Constitutional Law 1 - File No. 5
Download Constitutional Law 1 - File No. 5...
File No. 5
III. POWER OF JUDICIAL REVIEW Judicial Review – the power of the courts to test the validity of executive and legislative acts in light of their conformity with the Constitution. CASES •
This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of judicial review. That means that the Court has the right to review acts of Congress and, by extension, actions of the President. If the Court finds that the law is unconstitutional, it can overrule the law. Marshall argued that the Constitution is the “supreme law” of the land and that the Supreme Court has the final say over the meaning of the Constitution. He wrote, “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is (Marbury vs. Madison, 5 US 137, 2 L.Ed. 60).”
In the regular course, the regional trial courts and the Supreme Court have concurrent jurisdiction to hear and decide petitions for quo warranto (as well as certiorari, prohibition and mandamus), and a basic deference to the hierarchy of courts impels a filing of such petitions in the lower tribunals. However, for special and important reasons or for exceptional and compelling circumstances, as in the present case, the Supreme Court has allowed exceptions to this doctrine. In fact, original petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus and quo warranto assailing acts of legislative officers like the Senate President and the Speaker of the House have been recognized as exceptions to this rule. In this country the judicial supremacy is established, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, not only in justiceable but political questions as well (Defensor-Santiago vs. Guingona, GR 134577, Nov. 18, 1998).
The Court's power of judicial review is conferred on the judicial branch of the government in Section 1, Article VIII of our present 1987 Constitution. The "moderating power" to "determine the proper allocation of powers" of the different branches of government and "to direct the course of government along constitutional channels" is inherent in all courts as a necessary consequence of the judicial power itself, which is "the power of the court to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable." The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. It obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own sphere. But it does not follow from the fact that the three powers are to be kept separate and distinct that the Constitution intended them to be absolutely unrestrained and independent of each other. The Constitution has provided for an elaborate system of checks and balances to secure coordination in the workings of the various departments of the government. And the judiciary in turn, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter, effectively checks the other departments in the exercise of its power to determine the law, and hence to declare executive and legislative acts void if violative of the Constitution (Francisco vs. House of Representatives, GR 160261, Nov. 10, 2003).
1. JUDICIAL SUPREMACY VS. CONSTITUTIONAL SUPREMACY Doctrine of Judicial Supremacy
Although holding neither purse nor sword and so regarded as the weakest of the three departments of the government, the Judiciary is nonetheless vested with the power to annul the acts of either the Legislative or the Executive department or both when not conformable to the fundamental law (Asso. Of Small Landowners of the Philippines vs. Sec. of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343).
When the judiciary allocates constitutional boundaries, it neither asserts superiority, non-nullifies an act of the legislative, it only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them (Laurel, Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139).
Doctrine of Constitutional Supremacy If a law or contract violates any norm of the constitution, that law or contract whether promulgated by the legislative, or by the executive branch or entered into by private persons for private purpose is null and void and without any force or effect. CASES •
That judicial supremacy is but the power of judicial review in actual and appropriate cases and controversies, and is the power and duty to see that no one branch or agency of the government transcends the Constitution, which is the source of all authority. The power of the courts to test the validity of executive and legislative acts in light of their conformity with the Constitution. This is not an assertion of superiority by the courts over the other departments, but merely an expression of the supremacy of the Constitution (Angara vs. Electroral Commission, 63 Phil.139).
2. POLITICAL VS. JUSTICIABLE QUESTION Political Question - has two (2) aspects: 1. Those questions which, under the Constitution are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or 2. In regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislature or executive branches of government (Tanada v. Cuenco, 100 Phil 1101). Justiciable Question – a definite and concrete dispute touching on the legal interest which may be resolved by a court of law through the application of a law (Cataran v. DENR, GR No. 134958, January 3, 2001). CASES •
Justice William J. Brennan reformulated the political question doctrine, proposing a six-part test for determining which questions were "political" in nature. Cases which are political in nature are marked by:
1. "Textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department;" as an example of this, Brennan cited issues of foreign affairs and executive war powers, arguing that cases involving such matters would be "political questions" 2. "A lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it;" 3. "The impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion;" 4. "The impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government;" 5. "An unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made;" 6. "The potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question (Baker vs. Carr, 396 US 186).” •
The Court held that the question whether or not the Senate rule violated the US Constitution was nonjusticiable since the impeachment clause expressly granted that the “Senate shall have sole Power to try any impeachment.” The clause laid out specific regulations that were to be followed and as long as those guidelines were observed the court would not rule upon the validity of other senate procedures regarding impeachment. Chief Justice William Rehnquist observed that while the Supreme Court was the “ultimate interpreter of the Constitution,” a matter would be deemed nonjusticiable when there was “a constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department (Nixon vs. US, 506 US 224).”
