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Proclamation No. 55, series of 2016, was issued on 04 September 2016 declaring a state of national
emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao.

Effective May 23, 2017, and for a period not exceeding 60 days, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued
Proclamation No. 216 declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao.


 The declaration of martial law has no sufficient factual basis because there is no rebellion
or invasion in Marawi City or any part of Mindanao. Further, the President’s report contained
false, inaccurate, contrived, and hyperbolic accounts. They(Lagman et al.) cited online reports
to support such argument. The President’s report included events that either took place long
before the conflict in Marawi City began, had long been resolved, or with the culprits having
already been arrested.
 Terrorism in Mindanao do not constitute REBELLION since there is no proof that its purpose
is to remove Mindanao or any part thereof from allegiance to the Philippines, its laws, or its
 Maute Group is a mere private army. The objective of the Maute Group's armed resistance
was merely to shield Hapilon and the Maute brothers from the government forces.
 The President acted alone and did not consult the military establishment or any high ranking
official before making the proclamation.

 This petition, anchored on Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, seeks the nullification of
Proc no. 216 for being unconstitutional because it lacks sufficient factual basis.
 That the rebellion described in the proclamation relates to events in Marawi City only and
not the entire region of Mindanao. The President failed to allege any act of rebellion outside
Marawi City, much less allege that public safety requires the imposition of Martial law in the
whole Mindanao.
 The inclusion of “other rebel group” in the last whereas clause of Proc no. 216 is vague
because it failed to identify these rebel groups and specify the acts of rebellion that they were
supposedly waging. (Doctrine of Void for Vagueness)
 Petition cites alleged inaccuracies, exaggerations, and falsities in the Report of the President
to Congress, particularly:
o the attack at the Amai Pakpak Hospital,
o the ambush and burning of the Marawi Police Station,
o the killing of five teachers of Dansalan College Foundation, and the
o attacks on various government facilities.

 Martial law is a measure of last resort and should be invoked by the President only after
exhaustion of less severe remedies.
 It contends that the extraordinary powers of the President should be dispensed sequentially:
o first, the power to call out the armed forces;
o second, the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; and
o finally, the power to declare martial law.


 The OSG acknowledges that Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution vests the Court with the
authority or power to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the declaration of martial
 The "appropriate proceeding" referred to in Section 18, Article VII may be availed of using
the vehicle, mode or remedy of a certiorari petition, either under Section 1 or 5, of Article VIII.
 That the burden of proof be shifted to the petitioners.
 That the sufficiency of the factual basis must be assessed from the trajectory or point of view
of the President and base on the facts available to him at the time the decision was made, not
based on the facts discovered after the proclamation because to do so would subject the
exercise of the President’s extraordinary powers to an impossible standard.
 The assessment of the after – proclamation facts lies with the President and Congress for the
purpose of determining the propriety of revoking or extending the martial law.
 If the court considers the after – proclamation facts as basis of the factual sufficiency in its
review, it would in effect usurp the power of the Congress to determine whether the martial
law should be revoked or extended. (Separation of Powers)
 Since the power to impose martial law is vested solely on the President as Commander-in-
Chief, the lack of recommendation from the Defense Secretary, or any official for that matter,
will not nullify the said declaration, or affect its validity, or compromise the sufficiency of the
factual basis. (Alter – Ego Principle)
 The petitioners failed to validly refute the facts cited by the President’s proclamation. the said
news articles are "hearsay evidence, twice removed," and thus inadmissible and without
probative value, and could not overcome the "legal presumption bestowed on governmental


 Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution provides that any citizen may file the
appropriate proceeding to assail the sufficiency of the factual basis of the declaration of
martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The only requisite
for standing to challenge the validity of the suspension is that the challenger be a citizen.
 The arguments in Lagman Petition (members of the house of representatives) contradicts the
House Resolution No. 1050, which expresses full support to President Dutertard and finds no
reason to revoke Proc No 216. Tho, the Court can take judicial cognizance of the fact that
petitioners in the Lagman Petition are all citizens of the Philippines since Philippine
citizenship is a requirement for them to be elected as representatives. We will therefore
consider them as suing in their own behalf as citizens of this country.

Whether or not the petitions are the "appropriate proceeding" covered by paragraph 3,
Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution sufficient to invoke the mode of review required by
the Court.
 the jurisdiction of this Court under the third paragraph of Section 18, Article VII is sui generis.
It is a special and specific jurisdiction of the Supreme Court different from those enumerated
in Sections 1 and 5 of Article VIII.
o Section 18(3), Article VII of the Constitution: The Supreme Court may review, in an
appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the
proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the
extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from
its filing.
 The factual basis of the declaration of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus is not a political question but precisely within the ambit of judicial
 The purpose of the said provision is to provide additional safeguard against possible abuse
by the President on the exercise of the extraordinary powers; and to curtail the extent of the
powers of the President since it(provision) is placed in Article VII, not VIII.

The power of the Court to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of
martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under Section 18,
Article VII of the 1987 Constitution is independent of the actions taken by Congress.
 In reviewing the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation or suspension, the Court
considers only the information and data available to the President prior to or at the time of
the declaration; it is not allowed to undertake an independent investigation beyond the
pleadings. On the other hand, Congress may take into consideration not only data available
prior to, but likewise events supervening the declaration. Unlike the Court I which does not
look into the absolute correctness of the factual basis, Congress could probe deeper and
further; it can delve into the accuracy of the facts presented before it.
 The Court can simultaneously exercise its power of review with, and independently from, the
power to revoke by Congress. Corollary, any perceived inaction or default on the part of
Congress does not deprive or deny the Court of its power to review.

The judicial power to review the sufficiency of factual basis of the declaration of martial law
or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus does not extend to the
calibration of the President's decision of which among his graduated powers he will avail of
in a given situation.
 The President as the Commander-in-Chief wields the extraordinary powers of:
o Calling out the armed forces – the President may resort to this extraordinary power
whenever it becomes necessary to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, or
o suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; and declaring martial law – may
be resorted to whenever there is an actual invasion or rebellion, and public safety
requires it.
 The 1987 Constitution imposed the following limits in the exercise of these powers:
1) a time limit of sixty days;
2) review and possible revocation by Congress; [and]
3) review and possible nullification by the Supreme Court.
 A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the
functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies. Therefore, it does not suspend the
principle of Separation of Powers. Further, the guarantees under bill of rights remain in place.
 The graduation refers only to hierarchy based on scope and effect. It does not in any manner
refer to a sequence, arrangement, or order which the Commander-in-Chief must follow.
 These extraordinary powers are conferred by the Constitution with the President as
Commander-in-Chief; it therefore necessarily follows that the power and prerogative lies,
at least initially, to the president. Thus, the recommendation of the Defense Secretary is not
a condition for declaring martial law. Besides, it would be contrary to common sense if the
decision of the President is made dependent on the recommendation of his mere alter ego.
 “Actual invasion or rebellion” requires immediate action.

Whether or not Proclamation No. 216 may be considered vague and thus void because of (a)
its inclusion of "other rebel groups"; and (b) the absence of any guideline specifying its actual
operational parameters within the entire Mindanao region.
 The VOID-FOR-VAGUENESS DOCTRINE holds that a law is facially invalid if men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. A statute or
act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In such
instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects:
1) it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by
it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and
2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and
becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.
 The doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools developed
for testing 'on their faces' statutes in free speech cases(only) or, as they are called in American
law, First Amendment cases. It is allowed because of the possible “chilling effect” on protected
speech that comes from statutes violating free speech.
 Proclamation No 216 cannot be facially challenged using VAGUENESS DOCTRINE since it
does not regulate free speech, religious freedom, and other fundamental rights that may be
facially challenged. Furthermore, the inclusion of “other rebel groups”, when viewed in the
context of the words accompanying it, does not make the said proclamation vague.

Whether or not nullifying Proclamation No. 216 will (a) have the effect of recalling
Proclamation No. 55; or (b) also nullify the acts of the President in calling out the armed forces
to quell lawless violence in Marawi and other parts of the Mindanao region.
 The Court's ruling in these cases will not, in any way, affect the President's declaration of a
state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao through
Proclamation No. 55.
 The President’s calling out power is in a different category from the power to suspend the
privilege of writ of habeas corpus and the power to declare martial law.
 Under the OPERATIVE FACT DOCTRINE, the unconstitutional statute is recognized as an
“operative fact” before the it is declared as unconstitutional. An unconstitutional act, whether
legislative or executive, is not a law, confers no rights, imposes no duties, and affords no
protection. ****The actual existence of a statute prior to such a determination of
constitutionality, is an operative fact and may have consequences which cannot always be
erased by a new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to the invalidity
may have to be considered in various aspects, - with respect to particular regulations,
individual and corporate, and particular conduct, private and official.

The Scope of the Power to Review

presumed to know prevailing jurisprudence at the time it is drafting a law.
 The President has the sole discretion to declare martial law and/or to suspend the privilege
of the writ of habeas corpus, subject to the revocation of Congress and the review of this
 Sufficiency of factual basis test:
o Must be based only on facts or information known by or available to the President at
the time he made the declaration or suspension, which facts or information are found
in the proclamation as well as the written Report submitted by him to Congress. That
is, based on the situation existing at the time of declaration was made or past event,
as to its extent depends upon the President.
o The Court should look into the full complement or totality of the factual basis, and not
piecemeal or individually.
o The Court should not expect absolute correctness of the facts stated in the
proclamation as the President could not be expected to verify the accuracy and
veracity of all facts reported to him due to the urgency of the situation. To require so
would unduly burden him and consequently impedes the process of his decision
 Falsities of and/or inaccuracies in some of the facts stated in the proclamation and the written
report are not enough reasons for the Court to invalidate the declaration. (not applicable -
maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus)

The parameters for determining the sufficiency of the/actual basis/or the declaration of
martial law and/or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
 (1) There is an Actual invasion or rebellion and (2) public safety requires the exercise of such
o Elements of Rebellion
 That there be (a) public uprising, and (b) taking up arms against the
Government; and
 That the purpose of the uprising or movement is either: (a) to remove from
the allegiance to said Government or its laws the territory of the Philippines
or any part thereof, or any body of land, naval or other armed forces or (b) to
deprive the Chief Executive or Congress, wholly or partially, of any of their
powers or prerogatives.
 (3) There is probable cause for the President to believe that there is an actual invasion or
rebellion – to require him to satisfy a higher standard of proof would restrict the exercise of
his emergency powers. Probable cause merely necessitates an average man to weigh the facts
and circumstances without resorting to the calibration of rules on evidence. He merely relies
on his common sense and that he is convinced by the facts or circumstances that, more likely
or not, a crime has been committed by the accused.

There is sufficient factual basis for the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the
writ of habeas corpus.
 The president had a sufficient factual bases tending to show that actual rebellion exists.
Further, the President’s conclusion that the said uprising for the culpable purpose of removal
from the allegiance of the Philippine Government a portion of its territory and the deprivation
of the President from performing his powers and prerogatives, was reached after tactical
 News articles are hearsay evidence, twice removed, and are thus without any probative value,
unless offered for a purpose other than proving the truth of the matter asserted.
 DOCTRINE OF INDEPENDENT RELEVANT STATEMENT is an exception to the hearsay rule.
It applies in cases where only the fact that such statements were made is relevant, and the
truth or falsity thereof is immaterial. In other words, whether the such statements were made
by the accused.

 The 1987 Constitution grants to the President, as Commander-in-Chief, the discretion to
determine the territorial coverage or application of martial law or suspension of the privilege
of the writ of habeas corpus. It did not impose any limitation as to the territorial scope or area
of coverage - "the Philippines or any part thereof." The President has the tactical and military
support, and thus has a more informed understanding of what is happening on the ground.
 The precise extent or range of the rebellion could not be measured by exact metes and
 The President’s duty to maintain peace and public safety is not limited only to the place where
there is actual rebellion. It extends to other areas where the present hostilities are in danger
of spilling over. It is intended not only to prevent the escape of lawless elements from Marawi
City but also to avoid enemy reinforcements and to cut their supply lines coming from
different parts of Mindanao.



Then candidate Rodrigo Roa Dutertard publicly announced that he would allow the burial of Former
President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the LIBINGAN NG MGA BAYANI (LNMB) during his presidency
campaign. As verbal compliance to this, Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana issued a
memorandum regarding the interment of Marcos at LNMB.

 Petitioners argue that the burial of Marcos at the LNMB should not be allowed because it has
the effect of not just rewriting history as to the Filipino people's act of revolting against an
authoritarian ruler but also condoning the abuses committed during the Martial Law, thereby
violating the letter and spirit of the 1987 Constitution.
 Ocampo, et al. invoked Sections 2, 11, 13, 23, 26, 27 and 28 of Article II; Sec. 17 of Art. VII, Sec.
3(2) of Art. XIV; Sec. 1 of Art. XI; and Sec. 26 of Art. XVIII of the Constitution.
 Ocampo, et al. invoked RA 289 which created/constructed National Pantheon; it provides for
the legal standard by which a person’s mortal remains may be interred at LNMB. Interment
of Marcos at LNMB would violate its spirit and intent. They further contended that the
respondent is not authorized to cause burial in LNMB since they are not members of the
Board of National Pantheon.
 R.A. No. 10368 modified AFP Regulations G 161-375 by implicitly disqualifying Marcos' burial
at the LNMB because the legislature, which is a co-equal branch of the government, has
statutorily declared his tyranny as a deposed dictator and has recognized the heroism and
sacrifices of the Human Rights Violations Victims (HRVVs)
 Ocampo, et al. argued that the burial of Marcos at the LNMB will violate the rights of the
HRVVs to “full” and “effective” reparation, provided under the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and
Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious
Violations of International Humanitarian Law, and the Updated Set of Principles for the
Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity.
 Petitioners contend that the interment of Marcos at the LNMB will desecrate it as a sacred
and hallowed place and a revered national shrine where the mortal remains of our country's
great men and women are interred for the inspiration and emulation of the present
generation and generations to come.

 It is well settled that no question involving the constitutionality or validity of a law or
governmental act may be heard and decided by the Court unless the following requisites for
judicial inquiry are present:
1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power;
2) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity of the
subject act or issuance;
3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and
4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.
 An "actual case or controversy" is one which involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of
opposite legal claims, susceptible of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical
or abstract difference or dispute.
 POLITICAL QUESTIONS refers to questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided
by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority
has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government. They are
concerned with questions of policy and issues dependent upon the wisdom of its proprietor.
 The limitation of Political Question Doctrine is provided in Section 1 of Article VIII of the
Constitution. The court is vested with the power to review the same to determine whether or
not there has been grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of
the government.
 The President’s decision to have the remains of Marcos interred at the LNMB involves
political question that is not justiciable since he decided the same on his wisdom that it shall
promote national healing and forgiveness.
 Locus standi is defined as a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. It
requires that the party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of controversy. Further,
the party/person must have sustained or is in imminent danger of sustaining an injury as a
result of an act complained of, otherwise locus standi is not present. Tee hee XPN:
o As taxpayer, there must be a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed or that
public money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that public funds are
wasted through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law.
o As citizen, they are required to substantiate that the issues raised are of
transcendental importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of paramount
public interest. The imminence and clarity of the threat to the fundamental
constitutional rights outweigh the necessity for prudence.
 In this case, the petitioners failed to show that they have suffered or will suffer direct and
personal injury as a result of interment of Marcos at LNMB.
 The Court said that the interment of Marcos at LNMB would have no profound effect on the
political, economic, and other aspect of our national life.


allowed to seek the intervention of the court, one should have availed first of all the means of
administrative processes available.
 For reasons of comity and convenience, courts of justice shy away from a dispute until the
system of administrative redress has been completed and complied with, so as to give the
administrative agency concerned every opportunity to correct its error and dispose of the
 Petitioners violated the doctrines of exhaustion of administrative remedies and hierarchy of


 DOCTRINE OF HEIRARCHY OF COURTS requires that petitions must be filed first with the
proper court, which is in this case is the RTC.
 The RTC is not just a trier of facts but can also resolve questions of law in the exercise of its
original and concurrent jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus,
and has the power to issue restraining order and injunction when proven necessary.


