Constitutional Law 1 - File No. 7
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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I File No. 7
V. LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT a. SENATE (COMPOSITION; QUALIFICATIONS; TERM OF OFFICE) SEC. 2, 3 AND 4. Section 2. The Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law. Section 3. No person shall be a Senator unless he is a naturalborn citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election. Section 4. The term of office of the Senators shall be six years and shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. No Senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term of which he was elected.
b. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Particulars Compositio n
House of Representative
Not more than 250
35 yrs. old
25 yrs. old.
Natural-born citizen of the
Natural-born citizen of the
Able to read and write
Able to read and write
Registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected – n/a party list
Resident of the Philippines for at least 2 Resident of the said district years immediately for at least 1 year preceding the election immediately preceding election – n/a to party-list 6 years 3 years Unless otherwise provided by law, term of office Unless otherwise provided commence at noon of by law, term of office June 30, next following commence at noon of June the election. 30, next following the election. Not more than 2 consecutive years. Not more than 3 consecutive years.
Note: The qualifications of both Senators and Members of the House are limited to those provided by the Consttution. Congress cannot, by law, add or subtract from these qualifications. i) Composition (District Representatives; Party-list Representatives) Sec. 5 Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the
ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector. (3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative. (4) Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section. Senate – 24 elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines; House of Representatives – not more than 250 members consisting of: a. District Representatives – elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities and the Metropolitan Manila area; b. Party-list Representatives – shall constitute 20% of the total number of representatives elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations. District Representative
Elected according to legislative Elected nationality with partydistrict by the constituents of such list organizations garnering at district. least 3% of all votes cast for the party-list system entitled to 1 seat, which is increased according to proportional representation, but is in no way Must be a resident of his legislative to exceed 3 seats per district for at least 1 year organization immediately before the election. No special residency Elected personally, by name. requirement.
Voted upon by party or Does not lose seat if he/she changes organization. It is only when a party or affiliation. party is entitled to representation that it designates who will sit as representative. In case of vacancy, a special election may be held provided that the vacancy takes place at least 1 year before the next election.
If he/she changes party or affiliation, loses his seat, in which case he/she will be substituted by another qualified person in the party / A district representative is not organization based on the list prevented from running again as a submitted to the COMELEC. district representative if he/she lost during the previous election. In case of vacancy, a substitution will be made within A change in affiliation within months the party, based on the list prior to election does not prevent a submitted to the COMELEC. district representative from running under his new party. A party-list representative cannot sit if he ran and lost in the previous election. A change in affiliation within 6 months prior to election prohibits the party-list representatives from listing as representative under his new party or organization.
We rule that a simple reading of Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, easily conveys the equally simple message that Congress was vested with the broad power to define and prescribe the mechanics of the party-list system of representation. The Constitution explicitly sets down only the percentage of the total membership in the House of Representatives reserved for party-list representatives. In the exercise of its constitutional prerogative, Congress enacted RA 7941. As said earlier, Congress declared
therein a policy to promote "proportional representation" in the election of party-list representatives in order to enable Filipinos belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to contribute legislation that would benefit them. It however deemed it necessary to require parties, organizations and coalitions participating in the system to obtain at least two percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system in order to be entitled to a party-list seat. Those garnering more than this percentage could have "additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes." Furthermore, no winning party, organization or coalition can have more than three seats in the House of Representatives. In imposing a two percent threshold, Congress wanted to ensure that only those parties, organizations and coalitions having a sufficient number of constituents deserving of representation are actually represented in Congress. This intent can be gleaned from the deliberations on the proposed bill. The two percent threshold is consistent not only with the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the law, but with the very essence of "representation." Under a republican or representative state, all government authority emanates from the people, but is exercised by representatives chosen by them. But to have meaningful representation, the elected persons must have the mandate of a sufficient number of people. Otherwise, in a legislature features the party-list system, the result might be the proliferation of small groups which are incapable of contributing significant legislation, and which might even pose a threat to the stability of Congress. Thus, even legislative districts are apportioned according to "the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio" to ensure meaningful local representation. The three-seat limit ensures the entry of various interestrepresentations into the legislature; thus, no single group, no matter how large its membership, would dominate the party-list seats, if not the entire House (Veterans Federation Party vs. COMELEC, GR 136781, Oct. 06, 2000). •
Under the Constitution and RA 7941, private respondents cannot be disqualified from the party-list elections, merely on the ground that they are political parties. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, provides that members of the House of Representatives may "be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations." For its part, Section 2 of RA 7941 also provides for "a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or
organizations or coalitions thereof, . . .." Section 3 expressly states that a "party" is "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties." More to the point, the law defines "political party" as "an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office." Sec. 2 of RA 7941 mandates a state policy of promoting proportional representation by means of the Filipino-style party-list system, which will "enable" the election to the House of Representatives of Filipino citizens, who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties; and who lack well-defined constituencies; but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. "Proportional representation" here does not refer to the number of people in a particular district, because the party-list election is national in scope. Neither does it allude to numerical strength in a distressed or oppressed group. Rather, it refers to the representation of the "marginalized and underrepresented" as exemplified by the enumeration in Section 5 of the law; namely, "labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals." However, it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation of the marginalized and underrepresented, because representation is easy to claim and to feign. The party-list organization or party must factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented constituencies mentioned in Section 5. 36 Concurrently, the persons nominated by the party-list candidateorganization must be "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties." Finally, "lack of well-defined constituenc[y]" refers to the absence of a traditionally identifiable electoral group, like voters of a congressional district or territorial unit of government. Rather, it points again to those with disparate interests identified with the "marginalized or underrepresented." The intent of the Constitution is clear: to give genuine power to the people, not only by giving more law to those who have less in life, but more so by enabling them to become veritable lawmakers themselves. Consistent with this intent, the policy of the implementing law, we repeat, is likewise clear: "to enable Filipino
citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, Organizations and parties, . . ., to become members of the House of Representatives." Where the language of the law is clear, it must be applied according to its express terms (Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party vs. Comelec, GR 147589, June 26, 2001). ii) Apportionment of Legislative Districts 1. Maintain proportional representation based on number of inhabitants; o Each city with not less than 250 thousand inhabitants, entitled to at least one (1) representative; o Each province, irrespective of the number of inhabitants, entitled to at least one (1) representative. 2. Each district must be contiguous compact and adjacent. Gerrymandering is not allowed. Gerrymandering – formation of one legislative district out of separate territories for the purpose of favoring a candidate or a party. 3.
Reapportionment within 3 years following return of every census. CASES
According to the Constitution, "the Congress shall by law, make an apportionment (of Members of the House) within three years after the return of every enumeration, and not otherwise." It is admitted that the bill, which later became Republic Act 3040, was based upon a report submitted to the President by the Director of the Census on November 23, 1960. Petitioners maintain that the apportionment could not legally rest on this report since it is merely "preliminary" and "may be subject to revision." On the other hand, respondents point out that the above letter says the report should be considered "official for all purposes." They also point out that the ascertainment of what constitutes a return of an enumeration is a matter for Congress action. This issue does not clearly favor petitioners, because there are authorities sustaining the view that although not final, and still subject to correction, a census enumeration may be considered official, in the sense that Governmental action may be based thereon even in matters of apportionment of legislative districts.
The Constitution directs that the one hundred twenty Members of the House of Representatives "shall be apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be according to the number of their respective inhabitants." In our resolution on August 23, we held that this provision was violated by Republic Act 3040 because (a) it gave Cebu seven members, while Rizal with a bigger number of inhabitants got four only; (b) it gave Manila four members, while Cotabato with a bigger population got three only; (c) Pangasinan with less inhabitants than both Manila and Cotabato got more than both five members having been assigned to it; (d) Samar (with 871,857) was allotted four members while Davao with 903,224 got three only; (e) Bulacan vs. with 557,691 got two only, while Albay with less inhabitants (515,691) got three, and (f) Misamis Oriental with 387,839 was given one member only, while Cavite with less inhabitants (379,904) got two. These were not the only instances of unequal apportionment. We see that Mountain Province has 3 whereas Isabela, Laguna and Cagayan with more inhabitants have 2 each. And then Capiz, La Union and Ilocos Norte got 2 each, whereas, Sulu that has more inhabitants got 1 only. And Leyte with 967,323 inhabitants got 4 only, whereas Iloilo with less inhabitants (966,145) was given 5.For all the foregoing, we hereby reiterate our resolution declaring that Republic Act 3040 infringed the provisions of the Constitution and is therefore void (Macias vs. Comelec, 3 SCRA 1). •
The Constitution ordains: The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than one hundred and twenty Members who shall be apportioned among the several provinces as nearly as may be according to the number of their respective inhabitants, but each province shall have at least one Member. The Congress shall by law make an apportionment within three years after the return of every enumeration, and not otherwise. Until such apportionment shall have been made, the House of Representatives shall have the same number of Members as that fixed by law for the National Assembly, who shall be elected by the qualified electors from the present Assembly districts, as far as practicable, contiguous and compact territory. Pursuant to this Section, a representative district may come into existence: (a) indirectly, through the creation of a province � for "each province shall have at least one member" in the House of Representatives; or (b) by direct creation of several representative districts within a province. The requirements concerning the apportionment of representative districts and the territory thereof refer only to the second method of creation of representative districts, and do not apply to those incidental to the creation of provinces, under the first method. This is deducible, not only from
the general tenor of the provision above quoted, but, also, from the fact that the apportionment therein alluded to refers to that which is made by an Act of Congress. Indeed, when a province is created by statute, the corresponding representative district comes into existence neither by authority of that statute which cannot provide otherwise nor by apportionment, but by operation of the Constitution, without a reapportionment. There is no constitutional limitation as to the time when, territory of, or other conditions under which a province may be created, except, perhaps, if the consequence thereof were to exceed the maximum of 120 representative districts prescribed in the Constitution, which is not the effect of the legislation under consideration. As a matter of fact, provinces have been created or subdivided into other provinces, with the consequent creation of additional representative districts without complying with the aforementioned requirements. , the constitutional command to the effect that "each representative district shall comprise . . . contiguous and compact territory" is, not absolute, but, qualified by the phrase "as far as practicable." In the case at bar, the delimitation of the provinces involved therein is based upon the tribes or ethnic groups inhabiting the same (Felwa vs. Salas, 18 SCRA 606). •
It is urged that the last enumeration or census took place in 1960; that, no apportionment having been made within three (3) years thereafter, the Congress of the Philippines and/or the election of its Members became illegal; that Congress and its Members, likewise, became a de facto Congress and/or de facto congressmen, respectively; and that, consequently, the disputed Resolutions, proposing amendments to the Constitution, as well as Republic Act No. 4913, are null and void. It is not true, however, that Congress has not made an apportionment within three years after the enumeration or census made in 1960. It did actually pass a bill, which became a Republic Act No, 3040, purporting to in make said apportionment. This Act was, however, declared unconstitutional, upon the ground that the apportionment therein undertaken had not been made according to the number of inhabitants of the different provinces of the Philippines. Moreover, we are unable to agree with the theory that, in view of the failure of Congress to make a valid apportionment within the period stated in the Constitution, Congress became an "unconstitutional Congress" and that, in consequence thereof, the
Members of its House of Representatives are de facto officers. The major premise of this process of reasoning is that the constitutional provision on "apportionment within three years after the return of every enumeration, and not otherwise," is mandatory. The fact that Congress is under legal obligation to make said apportionment does not justify, however, the conclusion that failure to comply with such obligation rendered Congress illegal or unconstitutional, or that its Members have become de facto officers. It is conceded that, since the adoption of the Constitution in 1935, Congress has not made a valid apportionment as required in said fundamental law. The effect of this omission has been envisioned in the Constitutional pursuant to which: ". . . Until such apportionment shall have been made, the House of Representatives shall have the same number of Members as that fixed by law for the National Assembly, who shall be elected by the qualified electors from the present Assembly districts . . ." The provision does not support the view that, upon the expiration of the period to make the apportionment, a Congress which fails to make it is dissolved or becomes illegal. On the contrary, it implies necessarily that Congress shall continue to function with the representative districts existing at the time of the expiration of said period (Gonzales vs. Comelec, 21 SCRA 774). •
Reapportionment (attempts to change the way voting districts are delineated) issues are justiciable questions, thus enabling federal courts to intervene in and to decide reapportionment cases (Baker vs. Carr, 369 US 186).