Without oral argument, the divided justices found that the case was not justiciable. Rehnquist lead a group of four (4) others who believed that the issue involved a political question, namely, how the President and Congress would conduct the nation's foreign affairs. Justice Powell did not find the case ripe for judicial review. Congress had not formally challenged the Carter's authority, technically there was no conflict for the Court to resolve (Goldwater vs. Carter, 444 US 996, 62 L.Ed.2d 428).
It is now an ancient rule that the valid source of a statute — Presidential Decrees are of such nature — may be contested by one who will sustain a direct injury as a result of its enforcement. At the instance of taxpayers, laws providing for the disbursement of public funds may be enjoined, upon the theory that the expenditure of public funds by an officer of the State for the purpose of executing an unconstitutional act constitutes a misapplication of such funds. The interest of the petitioners as taxpayers in the lawful expenditure of these amounts of public money sufficiently clothes them with that personality to litigate the validity of the Decrees appropriating said funds. The amending process both as to proposal and ratification, raises a judicial question. This is especially true in cases where the power of the Presidency to initiate the amending process by proposals of amendments, a function normally exercised by the legislature, is seriously doubted. Under the terms of the 1973 Constitution, the power to propose amendments to the Constitution resides in the interim National Assembly during the period of transition (Sec. 15, Transitory Provisions). After that period, and the regular National Assembly in its active session, the power to propose amendments becomes ipso facto the prerogative of the regular National Assembly (Sec. 1, pars. 1 and 2 of Art. XVI, 1973 Constitution). The normal course has not been followed. Rather than calling the interim National Assembly to constitute itself into a constituent assembly, the incumbent President undertook the proposal of amendments and submitted the proposed amendments thru Presidential Decree 1033 to the people in a Referendum-Plebiscite on October 16. Unavoidably, the regularity of the procedure for amendments, written in lambent words in the very Constitution sought to be amended, raises a contestable issue. The implementing Presidential Decree Nos. 991, 1031, and 1033, which commonly purport to have the force and effect of legislation are assailed as invalid, thus the issue of the validity of said Decrees is plainly a justiciable one, within the competence of this Court to pass upon. Section 2 (2) Article X of the new Constitution provides: "All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, executive agreement, or law shall be heard and decided by the Supreme Court en banc and no treaty, executive agreement, or law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of at least ten Members. . . .." The Supreme Court has the last word in the construction not only of treaties and statutes, but also of the Constitution itself. The amending, like all other powers organized in the Constitution, is in form a delegated and hence a limited power, so that the Supreme Court is vested with that authority to
determine whether that power has been discharged within its limits. Political questions are neatly associated with the wisdom, not the legality of a particular act. Where the vortex of the controversy refers to the legality or validity of the contested act, that matter is definitely justiciable or non-political. What is in the heels of the Court is not the wisdom of the act of the incumbent President in proposing amendments to the Constitution, but his constitutional authority to perform such act or to assume the power of a constituent assembly. Whether the amending process confers on the President that power to propose amendments is therefore a downright justiciable question. Should the contrary be found, the actuation of the President would merely he a brutum fulmen. If the Constitution provides how it may be amended, the judiciary as the interpreter of that Constitution, can declare whether the procedure followed or the authority assumed was valid or not. Whether, therefore, that constitutional provision has been followed or not is indisputably a proper subject of inquiry, not by the people themselves — of course — who exercise no power of judicial review, 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 priori not a posteriori, i.e., before the submission to and ratification by the people. As to the question on whether or not the Pres. Marcos may propose amendments to the Constitution in the absence of a grant of such constituent power to the President, the Court held that he could. 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 an adjunct, although peculiar, to its gross legislative power (Sanidad vs. COMELEC, 73 SCRA 333). •