There is grave abuse of discretion when an act is:

1) Done contrary to the Constitution, the law, or jurisprudence;
2) Executed whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily, out of malice, ill will or personal bias.
None of the abovementioned conditions is present in this case.

The interment of Marcos at the LNMB does is in accordance with the Constitution, the law, or
 In Tanada v. Angara, it is ruled that the provisions in Article II of the Constitution is not self –
executing. Provisions therein are used by the judiciary as aids or as guides in the exercise of
its power of judicial review, and by the legislature in its enactment of laws. The petitioners
failed to prove that there were Constitutional provisions(they mentioned) violated.
 Section 1 of Article XI of the Constitution is also not self – executing provision.
 The petitioners’ reliance on Sec. 3(2) of Art. XIV, and Sec. 26 of Art. VIII of the Constitution is
also misplaced because there is no direct or indirect prohibition to Marcos’ interment in

Under Section 17(2), Article VII of the Constitution, the burial of Marcos at LNMB does not contravene
RA 289, RA 10368, and the international human rights law cited by the petitioners.

RA 289 (no violation)

 Ocampo miserably failed to provide legal and historical bases as to their supposition that
LNMB and National Pantheon are one and the same. LNMB is distinct and separate from the
burial place envisioned RA 289.
 To apply the standard that the LNMB is reserved only for the "decent and the brave" or "hero"
would be violative of public policy as it will put into question the validity of the burial of each
and every mortal remains resting therein, and infringe upon the principle of separation of
powers since the allocation of plots at the LNMB is based on the grant of authority to the
President under existing laws and regulations.
 The interment of Marcos at LNMB does not confer upon him the status of “hero.” The purpose
of the LNMB, both from legal and historical perspectives, has neither been to confer to the
people buried there the title of "hero" nor to require that only those interred therein should
be treated as a "hero."

RA 10368 (no violation)

 R.A. No. 10368 recognizes the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of
summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance, and other gross human
rights violations committed during martial law.
 To restore their honor and dignity, the State acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to
provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings,
deprivations and damages they experienced.
 The enforcement of the HRVVs' rights under R.A. No 10368 will surely not be impaired by the
interment of Marcos at the LNMB, since it has no causal connection and legal relation to the
said law.
 The law is silent on any prohibition to Marcos’ interment.

International Human Rights Laws (no violation)

 The ICCPR, as well as the U.N. principles on reparation and to combat impunity, call for the
enactment of legislative measures, establishment of national programmes, and provision for
administrative and judicial recourse, in accordance with the country's constitutional
processes, that are necessary to give effect to human rights embodied in treaties, covenants
and other international laws.
 The three branches of the government have done their fair share to respect, protect, fulfill the
country’s human rights obligations, to wit:
o The 1987 Constitution contains provisions that promote and protect human rights and
social justice.
o As to judicial remedies, aside from the writs of habeas corpus, amparo, and habeas
data, the Supreme Court promulgated Administrative Order No. 25-2007, which
provides rules on cases involving extra-judicial killings of political ideologists and
members of the media.
o On the part of the Executive Branch, it issued a number of administrative and executive
o Congress has passed several laws affecting human rights.
 Our nation’s history will not be instantly revised by Marcos’ interment.

The President's decision to bury Marcos at the LNMB is not done whimsically, capriciously or
arbitrarily, out of malice, ill will or personal bias.

Marcos’ remains is qualified to be interred in LNMB.

 Under AFP Regulations G 161-375, the following are eligible for interment at the LNMB:
1) Medal of Valor Awardees;
2) Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief, AFP;
3) Secretaries of National Defense;
4) Chiefs of Staff, AFP;
5) General/Flag Officers of the AFP;
6) Active and retired military personnel of the AFP to include active draftees and
trainees who died in line of duty, active reservists and CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA)
who died in combat operations or combat related activities;
7) Former members of the AFP who laterally entered or joined the PCG and the PNP;
8) Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1890, WWI, WWII and recognized guerillas;
9) Government Dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists and other deceased persons
whose interment or reinterment has been approved by the Commander-in-Chief,
Congress or the Secretary of National Defense; and
10) Former Presidents, Secretaries of Defense, Dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists,
widows of Former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense and Chief of Staff.
 AFP Regulations G 161-374, the following are not qualified to be interred in the LNMB:
1) Personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service;
2) Authorized personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense involving
moral turpitude.
its limit in this wise:
o Under this doctrine, which recognizes the establishment of a single executive, all
executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the Executive Department,
the heads of the various executive departments are assistants and agents of the Chief
Executive, and, except in cases where the Chief Executive is required by the
Constitution or law to act in person or the exigencies of the situation demand that he
act personally, the multifarious executive and administrative functions of the Chief
Executive are performed by and through the executive departments, and the acts of
the Secretaries of such departments, performed and promulgated in the regular
course of business, are, unless disapproved or reprobated by the Chief Executive
presumptively the acts of the Chief Executive.
o It has been held that an administrative regulation adopted pursuant to law has the
force and effect of law and, until set aside, is binding upon executive and
administrative agencies, including the President as the chief executor of laws.
 Marcos possessed some of the qualifications provided in AFP Regulations G 161 – 375. He
was a former President and Commander-in-Chief, a legislator, a Secretary of National
Defense, military personnel, a veteran, and a Medal of Valor awardee. Furthermore, he is a
Medal of Valor awardee and a veteran.
 Marcos has none of the disqualifications provided in AFP Regulations G 161 – 374. He was
neither convicted by final judgment of the offense involving moral turpitude nor
dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from active military service.
o The various cases cited by Ocampo, et al., which were decided with finality by courts
here and abroad, have no bearing in this case since they are merely civil in nature;
hence, cannot and do not establish moral turpitude.
o The word "service" should be construed as that rendered by a military person in the
AFP, including civil service, from the time of his/her commission, enlistment,
probation, training or drafting, up to the date of his/her separation or retirement
from the AFP. Civil service after honorable separation and retirement from the AFP is
outside the context of "service" under AFP Regulations G 161-375. Hence, it cannot
be conveniently claimed that Marcos' ouster from the presidency during the EDSA
Revolution is tantamount to his dishonorable separation, reversion or discharge from
the military service.

The Marcoses are not deemed to have waived the former President’s burial at the LNMB
 President Duterte is not bound by the alleged 1992 Agreement between former President
Ramos and the Marcos family to have the remains of Marcos interred in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
As the incumbent President, he is free to amend, revoke or rescind political agreements
entered into by his predecessors, and to determine policies which he considers, based on
informed judgment and presumed wisdom, will be most effective in carrying out his mandate.
 Under the Administrative Code, the President has the power to reserve for public use and for
specific public purposes any of the lands of the public domain and that the reserved land shall
remain subject to the specific public purpose indicated until otherwise provided by law or
proclamation. At present, there is no law or executive issuance specifically excluding the land
in which the LNMB is located from the use it was originally intended by the past Presidents.
 The allotment of a cemetery plot at the LNMB for Marcos as a former President and
Commander-in-Chief, a legislator, a Secretary of National Defense, military personnel, a
veteran, and a Medal of Valor awardee, whether recognizing his contributions or simply his
status as such, satisfies the public use requirement.


In sum, there is no clear constitutional or legal basis to hold that there was a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction which would justify the Court to interpose its authority to
check and override an act entrusted to the judgment of another branch. Truly, the President's
discretion is not totally unfettered. "Discretion is not a free-spirited stallion that runs and roams
wherever it pleases but is reined in to keep it from straying. In its classic formulation, 'discretion is
not unconfined and vagrant' but 'canalized within banks that keep it from overflowing.'"[186] At bar,
President Duterte, through the public respondents, acted within the bounds of the law and
jurisprudence. Notwithstanding the call of human rights advocates, the Court must uphold what is
legal and just. And that is not to deny Marcos of his rightful place at the LNMB. For even the Framers
of our Constitution intend that full respect for human rights is available at any stage of a person's
development, from the time he or she becomes a person to the time he or she leaves this earth.

There are certain things that are better left for history - not this Court - to adjudge. The Court could
only do so much in accordance with the clearly established rules and principles. Beyond that, it is
ultimately for the people themselves, as the sovereign, to decide, a task that may require the better
perspective that the passage of time provides. In the meantime, the country must move on and let
this issue rest.


 The main issue here whether there is a valid partition or subdivision of Lot No. 1638.
 Lot No. 1639 which was covered by Original Certificate Title No. 6775 issued in the names of
Hermogenes Olis, Bartolome Maglucot, Pascual Olis, Roberto Maglucot, Anselmo Lara and
Tomas Maglucot on 16 August 1927.
 Sometime in 1946, there was a prior oral agreement to tentatively partition Lot No. 1639.
 On 19 April 1952, Tomas Maglucot, one of the registered owners and respondents
predecessor-in-interest, filed a petition to subdivide Lot No. 1639.
 on 13 May 1952, then CFI of Negros Oriental issued an order directing the parties to subdivide
said lot into six portions as follows:
o Hermogenes Olis - lot 1639-A
o Pascual Olis - lot 1639-B
o Bartolome Maglucot - lot 1639-C
o Roberto (Alberto) Maglucot - lot 1639-D
o Anselmo Lara - lot 1639-E
o Tomas Maglucot - lot 1639-F
 On 1952, the co – owners occupied the lot pursuant to the implemented sketch as ordered by
the court(CFI).
 Sometime in 1963, Guillermo Maglucot rented a portion of Lot No. 1639-D. The respondents
build houses on their corresponding leased lots. They paid the rental to Mrs. Ruperta Salma,
who represented the heirs of Roberto Maglucot.
 In December 1992, however, said respondents stopped paying rentals claiming ownership
over the subject lot.

 The petitioners filed a complaint a quo before RTC, which ruled in their favor. The RTC found
the existence of tax declarations in the names of Hermogenes Olis and Pascual Olis (purported
owners of Lot Nos. 1639-A and 1639-B, respectively) as indubitable proof that there was a
subdivision of Lot No. 1639. In the said declaration, respondents stated that they constructed
their houses on the lots of Roberto Magculot; the same constitute a conclusive admission of
the ownership of the subject lot.
 The court a quo applied the PRINCIPLE OF ESTOPPEL embodied in Art. 1431 of the Civil
Code which states that:
o through estoppel an admission or representation is rendered conclusive upon the
person making it and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying
 PRINCIPLE OF ESTOPPEL – it refers to the principle that precludes a person from asserting
something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement of that person or by
a previous pertinent judicial determination. In technical estoppel, the party to be estopped
must knowingly have acted so as to mislead his adversary, and the adversary must have
placed reliance on the action and acted as he would otherwise not have done.

 On appeal, the CA reversed the decision of RTC. The sketch plan and tax declarations are not
conclusive evidence of partition.
 The prescribed procedure under rule 69 of the rules of court was not followed and
consequently renders the said partition invalid or void.

 Lot 1639 was mutually partitioned and physically subdivided among the co-owners and that
majority of them participated.
 Tomas Magculot, ascendat of the respondents, initiated a court proceeding for a formal
partition thereof.
 The respondents admitted in their tax declaration covering their respective houses that they
“constructed on the land of Roberto Maglucot.”
 The foregoing facts estop or bars the respondents from claiming the subject lot, Lot No. 1639
– D.

 The petitioners failed to show that the interested parties were apprised or notified of the
tentative subdivision contained in the sketch and that CFI subsequently confirmed the same.
 The petitioners failed to show any court approval of any partition.
 Lot No. 1639 remain undivided since to date, OCT No. 6275 is still an existing and perfectly
valid title, containing no annotation of any encumbrance or partition whatsoever.


 The jurisdiction of the Court(SC) in cases brought before it by CA via Rule 45 of the rules of
court is limited in reviewing errors of law. Findings of fact of the CA are conclusive, except in
the following instances:
1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures;
2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible;
3) when there is grave abuse of discretion;
4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;
5) when the findings of fact are conflicting;
6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case,
or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee;
7) when the findings are contrary to those of the trial court;
8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on
which they are based;
9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners main and reply
briefs are not disputed by the respondent; and
10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and
contradicted by the evidence on record.
 This case falls under the XPN 7, 8, and 10.


1) An order for partition which determines:
a. Whether a co – ownership in fact exists
b. Whether partition is proper
2) A decision confirming the sketch or subdivision submitted by the parties or the
commissioners appointed by the court
a. If the co – owners are able to agree upon the partition, they may make partition
among themselves by proper instruments of conveyance, and the court shall confirm
the partition so agreed upon.
b. Otherwise, partition shall be done for the parties by the court with the assistance of
not more than three (3) commissioners. The parties be accorded with opportunity to
be heard of. Thereafter, the court may issue an order confirming/approving such
partition. The said order is final and appealable.
 A decision is interlocutory if there is more to be done on the merits of the case. Otherwise,
it is final, which is appealable because it decides the rights of the parties upon the issue
 In this case, there is no order confirming the partition hence interlocutory.
 However, the parties themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest implemented the
sketch plan made pursuant to a court order for partition by actually occupying specific
portions of Lot No. 1639 in 1952 and continue to do so until the present until this case was
filed, clearly, the purpose of the court approval has been met.
 It is axiomatic that parties to a partition proceeding, who elected to take under partition, and
who took possession of the portion allotted to them, are estopped to question title to portion
allotted to another party - they cannot accept the decree in part and repudiate it in part.
he is not bound by a defective proceeding, and is free to repudiate it if he will, upon
knowledge, and while under no disability, chooses to adopt such defective proceeding as his
 Given that the oral partition was initially tentative, the actual possession of specific portions
of Lot No. 1639 in accordance with the oral partition and the continuation of such possession
for a very long period indicate the permanency and ratification of such oral partition.
 DOCTRINE OF PART PERFORMANCE - an equitable principle that allows a court to
recognize and enforce an oral contract despite its legal deficiencies and provides a way
around the statutory bar to the enforcement of an oral contract. By applying the doctrine, a
party can establish the existence of a contract despite the lack of any written evidence.
Generally, without written evidence, a contract does not satisfy the formal requirements set
by the legislature under the statute of frauds. The doctrine is an exception to this as it allows
failure to comply with the statute of frauds to be overcome by a party’s execution, in reliance
on an opposing party’s oral promise, of an oral contract’s requirements.
 The above - mentioned doctrine is applicable in this case since
a. respondents Wilfreda Maglucot-Alejo and Constancio Alejo offered to buy the share
of Roberto Maglucot; and
b. the tax declarations contain statements that the houses of respondents were built on
the land owned by Roberto Maglucot
The foregoing facts constitute an evidence of admission that the respondents acknowledge
the ownership of Roberto Magculot over the subject lot(lot 1639 – D).
The language utilized by counsel for petitioners in their petition for review on certiorari:
 he alluded to the lack of scrutiny of the records and lack of study of the law "by the
 he cited the researcher of the CA as having "sweepingly stated without reference to the
record" that "we have scanned the records on hand and found no evidence of any partition."
 counsel for petitioners assailed the CA decision, stating that "this will only show that there
was no proper study of the case by the researcher."
Any court when it renders a decision does so as an arm of the justice system and as an institution
apart from the persons that comprise it. Decisions are rendered by the courts and not the persons or
personnel that may participate therein by virtue of their office. It is highly improper and unethical
for counsel for petitioners to berate the researcher in his appeal. A lawyer shall abstain from
scandalous, offensive, or menacing language or behavior before the courts


 Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10354, otherwise known as the Responsible Parenthood and
Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH Law), was enacted by Congress on December 21, 2012.