The Court ruled that reapportionment of legislative districts may be made through a special law, such as in the charter of a new city. The Constitution clearly provides that Congress shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty (250) members, unless otherwise fixed by law. As thus worded, the Constitution did not preclude Congress from increasing its membership by passing a law, other than a general reapportionment law. This is exactly what was done by Congress in enacting R.A. No. 7854 and providing for an increase in Makati's legislative district. Moreover, to hold that reapportionment can only be made through a general apportionment law, with a review of all the legislative districts allotted to each local government unit nationwide, would create an inequitable situation where a new city or province created by Congress will be denied legislative representation for an indeterminate period of time. That intolerable situation will deprive
the people of a new city or province a particle of their sovereignty. Sovereignty cannot admit of any kind of subtraction. It is indivisible. It must be forever whole or it is not sovereignty (Mariano vs. Comelec, 242 SCRA 211). •
Consistent with the limits of its power to make minor adjustments, Section 3 of the Ordinance did not also give the respondent COMELEC any authority to transfer municipalities from one legislative district to another district. The power granted by Section 3 to the respondent COMELEC is to adjust the number of members (not municipalities) "apportioned to the province out of which such new province was created. . . ." Presiding from these premises, we hold that respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it promulgated section 1 of its Resolution No. 2736 transferring the municipality of Capoocan of the Second District and the municipality of Palompon of the Fourth District to the Third District of Leyte. It may well be that the conversion of Biliran from a sub-province to a regular province brought about an imbalance in the distribution of voters and inhabitants in the five (5) legislative districts of the province of Leyte. This imbalance, depending on its degree, could devalue a citizen's vote in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Be that as it may, it is not proper at this time for petitioner to raise this issue using the case at bench as his legal vehicle. The issue involves a problem of reapportionment of legislative districts and petitioner's remedy lies with Congress. Section 5(4), Article VI of the Constitution categorically gives Congress the power to reapportion, thus: "Within three (3) years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section." In Macias v. COMELEC, we ruled that the validity of a legislative apportionment is a justiciable question. But while this Court can strike down an unconstitutional reapportionment, it cannot itself make the reapportionment as petitioner would want us to do by directing respondent COMELEC to transfer the municipality of Tolosa from the First District to the Second District of the province of Leyte (Montejo vs. Comelec, GR 118702, March 19, 1995).
iii) Qualifications (Section 6)
Section 6. No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twentyfive years of age, able to read and write, and, except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election. CASES •
The essential distinction between residence and domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes such as pleasure, business, or health. If a person's intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. It is thus, quite perfectly normal for an individual to have different residences in various places. However, a person can only have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence qualification for certain elective positions have placed beyond doubt the principle that when the Constitution speaks of "residence" in election law, it actually means only "domicile. We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does not lose his domicile even if he has lived and maintained residences in different places. To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate: 1. An actual removal or an actual change of domicile; 2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one; and 3. Acts which correspond with the purpose. In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the residence of origin should be deemed to continue (Marcos vs. Comelec, 248 SCRA 300).
The Constitution requires that a person seeking election to the House of Representatives should be a resident of the district in which he seeks election for a period of not less than one (I) year
prior to the elections. Residence, for election law purposes, has a settled meaning in our jurisdiction. In Co v. Electrocal Tribunal of the House of Representatives this Court held that the term "residence" has always been understood as synonymous with "domicile" not only under the previous Constitutions but also under the 1987 Constitution. Clearly, the place "where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home," 21 where he, no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain, i.e., his domicile, is that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of residence for the purposes of election law. As found by the COMELEC en banc petitioner in his Certificate of Candidacy for the May 11, 1992 elections, indicated not only that he was a resident of San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac in 1992 but that he was a resident of the same for 52 years immediately preceding that election. 23 At the time, his certificate indicated that he was also a registered voter of the same district. His birth certificate places Concepcion, Tarlac as the birthplace of both of his parents Benigno and Aurora. Thus, from data furnished by petitioner himself to the COMELEC at various times during his political career, what stands consistently clear and unassailable is that his domicile of origin of record up to the time of filing of his most recent certificate of candidacy for the 1995 elections was Concepcion, Tarlac. Petitioner's alleged connection with the Second District of Makati City is an alleged lease agreement of a condominium unit in the area. As the COMELEC, in its disputed Resolution noted: The intention not to establish a permanent home in Makati City is evident in his leasing a condominium unit instead of buying one. While a lease contract may be indicative of respondent's intention to reside in Makati City it does not engender the kind of permanency required to prove abandonment of one's original domicile especially since, by its terms, it is only for a period of two (2) years, and respondent Aquino himself testified that his intention was really for only one(1) year, because he has other "residences" in Manila or Quezon City. To successfully effect a change of domicile, petitioner must prove an actual removal or an actual change of domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one and definite acts which correspond with the purpose. These requirements are hardly met by the evidence
adduced in support of petitioner's claims of a change of domicile from Tarlac to the Second District of Makati. In the absence of clear and positive proof, the domicile of origin should be deemed to continue (Aquino vs. Comelec, Sept. 18, 1995). •
The 1987 Constitution enumerates who are Filipino citizens as follows: (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution; (2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines; (3) Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority, and (4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. There are two ways of acquiring citizenship: (1) by birth, and (2) by naturalization. These ways of acquiring citizenship correspond to the two kinds of citizens: the natural-born citizen, and the naturalized citizen. A person who at the time of his birth is a citizen of a particular country, is a natural-born citizen thereof. As defined in the same Constitution, natural-born citizens "are those citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citizenship." On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those who have become Filipino citizens through naturalization, generally under Commonwealth Act No. 473, otherwise known as the Revised Naturalization Law, which repealed the former Naturalization Law (Act No. 2927), and by Republic Act No. 530. To be naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided by law to become a Filipino citizen. The decision granting Philippine citizenship becomes executory only after two (2) years from its promulgation when the court is satisfied that during the intervening period, the applicant has (1) not left the Philippines; (2) has dedicated himself to a lawful calling or profession; (3) has not been convicted of any offense or violation of Government promulgated rules; or (4) committed any act prejudicial to the interest of the nation or contrary to any Government announced policies. Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship may however reacquire the same in the manner provided by law. Commonwealth Act No. 63 (CA No. 63), enumerates the three modes by which Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by a former citizen: (1) by
naturalization, (2) by repatriation, and (3) by direct act of Congress. Naturalization is a mode for both acquisition and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode of initially acquiring Philippine citizenship, naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. On the other hand, naturalization as a mode for reacquiring Philippine citizenship is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 63. Under this law, a former Filipino citizen who wishes to reacquire Philippine citizenship must possess certain qualifications 17 and none of the disqualifications mentioned in Section 4 of C.A. 473. Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had under various statutes by those who lost their citizenship due to: (1) desertion of the armed forces; (2) service in the armed forces of the allied forces in World War II; (3) service in the Armed Forces of the United States at any other time; (4) marriage of a Filipino woman to an alien; and (5) political and economic necessity. As distinguished from the lengthy process of naturalization, repatriation simply consists of the taking of an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and registering said oath in the Local Civil Registry of the place where the person concerned resides or last resided. In Angara v. Republic, the Court held: . . .. Parenthetically, under these statutes [referring to RA Nos. 965 and 2630], the person desiring to reacquire Philippine citizenship would not even be required to file a petition in court, and all that he had to do was to take an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to register that fact with the civil registry in the place of his residence or where he had last resided in the Philippines. Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a naturalborn citizen before he lost his Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino. SECTION 4. A natural-born citizen is one who is a citizen of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citizenship.
Two requisites must concur for a person to be considered as such: (1) a person must be a Filipino citizen from birth and (2) he does not have to perform any act to obtain or perfect his Philippine citizenship. Under the 1973 Constitution definition, there were two categories of, Filipino citizens which were not considered natural-born: (1) those who were naturalized and (2) those born before January 17, 1973, of Filipino mothers who, upon reaching the age of majority, elected Philippine citizenship. Those "naturalized citizens" were not considered natural-born obviously because they were not Filipinos at birth and had to perform an act to acquire Philippine citizenship. Those born of Filipino mothers before the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution were likewise not considered natural-born because they also had to perform an act to perfect their Philippine citizenship. The present Constitution, however, now considers those born of Filipino mothers before the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution and who elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the majority age as natural-born. After defining who are natural-born citizens, Section 2 of Article IV adds a sentence: "Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens." Consequently, only naturalized Filipinos are considered not natural-born citizens. It is apparent from the enumeration of who are citizens under the present Constitution that there are only two classes of citizens: (1) those who are natural-born and (2) those who are naturalized in accordance with law. A citizen who is not a naturalized Filipino, i.e., did not have to undergo the process of naturalization to obtain Philippine citizenship, necessarily is a natural-born Filipino. Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of a separate category for persons who, after losing Philippine citizenship, subsequently reacquire it. The reason therefor is clear: as to such persons, they would either be natural-born or naturalized depending on the reasons for the loss of their citizenship and the mode prescribed by the applicable law for the reacquisition thereof (Bengson vs. HRET, GR 142840. May 7, 2001)
iv)Term of Office (Section 7, 8 and 9) Section 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June
next following their election. No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was elected. Section 8. Unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election of the Senators and the Members of the House of Representatives shall be held on the second Monday of May. Section 9. In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.
iv)Compensation (Section 10) Section 10. The salaries of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall be determined by law. No increase in said compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the full term of all the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives approving such increase.
v) Privileges (Section 11) Section 11. A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof. a. Freedom from Arrest
Legislators are privileged from arrest, and not to prosecution for criminal offenses, while Congress is “in session” only (whether regular or special) with respect to offenses punishable by up to 6 years of imprisonment.
b. Parliamentary Immunity CASES •
"The Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace. be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the Congress, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate therein, they shall not be questioned in any other place." (Article VI, Section 15.) The determination of the issue depends on whether or not the aforementioned publication falls within the purview of the phrase "speech or debate therein" — that is to say in Congress — used in this provision. The publication involved in this case does not belong to this category. According to the complaint herein, it was an open letter to the President of the Philippines, dated November 14, 1958, when Congress presumably was not in session, and defendant caused said letter to be published in several newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines, on or about said date. It is obvious that, in thus causing the communication to be so published, he was not performing his official duty, either as a member of Congress or as officer of any Committee thereof. Hence, contrary to the finding made by His Honor, the trial Judge, said communication is not absolutely privileged (Jimenez vs. Cabangbang, 17 SCRA 714).
