Case digest Sanidad vs Comelec. CD

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SANIDAD VS. COMELEC Case Digest SANIDAD VS. COMELEC G.R. NO. L-446640 OCTOBER 12, 1976 FACTS: On September 2, 1976, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 991 calling for a national referendum on October 16, 1976 for the Citizens Assemblies ("barangays") to resolve, among other things, the issues of martial law, the national assembly, its replacement, the powers of such replacement, the period of its existence, the length of the period for tile exercise by the President of his present powers. Twenty days after or on September 22, 1976, the President issued another related decree, Presidential Decree No. 1031, amending the previous Presidential Decree No. 991, by declaring the provisions of presidential Decree No. 229 providing for the manner of voting and canvassing of votes in "barangays" applicable to the national referendum-plebiscite of October 16, 1976. Quite relevantly, Presidential Decree No. 1031 repealed Section 4, of Presidential Decree No. 991, the full text of which is quoted in the footnote below. On the same date of September 22, 1976, the President issued Presidential Decree No. 1033, stating the questions to be submitted to the people in the referendum-plebiscite on October 16, 1976. The Decree recites in its "whereas" clauses that the people's continued opposition to the convening of the National Assembly evinces their desire to have such body abolished and replaced thru a constitutional amendment, providing for a legislative body, which will be submitted directly to the people in the referendum-plebiscite of October 16. The questions ask, to wit: (1) Do you want martial law to be continued? (2) Whether or not you want martial law to be continued, do you approve the following amendments to the Constitution? For the purpose of the second question, the referendum shall have the effect of a plebiscite within the contemplation of Section 2 of Article XVI of the Constitution. On September 27, 1976, PABLO C. SANIDAD and PABLITO V. SANIDAD, commenced Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction seeking to enjoin the Commission on Elections from holding and conducting the Referendum Plebiscite on October 16; to declare without force and effect Presidential Decree Nos. 991 and 1033, insofar as they propose amendments to the Constitution, as well as Presidential Decree No. 1031, insofar as it directs the Commission on Elections to supervise, control, hold, and conduct the Referendum-Plebiscite scheduled on October 16, 1976. Petitioners contend that under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions there is no grant to the incumbent President to exercise the constituent power to propose amendments to the new Constitution. As a consequence, the Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16 has no constitutional or legal basis. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the court has jurisdiction over the case? 2. Whether or not the president has the authority to propose amendments to the Constitution? 3. Is the submission to the people of the proposed amendments within the time frame allowed therefor a sufficient and proper submission?

HELD: Issue 1 – Justiciability of the courts We cannot accept the view of the Solicitor General, in pursuing his theory of non-justiciability, that the question of the President's authority to propose amendments and the regularity of the procedure adopted for submission of the proposal to the people ultimately lie in the judgment of the clear Descartes fallacy of vicious circle. Is it not that the people themselves, by their sovereign act, provided for the authority and procedure for the amending process when they ratified the present Constitution in 1973? Whether, therefore, the constitutional provision has been followed or not is the proper subject of inquiry, not by the people themselves of course who exercise no power of judicial but by the Supreme Court in whom the people themselves vested that power, a power which includes the competence to determine whether the constitutional norms for amendments have been observed or not. And, this inquiry must be done a prior not a posterior i.e., before the submission to and ratification by the people. Issue 2 – Whether or not the president has the authority to propose amendments to the Constitution? As earlier pointed out, the power to legislate is constitutionally consigned to the interim National Assembly during the transition period. However, the initial convening of that Assembly is a matter fully addressed to the judgment of the incumbent President. And, in the exercise of that judgment, the President opted to defer convening of that body in utter recognition of the people's preference. Likewise, in the period of transition, the power to propose amendments to the Constitution lies in the interim National Assembly upon special call by the President. Again, harking to the dictates of the sovereign will, the President decided not to call the interim National Assembly. Would it then be within the bounds of the Constitution and of law for the President to assume that constituent power of the interim Assembly vis-a-vis his assumption of that body's legislative functions? The answer is yes. If the President has been legitimately discharging the legislative functions of the interim Assembly, there is no reason why he cannot validly discharge the function of that Assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution, which is but adjunct, although peculiar, to its gross legislative power. This, of course, is not to say that the President has converted his office into a constituent assembly of that nature normally constituted by the legislature. Rather, with the interim National Assembly not convened and only the Presidency and the Supreme Court in operation, the urges of absolute necessity render it imperative upon the President to act as agent for and in behalf of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution. Issue 3 - Is the submission to the people of the proposed amendments within the time frame allowed therefor a sufficient and proper submission? It is worthy to note that Article XVI of the Constitution makes no provision as to the specific date when the plebiscite shall be held, but simply states that it "shall be held not later than three months after the approval of such amendment or revision."

SANIDAD VS. COMELEC [78 SCRA 333; G.R. No. 90878; 29 Jan 1990] Friday, January 30, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: 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 expressionand of the press. On October 23, 1989, Republic Act No. 6766, entitled "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR AN






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 the1987 Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code (BP 881), said R.A. 6766 and other pertinent election laws, promulgated Resolution No. 2167, to govern the conduct










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











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





It is alleged by petitioner that said provision is void and unconstitutional because


violates the

constitutional guarantees


the freedom


expression and of the press enshrined in the Constitution. Unlike a regular news




correspondentwho merely




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 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


Issue: Whether



or not Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 is


Held: The Supreme Court ruled that Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167










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 and forums 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






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









Plebiscite Issue 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 Issue, including the forum. The people affected by the Issue 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


The instant petition is GRANTED. Section 19 of Comelec Resolution No. 2167 is declared null and void and unconstitutional.

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