 The RH Law violates the right of life of unborn. The implementation of RH law would
authorize the purchase of hormonal contraceptives, intra – uterine devices, and injectables
which are abortive, in violation of Section 12, Article II of the Constitution which guarantees
the protection of both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.
 The RH Law violates the right to health and the right to protection against hazardous
products. Petitioners posits that contraceptives are hazardous to one’s health, as it causes
cancer and other health problems.
 The RH Law violates the right to religious freedom. The use of public funds for purposes that
are believed to be contrary to their beliefs is included in the constitutional mandate ensuring
religious freedom.
 RH Law fails to satisfy the "clear and present danger test" and the "compelling state interest
test" to justify the regulation of the right to free exercise of religion and the right to free
 The RH Law violates the constitutional provision on involuntary servitude.
 The RH Law violates the right to equal protection of the law.
 The RH Law violates the right to free speech.
 The RH Law is “void-for-vagueness” in violation of the due process clause of the Constitution.
 The RH Law intrudes into the zone of privacy of one’s family protected by the Constitution

 There is no actual case or controversy and, therefore, the issues are not yet ripe for judicial
 some petitioners lack standing to question the RH Law; and
 the petitions are essentially petitions for declaratory relief over which the Court has no
original jurisdiction.


PROCEDURAL – whether the Court may exercise its power of judicial review over the
 Power of Judicial Review
 Actual Case or Controversy
 Facial Challenge
 Locus Standi
 Declaratory Relief
 One Subject/One Title Rule

SUBSTANTIAL – whether RA 10354 or Reproductive Health (RH) Law is unconstitutional for

violating the:
 Right to life
 Right to health
 Freedom of religion and right to free speech
 Right to privacy (marital privacy and autonomy)
 Freedom of expression and academic freedom
 Due process clause
 Equal protection clause
 Prohibition against involuntary servitude


Judicial Review Jurisprudence is replete with the rule that the power of judicial review is limited
by four exacting requisites:
(a) there must be an actual case or controversy;
(b) the petitioners must possess locus standi;
(c) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and
(d) the issue of constitutionality must be the lis mota of the case.

Actual Controversy - An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is
appropriate or ripe for determination, not conjectural or anticipatory, lest the decision of the court
would amount to an advisory opinion. It must concern a real, tangible and not merely a theoretical
question or issue. There ought to be an actual and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief
through a decree conclusive in nature, as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would
be upon a hypothetical state of facts. Corollary to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is
the requirement of ripeness. A question is ripe for adjudication when the act being challenged has
had a direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it. For a case to be considered ripe for
adjudication, it is a prerequisite that something has then been accomplished or performed by either
branch before a court may come into the picture, and the petitioner must allege the existence of an
immediate or threatened injury to himself as a result of the challenged action. He must show that he
has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of the act
complained of

Facial Challenge - A facial challenge, also known as a First Amendment Challenge, is one that is
launched to assail the validity of statutes concerning not only protected speech, but also all other
rights in the First Amendment. These include religious freedom, freedom of the press, and the right
of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. After
all, the fundamental right to religious freedom, freedom of the press and peaceful assembly are but
component rights of the right to one’s freedom of expression, as they are modes which one’s thoughts
are externalized.

Locus Standi - Locus standi or legal standing is defined as a personal and substantial interest in a
case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the challenged
governmental act. It requires a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure the
concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely
depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.

Transcendental Importance - the Court leans on the doctrine that “the rule on standing is a matter
of procedure, hence, can be relaxed for non-traditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and
legislators when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter is of transcendental
importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of paramount public interest.”

One Subject-One Title - The “one title-one subject” rule does not require the Congress to employ in
the title of the enactment language of such precision as to mirror, fully index or catalogue all the
contents and the minute details therein. The rule is sufficiently complied with if the title is
comprehensive enough as to include the general object which the statute seeks to effect, and where,
as here, the persons interested are informed of the nature, scope and consequences of the proposed
law and its operation. Moreover, this Court has invariably adopted a liberal rather than technical
construction of the rule “so as not to cripple or impede legislation.” The one subject/one title rule
expresses the principle that the title of a law must not be “so uncertain that the average person
reading it would not be informed of the purpose of the enactment or put on inquiry as to its contents,
or which is misleading, either in referring to or indicating one subject where another or different one
is really embraced in the act, or in omitting any expression or indication of the real subject or scope
of the act.”

Declaration of Unconstitutionality: Orthodox view: An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers

no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is, in legal
contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed. Modern view: Under this view, the
court in passing upon the question of constitutionality does not annul or repeal the statute if it finds
it in conflict with the Constitution. It simply refuses to recognize it and determines the rights of the
parties just as if such statute had no existence. But certain legal effects of the statute prior to its
declaration of unconstitutionality may be recognized. Requisites for partial unconstitutionality:
(a) The Legislature must be willing to retain the valid portion(s), usually shown by the presence
of a separability clause in the law; and
(b)The valid portion can stand independently as law.

1. In this case, the Court is of the view that an actual case or controversy exists and that the same
is ripe for judicial determination. Considering that the RH Law and its implementing rules
have already taken effect and that budgetary measures to carry out the law have already been
passed, it is evident that the subject petitions present a justiciable controversy. As stated
earlier, when an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the
Constitution, it not only becomes a right, but also a duty of the Judiciary to settle the dispute.

Moreover, the petitioners have shown that the case is so because medical practitioners or medical
providers are in danger of being criminally prosecuted under the RH Law for vague violations thereof,
particularly public health officers who are threatened to be dismissed from the service with forfeiture
of retirement and other benefits. They must, at least, be heard on the matter now.

2. In this jurisdiction, the application of doctrines originating from the U.S. has been generally
maintained, albeit with some modifications. While the Court has withheld the application of
facial challenges to strictly penal statues, it has expanded its scope to cover statutes not only
regulating free speech, but also those involving religious freedom, and other fundamental
rights. The underlying reason for this modification is simple. For unlike its counterpart in the
U.S., this Court, under its expanded jurisdiction, is mandated by the Fundamental Law not only
to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,
but also to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
Verily, the framers of Our Constitution envisioned a proactive Judiciary, ever vigilant with its
duty to maintain the supremacy of the Constitution.

Consequently, considering that the foregoing petitions have seriously alleged that the constitutional
human rights to life, speech and religion and other fundamental rights mentioned above have been
violated by the assailed legislation, the Court has authority to take cognizance of these kindred
petitions and to determine if the RH Law can indeed pass constitutional scrutiny. To dismiss these
petitions on the simple expedient that there exist no actual case or controversy, would diminish this
Court as a reactive branch of government, acting only when the Fundamental Law has been
transgressed, to the detriment of the Filipino people.

3. Even if the constitutionality of the RH Law may not be assailed through an “as-applied
challenge, still, the Court has time and again acted liberally on the locus standi requirement. It
has accorded certain individuals standing to sue, not otherwise directly injured or with
material interest affected by a Government act, provided a constitutional issue of
transcendental importance is invoked. The rule on locus standi is, after all, a procedural
technicality which the Court has, on more than one occasion, waived or relaxed, thus allowing
non-traditional plaintiffs, such as concerned citizens, taxpayers, voters or legislators, to sue in
the public interest, albeit they may not have been directly injured by the operation of a law or
any other government act.

The present action cannot be properly treated as a petition for prohibition, the transcendental
importance of the issues involved in this case warrants that the Court set aside the technical defects
and take primary jurisdiction over the petition at bar. One cannot deny that the issues raised herein
have potentially pervasive influence on the social and moral well being of this nation, specially the
youth; hence, their proper and just determination is an imperative need. This is in accordance with
the well-entrenched principle that rules of procedure are not inflexible tools designed to hinder or
delay, but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. Their strict and rigid application,
which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate, rather than promote substantial justice,
must always be eschewed.

4. Most of the petitions are praying for injunctive reliefs and so the Court would just consider
them as petitions for prohibition under Rule 65, over which it has original jurisdiction. Where
the case has far-reaching implications and prays for injunctive reliefs, the Court may consider
them as petitions for prohibition under Rule 65.

5. The RH Law does not violate the one subject/one bill rule. In this case, a textual analysis of the
various provisions of the law shows that both “reproductive health” and “responsible
parenthood” are interrelated and germane to the overriding objective to control the
population growth. As expressed in the first paragraph of Section 2 of the RH Law:

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons
including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights, the right to sustainable human
development, the right to health which includes reproductive health, the right to education and
information, and the right to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their
religious convictions, ethics, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood.

Considering the close intimacy between “reproductive health” and “responsible parenthood” which
bears to the attainment of the goal of achieving “sustainable human development” as stated under its
terms, the Court finds no reason to believe that Congress intentionally sought to deceive the public
as to the contents of the assailed legislation.

Accordingly, the Court declares R.A. No. 10354 as NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL except with respect to
the following provisions which are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL:

1) Section 7 and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they: a) require
private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned
and operated by a religious group to refer patients, not in an emergency or life-
threatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344, to another health facility
which is conveniently accessible; and b) allow minor-parents or minors who have
suffered a miscarriage access to modem methods of family planning without written
consent from their parents or guardian/s;

2) Section 23(a)(l) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly Section
5 .24 thereof, insofar as they punish any healthcare service provider who fails and or
refuses to disseminate information regarding programs and services on reproductive
health regardless of his or her religious beliefs.

3) Section 23(a)(2)(i) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they
allow a married individual, not in an emergency or life-threatening case, as defined
under Republic Act No. 8344, to undergo reproductive health procedures without the
consent of the spouse;

4) Section 23(a)(2)(ii) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they
limit the requirement of parental consent only to elective surgical procedures.

5) Section 23(a)(3) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly Section
5.24 thereof, insofar as they punish any healthcare service provider who fails and/or
refuses to refer a patient not in an emergency or life-threatening case, as defined
under Republic Act No. 8344, to another health care service provider within the same
facility or one which is conveniently accessible regardless of his or her religious

6) Section 23(b) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly Section 5
.24 thereof, insofar as they punish any public officer who refuses to support
reproductive health programs or shall do any act that hinders the full implementation
of a reproductive health program, regardless of his or her religious beliefs;

7) Section 17 and the corresponding prov1s10n in the RH-IRR regarding the rendering
of pro bona reproductive health service in so far as they affect the conscientious
objector in securing PhilHealth accreditation; and

8) Section 3.0l(a) and Section 3.01 G) of the RH-IRR, which added the qualifier
“primarily” in defining abortifacients and contraceptives, as they are ultra vires and,
therefore, null and void for contravening Section 4(a) of the RH Law and violating
Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.


1. Majority of the Members of the Court believe that the question of when life begins is a
scientific and medical issue that should not be decided, at this stage, without proper hearing
and evidence. However, they agreed that individual Members could express their own views
on this matter.
Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution states: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and
shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally
protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

In its plain and ordinary meaning (a canon in statutory construction), the traditional meaning of
“conception” according to reputable dictionaries cited by the ponente is that life begins at
fertilization. Medical sources also support the view that conception begins at fertilization.

The framers of the Constitution also intended for (a) “conception” to refer to the moment of
“fertilization” and (b) the protection of the unborn child upon fertilization. In addition, they did not
intend to ban all contraceptives for being unconstitutional; only those that kill or destroy the
fertilized ovum would be prohibited. Contraceptives that actually prevent the union of the male
sperm and female ovum, and those that similarly take action before fertilization should be deemed
non-abortive, and thus constitutionally permissible.

The intent of the framers of the Constitution for protecting the life of the unborn child was to prevent
the Legislature from passing a measure prevent abortion. The Court cannot interpret this otherwise.
The RH Law is in line with this intent and actually prohibits abortion. By using the word “or” in
defining abortifacient (Section 4(a)), the RH Law prohibits not only drugs or devices that prevent
implantation but also those that induce abortion and induce the destruction of a fetus inside the
mother’s womb. The RH Law recognizes that the fertilized ovum already has life and that the State
has a bounded duty to protect it.

However, the authors of the IRR gravely abused their office when they redefined the meaning of
abortifacient by using the term “primarily”. Recognizing as abortifacients only those that “primarily
induce abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother’s womb or the prevention of the
fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother’s womb” (Sec. 3.01(a) of the IRR) would
pave the way for the approval of contraceptives that may harm or destroy the life of the unborn from
conception/fertilization. This violates Section 12, Article II of the Constitution. For the same reason,
the definition of contraceptives under the IRR (Sec 3.01(j)), which also uses the term “primarily”,
must be struck down.

2. The RH Law does not intend to do away with RA 4729 (1966). With RA 4729 in place, the
Court believes adequate safeguards exist to ensure that only safe contraceptives are made
available to the public. In fulfilling its mandate under Sec. 10 of the RH Law, the DOH must
keep in mind the provisions of RA 4729: the contraceptives it will procure shall be from a
duly licensed drug store or pharmaceutical company and that the actual distribution of these
contraceptive drugs and devices will be done following a prescription of a qualified medical

Meanwhile, the requirement of Section 9 of the RH Law is to be considered “mandatory” only after
these devices and materials have been tested, evaluated and approved by the FDA. Congress cannot
determine that contraceptives are “safe, legal, non-abortificient and effective”.

3. The Court cannot determine whether or not the use of contraceptives or participation in
support of modern RH measures (a) is moral from a religious standpoint; or, (b) right or
wrong according to one’s dogma or belief. However, the Court has the authority to determine
whether or not the RH Law contravenes the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.

The State may pursue its legitimate secular objectives without being dictated upon the policies of any
one religion. To allow religious sects to dictate policy or restrict other groups would violate Article
III, Section 5 of the Constitution or the Establishment Clause. This would cause the State to adhere to
a particular religion, and thus, establishes a state religion. Thus, the State can enhance its population
control program through the RH Law even if the promotion of contraceptive use is contrary to the
religious beliefs of e.g. the petitioners.

4. Section 23A (2)(i) of the RH Law, which permits RH procedures even with only the consent
of the spouse undergoing the provision (disregarding spousal content), intrudes into martial
privacy and autonomy and goes against the constitutional safeguards for the family as the
basic social institution. Particularly, Section 3, Article XV of the Constitution mandates the
State to defend: (a) the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious
convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood and (b) the right of families or family
associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that
affect them. The RH Law cannot infringe upon this mutual decision-making, and endanger the
institutions of marriage and the family.