As defendant's imputations against plaintiff were not made privately nor officially as to be qualifiedly privilege under Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code, the trial court correctly held that by virtue of their defamatory and libelous nature against the honor, integrity and reputation of plaintiff, malice in law was presumed. It further correctly ruled that defendant had not overcome such presumption of malice, not having shown the truth thereof, or that they were published with good intentions and with justifiable motive or even from the most liberal standpoint that they were made in the exercise of the right of fair comment on the character, good faith, ability and sincerity of public officials. The trial court aptly observed that "(A)t the time of the publication of the defamatory imputation, the plaintiff was not a candidate for any public office there being no election to be held and his term of office as Senator would not expire until several years more. As a member of the Senate of the Philippines, he was answerable to
said body for any misconduct committed as a Senator because it had the authority to take disciplinary action against any member thereof. Had the defendant been prompted by a sense of duty, and not because of malice, the charge at least with respect to the alleged threat made against an American, should have been filed with the Senate or any of its Committees. The defendant did not do so but instead made the accusations publicly by causing them to be given widest publication by all the metropolitan newspapers, obviously in retaliation to the charge filed against him by the plaintiff with the Blue Ribbon. Committee of the Senate." The trial court likewise properly rejected defendant-appellant's claim of defensive libel thus: "(S)tress had also been laid by the defendant on the argument that he had been libeled by the plaintiff and accordingly the former was justified to hit back with another libel. The emphasis laid had been misplaced and based upon a wrong premise. The defendant was charged with the commission of certain anomalous transactions in his capacity as Secretary of Public Works and Communications and the same were filed with the Investigation Committee (Blue Ribbon) of the Senate of the Philippines and the Commission on Appointments. Accordingly, the said charges, even assuming that they contain defamatory imputation, would not be libelous because the letter sent by the plaintiff was a privileged communication." (Antonino vs. Valencia, 57 SCRA 70). •
Issue: Did the actions of the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security fall within the sphere of legitimate legislative activity and not violate the First Amendment? The Court held that the Senate Subcommittee's actions were legitimate and did not violate the Fund's First Amendment rights. Chief Justice Burger argued that the power to investigate, even through a compulsory mechanism like a subpoena, is "inherent in the power to make laws." Furthermore, the investigation was related to and aided in furthering a "legitimate task of Congress," namely, the investigation of the Internal Security Act. Burger disregarded the Fund's claim that the investigation was being conducted to expose its beliefs, many of which were "unorthodox or unpopular." He reasoned that the legitimacy of a congressional investigatory action is not derived from the motives of the members or by the information that the investigation uncovers (Eastland vs. US Servicemen’s Fund, 421 US 491).
Chief Justice Burger, relying on the Court's finding in Doe v. McMillan (1973), concluded that while speeches in Congress and
discussions with staff were protected by Section 6, statements in newsletters and press releases were not because they were not "essential to the deliberations of the Senate" nor were they part of the legislature's "deliberative process (Hutchinson vs. Proxmire, 443 US 111).” vi) Disqualifications and Disabilities (Section 12, 13 and 14) Section 12. All Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests. They shall notify the House concerned of a potential conflict of interest that may arise from the filing of a proposed legislation of which they are authors. Section 13. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat. Neither shall he be appointed to any office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected. Section 14. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as counsel before any court of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasijudicial and other administrative bodies. Neither shall he, directly or indirectly, be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during his term of office. He shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office.
1. Cannot hold any other office or During his term. If he does so, employment in the Government he forfeits his seat.
or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including GOCCS or their subsidiaries. 2. Legislators cannot be appointed If the office was created or the to any office. emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected. 3. Legislators cannot personally appear as counsel before any During his term of office. court of justice, electoral tribunal, quasi-judicial and administrative bodies. During his term office. 4. Legislators cannot be financially interested directly or indirectly in any contrct with or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency or When it is for his pecuniary instrumentality thereof, including benefit or where he may be any GOCC or its subsidiary. called upon to act on account of his office. 5. Legislators cannot intervene in any matter before any office of the government.
The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison. The duties imposed by the "mandate of the people" are multifarious. The accused-appellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of government. The accused-appellant is only one of 250 members of the House of Representatives, not to mention the 24 members of the Senate, charged with the duties of legislation. Congress continues to function well in the physical absence of one or a few of its members. A strict scrutiny of classifications is essential lest wittingly or otherwise, insidious discriminations are made in favor of or against groups or types of individuals. The election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are not substantial distinctions which lift him from the class of
prisoners interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those belonging to the same class (People vs. Jalosjos, GR 132875-76, February 03, 2000). vii)
Section 15, Article VI of our Constitution provides that "for any speech or debate" in Congress, the Senators or Members of the House of Representatives "shall not be questioned in any other place." Observe that "they shall not be questioned in any other place" than Congress. Furthermore, the Rules of the House which petitioner himself has invoked (Rule XVII, sec. 7), recognize the House's power to hold a member responsible "for words spoken in debate." Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity which is a fundamental privilege cherished in every legislative assembly of the democratic world. But it does not protect him from responsibility before the legislative body itself whenever his words and conduct are considered by the latter disorderly or unbecoming a member thereof. On the question whether delivery of speeches attacking the Chief Executive constitutes disorderly conduct for which Osmeña may be disciplined, many arguments pro and con have been advanced. We believe, however, that the House is the judge of what constitutes disorderly behaviour, not only because the Constitution has conferred jurisdiction upon it, but also because the matter depends mainly on factual circumstances of which the House knows best but which can not be depicted in black and white for presentation to, and adjudication by the Courts. The theory of separation of powers fastidiously observed by this Court, demands in such situation a prudent refusal to interfere. Each department, it has been said, has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction and is supreme within its own sphere (Osmena vs. Pendatun, 109 Phil 863).
Section 1, Article VIII, of the 1987 Constitution, empowers the Court to act not only in the settlement of “actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,” but also in the determination of “whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. The provision allowing the Court to look into any
possible grave abuse of discretion committed by any government instrumentality has evidently been couched in general terms in order to make it malleable to judicial interpretation in the light of any emerging milieu. In its normal concept, the term has been said to imply an arbitrary, despotic, capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. When the question, however, pertains to an affair internal to either of Congress or the Executive, the Court subscribes to the view that unless an infringement of any specific Constitutional proscription thereby inheres the Court should not deign substitute its own judgment over that of any of the other two branches of government. It is an impairment or a clear disregard of a specific constitutional precept or provision that can unbolt the steel door for judicial intervention. If any part of the Constitution is not, or ceases to be, responsive to contemporary needs, it is the people, not the Court, who must promptly react in the manner prescribed by the Charter itself (Santiago vs. Sandiganbayan, GR 128055, April 18, 2001).
c. INTERNAL GOVERNMENT (SECTION 15 AND 16) Section 15. The Congress shall convene once every year on the fourth Monday of July for its regular session, unless a different date is fixed by law, and shall continue to be in session for such number of days as it may determine until thirty days before the opening of its next regular session, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The President may call a special session at any time. Section 16. (1). The Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives, its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its respective Members. Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary. (2) A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner, and under such penalties, as such House may provide. (3) Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its Members, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days.
(4) Each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, affect national security; and the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the Members present, be entered in the Journal. Each House shall also keep a Record of its proceedings. (5) Neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
i) Sessions, Adjournment, Officers Sessions: (Sec. 15) Regular Sessions: o Congress convenes once every year on the 4th Monday of July (unless otherwise provided for by law). o Continues in session for as long as it sees fit, until 30 days before the opening of the next regular session, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. Special Sessions: Called by the President at any time when Congress is not in session. Adjournments: 1. Neither House can adjourn for more than 3 days during the time Congress is in session without the consent of the other House. 2. Neither can they adjourn to any other place than that where the two houses are sitting, without the consent of the other. Officers: (Sec. 16) 1. 2. 3. Election of Officers o
Senate President Speaker of the House; and Such other officers as it may deem necessary.
By a majority vote of all respective members.
