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T"n v.

M"c"p"g"l

A five-p"ge petition filed on October 6, 1971 by Eugene A. T"n, Silvestre J. Acej"s


"nd Rogelio V. Fern"ndez, respectively, of Rox"s City, Romblon "nd D"v"o City,
for decl"r"tory relief "s t"xp"yers, but purportedly suing on beh"lf of themselves
"nd the Filipino people, in "ss"iling the v"lidity of the L"urel-Leido Resolution,
¹
 de"ling with the r"nge of the "uthority of the 1971 Constitution"l Convention,
would h"ve this Court decl"re th"t it is "without power, under Section 1, Article XV
of the Constitution "nd Republic Act 6132, to consider, discuss "nd "dopt
propos"ls which seek to revise the present Constitution through the "doption of "
form of government other th"n the form now outlined in the present Constitution
[the Convention being] merely empowered to propose improvements to the
present Constitution without "ltering the gener"l pl"n l"id down therein."² Such "
ple" of the utmost seriousness w"s sought to be compressed in " five-p"ge
ple"ding. It is underst"nd"ble, therefore, why the petition could h"rdly be
ch"r"cterized "s possessed of merit. Accordingly, on October 8, 1971, this Court
issued " resolution dismissing it. Then c"me on the l"st d"y of th"t month "
printed thirty-two p"ge motion for reconsider"tion. It is evident th"t petitioners
took some p"ins this time, "lthough the m"in reli"nce seems to be on " second"ry
"uthority, Americ"n Jurisprudence.³ The show of diligence is impressive but the
persu"sive qu"lity is something else. A perus"l thereof yields the conclusion th"t
petitioners "re oblivious of the "uthorit"tive precedents in this jurisdiction. The
"ppro"ch is not distinguished by its conformity with the l"w "s it st"nds. In this
sphere "s elsewhere, new cults m"y be eroding considering, however, the
compulsion of the "ncient f"iths. Considering, however, the compulsion of the
fund"ment"l principle of sep"r"tion of powers, this Court c"nnot exercise the
competence petitioners would erroneously "ssume it possesses, even "ssuming
th"t they h"ve the requisite st"nding, which is the first question to be f"ced.

1. Wh"t c"lls for prior determin"tion is whether or not petitioners h"d the requisite
st"nding to seek " decl"r"tion of the "lleged nullity of " resolution of the
Constitution"l Convention.⁴ In the c"tegoric"l "nd succinct l"ngu"ge of Justice
L"urel: "The unch"llenged rule is th"t the person who impugns the v"lidity of "
st"tute must h"ve " person"l "nd subst"nti"l interest in the c"se such th"t he
h"s sust"ined, or will sust"in, direct injury "s " result of its enforcement."⁵ There
h"s been " rel"x"tion of this rule. So it w"s "nnounced by the present Chief
Justice inP"scu"l v. The Secret"ry of Public Works.⁶ Thus: "Ag"in, it is well settled
th"t the v"lidity of " st"tute m"y be contested only by one who will sust"in "
direct injury, in consequence of its enforcement. Yet, there "re m"ny decisions
nullifying, "t the inst"nce of t"xp"yers, l"ws providing for the disbursement of
public funds, upon the theory th"t the "expenditure of public funds, by "n officer
of the St"te for the purpose of "dministering "n unconstitution"l "ct constitutes "
mis"pplic"tion of such funds," which m"y be enjoined "t the request of "
t"xp"yer."⁷ Moreover, where " constitution"l question is r"ised, " Sen"tor h"s
usu"lly been considered "s possessed of the requisite person"lity to bring " suit.
Thus in M"b"n"g vs. Lopez Vito,⁸ it w"s " member of the Sen"te who w"s he"rd
by this Court in " suit for prohibition to prevent the enforcement of the
congression"l resolution proposing the p"rity rights "mendment.⁹ Likewise, in the
l"test c"se in point, Tolentino v. Commission on Elections, it w"s " Sen"tor who
brought "ction ch"llenging the v"lidity of Org"nic Resolution No. 1 of the 1971
Constitution"l Convention. He w"s quite sucessful too. Petitioners in the present
c"se c"nnot be he"rd to "ssert th"t they do qu"lify under such " c"tegory.
Moreover, "s f"r "s " t"xp"yer's suit is concerned, Court is not devoid of
discretion "s to whether or not it should be entert"ined. It is our view th"t "
neg"tive "nswer is indic"ted. Nor should petitioners feel discrimin"ted "g"inst
just bec"use in Gonz"les v. Commission on Elections, ¹⁰ " member of the
Philippine B"r, now Deleg"te R"mon Gonz"les, w"s "llowed to prosecute his
"ction for prohibition instituted by him "s " t"xp"yer. Petitioners h"ve no c"use
for legitim"te resentment "s such suit could be distinguished from the present.

2. Petitioner Gonz"les in "ccord"nce with the controlling doctrine h"d the good
sense to w"it before filing his suit until "fter the en"ctment of the st"tute ¹¹ for the
submission to the elector"te of cert"in proposed "mendments to the
Constitution. ¹² It w"s only then th"t the m"tter w"s ripe for "djudic"tion. Prior to
th"t st"ge, the judici"ry h"d to keep its h"nds off. The doctrine of sep"r"tion of
powers c"lls for the other dep"rtments being left "lone to disch"rge their duties
"s they see fit. The judici"ry "s Justice L"urel emph"tic"lly "sserted "will neither
direct nor restr"in executive [or legisl"tive] 
"ction ... ." ¹³ The legisl"tive "nd executive br"nches "re not bound to seek its
"dvice "s to wh"t to do or not to do. Judici"l inquiry h"s to be postponed in the
me"nwhile. It is " prerequisite th"t something h"d by then been "ccomplished or
performed by either br"nch before " court m"y come into the picture. At such "
time, it m"y p"ss on the v"lidity of wh"t w"s done but only "when ... properly
ch"llenged in "n "ppropri"te leg"l proceeding."¹⁴

Such " principle "pplies "s well when the inquiry concerns the scope of the
competence lodged in the Constitution"l Convention. The judici"ry must le"ve it
free to fulfill its responsibility "ccording to its lights. There is to be no
interference. Its "utonomy is to be respected. It c"nnot be otherwise if it is to
perform its function well. Such should be the c"se not only bec"use it is "
coordin"te "gency but "lso bec"use its powers "re tr"nscendent, "mounting "s it
does to submitting for popul"r r"tific"tion propos"ls which m"y r"dic"lly "lter the
org"niz"tion "nd functions of "ll three dep"rtments, including the courts. It is
therefore much more imper"tive th"t the rule of non-interference be strictly
"dhered to until the "ppropri"te time comes.
More specific"lly, "s long "s "ny proposed "mendment is still un"cted on by it,
there is no room for the interposition of judici"l oversight. Only "fter it h"s m"de
concrete wh"t it intends to submit for r"tific"tion m"y the "ppropri"te c"se be
instituted. Until then, the courts "re devoid of jurisdiction. Th"t is the comm"nd of
the Constitution "s interpreted by this Court. Unless "nd until such " doctrine
loses force by being overruled or " new precedent being "nnounced, it is
controlling. Th"t is implicit in the rule of l"w. Petitioners' motion for
reconsider"tion c"nnot therefor be sust"ined.
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsider"tion is denied. No costs.