The exclusion of parental consent in cases where a minor undergoing a procedure is already a parent
or has had a miscarriage (Section 7 of the RH Law) is also anti-family and violates Article II, Section
12 of the Constitution, which states: “The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing
of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of
the Government.” In addition, the portion of Section 23(a)(ii) which reads “in the case of minors, the
written consent of parents or legal guardian or, in their absence, persons exercising parental
authority or next-of-kin shall be required only in elective surgical procedures” is invalid as it denies
the right of parental authority in cases where what is involved is “non-surgical procedures.”

However, a minor may receive information (as opposed to procedures) about family planning
services. Parents are not deprived of parental guidance and control over their minor child in this
situation and may assist her in deciding whether to accept or reject the information received. In
addition, an exception may be made in life-threatening procedures.

5. The Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of Section 14 of the RH Law, which
mandates the State to provide Age-and Development-Appropriate Reproductive Health
Education. Although educators might raise their objection to their participation in the RH
education program, the Court reserves its judgment should an actual case be filed before it.

Any attack on its constitutionality is premature because the Department of Education has not yet
formulated a curriculum on age-appropriate reproductive health education.

Section 12, Article II of the Constitution places more importance on the role of parents in the
development of their children with the use of the term “primary”. The right of parents in upbringing
their youth is superior to that of the State.
The provisions of Section 14 of the RH Law and corresponding provisions of the IRR supplement
(rather than supplant) the right and duties of the parents in the moral development of their children.

By incorporating parent-teacher-community associations, school officials, and other interest groups

in developing the mandatory RH program, it could very well be said that the program will be in line
with the religious beliefs of the petitioners.

6. The RH Law does not violate the due process clause of the Constitution as the definitions of
several terms as observed by the petitioners are not vague.

The definition of “private health care service provider” must be seen in relation to Section 4(n) of the
RH Law which defines a “public health service provider”. The “private health care institution” cited
under Section 7 should be seen as synonymous to “private health care service provider.

The terms “service” and “methods” are also broad enough to include providing of information and
rendering of medical procedures. Thus, hospitals operated by religious groups are exempted from
rendering RH service and modern family planning methods (as provided for by Section 7 of the RH
Law) as well as from giving RH information and procedures.

The RH Law also defines “incorrect information”. Used together in relation to Section 23 (a)(1), the
terms “incorrect” and “knowingly” connote a sense of malice and ill motive to mislead or
misrepresent the public as to the nature and effect of programs and services on reproductive health.

7. To provide that the poor are to be given priority in the government’s RH program is not a
violation of the equal protection clause. In fact, it is pursuant to Section 11, Article XIII of the
Constitution, which states that the State shall prioritize the needs of the underprivileged, sick
elderly, disabled, women, and children and that it shall endeavor to provide medical care to

The RH Law does not only seek to target the poor to reduce their number, since Section 7 of the RH
Law prioritizes poor and marginalized couples who are suffering from fertility issues and desire to
have children. In addition, the RH Law does not prescribe the number of children a couple may have
and does not impose conditions upon couples who intend to have children. The RH Law only seeks
to provide priority to the poor.

The exclusion of private educational institutions from the mandatory RH education program under
Section 14 is valid. There is a need to recognize the academic freedom of private educational
institutions especially with respect to religious instruction and to consider their sensitivity towards
the teaching of reproductive health education

8. The requirement under Sec. 17 of the RH Law for private and non-government health care
service providers to render 48 hours of pro bonoRH services does not amount to involuntary
servitude, for two reasons. First, the practice of medicine is undeniably imbued with public
interest that it is both the power and a duty of the State to control and regulate it in order to
protect and promote the public welfare. Second, Section 17 only encourages private and non-
government RH service providers to render pro bono Besides the PhilHealth accreditation,
no penalty is imposed should they do otherwise.

However, conscientious objectors are exempt from Sec. 17 as long as their religious beliefs do not
allow them to render RH service, pro bono or otherwise.

David vs. Arroyo

G.R. No. 171396 | 2006-05-03

Moot and Academic, Locus Standi, Political Question(Calling-out Power), Emergency Powers of the
President, Facial Challenge (Overbreadth Doctrine), Facial Challenge (Vagueness), Section 17,
Article VII (Take Care Power or Control Power of the President), Section 17, Article XII (Take Over
Power of the President), 'As Applied' Challenge,Acts of Terrorism, Right to Peacably Assemble,


On February 24, 2006, as the nation celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Edsa People Power I,
President Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1017 (PP 1017) 'declaring a state of national
emergency'. On the same day, the President also issued General Order No. 5 implementing PP 1017
and directing the AFP and PNP to take appropriate actions 'to suppress and prevent acts of
terrorismand lawless violence'

Thereafter, during the dispersal of the rallyists along EDSA, police arrested (without warrant) Randolf
S. David, a UP professor and newspaper columnist, and Ronald Llamas, president of party-
list Akbayan.

Also, in the early morning of February 25, 2006,operatives of the Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP,on the basis of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5, raided the Daily
Tribune offices in Manila.

One week after the issuance of PP 1017 and GO No. 5, President Arroyo issued Proclamation No.
1021 declaring that the state of national emergency has ceased to exist.

Petitions were filed challenging the constitutionality of and G.O. No. 5 and PP 1017.

The factual basis cited by the Arroyo camp for the executive issuances was the alleged existence of
plot attempts from the political opposition and NPA to unseat or assassinate President Arroyo. The
plot attempts were a clear and present danger that justified the orders.


Moot and Academic

1. A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of
supervening events so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value.

2. As a general rule, courts decline jurisdiction over cases rendered moot. However, courts will
decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, in the following situations:

(i) there is a grave violation of the Constitution;

(ii) the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved;
(iii) when constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to
guide the bench, the bar, and the public;
(iv) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.
3. President Arroyo's issuance of PP 1021 did not render the present petitions moot and academic.
During the eight days that PP 1017 was operative, the police officers committed illegal acts in
implementing it. Moreover, all the above exceptions are present to justify the Court's assumption of
jurisdiction over the petitions.

Locus Standi

4. In public suits, our courts adopt the 'direct injury' test which states that the person who
impugns the validity of a statute must have 'a personal and substantial interest in the case such that
he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result.

5. However,being a mere procedural technicality, the requirement of locus standi maybe waived.
Thus, even where the petitioners have failed to show direct injury,they have been allowed to sue
under the principle of 'transcendental importance.'

6. Petitioners David, Llamas and the Tribune suffered 'direct injury' resulting from the 'illegal arrest'
and 'unlawful search' committed by police operatives pursuant to PP 1017.

7. KMU's assertion that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 violated its right to peaceful assembly may be
deemed sufficient to give it legal standing. Organizations may be granted standing to assert the
rights of their members. The courts took judicial notice of the announcement by the Office of the
President banning all rallies and canceling all permits for public assemblies following the issuance
of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.

8. The national officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) have no legal standing,having
no direct or potential injury which the IBP as an institution or its members may suffer as a
consequence of the issuance of PP No. 1017 and G.O. No.5. The mere invocation by the IBP of its duty
to preserve the rule of law istoo general an interest. However, in view of the transcendental
importance ofthe issue, the Court vested them with locus standi.

Political Question, Calling-Out Power

9. While the President's 'calling-out' power is a discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom,
'this does not prevent an examination of whether such power was exercised within permissible
constitutional limits or whether it was exercised in a manner constituting grave abuse of

10. As to how the Court may inquire into the President's exercise of power, the standard is not
correctness, but arbitrariness. The test is that 'judicial inquiry can go no further than to satisfy the
Court not that the President's decision is correct,' but that 'the President did not
act arbitrarily.'(citingLansang v. Garcia)

11. To show arbitrariness, it must be shown that the President's decision is totally bereft of factual
basis'. If this is not proven, the Court cannot thereafter undertake an independent investigation
beyond the pleadings.' (citing IBP v Zamora)

12. Petitioners failed to show thatPresident Arroyo's exercise of the calling-out power, by issuing
PP 1017, istotally bereft of factual basis. The government presented reports of events leadingto the
issuance PP 1017 (i.e. escape and threats of Magdalo group, defectionsin military, etc.) which was
not contradicted by petitioners. Hence, thePresident was justified in issuing PP 1017 calling for
military aid.
Facial Challenge (Overbreadth Doctrine)

13. The overbreadth doctrine is an analytical tool developed for testing 'on their faces' statutes
in free speech cases. PP 1017 is not primarily directed to speech or even speech-related conduct. It
is actually a call upon the AFP to prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence.

14. Claims of facial overbreadth are entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their terms,
seek to regulate only 'spoken words' and 'overbreadth claims have been curtailed when invoked
against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected conduct.'

Facial Challenge (Vagueness)

15. Related to the 'overbreadth' doctrine is the 'void for vagueness doctrine' which holds that 'a
law is facially invalid if men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and
differ as to its application.' It is subject to the same principles governing overbreadth doctrine. For
one, it is also an analytical tool for testing 'on their faces' statutes in free speech cases. And like
overbreadth,it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it isvague in all its
possible applications.

Calling Out Power (First Provision of PP 1017)

16. Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, a
'sequence' of graduated powers. From the most to the least benign, these are: the calling-out power,
the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and the power to declare Martial
Law. Citing IBP v. Zamora, the Court ruled that the only criterion for the exercise of the calling-out
power is that 'whenever it becomes necessary,' the President may call the armed forces 'to
prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.'
17. Considering the circumstances then prevailing, President Arroyo found it necessary to issue PP
1017. Owing to her Office's vast intelligence network, she is in the best position to determine the
actual condition of the country.

18. There is a distinction between the President's authority to declare a 'state of rebellion' and the
authority to proclaim a ?state of national emergency?. In declaring a state of national emergency,
President Arroyo did not only rely on Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, a provision calling
on the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. She also relied on Section

17, Article XII, a provision on the State's extraordinary power to take over privately-owned public
utility and business affected with public interest.

19. PP 1017 is not a declaration of Martial Law. It is merely an exercise of President Arroyo's
calling-out power . As such, it cannot be used to justify acts that only under a valid declaration of
Martial Law can be done. specifically, (a) arrests and seizures without judicial warrants; (b) ban on
public assemblies; (c) take-over of news media and agencies and press censorship; and (d) issuance
of Presidential Decrees, are powers which can be exercised by the President as Commander-in-
Chief only where there is a valid declaration of Martial Law or suspension of the writ of habeas

'Take Care' Power (Second Provision of PP 1017)

20. The second provision pertains to the power of the President to ensure that the laws be
faithfully executed. This is based on Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution.

21. PP 1017 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants President Arroyo the authority to promulgate
'decrees.' Legislative power is peculiarly within the province of the Legislature. Neither Martial Law
nor a state of rebellion nor a state of emergency can justify President Arroyo's exercise of legislative
power by issuing decrees. Presidential Decrees are laws which are of the same category and
binding force as statutes because they were issued by then President Marcos in the exercise of his
legislative power during the period of Martial Law under the 1973 Constitution.

22. President Arroyo has no authority to enact decrees. It follows that these decrees are void and,
therefore, cannot be enforced. With respect to 'laws,' she cannot call the military to enforce or
implement certain laws, such as customs laws, laws governing family and property relations, laws
on obligations and contracts and the like. She can only order the military, under PP 1017, to enforce
laws pertinent to its duty to suppress lawless violence.

Take Over Power (Third Provision of PP 1017)

23. PP 1017 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants the President, during a ?state of emergency?,
authority to temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or
business affected with public interest, without authority or delegation from Congress.

24. A distinction must be drawn between the President's authority to declare 'a state of national
emergency' and to exercise emergency powers. While the President alone can declare a state of
national emergency, however, the exercise of emergency powers, such as the taking over of
privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest, requires a delegation
from Congress. The President has no absolute authority to exercise allthe powers of the State
under Section 17, Article VII in the absence of an emergency powers act passed by Congress.

25. Congress may grant emergency powers to the President, subject to certain conditions, thus:

(1) There must be a war or other emergency.

(2) The delegation must be for a limited period only.
(3) The delegation must be subject to such restrictions as the Congress may prescribe.
(4) The emergency powers must be exercised to carry out a national policy declared by

'As Applied' Challenge

26. Courts do not declare statutes invalid merely because they may afford an opportunity for abuse
in the manner of application. The validity of a statute or ordinance is to be determined from its
general purpose and its efficiency to accomplish the end desired, not from its effects in a particular

'Acts of Terrorism'

27. G.O. No. 5 mandates the AFP and the PNP to immediately carry out the 'necessary and
appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism and lawless violence.'

28. The Court declares that the 'acts of terrorism' portion of G.O. No. 5 is unconstitutional. Since there
is no law defining 'acts of terrorism,' it is President Arroyo alone, under G.O. No. 5, who has the
discretion to determine what acts constitute terrorism. Consequently,there can be indiscriminate
arrest without warrants, breaking into offices and residences, taking over the media enterprises.
These acts go far beyond the calling-out power of the President. Yet these can be effected in the name
of G.O. No. 5 under the guise of suppressing acts of terrorism.

Right to Peacably Assemble

29. David's warrantless arrest was unjustified. David, et al. were arrested while they were
exercising their right to peaceful assembly. They were not committing any crime, neither was there
a showing of a clear and present danger that warranted the limitation of that right. As can be
gleaned from circumstances, the charges of inciting to sedition and violation of BP 880 were mere

30. The wholesale cancellation of all permits to rally is a blatant disregard of the principle that
'freedom of assembly is not to be limited, much less denied, except on a showing of a clear and present
danger of a substantive evil that the State has a right to prevent.'

31. Moreover, under BP 880, the authority to regulate assemblies and rallies is lodged with the
local government units. They have the power to issue permits and to revoke such permits after due
notice and hearing on the determination of the presence of clear and present danger. Here,
petitioners were not even notified and heard on the revocation of their permits.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vs. People of the Philippines (2016)

G.R. No. 220598 and G.R. No. 220953 | 2016-07-19

Subject: Petition for Certiorari ordinarily not a proper remedy to challenge the denial of demurrer
to evidence; SC can take cognizance of the certiorari petition if the denial of the demurrer was
tainted with grave abuse of discretion; Conspiracy and how it is proved; Conspiracy as a means to
commit a crime (wheel conspiracy vs. chain conspiracy); To be considered a co-conspirator, the
accused must perform an overt act in pursuance or in furtherance of the conspiracy; The
Prosecution did not prove the existence of conspiracy among GMA, Aguas and Uriarte; The
Prosecution did not properly allege the of conspiracy to commit plunder (information must identify
the main plundered vis-a-vis the co-conspirators); Uriarte' s requests for additional CIF funds
complied with LOI No. 1282; Approval and sourcing of additional CIF funds were not illegally done;
Doctrine of command responsibility not applicable in this case; Aguas' certifications and signatures
on the disbursement vouchers were insufficient bases to conclude that he was into any conspiracy
to commit plunder; Plunder, elements; No proof of amassing, or accumulating, or acquiring ill-
gotten wealth of at least P50 Million was adduced against GMA and Aguas; The phrase 'raids on the
public treasury' requires the raider to use the property taken impliedly for his personal benefit; The
Prosecution failed to prove the predicate act of raiding the public treasury;


In July 2012, the Ombudsman charged in theSandiganbayan former President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo (GMA), together with several officers and the directors of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes
Office (PCSO), Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Reynaldo Villar, and COA Head of
Intelligence/Confidential Fund Fraud Audit Unit Nilda B. Plaras with plunder under Section 2 of
Republic Act No. 7080, as amended by R.A. No. 7659.

