Você está na página 1de 63

A.M. No. 133-J May 31, 1982 BERNARDITA R. MACARIOLA, complainant, vs. HONORABLE ELIAS B.

ASUNCION, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, respondent.

MAKASIAR, J: In a verified complaint dated August 6, 1968 Bernardita R. Macariola charged respondent Judge Elias B. Asuncion of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, with "acts unbecoming a judge." The factual setting of the case is stated in the report dated May 27, 1971 of then Associate Justice Cecilia Muoz Palma of the Court of Appeals now retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, to whom this case was referred on October 28, 1968 for investigation, thus: Civil Case No. 3010 of the Court of First Instance of Leyte was a complaint for partition filed by Sinforosa R. Bales, Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes, and Priscilla Reyes, plaintiffs, against Bernardita R. Macariola, defendant, concerning the properties left by the deceased Francisco Reyes, the common father of the plaintiff and defendant. In her defenses to the complaint for partition, Mrs. Macariola alleged among other things that; a) plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales was not a daughter of the deceased Francisco Reyes; b) the only legal heirs of the deceased were defendant Macariola, she being the only offspring of the first marriage of Francisco Reyes with Felisa Espiras, and the remaining plaintiffs who were the children of the deceased by his second marriage with Irene Ondez; c) the properties left by the deceased were all the conjugal properties of the latter and his first wife, Felisa Espiras, and no properties were acquired by the deceased during his second marriage; d) if there was any partition to be made, those conjugal properties should first be partitioned into two parts, and one part is to be adjudicated solely to defendant it being the share of the latter's deceased mother, Felisa Espiras, and the other half which is the share of the deceased Francisco Reyes was to be divided equally among his children by his two marriages. On June 8, 1963, a decision was rendered by respondent Judge Asuncion in Civil Case 3010, the dispositive portion of which reads: IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court, upon a preponderance of evidence, finds and so holds, and hereby renders judgment (1) Declaring the plaintiffs Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes as the only children legitimated by the subsequent marriage of Francisco Reyes Diaz to Irene Ondez; (2) Declaring the plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales to have been an illegitimate child of Francisco Reyes Diaz; (3) Declaring Lots Nos. 4474, 4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506 and 1/4 of Lot 1145 as belonging to the conjugal partnership of the spouses Francisco Reyes Diaz and Felisa Espiras; (4) Declaring Lot No. 2304 and 1/4 of Lot No. 3416 as belonging to

the spouses Francisco Reyes Diaz and Irene Ondez in common partnership; (5) Declaring that 1/2 of Lot No. 1184 as belonging exclusively to the deceased Francisco Reyes Diaz; (6) Declaring the defendant Bernardita R. Macariola, being the only legal and forced heir of her mother Felisa Espiras, as the exclusive owner of one-half of each of Lots Nos. 4474, 4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506; and the remaining one-half (1/2) of each of said Lots Nos. 4474, 4475, 4892, 5265, 4803, 4581, 4506 and one-half (1/2) of one-fourth (1/4) of Lot No. 1154 as belonging to the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz; (7) Declaring Irene Ondez to be the exclusive owner of one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 2304 and one-half (1/2) of one-fourth (1/4) of Lot No. 3416; the remaining one-half (1/2) of Lot 2304 and the remaining one-half (1/2) of one-fourth (1/4) of Lot No. 3416 as belonging to the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz; (8) Directing the division or partition of the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz in such a manner as to give or grant to Irene Ondez, as surviving widow of Francisco Reyes Diaz, a hereditary share of. one-twelfth (1/12) of the whole estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz (Art. 996 in relation to Art. 892, par 2, New Civil Code), and the remaining portion of the estate to be divided among the plaintiffs Sinforosa R. Bales, Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes, Priscilla Reyes and defendant Bernardita R. Macariola, in such a way that the extent of the total share of plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales in the hereditary estate shall not exceed the equivalent of two-fifth (2/5) of the total share of any or each of the other plaintiffs and the defendant (Art. 983, New Civil Code), each of the latter to receive equal shares from the hereditary estate, (Ramirez vs. Bautista, 14 Phil. 528; Diancin vs. Bishop of Jaro, O.G. [3rd Ed.] p. 33); (9) Directing the parties, within thirty days after this judgment shall have become final to submit to this court, for approval a project of partition of the hereditary estate in the proportion above indicated, and in such manner as the parties may, by agreement, deemed convenient and equitable to them taking into consideration the location, kind, quality, nature and value of the properties involved; (10) Directing the plaintiff Sinforosa R. Bales and defendant Bernardita R. Macariola to pay the costs of this suit, in the proportion of one-third (1/3) by the first named and two-thirds (2/3) by the second named; and (I 1) Dismissing all other claims of the parties [pp 27-29 of Exh. C]. The decision in civil case 3010 became final for lack of an appeal, and on October 16, 1963, a project of partition was submitted to Judge Asuncion which is marked Exh. A. Notwithstanding the fact that the project of partition was not signed by the parties themselves but only by the respective counsel of plaintiffs and defendant, Judge Asuncion approved it in his Order dated October 23, 1963, which for convenience is quoted hereunder in full: The parties, through their respective counsels, presented to this Court for approval the following project of partition: COMES NOW, the plaintiffs and the defendant in the above-entitled case, to this Honorable Court respectfully submit the following Project of Partition:

l. The whole of Lots Nos. 1154, 2304 and 4506 shall belong exclusively to Bernardita Reyes Macariola; 2. A portion of Lot No. 3416 consisting of 2,373.49 square meters along the eastern part of the lot shall be awarded likewise to Bernardita R. Macariola; 3. Lots Nos. 4803, 4892 and 5265 shall be awarded to Sinforosa Reyes Bales; 4. A portion of Lot No. 3416 consisting of 1,834.55 square meters along the western part of the lot shall likewise be awarded to Sinforosa Reyes-Bales; 5. Lots Nos. 4474 and 4475 shall be divided equally among Luz Reyes Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes in equal shares; 6. Lot No. 1184 and the remaining portion of Lot No. 3416 after taking the portions awarded under item (2) and (4) above shall be awarded to Luz Reyes Bakunawa, Anacorita Reyes, Ruperto Reyes, Adela Reyes and Priscilla Reyes in equal shares, provided, however that the remaining portion of Lot No. 3416 shall belong exclusively to Priscilla Reyes. WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the Project of Partition indicated above which is made in accordance with the decision of the Honorable Court be approved. Tacloban City, October 16, 1963. (SGD) BONIFACIO RAMO Atty. for the Defendant Tacloban City (SGD) ZOTICO A. TOLETE Atty. for the Plaintiff Tacloban City While the Court thought it more desirable for all the parties to have signed this Project of Partition, nevertheless, upon assurance of both counsels of the respective parties to this Court that the Project of Partition, as above- quoted, had been made after a conference and agreement of the plaintiffs and the defendant approving the above Project of Partition, and that both lawyers had represented to the Court that they are given full authority to sign by themselves the Project of Partition, the Court, therefore, finding the above-quoted Project of Partition to be in accordance with law, hereby approves the same. The parties, therefore, are directed to execute such papers, documents or instrument sufficient in form and substance for the vesting of the rights, interests and participations which were adjudicated to the respective parties, as outlined in the Project of Partition and the delivery of the respective properties adjudicated to each one in view of said Project of Partition, and to perform such other acts as are legal and necessary to effectuate the said Project of Partition.

SO ORDERED. Given in Tacloban City, this 23rd day of October, 1963. (SGD) ELIAS B. ASUNCION Judge EXH. B. The above Order of October 23, 1963, was amended on November 11, 1963, only for the purpose of giving authority to the Register of Deeds of the Province of Leyte to issue the corresponding transfer certificates of title to the respective adjudicatees in conformity with the project of partition (see Exh. U). One of the properties mentioned in the project of partition was Lot 1184 or rather one-half thereof with an area of 15,162.5 sq. meters. This lot, which according to the decision was the exclusive property of the deceased Francisco Reyes, was adjudicated in said project of partition to the plaintiffs Luz, Anacorita Ruperto, Adela, and Priscilla all surnamed Reyes in equal shares, and when the project of partition was approved by the trial court the adjudicatees caused Lot 1184 to be subdivided into five lots denominated as Lot 1184-A to 1184-E inclusive (Exh. V). Lot 1184-D was conveyed to Enriqueta D. Anota, a stenographer in Judge Asuncion's court (Exhs. F, F-1 and V-1), while Lot 1184-E which had an area of 2,172.5556 sq. meters was sold on July 31, 1964 to Dr. Arcadio Galapon (Exh. 2) who was issued transfer certificate of title No. 2338 of the Register of Deeds of the city of Tacloban (Exh. 12). On March 6, 1965, Dr. Arcadio Galapon and his wife Sold a portion of Lot 1184-E with an area of around 1,306 sq. meters to Judge Asuncion and his wife, Victoria S. Asuncion (Exh. 11), which particular portion was declared by the latter for taxation purposes (Exh. F). On August 31, 1966, spouses Asuncion and spouses Galapon conveyed their respective shares and interest in Lot 1184-E to "The Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries Inc." (Exit 15 & 16). At the time of said sale the stockholders of the corporation were Dominador Arigpa Tan, Humilia Jalandoni Tan, Jaime Arigpa Tan, Judge Asuncion, and the latter's wife, Victoria S. Asuncion, with Judge Asuncion as the President and Mrs. Asuncion as the secretary (Exhs. E-4 to E-7). The Articles of Incorporation of "The Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc." which we shall henceforth refer to as "TRADERS" were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission only on January 9, 1967 (Exh. E) [pp. 378-385, rec.]. Complainant Bernardita R. Macariola filed on August 9, 1968 the instant complaint dated August 6, 1968 alleging four causes of action, to wit: [1] that respondent Judge Asuncion violated Article 1491, paragraph 5, of the New Civil Code in acquiring by purchase a portion of Lot No. 1184-E which was one of those properties involved in Civil Case No. 3010 decided by him; [2] that he likewise violated Article 14, paragraphs I and 5 of the Code of Commerce, Section 3, paragraph H, of R.A. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules, and Canon 25 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics, by associating himself with the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., as a stockholder and a ranking officer while he was a judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte; [3] that respondent was guilty of coddling an impostor and acted in disregard of judicial decorum by closely fraternizing with a certain Dominador

Arigpa Tan who openly and publicly advertised himself as a practising attorney when in truth and in fact his name does not appear in the Rolls of Attorneys and is not a member of the Philippine Bar; and [4] that there was a culpable defiance of the law and utter disregard for ethics by respondent Judge (pp. 1-7, rec.). Respondent Judge Asuncion filed on September 24, 1968 his answer to which a reply was filed on October 16, 1968 by herein complainant. In Our resolution of October 28, 1968, We referred this case to then Justice Cecilia Muoz Palma of the Court of Appeals, for investigation, report and recommendation. After hearing, the said Investigating Justice submitted her report dated May 27, 1971 recommending that respondent Judge should be reprimanded or warned in connection with the first cause of action alleged in the complaint, and for the second cause of action, respondent should be warned in case of a finding that he is prohibited under the law to engage in business. On the third and fourth causes of action, Justice Palma recommended that respondent Judge be exonerated. The records also reveal that on or about November 9 or 11, 1968 (pp. 481, 477, rec.), complainant herein instituted an action before the Court of First Instance of Leyte, entitled "Bernardita R. Macariola, plaintiff, versus Sinforosa R. Bales, et al., defendants," which was docketed as Civil Case No. 4235, seeking the annulment of the project of partition made pursuant to the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 and the two orders issued by respondent Judge approving the same, as well as the partition of the estate and the subsequent conveyances with damages. It appears, however, that some defendants were dropped from the civil case. For one, the case against Dr. Arcadio Galapon was dismissed because he was no longer a real party in interest when Civil Case No. 4234 was filed, having already conveyed on March 6, 1965 a portion of lot 1184-E to respondent Judge and on August 31, 1966 the remainder was sold to the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. Similarly, the case against defendant Victoria Asuncion was dismissed on the ground that she was no longer a real party in interest at the time the aforesaid Civil Case No. 4234 was filed as the portion of Lot 1184 acquired by her and respondent Judge from Dr. Arcadio Galapon was already sold on August 31, 1966 to the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing industries, Inc. Likewise, the cases against defendants Serafin P. Ramento, Catalina Cabus, Ben Barraza Go, Jesus Perez, Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., Alfredo R. Celestial and Pilar P. Celestial, Leopoldo Petilla and Remedios Petilla, Salvador Anota and Enriqueta Anota and Atty. Zotico A. Tolete were dismissed with the conformity of complainant herein, plaintiff therein, and her counsel. On November 2, 1970, Judge Jose D. Nepomuceno of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, who was directed and authorized on June 2, 1969 by the then Secretary (now Minister) of Justice and now Minister of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile to hear and decide Civil Case No. 4234, rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: A. IN THE CASE AGAINST JUDGE ELIAS B. ASUNCION (1) declaring that only Branch IV of the Court of First Instance of Leyte has jurisdiction to take cognizance of the issue of the legality and validity of the Project of Partition [Exhibit "B"] and the two Orders [Exhibits "C" and "C- 3"] approving the partition; (2) dismissing the complaint against Judge Elias B. Asuncion; (3) adjudging the plaintiff, Mrs. Bernardita R. Macariola to pay defendant Judge Elias B. Asuncion, (a) the sum of FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS [P400,000.00] for moral damages;

(b) the sum of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS [P200,000.001 for exemplary damages; (c) the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS [P50,000.00] for nominal damages; and (d) he sum of TEN THOUSAND PESOS [PI0,000.00] for Attorney's Fees. B. IN THE CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT MARIQUITA VILLASIN, FOR HERSELF AND FOR THE HEIRS OF THE DECEASED GERARDO VILLASIN (1) Dismissing the complaint against the defendants Mariquita Villasin and the heirs of the deceased Gerardo Villasin; (2) Directing the plaintiff to pay the defendants Mariquita Villasin and the heirs of Gerardo Villasin the cost of the suit. C. IN THE CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT SINFOROSA R. BALES, ET AL., WHO WERE PLAINTIFFS IN CIVIL CASE NO. 3010 (1) Dismissing the complaint against defendants Sinforosa R. Bales, Adela R. Herrer, Priscilla R. Solis, Luz R. Bakunawa, Anacorita R. Eng and Ruperto O. Reyes. D. IN THE CASE AGAINST DEFENDANT BONIFACIO RAMO (1) Dismissing the complaint against Bonifacio Ramo; (2) Directing the plaintiff to pay the defendant Bonifacio Ramo the cost of the suit. SO ORDERED [pp. 531-533, rec.] It is further disclosed by the record that the aforesaid decision was elevated to the Court of Appeals upon perfection of the appeal on February 22, 1971. I WE find that there is no merit in the contention of complainant Bernardita R. Macariola, under her first cause of action, that respondent Judge Elias B. Asuncion violated Article 1491, paragraph 5, of the New Civil Code in acquiring by purchase a portion of Lot No. 1184-E which was one of those properties involved in Civil Case No. 3010. 'That Article provides: Article 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or judicial action, either in person or through the mediation of another: xxx xxx xxx

(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of superior and inferior courts, and other officers and employees connected with the administration of justice, the property and rights in litigation or levied upon an execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their respective functions; this prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their profession [emphasis supplied]. The prohibition in the aforesaid Article applies only to the sale or assignment of the property which is the subject of litigation to the persons disqualified therein. WE have already ruled that "... for the prohibition to operate, the sale or assignment of the property must take place during the pendency of the litigation involving the property" (The Director of Lands vs. Ababa et al., 88 SCRA 513, 519 [1979], Rosario vda. de Laig vs. Court of Appeals, 86 SCRA 641, 646 [1978]). In the case at bar, when the respondent Judge purchased on March 6, 1965 a portion of Lot 1184-E, the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 which he rendered on June 8, 1963 was already final because none of the parties therein filed an appeal within the reglementary period; hence, the lot in question was no longer subject of the litigation. Moreover, at the time of the sale on March 6, 1965, respondent's order dated October 23, 1963 and the amended order dated November 11, 1963 approving the October 16, 1963 project of partition made pursuant to the June 8, 1963 decision, had long become final for there was no appeal from said orders. Furthermore, respondent Judge did not buy the lot in question on March 6, 1965 directly from the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 3010 but from Dr. Arcadio Galapon who earlier purchased on July 31, 1964 Lot 1184-E from three of the plaintiffs, namely, Priscilla Reyes, Adela Reyes, and Luz R. Bakunawa after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010. It may be recalled that Lot 1184 or more specifically one-half thereof was adjudicated in equal shares to Priscilla Reyes, Adela Reyes, Luz Bakunawa, Ruperto Reyes and Anacorita Reyes in the project of partition, and the same was subdivided into five lots denominated as Lot 1184-A to 1184-E. As aforestated, Lot 1184-E was sold on July 31, 1964 to Dr. Galapon for which he was issued TCT No. 2338 by the Register of Deeds of Tacloban City, and on March 6, 1965 he sold a portion of said lot to respondent Judge and his wife who declared the same for taxation purposes only. The subsequent sale on August 31, 1966 by spouses Asuncion and spouses Galapon of their respective shares and interest in said Lot 1184-E to the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc., in which respondent was the president and his wife was the secretary, took place long after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 and of the subsequent two aforesaid orders therein approving the project of partition. While it appears that complainant herein filed on or about November 9 or 11, 1968 an action before the Court of First Instance of Leyte docketed as Civil Case No. 4234, seeking to annul the project of partition and the two orders approving the same, as well as the partition of the estate and the subsequent conveyances, the same, however, is of no moment. The fact remains that respondent Judge purchased on March 6, 1965 a portion of Lot 1184-E from Dr. Arcadio Galapon; hence, after the finality of the decision which he rendered on June 8, 1963 in Civil Case No. 3010 and his two questioned orders dated October 23, 1963 and November 11, 1963. Therefore, the property was no longer subject of litigation. The subsequent filing on November 9, or 11, 1968 of Civil Case No. 4234 can no longer alter, change or affect the aforesaid facts that the questioned sale to respondent Judge, now Court of Appeals Justice, was effected and consummated long after the finality of the aforesaid decision or orders.

Consequently, the sale of a portion of Lot 1184-E to respondent Judge having taken place over one year after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 as well as the two orders approving the project of partition, and not during the pendency of the litigation, there was no violation of paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code. It is also argued by complainant herein that the sale on July 31, 1964 of Lot 1184-E to Dr. Arcadio Galapon by Priscilla Reyes, Adela Reyes and Luz R. Bakunawa was only a mere scheme to conceal the illegal and unethical transfer of said lot to respondent Judge as a consideration for the approval of the project of partition. In this connection, We agree with the findings of the Investigating Justice thus: And so we are now confronted with this all-important question whether or not the acquisition by respondent of a portion of Lot 1184-E and the subsequent transfer of the whole lot to "TRADERS" of which respondent was the President and his wife the Secretary, was intimately related to the Order of respondent approving the project of partition, Exh. A. Respondent vehemently denies any interest or participation in the transactions between the Reyeses and the Galapons concerning Lot 1184-E, and he insists that there is no evidence whatsoever to show that Dr. Galapon had acted, in the purchase of Lot 1184-E, in mediation for him and his wife. (See p. 14 of Respondent's Memorandum). xxx xxx xxx On this point, I agree with respondent that there is no evidence in the record showing that Dr. Arcadio Galapon acted as a mere "dummy" of respondent in acquiring Lot 1184-E from the Reyeses. Dr. Galapon appeared to this investigator as a respectable citizen, credible and sincere, and I believe him when he testified that he bought Lot 1184-E in good faith and for valuable consideration from the Reyeses without any intervention of, or previous understanding with Judge Asuncion (pp. 391394, rec.). On the contention of complainant herein that respondent Judge acted illegally in approving the project of partition although it was not signed by the parties, We quote with approval the findings of the Investigating Justice, as follows: 1. I agree with complainant that respondent should have required the signature of the parties more particularly that of Mrs. Macariola on the project of partition submitted to him for approval; however, whatever error was committed by respondent in that respect was done in good faith as according to Judge Asuncion he was assured by Atty. Bonifacio Ramo, the counsel of record of Mrs. Macariola, That he was authorized by his client to submit said project of partition, (See Exh. B and tsn p. 24, January 20, 1969). While it is true that such written authority if there was any, was not presented by respondent in evidence, nor did Atty. Ramo appear to corroborate the statement of respondent, his affidavit being the only one that was presented as respondent's Exh. 10, certain actuations of Mrs. Macariola lead this investigator to believe that she knew the contents of the project of partition, Exh. A, and that she gave her conformity thereto. I refer to the following documents: 1) Exh. 9 Certified true copy of OCT No. 19520 covering Lot 1154 of the Tacloban Cadastral Survey in which the deceased Francisco Reyes holds a "1/4 share" (Exh.

