
behalf of the petition and, after due hearing, The Court next considered the a decision, no specific portion thereof should
that it (COMELEC) declare the petition question of whether there was need to be resorted to but the same must be
sufficient for the purpose of scheduling a resolve the second issue posed by the considered in its entirety. Hence, a resolution
plebiscite to amend the Constitution. Like the petitioners, namely, that the Court re- or ruling may and does appear in other parts
Delfin petition in Santiago, the PIRMA petition examine its ruling as regards R.A. of the decision and not merely in
proposed to submit to the people in a 6735. On this issue, the Chief Justice the fallo thereof.19
plebiscite the amendment to the Constitution and six (6) other members of the
on the lifting of the term limits of elected Court, namely, Regalado, Davide, The pronouncement in the body of the
officials. Romero, Bellosillo, Kapunan and decision in Santiago permanently enjoining
Torres, JJ., voted that there was no the COMELEC "from entertaining or taking
The opinion of the minority that there was no need to take it up. Vitug, J., agreed cognizance of any petition for initiative on
doctrine enunciated by the Court in PIRMA that there was no need for re- amendments to the Constitution until a
has no basis. The COMELEC, in its examination of said second issue sufficient law shall have been validly enacted
Resolution dated July 8, 1997, dismissed the since the case a bar is not the proper to provide for the implementation of the
PIRMA petition citing the permanent vehicle for that purpose. Five (5) other system" is thus as much a part of the Court's
restraining order issued against it by the Court members of the Court, namely, Melo, decision as its dispositive portion. The ruling
in Santiago. PIRMA and the spouses Pedrosa Puno, Francisco, Hermosisima and of this Court is of the nature of an in
forthwith elevated the matter to the Court Panganiban, JJ., opined that there rem judgment barring any and all Filipinos
alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part was need for such a re-examination. x from filing a petition for initiative on
of the COMELEC in refusing to exercise xx amendments to the Constitution until a
jurisdiction over, and thereby dismissing, their sufficient law shall have been validly
petition for initiative to amend the Constitution. WHEREFORE, the petition is enacted. Clearly, the COMELEC, in denying
DISMISSED.18 (Underscoring due course to the present petition for initiative
The Court dismissed outright, by a unanimous supplied.) on amendments to the Constitution
vote, the petition filed by PIRMA and the conformably with the Court's ruling in
spouses Albert Pedrosa. The Court declared In the present case, the Office of the Solicitor Santiago did not commit grave abuse of
that the COMELEC merely complied with the General (OSG) takes the side of petitioners discretion. On the contrary, its actuation is in
dispositions in the decision of the Court in and argues that the COMELEC should not keeping with the salutary principle of hierarchy
Santiago and, hence, cannot be held to have have applied the ruling in Santiago to the of courts. For the Court to find the COMELEC
committed a grave abuse of its discretion in petition for initiative because the permanent to have abused its discretion when it
dismissing the petition before it: injunction therein referred only to the Delfin dismissed the amended petition based on the
petition. The OSG buttresses this argument by ruling of this Court in Santiago would be sheer
pointing out that the Temporary Restraining judicial apostasy.
As eloquently put by Justice J.B.L. Reyes, 6735 was sufficient to implement the system did not. The Court positively and
"there is only one Supreme Court from whose of initiative. unequivocally declared that the COMELEC
decisions all other courts should take their merely followed the ruling of the Court
bearings."20 This truism applies with equal Given that a clear majority of the members of in Santiago in dismissing the petition before it.
force to the COMELEC as a quasi-judicial the Court, eight Justices, concurred in the No less than Senior Justice Reynato S. Puno
body for, after all, judicial decisions applying decision in Santiago, the pronouncement concurred with the resolution of the Court. It
or interpreting laws or the Constitution therein that RA 6735 is "incomplete, behooved Justice Puno to dissent from the
"assume the same authority as the statute inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and ruling of the Court on the motion for
itself and, until authoritatively abandoned, conditions insofar as initiative on amendments reconsideration of petitioners precisely on the
necessarily become, to the extent that they to the Constitution is concerned" constitutes a ground that there was no doctrine enunciated
are applicable, the criteria which must control definitive ruling on the matter. by the Court in Santiago. He did not. Neither
the actuations not only of those called upon to did Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, who
abide thereby but also of those duty bound to In the Resolution dated June 10, 1997, the was a member of the Court.
