Case 4 Tolentino vs. Comelec, 41 SCRA 702 (1971)_Summary

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Case 4 Tolentino vs. Comelec, 41 SCRA 702 (1971)_Summary...

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Tolentino vs COMELEC (1971) Summary Cases: ●

Tolentino vs Comelec 41 SCRA 702

Subject: The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to determine the constitutionality of the acts of a constitutional convention; There should only be one election or plebiscite wherein all the proposed amendments are submitted to the people for ratification at the same time, not separately from each and all of the other amendments.

Facts: Arturo M. Tolentino filed a petition for prohibition before the Supreme Court to restrain the Commission on Elections (“COMELEC”) from implementing Organic Resolution No. 1 of the Constitutional Convention of 1971, as well as the implementing acts and resolutions of the said Convention and the COMELEC. The pertinent portion reads: Section 1. Section One of Article V of the Constitution of the Philippines is amended to as follows: Section 1. Suffrage may be exercised by (male) citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are (twenty-one) EIGHTEEN years or over and are able to read and write, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for one year and in the municipality wherein they propose to vote for at least six months preceding the election. Section 2. This amendment shall be valid as part of the Constitution of the Philippines when approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite to coincide with the local elections in November 1971. Xxx As identified by the Supreme Court, the issue before it for resolution was whether or not there was any limitation or condition in Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution which was violated by the act of the Convention of calling for a plebiscite on the sole amendment contained in Organic Resolution No. 1. Held: The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to determine the constitutionality of the acts of a constitutional convention. 1. The Supreme Court, citing Gonzales v. Comelec (21 SCRA 774), held that the issue whether or not a Resolution of Congress acting as a constituent assembly, and, for that matter, of a constitutional convention called for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution violates the Constitution is essentially justiciable not political, and, hence, subject to judicial review. 2. A constitutional convention owes its existence and derives all its authority and power from the existing Constitution. Thus, the Supreme Court which has the sacred duty to give meaning and vigor to the Constitution by interpreting and construing its provisions and by striking down any act violative thereof, has jurisdiction to determine the constitutionality of the acts of a constitutional convention. There should only be one election or plebiscite wherein all the proposed amendments are © Copyright Thinc Office Corp. All rights reserved

submitted to the people for ratification at the same time, not separately from each and all of the other amendments. 3. The Supreme Court held that there was a limitation or condition in Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution which was violated by the act of the Convention of calling for a plebiscite on the sole amendment contained in Organic Resolution No. 1, and it was the condition and limitation that all the amendments to be proposed by the same Convention must be submitted to the people in a single “election” or plebiscite. 4. In arriving at the foregoing conclusion, the Supreme Court held that as Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution distinctly states that Congress sitting as a constituent assembly or a convention called for the purpose “may propose amendments to this Constitution,” there is no limit as to the number of amendments that Congress or the Convention may propose. However, the same Section 1 limits the number of election or plebiscite that may be held to ratify any amendment or amendments proposed by the same constituent assembly of Congress or convention, to only one, as the said constitutional provision definitely provides that “such amendments shall be valid as part of this Constitution when approved by a majority of the votes cast at an election at which the amendments are submitted to the people for their ratification.” 5. Moreover, all the proposed amendments must be submitted to the people for ratification at the same time, not separately from each and all of the other amendments, because the Constitution has to be an integrated and harmonious instrument, if it is to be viable as the framework of the government it establishes, on the one hand, and adequately formidable and reliable as the succinct but comprehensive articulation of the rights, liberties, ideology, social ideals, and national and nationalistic policies and aspirations of the people, on the other. This harmony can be achieved only if the people can study with deliberation the proposed amendment in relation to the whole existing constitution and or any of its parts and thereby arrive at an intelligent judgment as to its acceptability an intelligent judgment as to its acceptability. 6. As the amendment proposed to be submitted to a plebiscite was only the first amendment the Convention proposed, the plebiscite being called for the purpose of submitting the same for ratification of the people was not authorized by Section 1 of Article XV of the Constitution, hence all acts of the Convention and the respondent COMELEC in that direction were null and void.

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