9-a). On tills certificate of title the Order dated November 11, 1963, (Exh. U) approving the project of partition was duly entered and registered on November 26, 1963 (Exh. 9-D); 2) Exh. 7 Certified copy of a deed of absolute sale executed by Bernardita Reyes Macariola onOctober 22, 1963, conveying to Dr. Hector Decena the one-fourth share of the late Francisco Reyes-Diaz in Lot 1154. In this deed of sale the vendee stated that she was the absolute owner of said one-fourth share, the same having been adjudicated to her as her share in the estate of her father Francisco Reyes Diaz as per decision of the Court of First Instance of Leyte under case No. 3010 (Exh. 7-A). The deed of sale was duly registered and annotated at the back of OCT 19520 on December 3, 1963 (see Exh. 9-e). In connection with the abovementioned documents it is to be noted that in the project of partition dated October 16, 1963, which was approved by respondent on October 23, 1963, followed by an amending Order on November 11, 1963, Lot 1154 or rather 1/4 thereof was adjudicated to Mrs. Macariola. It is this 1/4 share in Lot 1154 which complainant sold to Dr. Decena on October 22, 1963, several days after the preparation of the project of partition. Counsel for complainant stresses the view, however, that the latter sold her onefourth share in Lot 1154 by virtue of the decision in Civil Case 3010 and not because of the project of partition, Exh. A. Such contention is absurd because from the decision, Exh. C, it is clear that one-half of one- fourth of Lot 1154 belonged to the estate of Francisco Reyes Diaz while the other half of said one-fourth was the share of complainant's mother, Felisa Espiras; in other words, the decision did not adjudicate the whole of the one-fourth of Lot 1154 to the herein complainant (see Exhs. C-3 & C-4). Complainant became the owner of the entire one-fourth of Lot 1154 only by means of the project of partition, Exh. A. Therefore, if Mrs. Macariola sold Lot 1154 on October 22, 1963, it was for no other reason than that she was wen aware of the distribution of the properties of her deceased father as per Exhs. A and B. It is also significant at this point to state that Mrs. Macariola admitted during the cross-examination that she went to Tacloban City in connection with the sale of Lot 1154 to Dr. Decena (tsn p. 92, November 28, 1968) from which we can deduce that she could not have been kept ignorant of the proceedings in civil case 3010 relative to the project of partition. Complainant also assails the project of partition because according to her the properties adjudicated to her were insignificant lots and the least valuable. Complainant, however, did not present any direct and positive evidence to prove the alleged gross inequalities in the choice and distribution of the real properties when she could have easily done so by presenting evidence on the area, location, kind, the assessed and market value of said properties. Without such evidence there is nothing in the record to show that there were inequalities in the distribution of the properties of complainant's father (pp. 386389, rec.). Finally, while it is. true that respondent Judge did not violate paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code in acquiring by purchase a portion of Lot 1184-E which was in litigation in his court, it was, however, improper for him to have acquired the same. He should be reminded of Canon 3 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which requires that: "A judge's official conduct should be free from the appearance of impropriety, and his personal behavior, not only upon the bench and in the performance of judicial duties, but also in his everyday life, should be beyond reproach." And as

aptly observed by the Investigating Justice: "... it was unwise and indiscreet on the part of respondent to have purchased or acquired a portion of a piece of property that was or had been in litigation in his court and caused it to be transferred to a corporation of which he and his wife were ranking officers at the time of such transfer. One who occupies an exalted position in the judiciary has the duty and responsibility of maintaining the faith and trust of the citizenry in the courts of justice, so that not only must he be truly honest and just, but his actuations must be such as not give cause for doubt and mistrust in the uprightness of his administration of justice. In this particular case of respondent, he cannot deny that the transactions over Lot 1184-E are damaging and render his actuations open to suspicion and distrust. Even if respondent honestly believed that Lot 1184-E was no longer in litigation in his court and that he was purchasing it from a third person and not from the parties to the litigation, he should nonetheless have refrained from buying it for himself and transferring it to a corporation in which he and his wife were financially involved, to avoid possible suspicion that his acquisition was related in one way or another to his official actuations in civil case 3010. The conduct of respondent gave cause for the litigants in civil case 3010, the lawyers practising in his court, and the public in general to doubt the honesty and fairness of his actuations and the integrity of our courts of justice" (pp. 395396, rec.). II With respect to the second cause of action, the complainant alleged that respondent Judge violated paragraphs 1 and 5, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce when he associated himself with the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. as a stockholder and a ranking officer, said corporation having been organized to engage in business. Said Article provides that: Article 14 The following cannot engage in commerce, either in person or by proxy, nor can they hold any office or have any direct, administrative, or financial intervention in commercial or industrial companies within the limits of the districts, provinces, or towns in which they discharge their duties: 1. Justices of the Supreme Court, judges and officials of the department of public prosecution in active service. This provision shall not be applicable to mayors, municipal judges, and municipal prosecuting attorneys nor to those who by chance are temporarily discharging the functions of judge or prosecuting attorney. xxx xxx xxx 5. Those who by virtue of laws or special provisions may not engage in commerce in a determinate territory. It is Our considered view that although the aforestated provision is incorporated in the Code of Commerce which is part of the commercial laws of the Philippines, it, however, partakes of the nature of a political law as it regulates the relationship between the government and certain public officers and employees, like justices and judges. Political Law has been defined as that branch of public law which deals with the organization and operation of the governmental organs of the State and define the relations of the state with the inhabitants of its territory (People vs. Perfecto, 43 Phil. 887, 897 [1922]). It may be recalled that political law embraces constitutional law, law of public corporations, administrative law including the law on public officers and elections. Specifically, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce partakes more of the nature of an administrative law because it regulates the conduct of certain public officers and employees with respect to engaging in business: hence, political in essence.

It is significant to note that the present Code of Commerce is the Spanish Code of Commerce of 1885, with some modifications made by the "Commission de Codificacion de las Provincias de Ultramar," which was extended to the Philippines by the Royal Decree of August 6, 1888, and took effect as law in this jurisdiction on December 1, 1888. Upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States and later on from the United States to the Republic of the Philippines, Article 14 of this Code of Commerce must be deemed to have been abrogated because where there is change of sovereignty, the political laws of the former sovereign, whether compatible or not with those of the new sovereign, are automatically abrogated, unless they are expressly re-enacted by affirmative act of the new sovereign. Thus, We held in Roa vs. Collector of Customs (23 Phil. 315, 330, 311 [1912]) that: By well-settled public law, upon the cession of territory by one nation to another, either following a conquest or otherwise, ... those laws which are political in their nature and pertain to the prerogatives of the former government immediately cease upon the transfer of sovereignty. (Opinion, Atty. Gen., July 10, 1899). While municipal laws of the newly acquired territory not in conflict with the, laws of the new sovereign continue in force without the express assent or affirmative act of the conqueror, the political laws do not. (Halleck's Int. Law, chap. 34, par. 14). However, such political laws of the prior sovereignty as are not in conflict with the constitution or institutions of the new sovereign, may be continued in force if the conqueror shall so declare by affirmative act of the commander-in-chief during the war, or by Congress in time of peace. (Ely's Administrator vs. United States, 171 U.S. 220, 43 L. Ed. 142). In the case of American and Ocean Ins. Cos. vs. 356 Bales of Cotton (1 Pet. [26 U.S.] 511, 542, 7 L. Ed. 242), Chief Justice Marshall said: On such transfer (by cession) of territory, it has never been held that the relations of the inhabitants with each other undergo any change. Their relations with their former sovereign are dissolved, and new relations are created between them and the government which has acquired their territory. The same act which transfers their country, transfers the allegiance of those who remain in it; and the law which may be denominated political, is necessarily changed, although that which regulates the intercourse and general conduct of individuals, remains in force, until altered by the newly- created power of the State. Likewise, in People vs. Perfecto (43 Phil. 887, 897 [1922]), this Court stated that: "It is a general principle of the public law that on acquisition of territory the previous political relations of the ceded region are totally abrogated. " There appears no enabling or affirmative act that continued the effectivity of the aforestated provision of the Code of Commerce after the change of sovereignty from Spain to the United States and then to the Republic of the Philippines. Consequently, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce has no legal and binding effect and cannot apply to the respondent, then Judge of the Court of First Instance, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals. It is also argued by complainant herein that respondent Judge violated paragraph H, Section 3 of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which provides that:

Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: xxx xxx xxx (h) Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any Iaw from having any interest. Respondent Judge cannot be held liable under the aforestated paragraph because there is no showing that respondent participated or intervened in his official capacity in the business or transactions of the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. In the case at bar, the business of the corporation in which respondent participated has obviously no relation or connection with his judicial office. The business of said corporation is not that kind where respondent intervenes or takes part in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance. As was held in one case involving the application of Article 216 of the Revised Penal Code which has a similar prohibition on public officers against directly or indirectly becoming interested in any contract or business in which it is his official duty to intervene, "(I)t is not enough to be a public official to be subject to this crime; it is necessary that by reason of his office, he has to intervene in said contracts or transactions; and, hence, the official who intervenes in contracts or transactions which have no relation to his office cannot commit this crime.' (People vs. Meneses, C.A. 40 O.G. 11th Supp. 134, cited by Justice Ramon C. Aquino; Revised Penal Code, p. 1174, Vol. 11 [1976]). It does not appear also from the records that the aforesaid corporation gained any undue advantage in its business operations by reason of respondent's financial involvement in it, or that the corporation benefited in one way or another in any case filed by or against it in court. It is undisputed that there was no case filed in the different branches of the Court of First Instance of Leyte in which the corporation was either party plaintiff or defendant except Civil Case No. 4234 entitled "Bernardita R. Macariola, plaintiff, versus Sinforosa O. Bales, et al.," wherein the complainant herein sought to recover Lot 1184-E from the aforesaid corporation. It must be noted, however, that Civil Case No. 4234 was filed only on November 9 or 11, 1968 and decided on November 2, 1970 by CFI Judge Jose D. Nepomuceno when respondent Judge was no longer connected with the corporation, having disposed of his interest therein on January 31, 1967. Furthermore, respondent is not liable under the same paragraph because there is no provision in both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions of the Philippines, nor is there an existing law expressly prohibiting members of the Judiciary from engaging or having interest in any lawful business. It may be pointed out that Republic Act No. 296, as amended, also known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, does not contain any prohibition to that effect. As a matter of fact, under Section 77 of said law, municipal judges may engage in teaching or other vocation not involving the practice of law after office hours but with the permission of the district judge concerned. Likewise, Article 14 of the Code of Commerce which prohibits judges from engaging in commerce is, as heretofore stated, deemed abrogated automatically upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to America, because it is political in nature. Moreover, the prohibition in paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the New Civil Code against the purchase by judges of a property in litigation before the court within whose jurisdiction they perform their duties, cannot apply to respondent Judge because the sale of the lot in question to him took place after the

finality of his decision in Civil Case No. 3010 as well as his two orders approving the project of partition; hence, the property was no longer subject of litigation. In addition, although Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules made pursuant to the Civil Service Act of 1959 prohibits an officer or employee in the civil service from engaging in any private business, vocation, or profession or be connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural or industrial undertaking without a written permission from the head of department, the same, however, may not fall within the purview of paragraph h, Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act because the last portion of said paragraph speaks of a prohibition by theConstitution or law on any public officer from having any interest in any business and not by a mere administrative rule or regulation. Thus, a violation of the aforesaid rule by any officer or employee in the civil service, that is, engaging in private business without a written permission from the Department Head may not constitute graft and corrupt practice as defined by law. On the contention of complainant that respondent Judge violated Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules, We hold that the Civil Service Act of 1959 (R.A. No. 2260) and the Civil Service Rules promulgated thereunder, particularly Section 12 of Rule XVIII, do not apply to the members of the Judiciary. Under said Section 12: "No officer or employee shall engage directly in any private business, vocation, or profession or be connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural or industrial undertaking without a written permission from the Head of Department ..." It must be emphasized at the outset that respondent, being a member of the Judiciary, is covered by Republic Act No. 296, as amended, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948 and by Section 7, Article X, 1973 Constitution. Under Section 67 of said law, the power to remove or dismiss judges was then vested in the President of the Philippines, not in the Commissioner of Civil Service, and only on two grounds, namely, serious misconduct and inefficiency, and upon the recommendation of the Supreme Court, which alone is authorized, upon its own motion, or upon information of the Secretary (now Minister) of Justice to conduct the corresponding investigation. Clearly, the aforesaid section defines the grounds and prescribes the special procedure for the discipline of judges. And under Sections 5, 6 and 7, Article X of the 1973 Constitution, only the Supreme Court can discipline judges of inferior courts as well as other personnel of the Judiciary. It is true that under Section 33 of the Civil Service Act of 1959: "The Commissioner may, for ... violation of the existing Civil Service Law and rules or of reasonable office regulations, or in the interest of the service, remove any subordinate officer or employee from the service, demote him in rank, suspend him for not more than one year without pay or fine him in an amount not exceeding six months' salary." Thus, a violation of Section 12 of Rule XVIII is a ground for disciplinary action against civil service officers and employees. However, judges cannot be considered as subordinate civil service officers or employees subject to the disciplinary authority of the Commissioner of Civil Service; for, certainly, the Commissioner is not the head of the Judicial Department to which they belong. The Revised Administrative Code (Section 89) and the Civil Service Law itself state that the Chief Justice is the department head of the Supreme Court (Sec. 20, R.A. No. 2260) [1959]); and under the 1973 Constitution, the Judiciary is the only other or second branch of the government (Sec. 1, Art. X, 1973 Constitution). Besides, a violation of Section 12, Rule XVIII cannot be considered as a ground for disciplinary action against judges because to recognize the same as applicable to them, would be adding another ground for the discipline of judges and, as aforestated, Section 67 of the Judiciary Act recognizes only two grounds for their removal, namely, serious misconduct and inefficiency.

Moreover, under Section 16(i) of the Civil Service Act of 1959, it is the Commissioner of Civil Service who has original and exclusive jurisdiction "(T)o decide, within one hundred twenty days, after submission to it, all administrative cases against permanent officers and employees in the competitive service, and, except as provided by law, to have final authority to pass upon their removal, separation, and suspension and upon all matters relating to the conduct, discipline, and efficiency of such officers and employees; and prescribe standards, guidelines and regulations governing the administration of discipline" (emphasis supplied). There is no question that a judge belong to the non-competitive or unclassified service of the government as a Presidential appointee and is therefore not covered by the aforesaid provision. WE have already ruled that "... in interpreting Section 16(i) of Republic Act No. 2260, we emphasized that only permanent officers and employees who belong to the classified service come under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Civil Service" (Villaluz vs. Zaldivar, 15 SCRA 710,713 [1965], Ang-Angco vs. Castillo, 9 SCRA 619 [1963]). Although the actuation of respondent Judge in engaging in private business by joining the Traders Manufacturing and Fishing Industries, Inc. as a stockholder and a ranking officer, is not violative of the provissions of Article 14 of the Code of Commerce and Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as well as Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil Service Rules promulgated pursuant to the Civil Service Act of 1959, the impropriety of the same is clearly unquestionable because Canon 25 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics expressly declares that: A judge should abstain from making personal investments in enterprises which are apt to be involved in litigation in his court; and, after his accession to the bench, he should not retain such investments previously made, longer than a period sufficient to enable him to dispose of them without serious loss. It is desirable that he should, so far as reasonably possible, refrain from all relations which would normally tend to arouse the suspicion that such relations warp or bias his judgment, or prevent his impartial attitude of mind in the administration of his judicial duties. ... WE are not, however, unmindful of the fact that respondent Judge and his wife had withdrawn on January 31, 1967 from the aforesaid corporation and sold their respective shares to third parties, and it appears also that the aforesaid corporation did not in anyway benefit in any case filed by or against it in court as there was no case filed in the different branches of the Court of First Instance of Leyte from the time of the drafting of the Articles of Incorporation of the corporation on March 12, 1966, up to its incorporation on January 9, 1967, and the eventual withdrawal of respondent on January 31, 1967 from said corporation. Such disposal or sale by respondent and his wife of their shares in the corporation only 22 days after the incorporation of the corporation, indicates that respondent realized that early that their interest in the corporation contravenes the aforesaid Canon 25. Respondent Judge and his wife therefore deserve the commendation for their immediate withdrawal from the firm after its incorporation and before it became involved in any court litigation III With respect to the third and fourth causes of action, complainant alleged that respondent was guilty of coddling an impostor and acted in disregard of judicial decorum, and that there was culpable defiance of the law and utter disregard for ethics. WE agree, however, with the recommendation of the Investigating Justice that respondent Judge be exonerated because the aforesaid causes of action are groundless, and WE quote the pertinent portion of her report which reads as follows: The basis for complainant's third cause of action is the claim that respondent associated and closely fraternized with Dominador Arigpa Tan who openly and publicly advertised himself as a practising attorney (see Exhs. I, I-1 and J) when in

truth and in fact said Dominador Arigpa Tan does not appear in the Roll of Attorneys and is not a member of the Philippine Bar as certified to in Exh. K. The "respondent denies knowing that Dominador Arigpa Tan was an "impostor" and claims that all the time he believed that the latter was a bona fide member of the bar. I see no reason for disbelieving this assertion of respondent. It has been shown by complainant that Dominador Arigpa Tan represented himself publicly as an attorneyat-law to the extent of putting up a signboard with his name and the words "Attorneyat Law" (Exh. I and 1- 1) to indicate his office, and it was but natural for respondent and any person for that matter to have accepted that statement on its face value. "Now with respect to the allegation of complainant that respondent is guilty of fraternizing with Dominador Arigpa Tan to the extent of permitting his wife to be a godmother of Mr. Tan's child at baptism (Exh. M & M-1), that fact even if true did not render respondent guilty of violating any canon of judicial ethics as long as his friendly relations with Dominador A. Tan and family did not influence his official actuations as a judge where said persons were concerned. There is no tangible convincing proof that herein respondent gave any undue privileges in his court to Dominador Arigpa Tan or that the latter benefitted in his practice of law from his personal relations with respondent, or that he used his influence, if he had any, on the Judges of the other branches of the Court to favor said Dominador Tan. Of course it is highly desirable for a member of the judiciary to refrain as much as possible from maintaining close friendly relations with practising attorneys and litigants in his court so as to avoid suspicion 'that his social or business relations or friendship constitute an element in determining his judicial course" (par. 30, Canons of Judicial Ethics), but if a Judge does have social relations, that in itself would not constitute a ground for disciplinary action unless it be clearly shown that his social relations be clouded his official actuations with bias and partiality in favor of his friends (pp. 403-405, rec.). In conclusion, while respondent Judge Asuncion, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, did not violate any law in acquiring by purchase a parcel of land which was in litigation in his court and in engaging in business by joining a private corporation during his incumbency as judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, he should be reminded to be more discreet in his private and business activities, because his conduct as a member of the Judiciary must not only be characterized with propriety but must always be above suspicion. WHEREFORE, THE RESPONDENT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS IS HEREBY REMINDED TO BE MORE DISCREET IN HIS PRIVATE AND BUSINESS ACTIVITIES. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-32432 September 11, 1970 MANUEL B. IMBONG, petitioner, vs. JAIME FERRER, as Chairman of the Comelec, LINO M. PATAJO and CESAR MILAFLOR, as members thereof,respondents. G.R. No. L-32443 September 11, 1970 IN THE MATTER OF A PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT REGARDING THE VALIDITY OF R.A. No. 6132, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION ACT OF 1970. RAUL M. GONZALES,petitioner, vs. COMELEC, respondent. Manuel B. Imbong in his own behalf. Raul M. Gonzales in his own behalf. Office of the Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Acting Assistant Solicitor General Ricardo L. Pronove, Jr., and Solicitors Raul I. Goco, Bernardo P. Pardo, Rosalio A. de Leon, Vicente A. Torres and Guillermo C. Nakar for respondents. Lorenzo Taada, Arturo Tolentino, Jovito Salonga and Emmanuel Pelaez as amici curiae.