enforce obedience thereto."21 motions for reconsideration of
the Santiago decision were denied with finality That RA 6735 has failed to validly implement
Petitioners Cannot Ascribe as only six Justices, or less than the majority, the people's right to directly propose
Grave Abuse of Discretion on voted to grant the same. The Resolution constitutional amendments through the
the COMELEC Based on the expressly stated that the motion for system of initiative had already been
Minority Opinion in Santiago reconsideration failed "to persuade the conclusively settled in Santiago as well as
requisite majority of the Court to modify or in PIRMA. Heeding these decisions, several
It is elementary that the opinion of the majority reverse the Decision of 19 March 1977."24 In lawmakers, including no less than Solicitor
of the members of the Court, not the opinion fine, the pronouncement in Santiago as General Antonio Eduardo Nachura when he
of the minority, prevails. As a corollary, the embodied in the Decision of March 19, 1997 was then a member of the House of
decision of the majority cannot be modified or remains the definitive ruling on the matter. Representatives,25 have filed separate bills to
reversed by the minority of the members of implement the system of initiative under
the Court. It bears stressing that in PIRMA, petitioners Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution.
prayed for the Court to resolve the issue
However, to eschew the binding effect posed by them and to re-examine its ruling as In the present Thirteenth (13th) Congress, at
of Santiago, petitioners argue, albeit regards RA 6735. By a vote of seven least seven (7) bills are pending. In the
unconvincingly, that the Court's declaration members of the Court, including Justice Justo Senate, the three (3) pending bills are: Senate
therein on the inadequacy, incompleteness P. Torres, Jr. and Justice Jose C. Vitug, the Bill No. 119 entitled An Act Providing for
and insufficiency of RA 6735 to implement the Court voted that there was no need to resolve People's Initiative to Amend the Constitution
system of initiative to propose constitutional the issue. Five members of the Court opined introduced by Senator Luisa "Loi" P. Ejercito
amendments did not constitute the majority that there was a need for the re-examination Estrada; Senate Bill No. 2189 entitled An Act
opinion. This contention is utterly baseless. of said ruling. Thus, the pronouncement of the Providing for People's Initiative to Amend the
Court in Santiago remains the law of the case Constitution introduced by Senator Miriam
Santiago was concurred in, without any and binding on petitioners. Defensor Santiago; and Senate Bill No. 2247
reservation, by eight Justices,22 or the majority entitled An Act Providing for a System of
of the members of the Court, who actually If, as now claimed by the minorty, there was People's Initiative to Propose Amendments to
took part in the deliberations thereon. On the no doctrine enunciated by the Court the Constitution introduced by Senator
other hand, five Justices,23 while voting for the in Santiago, the Court should have resolved to Richard Gordon.
dismissal of the Delfin petition on the ground set aside its original resolution dismissing the
of insufficiency, dissented from the majority petition and to grant the motion for In the House of Representatives, there are at
opinion as they maintained the view that RA reconsideration and the petition. But the Court least four (4) pending bills: House Bill No.
05281 filed by Representative Carmen Cari, determined principles and speculate on uniform and progressive ratio. Each
House Bill No. 05017 filed by Representative fluctuation of the law with every change in the district shall comprise, as far as
Imee Marcos, House Bill No. 05025 filed by expounders of it.27 practicable, contiguous, compact and
Representative Roberto Cajes, and House Bill adjacent territory, and each province
No. 05026 filed by Representative Edgardo Proposals to Revise the Constitution, must have at least one member.
Chatto. These House bills are similarly entitled As in the Case of the Petitioners'
An Act Providing for People's Initiative to Proposal to Change the Form of "(2) Each Member of Parliament shall
Amend the Constitution. Government, Cannot be Effected be a natural-born citizen of the
Through the System of Initiative, Philippines, at least twenty-five years
The respective explanatory notes of the said Which by Express Provision of old on the day of the election, a
Senate and House bills uniformly recognize Section 2, Article XVII of the resident of his district for at least one
that there is, to date, no law to govern the Constitution, is Limited to Amendments year prior thereto, and shall be elected
process by which constitutional amendments by the qualified voters of his district for
are introduced by the people directly through Even granting arguendo the Court, in the a term of five years without limitation
the system of initiative. Ten (10) years after present case, abandons its pronouncement as to the number thereof, except those
Santiago and absent the occurrence of any in Santiago and declares RA 6735, taken under the party-list system which shall
compelling supervening event, i.e., passage of together with other extant laws, sufficient to be provided for by law and whose
a law to implement the system of initiative implement the system of initiative, still, the number shall be equal to twenty per
under Section 2, Article XVII of the amended petition for initiative cannot prosper. centum of the total membership
Constitution, that would warrant the re- Despite the denomination of their petition, the coming from the parliamentary
examination of the ruling therein, it behooves proposals of petitioners to change the form of districts."