The information alleged that the accused, taking advantage of their public positions, conspired to
accumulate Php 365,997,915 in ill-gotten wealth by means of, principally, “diverting in several
instances, funds from the operating budget of PCSO to its Confidential/Intelligence Fund that could
be accessed and withdrawn at any time with minimal restrictions, and converting [or] transferring
the proceeds drawn from said fund, also in several instances, to themselves, in the guise of fictitious
expenditures, for their personal gain and benefit”

The Sandiganbayan granted the petitions for bail of Valencia (PCSO Chairman) , Morato and
Roquero (PCSO Directors) upon finding that the evidence of guilt against them was not strong. In
the case of GMA and Aguas (PCSO Budget and Accounts Officer), the Sandiganbayan denied their
petitions for bail on the ground that the evidence of guilt against them was strong.

During trial, the State presented Atty. Aleta Tolentino as its main witness against all the accused. As
Chairman of the PCSO Audit Committee, she found that the former management of the PCSO was
commingling the charity fund, the prize fund and the operating fund, and maintaining them in only
one main account in violation of the PCSO Charter (RA 1169). The Audit Committee also found out
that there was excessive disbursement of the Confidential and Intelligence Fund (CIF). It appears
that Uriarte (PCSO General Manager) would ask for additional CIF, by letter and President Arroyo
approves it by affixing her signature on that same letter-request. A summary of all the
disbursements from CIF from 2007 to 2010 showed a total of P365,997,915.

In 2008, the CIF disbursement totalled P86,555,060 when the CIF budget for that year was only P28
million. In 2009, the CIF disbursement was Pl39,420,875 but the CIF budget was only P60 million.
In 2010, the total disbursement, as of June 2010, was P141,021,980 but the budget was only P60
million. For each year, there were no savings for PCSO because they were on deficit. The President
(GMA) approved the release of the fund without a budget and savings. Also, the President approved
the same in violation of LOI 1282, because there were no detailed specific project proposals and
specifications accompanying the request for additional CIF.

Also, for one to get a cash advance on the CIF, one must state what the project is. In this case, the
vouchers themselves are couched generally and just say cash advance from CIF of the Chairman or
from the GM's office. There is no particular project indicated for the cash advance. Also, the
requirement that prior advances be liquidated first for subsequent advances to be given was not

The total cash advances for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 to accused Uriarte and Valencia is more
than P366,000,000. Valencia cash advanced P13.3 million. The rest was made by Uriarte. All of
these cash advances were made in excess of the appropriation and were never liquidated.

The State also presented evidence consisting in the testimonies of officers coming from different
law enforcement agencies to corroborate Tolentino's testimony to the effect that the PCSO had not
requested from their respective offices any intelligence operations contrary to the liquidation
report submitted by Uriarte and Aguas.

After the Prosecution rested its case, the accused separately filed their demurrers to evidence
asserting that the Prosecution did not establish a case for plunder against them.

The Sandiganbayan granted the demurrers to evidence of Morato, Roquero, Taruc and Villar, and
dismissed the charge against them. It held that said accused who were members of the PCSO Board
of Directors were not shown to have diverted any PCSO funds to themselves.

However, the Sandiganbayan denied the demurrers of GMA, Aguas and Valencia, holding that there
was sufficient evidence showing that they had conspired to commit plunder. Specifically, as to
GMA's participation, the Sandiganbayan stated that GMA's "OK" notation and signature on Uriarte’s
letter-requests signified unqualified approval of Uriarte's request to use the additional CIF funds.

In denying the Motion for Reconsideration of GMA, the Sandiganbayan declared that although
[GMA] did not actually commit any "overt act" of illegally amassing CIF funds, her act of approving
not only the additional CIF funds but also their releases, aided and abetted accused Uriarte's
successful raids on the public treasury. She is therefore rightly charged as a co-conspirator of
Uriarte who accumulated the CIF funds. Moreover, the performance of an overt act is not
indispensable when a conspirator is the mastermind.

Hence, the present petition for certiorari filed by GMA. GMA pleads that the denial of her demurrer
to evidence was in patent and flagrant violation of Republic Act No. 7080, the law on plunder.


I. Procedural Issues

Petition for Certiorari ordinarily not a proper remedy to challenge the denial of demurrer to

1. The special civil action for certiorari is generally not proper to assail the denial of her demurrer
to evidence, which is an interlocutory order, because of the availability of another remedy in the
ordinary course of law. Moreover, Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court expressly provides that
"the order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself
shall not be reviewable by appeal or by certiorari before judgment." It is not an insuperable
obstacle to this action, however, that the denial of the demurrers to evidence of the petitioners was
an interlocutory order that did not terminate the proceedings, and theproper recourse of the
demurring accused was to go to trial, and that in case of their conviction they may then appeal the
conviction, and assign the denial as among the errors to be reviewed.

SC can take cognizance of the certiorari petition if the denial of the demurrer was tainted
with grave abuse of discretion

2. The Court holds that it should take cognizance of the petitions for certiorari because
theSandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The
Court has the bounden constitutional duty to strike down grave abuse of
discretion whenever andwherever it is committed. Thus, notwithstanding the interlocutory
character and effect of the denial of the demurrers to evidence, the petitioners as the accused could
avail themselves of the remedy ofcertiorari when the denial was tainted with grave abuse of
discretion. The Sandiganbayan as the trial court was guilty of grave abuse of discretion when it
capriciously denied the demurrers to evidence despite the absence of competent and sufficient
evidence to sustain the indictment for plunder, and despite the absence of the factual bases to
expect a guilty verdict.

II. Substantive Issues

Conspiracy and how it is proved

3. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission
of a felony, and decide to commit it. In this jurisdiction, conspiracy is either a crime in itself or a
mere means to commit a crime.

4. As a rule, conspiracy is not a crime unless the law considers it a crime, and prescribes a penalty
for it. The exception is found in Article 115 (conspiracy and proposal to commit treason), Article
136 (conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d'etat, rebellion or insurrection) and Article
141 (conspiracy to commit sedition) of the Revised Penal Code. When conspiracy is a means to
commit a crime, it is indispensable that the agreement to commit the crime among all the
conspirators, or their community of criminal design must be alleged and competently shown.

5. The community of design to commit an offense must be a conscious one. Conspiracy transcends
mere companionship, and mere presence at the scene of the crime does not in itself amount to
conspiracy. Even knowledge of, or acquiescence in, or agreement to cooperate is not enough to
constitute one a party to a conspiracy, absent any active participation in the commission of the
crime with a view to the furtherance of the common design and purpose. Hence, conspiracy must be
established, not by conjecture, but by positive and conclusive evidence.

6. In terms of proving its existence, conspiracy takes two forms. The first is the express conspiracy,
which requires proof of an actual agreement among all the co-conspirators to commit the crime.
However, conspiracies are not always shown to have been expressly agreed upon. Thus, we have
the second form, the implied conspiracy. An implied conspiracy exists when two or more persons
are shown to have aimed by their acts towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful object,
each doing a part so that their combined acts, though apparently independent, were in fact
connected and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association and a concurrence of
sentiment. Implied conspiracy is proved through the mode and manner of the commission of the
offense, or from the acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime
indubitably pointing to a joint purpose, a concert of action and a community of interest.

Conspiracy as a means to commit a crime (wheel conspiracy vs. chain conspiracy)

7. In Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan, the Court recognized two nuances of appreciating conspiracy as a
means to commit a crime, the wheel conspiracy and the chain conspiracy.

8. The wheel conspiracy occurs when there is a single person or group (the hub) dealing
individually with two or more other persons or groups (the spokes). The spoke typically interacts
with the hub rather than with another spoke. In the event that the spoke shares a common purpose
to succeed, there is a single conspiracy. However, in the instances when each spoke is unconcerned
with the success of the other spokes, there are multiple conspiracies.

(a) An illustration of wheel conspiracy wherein there is only one conspiracy involved was the
conspiracy alleged in the information for plunder filed against former President Estrada
and his co-conspirators. Former President Estrada was the hub while the spokes were all
the other accused individuals. The rim that enclosed the spokes was the common goal in
the overall conspiracy, i.e., the amassing, accumulation and acquisition of ill-gotten

(b) On the other hand, the American case of Kotteakos v. United States illustrates a wheel
conspiracy where multiple conspiracies were established instead of one single
conspiracy. There, Simon Brown, the hub, assisted 31 independent individuals to obtain
separate fraudulent loans from the US Government. Although all the defendants were
engaged in the same type of illegal activity, there was no common purpose or overall plan
among them, and they were not liable for involvement in a single conspiracy. Each loan
was an end in itself, separate from all others, although all were alike in having similar
illegal objects. Except for Brown, the common figure, no conspirator was interested in
whether any loan except his own went through. Thus, the US Supreme Court concluded
that there existed 32 separate conspiracies involving Brown rather than one common

9. The chain conspiracy recognized in Estrada v. Sandiganbayan exists when there is successive
communication and cooperation in much the same way as with legitimate business operations
between manufacturer and wholesaler, then wholesaler and retailer, and then retailer and consumer.
This involves individuals linked together in a vertical chain to achieve a criminal objective.

(a) Illustrative of chain conspiracy was that involved in United States v. Bruno. There, 88
defendants were indicted for a conspiracy to import, sell, and possess narcotics. This case involved
several smugglers who had brought narcotics to retailers who, in turn, had sold the narcotics to
operatives in Texas and Louisiana for distribution to addicts. The US Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit ruled that what transpired was a single chain conspiracy [since, as] reasoned by the
court, "the conspirators at one end of the chain knew that the unlawful business would not and
could not, stop with their buyers; and those at the other end knew that it had not begun with their
sellers." Each conspirator knew that "the success of that part with which he was immediately
concerned was dependent upon success of the whole." This means, therefore, that "every member
of the conspiracy was liable for every illegal transaction carried out by other members of the
conspiracy in Texas and in Louisiana."

10. Once the State proved the conspiracy as a means to commit a crime, each co-conspirator is as
criminally liable as the others, for the act of one is the act of all. A co-conspirator does not have to
participate in every detail of the execution; neither does he have to know the exact part performed
by the co-conspirator in the execution of the criminal act. Otherwise, the criminal liability of each
accused is individual and independent.

To be considered a co-conspirator, the accused must perform an overt act in pursuance or in

furtherance of the conspiracy

11. To be considered a part of the conspiracy, each of the accused must be shown to have
performed at least an overt act in pursuance or in furtherance of the conspiracy, for without being
shown to do so none of them will be liable as a co-conspirator, and each may only be held
responsible for the results of his own acts. In this connection, the character of the overt act has been
explained in People v. Lizada:

12. An overt or external act is defined as some physical activity or deed, indicating the intention to
commit a particular crime, more than a mere planning or preparation, which if carried out to its
complete termination following its natural course, without being frustrated by external obstacles
nor by the spontaneous desistance of the perpetrator, will logically and necessarily ripen into a
concrete offense. The raison d'etre for the law requiring a direct overt act is that, in a majority of
cases, the conduct of the accused consisting merely of acts of preparation has never ceased to be
equivocal; and this is necessarily so, irrespective of his declared intent. It is that quality of being
equivocal that must be lacking before the act becomes one which may be said to be a
commencement of the commission of the crime, or an overt act or before any fragment of the crime
itself has been committed, and this is so for the reason that so long as the equivocal quality remains,
no one can say with certainty what the intent of the accused is. It is necessary that the overt act
should have been the ultimate step towards the consummation of the design. It is sufficient if it was
the "first or some subsequent step in a direct movement towards the commission of the offense
after the preparations are made." The act done need not constitute the last proximate one for
completion. It is necessary, however, that the attempt must have a causal relation to the intended
crime. In the words of Viada, the overt acts must have an immediate and necessary relation to the
offense. (see People v. Lizada)

The Prosecution did not prove the existence of conspiracy among GMA, Aguas and Uriarte

13. The Sandiganbayan declared that GMA is “rightly charged as a co-conspirator of Uriarte who
accumulated the CIF funds. Moreover, theperformance of an overt act is not indispensable when a
conspirator is the mastermind.” The Sandignabayan's conclusion that GMA had been the mastermind
of plunder was plainly conjectural and outrightly unfounded considering that the information did
not aver at all that she had been the mastermind; hence, the Sandigabayan thereby acted
capriciously and arbitrarily.

14. In the second place, the treatment by theSandiganbayan of GMA's handwritten unqualified "OK"
as an overt act of plunder was absolutely unwarranted considering that such act was a common
legal and valid practice of signifying approval of a fund release by the President. Indeed, pursuant to
People v. Lizada, an act or conduct becomes an overt act of a crime only when it evinces
a causal relation to the intended crimebecause the act or conduct will not be an overt act of the
crime if it does not have an immediate and necessary relation to the offense.

15. GMA's approval of Uriarte's requests for additional CIFs did not make her part of any design to
raid the public treasury as the means to amass, accumulate and acquire illgotten wealth. Absent the
specific allegation in the information to that effect, and competent proof thereon, GMA' s approval
of Uriarte' s requests, even if unqualified, could not make her part of any criminal conspiracy to
commit plunder or any other crime considering that her approval was not by any means irregular or

The Prosecution did not properly allege the of conspiracy to commit plunder (information
must identify the main plundered vis-a-vis the co-conspirators)

16. A perusal of the information suggests that what the Prosecution sought to show was an implied
conspiracy to commit plunder among all of the accused on the basis of their collective actions prior
to, during and after the implied agreement. It is notable that the Prosecution did not allege that the
conspiracy among all of the accused was by express agreement, or was a wheel conspiracy or a
chain conspiracy.

17. The law on plunder requires that a particular public officer must be identified as the one who
amassed, acquired or accumulated ill-gotten wealth because it plainly states that plunder is
committed “by any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family,
relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses,
accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or total value of at least
P50,000,000.00 through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in Section 1(d)
hereof.” Surely, the law requires in the criminal charge for plunder against several individuals
thatthere must be a main plunderer and her co-conspirators, who may be members of her
family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons. In
other words, the allegation of the wheel conspiracy or express conspiracy in the information was
appropriate because the main plunderer would then be identified in either manner. Of course,
implied conspiracy could also identify the main plunderer, but that fact must be properly alleged
and duly proven by the Prosecution.

18. In Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, where the Court explained the nature of the conspiracy charge
and the necessity for the main plunderer for whose benefit the amassment, accumulation and
acquisition was made.

19. Here, considering that 10 persons have been accused of amassing, accumulating and/or
acquiring ill-gotten wealth aggregating P365,997,915.00, it would be improbable that the crime
charged was plunder if none of them was alleged to be the main plunderer. As such, each of the 10
accused would account for the aliquot amount of only P36,599,791.50, or exactly 1/10 of the
alleged aggregate ill-gotten wealth, which is far below the threshold value (P50 Million) of ill-gotten
wealth required for plunder.