MAKASIAR, J.: These two separate but related petitions for declaratory relief were filed pursuant to Sec. 19 of R.A. No. 6132 by petitioners Manuel B. Imbong and Raul M. Gonzales, both members of the Bar, taxpayers and interested in running as candidates for delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Both impugn the constitutionality of R.A. No. 6132, claiming during the oral argument that it prejudices their rights as such candidates. After the Solicitor General had filed answers in behalf the respondents, hearings were held at which the petitioners and the amici curiae, namely Senator Lorenzo Taada, Senator Arturo Tolentino, Senator Jovito Salonga, and Senator Emmanuel Pelaez argued orally. It will be recalled that on March 16, 1967, Congress, acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant to Art. XV of the Constitution, passed Resolution No. 2 which among others called for a Constitutional Convention to propose constitutional amendments to be composed of two delegates from each representative district who shall have the same qualifications as those of Congressmen, to be elected on the second Tuesday of November, 1970 in accordance with the Revised Election Code. After the adoption of said Res. No. 2 in 1967 but before the November elections of that year, Congress, acting as a legislative body, enacted Republic Act No. 4914 implementing the aforesaid Resolution No. 2 and practically restating in toto the provisions of said Resolution No. 2. On June 17, 1969, Congress, also acting as a Constituent Assembly, passed Resolution No. 4 amending the aforesaid Resolution No. 2 of March 16, 1967 by providing that the convention "shall be composed of 320 delegates apportioned among the existing representative districts according to

the number of their respective inhabitants: Provided, that a representative district shall be entitled to at least two delegates, who shall have the same qualifications as those required of members of the House of Representatives," 1 "and that any other details relating to the specific apportionment of delegates, election of delegates to, and the holding of, the Constitutional Convention shall be embodied in an implementing legislation: Provided, that it shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Resolution." 2 On August 24, 1970, Congress, acting as a legislative body, enacted Republic Act No. 6132, implementing Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4, and expressly repealing R.A. No. 4914. 3 Petitioner Raul M. Gonzales assails the validity of the entire law as well as the particular provisions embodied in Sections 2, 4, 5, and par. 1 of 8(a). Petitioner Manuel B. Imbong impugns the constitutionality of only par. I of Sec. 8(a) of said R.A. No. 6132 practically on the same grounds advanced by petitioner Gonzales. I The validity of Sec. 4 of R.A. No. 6132, which considers, all public officers and employees, whether elective or appointive, including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as officers and employees of corporations or enterprises of the government, as resigned from the date of the filing of their certificates of candidacy, was recently sustained by this Court, on the grounds, inter alia, that the same is merely an application of and in consonance with the prohibition in Sec. 2 of Art. XII of the Constitution and that it does not constitute a denial of due process or of the equal protection of the law. Likewise, the constitutionality of paragraph 2 of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132 was upheld. 4 II Without first considering the validity of its specific provisions, we sustain the constitutionality of the enactment of R.A. No. 6132 by Congress acting as a legislative body in the exercise of its broad lawmaking authority, and not as a Constituent Assembly, because 1. Congress, when acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant to Art. XV of the Constitution, has full and plenary authority to propose Constitutional amendments or to call a convention for the purpose, by a three-fourths vote of each House in joint session assembled but voting separately. Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4 calling for a constitutional convention were passed by the required three-fourths vote. 2. The grant to Congress as a Constituent Assembly of such plenary authority to call a constitutional convention includes, by virtue of the doctrine of necessary implication, all other powers essential to the effective exercise of the principal power granted, such as the power to fix the qualifications, number, apportionment, and compensation of the delegates as well as appropriation of funds to meet the expenses for the election of delegates and for the operation of the Constitutional Convention itself, as well as all other implementing details indispensable to a fruitful convention. Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4 already embody the above-mentioned details, except the appropriation of funds. 3. While the authority to call a constitutional convention is vested by the present Constitution solely and exclusively in Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly, the power to enact the implementing details, which are now contained in Resolutions

Nos. 2 and 4 as well as in R.A. No. 6132, does not exclusively pertain to Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly. Such implementing details are matters within the competence of Congress in the exercise of its comprehensive legislative power, which power encompasses all matters not expressly or by necessary implication withdrawn or removed by the Constitution from the ambit of legislative action. And as lone as such statutory details do not clash with any specific provision of the constitution, they are valid. 4. Consequently, when Congress, acting as a Constituent Assembly, omits to provide for such implementing details after calling a constitutional convention, Congress, acting as a legislative body, can enact the necessary implementing legislation to fill in the gaps, which authority is expressly recognized in Sec. 8 of Res No. 2 as amended by Res. No. 4. 5. The fact that a bill providing for such implementing details may be vetoed by the President is no argument against conceding such power in Congress as a legislative body nor present any difficulty; for it is not irremediable as Congress can override the Presidential veto or Congress can reconvene as a Constituent Assembly and adopt a resolution prescribing the required implementing details. III Petitioner Raul M. Gonzales asserts that Sec. 2 on the apportionment of delegates is not in accordance with proportional representation and therefore violates the Constitution and the intent of the law itself, without pinpointing any specific provision of the Constitution with which it collides. Unlike in the apportionment of representative districts, the Constitution does not expressly or impliedly require such apportionment of delegates to the convention on the basis of population in each congressional district. Congress, sitting as a Constituent Assembly, may constitutionally allocate one delegate for, each congressional district or for each province, for reasons of economy and to avoid having an unwieldy convention. If the framers of the present Constitution wanted the apportionment of delegates to the convention to be based on the number of inhabitants in each representative district, they would have done so in so many words as they did in relation to the apportionment of the representative districts. 5 The apportionment provided for in Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 6132 cannot possibly conflict with its own intent expressed therein; for it merely obeyed and implemented the intent of Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly expressed in Sec. 1 of Res. No. 4, which provides that the 320 delegates should be apportioned among the existing representative districts according to the number of their respective inhabitants, but fixing a minimum of at least two delegates for a representative district. The presumption is that the factual predicate, the latest available official population census, for such apportionment was presented to Congress, which, accordingly employed a formula for the necessary computation to effect the desired proportional representation. The records of the proceedings on Senate Bill No. 77 sponsored by Senator Pelaez which is now R.A. No. 6132, submitted to this Tribunal by the amici curiae, show that it based its apportionment of the delegates on the 1970 official preliminary population census taken by the Bureau of Census and Statistics from May 6 to June 30, 1976; and that Congress adopted the formula to effect a reasonable apportionment of delegates. The Director of the Bureau of Census and Statistics himself, in a letter to Senator Pelaez dated July 30, 1970, stated that "on the basis of the preliminary count of the population, we have computed the distribution of delegates to the Constitutional Convention based on Senate Bill 77 (p. 2 lines 5 to 32 and p. 3 line 12) which is a fair and an equitable method

of distributing the delegates pursuant to the provisions of the joint Resolution of both Houses No. 2, as amended. Upon your request at the session of the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting last night, we are submitting herewith the results of the computation on the basis of the above-stated method." Even if such latest census were a preliminary census, the same could still be a valid basis for such apportionment. 6The fact that the lone and small congressional district of Batanes, may be overrepresented, because it is allotted two delegates by R.A. No. 6132 despite the fact that it has a population very much less than several other congressional districts, each of which is also allotted only two delegates, and therefore under-represented, vis-a-vis Batanes alone, does not vitiate the apportionment as not effecting proportional representation. Absolute proportional apportionment is not required and is not possible when based on the number of inhabitants, for the population census cannot be accurate nor complete, dependent as it is on the diligence of the census takers, aggravated by the constant movement of population, as well as daily death and birth. It is enough that the basis employed is reasonable and the resulting apportionment is substantially proportional. Resolution No. 4 fixed a minimum of two delegates for a congressional district. While there may be other formulas for a reasonable apportionment considering the evidence submitted to Congress by the Bureau of Census and Statistics, we are not prepared to rule that the computation formula adopted by, Congress for proportional representation as, directed in Res. No. 4 is unreasonable and that the apportionment provided in R.A. No. 6132 does not constitute a substantially proportional representation. In the Macias case, relied on by petitioner Gonzales, the apportionment law, which was nullified as unconstitutional, granted more representatives to a province with less population than the provinces with more inhabitants. Such is not the case here, where under Sec. 2 of R.A. No. 6132 Batanes is allotted only two delegates, which number is equal to the number of delegates accorded other provinces with more population. The present petitions therefore do not present facts which fit the mould of the doctrine in the case of Macias et al. vs. Comelec, supra. The impossibility of absolute proportional representation is recognized by the Constitution itself when it directs that the apportionment of congressional districts among the various provinces shall be "as nearly as may be according to their respective inhabitants, but each province shall have at least one member" (Sec. 5, Art. VI, Phil. Const., emphasis supplied). The employment of the phrase "as nearly as may be according to their respective inhabitants" emphasizes the fact that the human mind can only approximate a reasonable apportionment but cannot effect an absolutely proportional representation with mathematical precision or exactitude. IV Sec. 5 of R.A. 6132 is attacked on the ground that it is an undue deprivation of liberty without due process of law and denies the equal protection of the laws. Said Sec. 5 disqualifies any elected delegate from running "for any public office in any election" or from assuming "any appointive office or position in any branch of the government government until after the final adjournment of the Constitutional Convention." That the citizen does not have any inherent nor natural right to a public office, is axiomatic under our constitutional system. The State through its Constitution or legislative body, can create an office and define the qualifications and disqualifications therefor as well as impose inhibitions on a public officer. Consequently, only those with qualifications and who do not fall under any constitutional or statutory inhibition can be validly elected or appointed to a public office. The obvious reason for the questioned inhibition, is to immunize the delegates from the perverting influence of self-interest,

party interest or vested interest and to insure that he dedicates all his time to performing solely in the interest of the nation his high and well nigh sacred function of formulating the supreme law of the land, which may endure for generations and which cannot easily be changed like an ordinary statute. With the disqualification embodied in Sec. 5, the delegate will not utilize his position as a bargaining leverage for concessions in the form of an elective or appointive office as long as the convention has not finally adjourned. The appointing authority may, by his appointing power, entice votes for his own proposals. Not love for self, but love for country must always motivate his actuations as delegate; otherwise the several provisions of the new Constitution may only satisfy individual or special interests, subversive of the welfare of the general citizenry. It should be stressed that the disqualification is not permanent but only temporary only to continue until the final adjournment of the convention which may not extend beyond one year. The convention that framed the present Constitution finished its task in approximately seven months from July 30, 1934 to February 8, 1935. As admitted by petitioner Gonzales, this inhibition finds analogy in the constitutional provision prohibiting a member of Congress, during the time for which he was elected, from being appointed to any civil office which may have been created or the emolument whereof shall have been increased while he was a member of the Congress. (Sec. 16, Art. VI, Phil. Constitution.) As observed by the Solicitor General in his Answer, the overriding objective of the challenged disqualification, temporary in nature, is to compel the elected delegates to serve in full their term as such and to devote all their time to the convention, pursuant to their representation and commitment to the people; otherwise, his seat in the convention will be vacant and his constituents will be deprived of a voice in the convention. The inhibition is likewise "designed to prevent popular political figures from controlling elections or positions. Also it is a brake on the appointing power, to curtail the latter's desire to 'raid' the convention of "talents" or attempt to control the convention." (p. 10, Answer in L-32443.) Thus the challenged disqualification prescribed in Sec. 5 of R.A. No. 6132 is a valid limitation on the right to public office pursuant to state police power as it is reasonable and not arbitrary. The discrimination under Sec. 5 against delegates to the Constitutional Convention is likewise constitutional; for it is based on a substantial distinction which makes for real differences, is germane to the purposes of the law, and applies to all members of the same class. 7 The function of a delegate is more far-reaching and its effect more enduring than that of any ordinary legislator or any other public officer. A delegate shapes the fundamental law of the land which delineates the essential nature of the government, its basic organization and powers, defines the liberties of the people, and controls all other laws. Unlike ordinary statutes, constitutional amendments cannot be changed in one or two years. No other public officer possesses such a power, not even the members of Congress unless they themselves, propose constitutional amendments when acting as a Constituent Assembly pursuant to Art. XV of the Constitution. The classification, therefore, is neither whimsical nor repugnant to the sense of justice of the community. As heretofore intimated, the inhibition is relevant to the object of the law, which is to insure that the proposed amendments are meaningful to the masses of our people and not designed for the enhancement of selfishness, greed, corruption, or injustice. Lastly, the disqualification applies to all the delegates to the convention who will be elected on the second Tuesday of November, 1970. V

Paragraph 1, Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132 is impugned by both petitioners as violative of the constitutional guarantees of due process, equal protection of the laws, freedom of expressions, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. This Court ruled last year that the guarantees of due process, equal protection of the laws, peaceful assembly, free expression, and the right of association are neither absolute nor illimitable rights; they are always subject to the pervasive and dormant police power of the State and may be lawfully abridged to serve appropriate and important public interests. 8 In said Gonzalez vs. Comelec case the Court applied the clear and present danger test to determine whether a statute which trenches upon the aforesaid Constitutional guarantees, is a legitimate exercise of police power. 9 Paragraph 1 of Sec. 8(a), R.A. No. 6132 prohibits: 1. any candidate for delegate to the convention (a) from representing, or (b) allowing himself to be represented as being a candidate of any political party or any other organization; and 2. any political party, political group, political committee, civic, religious, professional or other organizations or organized group of whatever nature from (a) intervening in the nomination of any such candidate or in the filing of his certificate, or (b) from giving aid or support directly or indirectly, material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election. The ban against all political parties or organized groups of whatever nature contained in par. 1 of Sec. 8(a), is confined to party or organization support or assistance, whether material, moral, emotional or otherwise. The very Sec. 8(a) in its provisos permits the candidate to utilize in his campaign the help of the members of his family within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, and a campaign staff composed of not more than one for every ten precincts in his district. It allows the full exercise of his freedom of expression and his right to peaceful assembly, because he cannot be denied any permit to hold a public meeting on the pretext that the provision of said section may or will be violated. The right of a member of any political party or association to support him or oppose his opponent is preserved as long as such member acts individually. The very party or organization to which he may belong or which may be in sympathy with his cause or program of reforms, is guaranteed the right to disseminate information about, or to arouse public interest in, or to advocate for constitutional reforms, programs, policies or constitutional proposals for amendments. It is therefore patent that the restriction contained in Sec. 8(a) is so narrow that the basic constitutional rights themselves remain substantially intact and inviolate. And it is therefore a valid infringement of the aforesaid constitutional guarantees invoked by petitioners. In the aforesaid case of Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, this Court unanimously sustained the validity of the limitation on the period for nomination of candidates in Sec. 50-A of R.A. No. 4880, thus:

The prohibition of too early nomination of candidates presents a question that is not too formidable in character. According to the act: "It shall be unlawful for any political party, political committee, or political group to nominate candidates for any elective public office voted for at large earlier than one hundred and fifty days immediately preceding an election, and for any other elective public office earlier than ninety days immediately preceding an election.
The right of association is affected. Political parties have less freedom as to the time during which they may nominate candidates; the curtailment is not such, however, as to render meaningless such a basic right. Their scope of legitimate activities, save this one, is not unduly narrowed. Neither is there infringement of their freedom to assemble. They can do so, but not for such a purpose. We sustain its validity. We do so unanimously. 10

In said Gonzales vs. Comelec case, this Court likewise held that the period for the conduct of an election campaign or partisan political activity may be limited without offending the aforementioned constitutional guarantees as the same is designed also to prevent a "clear and present danger of a substantive evil, the debasement of the electoral process." 11 Even if the partisan activity consists of (a) forming organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other group of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate; (b) holding political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party; and (c) giving, soliciting, or receiving contributions for election campaign either directly or indirectly, (Sec. 50-B, pars. (a), (b), and (c), R.A. 4880), the abridgment was still affirmed as constitutional by six members of this Court, which could not "ignore ... the legislative declaration that its enactment was in response to a serious substantive evil affecting the electoral process, not merely in danger of happening, but actually in existence, and likely to continue unless curbed or remedied. To assert otherwise would be to close one's eyes to the reality of the situation." 12; Likewise, because four members dissented, this Court in said case of Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, failed to muster the required eight votes to declare as unconstitutional the limitation on the period for (a) making speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office; (b) publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials; and (e) directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party specified in Sec. 50-B, pars. (c), (d) & (e) of R.A. 4880. 13 The debasement of the electoral process as a substantive evil exists today and is one of the major compelling interests that moved Congress into prescribing the total ban contained in par. 1 of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132, to justify such ban. In the said Gonzales vs. Comelec case, this Court gave "due recognition to the legislative concern to cleanse, and if possible, render spotless, the electoral process," 14 impressed as it was by the explanation made by the author of R.A. No. 4880, Sen. Lorenzo Taada, who appeared as amicus curiae, "that such provisions were deemed by the legislative body to be part and parcel of the necessary and appropriate response not merely to a clear and present danger but to the actual existence of a grave and substantive evil of excessive partisanship, dishonesty and corruption as well as violence that of late has marred election campaigns and partisan political activities in this country. He did invite our attention likewise to the well-settled doctrine that in the choice of remedies for an admitted malady requiring governmental action, on the legislature primarily rests the responsibility. Nor should the cure prescribed by it, unless clearly repugnant to fundamental rights, be ignored or disregarded." 15

But aside from the clear and imminent danger of the debasement of the electoral process, as conceded by Senator Pelaez, the basic motivation, according to Senate Majority Floor Leader Senator Arturo Tolentino, the sponsor of the Puyat-Tolentino amendment embodied in par. 1 of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132, is to assure the candidates equal protection of the laws by according them equality of chances. 16 The primary purpose of the prohibition then is also to avert the clear and present danger of another substantive evil, the denial of the equal protection of the laws. The candidates must depend on their individual merits and not on the support of political parties or organizations. Senator Tolentino and Senator Salonga emphasized that under this provision, the poor candidate has an even chance as against the rich candidate. We are not prepared to disagree with them, because such a conclusion, predicated as it is on empirical logic, finds support in our recent political history and experience. Both Senators stressed that the independent candidate who wins in the election against a candidate of the major political parties, is a rare phenomenon in this country and the victory of an independent candidate mainly rests on his ability to match the resources, financial and otherwise, of the political parties or organizations supporting his opponent. This position is further strengthened by the principle that the guarantee of social justice under Sec. V, Art. II of the Constitution, includes the guarantee of equal opportunity, equality of political rights, and equality before the law enunciated by Mr. Justice Tuazon in the case Guido vs. Rural Progress Administration. 17 While it may be true that a party's support of a candidate is not wrong per se it is equally true that Congress in the exercise of its broad law-making authority can declare certain acts as mala prohibita when justified by the exigencies of the times. One such act is the party or organization support proscribed in Sec. 8(a),which ban is a valid limitation on the freedom of association as well as expression, for the reasons aforestated. Senator Tolentino emphasized that "equality of chances may be better attained by banning all organization support." 18 The questioned par. 1 of Sec. 8 (a) likewise can easily pass the balancing-of-interest test. 19 In the apt words of the Solicitor General: It is to be noted that right now the nation is on the threshold of rewriting its Constitution in a hopeful endeavor to find a solution to the grave economic, social and political problems besetting the country. Instead of directly proposing the amendments Congress has chosen to call a Constitutional Convention which shall have the task of fashioning a document that shall embody the aspirations and ideals of the people. Because what is to be amended is the fundamental law of the land, it is indispensable that the Constitutional Convention be composed of delegates truly representative of the people's will. Public welfare demands that the delegates should speak for the entire nation, and their voices be not those of a particular segment of the citizenry, or of a particular class or group of people, be they religious, political, civic or professional in character. Senator Pelaez, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Codes and Constitutional Amendments, eloquently stated that "the function of a constitution is not to represent anyone in interest or set of interests, not to favor one group at the expense or disadvantage of the candidates but to encompass all the interests that exist within our society and to blend them into one harmonious and balanced whole. For the constitutional system means, not the predominance of interests, but the harmonious balancing thereof."

