Constitutional Law (Separation of Powers Chapter Case Digests)

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Philippine Constitutional Law (Separation of Powers Chapter Case Digests)...


Casibang vs Aquino FACTS: Respondent Remigio P. Yu was proclaimed on November 9, 1971 as the elected Mayor of Rosales, Pangasinan in the 1971 local elections. Herein petitioner filed on November 24, 1971 a protest against the election of the former with the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, on the grounds of As the proceedings continued, the 1973 Constitution was ratified. Yu moved to dismiss the election protest of petitioner on the ground that the trial court had lost jurisdiction over the same in view of the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution by reason of which —Section 9 of Article XVII [Transitory Provisions] and Section 2 of Article XI — a political question has intervened in the case. Respondent Yu contended that "... the provisions in the 1935 Constitution relative to all local governments have been superseded by the 1973 Constitution. Therefore, all local government should adhere to our parliamentary form of government. This is clear in the New Constitution under its Article XI." He further submitted that local elective officials have no more four-year term of office. They are only in office at the pleasure of the appointing power embodied in the New Constitution, and under Section 9 of Article XVII. CFI ruled in favor of Yu. ISSUE: WON the protest case is a political question HELD: No political question has ever been interwoven into this case. Nor is there any act of the incumbent President or the Legislative Department to be indirectly reviewed or interfered with if the respondent Judge decides the election protest. The term "political question" connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to those questions which under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity; or in regard to which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the government. It is concerned with issues dependent upon the wisdom, not legality, of a particular measure" The only issue in the electoral protest case dismissed by respondent Judge on the ground of political question is who between protestant — herein petitioner — and protestee — herein respondent Yu — was the duly elected mayor of Rosales, Pangasinan, and legally entitled to enjoy the rights, privileges and emoluments appurtenant thereto and to discharge the functions, duties and obligations of the position. If the protestee's election is upheld by the respondent Judge, then he continues in office; otherwise, it is the protestant, herein petitioner. That is the only consequence of a resolution of the issue therein involved — a purely justiciable question or controversy as it implies a given right, legally demandable and enforceable, an act or ommission violative of said right, and a remedy, granted or sanctioned by law, for said breach of right. Any judgment to be made on that issue will not in any way collide or interfere with the mandate of Section 9 of Article XVII. Neither does Section 2 of Article XI stigmatize the issue in that electoral protest case with a political color. For simply, that section allocated unto the National Assembly the power to enact a local government code. Daza vs Singson Facts: Cong. Daza, a member of the Liberal Party, was one of the representatives who was chosen to represent the said party in the Commission of Appointments. When the party Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino was reorganized, it resulted to the swelling of its members to 159 and thereby reducing the members of the LP to only 17. Because of this, the House of Representatives revise its operation in the COA withdrawing the seat occupied by the petitioner and giving this to the newly-formed LDP. The chamber elected a new set of representatives consisting of the original members except the petitioner and including therein respondent Luis Singson. Cong. Daza challenges his removal alleging that the

reorganization of the House representation in the said body is not based on a permanent political realignment because LDP is not a duly registered political party and has not yet attained political stability. Cong. Singson, on the other hand, contends that the question raised was political in nature and beyond the jurisdiction of the Court.

Issue: Whether or not the issue raised is political in nature, thus beyond the jurisdiction of the Court

Held: The issue at bar does not involve the discretionary act of the HR that may not be reviewed because it is political in nature. The issue involved here is the legality and not the wisdom of the act of that chamber in removing the petitioner from the COA. Consequently, the issued presented is justiciable rather than political, for it involves the manner of filling the COA as prescribed in the Constitution (legality) and not the discretion of the HR in the choice of its representatives (wisdom). Moreover, even if the question is political in nature, it would still come in the powers of the Sc to review under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon it by Article 8, Section 1 of the Constitution, which includes the authority to determine whether grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction has been committed by any branch on instrumentality of the government. EASTERN SHIPPING LINES, INC vs POEA Facts: Vitaliano Saco was Chief Officer of the M/V Eastern Polaris when he was killed in an accident in Tokyo, Japan, March 15, 1985. His widow sued for damages under Executive Order No. 797 and Memorandum Circular No. 2 of the POEA. The petitioner, as owner of the vessel, argued that the complaint was cognizable not by the POEA but by the Social Security System and should have been filed against the State Insurance Fund. The POEA nevertheless assumed jurisdiction and after considering the position papers of the parties ruled in favor of the complainant. The decision is challenged by the petitioner on the principal ground that the POEA had no jurisdiction over the case as the husband was not an overseas worker. Issue: Whether or not POEA has jurisdiction Held: The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration was created under Executive Order No. 797, promulgated on May 1, 1982, to promote and monitor the overseas employment of Filipinos and to protect their rights. It replaced the National Seamen Board created earlier under Article 20 of the Labor Code in 1974. Under Section 4(a) of the said executive order, the POEA is vested with "original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases, including money claims, involving employee-employer relations arising out of or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino contract workers, including seamen."