The Court, through former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, held that political questions refer "to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality of a particular measure." To a great degree, the 1987 Constitution has narrowed the reach of the political question doctrine when it
expanded the power of judicial review of this court not only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable but also to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. Heretofore, the judiciary has focused on the "thou shalt not's" of the Constitution directed against the exercise of its jurisdiction. With the new provision, however, courts are given a greater prerogative to determine what it can do to prevent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government. Clearly, the new provision did not just grant the Court power of doing nothing. In sync and symmetry with this intent are other provisions of the 1987 Constitution trimming the so called political thicket. Prominent of these provisions is section 18 of Article VII which empowers this Court in limpid language to "x x x review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ (of habeas corpus) or the extension thereof x x x." (Estrada vs. Arroyo, GR 146738, March 2, 2001). •
Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution expands the concept of judicial review by providing that: SEC. 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. The Court does not agree with the posture of the respondent COMELEC that the issue involved in the present petition is a political question beyond the jurisdiction of this Court to review. As the leading case of Tañada vs. Cuenco put it, political questions are concerned with “issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality of a particular measure.” The issue raised in the present petition does not merely concern the wisdom of the assailed resolution but focuses on its alleged disregard for applicable statutory and constitutional provisions. In other words, that the petitioner and the petitioners-in-intervention are questioning the legality of the respondent COMELEC’s administrative issuance will not preclude this Court from exercising its power of judicial review to determine
whether or not there was grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the respondent COMELEC in issuing Resolution No. 6712. Indeed, administrative issuances must not override, supplant or modify the law, but must remain consistent with the law they intend to carry out. When the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the issue of whether the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met or the limitations respected, is justiciable – the problem being one of legality or validity, not its wisdom. In the present petition, the Court must pass upon the petitioner’s contention that Resolution No. 6712 does not have adequate statutory or constitutional basis. An administrative body or tribunal acts without jurisdiction if it does not have the legal power to determine the matter before it; there is excess of jurisdiction where the respondent, being clothed with the power to determine the matter, oversteps its authority as determined by law. There is grave abuse of discretion justifying the issuance of the writ of certiorari when there is a capricious and whimsical exercise of his judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction (Brillantes vs. Concepcion, GR 163193, June 15, 2004). 3. PRESUMPTION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY o Laws are presumed constitutional. To nullify nullification of law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution. The theory is that, as the joint act of the legislative and executive authorities, a law is supposed to have been carefully studied and determined to be constitutional before it was finally enacted. CASES •
The time-honored doctrine is that all laws (PD No. 771 included) are presumed valid and constitutional until or unless otherwise ruled by this Court. Not only this; Article XVIII Section 3 of the Constitution states: Sec. 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or revoked.
There is nothing on record to show or even suggest that PD No. 771 has been repealed, altered or amended by any subsequent law or presidential issuance (when the executive still exercised legislative powers (Lim vs Pacquing, GR 115044, Jan. 27, 1995). 4. REQUISITES OF JUDICIAL REVIEW 1. Actual case or controversy a. ripeness b. mootness 2. Proper party 3. Question must be raised at the earliest possible time 4. Constitutional Question Must Be the Very “Lis Mota” of the Case a.
Actual Case or Controversy
Actual case or controversy – a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial determination. CASES •
An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, not conjectural or anticipatory. It cannot be disputed that there is yet no actual case or controversy involving all or any of the private respondents on one hand, and all or any of the petitioners on the other, with respect to rights or obligations under R.A. No. 8050. (Board of Optometry vs. Colet, GR 122241, July 30, 1996).