So that the purpose for calling the Constitutional Convention will not be deflated or frustrated, it is necessary that the delegatee thereto be independent, beholden to no one but to God, country and conscience. xxx xxx xxx
The evil therefore, which the law seeks to prevent lies in the election of delegates who, because they have been chosen with the aid and resources of organizations, cannot be expected to be sufficiently representative of the people. Such delegates could very well be the spokesmen of narrow political, religious or economic interest and not of the great majority of the people. 20

We likewise concur with the Solicitor General that the equal protection of the laws is not unduly subverted in par. I of Sec. 8(a); because it does not create any hostile discrimination against any party or group nor does it confer undue favor or privilege on an individual as heretofore stated. The discrimination applies to all organizations, whether political parties or social, civic, religious, or professional associations. The ban is germane to the objectives of the law, which are to avert the debasement of the electoral process, and to attain real equality of chances among individual candidates and thereby make real the guarantee of equal protection of the laws. The political parties and the other organized groups have built-in advantages because of their machinery and other facilities, which, the individual candidate who is without any organization support, does not have. The fact that the other civic of religious organizations cannot have a campaign machinery as efficient as that of a political party, does not vary the situation; because it still has that much built-in advantage as against the individual candidate without similar support. Moreover, these civic religious and professional organization may band together to support common candidates, who advocates the reforms that these organizations champion and believe are imperative. This is admitted by petitioner Gonzales thru the letter of Senator Ganzon dated August 17, 1970 attached to his petition as Annex "D", wherein the Senator stated that his own "Timawa" group had agreed with the Liberal Party in Iloilo to support petitioner Gonzales and two others as their candidates for the convention, which organized support is nullified by the questioned ban, Senator Ganzon stressed that "without the group moving and working in joint collective effort" they cannot "exercise effective control and supervision over our leaders the Women's League, the area commanders, etc."; but with their joining with the LP's they "could have presented a solid front with very bright chances of capturing all seats." The civic associations other than political parties cannot with reason insist that they should be exempted from the ban; because then by such exemption they would be free to utilize the facilities of the campaign machineries which they are denying to the political parties. Whenever all organization engages in a political activity, as in this campaign for election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention, to that extent it partakes of the nature of a political organization. This, despite the fact that the Constitution and by laws of such civic, religious, or professional associations usually prohibit the association from engaging in partisan political activity or supporting any candidate for an elective office. Hence, they must likewise respect the ban. The freedom of association also implies the liberty not to associate or join with others or join any existing organization. A person may run independently on his own merits without need of catering to a political party or any other association for support. And he, as much as the candidate whose candidacy does not evoke sympathy from any political party or organized group, must be afforded equal chances. As emphasized by Senators Tolentino and Salonga, this ban is to assure equal chances to a candidate with talent and imbued with patriotism as well as nobility of purpose, so that the country can utilize their services if elected.

Impressed as We are by the eloquent and masterly exposition of Senator Taada for the invalidation of par. 1 of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132, demonstrating once again his deep concern for the preservation of our civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights, We are not persuaded to entertain the belief that the challenged ban transcends the limits of constitutional invasion of such cherished immunities. WHEREFORE, the prayers in both petitions are hereby denied and R.A. No. 6132 including Secs. 2, 4, 5, and 8(a), paragraph 1, thereof, cannot be declared unconstitutional. Without costs. Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon and Castro, JJ., concur. Makalintal, J., concurs in the result. Teehankee, J., is on leave.

Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting: The opinion of Justice Makasiar speaking for the Court, comprehensive in scope, persuasive in character and lucid in expression, has much to recommend it. On the whole, I concur. I find difficulty, however, in accepting the conclusion that there is no basis for the challenge hurled against the validity of this provision: "No candidate for delegate to the Convention shall represent or allow himself to be represented as being a candidate of any political party or any other organization, and no political party, political group, political committee, civic, religious, professional, or other organization or organized group of whatever nature shall intervene in the nomination of any such candidate or in the filing of his certificate of candidacy or give aid or support directly or indirectly, material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election: ..." 1 It is with regret then that I dissent from that portion of the decision. 1. I find it difficult to reconcile the decision reached insofar as the aforesaid ban on political parties and civic, professional and other organizations is concerned with the explicit provision that the freedom to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged. 2 The right of an individual to join others of a like persuasion to pursue common objectives and to engage in activities is embraced within if not actually encouraged by the regime of liberty ordained by the Constitution. This particular freedom has an indigenous cast, its origin being traceable to the Malolos Constitution. In the United States, in the absence of an explicit provision of such character, it is the view of Justice Douglas, in a 1963 article, that it is primarily the First Amendment of her Constitution, which safeguards freedom of speech and of the press, of assembly and of petition "that provides [associations] with the protection they need if they are to remain viable and continue to contribute to our Free Society." 3 Such is indeed the case, for five years earlier the American Supreme Court had

already declared: "It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the "liberty" [embraced in] freedom of speech." 4 Not long after, in 1965, Justice Douglas as; spokesman for the American Supreme Court could elaborate further on the scope of the right of association as including "the right to express one's attitudes or philosophies by membership in a group or by affiliation with it or by other lawful means, Association in that context is a form of expression of opinion; and while it is not extremely included in the First Amendment its existence is necessary in making the express guarantees fully meaningful." 5 Thus is further vitalized freedom of expression which, for Justice Laurel, is at once the instrument" and the guarantee and the bright consummate flower of all liberty" 6 and, for Justice Cardozo, "the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." 7 2. It is in the light of the above fundamental postulates that I find merit in the plea of petitioners to annul the challenged provision. There is much to be said for the point emphatically stressed by Senator Lorenzo M. Taada, as amicus curiae, to the effect that there is nothing unlawful in a candidate for delegate to the Convention representing or allowing himself to be represented as such of any political party or any other organization as well as of such political party, political group, political committee, civic, religious, professional or other organization or organized group intervening in his nomination, in the filing of his certificate of candidacy, or giving aid or support, directly or indirectly, material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election as such delegate. I find the conclusion inescapabe therefore, that what the constitutional provisions in question allow, more specifically the right to form associations, is prohibited. The infirmity of the ban is thus apparent on its face. There is, to my mind, another avenue of approach that leads to the same conclusion. The final proviso in the same section of the Act forbids any construction that would in any wise "impair or abridge the freedom of civic, political, religious, professional, trade organizations or organized groups of whatever nature to disseminate information about, or arouse public interest in, the forthcoming Constitutional Convention, or to advocate constitutional reforms, programs, policies or proposals for amendment of the present Constitution, and no prohibition contained herein shall limit or curtail the right of their members, as long as they act individually, to support or oppose any candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention." 8 It is regrettable that such an explicit recognition of what cannot be forbidden consistently with the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of association falls short of according full respect to what is thus commanded, by the fundamental law, as they are precluded by the very same Act from giving aid or support precisely to the very individuals who can carry out whatever constitutional reforms, programs, policies or proposals for amendment they might advocate. As thus viewed, the conviction I entertain as to its lack of validity is further strengthened and fortified. 3. It would be a different matter, of course, if there is a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that would justify a limitation on such cherished freedoms. Reference has been made to Gonzales v. Commission on Elections.9 As repression is permissible only when the danger of substantive evil is present is explained by Justice Branders thus: ... the evil apprehended is to imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. For him the apprehended evil must be "relatively serious." For "[prohibition] of free speech and assembly is a measure so stringent that it would be inappropriate as the means for averting a relatively trivial harm to society." Justice Black would go further. He would require that the substantive evil be "extremely serious." Only thus may there be a realization of the ideal envisioned by Cardozo: "There shall be no compromise of the freedom to think one's thoughts and speak them, except at those extreme borders where thought merges into action." It received its original formulation from Holmes. Thus: "The question in every case is whether the words used in such circumstances are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring

about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree." " 10 The majority of the Court would find the existence of a clear and present danger of debasing the electoral process. With due respect, I find myself unable to share such a view. The assumption would, appear to be that there is a clear and present danger of a grave substantive evil of partisanship running riot unless political parties are thus restrained. There would be a sacrifice then of the national interest involved. The Convention might not be able to live up to the high hopes entertained for an improvement of the fundamental law. It would appear though that what prompted such a ban is to assure that the present majority party would not continue to play its dominant role in the political life of the nation. The thought is entertained that otherwise, we will not have a Convention truly responsive to the needs of the hour and of the future insofar as they may be anticipated. To my mind, this is to lose sight of the fact that in the national elections of 1946, 1953, 1961 and 1965, the presidency was won by the opposition candidate. Moreover, in national elections for senators alone, that of 1951, to mention only one instance, saw a complete sweep of the field by the then minority party. It would be unjustifiable, so I am led to believe to assume that inevitably the prevailing dominant political party would continue its ascendancy in the coming Convention. Then, too, the result of the plebiscite in the two proposed amendments in 1967 indicate unmistakably that the people can, if so minded, make their wishes prevail. There is thus no assurance that the mere identification with party labels would automatically insure the success of a candidacy. Even if it be assumed that to guard against the evils of party spirit carried to excess, such a ban is called for, still no such danger is presented by allowing civil, professional or any other organization or organized group of whatever nature to field its own candidates or give aid or support, directly or indirectly material or otherwise, to anyone running for the Convention. From such a source, no such misgivings or apprehension need arise. Nor it the fear that organizations could hastily be assembled or put up to camouflage their true colors as satellites of the political parties be valid. The electorate can see through such schemes and can emphatically register its reaction. There is, moreover, the further safeguard that whatever work the Convention may propose is ultimately subject to popular ratification. For me then the danger of a substantive evil is neither clear nor present. What causes me grave concern is that to guard against such undesirable eventuality, which may not even come to pass, a flagrant disregard of what the Constitution ordains is minimized. A desirable end cannot be coerced by unconstitutional means. 4. It is not easy to yield assent to the proposition that on a matter so essentially political as the amendment or revision of an existing Constitution, political parties or political groups are to be denied the opportunity of launching the candidacy of their choice. Well has it been said by Chief Justice Hughes: "The greater the importance of safeguarding the community from incitements to the overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion, to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and that changes, if desired, may be obtained by peaceful means. Therein lies the security of the Republic, the very foundation of constitutional government." 11 It is to carry this essential process one step farther to recognize and to implement the right of every political party or group to select the candidates who, by their election, could translate into actuality their hopes for the fundamental law that the times demand. Moreover, is it not in keeping with the rights to intellectual freedom so sedulously safeguarded by the Constitution to remove all obstacles to organized civic groups making their influence felt in the task of constitution framing, the result of which has momentuous implications for the nation? What is decisive of this aspect of the matter is not the

character of the association or organized group as such but the essentially political activity thus carried out. This is not to deny the wide latitude as to the choice of means vested in Congress to attain a desirable goal. Nor can it be successfully argued that the judiciary should display reluctance in extending sympathy and understanding to such legislative determination. This is merely to stress that however worthwhile the objective, the Constitution must still be paid deference. Moreover, it may not be altogether unrealistic to consider the practical effects of the ban as thus worded as not lacking in effectivity insofar as civic, religious, professional or other organizations or organized group is concerned, but not necessarily so in the case of political party, political group or political committee. There is the commendable admission by Senator Tolentino, appearing as amicus curiae, that the political leaders of stature, in their individual capacity, could continue to assert their influence. It could very well happen, then, in not a few cases, assuming the strength of political parties, that a candidate thus favored is sure of emerging the victor. What is thus sought to be accomplished to guard against the evil of party spirit prevailing could very well be doomed to futility. The high hopes entertained by the articulate and vocal groups of young people, intellectuals and workers, may not be realized. The result would be that this unorthodox and novel provision could assume the character of a tease, an illusion like a munificent bequest in a pauper's will. If such an appraisal is not unjustifiably tinged with pessimism, then, to my mind, a radical approach to a problem possibly tainted with constitutional infirmity cannot hurdle the judicial test as to its validity. It is one thing to encourage a fresh and untried solution to a problem of gravity when the probability of its success may be assumed. It is an entirely different matter to cut down the exercise of what otherwise are undeniable constitutional rights, when as in this case, the outcome might belie expectations. Considering the well-settled principle that even though the governmental process be legitimate and substantial, they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties, if the end can be narrowly achieved, I am far from being persuaded that to preclude political parties or other groups or associations from lending aid and support to the candidates of men in whom they can repose their trust is consistent with the constitutional rights of freedom of association and freedom of expression. Here, the danger of overbreadth, so clear and manifest as to be offensive to constitutional standards, magnified by the probability that the result would be the failure and not success of the statutory scheme, cautions against the affixing of the imprimatur of judicial approval to the challenged provision. 5. Necessarily then, from this mode of viewing the matter, it would follow that the holding of this Court in Gonzales v. Comelec 12 does not compel the conclusion reached by the majority sustaining the validity of this challenged provision. What survived the test of constitutional validity in that case, with the Court unanimous in its opinion, is the prohibition for any political party, political committee or political group to nominate candidates for any elective public office voted for at large earlier than 150 days immediately preceding election and for any other public office earlier than 90 days immediately preceding such election. 13 A corollary to the above limitation, the provision making it unlawful for any person, whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any group or association of persons, whether or not a political party or political committee, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the above periods successfully hurdled, the constitutional test, although the restrictions as to the making of speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office or the publishing or distributing of campaign literature or materials or the solicitation or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party, directly or indirectly, survived by the narrow margin of one vote, four members of this Court unable to discern any constitutional infirmity as against the free speech guarantee, thus resulting in failing to muster the necessary two-thirds majority for a declaration of invalidity. Insofar as election campaign or partisan political activity would limit or restrict the formation, of organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or

candidate or, the giving, soliciting, or receiving a contribution for election campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly as well as the holding of political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies, with a similar and in view, only five members of this Court, a minority thereof voted, for their unconstitutionality. What emerges clearly, then, is that definite acts short of preventing the political parties from the choice of their candidates and thereafter working for them in effect were considered by this Court as not violative of the constitutional freedoms of speech, of press, of assembly and of association. The challenged provision in these two petitions, however, goes much farther. Political parties or any other organization or organized group are precluded from selecting and supporting candidates for delegates to the Constitutional Convention. To my mind, this is to enter a forbidden domain, Congress trespassing on a field hitherto rightfully assumed to be within the sphere of liberty. Thus, I am unable to conclude that our previous decision in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections which already was indicative of the cautious and hesitant judicial approach to lending its approval to what otherwise are invasions of vital constitutional safeguards to freedoms of belief, of expression, and of association lends support to the decision reached by the majority insofar as this challenged provision is concerned. Hence my inability to subscribe in its entirety to the opinion of the Court. I am authorized to state that the Chief Justice is in agreement with the views herein expressed. Concepcion, C.J., Villamor and Zaldivar, JJ., concur. BARREDO, J., concurring and dissenting: Without prejudice to a more extended opinion, I vote, in concurrence with the majority, to sustain the validity of the provisions of Republic Act 6132 impugned by petitioners in these cases, except Section 4 and the portion of Section 8(a) referring to political parties. As regards Section 4, I reiterate my separate opinion in the cases of Subido and others. (G.R. Nos. L-32436 and L-32439) With respect to Section 8(a), I hold that the considerations which take the restraint on the freedoms of association, assembly and speech involved in the ban on political parties to nominate and support their own candidates, reasonable and within the limits of the Constitution do not obtain when it comes to civic or non-political organizations. As I see it, the said ban, insofar as civic or non-political organizations are concerned, is a deceptive device to preserve the built-in advantages of political parties while at the same time crippling completely the other kinds of associations. The only way to accomplish the purported objective of the law of equalizing the forces that will campaign in behalf of the candidates to the constitutional convention is to maintain said ban only as against political parties, for after all, only the activities and manners of operation of these parties and/or some of their members have made necessary the imposition thereof. Under the resulting set up embodied in the provision in question, the individual candidates who have never had any political party connections or very little of it would be at an obvious disadvantage unless they are allowed to seek and use the aid of civic organizations. Neither the elaborate provisions of Republic Act 6132 regarding methods of campaign nor its other provisions intended to minimize the participation of political parties in the electorate processes of voting, counting of the votes and canvassing of the results can overcome the advantages of candidates more or less connected with political parties, particularly the major and established ones, as long as the right to form other associations and the right of these associations to campaign for their candidates are denied considering particularly the shortness of the time that is left between now and election day. The issues involved in the coming elections are grave and fundamental ones that are bound to affect the lives, rights and liberties of all the people of this country most effectively, pervasively and permanently. The only insurance of the people against political parties which may be inclined

towards the Establishment and the status quo is to organize themselves to gain much needed strength and effectivity. To deny them this right is to stifle the people's only opportunity for change. It is axiomatic that issues, no matter how valid, if not related to particular candidates in an organized way, similarly as in the use of platforms by political parties, cannot have any chance of support and final adoption. Both men and issues are important, but unrelated to each other, each of them alone is insignificant, and the only way to relate them is by organization. Precisely because the issues in this election of candidates are of paramount importance second to none, it is imperative that all of the freedoms enshrined in the constitution should have the ampliest recognition for those who are minded to actively battle for them and any attempt to curtail them would endanger the very purposes for which a new constitutional convention has been conceived. Consistently with my separate opinion in the case of Gonzales and Cabigao vs. Comelec, G.R. No. L-27833, April 18, 1969 and for the reasons therein stated, I maintain that the right of suffrage which is the cornerstone of any democracy like ours is meaningless when the right to campaign in any election therein is unreasonably and unnecessarily curtailed, restrained or hampered, as is being done under the statute in dispute. It is, of course, understood that this opinion is based on my considered view, contrary to that of the majority, that as Section 8(a) stands and taking into account its genesis, the ban against political parties is separable from that against other associations within the contemplation of Section 21 of the Act which expressly refers to the separability of the application thereof to any "persons, groups or circumstances." I reserve my right to expand this explanation of my vote in the next few days.

Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, J., concurring and dissenting: The opinion of Justice Makasiar speaking for the Court, comprehensive in scope, persuasive in character and lucid in expression, has much to recommend it. On the whole, I concur. I find difficulty, however, in accepting the conclusion that there is no basis for the challenge hurled against the validity of this provision: "No candidate for delegate to the Convention shall represent or allow himself to be represented as being a candidate of any political party or any other organization, and no political party, political group, political committee, civic, religious, professional, or other organization or organized group of whatever nature shall intervene in the nomination of any such candidate or in the filing of his certificate of candidacy or give aid or support directly or indirectly, material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election: ..." 1 It is with regret then that I dissent from that portion of the decision. 1. I find it difficult to reconcile the decision reached insofar as the aforesaid ban on political parties and civic, professional and other organizations is concerned with the explicit provision that the freedom to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged. 2 The right of an individual to join others of a like persuasion to pursue common objectives and to engage in activities is embraced within if not actually encouraged by the regime of liberty ordained by the Constitution. This particular freedom has an indigenous cast, its origin being traceable to the Malolos Constitution.