Quorum to do business: 1. Majority of each House shall constitute a quorum. 2. A smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent members. 3. In computing a quorum, members who are outside the country and thus outside of each House’s coercive jurisdiction are not included. Discipline:
1. Suspension – needs concurrence of 2/3 of ALL its members and shall not exceed 60 days. Or, Expulsion – concurrence of 2/3 of ALL its members. CASES
The term "majority" has been judicially defined a number of times. When referring to a certain number out of a total or aggregate, it simply "means the number greater than half or more than half of any total." The plain and unambiguous words of the subject constitutional clause simply mean that the Senate President must obtain the votes of more than one half of all the senators. Not by any construal does it thereby delineate who comprise the "majority", much less the "minority," in the said body. And there is no showing that the framers of our Constitution had in mind other than the usual meanings of these terms. In effect, while the Constitution mandates that the President of the Senate must be elected by a number constituting more than one half of all the members thereof, it does not provide that the members who will not vote for him shall ipso facto constitute the "minority", who could thereby elect the minority leader. Verily, no law or regulation states that the defeated candidate shall automatically become the minority leader. Majority may also refer to "the group, party, or faction with the larger number of votes," not necessarily more than one half. This is sometimes referred to as plurality. In contrast, minority is "a group, party, or faction with a smaller number of votes or adherents than the majority." Between two unequal parts or numbers comprising a whole or totality, the greater number would obviously be the majority, while the lesser would be the minority. But where there are more than two unequal groupings, it is not as easy to say which is the minority entitled to select the leader representing all the minorities. While the Constitution is explicit on the manner of
electing a Senate President and a House Speaker, it is, however, dead silent on the manner of selecting the other officers in both chambers of Congress. All that the Charter says is that "[e]ach House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary." The method of choosing who will be such other officers is merely a derivative of the exercise of the prerogative conferred by the aforequoted constitutional provision. Therefore, such method must be prescribed by the Senate itself, not by this Court. Notably, the Rules of the Senate do not provide for the positions of majority and minority leaders. Neither is there an open clause providing specifically for such offices and prescribing the manner of creating them or of choosing the holders thereof . At any rate, such offices, by tradition and long practice, are actually extant. But, in the absence of constitutional or statutory guidelines or specific rules, this Court is devoid of any basis upon which to determine the legality of the acts of the Senate relative thereto. On grounds of respect for the basic concept of separation of powers, courts may not intervene in the internal affairs of the legislature; it is not within the province of courts to direct Congress how to do its work. Legislative rules, unlike statutory laws, do not have the imprints of permanence and obligatoriness during their effectivity. In fact, they "are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them." Being merely matters of procedure, their observance are of no concern to the courts, for said rules may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body 49 at will, upon the concurrence of a majority (Santiago vs. Guingona, GR 134577, Nov. 18, 1998). ii)
Majority of each House, but a smaller number may adjourn from day ro day and may compel the attendance of absent Members in such manner and under such penalties as such House may determine (Sec. 16 (2), Art. VI) CASES •
The basis for determining the existence of a quorum in the Senate shall be the total number of Senators who are in the country and within the coercive jurisdiction of the Senate. When the Constitution declares that a majority of "each House" shall constitute a quorum, "the House" does not mean "all" the members. Even a majority of all the members constitute "the House". (Missouri Pac. vs. Kansas, 63 Law ed. [U. S.], p. 239). There
is a difference between a majority of "all the members of the House" and a majority of "the House", the latter requiring less number than the first. Therefore an absolute majority (12) of all the members of the Senate less one (23), constitutes constitutional majority of the Senate for the purpose of a quorum (Avelino vs. Cuenco, 83 Phil 17). iii)Internal Rules o As part of their inherent power, they can determine their own rules. Hence, the courts cannot intervene in the implementation of these rules insofar as they affect the members of Congress. CASES •
The President shall nominate and with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, shall appoint the heads of the executive departments and bureaus, officers of the Army from the rank of colonel, of the Navy and air forces from the rank of captain or commander, and all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and those whom he maybe authorized by law to appoint; but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of inferior officers, in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments. The other provision is worded thus: "The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, but such appointments shall be effective only until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress." A distinction is thus made between the exercise of such presidential prerogative requiring confirmation by the Commission on Appointments when Congress is in session and when it is in recess. In the former the President nominates, and only upon the consent of the Commission on Appointments may the person thus named assume office. It is not so with reference to ad interim appointments. It takes effect at once. The individual chosen may thus qualify and perform his function without loss of time. His title to such office is complete. In the language of the Constitution, the appointment is effective "until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress (Pacete vs. Secretary of Commission on Appointment, 40 SCRA 58).”
The cases, both here and abroad, in varying forms of expression, all deny to the courts the power to inquire into allegations that, in enacting a law, a House of Congress failed to comply with its own rules, in the absence of showing that there was a violation of a constitutional provision or the rights of private individuals. It would be an unwarranted invasion of the prerogative of a coequal department for this Court either to set aside a legislative action as void because the Court thinks the House has disregarded its own rules of procedure, or to allow those defeated in the political arena to seek a rematch in the judicial forum when petitioners can find their remedy in that department itself. The Court has not been invested with a roving commission to inquire into complaints, real or imagined, of legislative skullduggery. It would be acting in excess of its power and would itself be guilty of grave abuse of its discretion were it to do so. In the absence of anything to the contrary, the Court must assume that Congress or any House thereof acted in the good faith belief that its conduct was permitted by its rules, and deference rather than disrespect is due the judgment of that body (Arroyo vs. De Venecia, GR 127255, Aug. 14, 1997). viii)
Journals and Enrolled Bill
Journals Enrolled Bill – is the official copy of approved legislation and bears the certifications of the presiding officers of each House. Thus where the certifications are valid and are not withdrawn, the contents of the enrolled bill are conclusive upon the courts as regards the provision of that particular bill. Conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by Congress and approved by the President (Mabanag v, Lopez Vito, 78 Phil.1). General rule: the journal is conclusive upon the courts but an enrolled bill prevails over the contents of the Journal. Note: Enrolled bill prevails (Field v. Clark, 143 US 649), except to matters, which under the Constitution, must be entered into the Journal (Astorga v. Villegas, 56 SCRA 714). CASES
The Act of Congress, approved July 1, 1902, provides, among other things, in section 7, that the Philippine Assembly "shall keep a journal of its proceedings, which shall be published . . . ." Section 275 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that the existence of the "official acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and of the Philippine Islands . . . shall be judicially recognized by the court without the introduction of proof; but the court may receive evidence upon any of the subjects in this section stated, when it shall find it necessary for its own information, and may resort for its aid to appropriate books, documents, or evidence (US vs Pons, 34 Phil 729).”
It will be seen upon examination of section 313 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 2210, that, roughly, it provides two methods of proving legislative proceedings: (1) by the journals, or by published statutes or resolutions, or by copies certified by the clerk or secretary or printed by their order; and (2) in case of acts of the legislature, by a copy signed by the presiding Officers and secretaries thereof, which shall be conclusive proof of the provisions of such Acts and of the due enactment thereof. Even if both the journals and an authenticated copy of the Act had been presented, the disposal of the issue by the Court on the basis of the journals does not imply rejection of the enrollment theory, for, as already stated, the due enactment of a law may be proved in either of the two ways specified in section 313 of Act No. 190 as amended (Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil 1).
It is well settled that the enrolled bill — which uses the term "urea formaldehyde" instead of "urea and formaldehyde" — is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by Congress and approved by the President. If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill before it was certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive — on which we cannot speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and undermining one of the cornerstones of our democratic system — the remedy is by amendment or curative legislation, not by judicial decree (Casco Chemical vs. Gimenez, 7 SCRA 347).
The inclusion of desirable enlargements in the statute is addressed to the judgment of Congress and unless such enlargements are by it accepted courts are without power to make them. As Mr. Justice Frankfurter put the matter with lucidity: "An omission at the time of enactment, whether careless or calculated,
cannot be judicially supplied however much later wisdom may recommend the inclusion….The vital difference between initiating policy, often involving a decided break with the past, and merely carrying out a formulated policy, indicates the relatively narrow limits within which choice is fairly open to courts and the extent to which interpreting law is inescapably making law (Morales vs. Subido, 27 SCRA 131).” •
Congress devised its own system of authenticating bills duly approved by both Houses, namely, by the signatures of their respective presiding officers and secretaries on the printed copy of the approved bill. It has been held that this procedure is merely a mode of authentication, to signify to the Chief Executive that the bill being presented to him has been duly approved by Congress and is ready for his approval or rejection. It may be noted that the enrolled bill theory is based mainly on "the respect due to coequal and independent departments," which requires the judicial department "to accept, as having passed Congress, all bills authenticated in the manner stated." Thus it has also been stated in other cases that if the attestation is absent and the same is not required for the validity of a statute, the courts may resort to the journals and other records of Congress for proof of its due enactment. This was the logical conclusion reached in a number of decisions, although they are silent as to whether the journals may still be resorted to if the attestation of the presiding officers is present. The journal of the proceedings of each House of Congress is no ordinary record. The Constitution requires it. While it is true that the journal is not authenticated and is subject to the risks of misprinting and other errors, the point is irrelevant in this case. This Court is merely asked to inquire whether the text of House Bill No. 9266 signed by the Chief Executive was the same text passed by both Houses of Congress. Under the specific facts and circumstances of this case, this Court can do this and resort to the Senate journal for the purpose. In the face of the manifest error committed and subsequently rectified by the President of the Senate and by the Chief Executive, for this Court to perpetuate that error by disregarding such rectification and holding that the erroneous bill has become law would be to sacrifice truth to fiction and bring about mischievous consequences not intended by the law-making body (Astorga vs. Villegas, 56 SCRA 714).
d. ELECTORAL TRIBUNALS
Section 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall be chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman. i) Composition The Senate and the House shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be composed of: 1. 2.
3 Supreme Court Justices to be designted by the Chief Justices; & 6 members of the Senate or House, as the case may be.
The senior Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman. Note: The congressional members of the ET’s shall be chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and party-list organizations. CASES •
Is the House of Representatives empowered by the Constitution to interfere with the disposition of an election contest in the House Electoral Tribunal through the ruse of "reorganizing" the representation in the tribunal of the majority party? Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution supplies the answer to that question. Under the said provision, the Justices held the deciding votes, and it was impossible for any political party to control the voting in the tribunal. The use of the word "sole" in both Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution and Section 11 of the 1935 Constitution underscores the exclusive jurisdiction of the House Electoral Tribunal as judge of contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives. The tribunal was created to function as a nonpartisan court although
two-thirds of its members are politicians. It is a non-political body in a sea of politicians. To be able to exercise exclusive jurisdiction, the House Electoral Tribunal must be independent. Its jurisdiction to hear and decide congressional election contests is not to be shared by it with the Legislature nor with the Courts. The resolution of the House of Representatives removing Congressman Camasura from the House Electoral Tribunal for disloyalty to the LDP, because he cast his vote in favor of the Nacionalista Party's candidate, Bondoc, is a clear impairment of the constitutional prerogative of the House Electoral Tribunal to be the sole judge of the election contest between Pineda and Bondoc (Bondoc vs. Pineda, 201 SCRA 792). •
The proposed amendment to the Tribunal's Rules (Section 24) — requiring the concurrence of five (5) members for the adoption of resolutions of whatever nature — is a proviso that where more than four (4) members are disqualified, the remaining members shall constitute a quorum, if not less than three (3) including one (1) Justice, and may adopt resolutions by majority vote with no abstentions. We do not agree with petitioners' thesis. We opine that in fact the most fundamental objection to such proposal lies in the plain terms and intent of the Constitution itself which, in its Article VI, Section 17, creates the Senate Electoral Tribunal, ordains its composition and defines its jurisdiction and powers. For a Tribunal to be staffed by both Justices of the Supreme Court and Members of the Senate, the Constitution intended that both those "judicial" and "legislative" components commonly share the duty and authority of deciding all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of Senators. Every Member of the Tribunal may, as his conscience dictates, refrain from participating in the resolution of a case where he sincerely feels that his personal interests or biases would stand in the way of an objective and impartial judgment. What we are merely saying is that in the light of the Constitution, the Senate Electoral Tribunal cannot legally function as such, absent its entire membership of Senators and that no amendment of its Rules can confer on the three Justices-Members alone the power of valid adjudication of a senatorial election contest (Abbas vs. Senate Electoral Tribunal, 166 SCRA 651). ii) Powers
1. Sole judge of all contest relating to the election, returns and qualification of their respective members (Sec. 17, Art.VI);
2. Rule-making power CASES •
The electoral tribunal clearly assumes jurisdiction over all contests relative to the election, returns and qualifications of candidates for either the Senate or the House only when the latter become members of either the Senate or the House of Representatives. A candidate who has not been proclaimed and who has not taken his oath of office cannot be said to be a member of the House of Representatives subject to Section 17 of Article VI of the Constitution. Even after the elections, the COMELEC is still empowered by Section 6 (in relation to Section 7) of R.A. 6646 to continue to hear and decide questions relating to qualifications of candidates (Aquino vs. Comelec, GR 120265, Sept. 18, 1995).