The requirements before a litigant can challenge the constitutionality of a law are well-delineated. They are: (1) there must be an actual case or controversy; (2) the question of constitutionality must be raised by the proper party; (3) the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity; and (4) the decision on the constitutional question must be necessary to the determination of the case itself. Petitioners have far from complied with these requirements. The petition is premised on the occurrence of many contingent events, i.e., that Mayor Binay will run again in this coming mayoralty elections; that he would be re-elected in said elections; and that he would seek re-election for the same post in the 1998 elections. Considering that these contingencies may or may not happen, petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen
to an actual case or controversy. Petitioners who are residents of Taguig (except Mariano) are not also the proper parties to raise this abstract issue. Worse, they hoist this futuristic issue in a petition for declaratory relief over which this Court has no jurisdiction (Mariano vs. COMELEC, 242 SCRA 211). •
In actions involving constitutional issues, the firmly settled rule is that a constitutional question will not be heard and resolved by the courts unless the following requirements of judicial inquiry are met: (1) the existence of an actual case or controversy; (2) the party raising the constitutional issue must have a personal and substantial interest in the resolution thereof; (3) the controversy must be raised at the earliest reasonable opportunity; and (4) that the resolution of the constitutional issue must, be indispensable for the final determination of the controversy. 3 Appraising the present proceeding in terms of the foregoing requirements, the Solicitor General urges that the petition at bar does not present a justiciable controversy for having been filed prematurely: ". . . petitioners, who claim to be performing artists, had not previously applied with the Secretary of Labor for exemption from the coverage of the Circular in line with the aforequoted provision. Said provision connotes that the prohibition is not at all permanent or absolute. It admits of exception . . . But to repeat, there is no allegation in the petition that petitioners had previously sought exemption from the Secretary of Labor, from the coverage of the Circular, before filing the instant petition. Obviously, the petition must fail for prematurity." The Court agrees with the Solicitor General (Fernandez vs. Torres, 215 SCRA 489).
An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination, not conjectural or anticipatory, lest the decision of the court would amount to an advisory opinion. The power does not extend to hypothetical questions since any attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions unrelated to actualities. “Legal standing” or locus standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or
will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged, alleging more than a generalized grievance. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges “such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.” Unless a person is injuriously affected in any of his constitutional rights by the operation of statute or ordinance, he has no standing (La Bugal B'laa, Tribal Assn. vs. DENR Secretary, GR 127882, Jan. 27, 2004). •
In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution, the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. "The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld." Once a "controversy as to the application or interpretation of a constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case), it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide." The jurisdiction of this Court to adjudicate the matters raised in the petition is clearly set out in the 1987 Constitution which emphasizes the judicial department's duty and power to strike down grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of government including Congress. As the Court has repeatedly and firmly emphasized in many cases, it will not shirk, digress from or abandon its sacred duty and authority to uphold the Constitution in matters that involve grave abuse of discretion brought before it in appropriate cases, committed by any officer, agency, instrumentality or department of the government. As the petition alleges grave abuse of discretion and as there is no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, we have no hesitation at all in holding that this petition should be given due course and the vital questions raised therein ruled upon under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, certiorari, prohibition and mandamus are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify, when proper, acts of legislative and executive officials. On this, we have no equivocation. We should stress that, in deciding to take jurisdiction over this petition, this Court will not review the wisdom of the decision of the President and the Senate in enlisting the country into the WTO, or pass upon the merits of trade liberalization as a policy espoused by said international body. Neither will it rule on the propriety of the government's economic
policy of reducing/removing tariffs, taxes, subsidies, quantitative restrictions, and other import/trade barriers. Rather, it will only exercise its constitutional duty "to determine whether or not there had been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" on the part of the Senate in ratifying the WTO Agreement and its three annexes (Tanada, et. al. vs. Angara, et. al., GR 118295, May 2, 1997). i)