In the United States, in the absence of an explicit provision of such character, it is the view of Justice Douglas, in a 1963 article, that it is primarily the First Amendment of her Constitution, which safeguards freedom of speech and of the press, of assembly and of petition "that provides [associations] with the protection they need if they are to remain viable and continue to contribute to our Free Society." 3 Such is indeed the case, for five years earlier the American Supreme Court had already declared: "It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the "liberty" [embraced in] freedom of speech." 4 Not long after, in 1965, Justice Douglas as; spokesman for the American Supreme Court could elaborate further on the scope of the right of association as including "the right to express one's attitudes or philosophies by membership in a group or by affiliation with it or by other lawful means, Association in that context is a form of expression of opinion; and while it is not extremely included in the First Amendment its existence is necessary in making the express guarantees fully meaningful." 5 Thus is further vitalized freedom of expression which, for Justice Laurel, is at once the instrument" and the guarantee and the bright consummate flower of all liberty" 6 and, for Justice Cardozo, "the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." 7 2. It is in the light of the above fundamental postulates that I find merit in the plea of petitioners to annul the challenged provision. There is much to be said for the point emphatically stressed by Senator Lorenzo M. Taada, as amicus curiae, to the effect that there is nothing unlawful in a candidate for delegate to the Convention representing or allowing himself to be represented as such of any political party or any other organization as well as of such political party, political group, political committee, civic, religious, professional or other organization or organized group intervening in his nomination, in the filing of his certificate of candidacy, or giving aid or support, directly or indirectly, material or otherwise, favorable to or against his campaign for election as such delegate. I find the conclusion inescapabe therefore, that what the constitutional provisions in question allow, more specifically the right to form associations, is prohibited. The infirmity of the ban is thus apparent on its face. There is, to my mind, another avenue of approach that leads to the same conclusion. The final proviso in the same section of the Act forbids any construction that would in any wise "impair or abridge the freedom of civic, political, religious, professional, trade organizations or organized groups of whatever nature to disseminate information about, or arouse public interest in, the forthcoming Constitutional Convention, or to advocate constitutional reforms, programs, policies or proposals for amendment of the present Constitution, and no prohibition contained herein shall limit or curtail the right of their members, as long as they act individually, to support or oppose any candidate for delegate to the Constitutional Convention." 8 It is regrettable that such an explicit recognition of what cannot be forbidden consistently with the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of association falls short of according full respect to what is thus commanded, by the fundamental law, as they are precluded by the very same Act from giving aid or support precisely to the very individuals who can carry out whatever constitutional reforms, programs, policies or proposals for amendment they might advocate. As thus viewed, the conviction I entertain as to its lack of validity is further strengthened and fortified. 3. It would be a different matter, of course, if there is a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that would justify a limitation on such cherished freedoms. Reference has been made to Gonzales v. Commission on Elections.9 As repression is permissible only when the danger of substantive evil is present is explained by Justice Branders thus: ... the evil apprehended is to imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. For him the apprehended evil must be "relatively serious." For "[prohibition] of free speech and assembly is a measure so stringent that it would be inappropriate as the means for averting a relatively trivial harm to society." Justice Black would go further. He would

require that the substantive evil be "extremely serious." Only thus may there be a realization of the ideal envisioned by Cardozo: "There shall be no compromise of the freedom to think one's thoughts and speak them, except at those extreme borders where thought merges into action." It received its original formulation from Holmes. Thus: "The question in every case is whether the words used in such circumstances are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree." " 10 The majority of the Court would find the existence of a clear and present danger of debasing the electoral process. With due respect, I find myself unable to share such a view. The assumption would, appear to be that there is a clear and present danger of a grave substantive evil of partisanship running riot unless political parties are thus restrained. There would be a sacrifice then of the national interest involved. The Convention might not be able to live up to the high hopes entertained for an improvement of the fundamental law. It would appear though that what prompted such a ban is to assure that the present majority party would not continue to play its dominant role in the political life of the nation. The thought is entertained that otherwise, we will not have a Convention truly responsive to the needs of the hour and of the future insofar as they may be anticipated. To my mind, this is to lose sight of the fact that in the national elections of 1946, 1953, 1961 and 1965, the presidency was won by the opposition candidate. Moreover, in national elections for senators alone, that of 1951, to mention only one instance, saw a complete sweep of the field by the then minority party. It would be unjustifiable, so I am led to believe to assume that inevitably the prevailing dominant political party would continue its ascendancy in the coming Convention. Then, too, the result of the plebiscite in the two proposed amendments in 1967 indicate unmistakably that the people can, if so minded, make their wishes prevail. There is thus no assurance that the mere identification with party labels would automatically insure the success of a candidacy. Even if it be assumed that to guard against the evils of party spirit carried to excess, such a ban is called for, still no such danger is presented by allowing civil, professional or any other organization or organized group of whatever nature to field its own candidates or give aid or support, directly or indirectly material or otherwise, to anyone running for the Convention. From such a source, no such misgivings or apprehension need arise. Nor it the fear that organizations could hastily be assembled or put up to camouflage their true colors as satellites of the political parties be valid. The electorate can see through such schemes and can emphatically register its reaction. There is, moreover, the further safeguard that whatever work the Convention may propose is ultimately subject to popular ratification. For me then the danger of a substantive evil is neither clear nor present. What causes me grave concern is that to guard against such undesirable eventuality, which may not even come to pass, a flagrant disregard of what the Constitution ordains is minimized. A desirable end cannot be coerced by unconstitutional means. 4. It is not easy to yield assent to the proposition that on a matter so essentially political as the amendment or revision of an existing Constitution, political parties or political groups are to be denied the opportunity of launching the candidacy of their choice. Well has it been said by Chief Justice Hughes: "The greater the importance of safeguarding the community from incitements to the overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion, to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and that changes, if desired, may be obtained by peaceful means. Therein lies the security of the Republic, the very foundation of constitutional government." 11 It is to carry this essential process one step farther to recognize and to implement the right of every political party or

group to select the candidates who, by their election, could translate into actuality their hopes for the fundamental law that the times demand. Moreover, is it not in keeping with the rights to intellectual freedom so sedulously safeguarded by the Constitution to remove all obstacles to organized civic groups making their influence felt in the task of constitution framing, the result of which has momentuous implications for the nation? What is decisive of this aspect of the matter is not the character of the association or organized group as such but the essentially political activity thus carried out. This is not to deny the wide latitude as to the choice of means vested in Congress to attain a desirable goal. Nor can it be successfully argued that the judiciary should display reluctance in extending sympathy and understanding to such legislative determination. This is merely to stress that however worthwhile the objective, the Constitution must still be paid deference. Moreover, it may not be altogether unrealistic to consider the practical effects of the ban as thus worded as not lacking in effectivity insofar as civic, religious, professional or other organizations or organized group is concerned, but not necessarily so in the case of political party, political group or political committee. There is the commendable admission by Senator Tolentino, appearing as amicus curiae, that the political leaders of stature, in their individual capacity, could continue to assert their influence. It could very well happen, then, in not a few cases, assuming the strength of political parties, that a candidate thus favored is sure of emerging the victor. What is thus sought to be accomplished to guard against the evil of party spirit prevailing could very well be doomed to futility. The high hopes entertained by the articulate and vocal groups of young people, intellectuals and workers, may not be realized. The result would be that this unorthodox and novel provision could assume the character of a tease, an illusion like a munificent bequest in a pauper's will. If such an appraisal is not unjustifiably tinged with pessimism, then, to my mind, a radical approach to a problem possibly tainted with constitutional infirmity cannot hurdle the judicial test as to its validity. It is one thing to encourage a fresh and untried solution to a problem of gravity when the probability of its success may be assumed. It is an entirely different matter to cut down the exercise of what otherwise are undeniable constitutional rights, when as in this case, the outcome might belie expectations. Considering the well-settled principle that even though the governmental process be legitimate and substantial, they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties, if the end can be narrowly achieved, I am far from being persuaded that to preclude political parties or other groups or associations from lending aid and support to the candidates of men in whom they can repose their trust is consistent with the constitutional rights of freedom of association and freedom of expression. Here, the danger of overbreadth, so clear and manifest as to be offensive to constitutional standards, magnified by the probability that the result would be the failure and not success of the statutory scheme, cautions against the affixing of the imprimatur of judicial approval to the challenged provision. 5. Necessarily then, from this mode of viewing the matter, it would follow that the holding of this Court in Gonzales v. Comelec 12 does not compel the conclusion reached by the majority sustaining the validity of this challenged provision. What survived the test of constitutional validity in that case, with the Court unanimous in its opinion, is the prohibition for any political party, political committee or political group to nominate candidates for any elective public office voted for at large earlier than 150 days immediately preceding election and for any other public office earlier than 90 days immediately preceding such election. 13 A corollary to the above limitation, the provision making it unlawful for any person, whether or not a voter or candidate, or for any group or association of persons, whether or not a political party or political committee, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the above periods successfully hurdled, the constitutional test, although the restrictions as to the making of speeches, announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office or the publishing or distributing of campaign literature or materials or the solicitation or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any candidate or party, directly or indirectly, survived by the narrow margin of one vote, four

members of this Court unable to discern any constitutional infirmity as against the free speech guarantee, thus resulting in failing to muster the necessary two-thirds majority for a declaration of invalidity. Insofar as election campaign or partisan political activity would limit or restrict the formation, of organizations, associations, clubs, committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate or, the giving, soliciting, or receiving a contribution for election campaign purposes, either directly or indirectly as well as the holding of political conventions, caucuses, conferences, meetings, rallies, parades or other similar assemblies, with a similar and in view, only five members of this Court, a minority thereof voted, for their unconstitutionality. What emerges clearly, then, is that definite acts short of preventing the political parties from the choice of their candidates and thereafter working for them in effect were considered by this Court as not violative of the constitutional freedoms of speech, of press, of assembly and of association. The challenged provision in these two petitions, however, goes much farther. Political parties or any other organization or organized group are precluded from selecting and supporting candidates for delegates to the Constitutional Convention. To my mind, this is to enter a forbidden domain, Congress trespassing on a field hitherto rightfully assumed to be within the sphere of liberty. Thus, I am unable to conclude that our previous decision in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections which already was indicative of the cautious and hesitant judicial approach to lending its approval to what otherwise are invasions of vital constitutional safeguards to freedoms of belief, of expression, and of association lends support to the decision reached by the majority insofar as this challenged provision is concerned. Hence my inability to subscribe in its entirety to the opinion of the Court. I am authorized to state that the Chief Justice is in agreement with the views herein expressed. Concepcion, C.J., Villamor and Zaldivar, JJ., concur. BARREDO, J., concurring and dissenting: Without prejudice to a more extended opinion, I vote, in concurrence with the majority, to sustain the validity of the provisions of Republic Act 6132 impugned by petitioners in these cases, except Section 4 and the portion of Section 8(a) referring to political parties. As regards Section 4, I reiterate my separate opinion in the cases of Subido and others. (G.R. Nos. L-32436 and L-32439) With respect to Section 8(a), I hold that the considerations which take the restraint on the freedoms of association, assembly and speech involved in the ban on political parties to nominate and support their own candidates, reasonable and within the limits of the Constitution do not obtain when it comes to civic or non-political organizations. As I see it, the said ban, insofar as civic or non-political organizations are concerned, is a deceptive device to preserve the built-in advantages of political parties while at the same time crippling completely the other kinds of associations. The only way to accomplish the purported objective of the law of equalizing the forces that will campaign in behalf of the candidates to the constitutional convention is to maintain said ban only as against political parties, for after all, only the activities and manners of operation of these parties and/or some of their members have made necessary the imposition thereof. Under the resulting set up embodied in the provision in question, the individual candidates who have never had any political party connections or very little of it would be at an obvious disadvantage unless they are allowed to seek and use the aid of civic organizations. Neither the elaborate provisions of Republic Act 6132 regarding methods of campaign nor its other provisions intended to minimize the participation of political parties in the electorate processes of voting, counting of the votes and canvassing of the results can overcome the advantages of candidates more or less connected with political parties, particularly the major and established ones, as long as the right to form other associations and the right of these associations

to campaign for their candidates are denied considering particularly the shortness of the time that is left between now and election day. The issues involved in the coming elections are grave and fundamental ones that are bound to affect the lives, rights and liberties of all the people of this country most effectively, pervasively and permanently. The only insurance of the people against political parties which may be inclined towards the Establishment and the status quo is to organize themselves to gain much needed strength and effectivity. To deny them this right is to stifle the people's only opportunity for change. It is axiomatic that issues, no matter how valid, if not related to particular candidates in an organized way, similarly as in the use of platforms by political parties, cannot have any chance of support and final adoption. Both men and issues are important, but unrelated to each other, each of them alone is insignificant, and the only way to relate them is by organization. Precisely because the issues in this election of candidates are of paramount importance second to none, it is imperative that all of the freedoms enshrined in the constitution should have the ampliest recognition for those who are minded to actively battle for them and any attempt to curtail them would endanger the very purposes for which a new constitutional convention has been conceived. Consistently with my separate opinion in the case of Gonzales and Cabigao vs. Comelec, G.R. No. L-27833, April 18, 1969 and for the reasons therein stated, I maintain that the right of suffrage which is the cornerstone of any democracy like ours is meaningless when the right to campaign in any election therein is unreasonably and unnecessarily curtailed, restrained or hampered, as is being done under the statute in dispute. It is, of course, understood that this opinion is based on my considered view, contrary to that of the majority, that as Section 8(a) stands and taking into account its genesis, the ban against political parties is separable from that against other associations within the contemplation of Section 21 of the Act which expressly refers to the separability of the application thereof to any "persons, groups or circumstances." I reserve my right to expand this explanation of my vote in the next few days.

G.R. No. 90878 January 29, 1990 PABLITO V. SANIDAD, petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.

MEDIALDEA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari assailing the constitutionality of Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 on the ground that it violates the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the press. On October 23, 1989, Republic Act No. 6766, entitled "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR AN ORGANIC ACT FOR THE CORDILLERA AUTONOMOUS REGION" was enacted into law. Pursuant to said law, the City of Baguio and the Cordilleras which consist of the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Abra and Kalinga-Apayao, all comprising the Cordillera Autonomous Region, shall take part in a plebiscite for the ratification of said Organic Act originally scheduled last December 27, 1989 which was, however, reset to January 30, 1990 by virtue of Comelec Resolution No. 2226 dated December 27, 1989. The Commission on Elections, by virtue of the power vested by the 1987 Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code (BP 881), said R.A. 6766 and other pertinent election laws, promulgated Resolution No. 2167, to govern the conduct of the plebiscite on the said Organic Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region. In a petition dated November 20, 1989, herein petitioner Pablito V. Sanidad, who claims to be a newspaper columnist of the "OVERVIEW" for the BAGUIO MIDLAND COURIER, a weekly newspaper circulated in the City of Baguio and the Cordilleras, assailed the constitutionality of Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167, which provides: Section 19. Prohibition on columnists, commentators or announcers. During the plebiscite campaign period, on the day before and on the plebiscite day, no mass media columnist, commentator, announcer or personality shall use his column or radio or television time to campaign for or against the plebiscite issues. It is alleged by petitioner that said provision is void and unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the press enshrined in the Constitution. Unlike a regular news reporter or news correspondent who merely reports the news, petitioner maintains that as a columnist, his column obviously and necessarily contains and reflects his opinions, views and beliefs on any issue or subject about which he writes. Petitioner believes that said provision of COMELEC Resolution No. 2167 constitutes a prior restraint on his constitutionallyguaranteed freedom of the press and further imposes subsequent punishment for those who may violate it because it contains a penal provision, as follows: Article XIII, Section 122, Election Offenses and Banned Acts or Activities. Except to the extent that the same may not be applicable plebiscite. the banned acts/activities and offenses defined in and penalized by the Omnibus Election Code

('Sections 261, 262, 263 and Article' XXII, B.P. Blg. 881) and the pertinent provisions of R.A. No. 6646 shall be aplicable to the plebiscite governed by this Resolution. Petitioner likewise maintains that if media practitioners were to express their views, beliefs and opinions on the issue submitted to a plebiscite, it would in fact help in the government drive and desire to disseminate information, and hear, as well as ventilate, all sides of the issue. On November 28, 1989, We issued a temporary restraining order enjoining respondent Commission on Elections from enforcing and implementing Section 19 of Resolution No. 2167. We also required the respondent to comment on the petition. On January 9, 1990, respondent Commission on Elections, through the Office of the Solicitor General filed its Comment. Respondent Comelec maintains that the questioned provision of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 is not violative of the constitutional guarantees of the freedom of expression and of the press. Rather it is a valid implementation of the power of the Comelec to supervise and regulate media during election or plebiscite periods as enunciated in Article IX-C, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. It is stated further by respondent that Resolution 2167 does not absolutely bar petitioner from expressing his views and/or from campaigning for or against the Organic Act. He may still express his views or campaign for or against the act through the Comelec space and airtime. This is provided under Sections 90 and 92 of BP 881: Section 90. Comelec Space. Commission shall procure space in at least one newspaper of general circulation in every province or city: Provided, however, That in the absence of said newspaper, publication shall be done in any other magazine or periodical in said province or city, which shall be known as "Comelec Space" wherein candidates can announce their candidacy. Said space shall be allocated, free of charge equally and impartially within the area in which the newspaper is circulated. Section 92. Comelec Time. The Commission shall procure radio and television time to be known as "Comelec Time" which shall be allocated equally and impartially among the candidates within the area of coverage of all radio and television stations. For this purpose, the franchise of all radio broadcasting and television stations are hereby amended so as to provide radio or television time, free of charge, during the period of the campaign. Respondent Comelec has relied much on Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution and Section 11 of R.A. 6646 as the basis for the promulgation of the questioned Section 19 of Comelec Resolution 2167. Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution provides: The Commission may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information, all grants, special privileges, or concessions granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal opportunity, time, and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for

public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections. Similarly, Section 11 of Republic Act No. 6646 (The Electoral Reform Law of 1987) likewise provides: Prohibited forms of election Propaganda. In addition to the forms of election propaganda prohibited under Section 85 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, it shall be unlawful: ... (b) for any newspaper, radio, broadcasting or television station, or other mass media, or any person making use of the mass media to sell or to give free of charge print space or air time for campaign or other political purposes except to the Commission as provided under Sections 90 and 92 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881. Any mass media columnist, commentator, announcer, or personality who is a candidate for any elective office shall take a leave of absence from his work as such during the campaign period. (Emphasis ours) However, it is clear from Art. IX-C of the 1987 Constitution that what was granted to the Comelec was the power to supervise and regulate the use and enjoyment of franchises, permits or other grants issued for the operation of transportation or other public utilities, media of communication or information to the end that equal opportunity, time and space, and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information campaigns andforums among candidates are ensured. The evil sought to be prevented by this provision is the possibility that a franchise holder may favor or give any undue advantage to a candidate in terms of advertising space or radio or television time. This is also the reason why a "columnist, commentator, announcer or personality, who is a candidate for any elective office is required to take a leave of absence from his work during the campaign period (2nd par. Section 11(b) R.A. 6646). It cannot be gainsaid that a columnist or commentator who is also a candidate would be more exposed to the voters to the prejudice of other candidates unless required to take a leave of absence. However, neither Article IX-C of the Constitution nor Section 11 (b), 2nd par. of R.A. 6646 can be construed to mean that the Comelec has also been granted the right to supervise and regulate the exercise by media practitioners themselves of their right to expression during plebiscite periods. Media practitioners exercising their freedom of expression during plebiscite periods are neither the franchise holders nor the candidates. In fact, there are no candidates involved in a plebiscite. Therefore, Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 has no statutory basis. In the case of Badoy, Jr. v. Comelec, L-32546, Oct. 16, 1970, where the constitutionality of the prohibition of certain forms of election propaganda was assailed, We ruled therein that the prohibition is a valid exercise of the police power of the state "to prevent the perversion and prostitution of the electoral apparatus and of the denial of equal protection of the laws." The evil sought to be prevented in an election which led to Our ruling in that case does not obtain in a plebiscite. In a plebiscite, votes are taken in an area on some special political matter unlike in an election where votes are cast in favor of specific persons for some office. In other words, the electorate is asked to vote for or against issues, not candidates in a plebiscite. Anent respondent Comelec's argument that Section 19 of Comelec Resolution 2167 does not absolutely bar petitioner-columnist from expressing his views and/or from campaigning for or against the organic act because he may do so through the Comelec space and/or Comelec radio/television time, the same is not meritorious. While the limitation does not absolutely bar petitioner's freedom of expression, it is still a restriction on his choice of the forum where he may express his view. No

reason was advanced by respondent to justify such abridgement. We hold that this form of regulation is tantamount to a restriction of petitioner's freedom of expression for no justifiable reason. Plebiscite issues are matters of public concern and importance. The people's right to be informed and to be able to freely and intelligently make a decision would be better served by access to an unabridged discussion of the issues, including the forum. The people affected by the issues presented in a plebiscite should not be unduly burdened by restrictions on the forum where the right to expression may be exercised. Comelec spaces and Comelec radio time may provide a forum for expression but they do not guarantee full dissemination of information to the public concerned because they are limited to either specific portions in newspapers or to specific radio or television times. ACCORDINGLY, the instant petition is GRANTED. Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 is declared null and void and unconstitutional. The restraining order herein issued is hereby made permanent. SO ORDERED.