the Court to apply to the present case the government from the present bicameral-
salutary and well-recognized doctrine of stare presidential to a unicameral-parliamentary B. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Article VII of the
decisis. As earlier shown, Congress and other system of government are actually for 1987 Constitution are hereby amended to
government agencies have, in fact, abided the revision of the Constitution. read, as follows:
by Santiago. The Court can do no less with
respect to its own ruling. Petitioners propose to "amend" Articles VI and "Section 1. There shall be a President
VII of the Constitution in this manner: who shall be the Head of State. The
Contrary to the stance taken by petitioners, executive power shall be exercised by
the validity or constitutionality of a law cannot A. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Article VI a Prime Minister, with the assistance
be made to depend on the individual opinions shall be amended to read as follows: of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister
of the members who compose it the shall be elected by a majority of all the
Supreme Court, as an institution, has already Members of Parliament from among
"Section 1. (1) The legislative and
determined RA 6735 to be "incomplete, themselves. He shall be responsible to
executive powers shall be vested in a
inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and the Parliament for the program of
unicameral Parliament which shall be
conditions insofar as initiative on amendments government.
composed of as many members as
to the Constitution is concerned" and
may be provided by law, to be
therefore the same remains to be so C. For the purpose of insuring an orderly
apportioned among the provinces,
regardless of any change in the Court's transition from the bicameral-Presidential
representative districts, and cities in
composition.26 Indeed, it is vital that there be to a unicameral-Parliamentary form of
accordance with the number of their
stability in the courts in adhering to decisions government, there shall be a new Article
respective inhabitants, with at least
deliberately made after ample XVIII, entitled "Transitory Provisions,"
three hundred thousand inhabitants
consideration. Parties should not be which shall read as follows:
per district, and on the basis of a
encouraged to seek re-examination of
Section 1. (1) The incumbent "House of Congress" shall be changed shall be composed of the incumbent
President and Vice President shall to read "Parliament"; that any and all Members of the Senate and the
serve until the expiration of their term references therein to "Member[s] of House of Representatives and the
at noon on the thirtieth day of June the House of Representatives" shall incumbent Members of the Cabinet
2010 and shall continue to exercise be changed to read as "Member[s] of who are heads of executive
their powers under the 1987 Parliament" and any and all departments.
Constitution unless impeached by a references to the "President" and or
vote of two thirds of all the members "Acting President" shall be changed to (2) The incumbent Vice President
of the interim parliament., read "Prime Minister." shall automatically be a Member of
Parliament until noon of the thirtieth
(2) In case of death, permanent Section 3. "Upon the expiration of the day of June 2010. He shall also be a
disability, resignation or removal from term of the incumbent President and member of the cabinet and shall head
office of the incumbent President, the Vice President, with the exception of a ministry. He shall initially convene
incumbent Vice President shall Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Article VII of the interim Parliament and shall
succeed as President. In case of the 1987 Constitution which are preside over its session for the
death, permanent disability, hereby amended and Sections 7, 8, 9, election of the interim Prime Minister
resignation or removal from office of 10, 11 and 12 which are hereby and until the Speaker shall have been
both the incumbent President and deleted, all other Sections of Article elected by a majority vote of all the
Vice President, the interim Prime VII shall be retained and renumbered members of the interim Parliament
Minister shall assume all the powers sequentially as Section 2, ad seriatim from among themselves.
and responsibilities of Prime Minister up to 14, unless they shall be
under Article VII as amended. inconsistent with Section 1 hereof, in (3) Senators whose term of office
which case they shall be deemed ends in 2010 shall be Members of
Section 2. "Upon the expiration of the amended so as to conform to a Parliament until noon of the thirtieth
term of the incumbent President and unicameral Parliamentary System of day of June 2010.