Issue: Did Lyons's injunction against the use of police chokeholds meet the threshold requirements imposed by Article III of the Constitution? The Court held that federal courts were without jurisdiction to entertain Lyons' claim for injunctive relief. The fact that Lyons had been choked once did nothing to establish "a real and immediate threat that he would again be stopped. . .by an officer who would illegally choke him into unconsciousness." The Court held that in order to establish an actual controversy, Lyons would have to show either 1) that all Los Angeles police officers always choked citizens with whom they had encounters, or 2) that the City ordered or authorized officers to act in such a manner. Lyons was thus limited to suing the police and the city for individual damages. Lyons’ case is not ripe because of the speculative nature of his claim. Predictions of future behavior are beyond the court’s functions. The rule is that, ripeness arises when an actual case has ripened or matured into a controversy worthy of adjudication. (City of Los Angeles vs. Lyons, 449 US 934). ii)
A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value. Generally, courts decline jurisdiction over such case or dismiss it on ground of mootness. The Court holds that President Arroyo’s issuance of PP 1021 did not render the present petitions moot and
academic. During the eight (8) days that PP 1017 was operative, the police officers, according to petitioners, committed illegal acts in implementing it. Are PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 constitutional or valid? Do they justify these alleged illegal acts? These are the vital issues that must be resolved in the present petitions. It must be stressed that “an unconstitutional act is not a law, it confers no rights, it imposes no duties, it affords no protection; it is in legal contemplation, inoperative.” The “moot and academic” principle is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case. Courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if: first, there is a grave violation of the Constitution; second, the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved; third, when constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet evading review (David vs. Macapagal-Arroyo, GR 171396, May 03, 2006). •
After being denied admission to a state-operated law school, petitioner brought this suit on behalf of himself alone for injunctive relief, claiming that the school's admissions policy racially discriminated against him in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court held that because petitioner will complete law school at the end of the term for which he has registered regardless of any decision this Court might reach on the merits, the Court cannot, consistently with the limitations of Art. III of the Constitution, consider the substantive constitutional issues, and the case is moot. (a) Mootness here does not depend upon a "voluntary cessation" of the school's admissions practices but upon the simple fact that petitioner is in his final term, and the school's fixed policy to permit him to complete the term. (b) The case presents no question that is "capable of repetition, yet evading review," since petitioner will never again have to go through the school's admissions process, and since it does not follow that the issue petitioner raises will in the future evade review merely because this case did not reach the Court until the eve of petitioner's graduation (DeFunis vs. Odegaard, 416 US 312, 40 L.Ed. 343).
b. Proper Party Constitutional question must be raised by the proper party – one who has sustained or in imminent danger of sustaining an injury as a result of the act complained of. i) Conventional Standing CASES •
The court was tasked to determine if the rules of standing should be considered part of the 'case or controversy' clause of Article III of the Constitution or, apart from that, if the court can hear cases on "generalized grievances" or in the interest of third parties where none of the complaintants have standing. The court found that as none of the plaintiffs could demonstrate any injury actually done to them by the defendants, the plaintiffs were third parties to the issue and had no standing to sue. The plaintiff's descriptions of their own meager financial situations and subsequent inability to live in Penfield were found by the Court to be the consequence of the economics and housing market of the area rather than any wrong doing by the defendants (Warth vs. Seldin, 422 US 490, 45 L.Ed.2d, 343). Tanada vs. Angara, GR 118295, May 2, 1997, supra.
ii) Representative Standing iii)Jus Tertii standing CASES •
The Supreme Court was called upon to determine whether a statute that denies the sale of beer to individuals of the same age based on their gender violates the Equal Protection Clause. Additionally, the Supreme Court examined jus tertii (third party
rights), in this case the vendor of the 3.2% beer. The Court held that the gender classifications made by the Oklahoma statute were unconstitutional because the statistics relied on by the state were insufficient to show a substantial relationship between the statute and the benefits intended to stem from it. Furthermore, the Court found that analysis of the Equal Protection Clause in this case had not been changed. As to third party rights, the court, expanding on the doctrine of standing, held that the vendors of 3.2% beer will be economically affected due to the restrictive nature of the sales to males between 18 and 20. To have standing, one must show a "nexus" of the injury to themselves and the constitutional violation of the statute. In this case, the statute only directly affects plaintiff Craig. Only indirectly does it affect the vendor, Whitener, the third party. The Supreme Court explains that Whitener and other vendors have standing "by acting as advocates of the rights of third parties who seek access to their market or function" (Craig vs Boren, 429 US 190, 50 L.Ed.2d. 343). iv)
Transcendental importance to the
public CASES •
Respondents claimed that petitioners had no legal standing to initiate the instant action. Petitioners, however, countered that the action was filed by them in their capacity as Senators and as taxpayers. The prevailing doctrines in taxpayer's suits are to allow taxpayers to question contracts entered into by the national government or government-owned or controlled corporations allegedly in contravention of the law and to disallow the same when only municipal contracts are involved. For as long as the ruling in Kilosbayan on locus standi is not reversed, we have no choice but to follow it and uphold the legal standing of petitioners as taxpayers to institute the present action (Tatad vs. Garcia, 243 SCRA 436).