The award of P180,000.00 for death benefits and P12,000.00 for burial expenses was made by the POEA pursuant to its Memorandum Circular No. 2, which became effective on February 1, 1984. This circular prescribed a standard contract to be adopted by both foreign and domestic shipping companies in the hiring of Filipino seamen for overseas employment. But the petitioner questions the validity of Memorandum Circular No. 2 itself as violative of the principle of non-delegation of legislative power. It contends that no authority had been given the POEA to promulgate the said regulation; and even with such authorization, the regulation represents an exercise of legislative discretion which, under the principle, is not subject to delegation. Memorandum Circular No. 2 is an administrative regulation. The model contract prescribed thereby has been applied in a significant number of the cases without challenge by the employer. The power of the POEA (and before it the National Seamen Board) in requiring the model contract is not unlimited as there is a sufficient standard guiding the delegate in the exercise of the said authority. That standard is discoverable in the executive order itself which, in creating the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, mandated it to protect the rights of overseas Filipino workers to "fair and equitable employment practices." The petition is dismissed, with costs against the petitioner.

KURODA vs JALANDONI Facts : Shigenori Kuroda, a formerly a Lietenant-General of the japanese imperial army and commanding general of the japanese imperial forces in the philippines during a period covering 1943 and 1944 who is now charge before a military commission convened by the chief of staff of the armed forces of the philippines with having unlawfully disregarded and failed to discharge his duties as such command, permitting them to commit brutal atrocities and other high crimes against noncombatant civilians and prisoners of the imperial japanese forces in the violations of the laws and customer of war. Petitioner argues that respondent Military Commission has no jurisdiction to try petitioner for its acts committed in violation of Hague Convention and the Geneva convention because the Philippines is not signatory to Hague Convention and signed the Geneva only in 1947. He also challenges the participation of the two American attorneys in the prosecution of his case on the ground that said attorneys are not qualified to practice law in the Philippines. Issues: 1. Whether or not the executive order no. 68 is a ground for the violations of our provision of constitutions law and to our local law. 2. Whether or not Atty. Melville S. Hussey and Robert Port is allowed to practice the law professions in the philippines.

Ruling : The court holds that the Executive Order is valid and Constitutional.

Article 2 of our Constitution provides in its section 3 that ” The Philippines renounces war as an instruments of national policy and adopts the generally accepted principle of international law as part of the law of nation.” In accordance with the generally accepted principles of international law of the present day, including the Hague and Geneva Convention and significant precedents of international jurisprudence established by the U.N, all the persons, military or civilian, who have been guilty of planning, preparing, or waging a war of aggression and commission of the crimes and offenses consequential and incidental thereto, in violation of the laws and customs of war of humanity and civilization, are held accountable therefore. Consequently, in the promulgation and enforcement of Executive Order no. 68, the President of the Philippines has acted in conformity with the generally accepted principles and policies of international law which are part our Constitution. On the second issue, the court ruled that the appointment of the two American attorneys is not violative of our national sovereignty. It is only fair and proper that the U.S which has submitted the vindication of crimes against her government and her people to a tribunal of our nation should be allowed representation in the trial of those very crimes. The lest that we could do in the spirit of comity is to allow this representation in said trial. The petition was denied. AGUSTIN vs EDU Facts: A presidential letter of instruction (LOI) prescribing the use of triangular reflectorized early warning device to prevent vehicular accidents was assailed for the lack of legislative enactment that would authorize the issuance of said LOI. The petition quoted two whereas clauses of the assailed LOI. [Whereas], the hazards posed by such obstructions to traffic have been recognized by international bodies concerned with traffic safety, the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals and the United nations Organization; [Whereas], the said Vienna Convention which was ratified by the Philippine Government under PD 207, recommended the enactment of local legislation for the installation of road and safety signs and devices. Issue: Whether or not a legislative enactment is necessary in order to authorize the issuance of said LOI Held: No. The petition must be dismissed for lack of merit. It cannot be disputed that this Declaration of Principle found in the Constitution possesses relevance. “The Philippines *** adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, ***.” The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals is impressed with such a character. It is not for this country to repudiate a commitment to which it had pledged its word. The concept of Pacta sunt servanda stands in the way of such an attitude, which is, moreover, at war with the principle of international morality. *Pacta sunt servanda – every agreement enforce is binding upon the parties and must be performed by them in good faith. In Re: Manzano Facts: RTC Judge Manzano was designated as a member of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Committee on Justice pursuant to EO 856 as amended by EO 326 by then Governor. Rodolfo Farinas. He sent a letter to the SC stating that before he accepts the appointment, he would like to request for the issuance of a Resolution (1) authorizing him to accept his appointment and assume and discharge the powers and duties attached to it (2) that his membership to the said Committee is not violative of the Independence of the