Lambino vs COMELEC http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2006/oct2006/gr_174153_2006.html


G.R. No. L-56350 April 2, 1981 SAMUEL C. OCCENA, petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT, THE NATIONAL TREASURER, THE DIRECTOR OF PRINTING, respondents.

G.R. No. L-56404 April 2, 1981 RAMON A. GONZALES, MANUEL B. IMBONG, JO AUREA MARCOS-IMBONG, RAY ALLAN T. DRILON, NELSON B. MALANA and GIL M. TABIOS, petitioners, vs. THE NATIONAL TREASURER and the COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondents.

FERNANDO, C.J.: The challenge in these two prohibition proceedings against the validity of three Batasang Pambansa Resolutions 1proposing constitutional amendments, goes further than merely assailing their alleged constitutional infirmity. Petitioners Samuel Occena and Ramon A. Gonzales, both members of the Philippine Bar and former delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention that framed the present Constitution, are suing as taxpayers. The rather unorthodox aspect of these petitions is the assertion that the 1973 Constitution is not the fundamental law, the Javellana 2 ruling to the contrary notwithstanding. To put it at its mildest, such an approach has the arresting charm of novelty but nothing else. It is in fact self defeating, for if such were indeed the case, petitioners have come to the wrong forum. We sit as a Court duty-bound to uphold and apply that Constitution. To contend otherwise as was done here would be, quite clearly, an exercise in futility. Nor are the arguments of petitioners cast in the traditional form of constitutional litigation any more persuasive. For reasons to be set forth, we dismiss the petitions. The suits for prohibition were filed respectively on March 6 3 and March 12, 1981. 4 On March 10 and 13 respectively, respondents were required to answer each within ten days from notice. 5 There was a comment on the part of the respondents. Thereafter, both cases were set for hearing and were duly argued on March 26 by petitioners and Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza for respondents. With the submission of pertinent data in amplification of the oral argument, the cases were deemed submitted for decision. It is the ruling of the Court, as set forth at the outset, that the petitions must be dismissed. 1. It is much too late in the day to deny the force and applicability of the 1973 Constitution. In the dispositive portion of Javellana v. The Executive Secretary, 6 dismissing petitions for prohibition and mandamus to declare invalid its ratification, this Court stated that it did so by a vote of six 7 to four. 8 It then concluded: "This being the vote of the majority, there is no further judicial obstacle to the new Constitution being considered in force and effect." 9 Such a statement served a useful purpose. It could even be said that there was a need for it. It served to clear the atmosphere. It made manifest that, as of January 17, 1973, the present Constitution came into force and effect. With such

a pronouncement by the Supreme Court and with the recognition of the cardinal postulate that what the Supreme Court says is not only entitled to respect but must also be obeyed, a factor for instability was removed. Thereafter, as a matter of law, all doubts were resolved. The 1973 Constitution is the fundamental law. It is as simple as that. What cannot be too strongly stressed is that the function of judicial review has both a positive and a negative aspect. As was so convincingly demonstrated by Professors Black 10 and Murphy, 11 the Supreme Court can check as well as legitimate. In declaring what the law is, it may not only nullify the acts of coordinate branches but may also sustain their validity. In the latter case, there is an affirmation that what was done cannot be stigmatized as constitutionally deficient. The mere dismissal of a suit of this character suffices. That is the meaning of the concluding statement in Javellana. Since then, this Court has invariably applied the present Constitution. The latest case in point is People v. Sola, 12 promulgated barely two weeks ago. During the first year alone of the effectivity of the present Constitution, at least ten cases may be cited. 13 2. We come to the crucial issue, the power of the Interim Batasang Pambansa to propose amendments and how it may be exercised. More specifically as to the latter, the extent of the changes that may be introduced, the number of votes necessary for the validity of a proposal, and the standard required for a proper submission. As was stated earlier, petitioners were unable to demonstrate that the challenged resolutions are tainted by unconstitutionality. (1) The existence of the power of the Interim Batasang Pambansa is indubitable. The applicable provision in the 1976 Amendments is quite explicit. Insofar as pertinent it reads thus: "The Interim Batasang Pambansa shall have the same powers and its Members shall have the same functions, responsibilities, rights, privileges, and disqualifications as the interim National Assembly and the regular National Assembly and the Members thereof." 14One of such powers is precisely that of proposing amendments. The 1973 Constitution in its Transitory Provisions vested the Interim National Assembly with the power to propose amendments upon special call by the Prime Minister by a vote of the majority of its members to be ratified in accordance with the Article on Amendments. 15When, therefore, the Interim Batasang Pambansa, upon the call of the President and Prime Minister Ferdinand E. Marcos, met as a constituent body it acted by virtue Of such impotence Its authority to do so is clearly beyond doubt. It could and did propose the amendments embodied in the resolutions now being assailed. It may be observed parenthetically that as far as petitioner Occena is Concerned, the question of the authority of the InterimBatasang Pambansa to propose amendments is not new. In Occena v. Commission on Elections, 16 filed by the same petitioner, decided on January 28, 1980, such a question was involved although not directly passed upon. To quote from the opinion of the Court penned by Justice Antonio in that case: "Considering that the proposed amendment of Section 7 of Article X of the Constitution extending the retirement of members of the Supreme Court and judges of inferior courts from sixty-five (65) to seventy (70) years is but a restoration of the age of retirement provided in the 1935 Constitution and has been intensively and extensively discussed at the Interim Batasang Pambansa, as well as through the mass media, it cannot, therefore, be said that our people are unaware of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed amendment." 17 (2) Petitioners would urge upon us the proposition that the amendments proposed are so extensive in character that they go far beyond the limits of the authority conferred on the Interim Batasang Pambansa as Successor of theInterim National Assembly. For them, what was done was to revise and not to amend. It suffices to quote from the opinion of Justice Makasiar, speaking for the Court, in Del Rosario v. Commission on Elections 18 to dispose of this contention. Thus: "3. And whether the Constitutional Convention will only propose amendments to the Constitution or entirely overhaul the present Constitution and propose an entirely new Constitution based on an Ideology foreign to the democratic system, is of no moment; because the same will be submitted to the people for ratification. Once ratified by the sovereign people, there can be no debate about the validity of the new Constitution. 4. The fact that the present Constitution may be revised and replaced with a new

one ... is no argument against the validity of the law because 'amendment' includes the 'revision' or total overhaul of the entire Constitution. At any rate, whether the Constitution is merely amended in part or revised or totally changed would become immaterial the moment the same is ratified by the sovereign people." 19 There is here the adoption of the principle so well-known in American decisions as well as legal texts that a constituent body can propose anything but conclude nothing. 20 We are not disposed to deviate from such a principle not only sound in theory but also advantageous in practice. (3) That leaves only the questions of the vote necessary to propose amendments as well as the standard for proper submission. Again, petitioners have not made out a case that calls for a judgment in their favor. The language of the Constitution supplies the answer to the above questions. The Interim Batasang Pambansa, sitting as a constituent body, can propose amendments. In that capacity, only a majority vote is needed. It would be an indefensible proposition to assert that the three-fourth votes required when it sits as a legislative body applies as well when it has been convened as the agency through which amendments could be proposed. That is not a requirement as far as a constitutional convention is concerned. It is not a requirement either when, as in this case, the Interim Batasang Pambansa exercises its constituent power to propose amendments. Moreover, even on the assumption that the requirement of three- fourth votes applies, such extraordinary majority was obtained. It is not disputed that Resolution No. 1 proposing an amendment allowing a natural-born citizen of the Philippines naturalized in a foreign country to own a limited area of land for residential purposes was approved by the vote of 122 to 5; Resolution No. 2 dealing with the Presidency, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and the National Assembly by a vote of 147 to 5 with 1 abstention; and Resolution No. 3 on the amendment to the Article on the Commission on Elections by a vote of 148 to 2 with 1 abstention. Where then is the alleged infirmity? As to the requisite standard for a proper submission, the question may be viewed not only from the standpoint of the period that must elapse before the holding of the plebiscite but also from the standpoint of such amendments having been called to the attention of the people so that it could not plausibly be maintained that they were properly informed as to the proposed changes. As to the period, the Constitution indicates the way the matter should be resolved. There is no ambiguity to the applicable provision: "Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not later than three months after the approval of such amendment or revision." 21 The three resolutions were approved by the Interim Batasang Pambansa sitting as a constituent assembly on February 5 and 27, 1981. In the Batasang Pambansa Blg. 22, the date of the plebiscite is set for April 7, 1981. It is thus within the 90-day period provided by the Constitution. Thus any argument to the contrary is unavailing. As for the people being adequately informed, it cannot be denied that this time, as in the cited 1980 Occena opinion of Justice Antonio, where the amendment restored to seventy the retirement age of members of the judiciary, the proposed amendments have "been intensively and extensively discussed at the Interim Batasang Pambansa, as well as through the mass media, [ so that ] it cannot, therefore, be said that our people are unaware of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed amendment [ s ]." 22 WHEREFORE, the petitions are dismissed for lack of merit. No costs. Barredo, Makasiar, Aquino Concepcion, Jr., Fernandez, Guerrero, De Castro and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur. Abad Santos, J., is on leave.

Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting: I vote to give due course to the petitions at bar and to grant the application for a temporary restraining order enjoining the plebiscite scheduled for April 7, 1981. 1. Consistently with my dissenting opinion in Sanidad vs. Comelec 1 on the invalidity of the October 1976 amendments proposals to the 1973 Constitution for not having been proposed nor adopted in accordance with the mandatory provisions thereof, as restated by me in Hidalgo vs. Marcos 2 and De la Llana vs. Comelec 3 , questioning the validity of the December 17, 1977 referendum exercise as to the continuance in office as incumbent President and to be Prime Minister after the organization of the Interim Batasang Pambansa as provided for in Amendment No. 3 of the 1976 Amendments, I am constrained to dissent from the majority decision of dismissal of the petitions. I had held in Sanidad that the transcendental constituent power to propose and approve amendments to the Constitution as well as to set up the machinery and prescribe the procedure for the ratification of the amendments proposals has been withheld by the Constitution from the President (Prime Minister) as sole repository of executive power and that so long as the regular National Assembly provided for in Article VIII of the Constitution had not come to existence and the proposals for constitutional amendments were now deemed necessary to be discussed and adopted for submittal to the people, strict adherence with the mandatory requirements of the amending process as provided in the Constitution must be complied with. This means, under the prevailing doctrine of Tolentino vs. Comelec 4 that the proposed amendments to be valid must come from the constitutional agency vested with the constituent power to do so, i.e. in the Interim National Assembly provided in the Transitory Article XVII which would then have to be convened and not from the executive power as vested in the President (Prime Minister) from whom such constituent power has been withheld. 2. As restated by me in the 1977 case of Hidalgo, under the controlling doctrine of Tolentino, the October 1976 constitutional amendments which created the Interim Batasang Pambansa in lieu of the Interim National Assembly were invalid since as ruled by the Court therein, constitutional provisions on amendments "dealing with the procedure or manner of amending the fundamental law are binding upon the Convention and the other departments of the government (and) are no less binding upon the people" and "the very Idea of deparcing from the fundamental law is anachronistic in the realm of constitutionalism and repugnant to the essence of the rule of law." The proposed amendments at bar having been adopted by the Interim Batasang Pambansa as the fruit of the invalid October, 1976 amendments must necessarily suffer from the same Congenital infirmity. 3. Prescinding from the foregoing and assuming the validity of the proposed amendments, I reiterate my stand inSanidad that the doctrine of fair and proper submission firs enunciated by a simple majority of six Justices (of an eleven member Court prior to the 1973 Constitution which increased the official composition of the Court to fifteen) in Gonzales vs. Comelec 5 and subsequently officially adopted by the required constitutional two-thirds majority vote of the Court (of eight votes, then) in Tolentino is fully applicable in the case at bar. The three resolutions proposing complex, complicated and radical amendments of our very structure of government were considered and approved by the Interim Batasang Pambansa sitting as a constituent assembly on February 27, 1981. It set the date of the plebiscite for thirty-nine days later on April 7, 1981 which is totally inadequate and far short of the ninety-day period fixed by the Constitution for submittal to the people

to "sufficiently inform them of the amendments to be voted upon, to conscientiously deliberate thereon and to express their will in a genuine manner." 6 4. "The minimum requirements that must be met in order that there can be a proper submission to the people of a proposed constitutional amendment" as stated by retired Justice Conrado V. Sanchez in his separate opinion inGonzales bears repeating as follows: "... we take the view that the words 'submitted to the people for their ratification,' if construed in the light of the nature of the Constitution a fundamental charter that is legislation direct from the people, an expression of their sovereign will is that it can only be amended by the people expressing themselves according to the procedure ordained by the Constitution. Therefore, amendments must be fairly laid before the people for their blessing or spurning. The people are not to be mere rubber stamps. They are not to vote blindly. They must be afforded ample opportunity to mull over the original provisions, compare them with the proposed amendments, and try to reach a conclusion as the dictates of their conscience suggest, free from the incubus of extraneous or possibly insidious influences. We believe the word 'submitted' can only mean that the government, within its maximum capabilities, should strain every short to inform every citizen of the provisions to be amended, and the proposed amendments and the meaning, nature and effects thereof. ... What the Constitution in effect directs is that the government, in submitting an amendment for ratification, should put every instrumentality or agency within its structural framework to enlighten the people, educate them with respect to their act of ratification or rejection. For, as we have earlier stated, one thing is submission and another is ratification. There must be fair submission, intelligent consent or rejection. If with all these safeguards the people still approve the amendments no matter how prejudicial it is to them, then so be it. For the people decree their own fate." Justice Sanchez therein ended the passage with an apt citation that "... The great men who builded the structure of our state in this respect had the mental vision of a good Constitution voiced by Judge Cooley, who has said 'A good Constitution should be beyond the reach of temporary excitement and popular caprice or passion. It is needed for stability and steadiness; it must yield to the thought of the people; not to the whim of the people, or the thought evolved in excitement, or hot blood, but the sober second thought, which alone if the government is to be safe, can be allowed efficacy ... Changes in government are to be feard unless benefit is certain.' As Montaign says: 'All great mutation shake and disorder a state. Good does not necessarily succeed evil; another evil may succeed and a worse."'

Separate Opinions TEEHANKEE, J., dissenting: I vote to give due course to the petitions at bar and to grant the application for a temporary restraining order enjoining the plebiscite scheduled for April 7, 1981. 1. Consistently with my dissenting opinion in Sanidad vs. Comelec 1 on the invalidity of the October 1976 amendments proposals to the 1973 Constitution for not having been proposed nor adopted in accordance with the mandatory provisions thereof, as restated by me in Hidalgo vs. Marcos 2 and De la Llana vs. Comelec 3 , questioning the validity of the December 17, 1977 referendum exercise as to the continuance in office as incumbent President and to be Prime Minister after the organization of the Interim Batasang Pambansa as provided for in Amendment No. 3 of the 1976 Amendments, I am constrained to dissent from the majority decision of dismissal of the petitions.

I had held in Sanidad that the transcendental constituent power to propose and approve amendments to the Constitution as well as to set up the machinery and prescribe the procedure for the ratification of the amendments proposals has been withheld by the Constitution from the President (Prime Minister) as sole repository of executive power and that so long as the regular National Assembly provided for in Article VIII of the Constitution had not come to existence and the proposals for constitutional amendments were now deemed necessary to be discussed and adopted for submittal to the people, strict adherence with the mandatory requirements of the amending process as provided in the Constitution must be complied with. This means, under the prevailing doctrine of Tolentino vs. Comelec 4 that the proposed amendments to be valid must come from the constitutional agency vested with the constituent power to do so, i.e. in the Interim National Assembly provided in the Transitory Article XVII which would then have to be convened and not from the executive power as vested in the President (Prime Minister) from whom such constituent power has been withheld. 2. As restated by me in the 1977 case of Hidalgo, under the controlling doctrine of Tolentino, the October 1976 constitutional amendments which created the Interim Batasang Pambansa in lieu of the Interim National Assembly were invalid since as ruled by the Court therein, constitutional provisions on amendments "dealing with the procedure or manner of amending the fundamental law are binding upon the Convention and the other departments of the government (and) are no less binding upon the people" and "the very Idea of deparcing from the fundamental law is anachronistic in the realm of constitutionalism and repugnant to the essence of the rule of law." The proposed amendments at bar having been adopted by the Interim Batasang Pambansa as the fruit of the invalid October, 1976 amendments must necessarily suffer from the same Congenital infirmity. 3. Prescinding from the foregoing and assuming the validity of the proposed amendments, I reiterate my stand inSanidad that the doctrine of fair and proper submission firs enunciated by a simple majority of six Justices (of an eleven member Court prior to the 1973 Constitution which increased the official composition of the Court to fifteen) in Gonzales vs. Comelec 5 and subsequently officially adopted by the required constitutional two-thirds majority vote of the Court (of eight votes, then) in Tolentino is fully applicable in the case at bar. The three resolutions proposing complex, complicated and radical amendments of our very structure of government were considered and approved by the Interim Batasang Pambansa sitting as a constituent assembly on February 27, 1981. It set the date of the plebiscite for thirty-nine days later on April 7, 1981 which is totally inadequate and far short of the ninety-day period fixed by the Constitution for submittal to the people to "sufficiently inform them of the amendments to be voted upon, to conscientiously deliberate thereon and to express their will in a genuine manner." 6 4. "The minimum requirements that must be met in order that there can be a proper submission to the people of a proposed constitutional amendment" as stated by retired Justice Conrado V. Sanchez in his separate opinion inGonzales bears repeating as follows: "... we take the view that the words 'submitted to the people for their ratification,' if construed in the light of the nature of the Constitution a fundamental charter that is legislation direct from the people, an expression of their sovereign will is that it can only be amended by the people expressing themselves according to the procedure ordained by the Constitution. Therefore, amendments must be fairly laid before the people for their blessing or spurning. The people are not to be mere rubber stamps. They are not to vote blindly. They must be afforded ample opportunity to mull over the original provisions, compare them with the proposed amendments, and try to reach a conclusion as the dictates of their conscience suggest, free from the incubus of extraneous or possibly insidious influences. We believe the word 'submitted' can only mean that the government, within its maximum capabilities, should strain every short to inform every citizen of the provisions to be amended, and the proposed amendments and the meaning, nature and effects thereof. ... What the Constitution in effect directs is that the government, in submitting an amendment for ratification, should put every instrumentality or agency within its structural framework to enlighten the people, educate them with respect to their

act of ratification or rejection. For, as we have earlier stated, one thing is submission and another is ratification. There must be fair submission, intelligent consent or rejection. If with all these safeguards the people still approve the amendments no matter how prejudicial it is to them, then so be it. For the people decree their own fate." Justice Sanchez therein ended the passage with an apt citation that "... The great men who builded the structure of our state in this respect had the mental vision of a good Constitution voiced by Judge Cooley, who has said 'A good Constitution should be beyond the reach of temporary excitement and popular caprice or passion. It is needed for stability and steadiness; it must yield to the thought of the people; not to the whim of the people, or the thought evolved in excitement, or hot blood, but the sober second thought, which alone if the government is to be safe, can be allowed efficacy ... Changes in government are to be feard unless benefit is certain.' As Montaign says: 'All great mutation shake and disorder a state. Good does not necessarily succeed evil; another evil may succeed and a worse."'