On the locus standi of the petitioners, the Court resolved the issue in their favor. A party's standing before the Court is a procedural technicality which it may, in the exercise of its discretion, set aside in view of the importance of the issues raised. In the landmark Emergency Powers Cases, the Court brushed aside this technicality because "the transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly
and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure. (Avelino vs. Cuenco, G.R. No. L-2821)." Insofar as taxpayers' suits are concerned, this Court had declared that it "is not devoid of discretion as to whether or not it should be entertained," or that it "enjoys an open discretion to entertain the same or not (Kilosbayan vs. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110).” •
Issue: Whether or not petitioners possess the legal standing to file the instant petition. The Supreme Court ruled in the negative. Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because some cases are brought not by parties who have been personally injured by the operation of the law or by official action taken, but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters who actually sue in the public interest. Petitioners do not in fact show what particularized interest they have for bringing this suit. And they do not have present substantial interest in the Equipment Lease Agreement (ELA) as would entitle them to bring this suit (Kilosabayan vs. Morato, 246 SCRA 540).
It is insisted that this Court has in the past accorded standing to taxpayers and concerned citizens in cases involving "paramount public interest." Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens and legislators have indeed been allowed to sue but then only (1) in cases involving constitutional issues and (2) under certain conditions. Petitioners do not meet these requirements on standing. Taxpayers are allowed to sue, for example, where there is a claim of illegal disbursement of public funds, or where a tax measure is assailed as unconstitutional. Voters are allowed to question the validity of election laws because of their obvious interest in the validity of such laws. Concerned citizens can bring suits if the constitutional question they raise is of "transcendental importance" which must be settled early. Legislators are allowed to sue to question the validity of any official action which they claim infringes their prerogatives qua legislators. Petitioners do not have the same kind of interest that these various litigants have. Petitioners assert an interest as taxpayers, but they do not meet the standing requirement for bringing taxpayer's suits as set forth in Dumlao v. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392, 403 (1980), to wit: While, concededly, the elections to be held involve the expenditure of public moneys, nowhere in their Petition do said petitioners allege that their tax money is "being extracted and spent in violation of specific constitutional protections against abuses of
legislative power", or that there is a misapplication of such funds by respondent COMELEC , or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose. Neither do petitioners seek to restrain respondent from wasting public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. Besides, the institution of a taxpayer's suit, per se, is no assurance of judicial review. As held by this Court in Tan vs. Macapagal (43 SCRA 677 ), speaking through our present Chief Justice, this Court is vested with discretion as to whether or not a taxpayer's suit should be entertained. Petitioners' suit does not fall under any of these categories of taxpayers' suits (Kilosbayan vs. Morato (Recon), GR 118910, Nov. 16, 1995).
v) members of Congress
Where the veto is claimed to have been made without or in excess of the authority vested on the President by the Constitution, the issue of an impermissible intrusion of the Executive into the domain of the Legislature arises. It is true that the Constitution provides a mechanism for overriding a veto (Art. VI, Sec. 27 ). Said remedy, however, is available only when the presidential veto is based on policy or political considerations but not when the veto is claimed to be ultra vires. In the latter case, it becomes the duty of the Court to draw the dividing line where the exercise of executive power ends and the bounds of legislative jurisdiction begin (Philconsa vs. Enriquez, 235 SCRA 506).