Vice President, with the exception of government; provided, however, that
Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of any and all references therein to (4) Within forty-five days from
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution "Congress," "Senate," "House of ratification of these amendments, the
which shall hereby be amended and Representatives" and "Houses of interim Parliament shall convene to
Sections 18 and 24 which shall be Congress" shall be changed to read propose amendments to, or revisions
deleted, all other Sections of Article VI "Parliament"; that any and all of, this Constitution consistent with the
are hereby retained and renumbered references therein to "Member[s] of principles of local autonomy,
sequentially as Section 2, ad seriatim Congress," "Senator[s]" or "Member[s] decentralization and a strong
up to 26, unless they are inconsistent of the House of Parliament" and any bureaucracy.
with the Parliamentary system of and all references to the "President"
government, in which case, they shall and of "Acting President" shall be
"Section 5. (1) The incumbent
be amended to conform with a changed to read "Prime Minister."
President, who is the Chief Executive,
unicameral parliamentary form of shall nominate, from among the
government; provided, however, that Section 4. (1) There shall exist, upon members of the interim Parliament, an
any and all references therein to the ratification of these amendments, interim Prime Minister, who shall be
"Congress," "Senate," "House of an interim Parliament which shall elected by a majority vote of the
Representatives" and "House of continue until the Members of the members thereof. The interim Prime
Congress," "Senator[s] or "Member[s] regular Parliament shall have been Minister shall oversee the various
of the House of Representatives" and elected and shall have qualified. It ministries and shall perform such
powers and responsibilities as may be plebiscite to be called for the said purpose initiative upon a petition of at least
delegated to him by the incumbent reads: twelve per centum of the total number
President." of registered voters, of which every
DO YOU APPROVE THE legislative district must be represented
(2) The interim Parliament shall AMENDMENT OF ARTICLES VI AND by at least three per centum of the
provide for the election of the VII OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION, registered voters therein. No
members of Parliament, which shall CHANGING THE FORM OF amendment under this section shall be
be synchronized and held GOVERNMENT FROM THE authorized within five years following
simultaneously with the election of all PRESENT BICAMERAL- the ratification of this Constitution nor
local government officials. [Thereafter, PRESIDENTIAL TO A UNICAMERAL- oftener than once every five years
the Vice-President, as Member of PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM, AND thereafter.
Parliament, shall immediately convene PROVIDING ARTICLE XVIII AS
the Parliament and shall initially TRANSITORY PROVISIONS FOR The Congress shall provide for the
preside over its session for the THE ORDERLY SHIFT FROM ONE implementation of the exercise of this right.
purpose of electing the Prime Minister, SYSTEM TO THE OTHER?29
who shall be elected by a majority It can be readily gleaned that the above
vote of all its members, from among According to petitioners, the proposed provisions set forth different modes and
themselves.] The duly-elected Prime amendment of Articles VI and VII would effect procedures for proposals for the amendment
Minister shall continue to exercise and a more efficient, more economical and more and revision of the Constitution:
perform the powers, duties and responsive government. The parliamentary
responsibilities of the interim Prime system would allegedly ensure harmony 1. Under Section 1, Article XVII, any
Minister until the expiration of the term between the legislative and executive amendment to, or revision of, the
of the incumbent President and Vice branches of government, promote greater Constitution may be proposed by
President.28 consensus, and provide faster and more
decisive governmental action. a. Congress, upon a vote of three-
Petitioners claim that the required number of fourths of all its members; or
signatures of registered voters have been Sections 1 and 2 of Article XVII pertinently
complied with, i.e., the signatories to the read: b. A constitutional convention.
petition constitute twelve percent (12%) of all
the registered voters in the country, wherein Article XVII
each legislative district is represented by at 2. Under Section 2, Article XVII,
least three percent (3%) of all the registered amendments to the Constitution may
SECTION 1. Any amendment to, or be likewise directly proposed by the
voters therein. Certifications allegedly
revision of, this Constitution may be people through initiative.
executed by the respective COMELEC
proposed by:
Election Registrars of each municipality and
city verifying these signatures were attached The framers of the Constitution deliberately
to the petition for initiative. The verification (1) The Congress, upon a vote of adopted the terms "amendment" and
was allegedly done on the basis of the list of three-fourths of all its Members; or "revision" and provided for their respective
registered voters contained in the official modes and procedures for effecting changes
COMELEC list used in the immediately (2) A constitutional convention. of the Constitution fully cognizant of the
preceding election. distinction between the two concepts.