Judiciary or may be considered as an abandonment of his position in the RTC (3) to consider that his membership in the committee is a part of the primary function of an Executive Judge. However, on examination of the EO’s, it was revealed that among the functions of the Committee is to review complaints against any apprehending officer xx who may be found to have committed abuses in the discharge of his duties and refer the same to proper authority for the appropriate action. Another function is to recommend the revision of any law or regulation which is believed prejudicial to the proper administration of criminal justice.

Issue: Whether or not the acceptance of Judge Manzano of his appointment in the Committee will violate the doctrine of separation of powers

Held: It is evident from the stated functions of the Committee that it performs functions that are administrative in nature which are defined as those involving the regulation and control over the conduct and affairs of individuals fore their own welfare and the promulgation of rules and regulations to better carry out the policy of the legislature xxx. Under Art.8, Sec12 of the Constitution, the members of the xxx courts xxx shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi-judicial or administrative functions. While the doctrine of separation of powers is xxx not to be enforced with pedantic rigor, xxx it cannot justify a member of the judiciary being required to assume position xxx which are non judiciary in character xx if he is expected to be confined to the task of adjudication. Xxx He is not a subordinate of an executive or legislative official. This does not mean that the RTS judges should adopt an attitude of monastic insensibility. An RTC judge should render assistance to said Committees xxx but only when it may be reasonably incidental to the fulfilment of their judicial duties. Hence, the request was denied.

Separation of Powers TAÑADA vs. CUENCO

FACTS: Petitioners Lorenzo Tañada and Diosdado Macapagal sought to oust respondent senators Mariano J. Cuenco and Francisco A. Delgado as members of the same Electoral Tribunal, alleging that the Committee on Rules for the Senate, and the Senate itself, in nominating then choosing the respondents, respectively, had acted absolutely without power or color of authority and in clear violation of Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution (1935):

Section 11. The Senate and the House of Representatives shall 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 by each House, three upon nomination of the party having the largest number of votes and three of the party having the second largest numbers of votes therein. The senior Justice in each Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.

Respondents allege that: (a) the Court is without power, authority of jurisdiction to direct or control the

action of the Senate in choosing the members of the Electoral Tribunal; and (b) that the petition states no cause of action, because "petitioner Tañada has exhausted his right to nominate after he nominated himself and refused to nominate two (2) more Senators."

ISSUE: 1. 2.

Are the allegations by the respondents correct? Is this case a mere political question?


We cannot agree with the conclusion drawn by respondents from the foregoing facts. This case is not an action against the Senate and it does not seek to compel the latter, either directly or indirectly, to allow the petitioners to perform their duties as members of said House. Although the Constitution provides that the Senate shall choose six (6) Senators to be members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the latter is part neither of Congress nor of the Senate. Secondly, although the Senate has, under the Constitution, the exclusive power to choose the Senators who shall form part of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the fundamental law has prescribed the manner in which the authority shall be exercised. Under the Constitution, "the legislative power" is vested exclusively in the Congress of the Philippines. Yet, it does not detract from the power of the courts to pass upon the constitutionality of acts of Congress. And, since judicial power includes the authority to inquire into the legality of statutes enacted by the two Houses of Congress, and approved by the Executive, there can be no reason why the validity of an act of one of said Houses, like that of any other branch of the Government, may not be determined in the proper actions. The Court is also called upon to decide whether the election of Senators Cuenco and Delgado, by the Senate, as members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, upon nomination by Senator Primicias – a member and spokesman of the party having the largest number of votes in the Senate – on behalf of its Committee on Rules, contravenes the constitutional mandate that said members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal shall be chosen "upon nomination .. of the party having the second largest number of votes" in the Senate, and hence, is null and void. This is not a political question. The Senate is not clothed with "full discretionary authority" in the choice of members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. The exercise of its power thereon is subject to constitutional limitations which are claimed to be mandatory in nature. It is clearly within the legitimate prove of the judicial department to pass upon the validity the proceedings in connection therewith. Whether an election of public officers has been in accordance with law is for the judiciary. Moreover, where the legislative department has by statute prescribed election procedure in a given situation, the judiciary may determine whether a particular election has been in conformity with such statute, and, particularly, whether such statute has been applied in a way to deny or transgress on the constitutional or statutory rights." The court does not only have jurisdiction, but, also, the duty, to consider and determine the principal issue raised by the parties herein.

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