PETRON questions the locus standi of petitioners to file the action (Rollo, pp. 479-484). Petitioners however, countered that they filed the action in their capacity as members of Congress. In Philippine Constitution Association v. Hon. Salvador Enriquez, G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994, we held that the members of Congress have the legal standing to question the validity of acts of the Executive which injures them in their person or the institution of Congress to which they belong. In the latter case, the acts cause derivative but nonetheless substantial injury which can be questioned by members of Congress (Kennedy v. James, 412 F. Supp. 353 ). In the absence of a claim that the contract in question violated the rights of petitioners or impermissibly intruded
into the domain of the Legislature, petitioners have no legal standing to institute the instant action in their capacity as members of Congress. However, petitioners can bring the action in their capacity as taxpayers under the doctrine laid down in Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Guingona, 232 SCRA 110 (1994). Under said ruling, taxpayers may question contracts entered into by the national government or government-owned or controlled corporations alleged to be in contravention of the law. As long as the ruling in Kilosbayan on locus standi is not reversed, we have no choice but to follow it and uphold the legal standing of petitioners as taxpayers to institute the present action (Bagatsing vs. Committee on Privatization, GR 112399, July 14, 1995). vi)
Standing of Integrated Bar of the Philippines CASES
The IBP has not sufficiently complied with the requisites of standing in this case. "Legal standing" or locus standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The term "interest" means a material interest, an interest in issue affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. In the case at bar, the IBP primarily anchors its standing on its alleged responsibility to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution. Apart from this declaration, however, the IBP asserts no other basis in support of its locus standi The mere invocation by the IBP of its duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, while undoubtedly true, is not sufficient to clothe it with standing in this case. This is too general an interest which is shared by other groups and the whole citizenry. Having stated the foregoing, it must be emphasized that this Court has the discretion to take cognizance of a suit which does not
satisfy the requirement of legal standing when paramount interest is involved. In not a few cases, the Court has adopted a liberal attitude on the locus standi of a petitioner where the petitioner is able to craft an issue of transcendental significance to the people. Thus, when the issues raised are of paramount importance to the public, the Court may brush aside technicalities of procedure. 18 In this case, a reading of the petition shows that the IBP has advanced constitutional issues which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Moreover, because peace and order are under constant threat and lawless violence occurs in increasing tempo, undoubtedly aggravated by the Mindanao insurgency problem, the legal controversy raised in the petition almost certainly will not go away. It will stare us in the face again. It, therefore, behooves the Court to relax the rules on standing and to resolve the issue now, rather than later (IBP vs Zamora, GR 141284, Aug. 15, 2000). vii) Standing of the Government to question its own laws CASES •
Issue: Whether the People of the Philippines, through the Solicitor General and Fiscal of the City of Manila, is a proper party in present case. The Court held that the People of the Philippines, represented by the Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the City of Manila, is a proper party in the present proceedings. The unchallenged rule is that the person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustained, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. It goes without saying that if Act 4221 really violates the constitution, the People of the Philippines, in whose name the present action is brought, has a substantial interest in having it set aside. Of greater import than the damage caused by the illegal expenditure of public funds is the mortal wound inflicted upon the fundamental law by the enforcement of an invalid statute. Hence, the well-settled rule that the state can challenge the validity of its own laws (People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56). viii)
Two (2) requisites of Taxpayer’s suits:
Public funds are disbursed by a political subdivision or instrumentality, and
A law is violated or some irregularity is committed and that the petitioner is directly affected by the alleged ultra vires act. CASES
In the case before us, petitioners failed to show, to the satisfaction of this Court, that they have sustained, or are in danger of sustaining any direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the VFA. As taxpayers, petitioners have not established that the VFA involves the exercise by Congress of its taxing or spending powers. On this point, it bears stressing that a taxpayer's suit refers to a case where the act complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from taxation. Notwithstanding, in view of the paramount importance and the constitutional significance of the issues raised in the petitions, this Court, in- the exercise of its sound discretion, brushes aside the procedural barrier and takes cognizance of the petitions, as we have done in the early Emergency Powers Cases, 20 where we had occasion to rule: ". . . ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders issued by President Quirino although they were involving only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. The Court dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and ruled that 'transcendental importance to the public of these cases demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if we must, technicalities of procedure (Bayan vs. Zamora, GR 138570, Oct. 10, 2000).”
Petitioner has not shown that he has sustained or is in danger of sustaining any personal injury attributable to the creation of the Preparatory Commission on Constitutional Reform (PCCR). In other words, petitioner must show that he is a real party in interest — that he will stand to be benefited or injured by the judgment or that he will be entitled to the avails of the suit. Nowhere in his pleadings does petitioner presume to make such a representation. If at all, it is only Congress, not petitioner, which can claim any "injury" in this case since, according to petitioner, the President has encroached upon the legislature's powers to create a public office and to propose amendments to the Charter by forming the PCCR. A
taxpayer is deemed to have the standing to raise a constitutional issue when it is established that public funds have been disbursed in alleged contravention of the law or the Constitution. Thus, a taxpayer's action is properly brought only when there is an exercise by Congress of its taxing or spending power (Gonzales vs. Narvasa, GR 140835, Aug. 14, 2000). c. Question must be raised at the earliest possible opportunity. General Rule
must be raised in the pleadings.
