Lambino vs. Comelec digest

September 21, 2017 | Author: Ruth Galera | Category: Initiative, Constitution, Virtue, Constitutional Law, Politics
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RAUL L. LAMBINO and ERICO B. AUMENTADO, TOGETHER WITH 6,327,952 REGISTERED VOTERS, Petitioners, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. G.R. No. 174153 October 25, 2006

Facts: On February 15, 2008, petitioners Raul Lambino and Erico B. Aumentado, along with other groups and individuals, commenced gathering of signatures for an initiative petition to change the 1987 Constitution. Such changes comprise of the modification of Sections 1-7 of Article VI (Legislative Department), and Sections 1-4 of Article VII (Executive Department), and the addition of Article XVIII entitled "Transitory Provisions” in which these proposed changes will shift the present BicameralPresidential system to a Unicameral-Parliamentary form of government. On August 25, 2006, petitioners later on filed a petition with the respondent, Commission on Elections (COMELEC), to hold a plebiscite to ratify their initiative petition under Sec. 5(b) and (c) and Sec. 7 of RA 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act. Then on August 30, 2006, the petitioners, Lambino Group, filed an Amended Petition with the respondent, COMELEC, indicating modifications in the proposed Article XVIII (Transitory Provisions) of their initiative. On August 31 2006, respondent, Commission on Elections, issued its Resolution denying due course the petition of the plaintiffs, Lambino and its group, for lack of an enabling law governing initiative petitions to amend the Constitution. The petitioner, Lambino Group, then prays for the issuance of the writs of certiorari and mandamus to set aside the COMELEC Resolution of August 31 2006, and to compel the respondent Commission on Elections, to give due course to their initiative petition. Various groups and individuals sought intervention, filing pleadings supporting or opposing the Lambino Group's petition. The Court heard the parties and interveners in oral arguments on September 26 2006. After receiving the parties' memoranda, the Court considered the case submitted for resolution.

Issue: Whether or not the initiative petition of the plaintiffs Raul Lambino and its group to change the 1987 Constitution, is an “amendment” or a “revision”.

Held: Petition Dismissed. Under Art XVII Sec 2 of the constitution, the power of the people to propose changes through People’s initiative, is only constraint to “amendment” and not revision of the Constitution. As in the case of Lambino’s petition, it was concluded that Lambino’s initiative was in no doubt a revision and not an amendment, given by the long recognized distinction between revision and amendment by the Court whereas it was defined, “Where the proposed change applies only to a specific provision of the Constitution without affecting any other section or article, the change may generally be considered an amendment and not a revision.” And as it is so in California, where just like in our constitution, have initiative clause which allows amendments but not revisions, have developed a two-part test: the quantitative test in which the court examines only the number of provisions affected and does not consider the degree of the change; and the qualitative test which looks into qualitative or the extent of the effects of the proposed change in the constitution. Under both the quantitative and qualitative tests, the petitioner Lambino Group's initiative is a revision and not merely an amendment. The Ruling of the court in relation to the abovementioned test is that “Quantitatively, the Lambino Group's proposed changes overhaul two articles - Article VI on the Legislature and Article VII on the Executive - affecting a total of 105 provisions in the entire Constitution. Qualitatively, the proposed changes alter substantially the basic plan of government, from presidential to parliamentary, and from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature.” It was thereby concluded that: by any legal test and under any jurisdiction, a shift from a Bicameral-Presidential to a UnicameralParliamentary system, involving the abolition of the Office of the President and the abolition of one chamber of Congress, is beyond doubt a revision. Thereby, the court decided for the petition to be dismissed.

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