Under Section 17 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, it is the House Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualification of its members. Since petitioners challenge the qualifications of Congressman Daza, the appropriate remedy should have been to file a petition to cancel respondent Daza's certificate of candidacy before the election or a quo warranto case with the House Electoral Tribunal within ten (10) days after Daza's proclamation (Sampayan vs. Daza, 213 SCRA 807). iii)Jurisdiction over Proclamation Controversy
Each electoral tribunal shall be the sole judge of all CONTEST relating to the election, returns; and qualifications of their respective members. This includes determining the validity or invalidity of a proclamation declaring a particular candidate as the winner. An ‘election contest’ is one where a defeated candidate challenges the qualification and claims for himself the seat of a proclaimed winner. In the absence of an election contest, the Electoral Tribunal is without jurisdiction. However, the power of each House to expel its own members or even to defer their oathtaking until their qualifications are determines may still be exercised even without an election contest.
Article VI thereof states: Sec. 17. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their respective Members. . . .The foregoing constitutional provision is reiterated in Rule 14 of the 1991 Revised Rules of the Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives. In the recent case of Rasul v. COMELEC and Aquino-Oreta, the Court, in interpreting the aforesaid constitutional provision, stressed the exclusivity of the Electoral Tribunal's jurisdiction over its members. In the same vein, considering that petitioner questions the proclamation of Henry Lanot as the winner in the congressional race for the sole district of Pasig City, his remedy should have been to file an electoral protest with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) (Caruncho vs. Comelec, GR 135996, Sept. 30, 1999).
e. COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS (SEC. 18 & 19) Section 18. There shall be a Commission on Appointments consisting of the President of the Senate, as ex officio Chairman, twelve Senators, and twelve Members of the House of Representatives, elected by each House on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The chairman of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The Commission shall act on all appointments submitted to it within thirty session days of the Congress from their submission. The Commission shall rule by a majority vote of all the Members. Section 19. The Electoral Tribunals and the Commission on Appointments shall be constituted within thirty days after the Senate and the House of Representatives shall have been organized with the election of the President and the Speaker. The Commission on Appointments shall meet only while the Congress is in session, at the call of its Chairman or a majority of all its Members, to discharge such powers and functions as are herein conferred upon it.
i) Composition 1. 2. 3.
Senate President as ex-officio chairman; 12 Senators: and 12 Members of the House.
Note: The 12 Senators and 12 Representatives are elected on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and party-list organizations. Voting / Action 1.
The Commission shall rule by majority vote of all members. 2. The chairman shall only vote in case of a tie. 3. The Commission on Appointments shall act on all appointment within 30 session days from their submission to Congress. CASES •
The provision of Section 18 on proportional representation is mandatory in character and does not leave any discretion to the majority party in the Senate to disobey or disregard the rule on proportional representation; otherwise, the party with a majority representation in the Senate or the House of Representatives can by sheer force of numbers impose its will on the hapless minority. By requiring a proportional representation in the Commission on Appointments, Section 18 in effect works as a check on the majority party in the Senate and helps to maintain the balance of power. No party can claim more than what it is entitled to under such rule. To allow it to elect more than its proportional share of members is to confer upon such a party a greater share in the membership in the Commission on Appointments and more power to impose its will on the minority, who by the same token, suffers a diminution of its rightful membership in the Commission. A political party must have at least two senators in the Senate to be able to have a representative in the Commission on Appointments, so that any number less than 2 will not entitle such a party a membership in the Commission on Appointments. We do not agree with respondents' claim that it is mandatory to elect 12 Senators to the Commission on Appointments. The Constitution does not contemplate that the Commission on Appointments must necessarily include twelve (12) senators and twelve (12) members of the House of Representatives. What the Constitution requires is that there be at least a majority of the entire membership. Under
Section 18, the Commission shall rule by majority vote of all the members and in Section 19, the Commission shall meet only while Congress is in session, at the call of its Chairman or a majority of all its members "to discharge such powers and functions herein conferred upon it (Guingona vs. Gonzales, 214 SCRA 789).” ii) Powers 1. Acts on all appointments submitted to it within 30 session days of Congress from their submission; and 2. Promulgates its own rules of proceedings. CASES •
Under the provisions of the 1987 Constitution, there are four (4) groups of officers whom the President shall appoint: First, the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution; Second, all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law; Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President alone. The first group of officers is clearly appointed with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. Appointments of such officers are initiated by nomination and, if the nomination is confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, the President appoints.The second, third and fourth groups of officers are the present bone of contention. Should they be appointed by the President with or without the consent (confirmation) of the Commission on Appointments? In the 1987 Constitution, the clear and expressed intent of its framers was to exclude presidential appointments from confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (Sarmiento vs. Mison, 156 SCRA 549).
f. POWERS OF CONGRESS i) General Legislative Power a.
general plenary power (Sec. 1, Art VI);
Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum. b. c. d. e.
specific power of appropriation; taxation and expropriation; legislative investigations; question hour. CASES
The doctrine is well established in the various States of the Union that the legislatures have no power to establish rules which operates to deprive the courts of their constitutional authority to exercise the judicial functions. A constitutional court when exercising its proper judicial functions can no more be unreasonably controlled by the legislature than can the legislature when properly exercising legislative power be subjected to the control of the courts. Each acts independently within its exclusive field. In a certain sense these courts are not constitutional courts. In a broader sense, and for the purposes of construing and testing the validity of the Acts of the Philippine Legislature, they are constitutional courts, because they, like the Legislature, exist by virtue of a written Organic Law enacted by the supreme legislative body. The validity of all legislative Acts must be determined by their compliance with this Organic Law, and the determination of the legal question of compliance or noncompliance therewith is a judicial question, which must in the last analysis be determined by the judiciary. This principle is inherent in every government organized under the American system which distributes the powers of government among executive, legislative and judicial departments (Ocampo vs. Cabangis, 15 Phil. 626). ii) Inherent Legislative Power a. police power
The power vested in the legislature by the constitutionto make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes, and ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and of the subjects of the same. Law of overruling necessity – power promoting public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property. Basis : public necessity and the right of the State and of the public to self-protection and self preservation. Who may exercise: delegation: 1. 2. 3.
generally the legislature, but also upon valid the President Administrative bodies Law making bodies of LGU b. power of taxation power by which the State raises revenue to defray the necessary expenses of the Government that covers persons, property, or __________.
Basis: power emanating from necessity. ( ____ theory) Who may exercise: delegation: 1.
generally the legislature, but also upon valid Law-making bodies of LGUs (Sec. 5, Art. X); and; 2. The President under Sec 28 (2), Art VI of the Constitution or as an incident of emergency powers that Congress may grant to him under Sec. 23 (2), Art. VI). c. eminent domain
power of the State to forcibly take private property for public use upon payment of just compensation. Basis: necessity of the property for public use. Who may exercise: delegation:
generally the legislature, but also upon valid
1. 2. 3. 4.
the President Law-making bodies of LGUs; Public corporations; and Quasi-public corporations iii)Limitations
a. Substantive Limitations Limitations on specific powers (Section 30 and 31)
Section 30. No law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution without its advice and concurrence. Section 31. No law granting a title of royalty or nobility shall be enacted. -
Bill of Rights Implied limitations: no irrepealable law, non-encroachment, non-delegation b. Procedural Limitations
-One Bill, one subject (Section 26) only one subject to be stated in the title of the bill (Sec, 26 (1), Art. VI); Every bill shall embrace only one (1) subject, as expressed in the title thereof, which does not have to be a complete catalogue of everything stated in the bill. A title expressing the general subject of the bill and all the provisions of the statute are germane to that general subject is sufficient.
Section 26. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof. CASES •
The objectives of Section 26(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, that "[e]very bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof", are: 1. To prevent hodge-podge or log-rolling legislation; 2. To prevent surprise or fraud upon the legislature by means of provisions in bills of which the titles gave no information, and which might therefore be overlooked and carelessly and unintentionally adopted; and 3. To fairly apprise the people, through such publication of legislative proceedings as is usually made, of the subjects of legislation that are being considered, in order that they may have opportunity of being heard thereon by petition or otherwise if they shall so desire. Section 44 of RA 8189 is not isolated considering that it is related and germane to the subject matter stated in the title of the law. The title of RA 8189 is "The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996" with a subject matter enunciated in the explanatory note as "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A GENERAL REGISTRATION OF VOTERS, ADOPTING A SYSTEM OF CONTINUING REGISTRATION, PRESCRIBING THE PROCEDURES THEREOF AND AUTHORIZING THE APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS THEREFOR." Section 44, which provides for the reassignment of election officers, is relevant to the subject matter of registration as it seeks to ensure the integrity of the registration process by providing a guideline for the COMELEC to follow in the reassignment of election officers. It is not an alien provision but one which is related to the conduct and procedure of continuing registration of voters. In this regard, it bears stressing that the Constitution does not require Congress to employ in the title of an enactment, language of such precision as to mirror, fully index or catalogue, all the contents and the minute details therein. In determining the constitutionality of a statute dubbed as defectively titled, the presumption is in favor of its validity (Guzman vs. Comelec, GR 129118, July 19, 2000).
Sufficiency of Title
The title of the bill is not required to be an index to the body of the act, or to be as comprehensive as to cover every single detail of the measure. It has been held that if the title fairly indicates the general subject, and reasonably covers all the provisions of the act, and is not calculated to mislead the legislature or the people, there is sufficient compliance with the constitutional requirement. To require every end and means necessary for the accomplishment of the general objectives of the statute to be expressed in its title would not only be unreasonable but would actually render legislation impossible. This is particularly true of the repealing clause, on which Cooley writes: "The repeal of a statute on a given subject is properly connected with the subject matter of a new statute on the same subject; and therefore a repealing section in the new statute is valid, notwithstanding that the title is silent on the subject. It would be difficult to conceive of a matter more germane to an act and to the object to be accomplished thereby than the repeal of previous legislations connected therewith."We are convinced that the withdrawal of the franking privilege from some agencies is germane to the accomplishment of the principal objective of R.A. No. 7354, which is the creation of a more efficient and effective postal service system. Our ruling is that, by virtue of its nature as a repealing clause, Section 35 did not have to be expressly included in the title of the said law (Philippine Judges Assn vs. Prado, GR 105371, Nov. 11, 1993).
The question is whether Congress has provided a sufficient standard by which the President is to be guided in the exercise of the power granted and whether in any event the grant of power to him is included in the subject expressed in the title of the law. First, the question of standard. A legislative standard need not be expressed. It may simply be gathered or implied. Nor need it be found in the law challenged because it may be embodied in other statutes on the same subject as that of the challenged legislation (Chiongbian vs. Orbos, 245 SCRA 253).