criminal cases – at any time at the discretion of the court; b. civil cases – at any stage of the proceedings if necessary for the determination of the case itself; c. every case (except where there is estoppel) – at any stage if it involves the jurisdiction of the court. d. Constitutional question must the very "lis mota" of the case
lis mota – a controversy begun. Determination of constitutionality of the statute must be necessary to a final determination of the case (People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56). Therefore, the following must be avoided: Political questions; Advisory opinions; Moot and academic issues; No standing. 4. DOCTRINE OF PURPOSEFUL HESITATION CASES •
In the exercise of this jurisdiction, lower courts are advised to act with the utmost circumspection, bearing in mind the consequences of a declaration of unconstitutionality upon the stability of laws, no
less than on the doctrine of separation of powers. As the questioned act is usually the handiwork of the legislative or the executive departments, or both, it will be prudent for such courts, if only out of a becoming modesty, to defer to the higher judgment of this Court in the consideration of its validity, which is better determined after a thorough deliberation by a collegiate body and with the concurrence of the majority of those who participated in its discussion. It is also emphasized that every court, including this Court, is charged with the duty of a purposeful hesitation before declaring a law unconstitutional, on the theory that the measure was first carefully studied by the executive and the legislative departments and determined by them to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was finally approved. To doubt is to sustain. The presumption of constitutionality can be overcome only by the clearest showing that there was indeed an infraction of the Constitution, and only when such a conclusion is reached by the required majority may the Court pronounce, in the discharge of the duty it cannot escape, that the challenged act must be struck down (Drilon vs. Lim, GR 112497, Aug. 04, 1994). 5. EFFECTS OF DECLARATION OF UNCONSTITUTIONALITY The law is either: 1.
void – if on its face it does not enjoy any presumption of validity because it is patently offensive to the Constitution. It produces no effect creates no office and imposes no duty. (Igot v. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392).
voidable – if on its face it enjoys the presumption of constitutionality. The law becomes inoperative only upon the judicial declaration of its invalidity; the declaration produces no retroactive effect (Serrano de Agbayani v PNB, 38 SCRA 429).
Doctrine of Operative Fact Realizes that in declaring a law or rule null and void, undue harshness and resulting unfairness must be avoided. CASES
The strict view considers a legislative enactment which is declared unconstitutional as being, for all legal intents and purposes, a total nullity, and it is deemed as if had never existed. Here, of course, we refer to the law itself being per se repugnant to the Constitution. It is not always the case, however, that a law is constitutionally faulty per se. Thus, it may well be valid in its general import, but invalid in its application to certain factual situations. To exemplify, an otherwise valid law may be held unconstitutional only insofar as it is allowed to operate retrospectively such as, in pertinent cases, when it vitiates contractually vested rights. A judicial declaration of invalidity, it is also true, may not necessarily obliterate all the effects and consequences of a void act occurring prior to such a declaration. Thus, in our decisions on the moratorium laws, 6 we have been constrained to recognize the interim effects of said laws prior to their declaration of unconstitutionality, but there we have likewise been unable to simply ignore strong considerations of equity and fair play. So also, even as a practical matter, a situation that may aptly be described as fait accompli may no longer be open for further inquiry, let alone to be unsettled by a subsequent declaration of nullity of a governing statute (Republic vs. CA, GR 79732, Nov. 8, 1993). RELATIVE CONSTITUTIONALITY CASES
The constitutionality of a statute cannot, in every instance, be determined by a mere comparison of its provisions with applicable provisions of the Constitution, since the statute may be constitutionally valid as applied to one set of facts and invalid in its application to another. A statute valid at one time may become void at another time because of altered circumstances. Thus, if a statute in its practical operation becomes arbitrary or confiscatory, its validity, even though affirmed by a former adjudication, is open to inquiry and investigation in the light of changed conditions (Central Bank Employee Assn, Inc. vs. BSP, GR 148208, Dec. 15, 2004).