G.R. No. L-59524 February 18, 1985 JOVITO R. SALONGA, petitioner, vs. HON. ERNANI CRUZ PAO, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal Branch XVIII (Quezon City), HON. JUDGE RODOLFO ORTIZ, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXXI (Quezon City) CITY FISCAL SERGIO APOSTOL of Quezon City; COL. BALBINO DIEGO and COL. ROMAN MADELLA, respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: The petitioner invokes the constitutionally protected right to life and liberty guaranteed by the due process clause, alleging that no prima facie case has been established to warrant the filing of an information for subversion against him. Petitioner asks this Court to prohibit and prevent the respondents from using the iron arm of the law to harass, oppress, and persecute him, a member of the democratic opposition in the Philippines. The background of this case is a matter of public knowledge. A rash of bombings occurred in the Metro Manila area in the months of August, September and October of 1980. On September 6, 1980, one Victor Burns Lovely, Jr., a Philippine-born American citizen from Los Angeles, California, almost killed himself and injured his younger brother, Romeo, as a result of the explosion of a small bomb inside his room at the YMCA building in Manila. Found in Lovely's possession by police and military authorities were several pictures taken sometime in May, 1980 at the birthday party of former Congressman Raul Daza held at the latter's residence in a Los Angeles suburb. Petitioner Jovito R. Salonga and his wife were among those whose likenesses appeared in the group pictures together with other guests, including Lovely. As a result of the serious injuries he suffered, Lovely was brought by military and police authorities to the AFP Medical Center (V. Luna Hospital) where he was placed in the custody and detention of Col. Roman P. Madella, under the over-all direction of General Fabian Ver, head of the National Intelligence and Security Authority (NISA). Shortly afterwards, Mr. Lovely and his two brothers, Romeo and Baltazar Lovely were charged with subversion, illegal possession of explosives, and damage to property. On September 12, 1980, bombs once again exploded in Metro Manila including one which resulted in the death of an American lady who was shopping at Rustan's Supermarket in Makati and others which caused injuries to a number of persons. On September 20, 1980, the President's anniversary television radio press conference was broadcast. The younger brother of Victor Lovely, Romeo, was presented during the conference. In his interview, Romeo stated that he had driven his elder brother, Victor, to the petitioner's house in Greenhills on two occasions. The first time was on August 20, 1980. Romeo stated that Victor did not bring any bag with him on that day when he went to the petitioner's residence and did not carry a bag when he left. The second time was in the afternoon of August 31, 1980 when he brought Victor only to the gate of the petitioner's house. Romeo did not enter the petitioner's residence. Neither did he return that day to pick up his brother. The next day, newspapers came out with almost Identical headlines stating in effect that petitioner had been linked to the various bombings in Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, on September 25, 1980, Lovely was taken out of the hospital's intensive care unit and transferred to the office of Col. Madella where he was held incommunicado for some time. On the night of October 4, 1980, more bombs were reported to have exploded at three big hotels in Metro Manila, namely: Philippine Plaza, Century Park Sheraton and Manila Peninsula. The bombs injured nine people. A meeting of the General Military Council was called for October 6, 1980. On October 19, 1980, minutes after the President had finished delivering his speech before the International Conference of the American Society of Travel Agents at the Philippine International Convention Center, a small bomb exploded. Within the next twenty-four hours, arrest, search, and seizure orders (ASSOs) were issued against persons who were apparently implicated by Victor Lovely in the series of bombings in Metro Manila. One of them was herein petitioner. Victor Lovely offered himself to be a "state witness" and in his letter to the President, he stated that he will reveal everything he knows about the bombings. On October 21, 1980, elements of the military went to the hospital room of the petitioner at the Manila Medical Center where he was confined due to his recurrent and chronic ailment of bronchial asthma and placed him under arrest. The arresting officer showed the petitioner the ASSO form which however did not specify the charge or charges against him. For some time, the petitioner's lawyers were not permitted to visit him in his hospital room until this Court in the case of Ordoez v. Gen. Fabian Ver, et al., (G.R. No. 55345, October 28, 1980) issued an order directing that the petitioner's right to be visited by counsel be respected. On November 2, 1980, the petitioner was transferred against his objections from his hospital arrest to an isolation room without windows in an army prison camp at Fort Bonifacio, Makati. The petitioner states that he was not informed why he was transferred and detained, nor was he ever investigated or questioned by any military or civil authority. Subsequently, on November 27, 1980, the petitioner was released for humanitarian reasons from military custody and placed "under house arrest in the custody of Mrs. Lydia Salonga" still without the benefit of any investigation or charges. On December 10, 1980, the Judge Advocate General sent the petitioner a "Notice of Preliminary Investigation" inPeople v. Benigno Aquino, Jr., et al. (which included petitioner as a co-accused), stating that "the preliminary investigation of the above-entitled case has been set at 2:30 o'clock p.m. on December 12, 1980" and that petitioner was given ten (10) days from receipt of the charge sheet and the supporting evidence within which to file his counter-evidence. The petitioner states that up to the time martial law was lifted on January 17, 1981, and despite assurance to the contrary, he has not received any copies of the charges against him nor any copies of the so-called supporting evidence. On February 9, 1981, the records of the case were turned over by the Judge Advocate General's Office to the Ministry of Justice. On February 24, 1981, the respondent City Fiscal filed a complaint accusing petitioner, among others of having violated Republic Act No. 1700, as amended by P.D. 885 and Batas Pambansa Blg. 31 in relation to Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code. The inquest court set the preliminary investigation for March 17, 1981. On March 6, 1981, the petitioner was allowed to leave the country to attend a series of church conferences and undergo comprehensive medical examinations of the heart, stomach, liver, eye and ear including a possible removal of his left eye to save his right eye. Petitioner Salonga almost died

as one of the principal victims of the dastardly bombing of a Liberal Party rally at Plaza Miranda on August 20, 1971. Since then, he has suffered serious disabilities. The petitioner was riddled with shrapnel and pieces still remain in various parts of his body. He has an AV fistula caused by a piece of shrapnel lodged one millimeter from his aorta. The petitioner has limited use of his one remaining hand and arms, is completely blind and physical in the left eye, and has scar like formations in the remaining right eye. He is totally deaf in the right ear and partially deaf in the left ear. The petitioner's physical ailments led him to seek treatment abroad. On or around March 26, 1981, the counsel for petitioner was furnished a copy of an amended complaint signed by Gen. Prospero Olivas, dated March 12, 1981, charging the petitioner, along with 39 other accused with the violation of R.A. 1700, as amended by P.D. 885, Batas Pambansa Blg. 31 and P.D. 1736. Hearings for preliminary investigation were conducted. The prosecution presented as its witnesses Ambassador Armando Fernandez, the Consul General of the Philippines in Los Angeles, California, Col. Balbino Diego, PSC/NISA Chief, Investigation and Legal Panel of the Presidential Security Command and Victor Lovely himself. On October 15, 1981, the counsel for petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the charges against petitioner for failure of the prosecution to establish a prima facie case against him. On December 2, 1981, the respondent judge denied the motion. On January 4, 1982, he issued a resolution ordering the filing of an information for violation of the Revised Anti-Subversion Act, as amended, against forty (40) people, including herein petitioner. The resolutions of the respondent judge dated December 2, 1981 and January 4, 1982 are now the subject of the petition. It is the contention of the petitioner that no prima facie case has been established by the prosecution to justify the filing of an information against him. He states that to sanction his further prosecution despite the lack of evidence against him would be to admit that no rule of law exists in the Philippines today. After a painstaking review of the records, this Court finds the evidence offered by the prosecution utterly insufficient to establish a prima facie case against the petitioner. We grant the petition. However, before going into the merits of the case, we shall pass upon a procedural issue raised by the respondents. The respondents call for adherence to the consistent rule that the denial of a motion to quash or to dismiss, being interlocutory in character, cannot be questioned by certiorari; that since the question of dismissal will again be considered by the court when it decides the case, the movant has a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law; and that public interest dictates that criminal prosecutions should not be enjoined. The general rule is correctly stated. However, the respondents fail to appreciate or take into account certain exceptions when a petition for certiorari is clearly warranted. The case at bar is one such exception. In the case of Mead v. Angel (115 SCRA 256) the same contentions were advanced by the respondents to wit: xxx xxx xxx

... Respondents advert to the rule that when a motion to quash filed by an accused in a criminal case shall be denied, the remedy of the accused-movant is not to file a petition for certiorari or mandamus or prohibition, the proper recourse being to go to trial, without prejudice to his right to reiterate the grounds invoked in his motion to quash if an adverse judgment is rendered against him, in the appeal that he may take therefrom in the manner authorized by law. (Mill v. People, et al., 101 Phil. 599; Echarol v. Purisima, et al., 13 SCRA 309.) On this argument, we ruled: There is no disputing the validity and wisdom of the rule invoked by the respondents. However, it is also recognized that, under certain situations, recourse to the extraordinary legal remedies of certiorari, prohibition or mandamus to question the denial of a motion to quash is considered proper in the interest of "more enlightened and substantial justice", as was so declared in "Yap v. Lutero, G.R. No. L-12669, April 30, 1969." Infinitely more important than conventional adherence to general rules of criminal procedure is respect for the citizen's right to be free not only from arbitrary arrest and punishment but also from unwarranted and vexatious prosecution. The integrity of a democratic society is corrupted if a person is carelessly included in the trial of around forty persons when on the very face of the record no evidence linking him to the alleged conspiracy exists. Ex-Senator Jovito Salonga, himself a victim of the still unresolved and heinous Plaza Miranda bombings, was arrested at the Manila Medical Center while hospitalized for bronchial asthma. When arrested, he was not informed of the nature of the charges against him. Neither was counsel allowed to talk to him until this Court intervened through the issuance of an order directing that his lawyers be permitted to visit him (Ordonez v. Gen. Fabian Ver, et al., G.R. No. 55345, October 28, 1980). Only after four months of detention was the petitioner informed for the first time of the nature of the charges against him. After the preliminary investigation, the petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint but the same was denied. Subsequently, the respondent judge issued a resolution ordering the filing of an information after finding that a prima facie case had been established against an of the forty persons accused. In the light of the failure to show prima facie that the petitioner was probably guilty of conspiring to commit the crime, the initial disregard of petitioner's constitutional rights together with the massive and damaging publicity made against him, justifies the favorable consideration of this petition by this Court. With former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. now deceased, there are at least 38 other coaccused to be tried with the petitioner. The prosecution must present proof beyond reasonable doubt against each and every one of the 39 accused, most of whom have varying participations in the charge for subversion. The prosecution's star witness Victor Lovely and the only source of information with regard to the alleged link between the petitioner and the series of terrorist bombings is now in the United States. There is reason to believe the petitioner's citation of international news dispatches * that the prosecution may find it difficult if not infeasible to bring him back to the Philippines to testify against the petitioner. If Lovely refused to testify before an American federal grand jury how could he possibly be made to testify when the charges against the respondent come up in the course of the trial against the 39 accused. Considering the foregoing, we find it in the interest of justice to resolve at this stage the issue of whether or not the respondent judge gravely abused his discretion in issuing the questioned resolutions. The respondents contend that the prosecution will introduce additional evidence during the trial and if the evidence, by then, is not sufficient to prove the petitioner's guilt, he would anyway be acquitted. Yes, but under the circumstances of this case, at what cost not only to the petitioner but to the basic fabric of our criminal justice system?

The term "prima facie evidence" denotes evidence which, if unexplained or uncontradicted, is sufficient to sustain the proposition it supports or to establish the facts, or to counter-balance the presumption of innocence to warrant a conviction. The question raised before us now is: Were the evidences against the petitioner uncontradicted and if they were unexplained or uncontradicted, would they, standing alone, sufficiently overcome the presumption of innocence and warrant his conviction? We do not think so. The records reveal that in finding a case against the petitioner, the respondent judge relied only on the testimonies of Col. Balbino Diego and Victor Lovely. Ambassador Armando Fernandez, when called upon to testify on subversive organizations in the United States nowhere mentioned the petitioner as an organizer, officer or member of the Movement for Free Philippines (MFP), or any of the organizations mentioned in the complaint. Col. Diego, on the other hand, when asked what evidence he was able to gather against the petitioner depended only on the statement of Lovely "that it was the residence of ex-Senator Salonga where they met together with Renato Taada, one of the brains of the bombing conspiracy ... and the fact that Sen. Salonga has been meeting with several subversive personnel based in the U.S.A. was also revealed to me by Victor Burns Lovely; 11 and on the group pictures taken at former Congressman Raul Daza's birthday party. In concluding that a conspiracy exists to overthrow by violent means the government of the Philippines in the United States, his only bases were "documentary as well as physical and sworn statements that were referred to me or taken by me personally," which of course negate personal knowledge on his part. When asked by the court how he would categorize petitioner in any of the subversive organizations, whether petitioner was an organizer, officer or a member, the witness replied: A. To categorize former Senator Salonga if he were an organizer, he is an officer or he is a member, your Honor, please, we have to consider the surrounding circumstances and on his involvement: first, Senator Salonga wanted always to travel to the United States at least once a year or more often under the pretext of to undergo some sort of operation and participate in some sort of seminar. (t.s.n., April 21, 1981, pp- 14-15) Such testimony, being based on affidavits of other persons and purely hearsay, can hardly qualify as prima facie evidence of subversion. It should not have been given credence by the court in the first place. Hearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, -has no probative value as the affiant could not have been cross-examined on the facts stated therein. (See People v. Labinia, 115 SCRA 223; People v. Valero, 112 SCRA 661). Moreover, as Victor Lovely, himself, was personally examined by the court, there was no need for the testimony of Col. Diego. Thus, the inquest judge should have confined his investigation to Victor Burns Lovely, the sole witness whose testimony had apparently implicated petitioner in the bombings which eventually led to the filing of the information. Lovely's account of the petitioner's involvement with the former's bombing mission is found in his sworn statement made before Col. Diego and Lt. Col. Madella and taken on October 17, 1980 at the AFP Medical Center. Lovely was not presented as a prosecution or state witness but only as a defense witness for his two younger brothers, Romeo and Baltazar, who were both included in the complaint but who were later dropped from the information. Victor Lovely was examined by his counsel and cross-examined by the fiscal. In the process, he Identified the statement which he made before Col. Diego and Lt. Col. Madella. After Lovely's testimony, the prosecution made a manifestation before the court that it was adopting Lovely as a prosecution witness. According to Lovely's statement, the following events took place:

36. Q. Did Psinakis tell you where to stay? A. Yes, at first he told me to check-in at Manila Hotel or the Plaza Hotel where somebody would come to contact me and give the materials needed in the execution of my mission. I thought this was not safe so I disagreed with him. Mr. Psinakis changed the plan and instead told me to visit the residence of Ex-Sen. Jovito Salonga as often as I can and someone will meet me there to give the materials I needed to accomplish my mission 37. Q. Did you comply as instructed? A. Yes, I arrived in Manila on August 20, 1980 and stayed at the residence of Mr. Johnny Chua, husband of my business partner, then I went to the Hospital where I visited my mother and checked-in at Room 303 of the YMCA at Concepcion Street, Manila. 38. Q. Did you visit the residence of former Senator Jovito Salonga as directed by Psinakis? A. I visited Sen. Salonga's place three (3) times, the first visit was August 20 or 21, and the last was 4:00 P.M. of August 31, 1980. In addition to these visits, I TALKED to him on the phone about three or four times. On my first visit, I told him "I am expecting an attache case from somebody which will be delivered to your house," for which Sen. Salonga replied "Wala namang nagpunta dito at wala namang attache case para sa iyo." However, if your attache case arrives, I'll just call you." I gave him my number. On my second visit, Salonga said, "I'll be very busy so just come back on the 31st of August at 4 P.M." On that date, I was with friends at Batulao Resort and had to hurry back to be at Salonga's place for the appointment. I arrived at Salonga's place at exactly 4 P.M. 39. Q. What happened then? A. I was ushered to the sala by Mrs. Salonga and after five minutes, Sen. Salonga joined me in the sala. Sen. Salonga informed me that somebody will be coming to give me the attache case but did not tell me the name. 40. Q. Are there any subject matters you discuss while waiting for that somebody to deliver your materials? A. Yes, Salonga asked if Sen. Aquino and I have met, I explained to him the efforts of Raul Daza in setting up that meeting but I have previous business commitments at Norfolk, Virginia. I told him, however, that through the efforts of Raul Daza, I was able to talk with Ninoy Aquino in the airport telephone booth in San Francisco. He also asked about Raul Daza, Steve Psinakis and the latest opposition group activities but it seems he is well informed. 41. Q. How long did you wait until that somebody arrived?