Bills that must originate exclusively from the House The initiative for filing of ART bills must come from the House, but it does not prohibit the filing in the Senate a substitute bill in anticipation of its receipt of the bill from House, so long as the
action by the Senate is withheld pending the receipt of the House bill (Tolentino v. Sec. of Finance, 235 SCRA 630). Appropriation, revenue and tariff bills (ART Bills) shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives (sec. 24, Art. VI). Section 24. All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills, shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments. CASES •
Petitioners' contention is that Republic Act No. 7716 did not "originate exclusively" in the House of Representatives as required by Art. VI, § 24 of the Constitution, because it is in fact the result of the consolidation of two distinct bills, H. No. 11197 and S. No. 1630. This argument will not bear analysis. To begin with, it is not the law — but the revenue bill — which is required by the Constitution to "originate exclusively" in the House of Representatives. It is important to emphasize this, because a bill originating in the House may undergo such extensive changes in the Senate that the result may be a rewriting of the whole (Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance, GR 115455, Aug. 25, 1994).
The enactment of S. No. 1630 is not the only instance in which the Senate proposed an amendment to a House revenue bill by enacting its own version of a revenue bill. the power of the Senate to propose amendments must be understood to be full, plenary and complete "as on other Bills." Thus, because revenue bills are required to originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, the Senate cannot enact revenue measures of its own without such bills. After a revenue bill is passed and sent over to it by the House, however, the Senate certainly can pass its own version on the same subject matter. This follows from the coequality of the two chambers of Congress. In sum, while Art. VI, 24 provides that all appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills must "originate exclusively in the House of Representatives," it also adds, "but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments."
In the exercise of this power, the Senate may propose an entirely new bill as a substitute measure. Without H. No. 11197, the Senate could not have enacted S. No. 1630. Because the Senate bill was a mere amendment of the House bill, H. No. 11197 in its original form did not have to pass the Senate on second and three readings. It was enough that after it was passed on first reading it was referred to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. Neither was it required that S. No. 1630 be passed by the House of Representatives before the two bills could be referred to the Conference Committee (Tolentino vs. Secretary of Finance, GR 115455, Motion for Recon., Oct. 30, 1995). Three readings on separate days 3 readings on separate days; printed copies of the bill in its final form distributed to members 3 days before its passage, except if President certifies to its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency; upon its last reading, no amendment allowed and the vote thereon taken immediately and the yeas and nays entered into the Journal (Sec. 26 (2), Art. VI). (2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal. Bicameral Conference Committee g. LEGISLATIVE PROCESS (SEC. 27) Section 27. (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same he shall sign it; otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the House where it originated, which shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such
reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the Members of that House, it shall become a law. In all such cases, the votes of each House shall be determined by yeas or nays, and the names of the Members voting for or against shall be entered in its Journal. The President shall communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty days after the date of receipt thereof, otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it. (2) The President shall have the power to veto any particular item or items in an appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill, but the veto shall not affect the item or items to which he does not object. i) Approval of Bills Bills that must originate in the House of Representatives: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Appropriation bill; Revenue and tariff bills; Bill authorizing increase in public debts; Bill of local application; and Private bills (Sec. 24, Art. VI)
Procedure for Approval of Bills: 1. Bill is approved by both chambers; 2. President approves and signs it; 3. If the President vetoes the bill, returns the bill with presidential objections to the House of origin. Veto may be overridden upon vote of 2/3 of all members of the House of origin and the other House and; 4. Presidential inaction for 30 days from receipt of the bill (bill becomes a law as if the same has been signed by him. How a Bill becomes Law; 1. Approved and signed by the President; 2. President veto overridden by 2/3 of all members of both Houses; 3. Failure of the President to veto the bill and to rturn it with his objections to the House where it originated within 30 days after the date of receipt; 4. A bill calling a special election for President and Vice-President under Sec. 10, Art. VII becomes a law upon third and final reading.
ii) Presidential veto General Rule: If the President disapproved a bill enacted by Congress, he should veto the entire bill. He is not allowed to veto separate item of a bill. Exception : Item-veto in case of appropriation, revenue and tariff bill (Sec. 27(2), Art. VI). Exception to The Exception: -
Doctrine of inappropriate Provision – a provision that is constitutionally inappropriate for an appropriation bill may be singled out for veto even if it is not an appropriation or revenue “item” (Gonzales v. Macaraig, Jr., 191 SCRA 452)
Executive Impoundment - refusal of the President to spend funds already allocated by Congress for specific purpose. It is the failure to spend or obligate budget authority of any type (Philconsa v. Enriquez, GR. No. 1131105, Aug. 19, 1994). iii)Pocket veto
occurs when :
1. the President fails to act on a bill and; 2. the reason he does not return the bill to the Congress is that Congress is not in session. Note: Not applicable in the Philippines because inaction by the President for 30 days never produces a veto even if Congress is in recess. The President must still act to veto the bill and communicate his veto to Congress without need of returning the vetoed bill with his veto message. iv)Item veto Line – item veto – is the power of an executive to nullify or cancel specific provisions of a bill, usually budget appropriations, without vetoing the entire legislative package. CASES
The Executive must veto a bill in its entirety or not at all. He or she cannot act like an editor crossing out specific lines, provisions, or paragraphs in a bill that he or she dislikes. In the exercise of the veto power, it is generally all or nothing. However, when it comes to appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, the Administration needs the money to run the machinery of government and it can not veto the entire bill even if it may contain objectionable features. The President is, therefore, compelled to approve into law the entire bill, including its undesirable parts. It is for this reason that the Constitution has wisely provided the "item veto powers" to avoid inexpedient riders being attached to an indispensable appropriation or revenue measure. The Constitution provides that only a particular item or items may be vetoed. The power to disapprove any item or items in an appropriate bill does not grant the authority to veto a part of an item and to approve the remaining portion of the same item. We distinguish an item from a provision in the following manner: "The terms item and provision in budgetary legislations and practice are concededly different. An item in a bill refers to the particulars, the details, the distinct and severable parts . . . of the bill. An 'item' of an appropriation bill obviously means an item which in itself is a specific appropriation of money, not some general provision of law, which happens to be put into an appropriation bill.” Thus, the augmentation of specific appropriations found inadequate to pay retirement payments, by transferring savings from other items of appropriation is a provision and not an item. It gives power to the Chief Justice to transfer funds from one item to another. There is no specific appropriation of money involved (Bengzon vs. Drilon, 208 SCRA 133). v) Legislative veto; One-House Veto
Legislative veto exists in governments that separate executive and legislative functions, action by the executive can be rejected by the legislature. CASES •
The legislative veto was a simple concept to retain some control over power delegated to the president to reorganize executive branch agencies. At the same time it became apparent that the legislative veto might be a means for exercising congressional control over administrative regulations. However, the rule of law states that Congress may not promulgate a statute granting to
itself a legislative veto over actions of the executive branch inconsistent with the bicameralism principle and Presentment Clause of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court held that the resolution of the House of Representatives vetoing the Attorney General's determination is constitutionally invalid, unenforceable, and not binding (Immigration Service vs. Chadha, 462 US 919, 77 L.Ed.2d 317). •
The veto power, while exercisable by the President, is actually a part of the legislative process. That is why it is found in Article VI on the Legislative Department rather than in Article VII on the Executive Department in the Constitution. There is, therefore, sound basis to indulge in the presumption of validity of a veto. The burden shifts on those questioning the validity thereof to show that its use is a violation of the Constitution. As the Constitution is explicit that the provision which Congress can include in an appropriations bill must "relate specifically to some particular appropriation therein" and "be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates," it follows that any provision which does not relate to any particular item, or which extends in its operation beyond an item of appropriation, is considered "an inappropriate provision" which can be vetoed separately from an item. Also to be included in the category of "inappropriate provisions" are unconstitutional provisions and provisions which are intended to amend other laws, because clearly these kind of laws have no place in an appropriations bill. These are matters of general legislation more appropriately dealt with in separate enactments ( Phil. Constitution Assn vs. Enriquez, 235 SCRA 506).
h. POWER OF THE PURSE (SEC. 24, 25, ART. VI; 20 - Art. VII, SEC. 20 AND 22) Article VI Section 24. All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills, shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments. Section 25. (1) The Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government as specified in the budget. The form, content, and manner of preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by law.
(2) No provision or enactment shall be embraced in the general appropriations bill unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation therein. Any such provision or enactment shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates. (3) The procedure in approving appropriations for the Congress shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other departments and agencies. (4) A special appropriations bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal therein. (5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations. (6) Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by law. (7) If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed re-enacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Congress. Article VII Section 20. The President may contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. The Monetary Board shall, within thirty days from the end of every quarter of the calendar year, submit to the Congress a complete report of its decision on applications for loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the Government or government-owned and
controlled corporations which would have the effect of increasing the foreign debt, and containing other matters as may be provided by law. Section 22. The President shall submit to the Congress, within thirty days from the opening of every regular session as the basis of the general appropriations bill, a budget of expenditures and sources of financing, including receipts from existing and proposed revenue measures. No money shall be paid out of the National Treasury EXCEPT in pursuance of an appropriation made by law. BUT: This rule does not prohibit continuing appropriations. E.g. for debt servicing. This is because the rule does not require yearly, or annual appropriation. Appropriation Law - a statute, the primary and specific purpose of which is to authorize release of public funds from the treasury. The existence of appropriations and the availability of funds are indispensable pre-requisites to or conditions sine qua non for the execution of government contracts (Comelec v. Judge QuijanoPadilla and Photokina Marketing Corp. GR No. 151992, Sept. 18, 2002). i) Implied limitations on appropriation measure 1. must specify public purpose; and 2. sum authorized for release must be determinate, or at least determinable. CASES
Petitioners argue that the said automatic appropriations under the aforesaid decrees of then President Marcos became functus oficio when he was ousted in February, 1986; that upon the expiration of the one-man legislature in the person of President Marcos, the legislative power was restored to Congress on February 2, 1987 when the Constitution was ratified by the people; that there is a need for a new legislation by Congress providing for automatic appropriation, but Congress, up to the present, has not approved any such law; and thus the said P86.8 Billion automatic appropriation in the 1990 budget is an administrative act that rests on no law, and thus, it cannot be enforced. The Court, however, is not persuaded. Section 3, Article XVIII of the Constitution recognizes that "All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and other executive issuances not inconsistent with the Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or revoked." This transitory provision of the Constitution has precisely been adopted by its framers to preserve the social order so that legislation by the then President Marcos may be recognized. Such laws are to remain in force and effect unless they are inconsistent with the Constitution or are otherwise amended, repealed or revoked (Guingona vs. Carague, 196 SCRA 221). ii) Constitutional limitations and rules Constitutional limitations on special appropriations measures:
1. must specify public purpose for which the sum was intended; and 2. must be supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer or to be raised by corresponding revenue proposal included therein (Sec. 25(4),Art. VI). Constitutional Rules on General Appropriations Laws (Sec. 25, Art. VI) Section 25. (1) The Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government as specified in the budget. The form, content, and manner of preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by law. (2) No provision or enactment shall be embraced in the general appropriations bill unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation therein. Any such provision or
enactment shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates. (3) The procedure in approving appropriations for the Congress shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other departments and agencies. (4) A special appropriations bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and shall be supported by funds actually available as certified by the National Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal therein. (5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations. (6) Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers and subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by law. (7) If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed re-enacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Congress.
a. Riders i. ii.