SECTION 2. Amendments to this Commissioner Jose E. Suarez, the Chairman
The proposition, as formulated by petitioners, Constitution may likewise be directly of the Committee on Amendments and
to be submitted to the Filipino people in a proposed by the people through Transitory Provisions, explained:
MR. SUAREZ. One more point, and should be employed in the formulation Section 2. It was explained that the removal of
we will be through. of the Article governing amendments the provision on initiative from the other
or revisions to the new Constitution.30 "traditional modes" of changing the
We mentioned the possible use of Constitution was precisely to limit the former
only one term and that is, Further, the framers of the Constitution (system of initiative) to amendments to the
"amendment." However, the deliberately omitted the term "revision" in Constitution. It was emphasized that the
Committee finally agreed to use the Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution system of initiative should not extend to
terms "amendment" or "revision" because it was their intention to reserve the revision.
when our attention was called by the power to propose a revision of the
honorable Vice-President to the Constitution to Congress or the constitutional MR. SUAREZ. Thank you, Madam
substantial difference in the convention. Stated in another manner, it was President.
connotation and significance between their manifest intent that revision thereof shall
the said terms. As a result of our not be undertaken through the system of May we respectfully call the attention
research, we came up with the initiative. Instead, the revision of the of the Members of the Commission
observations made in the famous or Constitution shall be done either by Congress that pursuant to the mandate given to
notorious Javellana doctrine, or by a constitutional convention. us last night, we submitted this
particularly the decision rendered by afternoon a complete Committee
Honorable Justice Makasiar, wherein It is significant to note that, originally, the Report No. 7 which embodies the
he made the following distinction provision on the system of initiative was proposed provision governing the
between "amendment" and "revision" included in Section 1 of the draft Article on matter of initiative. This is now
of an existing Constitution: "Revision" Amendment or Revision proposed by the covered by Section 2 of the complete
may involve a rewriting of the whole Committee on Amendments and Transitory committee report. With the permission
Constitution. On the other hand, the Provisions. The original draft provided: of the Members, may I quote Section
act of amending a constitution 2:
envisages a change of specific SEC. 1. Any amendment to, or
provisions only. The intention of an act revision of, this Constitution may be The people may, after five years from
to amend is not the change of the proposed: the date of the last plebiscite held,
entire Constitution, but only the directly propose amendments to this
improvement of specific parts or the Constitution thru initiative upon
(a) by the National Assembly upon a
addition of provisions deemed petition of at least ten percent of the
vote of three-fourths of all its
essential as a consequence of new registered voters.
members; or
conditions or the elimination of parts
already considered obsolete or
(b) by a constitutional convention; or This completes the blanks appearing
unresponsive to the needs of the
in the original Committee Report No.
times.
(c) directly by the people themselves 7. This proposal was suggested on the
thru initiative as provided for in Article theory that this matter of initiative,
The 1973 Constitution is not a mere which came about because of the
amendment to the 1935 Constitution. __ Section __ of the Constitution.31
extraordinary developments this
It is a completely new fundamental year, has to be separated from the
Charter embodying new political, However, after deliberations and
traditional modes of amending the
social and economic concepts. interpellations, the members of the
Constitution as embodied in Section 1.
Commission agreed to remove the provision
The committee members felt that this
So, the Committee finally came up on the system of initiative from Section 1 and,
system of initiative should be limited to
with the proposal that these two terms instead, put it under a separate provision,
amendments to the Constitution and
should not extend to the revision of MR SUAREZ. We would be amenable After several amendments, the Commission
the entire Constitution, so we removed except that, as we clarified a while voted in favor of the following wording of
it from the operation of Section 1 of ago, this process of initiative is limited Section 2:
the proposed Article on Amendment or to the matter of amendment and
Revision. x x x32 should not expand into a revision AMENDMENTS TO THIS
which contemplates a total overhaul of CONSTITUTION MAY LIKEWISE BE
The intention to exclude "revision" of the the Constitution. That was the sense DIRECTLY PROPOSED BY THE
Constitution as a mode that may be conveyed by the Committee. PEOPLE THROUGH INITIATIVE
undertaken through the system of initiative UPON A PETITION OF AT LEAST
was reiterated and made clear by MS. AQUINO. In other words, the TWELVE PERCENT OF THE