20. We are not unmindful of the holding in Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan to the effect that an
information alleging conspiracy is sufficient if the information alleges conspiracy either:

(1) with the use of the word conspire, or its derivatives or synonyms, such as confederate,
connive, collude, etc.; or
(2) by allegations of the basic facts constituting the conspiracy in a manner that a person of
common understanding would know what is being conveyed, and with such precision as
would enable the accused to competently enter a plea to a subsequent indictment based on
the same facts. We are not talking about the sufficiency of the information as to the
allegation of conspiracy, however, but rather the identification of the main plunderer
sought to be prosecuted under R.A. No. 7080 as an element of the crime of plunder. Such
identification of the main plunderer was not only necessary because the law required such
identification, but also because it was essential in safeguarding the rights of all of the
accused to be properly informed of the charges they were being made answerable for. The
main purpose of requiring the various elements of the crime charged to be set out in the
information is to enable all the accused to suitably prepare their defense because they are
presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts that constituted the offense

Uriarte' s requests for additional CIF funds complied with LOI No. 1282

21. An examination of Uriarte' s several requests, which were approved by GMA, indicates
their compliance with LOI No. 1282. The requests, similarly worded, furnished: (a) the full
details of the specific purposes for which the funds would be spent; (b) the explanations of the
circumstances giving rise to the necessity of the expenditure; and (c) the particular aims to be

22. A reading of the requests also reveals that the additional CIFs requested were to be used to
protect PCSO's image and the integrity of its operations. The Court thus cannot share the
Prosecution's dismissiveness of the requests for not being compliant with LOI No.
1282. According to its terms, LOI No. 1282 did not detail any qualification as to how specific
the requests should be made. Hence, we should not make any other pronouncement than to
rule that Uriarte's requests were compliant with LOI No. 1282.

Approval and sourcing of additional CIF funds were not illegally done

23. COA Circular No. 92-385 required that additional request for CIFs would be approved only
when there was available budget. In this regard, the Prosecution suggests that there was no longer
any budget when GMA approved Uriarte's requests because the budget had earmarked intelligence
funds that had already been maxed out and used. The suggestion is not acceptable, however,
considering that the funds of the PCSO were co-mingled into one account as early as 2007.
Consequently, although only 15% of PCSO's revenues was appropriated to an operation fund from
which the CIF could be sourced, the remaining 85% of PCSO's revenues, already co-mingled with
the operating fund, could still sustain the additional requests. In short, there was available budget
from which to draw the additional requests for CIFs.

24. It is notable that the COA, although frowning upon PCSO's comingling of funds, did not rule such
co-mingling as illegal. As such, sourcing the requested additional CIFs from one account was far
from illegal.

Doctrine of command responsibility not applicable in this case

25. The Prosecution seems to be relying on thedoctrine of command responsibility to impute the
actions of subordinate officers to GMA as the superior officer. The reliance is misplaced, for
incriminating GMA under those terms was legally unacceptable and incomprehensible. The
application of the doctrine of command responsibility is limited, and cannot be true for all
litigations. The Court ruled in Rodriguez v. Macapagal-Arroyo that command responsibility pertains
to the responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed
forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflict. The
doctrine has also found application in civil actions for human rights abuses. But this case involves
neither a probe of GMA's actions as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,
nor of a human rights issue. As such, it is legally improper to impute the actions of Uriarte to GMA in
the absence of any conspiracy between them.

Aguas' certifications and signatures on the disbursement vouchers were insufficient bases to
conclude that he was into any conspiracy to commit plunder

26. The Sandiganbayan concluded that Aguas became a part of the implied conspiracy when he
signed the disbursement vouchers despite the absence of certain legal requirements, and issued
certain certifications to the effect that the budgetary allotment/funds for cash advance to be
withdrawn were available; that the expenditures were supported by documents; and that the
previous cash advances had been liquidated or accounted for.

27. We opine and declare, however, that Aguas' certifications and signatures on the disbursement
vouchers were insufficient bases to conclude that he was into any conspiracy to commit plunder or
any other crime. Without GMA's participation, he could not release any money because there was
then no budget available for the additional CIFs. Whatever irregularities he might have committed
did not amount to plunder, or to any implied conspiracy to commit plunder.

Plunder, elements

28. To successfully mount a criminal prosecution for plunder, the State must allege and establish
the following elements, namely:

1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by herself or in connivance with members of her
family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons;

2. That the offender amasses, accumulates or acquires illgotten wealth through a combination or
series of the following overt or criminal acts:

(a) through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the
public treasury;

(b) by receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any
other form of pecuniary benefits from any person and/or entity in connection with any government
contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer;

(c) by the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National
Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities of Government owned or
controlled corporations or their subsidiaries;

(d) by obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any
other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment in any business
enterprise or undertaking;

(e) by establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or

implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or

(f) by taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to

unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the
Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines; and,

3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or acquired
is at least P50,000,000.00.

29. The corpus delicti of plunder is the amassment, accumulation or acquisition of ill-gotten wealth
valued at not less than PS0,000,000.00. The failure to establish the corpus delicti should lead to the
dismissal of the criminal prosecution.

No proof of amassing, or accumulating, or acquiring ill-gotten wealth of at least P50 Million

was adduced against GMA and Aguas

30. As regards the element that the public officer must have amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-
gotten wealth worth at least P50 Million, the Prosecution adduced no evidence showing that either
GMA or Aguas or even Uriarte, for that matter, had amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten
wealth of any amount. There was also no evidence, testimonial or otherwise, presented by the
Prosecution showing even the remotest possibility that the CIFs of the PCSO had been diverted to
either GMA or Aguas, or Uriarte.

31. After Atty. Tolentino, as the Prosecution's main witness, conceded lack of any knowledge of the
amassing, accumulating or acquiring of ill-gotten wealth of at least P50 Million, nothing more
remained of the criminal prosecution for plunder. Hence, the Sandiganbayan should have granted
the demurrers of GMA and Aguas, and dismissed the criminal action against them.

The phrase 'raids on the public treasury' requires the raider to use the property taken
impliedly for his personal benefit

32. The phrase raids on the public treasury is found in Section 1 (d) of R.A. No. 7080:

d) Ill-gotten wealth means any asset, property, business enterprise or material possession of any
person within the purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or indirectly through
dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business associates by any combination or series
of the following means or similar schemes:

1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds orraids on the

public treasury;

33. To discern the proper import of the phrase raids on the public treasury, the key is to look at the
accompanying words: misappropriation, conversion, misuse or malversation of public funds. This
process is conformable with the maxim of statutory construction noscitur a sociis, by which the
correct construction of a particular word or phrase that is ambiguous in itself or is equally
susceptible of various meanings may be made by considering the company of the words in which
the word or phrase is found or with which it is associated. Verily, a word or phrase in a statute is
always used in association with other words or phrases, and its meaning may, therefore, be
modified or restricted by the latter.

34. To convert connotes the act of using or disposing of another's property as if it were one's
own; to misappropriate means to own, to take something for one's own benefit; 50 misuse means "a
good, substance, privilege, or right used improperly, unforeseeably, or not as intended;"51
andmalversation occurs when "any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is
accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same or shall take or
misappropriate or shall consent, through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other
person to take such public funds, or property, wholly or partially." The common thread that binds
all the four terms together is that the public officer used the property taken.

35. Considering that raids on the public treasury is in the company of the four other terms that
require the use of the property taken, the phrase raids on the public treasury similarly requires such
use of the property taken. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayangravely erred in contending that the
mere accumulation and gathering constituted the forbidden act of raids on the public
treasury.Pursuant to the maxim of noscitur a sociis, “raids on the public treasury” requires the
raider to use the property taken impliedly for his personal benefit.

36. The Prosecution asserts that the Senate deliberations removed personal benefit as a
requirement for plunder. In support of the same, theSandiganbayan quoted the exchange between
Senator Enrile and Senator Tanada in the Congressional deliberations. The exchange reveal,
however, that what was removed from the coverage of the bill and the final version that eventually
became the law was a person who was not the main plunderer or a co-conspirator, yet who
personally benefited from the plunderers' action. Therequirement of personal benefit on the part of
the main plunderer or his co-conspirators by virtue of their plunder was not removed.

37. Not only did the Prosecution fail to show where the money went but, more importantly, that
GMA and Aguas had personally benefited from the same. Hence, the Prosecution did not prove the
predicate act of raids on the public treasury beyond reasonable doubt.

Juan Ponce Entrile v. Sandiganyaban (Third Division)

G.R. No. 213847
August 18, 2016


Purpose of bail – The strength of the Prosecution's case, albeit a good measure of the accused's
propensity for flight or for causing harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary objective of bail,
which is to ensure that the accused appears at trial.

Bail is a right and a matter of discretion – Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987
Constitution and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure to wit: “No person
charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment,
shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal


On June 5, 2014, Petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile was charged with plunder in the Sandiganbayan on
the basis of his purported involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) Scam.
Initially, Enrile in an Omnibus Motion requested to post bail, which the Sandiganbayan denied. On
July 3, 2014, a warrant for Enrile's arrest was issued, leading to Petitioner's voluntary surrender.
Petitioner again asked the Sandiganbayan in a Motion to Fix Bail which was heard by the
Sandiganbayan. Petitioner argued that:
(c) Prosecution had not yet established that the evidence of his guilt was strong;
(d) that, because of his advanced age and voluntary surrender, the penalty would only be
reclusion temporal, thus allowing for bail; and
(e) he is not a flight risk due to his age and physical condition. Sandiganbayan denied this in
its assailed resolution. Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied.


1) Whether or not bail may be granted as a matter of right unless the crime charged is punishable
by reclusion perpetua where the evidence of guilt is strong.

a. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that if ever petitioner would be convicted, he
will be punishable by reclusion perpetua.

b. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that petitioner's guilt is strong.

2) Whether or not petitioner is bailable because he is not a flight risk.


1. YES.

Bail protects the right of the accused to due process and to be presumed innocent.
Article III, Sec. 14 (2) of the 1987 Constitution provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the
accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. This right is safeguarded by the
constitutional right to be released on bail.
The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at trial and so the amount of bail
should be high enough to assure the presence of the accused when so required, but no higher than
what may be reasonably calculated to fulfill this purpose.

Bail as a matter of right or Discretion

Bail as a matter of right

The right to bail is expressly afforded by Section 13, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution
“any person, before being convicted of any criminal offense, shall be bailable, unless he is charged
with a capital offense, or with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment,
and the evidence of his guilt is strong.”

Bail as a matter of discretion

Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987 Constitution and repeated in Sec. 7, Rule 114
of the Rules of Criminal Procedure to wit:

Capital offense of an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. —
No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of
the criminal prosecution.

The general rule: Any person, before conviction of any criminal offense, shall be bailable.

Exception: Unless he is charged with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua [or life
imprisonment] and the evidence of his guilt is strong.

Thus, denial of bail should only follow once it has been established that the evidence of guilt is
strong. Where evidence of guilt is not strong, bail may be granted according to the discretion of the

Admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion perpetua

is subject to judicial discretion

Thus, Sec. 5 of Rule 114 also provides:

Bail, when discretionary. — Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary.
The application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court despite the filing of a notice of
appeal, provided it has not transmitted the original record to the appellate court. However, if the
decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed the nature of the offense from non-
bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be filed with and resolved by the appellate

Should the court grant the application, the accused may be allowed to continue on provisional
liberty during the pendency of the appeal under the same bail subject to the consent of the

If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, the accused shall
be denied bail, or his bail shall be cancelled upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice to the
accused, of the following or other similar circumstances:

(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the

crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration;

(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the
conditions of his bail without valid justification;

(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional pardon;

(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or

(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of the
The appellate court may, motu proprio or on motion of any party, review the resolution of the
Regional Trial Court after notice to the adverse party in either case.

Thus, admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion

perpetua subject to judicial discretion. In Concerned Citizens vs. Elma, the court held: “[S]uch
discretion may be exercised only after the hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the
accused for the purpose of whether or not he should be granted provisional liberty.” Bail hearing
with notice is indispensable (Aguirre vs. Belmonte). The hearing should primarily determine
whether the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong.

The procedure for discretionary bail is described in Cortes vs. Catral:

1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing
of the application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the
Rules of Court as amended);

2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of
whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is
strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound discretion; (Section 7 and 8,

3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the

4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of the bailbond
(Section 19, supra) Otherwise petition should be denied.

2. YES.

Enrile’s poor health justifies his admission to bail

The Supreme Court took note of the Philippine's responsibility to the international community
arising from its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We therefore have the
responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due process and
for detainees to avail of such remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. Quoting
from Government of Hong Kong SAR vs. Olalia, the SC emphasized:

x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every person.
This commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our Constitution which provides: “The State
values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” The
Philippines, therefore, has the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every person
to liberty and due process, ensuring that those detained or arrested can participate in the
proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without delay on the legality of the detention and
order their release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are under obligation to
make available to every person under detention such remedies which safeguard their fundamental
right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be admitted to bail. (emphasis in decision)
Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion

Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective of bail to ensure the appearance of the accused
during the trial and unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the fragile health and
advanced age of Petitioner. As such the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in denying the
Motion to Fix Bail. It acted whimsically and capriciously and was so patent and gross as to amount
to an evasion of a positive duty [to allow petitioner to post bail].



Quo warranto - a remedy to oust or eject an ineligible public official. It may be availed of when the
subject act or omission was committed prior to or at the time of appointment or election relating
to an official’s qualifications to hold office as to render such appointment or election invalid.


2. From 1986 to 2006 or for 20 years, Sereno served as a member of the faculty of the
University of the Philippines-College of Law. While being employed at the UP Law, or from
October 2003 to 2006 or for almost 3 years, Sereno was concurrently employed as legal
counsel of the Republic in two international arbitrations known as the Philippine
International Air Terminals Co PIATCO cases, and a Deputy Commissioner of the Commissioner
on Human Rights. The Human Resources Development Office of UP (UP HRDO) certified that
there was no record on Sereno’s file of any permission to engage in limited practice of

3. In sum, for 20 years of service, 11 SALNs were recovered.


10th SALN From filing cabinet or
drawer of UP
11th SALN From certification of
Judicial Bar Council

4. On August 2010, Sereno was appointed as Associate Justice. On 2012, the position of Chief
Justice was declared vacant, and the JBC directed the applicants to submit documents,
among which are “all previous SALNs up to December 31, 2011” for those in the
government and “SALN as of December 31, 2011” for those from the private sector. The JBC
announcement further provided that “applicants with incomplete or out-of-date
documentary requirements will not be interviewed or considered for nomination.”

5. Sereno expressed in a letter to JBC that since she resigned from UP Law on 2006 and became a
private practitioner, she was treated as coming from the private sector and only submitted
three (3) SALNs or her SALNs from the time she became an Associate Justice in 2010.
Serenodded that “considering that most of her government records in the academe are
more than 15 years old, it is reasonable to consider it infeasible to retrieve all of those
files,” and that the clearance issued by UP HRDO and CSC should be taken in her favor. JBC
reported that Sereno have “complete requirements.” On August 2012, Sereno was appointed as
Chief Justice.