A. About thirty (30) minutes. 41. Q. What happened when the man arrived? A. This man arrived and I was greatly surprised to see Atty. Renato Taada Jovy Salonga was the one who met him and as I observed parang nasa sariling bahay si Taada nung dumating. They talked for five (5) minutes in very low tones so I did not hear what they talked about. After their whispering conversations, Sen. Salonga left and at this time Atty. "Nits" Taada told me "Nasa akin ang kailangan mo, nasa kotse." 43. Q. Were the materials given to you? A. When Sen. Salonga came back, we asked to be permitted to leave and I rode in Atty. "Nits" Taadas old Pontiac car colored dirty brown and proceeded to Broadway Centrum where before I alighted, Atty. Taada handed me a "Puma" bag containing all the materials I needed. xxx xxx xxx 45. Q. What were the contents of the Puma bag? A. Ten (10) pieces of Westclox pocket watch with screw and wirings, ten (10) pieces electrical blasting caps 4" length, ten (10) pieces nonelectrical blasting caps 1 " length, nine (9) pieces volts dry cell battery, two (2) improvised electrical testers. ten (10) plastic packs of high explosive about 1 pound weight each. However, in his interview with Mr. Ronnie Nathanielz which was aired on Channel 4 on November 8, 1980 and which was also offered as evidence by the accused, Lovely gave a different story which negates the above testimony insofar as the petitioner's participation was concerned: xxx xxx xxx Q. Who were the people that you contacted in Manila and for what purpose? A. Before I left for the Philippines, Mr. Psinakis told me to check in at the Manila Hotel or the Plaza Hotel, and somebody would just deliver the materials I would need. I disapproved of this, and I told him I would prefer a place that is familiar to me or who is close to me. Mr. Psinakis suggested the residence of Sen. Salonga. And so, I arrived in Manila on August 20, 1980, 1 made a call to Sen. Salonga, but he was out. The next day I made a call again. I was able to contact him. I made an appointment t see him. I went to Sen. Salonga's house the following day. I asked Sen. Salonga if someone had given him an attache case for me. He said nobody. Afterwards, I made three calls to Sen. Salonga. Sen. Salonga told me "call me

again on the 31st of August. I did not call him, I just went to his house on the 31st of August at 4 P.M. A few minutes after my arrival Atty. Renato Taada arrived. When he had a chance to be near me, he (Atty. Tanada) whispered to me that he had the attache case and the materials I needed in his car. These materials were given to me by Atty. Tanada When I alighted at the Broadway Centrum. (Emphasis supplied) During the cross-examination, counsel for petitioner asked Lovely about the so-called destabilization plan which the latter mentioned in his sworn statement: Q. You mentioned in your statement taken on October 17, 1980, marked Exhibit "G" about the so-called destabilization plan of Aquino. When you attended the birthday party of Raul Daza wherein Jovito Salonga was also present, was this destabilization plan as alleged by you already formulated? WITNESS: A. Not to my knowledge. COURT TO WITNESS: Q. Mr. Witness, who invited you to the party? A. Raul Daza, your Honor. Q. Were you told that Mr. Salonga would be present in the party. A. I am really not quite sure, your Honor. Q. Alright. You said initially it was social but then it became political. Was there any political action taken as a result of the party? A. Only political discussion, your Honor. (TSN, July 8, 1981, pp. 6984). Counsel for petitioner also asked Lovely whether in view of the latter's awareness of the physical condition of petitioner, he really implicated petitioner in any of the bombings that occurred in Metro Manila. The fiscal objected without stating any ground. In sustaining the objection, the Court said: Sustained . . . The use of the word 'implicate' might expand the role of Mr. Salonga. In other words, you are widening the avenue of Mr. Salonga's role beyond the participation stated in the testimony of this witness about Mr. Salonga, at least, as far as the evidence is concerned, I supposed, is only being in the house of Mr. Salonga which was used as the contact point. He never mentions Mr. Salonga about the bombings. Now these words had to be put in the mouth of this witness. That would be unfair to Mr. Salonga. (TSN. July 8, 1981, p. 67) Respondent judge further said:

COURT: As the Court said earlier, the parts or portions affecting Salonga only refers to the witness coming to Manila already then the matter of . . . I have gone over the statement and there is no mention of Salonga insofar as activities in the United States is concerned. I don't know why it concerns this cross-examination. ATTY. YAP: Because according to him, it was in pursuance of the plan that he came to Manila. COURT: According to him it was Aquino, Daza, and Psinakis who asked him to come here, but Salonga was introduced only when he (Lovely) came here. Now, the tendency of the question is also to connect Salonga to the activities in the United States. It seems to be the thrust of the questions. COURT: In other words, the point of the Court as of the time when you asked him question, the focus on Salonga was only from the time when he met Salonga at Greenhills. It was the first time that the name of Salonga came up. There was no mention of Salonga in the formulation of the destabilization plan as affirmed by him. But you are bringing this up although you are only cross-examining for Salonga as if his (Lovely's) activities in the United States affected Salonga. (TSN. July 8, 1981, pp. 73-74). Apparently, the respondent judge wanted to put things in proper perspective by limiting the petitioner's alleged "participation" in the bombing mission only to the fact that petitioner's house was used as a "contact point" between Lovely and Taada, which was all that Lovely really stated in his testimony. However, in the questioned resolution dated December 2, 1981, the respondent judge suddenly included the "activities" of petitioner in the United States as his basis for denying the motion to dismiss: On the activities of Salonga in the United States, the witness, Lovely, in one of his statements declared: 'To the best of my recollection he mentioned of some kind of violent struggle in the Philippines being most likely should reforms be not instituted by President Marcos immediately. It is therefore clear that the prosecution's evidence has established facts and circumstances sufficient for a finding that excludes a Motion to Dismiss by respondent Salonga. The Movement for Free Philippines is undoubtedly a force born on foreign soil it appears to rely on the resources of foreign entities, and is being (sic) on gaining ascendancy in the Philippines with the use of force and for that purpose it

has linked itself with even communist organizations to achieve its end. It appears to rely on aliens for its supporters and financiers. The jump from the "contact point" theory to the conclusion of involvement in subversive activities in the United States is not only inexplicable but without foundation. The respondents admit that no evidence was presented directly linking petitioner Salonga to actual acts of violence or terrorism. There is no proof of his direct participation in any overt acts of subversion. However, he is tagged as a leader of subversive organizations for two reasons(1) Because his house was used as a "contactpoint"; and (2) Because "he mentioned some kind of violent struggle in the Philippines being most likely should reforms be not instituted by President Marcos immediately." The "contact point" theory or what the petitioner calls the guilt by visit or guilt by association" theory is too tenuous a basis to conclude that Senator Salonga was a leader or mastermind of the bombing incidents. To indict a person simply because some plotters, masquerading as visitors, have somehow met in his house or office would be to establish a dangerous precedent. The right of citizens to be secure against abuse of governmental processes in criminal prosecutions would be seriously undermined. The testimony of Victor Lovely against petitioner Salonga is full of inconsistencies. Senator Salonga and Atty. Renato Taada could not have whispered to one another because the petitioner is almost totally deaf. Lovely could not have met Senator Salonga at a Manglapus party in Washington, D.C. in 1977 because the petitioner left for the United States only on November, 1978. Senator Salonga denies having known Mr. Lovely in the United States or in the Philippines. He states that he has hundred of visitors from week to week in his residence but cannot recall any Victor Lovely. The presence of Lovely in a group picture taken at Mr. Raul Daza's birthday party in Los Angeles where Senator Salonga was a guest is not proof of conspiracy. As stated by the petitioner, in his many years in the turbulent world of politics, he has posed with all kinds of people in various groups and various places and could not possibly vouch for their conduct. Commenting on the matter, newspaper columnist Teodoro Valencia stated that Filipinos love to pose with important visitors and the picture proves nothing. It is likewise probable that a national figure and former politician of Senator Salonga's stature can expect guests and visitors of all kinds to be visiting his home or office. If a rebel or subversive happens to pose with the petitioner for a group picture at a birthday party abroad, or even visit him with others in his home, the petitioner does not thereby become a rebel or subversive, much less a leader of a subversive group. More credible and stronger evidence is necessary for an indictment. Nonetheless, even if we discount the flaws in Lovely's testimony and dismiss the refutations and arguments of the petitioner, the prosecution evidence is still inadequate to establish a prima facie finding. The prosecution has not come up with even a single iota of evidence which could positively link the petitioner to any proscribed activities of the Movement for Free Philippines or any subversive organization mentioned in the complaint. Lovely had already testified that during the party of former Congressman Raul Daza which was alleged to have been attended by a number of members of the MFP, no political action was taken but only political discussion. Furthermore, the alleged opinion of the petitioner about the likelihood of a violent struggle here in the Philippines if reforms are not instituted, assuming that he really stated the same, is nothing but a legitimate exercise of freedom of

thought and expression. No man deserves punishment for his thoughts. Cogitationis poenam memo meretur. And as the late Justice Oliver W. Holmes stated in the case of U.S. v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644, " ... if there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate." We have adopted the concept that freedom of expression is a "preferred" right and, therefore, stands on a higher level than substantive economic or other liberties. The primacy, the high estate accorded freedom of expression is a fundamental postulate of our constitutional system. (Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 29 SCRA 835). As explained by Justice Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut (302 U.S. 319) this must be so because the lessons of history, both political and legal, illustrate that freedom of thought and speech is the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom. Protection is especially mandated for political discussions. This Court is particularly concerned when allegations are made that restraints have been imposed upon mere criticisms of government and public officials. Political discussion is essential to the ascertainment of political truth. It cannot be the basis of criminal indictments. The United States Supreme Court in Noto v. United States (367 U.S. 290) distinguished between the abstract teaching of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence and speech which would prepare a group for violent action and steel it to such action. In Watts v. United States (394 U.S. 705), the American court distinguished between criminal threats and constitutionally protected speech. It stated: We do not believe that the kind of political hyperbole indulged in by petitioner fits within that statutory term. For we must interpret the language Congress chose against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials. New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (376 U.S. 254). The language of the political arena, like the language used in labor disputed is often vituperative abusive, and inexact. We agree with petitioner that his only offense was a kind of very crude offensive method of stating a political opposition to the President. In the case before us, there is no teaching of the moral propriety of a resort to violence, much less an advocacy of force or a conspiracy to organize the use of force against the duly constituted authorities. The alleged remark about the likelihood of violent struggle unless reforms are instituted is not a threat against the government. Nor is it even the uninhibited, robust, caustic, or unpleasantly sharp attack which is protected by the guarantee of free speech. Parenthetically, the American case of Brandenburg v. Ohio (395 U.S. 444) states that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. The words which petitioner allegedly used according to the best recollections of Mr. Lovely are light years away from such type of proscribed advocacy. Political discussion even among those opposed to the present administration is within the protective clause of freedom of speech and expression. The same cannot be construed as subversive activities per se or as evidence of membership in a subversive organization. Under Presidential Decree No. 885, Section 3, paragraph 6, political discussion will only constitute, prima facie evidence of membership in a subversive organization if such discussion amounts to:

(6) Conferring with officers or other members of such association or organization in furtherance of any plan or enterprise thereof. As stated earlier, the prosecution has failed to produce evidence that would establish any link between petitioner and any subversive organization. Even if we lend credence to Lovely's testimony that a political discussion took place at Daza's birthday party, no proof whatsoever was adduced that such discussion was in furtherance of any plan to overthrow the government through illegal means. The alleged opinion that violent struggle is likely unless reforms are instituted by no means shows either advocacy of or incitement to violence or furtherance of the objectives of a subversive organization. Lovely also declared that he had nothing to do with the bombing on August 22, 1980, which was the only bombing incident that occurred after his arrival in Manila on August 20, and before the YMCA explosion on September 6, 1980. (See TSN, pp. 63-63, July 8, 1981). He further testified that: WITNESS: Actually, it was not my intention to do some kind of bombing against the government. My bombing mission was directed against the particular family (referring to the Cabarrus family [TSN, p. 11, July 9, 1981] [Rollo, p. 10]. Such a statement wholly negates any politically motivated or subversive assignment which Lovely was supposed to have been commissioned to perform upon the orders of his co- accused and which was the very reason why they answer charged in the first place. The respondent judge also asked Lovely about the possible relation between Cabarrus and petitioner: COURT: Q. Did you suspect any relation between Cabarrus and Jovito Salonga, why did you implicate Jovito Salonga? A. No, your Honor. I did not try to implicate Salonga. It should be noted that after Lovely's testimony, the prosecution manifested to the court that it was adopting him as a prosecution witness. Therefore, the prosecution became irreversively bound by Lovely's disclaimers on the witness stand, that it was not his intention "to do some kind of bombing against the government" and that he "did not try to implicate Salonga", especially since Lovely is the sole witness adopted by the prosecution who could supposedly establish the link between the petitioner and the bombing incidents. The respondent court should have taken these factors into consideration before concluding that a prima facie case exists against the petitioner. Evidence must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but it must be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. (People v. Dayad, 56 SCRA 439). In the case at bar, the prosecution cannot even present a credible version of the petitioner's role in the bombings even if it ignores the subsequent disclaimers of Lovely and without relying on mere affidavits including those made by Lovely during his detention. The resolution dated January 4, 1982 suffers from the same defect. In this resolution, Lovely's previous declarations about the bombings as part of the alleged destabilization plan and the people

behind the same were accorded such credibility by the respondent judge as if they had already been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the state from useless and expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA 241; citing Hashim v. Boncan, 71 Phil. 216). The right to a preliminary investigation is a statutory grant, and to withhold it would be to transgress constitutional due process. (See People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277) However, in order to satisfy the due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More important, it is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play which are birthrights of all who live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case may be, to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the light of the conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reasons (See La Chemise Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The judge or fiscal, therefore, should not go on with the prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for this would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by vitalizing and not denigrating constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so. Mercado v. Court of First Instance of Rizal, 116 SCRA 93). The Court had already deliberated on this case, a consensus on the Court's judgment had been arrived at, and a draft ponencia was circulating for concurrences and separate opinions, if any, when on January 18, 1985, respondent Judge Rodolfo Ortiz granted the motion of respondent City Fiscal Sergio Apostol to drop the subversion case against the petitioner. Pursuant to instructions of the Minister of Justice, the prosecution restudied its evidence and decided to seek the exclusion of petitioner Jovito Salonga as one of the accused in the information filed under the questioned resolution. We were constrained by this action of the prosecution and the respondent Judge to withdraw the draft ponencia from circulating for concurrences and signatures and to place it once again in the Court's crowded agenda for further deliberations. Insofar as the absence of a prima facie case to warrant the filing of subversion charges is concerned, this decision has been rendered moot and academic by the action of the prosecution. Respondent Fiscal Sergio Apostol correctly points out, however, that he is not precluded from filing new charges for the same acts because the petitioner has not been arraigned and double jeopardy does not apply. in that sense, the case is not completely academic. Recent developments in this case serve to focus attention on a not too well known aspect of the Supreme Court's functions. The setting aside or declaring void, in proper cases, of intrusions of State authority into areas reserved by the Bill of Rights for the individual as constitutionally protected spheres where even the awesome powers of Government may not enter at will is not the totality of the Court's functions.

The Court also has the duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules. It has the symbolic function of educating bench and bar on the extent of protection given by constitutional guarantees. In dela Camara v. Enage (41 SCRA 1), the petitioner who questioned a P1,195,200.00 bail bond as excessive and, therefore, constitutionally void, escaped from the provincial jail while his petition was pending. The petition became moot because of his escape but we nonetheless rendered a decision and stated: The fact that the case is moot and academic should not preclude this Tribunal from setting forth in language clear and unmistakable, the obligation of fidelity on the part of lower court judges to the unequivocal command of the Constitution that excessive bail shall not be required. In Gonzales v. Marcos (65 SCRA 624) whether or not the Cultural Center of the Philippines could validly be created through an executive order was mooted by Presidential Decree No. 15, the Center's new charter pursuant to the President's legislative powers under martial law. Stan, this Court discussed the constitutional mandate on the preservation and development of Filipino culture for national Identity. (Article XV, Section 9, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution). In the habeas corpus case of Aquino, Jr., v. Enrile, 59 SCRA 183), during the pendency of the case, 26 petitioners were released from custody and one withdrew his petition. The sole remaining petitioner was facing charges of murder, subversion, and illegal possession of firearms. The fact that the petition was moot and academic did not prevent this Court in the exercise of its symbolic function from promulgating one of the most voluminous decisions ever printed in the Reports. In this case, the respondents agree with our earlier finding that the prosecution evidence miserably fails to establish a prima facie case against the petitioner, either as a co-conspirator of a destabilization plan to overthrow the government or as an officer or leader of any subversive organization. They have taken the initiative of dropping the charges against the petitioner. We reiterate the rule, however, that this Court will not validate the filing of an information based on the kind of evidence against the petitioner found in the records. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for having become moot and academic. SO ORDERED. Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Relova and Cuevas, JJ., concur. Aquino, De la Fuente and Alampay, JJ., took no part.

Separate Opinions

ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring Del Castillo vs. Ponce Enrile, G.R. No. 62119, August 27, 1984, 131 SCRA 405, was a petition for the writ of habeas corpus. Before this Court could finally act on the petition, the subject was released and for that reason the majority of this Court resolved to dismiss the petition for having become moot and academic. Justice Teehankee and the undersigned disagreed with the majority; we expressed the view that despite the release of the subject, the petition should have been resolved on the merits because it posed important legal questions. Babst et al. vs. National Intelligence Board, Special Committee No. 2, et al., G.R. No. 62992, Sept. 2, 1984, was a petition for prohibition to restrain the respondents from interrogating the petitioners, members of the print media, on various aspects of their works, feelings, sentiments, beliefs, associations and even their private lives. Again the majority of this Court dismissed the petition because the assailed proceedings had come to an end thereby rendering the petition moot and academic. In dismissing the petition a short and mild note of concern was added. And again Justice Teehankee and the undersigned disagreed with the majority. We expressed the view that this Court should rule squarely on the matters raised in the petition rather than dismiss it for having become moot and academic. I am glad that this Court has abandoned its cavalier treatment of petitions by dismissing them on the ground that they have become moot and academic and stopped there. I am glad it has reverted to De la Camara vs. Enage, Gonzales vs. Marcos and Aquino v. Enrile which are mentioned in the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez. I agree with the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez that because the subversion charges against the petitioner had been dropped by the trial court on January 18, 1985, there is no longer any need to prohibit the respondents from prosecuting Criminal Case No. Q-18606 insofar as he is concerned. I am not revealing any confidential matter by saying that the initial action of this Court was to grant the petition, i.e. prohibit the prosecution of the petitioner. This is manifest from the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez. I regret that on this matter the Court has been preempted by a "first strike" which has occurred once too often. Justice Gutierrez states that, "The Court had already deliberated on this case, and a consensus on the Court's judgment had been arrived at." Let me add that the consensus had taken place as early as October 24, 1984, and the decision started to circulate for signature on November 2, 1984. Alas, on January 18, 1985, the decision was still circulating overtaken by events. The decision could have had a greater impact had it been promulgated prior to the executive action.

Separate Opinions ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring Del Castillo vs. Ponce Enrile, G.R. No. 62119, August 27, 1984, 131 SCRA 405, was a petition for the writ of habeas corpus. Before this Court could finally act on the petition, the subject was released and for that reason the majority of this Court resolved to dismiss the petition for having become moot and academic. Justice Teehankee and the undersigned disagreed with the majority; we expressed

the view that despite the release of the subject, the petition should have been resolved on the merits because it posed important legal questions. Babst et al. vs. National Intelligence Board, Special Committee No. 2, et al., G.R. No. 62992, Sept. 2, 1984, was a petition for prohibition to restrain the respondents from interrogating the petitioners, members of the print media, on various aspects of their works, feelings, sentiments, beliefs, associations and even their private lives. Again the majority of this Court dismissed the petition because the assailed proceedings had come to an end thereby rendering the petition moot and academic. In dismissing the petition a short and mild note of concern was added. And again Justice Teehankee and the undersigned disagreed with the majority. We expressed the view that this Court should rule squarely on the matters raised in the petition rather than dismiss it for having become moot and academic. I am glad that this Court has abandoned its cavalier treatment of petitions by dismissing them on the ground that they have become moot and academic and stopped there. I am glad it has reverted to De la Camara vs. Enage, Gonzales vs. Marcos and Aquino v. Enrile which are mentioned in the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez. I agree with the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez that because the subversion charges against the petitioner had been dropped by the trial court on January 18, 1985, there is no longer any need to prohibit the respondents from prosecuting Criminal Case No. Q-18606 insofar as he is concerned. I am not revealing any confidential matter by saying that the initial action of this Court was to grant the petition, i.e. prohibit the prosecution of the petitioner. This is manifest from the ponencia of Justice Gutierrez. I regret that on this matter the Court has been preempted by a "first strike" which has occurred once too often. Justice Gutierrez states that, "The Court had already deliberated on this case, and a consensus on the Court's judgment had been arrived at." Let me add that the consensus had taken place as early as October 24, 1984, and the decision started to circulate for signature on November 2, 1984. Alas, on January 18, 1985, the decision was still circulating overtaken by events. The decision could have had a greater impact had it been promulgated prior to the executive action.

David vs Macapagal Arroyo : http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2006/may2006/gr_171396_2006.html Tanada vs Angara : http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/1997/may1997/118295.htm