Is a provision which does not relate to a particular appropriation stated in the bill. Since it is invalid provision under Section 25(2), the President may veto it as an item. b. Prohibition against transfer of appropriation
Rule: No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations BUT the following may, BY LAW, be authorized to AUGMENT any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriation 1. President, 2. President of the Senate 3. Speaker of the House of Representatives 4. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 5. Heads of the Constitutional Commissions CASES •
Under the Constitution, the spending power called by James Madison as "the power of the purse," belongs to Congress, subject only to the veto power of the President. The President may propose the budget, but still the final say on the matter of appropriations is lodged in the Congress. The power of appropriation carries with it the power to specify the project or activity to be funded under the appropriation law. It can be as detailed and as broad as Congress wants it to be. The special provision on realignment of the operating expenses of members of Congress is authorized by Section 16 of the General Provisions of the GAA of 1994. Each member of Congress is allotted for his own operating expenditure a proportionate share of the appropriation for the House to which he belongs. If he does not spend for one item of expense, Sec. 16 of GAA of 1994 allows him to transfer his allocation in said item to another item of expense. Petitioners assail the special provision allowing a member of Congress to realign his allocation for operational expenses to any other expense category (Rollo, pp. 82-92), claiming that this practice is prohibited by Section 25(5) Article VI of the Constitution. Under the Special Provisions applicable to the Congress of the Philippines, the members of Congress only determine the necessity of the realignment of the savings in the allotments for their operating expenses. They are in the best position to do so because they are the ones who know whether there are deficiencies in other items of their operating expenses that need augmentation. However, it is the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who shall approve the realignment. Before giving their stamp of approval, these two officials will have to see to it that: (1) The funds to be realigned or transferred are actually savings in the items of expenditures from which the same are to be taken; and
(2) The transfer or realignment is for the purpose of augmenting the items of expenditure to which said transfer or realignment is to be made (Phil. Constitution Assn vs. Enriquez, 235 SCRA 506). c.
Generally, under the express or implied provisions of the constitution, public funds may be used only for public purpose. The right of the legislature to appropriate funds is correlative with its right to tax, and, under constitutional provisions against taxation except for public purposes and prohibiting the collection of a tax for one purpose and the devotion thereof to another purpose, no appropriation of state funds can be made for other than for a public purpose. The test of the constitutionality of a statute requiring the use of public funds is whether the statute is designed to promote the public interest, as opposed to the furtherance of the advantage of individuals, although each advantage to individuals might incidentally serve the public (Pascual vs. Sec. Of Public Works, 110 Phil 331).
An attempt was made to take money out of the government treasury, which belongs to the City of Manila, a municipal corporation, and apply it to the payment of a debt which a public corporation claims to have against the city. That proceeding was in direct conflict with the express provisions of section 3 of the Jones Law. It violates that portion of the section which says that no money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation by law; and the other provision which says that all money collected on any tax levied or assessed for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund in the treasury and paid out for such purpose only. Here, the defendants propose to take public money from and out of the government treasury, which is in a special fund, and which was assessed, levied and collected for a special purpose, and pay it over to a public corporation. No authority has been cited, and none will ever be found to legalize such a proceeding (Manila to pay the claim of the Metropolitan Water District against the City of Manila (City of Manila vs. Posadas, 48 Phil 390).
The question raised refers to the alleged violation of the Constitution by the respondent in issuing and selling postage
stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress. It is alleged that this action of the respondent is violative of the provisions of section 23, subsection 3, Article VI, of the Constitution of the Philippines, which provides as follows: No public money or property shall ever be appropriated ...for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church... except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution, orphanage, or leprosarium. The prohibition herein expressed is a direct corollary of the principle of separation of church and state. But, upon very serious reflection, examination of Act No. 4052, and scrutiny of the attending circumstances, we have come to the conclusion that there has been no constitutional infraction in the case at bar, Act No. 4052 grants the Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, discretion to misuse postage stamps with new designs "as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government ( Aglipay vs. Ruiz, 64 Phil 201).” i.
POWER OF TAXATION (SEC. 28)
Section 28. (1) The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The Congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation. (2) The Congress may, by law, authorize the President to fix within specified limits, and subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts within the framework of the national development program of the Government. (3) Charitable institutions, churches and personages or convents appurtenant thereto, mosques, non-profit cemeteries, and all lands, buildings, and improvements, actually, directly, and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes shall be exempt from taxation. (4) No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress. CASES
If the Legislature has the power to impose a tax... then "the judicial cannot prescribed to the legislative department of the Government limitation upon the exercise of its acknowledge powers." That the Philippine Legislature has the power to impose such taxes, we think there can be no serious doubt, because "the power to impose taxes is one so unlimited in force and so searching in extent, that the courts scarcely venture to declare that it is subject to any restrictions whatever, except such as rest in the discretion of the authority which exercises it. It reaches to every trade or occupation; to every object of industry, use, or enjoyment; to every species of possession; and it imposes a burden which, in case of failure to discharge it, may be followed by seizure and sale or confiscation of property. No attribute of sovereignty is more pervading, and at no point does the power of the government affect more constantly and intimately all the relations of life than through the exactions made under it." If a case were presented where the abuse of the taxing power of the local legislature was to extreme as to make it plain to the judicial mind that the power had been exercised for the sole purpose of destroying rights which could not be rightfully destroyed consistently with the principles of freedom and justice upon which the Philippine Government rests, then it would be the duty of the courts to say that such an arbitrary act was not merely an abuse of the power, but was the exercise of an authority not conferred. The only limitation, in so far as these questions are concerned, placed upon the Philippine Legislature in the exercise of its taxing power is that found in section 5 of the Philippine Bill, wherein it is declared "that the rule of taxation in said Islands shall be uniform." A tax is uniform when it operates with the same force and effect in every place where the subject of it is found. The words "uniform throughout the United States," as required of a tax by the Constitution, do not signify an intrinsic, but simply a geographical, uniformity, and such uniformity is therefore the only uniformity which is prescribed by the Constitution. "Uniformity," as applied to the constitutional provision that all taxes shall be uniform, means that all property belonging to the same class shall be taxed alike. The rule does not require taxes to be graded according to the value of the subject or subjects upon which they are imposed, especially those levied as privilege or occupation taxes. We can hardly see wherein the tax in question constitutes double taxation. The fact that the land upon which the billboards are located is taxed at so much per unit and the billboards at so much per square meter does not constitute "double taxation." Double taxation, within the true meaning of that expression, does not necessarily affect its validity. And again, it is not for the judiciary to say that the classification upon which the tax is based "is mere arbitrary selection and not based upon any
reasonable grounds." The Legislature selected signs and billboards as a subject for taxation and it must be presumed that it, in so doing, acted with a full knowledge of the situation (Churchill vs. Concepcion, 34 Phil 969). •
The exemption in favor of the convent in the payment of the land tax (sec. 344 [c] Administrative Code) refers to the home of the parties who presides over the church and who has to take care of himself in order to discharge his duties. In therefore must, in the sense, include not only the land actually occupied by the church, but also the adjacent ground destined to the ordinary incidental uses of man. Except in large cities where the density of the population and the development of commerce require the use of larger tracts of land for buildings, a vegetable garden belongs to a house and, in the case of a convent, it use is limited to the necessities of the priest, which comes under the exemption. In regard to the lot which formerly was the cemetery, while it is no longer used as such, neither is it used for commercial purposes and, according to the evidence, is now being used as a lodging house by the people who participate in religious festivities, which constitutes an incidental use in religious functions, which also comes within the exemption. Malcolm, in his dissenting opinion elucidate that The Assessment Law exempts from taxation "Cemeteries or burial grounds . . . and all lands, buildings, and improvements use exclusively for religious . . . purposes, but this exemption shall not extend to property held for investment, or which produces income, even though the income be devoted to some one or more of the purposes above specified." (Administrative Code, sec. 344; Act No. 2749, sec. 1.) That is the applicable law (Bishop of Nueva Segovia vs. Prov. Board, 51 Phil 352).
A tax refers to a financial obligation imposed by a state on persons, whether natural or juridical, within its jurisdiction, for property owned, income earned, business or profession engaged in, or any such activity analogous in character for raising the necessary revenues to take care of the responsibilities of government. An often-quoted definition is that of Cooley: "Taxes are the enforced proportional contributions from persons and property levied by the state by virtue of its sovereignty for the support of government and for all public needs." As distinguished from other pecuniary burdens, the differentiating factor is that the purpose to be subserved is the raising of revenue. A tax then is neither a penalty that must be satisfied or a liability arising from contract. Much less can it be confused or identified with a license or a fee as a manifestation of an exercise of the police power. It has been settled law in this jurisdiction that this broad and all-
encompassing governmental competence to restrict rights of liberty and property carries with it the undeniable power to collect a regulatory fee. Unlike a tax, it has not for its object the raising of revenue but looks rather to the enactment of specific measures that govern the relations not only as between individuals but also as between private parties and the political society. To quote from Cooley anew: "Legislation for these purposes it would seem proper to look upon as being made in the exercise of that authority ... spoken of as the police power. The conclusion is difficult to resist therefore that the Motor Vehicle Act requires the payment not of a tax but of a registration fee under the police power. Hence the inapplicability of the section relied upon by defendant-appellee under the Back Pay Law. It is not held liable for a tax but for a registration fee. It therefore cannot make use of a backpay certificate to meet such an obligation (Republic vs. Philippine Rabbit Busline, 32 SCRA 211). ϕ.
POWER OF LEGISLATIVE INVESTIGATION (SEC. 21 AND 22)
Section 21. The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in, or affected by, such inquiries shall be respected. Section 22. The heads of departments may, upon their own initiative, with the consent of the President, or upon the request of either House, as the rules of each House shall provide, appear before and be heard by such House on any matter pertaining to their departments. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at least three days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover matters related thereto. When the security of the State or the public interest so requires and the President so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session. Limitation on Power of Legislative Investigation: 1. must be in aid of legislation; 2. in accordance with duly published rules of procedure; and
3. right of person appearing in, or affected by such inquiry shall be respected.