6. On August 2017, an impeachment complaint was filed by Atty. Larry Gadon against Sereno
for following reasons:
1) Sereno failed to make truthful declarations in her SALNs. It was said that Justice Peralta,
the chairman of the JBC, was not aware of the incomplete SALNs of Sereno. Other
findings were made such as
2) Pieces of jewelry amounting to P15,000 were not declared on her 1990 SALN but was
declared in prior years’ and subsequent years’ SALNs,
3) Failure of her husband to sign one SALN
4) 1998 SALN was executed only in 2003

7. On February 2018, Atty. Eligio Mallari requested Calida in writing to file a petition for issuance
of the extraordinary writ of quo warranto proceeding against Sereno invoking the Court’s
original jurisdiction under Section 5(1), Article VIII of the Constitution in relation to the special
civil action under Rule 66 to declare as void Sereno’s appointment as Chief Justice of the SC and
to oust and altogether exclude Sereno therefrom.

Article VIII Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: (1) Exercise original
jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over
petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus.


1. Whether the Court should entertain the motion for intervention.

No, the motion for intervention is improper because the intervention of De Lima and
Trillanes is insufficient. The interest contemplated by law must be actual, substantial,material, direct,
and immediate and not simply contingent or expectant.

Intervention- a remedy by which a third party, not originally impleaded in the proceedings,
becomes a litigant therein for a certain purpose. It is not a matter of right but rests on the
sound discretion of the court.

Two requirements of intervention:

1. legal interest
2. no delay and prejudice

2. Whether the Court should grant the motion for the inhibition of Sereno against five Justices.

No, The motion for inhibition is without basis because mere imputation of bias or partiality
is not enough ground for inhibition, especially when the charge is without basis. There must be acts
or conduct clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice before it can be declared bias or partial.
Sereno’s call for inhibition has been based on speculations, or on distortions of the language,
context and meaning of the answers the Justices may have given as sworn witnesses in the
proceedings before the House.

Inhibition- means disallowing a person to decide on the cases. (baka meron kayong mas
magandang definition ng inhibition, Ang chaka nung sakin haha)

3. Whether the Court can assume jurisdiction and give due course to the instant petition for quo

Yes, supreme Court has jurisdiction. A direct invocation of the SC’s original jurisdiction to
issue such writs is allowed when there are special and important reasons and in this case, direct
resort to SC is justified considering that the action is directed against the Chief Justice granting that
the petition is likewise of transcendental importance and has far-reaching implications. The court is
empowered to exercise its power of judicial review.

Judicial review- is a process under which executive or legislative actions are subject to
review by the judiciary to know if they exceed their authority and acts as checks and
balances in the separation of powers.

4. Whether Sereno is engaged into forum shopping as she is the respondent in a quo warranto
proceeding notwithstanding the fact that an impeachment complaint has already been filed
with the House of Representatives.

No, simultaneous quo warranto proceeding and impeachment proceeding are allowed. Quo
warranto and impeachment may proceed independently of each other as these remedies are distinct
as to (1) jurisdiction (2) grounds, (3) applicable rules pertaining to initiation, filing and dismissal,
and (4) limitations.

The test for determining forum shopping is whether in the two or more cases pending, there
is identity of parties, rights or causes of action, and reliefs sought. In the case at bar, there is no forum
shopping because the reliefs sought are different. The crux of the controversy in quo warranto
proceeding is the eligibility of Sereno to hold public office in which act or omission happened prior
to or at the time of appointment to make such appointment invalid while the crux of the controversy
in impeachment proceeding is the act of public officer during her incumbency to render her an
impeachable officer.

Forum shopping is the act of a litigant who repetitively availed of several judicial remedies in
different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same
transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the
same issues, either pending in or already resolved adversely by some other court, to increase
his chances of obtaining a favorable decision if not in one court, then in another.

5. Whether impeachment is the only way to remove an impeachable officer ?

No, The language of Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution uses the permissive term “may”
which denotes discretion, mere possibility, an opportunity, or an option other than impeachment.
Section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution states that the “The President, the Vice-President,
the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the
Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation
of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public
trust.” Furthermore, those enumerated offenses are not equivalent to saying that the enumeration
likewise purport to be a complete statement of the causes of removal from office. If other causes of
removal are available, then other modes of ouster can likewise be availed.

Therefore, Impeachment is not an exclusive remedy by which an appointed or elected

impeachable official may be removed from office.

6. Whether quo warranto proceeding is violative of the principle of separation of powers

No, becausethe Court’s exercise of its jurisdiction over quo warranto proceedings does not
preclude Congress from enforcing its own prerogative of determining probable cause for
impeachment, to craft and transmit the Articles of Impeachment, nor will it preclude Senate from
exercising its constitutionally committed power of impeachment. Quo warranto is not violative of
doctrine of separation of power because impeachment cases shall be exclusively tried and decided
by the Senate.

8. Whether the petition is outrightly dismissible on the ground of prescription?

No, because prescription does not lie against the State. it is the government itself through
Solicitor General which commenced the present petition for quo warranto as it can also be deduced
from the very purpose of an action for quo warranto that serves to end a continuous usurpation.

The one-year limitation is not applicable when the Petitioner is not a mere private individual
pursuing a private interest, but the government itself seeking relief for a public wrong and suing for
public interest.

9. Whether the determination of a candidate’s eligibility for nomination is the sole and exclusive
function of the JBC and whether such determination partakes of the character of a political
question outside the Court’s supervisory and review powers?

No, the Court has supervisory authority over the JBC includes ensuring that the JBC complies
with its own rules. Section 8(1), Article VIII of the Constitution provides that “A Judicial and Bar
Council is hereby created under the supervision of the Supreme Court.” The power of supervision
means “overseeing or the authority of an officer to see to it that the subordinate officers perform
their duties.”The JBC’s duty to recommend or nominate is neither absolute nor unlimited, and is not
automatically equivalent to an exercise of policy decision as to place the JBC process beyond the
scope of the Court’s supervisory and corrective powers. With this, it must be emphasized that
qualifications under the Constitution cannot be waived or bargained by the JBC.

9. Whether the filing of SALN is a constitutional and statutory requirement for the position of
Chief Justice?

Yes, The filing of SALN is a constitutional and statutory requirement. Section 17, Article XI of
the Constitution states that “A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often
thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and
net worth.” Section 11 of R.A. No. 6713 even provides that non-compliance with this requirement is
not only punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine, it may also result in disqualification to hold
public office.

10. Whether Sereno failed to file her SALNs as mandated by the Constitution and required by the
law and its implementing rules and regulations?

Yes, Sereno chronically failed to file her SALNs and thus violated the Constitution, the law,
and the Code of Judicial Conduct. The missing SALNs are neither proven to be in the records of nor
was proven to have been sent to and duly received by the Ombudsman as the repository agency. The
existence of these SALNs and the fact of filing thereof were neither established by direct proof
constituting substantial evidence nor by mere inference. Moreover, the statement of the Ombudsman
is categorical: “based on records on file, there is no SALN filed by Sereno for calendar years 1999 to
2009 except SALN ending December 1998.” This leads the Court to conclude that Sereno did not
indeed file her SALN.

11.Whether Sereno filed SALNs are not filed properly and promptly.

Yes, Sereno failed to properly and promptly file her SALNs again in violation of the
Constitutional and statutory requirements .

Failure to file a truthful, complete and accurate SALN would likewise amount to dishonesty if
the same is attended by malicious intent to conceal the truth or to make false statements. The
suspicious circumstances include:
1) 1996 SALN being accomplished only in 1998;
2) 1998 SALN only filed in 2003;
3) 1997 SALN only notarized in 1993;
4) 2004-2006 SALNs were not filed which were the years when she received the bulk of her
fees from PIATCO cases,
5) 2006 SALN was later on intended to beforE 2010, gross amount from PIATCO cases were
not reflected, suspicious increase of P2,700,000 in personal properties were seen in her
first five months as Associate Justice.

The Court does not hesitate to impose the supreme penalty of dismissal against public
officials whose SALNs were found to have contained discrepancies, inconsistencies and non-

12.Whether Sereno failed to comply with the submission of SALNs as required by the JBC

Yes, Sereno failed to submit the required SALNs as to qualify for nomination pursuant to the
JBC rules.

The JBC required the submission of at least ten SALNs from those applicants who are
incumbent Associate Justices, absent which, the applicant ought not to have been interviewed, much
less been considered for nomination.Subsequently, it appeared that it was only Sereno who was not
able to substantially comply with the SALN requirement, and instead of complying, Sereno wrote a
letter containing justifications why she should no longer be required to file the SALNs: that she
resigned from U.P. in 2006 and then resumed government service only in 2009, thus her government
service is not continuous; that her government records are more than 15 years old and thus infeasible
to retrieve; and that U.P. cleared her of all academic and administrative responsibilities and charges.
These justifications, however, did not obliterate the simple fact that Sereno submitted only 3
SALNs to the JBC in her 20-year service in U.P., Moreover, Sereno curiously failed to mention that she
did not file several SALNs during the course of her employment in U.P. Such failure to disclose a
material fact and the concealment thereof from the JBC betrays any claim of integrity especially from
a Member of the Supreme Court.

Indubitably, Sereno not only failed to substantially comply with the submission of the SALNs
but there was no compliance at all. Dishonesty is classified as a grave offense the penalty of which is
dismissal from the service at the first infraction. A person aspiring to public office must observe
honesty, candor and faithful compliance with the law. Nothing less is expected. Dishonesty is a
malevolent act that puts serious doubt upon one’s ability to perform his duties with the integrity and
uprightness demanded of a public officer or employee. For these reasons, the JBC should no longer
have considered Sereno for interview.

13. Whether the failure to submit SALNs to the JBC voids the nomination and appointment of Sereno
as Chief Justice;

Yes, Sereno’s failure to submit to the JBC her SALNs for several years means that her integrity
was not established at the time of her application. Failure to submit the required SALNs means that
the JBC and the public are divested of the opportunity to consider the applicant’s fitness or propensity
to commit corruption or dishonesty.

14.Whether the subsequent nomination by the JBC and the appointment by the President cured such
ineligibility of Sereno for filing SALNs.

Sereno’s ineligibility for lack of proven integrity cannot be cured by her nomination and
subsequent appointment as Chief Justice. Well-settled is the rule that qualifications for public office
must be possessed at the time of appointment and assumption of office and also during the officer’s
entire tenure as a continuing requirement. The Court has ample jurisdiction to void the JBC
nomination and Presidents’s appointment.

15. Whether Sereno is a de jure or a de facto officer.

Sereno is a de facto officer removable through quo warranto. Sereno is ineligible to hold the
position of Chief Justice and therefore merely holding a colorable right or title thereto as defined De
facto Officer is one who is in actual possession of the office or supreme power but by usurpation or
without lawful title

De jure Officer-one who has just claim and lawful title to the office or power but not in actual

Show Cause Order by Solicitor General vs.Maria Lourdes Sereno

Doctrine of the Case: Sub judice rule - Sub Judice is a Latin term which refers to matters under or
before a judge or court; or matters under judicial consideration. In essence, the sub judice rule
restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to pending judicial proceedings.

Show Cause Order – is a type of court order that requires one or more of the parties to a case to
justify, explain, or prove something to the court.
 The Court observed that since the filing of the impeachment complaint, during the pendency
of the quo warranto case, and even after the conclusion of the quo warranto proceedings,
respondent continuously opted to defend herself in public through speaking engagements
before students and faculties in different universities, several public forums, interviews on
national television, and public rallies.
 The Court ordered respondent to show cause why she should not be sanctioned for violating
the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the
Philippine Judiciary (NCJC) for transgressing the sub judice rule and for casting aspersions
and ill motives to the Members of this Court.

Respondent contends that she should not be judged on the stringent standards set forth in the CPR
and the NCJC, emphasizing that her participation in the quo warranto case is not as counsel or a judge
but as a party-litigant.

Sereno is wrong about that, the fact that respondent was not the judge nor the counsel but a
litigant in the subject case does not strip her off of her membership in the Bar. As a member and a
Lawyer, the court has emphasized the high sense of morality, honesty, and fair dealing expected and
required of members of the Bar. Lawyers must conduct themselves with great propriety and their
behavior must be beyond reproach anywhere and at all times whether they are dealing with their
clients or the public at large. Sereno being a litigant does not mean that she was free to conduct
herself in less honorable manner than that expected of a lawyer or a judge.

Respondent avers that she cannot be faulted for the attention that the quo warranto case
gained from the public considering that it is a controversial case, which involves issues of
transcendental importance. The imputed acts against respondent did not create any serious and
imminent threat to the administration of justice to warrant the Court's exercise of its power of
contempt in accordance with the "clear and present danger" rule.

The "clear and present danger" rule does not find application in this case. What applies in this
administrative matter is the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and the New Code of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary (NCJC)which mandate the strict observance of the sub Judice
rule both upon members of the Bar and the Bench
Respondent may be correct in arguing that there must exist a "clear and present danger" to
the administration of justice for statements or utterances covered by the sub Judice rule to be
considered punishable under the rules of contempt. The case at bar, however, is not a contempt
proceeding. The Court, in this case is not geared towards protecting itself from such prejudicial
comments outside of court by the exercise of its inherent contempt power. Rather, in this
administrative matter, the Court is discharging its Constitutionally-mandated duty to discipline
members of the Bar and judicial officers. As We have stated in Our decision in the quo warranto case,
actions in violation of the sub Judice rule may be dealt with not only through contempt proceedings
but also through administrative actions. This is because a lawyer speech is subject to greater
regulation for two significant reasons: (1) because of the lawyer's relationship to the judicial process;
and (2)the significant dangers that a lawyer's speech poses to the trial process.
Particularly, in several occasions, respondent insinuated the following:
(i) that the grant of the quo warranto petition will result to dictatorship;
(ii) in filing the quo warranto petition, the livelihood and safety of others are likewise in
(iii) that the people could no longer rely on the Court's impartiality
(iv) that she could not expect fairness from the Court in resolving the quo warranto
petition against her.

Sub Judice Rule – Sub Judice is a Latin term which refers to matters under or before a judge or court;
or matters under judicial consideration. In essence, the sub judice rule restricts comments and
disclosures pertaining to pending judicial proceedings.

Clear and Present Danger Rule – means that the evil consequence of the comment must be
"extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high" before an utterance can be
punished. There must exist a clear and present danger that the utterance will harm the
administration of justice.



Rule 13.02 - A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case
tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.


Judicial independence is a pre-requisite to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee of a
fair trial. A judge shall therefore uphold and exemplify judicial independence in both its individual
and institutional aspects.

SECTION 3. Judges shall refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or
dispute pending before any court or administrative agency decision

SECTION 7. Judges shall encourage and uphold safeguards for the discharge of judicial duties
in order to maintain and enhance the institutional and operational independence of the

SECTION 8. Judges shall exhibit and promote high standards of judicial conduct in order to
reinforce public confidence in the judiciary, which is fundamental to the maintenance of
judicial independence.

Integrity is essentially not only to the proper discharge of the judicial office but also to the
personal demeanor of judges.

SECTION 1. Judges shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach, but that it is
perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable observer.

SECTION 2. The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the people's faith in the
integrity of the judiciary. Justice must not merely be done but must also be seen to be done.

Impartiality is essential to the proper discharge of the judicial office. It applies not only to the
decision itself but also to the process by which the decision is made.

SECTION 2. Judges shall ensure that his or her conduct, both in and out of court, maintains
and enhances the confidence of the public, the legal profession, and litigants in the
impartiality of the judge and of the judiciary.