Question Hour (Sec. 22) As to persons who may Only appear head
As to who conducts the investigation Entire body As to the subject matter
Legislative Investigation (Sec. 21)
department Any person Committees
Any matter for the Matters related to the purpose of department only legislation
E.O. 464, to the extent that it bars the appearance of executive officials before Congress, deprives Congress of the information in the possession of these officials. To resolve the question of whether such withholding of information violates the Constitution, consideration of the general power of Congress to obtain information, otherwise known as the power of inquiry, is in order.The Congress power of inquiry is expressly recognized in Section 21 of Article VI of the Constitution. The power of inquiry, the Court therein ruled, is co-extensive with the power to legislate.60 The matters which may be a proper subject of legislation and those which may be a proper subject of investigation are one. It follows that the operation of government, being a legitimate subject for legislation, is a proper subject for investigation. Since Congress has authority to inquire into the operations of the executive branch, it would be incongruous to hold that the power of inquiry does not extend to executive officials who are the most familiar with and informed on executive operations. From the discussion on the meaning and scope of executive privilege, both in the United States and in this jurisdiction, a clear principle emerges. Executive privilege, whether asserted against Congress, the courts, or the public, is recognized only in relation to certain types of information of a sensitive character. While executive privilege is a constitutional concept, a claim thereof may
be valid or not depending on the ground invoked to justify it and the context in which it is made. Noticeably absent is any recognition that executive officials are exempt from the duty to disclose information by the mere fact of being executive officials. Indeed, the extraordinary character of the exemptions indicates that the presumption inclines heavily against executive secrecy and in favor of disclosure (Senate vs. Ermita (E.O. 464), GR 169777). •
The 1987 Constitution expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore, absolute or unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-quoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein, the investigation must be "in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure" and that "the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including the right to due process and the right not to be compelled to testify against one's self (Bengzon vs. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, 203 SCRA 767).
The power of inquiry — with process to enforce it — is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. A legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislations is intended to affect or change; and where the legislative body does not itself possess the requisite information — which is not frequently true — recourse must be had to others who do possess it. Experience has shown that mere requests for such information are often unavailing, and also that information which is volunteered is not always accurate or complete; so some means of compulsion is essential to obtain what is needed. The fact that the Constitution expressly hives to congress the power to punish its Members for disorderly behaviour, does not by necessary implication exclude the power to punish for contempt any other person. Once an inquiry is admitted or established to be within the jurisdiction of a legislative body to make, the investigating committee has the power to require a witness to answer any question pertinent to that inquiry, subject of course to his constitutional right against selfincrimination. The inquiry, to be within the jurisdiction of the legislative body to make, must be material or necessary to the exercise of a power in it vested by the Constitution, such as to legislate, or to expel a Member; and every question which the investigator is empowered to coerce a witness to answer must be material or pertinent to the subject of the inquiry or investigation.
The power of the Court is limited to determining whether the legislative body has jurisdiction to institute the inquiry or investigation; that once that jurisdiction is conceded, this Court cannot control the exercise of that jurisdiction or the use of Congressional discretion; and, it is insinuated, that the ruling of the Senate on the materiality of the question propounded to the witness is not subject to review by this Court under the principle of the separation of powers (Arnault vs. Nazareno, 87 Phil 29). •
It was admitted and we had ruled that the Senate has the authority to commit a witness if he refuses to answer a question pertinent to a legislative inquiry, to compel him to give the information, i. e., by reason of its coercive power, not its punitive power. It is now contented by petitioner that if he committed an offense of contempt or perjury against the legislative body, because he refused to reveal the identity of the person in accordance with the demands of the Senate Committee, the legislature may not punish him, for the punishment for his refusal should be sought through the ordinary processes of the law, i.e., by the institution of a criminal action in a court of justice. American legislative bodies, after which our own is patterned, have the power to punish for contempt if the contempt has had the effect of obstructing the exercise by the legislature of, or deterring or preventing it from exercising, its legitimate functions. The principle that Congress or any o fits bodies has the power to punish recalcitrant witnesses is founded upon reason and policy. Said power must be considered implied or incidental to the exercise of legislative power, or necessary to effectuate said power. How could a legislative body obtain the knowledge and information on which to base intended legislation if it cannot require and compel the disclosure of such knowledge and information, if it is impotent to punish a defiance of its power and authority? When the framers of the Constitution adopted the principle of separation of powers, making each branch supreme within the realm of its respective authority, it must have intended each department's authority to be full and complete, independently of the other's authority or power. And how could the authority and power become complete if for every act of refusal, every act of defiance, every act of contumacy against it, the legislative body must resort to the judicial department for the appropriate remedy, because it is impotent by itself to punish or deal therewith, with the affronts committed against its authority or dignity (Arnault vs. Balagtas, 97 Phil 358).
POWER TO DECLARE EXISTENCE OF STATE OF WAR
By Acts of Congress the President is authorized to call out the militia and use the military and naval forces to suppress insurrection against the government of a state or the U.S. The proclamation of the blockade is official and conclusive evidence to the court that a state of war existed which demanded and authorized a recourse to such a measure. The President was bound to meet the war in the shape it presented itself, without waiting for Congress. Congress passed an Act “approving, legalizing, and making valid all the acts, proclamations, and orders of the President as if they had been issued and done under the previous express authority and direction of the Congress (The Prize Cases, 67 US 635, 17 L.Ed. 459).
Whether the U.S. involvement was a “War,” and if so could the petitioner be ordered by the Executive to participate absent a declaration? The rule is that Congress shall have the power to declarations of war. Court ruled the issue was not justiciable, lacked a controversy on which a determination could be rendered. Conflicts between the Congress and the President are not justiciable issues the petitioner can raise. The plaintiff argued that the Vietnam conflict is not a war, and if so, Congress has not declared it to be such. The defendant argue that the President can take emergency action to protect the security of the U.S. and further military action only requires approval of Congress not a formal declaration of war (Mora vs. McNamara, 389 US 934, 19 L.Ed. 2D 287).
INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL (SEC. 32)
Section 32. The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body after the registration of a petition therefor signed by at least ten per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters thereof.
Initiative – power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to propose and enact legislation through an election called for the purpose. Referendum - power of the electorate to approve or reject legislation through an election called for that purpose. CASES •
Section 2 of Article XVII of the Constitution provides: SEC. 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter. The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right. the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through the system of initiative would remain entombed in the cold niche of the Constitution until Congress provides for its implementation. Stated otherwise, while the Constitution has recognized or granted that right, the people cannot exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason, does not provide for its implementation. This provision is not self-executory. If Congress intended R.A. No. 6735 to fully provide for the implementation of the initiative on amendments to the Constitution, it could have provided for a subtitle therefor, considering that in the order of things, the primacy of interest, or hierarchy of values, the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution is far more important than the initiative on national and local laws. We cannot accept the argument that the initiative on amendments to the Constitution is subsumed under the subtitle on National Initiative and Referendum because it is national in scope. Our reading of Subtitle II (National Initiative and Referendum) and Subtitle III (Local Initiative and Referendum) leaves no room for doubt that the classification is not based on the scope of the initiative involved, but on its nature and character. It is "national initiative," if what is proposed to be adopted or enacted is a national law, or a law which only Congress can pass. It is "local
initiative" if what is proposed to be adopted or enacted is a law, ordinance, or resolution which only the legislative bodies of the governments of the autonomous regions, provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays can pass (Defensor-Santiago vs. COMELEC, GR 127325, March 19, 1997). i) Indirect Initiative Exercise of initiative by the people through a proposition sent to the Congress or the local legislative body for action. CASES •
There are statutory and conceptual demarcations between a referendum and an initiative. In enacting the "Initiative and Referendum Act, Congress differentiated one term from the other, thus: (a) "Initiative" is the power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to propose and enact legislations through an election called for the purpose.There are three (3) systems of initiative, namely: a.1. Initiative on the Constitution which refers to a petition proposing amendments to the Constitution; a.2. Initiative on statutes which refers to a petition proposing to enact a national legislation; and a.3. Initiative on local legislation which refers to a petition proposing to enact a regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay law, resolution or ordinance. (b) "Indirect initiative" is exercise of initiative by the people through a proposition sent to Congress or the local legislative body for action. (c) "Referendum" is the power of the electorate to approve or reject a legislation through an election called for the purpose. It may be of two classes, namely: c.1. Referendum on statutes which refers to a petition to approve or reject an act or law, or part thereof, passed by Congress; and c.2 Referendum on local law which refers to a petition to approve or reject a law, resolution or ordinance enacted by regional assemblies and local legislative bodies. Justice Isagani A. Cruz defines initiative as the "power of the people to propose bills and laws, and to enact or reject them at the polls
independent of the legislative assembly." On the other hand, he explains that referendum "is the right reserved to the people to adopt or reject any act or measure which has been passed by a legislative body and which in most cases would without action on the part of electors become a law." The process and the voting in an initiative are understandably more complex than in a referendum where expectedly the voters will simply write either "Yes" of "No" in the ballot. In initiative and referendum, the Comelec exercises administration and supervision of the process itself, akin to its powers over the conduct of elections. These law-making powers belong to the people, hence the respondent Commission cannot control or change the substance or the content of legislation. In the exercise of its authority, it may (in fact it should have done so already) issue relevant and adequate guidelines and rules for the orderly exercise of these "people-power" features of our Constitution (SBMA vs. COMELEC, GR 125416, Sept. 26, 1996). ii) Recall CASES •
Recall is a mode of removal of a public officer by the people before the end of his term of office. The people's prerogative to remove a public officer is an incident of their sovereign power and in the absence of constitutional restraint, the power is implied in all governmental operations. Such power has been held to be indispensable for the proper administration of public affairs. Not undeservedly, it is frequently described as a fundamental right of the people in a representative democracy. Section 3 of its Article X also reiterated the mandate for Congress to enact a local government code which "shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative and referendum. . ..”The Batasang Pambansa then enacted BP 337 entitled "The Local Government Code of 1983." Section 54 of its Chapter 3 provided only one mode of initiating the recall elections of local elective officials, i.e., by petition of at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the total number of registered voters in the local government unit concerned. Effective January 1, 1992, Congress enacted R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991which provided for a second mode of initiating the recall process through a preparatory recall assembly which in the
provincial level is composed of all mayors, vice-mayors and sanggunian members of the municipalities and component cities. The alternative mode of initiating recall proceedings thru a preparatory recall assembly is an innovative attempt by Congress to remove impediments to the effective exercise by the people of their sovereign power to check the performance of their elected officials. The power to determine this mode was specifically given to Congress and is not proscribed by the Constitution (Garcia vs. COMELEC, GR 111511, Oct. 5, 1993). iii)
Loss of confidence, a political question CASES
Whether or not the electorate of the Municipality of Sulat has lost confidence in the incumbent mayor is a political question. It belongs to the realm of politics where only the people are the judge. 9 "Loss of confidence is the formal withdrawal by an electorate of their trust in a person's ability to discharge his office previously bestowed on him by the same electorate. 10 The constituents have made a judgment and their will to recall the incumbent mayor (Evardone) has already been ascertained and must be afforded the highest respect. Thus, the signing process held last 14 July 1990 in Sulat, Eastern Samar, for the recall of Mayor Felipe P. Evardone of said municipality is valid and has legal effect (Evardone vs. COMELEC, 204 SCRA 464, 472).