SECTION 4. Judges shall not knowingly, while a proceeding is before or could come before
them, make any comment that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome of such
proceeding or impair the manifest fairness of the process. Nor shall judges make any
comment in public or otherwise that might affect the fair trial of any person or issue.

SECTION 2. As a subject of constant public scrutiny, judges must accept personal restrictions
that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and
willingly. In particular, judges shall conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with the
dignity of the judicial office. SECTION 6. Judges, like any other citizen, are entitled to freedom
of expression, belief, association and assembly, but in exercising such rights, they shall always
conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the
impartiality and independence of the judiciary.

Assuming arguendo(arguendo is a latin word which means “for the sake of” ) that the CPR
and the NCJC apply, respondent argues that in addressing the matters of impeachment and quo
warranto to the public, she was in fact discharging her duty as a Justice and a lawyer to uphold the
Constitution and promote respect for the law and legal processes pursuant to the said Codes.

Respondent cannot justify her attacks against the Court under the guise of merely discharging
her duties as a Justice and a member of the Bar. This is a desperate and convoluted, if not an absurd,
argument to elude liability. Respondent's actions and statements are far from being an innocent
discharge of duty of upholding the Constitution, the laws, rules, and legal processes. On the contrary,
they were direct and loaded attacks to the Court and its Members, which constitute a blatant
disrespect to the institution.. No matter how passionate a lawyer is towards defending his cause or
what he believes in, he must not forget to display the appropriate decorum expected of him, being a
member of the legal profession, and to continue to afford proper and utmost respect due to the courts
as the nation's then highest-ranking judicial official, it is with more reason that respondent is
expected to have exercised extreme caution in giving her opinions and observed genuine confidence
to the Court's processes.

Every judicial institution, every Justice of this Court, will have weaknesses as well as
strengths. We should address the weaknesses tirelessly but with respect.

Truth be told, respondent miserably failed to discharge her duty as a member of the Bar to
observe and maintain the respect due to the court and its officers. Specifically, respondent violated
CANON 11 of the CPR, which states that:


Assuming arguendo that respondent violated some provisions of the CPR and the NCJC in her
public statements, the same does not warrant the exercise of the Court's power to discipline in view
of the attendant circumstances, to wit: (a) no less than the Solicitor General repeatedly made
personal attacks against her and publicly discussed the merits of the case, hence, she had to respond
to such accusations against her; and (b) she was not given her right to due process despite her
repeated demand.


It is respondent's position that her act of speaking in public was justified since there was a
series of onslaught on her integrity over the media coming from no less than the Solicitor General
himself. Further, respondent insists that newsman, Jomar Canlas, publicized information to condition
the minds of the public that she should be removed from office.

The court do not agree. The tenor of the statements made by the Solicitor General, as well as
the newsman had nothing to do with assailing the capacity of this Court to render justice according
to law, which is what the respondent has been doing through her public speeches.

On the other hand, the newsman's questioned statements are nothing but a publication of
reports on the status of the case, whether true or not, which on its face notably comes within the
purview of the freedom of the press. Besides, as We have been emphasizing, an ordinary citizen's
action cannot be judged with the same standard on this matter as that of a member of the Bar
and Bench.

The court do not agree . The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied to
administrative proceedings, this means a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain one's side, or an
opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. In this case, respondent
has been given several opportunities to explain her side. Records show that the Congress invited her
to shed light on the accusations hurled against her but she never heeded the invitation. Likewise, the
Court gave her the opportunity to comment on the petition and file several motions in the quo
warranto case. A special hearing for her requested oral argument was even conducted during the
Court's Baguio session last April of this year. During the hearing, she was given the chance to answer
several questions from her colleagues. In fact, she even freely raised questions on some of the
magistrates present during the hearing. Undeniably, she was accorded due process not only through
her written pleadings, but also during the special hearing wherein she voluntarily participated. These
facts militate against her claim of denial of due process.

Sereno is found guilty of violating:
1) CANON 13, Rule 13.02, of the Code of Professional Responsibility
2) CANON 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
3) Sections 3, 7, and 8 of CANON 1, Sections 1 and 2 of CANON 2, Sections 2 and 4 of
CANON 3, and Sections 2 and 6 of CANON 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for
the Philippine Judiciary.

Thereby, after deep reflection and deliberation, in lieu of suspension, respondent is meted
the penalty of REPRIMAND with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of a similar offense or any
offense violative of the Lawyer's Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility shall merit a
heavier penalty of a fine and/or suspension or disbarment.



“WHEREFORE, the petition for mandamus is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Temporary
Restraining Order issued by the Court on 16 June 2015 is LIFTED effective immediately.




No. Because there is no law prohibiting the construction of the Torre De Manila. What is not
expressly or impliedly prohibited by law may be done, except when the act is contrary to morals,
customs and public order. This principle is fundamental in a democratic society, to protect the weak
against the strong, the minority against the majority, and the individual citizen against the

In essence, this principle, which is the foundation of a civilized society under the rule of law,
prescribes that the freedom to act can be curtailed only through law. Without this principle, the
rights, freedoms, and civil liberties of citizens can be arbitrarily and whimsically trampled upon by
the shifting passions of those who can spout the loudest, or those who can gather the biggest crowd
or the greatest number of internet trolls.

In this case, there is no allegation or proof that the Torre De Manila project is contrary to morals,
customs, and public order” or that it brings harm, danger, or hazard to the community.
There is no law prohibiting the construction of the Torre De Manila due to its effect on the
background “view, vista, sightline, or setting” of the Rizal Monument.

Article 694 of the civil code defines a nuisance as any act, omission, establishment, business,
condition of property, or anything else which: (1) injures or endangers the health or safety of
others; (2) annoys or offends the senses; (3) shocks, defies or disregards decency or morality; (4)
obstructs or interferes with the free passage of any public highway or street, or any body of water;
or (5) hinders or impairs the use of property.




It is “recognized as a nuisance under any and all circumstances, because it constitutes a
direct menace to public health or safety, and, for that reason, may be abated summarily under the
undefined law of necessity.”


That which “depends upon certain conditions. And circumstances, and its existence being a
question of fact, it cannot declared without due hearing thereon in a tribunal authorized to decide
whether such a thing in law constitutes a nuisance.”


No. The Torre De Manila Project cannot be considered as a “direct menace to public health
or safety.” First, condominium project is commonplace in the city of manila. Second, DMCI-PDI has
complied with health and safety standards set by law. DMCI-PDI has been granted the following
permits and clearances prior to starting the project:
(1) height clearance permit from the civil aviation authority of the Philippines;
(2) development permit from the HLURB;
(3) zoning certification from the HLURB;
(4) certificate of environmental compliance commitment from the environment
management bureau of the department of environment and natural resources;
(5) barangay clearance
(6) zoning permit;
(7) building permit;
(8) and electrical and mechanical permit.

Later, DMCI-PDI also obtained the right to build under a variance recommended by the MZBAA and
granted by the city council of manila. Thus, there can be no doubt that the Torre De Manila Project
is not a nuisance per se.


It is not established that Torre De Manila is a nuisance by ACCIDENS. By definition, a
nuisance per ACCIDENS is determined based on its surrounding conditions and circumstances.
These conditions and circumstances must be well established, not merely alleged. The court cannot
simply accept these conditions and circumstances as established facts. The authority to decide
when a nuisance exists is an authority to find facts, to estimate their force, and to apply rules of law
to the case thus made.
The Supreme Court is no such authority. It is not a trier of facts. The task to receive and
evaluate evidence is lodged with the trial courts. The question, then, of whether the Torre De
Manila project is a nuisance per ACCIDENS must be settled after due proceedings brought before
the proper regional trial court. The kor cannot circumvent the process in the guise of protecting
national culture and heritage.

et al.


On April 27, 1972, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1001and, upon
recommendation of the Board of Trustees of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), created the
category of Award and Decoration of National Artist to be awarded to Filipinos who have made
distinct contributions to arts and letters. In the same issuance, Fernando Amorsolo was declared as
the first National Artist.

On April 3, 1992, Republic Act No. 7356, otherwise known as the Law Creating the National
Commission for Culture and the Arts, was signed into law. It established the National Commission for
Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and gave it an extensive mandate over the development, promotion and
preservation of the Filipino national culture and arts and the Filipino cultural heritage.

CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA have been mandated by law to promote, develop and protect
the Philippine national culture and the arts, and authorized to give awards to deserving Filipino
artists, the two bodies decided to team up and jointly administer the National Artists Award.

On April 3, 2009, the First Deliberation Panel met. A total of 87 nominees were considered during the
deliberation and a preliminary shortlist of 32 names was compiled.

On April 23, 2009, the Second Deliberation Panel shortlisted 13 out of the 32 names in the
preliminary shortlist.On May 6, 2009, the final deliberation was conducted by the 30-member Final
Deliberation Panel comprised of the CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA Board of Commissioners
and the living National Artists.From the 13 names in the second shortlist, a final list of four names
was agreed upon namely: Manuel Conde, Ramon Santos, Lazaro Francisco and Federico Aguilar-

CCP and NCCA submitted this recommendation to the President. According to respondents, the
aforementioned letter was referred by the Office of the President to the Committee on Honors.
Meanwhile, the Office of the President allegedly received nominations from various sectors, cultural
groups and individuals strongly endorsing private respondents Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Carlo Magno
Jose Caparas, Francisco Masa and Jose Moreno. The Committee on Honors purportedly processed
these nominations and invited resource persons to validate the qualifications and credentials of the

Acting on this recommendation, Proclamation No. 1823 declaring Manuel Conde a National Artist
was issued on June 30, 2009. Subsequently, on July 6, 2009, Proclamation Nos. 1824 to 1829 were
issued declaring Lazaro Francisco, Federico AguilarAlcuaz and private respondents Guidote-Alvarez,
Caparas, Masa and Moreno, respectively, as National Artists. This was subsequently announced to the
public by then Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita on July 29, 2009.
Convinced that, by law, it is the exclusive province of the NCCA Board of Commissioners and the CCP
Board of Trustees to select those who will be conferred the Order of National Artists and to set the
standard for entry into that select group, petitioners instituted this petition for prohibition, certiorari
and injunction (with prayer for restraining order) praying that the Order of National Artists be
conferred on Dr. Santos and that the conferment of the Order of National Artists on respondents
Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Masa and Moreno be enjoined and declared to have been rendered in grave
abuse of discretion.

All of the petitioners claim that former President Macapagal-Arroyo gravely abused her discretion in
disregarding the results of the rigorous screening and selection process for the Order of National
Artists and in substituting her own choice for those of the Deliberation Panels. According to
petitioners, the Presidents discretion to name National Artists is not absolute but limited. In
particular, her discretion on the matter cannot be exercised in the absence of or against the
recommendation of the NCCA and the CCP.

ISSUE: Was there grave abuse of discretion committed by former President Arroyo?

Legal Standing. The parties who assail the constitutionality or legality of a statute or an official act
must have a direct and personal interest. They must show not only that the law or any governmental
act is invalid, but also that they sustained or are in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury
as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that they suffer thereby in some indefinite way.

In this case, the petitioning National Artists will be denied some right or privilege to which they are
entitled as members of the Order of National Artists as a result of the conferment of the award on
respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Masa and Moreno. In particular, they will be denied the
privilege of exclusive membership in the Order of National Artists.

Equal Protection. It should be recalled too that respondent Guidote-Alvarez was disqualified to be
nominated for being the Executive Director of the NCCA at that time while respondents Masa and
Caparas did not make it to the preliminary shortlist and respondent Moreno was not included in the
second shortlist. Yet, the four of them were treated differently and considered favorably when they
were exempted from the rigorous screening process of the NCCA and the CCP and conferred the
Order of National Artists.

The special treatment accorded to respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Masa and Moreno fails to
pass rational scrutiny. No real and substantial distinction between respondents and petitioner Abad
has been shown that would justify deviating from the laws, guidelines and established procedures,
and placing respondents in an exceptional position. The undue classification was not germane to the
purpose of the law. Instead, it contradicted the law and well-established guidelines, rules and
regulations meant to carry the law into effect. While petitioner Abad cannot claim entitlement to the
Order of National Artists, he is entitled to be given an equal opportunity to vie for that honor. In view
of the foregoing, there was a violation of petitioner Abads right to equal protection, an interest that
is substantial enough to confer him standing in this case.

Limits of the President's Discretion. The "power to recommend" includes the power to give
"advice, exhortation or indorsement, which is essentially persuasive in character, not binding upon
the party to whom it is made."
Thus, in the matter of the conferment of the Order of National Artists, the President may or may not
adopt the recommendation or advice of the NCCA and the CCP Boards. In other words, the advice of
the NCCA and the CCP is subject to the Presidents discretion.

Nevertheless, the Presidents discretion on the matter is not totally unfettered, nor the role of the
NCCA and the CCP Boards meaningless. The Presidents power must be exercised in accordance with
existing laws. Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution prescribes faithful execution of the laws by
the President

The President's discretion in the conferment of the Order of National Artists should be exercised in
accordance with the duty to faithfully execute the relevant laws. The faithful execution clause is best
construed as an obligation imposed on the President, not a separate grant of power.

In this connection, the powers granted to the NCCA and the CCP Boards in connection with the
conferment of the Order of National Artists by executive issuances were institutionalized by two
laws, namely, Presidential Decree No. 208 dated June 7, 1973 and Republic Act No. 7356. In
particular, Proclamation No. 1144 dated May 15, 1973 constituted the CCP Board as the National
Artists Awards Committee and tasked it to "administer the conferment of the category of National
Artist" upon deserving Filipino artists with the mandate to "draft the rules to guide its deliberations
in the choice of National Artists".

By virtue of their respective statutory mandates in connection with the conferment of the National
Artist Award, the NCCA and the CCP decided to work together and jointly administer the National
Artist Award. They reviewed the guidelines for the nomination, selection and administration of the
National Artist Award. An administrative regulation adopted pursuant to law has the force and effect
of law. Thus, the rules, guidelines and policies regarding the Order of National Artists jointly issued
by the CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA pursuant to their respective statutory mandates have the
force and effect of law. Until set aside, they are binding upon executive and administrative agencies,
including the President himself/herself as chief executor of laws.

In view of the various stages of deliberation in the selection process and as a consequence of his/her
duty to faithfully enforce the relevant laws, the discretion of the President in the matter of the Order
of National Artists is confined to the names submitted to him/her by the NCCA and the CCP Boards.
This means that the President could not have considered conferment of the Order of National Artists
on any person not considered and recommended by the NCCA and the CCP Boards. That is the proper
import of the provision of Executive Order No. 435, s. 2005, that the NCCA and the CCP "shall advise
the President on the conferment of the Order of National Artists." Applying this to the instant case,
the former President could not have properly considered respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas,
Masa and Moreno, as their names were not recommended by the NCCA and the CCP Boards.
Otherwise, not only will the stringent selection and meticulous screening process be rendered futile,
the respective mandates of the NCCA and the CCP Board of Trustees under relevant laws to
administer the conferment of Order of National Artists, draft the rules and regulations to guide its
deliberations, formulate and implement policies and plans, and undertake any and all necessary
measures in that regard will also become meaningless.

Proclamation Nos. 1826 to 1829 dated July 6, 2009 proclaiming respondents Cecile Guidote-Alvarez,
Carlo Magno Jose Caparas, Francisco Masa, and Jose Moreno, respectively, as National Artists are
declared INVALID and SET ASIDE for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.